Review: Scripting Your Destiny

THE SHORT VERDICT:

This little show feels different from most other web dramas, because it manages to feel interesting and original, and quite meaty, despite its short running time. On top of that, it manages to feel breezy and fun, making for a fun ride where I consistently wanted to go back for more. As a bonus, we even get lots of cheeky little nods to Goblin, which is clearly an inspiration for writer-nim (Kim Eun Sook – who penned Goblin – is this show’s Executive Producer, just for a bit of context).

Altogether, Show feels like it’s at least several notches above the average web drama. The bright, rich Spring palette, polished shiny finish, and pleasant OST complete this very pleasant little package.

The overall effect of all this, is that I felt like I was watching a full-fledged drama – just with all the filler sliced out.

THE LONG VERDICT:

You guys would have probably noticed that I’ve been checking out more short format drama things of late, and you’d probably have also noticed that I tend to favor the drama specials over the web dramas. Somehow, the drama specials tend to feel more solid, both in writing and casting, compared to web dramas, even though many of the web dramas have more total screen time to work with.

I’m so happy to say that this is one time when my expectations have been completely surpassed.

This little drama showed promise right away; I felt immediately drawn in to this polished-looking supernatural drama world, and was consistently surprised by how much enjoyment Show managed to serve up, via its compact little episodes. I literally looked forward to watching episodes of this show with anticipation, and that’s saying a lot, for a little web drama like this.

In fact, my watch experience proved to be pleasant, that I started to feel like referring to this show as a web drama, is a bit of an injustice.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Ho Yoon (Ki Do Hoon) is a god of destiny who’s determined to make a masterpiece out of the destiny that he’s writing for Jung Ba Reum (Kim Woo Suk). He decides that he needs to incorporate Ba Reum’s first love Che Kyung (Jeon So Nee) into this masterpiece, and thus seeks out Che Kyung’s destiny book. Cue consternation and hijinks, when Che Kyung is completely unmoved by the love destiny that he tries to set up for her.

OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE

Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it as you read the review. I thought the music was very pleasant overall. Track 1, “If It’s Fate,” has a lovely, melodious, burgeoning sort of feel to it, which I enjoyed.

If you’d just like to listen to “If It’s Fate” on repeat, here it is as well. Just right-click on the video and select “Loop.”

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS

I do think that a comic book lens helps, when watching this show.

Not only does it help to smooth over any uneven transitions, it also helps when dealing with any gappy logic or any unclear mythology.

Also, even though this show feels like it’s quite a few notches above the average web drama, it is a short format little thing after all, and therefore, there are inevitably some narrative gaps, as Show works to wrap up its story. It’s helpful to keep that in mind, I think.

STUFF I LIKED

Show’s fun premise

Show’s premise is THE thing that drew me to check it out. I found it such a fun idea, that a young, handsome god of destiny, would meet his match in an uncooperative subject. And, as Show expounds on its premise, I found a nice number of rich layers to the premise, which I very much appreciated.

Here they are, for the record.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E1. I like the idea of our female lead Che Kyung (Jeon So Nee) being a drama writer, because that creates a nice contrast between her and our god of destiny, where they both write the fates of others, except in his case, he writes the fates of real people.

E3. There are few macro ideas in force, which I think play against each other in potentially interesting ways. First, the idea that Ho Yoon (Ki Do Hoon) doesn’t understand love. It seems that the other gods don’t understand love either, because, despite Myung’s (Park Sang Nam) big claim that he’s suuuper good at love stuff, none of his ideas actually work out for Ho Yoon.

Which brings me to the second thing, which is that, the gods can write whatever they want, and to the detail that they want, but they can’t seem to force a human to fall in love. Even when Ho Yoon sets things up as perfectly as he possibly can, for Che Kyung to have a meet-cute with Ba Reum (Kim Woo Suk) and fall for him, his carefully planned details are no match for Che Kyung, who dismisses each and every opportunity without more than a passing second thought. She’s decided that she’s not attracted to Ba Reum, somehow, and so she doesn’t even think twice about brushing off a seemingly romantic meet-cute.

E5. It’s an interesting perspective, that just like every writer has their own “color,” so do the gods of destiny, and that accounts for the wide variety of human beings on the earth. This ties in nicely with how Ba Reum makes the connection that Che Kyung is Yang Mi Soon, AND Go’spresso. I like this mirroring, it makes Show feel thematically robust.

[END SPOILER]

Show does a lot in not much screen time

I’m really impressed with how much Show manages to accomplish, given its short episode running times. Things move along pretty fast, and somehow, Show manages to feel like the various plot developments in our story are warranted and suitably timed, instead of rushed.

As an example, episode 1 efficiently sets out our context by getting right into the thick of things. By the time we reach the end of the short 30-minute episode, we’ve already got a feel for our leads, our god has expressed why he’s so invested in the fate of Jung Ba Reum, and he has a reason for purposely seeking out Che Kyung’s fate book and taking it over.

That just made the watch feel richer, because I didn’t feel like Show was wasting time on unnecessary filler.

Here are a few more insights, into how Show manages to do a lot, with not very much.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E4. I like how Show casually builds on its internal mythology, by casually sprinkling bits of information here and there. I feel like I’m piecing together a mythology that’s already there, rather than watching Show build its mythology on the fly, which is an important difference.

E7. Our story is taking an epic turn that I hadn’t seen coming, for some reason. Given that I’ve watched many dramas where characters are given destined lovelines that involve childhood connections and maybe even a fate that spans millennia, I’m really quite surprised that I somehow didn’t sense this show was going to go that route. I guess that’s credit to Show, for playing its cards well?

I realize that Show does a good job of planting little seedlings of detail that later actually work to support the larger story. That’s pretty cool. Like the way Che Kyung puzzles over Ho Yoon’s name, then realizes that she’d heard Myung call out to him before. I thought nothing of that detail, since Myung’s always hanging around Ho Yoon, but later, it becomes clear that this memory that Che Kyung has, is a flashback to when she and Ho Yoon had been schoolmates. Dun dun dun. The plot thickens, because Ho Yoon has no memory of ever going to school.

This epic destiny is taking shape nicely for me, I have to say. Even though this is a short format story, the destiny is landing with a nice amount of emotional heft to my eyes, compared to other short format shows that have attempted similar, like Must You Go?.

[END SPOILER]

Show’s very pretty

Show’s production values are surprisingly high, for it being a short little mini-drama. I liked the touches of polish and pretty, like with the special effects of our god walking in what looks to be the supernatural dimension. A few scenes also stood out to me for being extra prettily filmed, like the slo-mo water splashes in this screenshot.

The Pretty did nicely to lift my watch experience.

The tongue-in-cheek touches are great

Show’s got a cheeky side, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I often don’t jive with dramas’ ideas of funny, but I really had a good time with this show’s various tongue-in-cheek touches.

Here’s a quick look at the spot of cheeky that tickled my funny bone.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Goblin references

E1. I am tickled by the fact that all our gods of destiny happen to be handsome, dapper young men who favor long flowy coats, but I’m not at all opposed to the idea, heh.

E1. I am mildly amused at the echoes of Goblin that we get right away, with the bromantic type of connection between two gods of destiny, complete with the slo-mo long-coated dual hero tunnel walk, except that instead of groceries, they’re carrying coffees. It’s all quite unabashed and tongue-in-cheek, which should appeal to fans of Goblin.

The drama within the drama

E1. I kinda love the makjang-ness of the drama that Che Kyung is writing; it’s so OTT and hammy, and looks like a total hoot to watch. The proof of identity via rock-hard abs made me laugh out loud, it’s so ludicrous and so funny. 😆

E4. Also, I am quite tickled by the SKY Castle spoof that Che Kyung’s starting to work on, titled SKY Cash. Hahaha. It sounds like an intense revenge makjang, and I kinda love the idea that Che Kyung’s specializing in makjang dramas. I mean, her shirtless marriage makjang looks like fabulous fun. 😆

Little spots of unexpected funny

E3. I’m tickled by the idea that once a god of destiny has put pen to divine paper, it can’t be erased, because in our final scene this episode, Ho Yoon’s careful writings, designed to have Che Kyung and Ba Reum start dating right away, is promptly deleted by coffee. Ha. So.. coffee is more powerful than the gods of destiny? Too funny. 😆

E4. I am very amused by how our actual events play with and get around the actual destiny that’s written by the gods. For example, even though Ba Reum technically can’t ask Che Kyung to start dating him that very day because that fate was erased by coffee, he simply asks her to start dating him the day after tomorrow. Pfft. I guess love finds a way..?

[END SPOILER]

Jeon So Nee as Che Kyung

Our female lead Che Kyung rocks a terribly frizzy wavy perm and often goes around in sloppy sweatpants, and yet manages to come across as relatable, down-to-earth and endearing. I liked this a lot, and I thought Jeon So Nee did a really nice job of this role, not only in Show’s cuter, more lighthearted moments, but also in Che Kyung’s sadder scenes.

This here is my personal favorite Che Kyung-related thing in the show.

[SPOILER ALERT] E2. The fact that Che Kyung is freaked out rather than swooned out by how the events in her life exactly mirror her essay amuses me greatly. Plus, it also tells me more about Che Kyung herself. She might be in the business of writing romance for the TV screen, but she’s much more pragmatic in real life. I actually really like that. [END SPOILER]

Ho Yoon and Che Kyung together

I suppose it should come as no surprise, that Che Kyung’s loveline isn’t with Jung Ba Reum, but with Ho Yoon, the god of destiny who, quite literally, holds her fate in his hands.

While I found the chemistry between Ki Do Hoon and Jeon So Nee pretty average, ie, decent, but nothing to particularly write home about, I thought they matched each other quite nicely. Ki Do Hoon plays Ho Yoon pretty deadpan, which works out as a good foil to Che Kyung’s more bubbly, outspoken sort of nature.

Additionally, I really did enjoy the way Show explores the connection between these two characters. Personally, this did a lot of heavy lifting to make the relationship between Ho Yoon and Che Kyung interesting enough, to make me want to keep tuning back in.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. I’m quite entertained by the idea that Ho Yoon, as a non-human, doesn’t understand love, and that’s why he can’t write it, and that’s why he seeks Che Kyung out, to ask her about it. I mean, it’s a cute idea, but I also want to know how he’s been managing all the love stories of all the other people whose books of destiny have passed through his hands. Were those all gappily written, so that the people involved had to figure things out for themselves?

E2. So far, I’m enjoying the vibe between Ho Yoon and Che Kyung quite nicely. He’s leaning smooth, in his honest but quirky answers to her questions, but she is completely unaffected by his charm. Heh. I rather like how steady Che Kyung’s heart is; this girl doesn’t lose her heart easily, and I find that quite charming, somehow.

E3. I find it an intriguing idea, that Ba Reum walks right past Ho Yoon at the hospital, without realizing that this is the god who’s writing his destiny. There’s a saying about not knowing when you walk among angels, and this feels like that sentiment, but amplified, since this is the god of your destiny, that you’re walking past.

..Which makes Che Kyung’s interactions with Ho Yoon even more pregnant with intriguing possibilities.

The only reason he’s even hanging around her, is because she’s not cooperating with the perfect narrative that he has in his head, and she has no idea that she’s interacting with the very “person” who literally has her destiny in his hands. I’m tickled by the idea that this god of destiny is going to possibly fall in love with the uncooperative human that he’s trying to nudge in the direction that he wants. At this point, it’s like Ho Yoon’s haplessly trying to herd a cat, and I am suitably amused.

Now that Ho Yoon seems to be determined to be present in person, in Che Kyung’s life, so that he can better direct the events in her life, there seem to be lots of opportunities for our god of destiny to learn a thing or two about love, and I am eager to see where this goes.

E5. This episode, Ho Yoon seems to learn the difference between a great love story as an abstract concept, and as something that you experience. From a distance, he thinks that the tragic ending to the love story that he’s written for Ba Reum and Che Kyung is perfect, because not only does it remind him of Shakespearean tragedies, the experience will give Ba Reum experience with a wide range of deep-reaching feelings, that in turn will feed into his desire to be a great director. On paper, it all seems like a good idea – until Ho Yoon suddenly develops what seems to be some kind of attachment to Che Kyung, that is.

I think Show manages the growing mutual awareness between Ho Yoon and Che Kyung quite smartly. For example, we see Che Kyung continually imagining Ho Yoon as the male lead in her drama as she’s writing it. That’s a super efficient way to to let us know that she can’t help thinking about him. And then, we see Ho Yoon’s unconscious pleasure at being the first to read her screenplay for Sky Cash; a very simple but clear sign that the privilege means something to him.

Ho Yoon’s growing personal investment in the destinies of the humans under his charge is also teased out efficiently, like with the way he seeks out the god of destiny in charge of Ba Reum’s problematic sunbae.

It’s quite amusing to me, that anytime Ho Yoon wants to create an opportunity to meet Che Kyung, he writes it into her destiny book. This episode, the way he keeps making her go to the store for yogurt is quite amusing to me. This guy – well, god – isn’t very creative, is he? First with the love story plagiarism, and then with the recurring yogurt errands. 😆

I actually like that aside from making Che Kyung run out for errands just because he wants to talk to her, Ho Yoon is consistently honest with Che Kyung, even though the truth is outlandish and she therefore doesn’t take him seriously. I don’t know if there are cosmic rules that Ho Yoon is breaking in doing this, but he’s very frank with her about gods of destiny and what they do in relation to humans’ lives.

I also like the idea that as they walk together, Ho Yoon inevitably starts to see Che Kyung differently. Suddenly, she’s no longer just a convenient love interest for his masterpiece Ba Reum. She becomes a fleshed-out person in his eyes, and I feel like that’s why he suddenly realizes that he doesn’t want her to die.

E6. To be honest, I found my interesting waning slightly this episode; that is, until Show does a quick turn into the idea of Ho Yoon and Che Kyung living in the same apartment. Ha. With one fell swoop, I’m fully invested again. I am a sucker for feelings growing from cohabitation-induced forced proximity, whether it’s a contract marriage situation, or, as in this case, a writer in need of an assistant situation.

There are amped up stakes, now that we know that Ho Yoon developing feelings for Che Kyung isn’t just a simple case of melty romance. He could literally be eliminated as a god of destiny, and if what we’re shown this episode is anything to go by, this means that he.. kind of dies? There was that white chrysanthemum and what appear to be prayer beads placed on the table for the other god of destiny who’d gotten emotionally invested in one of his humans, and had gotten eliminated as a result.

This definitely adds a dimension of angst to our story, because even though it might be cute that Ho Yoon’s developing feelings for Che Kyung against his own will, it’s a lot more alarming to think that he’s risking his life, in doing so. What’s interesting to me, is that Ho Yoon can’t seem to help himself. He knows that getting involved with Che Kyung, emotionally and otherwise, is equivalent to putting his life at risk. And yet, he doesn’t say no, when Mom asks him to be Che Kyung’s assistant writer. That’s quite curious, to me.

I want to know if Ho Yoon is literally incapable of going against his heart, even though his brain knows the consequences?

E7. Now it’s starting to look like Ho Yoon had once been a god who had been eliminated, which is why he has no memory of ever going to school. And it would seem, by drama logic, that he’s the god that Hyun Joon had spoken of to Samshin (Gal So Won), who had developed some kind of emotion towards a human and had saved that person, and the person he had saved, was Che Kyung. I’m sure that’s also related to the reason she had to change her name.

What this all means, I think, is that Ho Yoon’s destined to develop feelings for Che Kyung, even when he has no memory of her. That idea, that your heart remembers even when your head doesn’t, is quite a touching one; no wonder it’s been the hallmark of more than a few kdramas.

E8. How interesting, that Che Kyung had fallen for Ho Yoon first. I’d just kind of assumed that it was the other way around, since he’s the one who keeps getting eliminated because of his feelings in relation to Che Kyung.

The flashbacks to them being classmates in high school are cute, and I wouldn’t have minded dwelling on that early high school romance more – if only Ho Yoon hadn’t gotten jealous over another boy declaring his feelings for Che Kyung, and promptly getting eliminated. Ha. This is almost becoming a running gag. 😅

[END SPOILER]

Special shout-out:

Samshin’s little crush [MINOR SPOILER]

At around the episode 6 mark, Samshin gets a minor maybe-loveline of her own, and I found it all very cute, to see Samshin, who’s hundreds of years old, get all shy and starry-eyed around a boy who thinks he’s her Oppa.

STUFF THAT WAS OK

Ki Do Hoon as Ho Yoon

I’d say that Ki Do Hoon’s performance as Ho Yoon worked out to ok, for me.

What I mean is, I do think that his delivery leans a touch flat, but because Ho Yoon as a character is mostly quite deadpan, it works out pretty well. The role plays to his strengths. At the same time, I did feel that Jeon So Nee was more expressive in more emotional scenes, in comparison, and it would have been nice, if Ki Do Hoon’s performance could have matched hers.

That said, I did enjoy Ho Yoon as a character, and I liked the way Show peels back layers to reveal more of his backstory, as we go.

I also just wanted to say, Ho Yoon gave me more and more Gong Yoo vibes, the more I watched him. Clearly, Ho Yoon is styled after Gong Yoo’s Goblin character, down to the hairstyle and long coats that Ho Yoon favors. On top of that, though, there’s something about Ki Do Hoon that actually does remind me of Gong Yoo himself, in Goblin. There’s something quite.. endearing, about that idea. It almost feels like a younger brother earnestly working to follow in his hyung’s footsteps. I found the thought of this cute and quite charming.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E2. I am tickled by the idea of our god of destiny, Ho Yoon, suffering writer’s block around how to write Che Kyung’s love story, and basically plagiarizing Che Kyung’s high school literature essay, in order to give her a love story. Pfft. That’s hilarious to me. 😆

E4. How ironic, that Ba Reum, whom Ho Yoon regards as his masterpiece, is being rude and belligerent towards Ho Yoon. After all the care that Ho Yoon’s put into writing Ba Reum’s destiny, I imagine that it must feel like Ho Yoon’s own masterpiece has turned around and slapped him in the face. Will this change Ho Yoon’s mind about making Ba Reum his masterpiece?

E8. We get quite a bit of backstory this episode, and I find it really interesting to see things from Ho Yoon’s perspective.

I mean, the way he just starts existing, as a god, with an innate understanding that he is a god of destiny, expected to fulfill his godly duties, with no childhood or even any kind of training, is intriguing to me. It’s almost like trial and error, the way he immediately intervenes in young Che Kyung’s human destiny, then immediately gets eliminated, only to get another go-around 14 years later, with no memory of what had happened in his first go-around, and only some muscle memory around carrying an umbrella when it rains, and not developing feelings for humans, because it’s dangerous.

It almost feels like his “programming” is incomplete, somehow, because if he’d started existing with the innate knowledge that he’s a god of destiny, shouldn’t that innate knowledge extend to things like not developing feelings for humans?

[END SPOILER]

STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH

Although I do think that it’s important to cut Show a bit of slack because it’s a little mini series and not a full-fledged drama, there are a couple of things that I didn’t count as Show’s strengths.

Here they are, for the record.

The acting can lean a bit green

I do think that our cast’s relatively smaller acting range (when compared with much more experienced actors) creates a ceiling for how much emotional impact their struggle and conflict is able to land with. I like my shows with emotional heft, so this was a slight downer for me, especially since I enjoyed so much that Show had to offer.

Occasionally gappy logic

The odd logic gap did sometimes leave me a little bemused, like in the case of the following spoiler.

[SPOILER] E4. I’m quite amused by how Ba Reum assumes that his first love is Che Kyung’s mom (So Hee Jung), since Che Kyung’s using her mom’s name as her pen name, and wrote the series that helped him get through his hospitalization.

However, how he goes from “realizing” Che Kyung’s mom wrote that series, to asking Che Kyung to date him, is kind of questionable, since it’s not the automatic response of most people, to want to date their idol’s offspring. [END SPOILER]

Sometimes the funny doesn’t work for me

[SPOILER] For example, in episode 6, I wasn’t super into the scenes where Ho Yoon, Myung and Samshin puzzle over Ho Yoon’s heart acting up over Che Kyung, because it doesn’t feel very solid, to my eyes. It sounds more like petty and inconsequential squabbling, sometimes, and yet, there’s this big potential consequence, of Ho Yoon possibly getting eliminated, casting a shadow over everything. This doesn’t mesh very well, I feel. [END SPOILER]

Inconsistent / Unclear mythology [SPOILERS]

E3. I find it interesting that our humans sometimes find themselves in a particular location without seeming to have intended for it, like the way Ba Reum finds himself at the cafe with flowers in hand, when he’d actually asked for the flowers to be delivered. That reminds me of how each scene started for the comic book characters in Extraordinary You. Show isn’t clear or consistent about this, though.

E8. I’m assuming that except for supernatural beings like Myung, everyone else that Ho Yoon comes into contact with forgets he ever existed, once he gets eliminated. I feel like there’s no other explanation for why Che Kyung wouldn’t remember him, particularly if she’d fallen in love with him before, like we see in this episode. I wish Show would be clearer about this.

E8. Technically, in that flashback where Che Kyung kisses him, and he then kisses her back, Ho Yoon should’ve disappeared mid-kiss or something, since he’s clearly developed feelings for her?

THEMES / IDEAS [SPOILERS]

E1. The idea that love is a gift of the gods, for the courageous.

E2. Show presents an interesting idea this episode, that not all gods of destiny approach their task with equal care. Therefore, some people’s destinies leave a lot of room for, uh, interpretation, because how the person gets from one written point of destiny to another is not specified. You never know how your spirit of excellence (or lack thereof) might affect someone else?

E2. The idea that you should know and follow your heart, instead of simply being bowled over by the romance inherent in a situation. Even though everything Che Kyung experiences with Ba Reum flows like a drama rom-com (or a high-schooler’s literary essay, as the case may be), her heart isn’t moved, and she’s not drawn to him, and I’m actually quite proud of her for being keenly aware of that.

SPOTLIGHT ON THE PENULTIMATE EPISODE [SPOILERS]

We get some sudden leaps forward this episode, and I have to admit, it does feel rather rushed, and I’m still trying to figure out if the leaps make character sense. At the same time, I recognize that this is a short format mini series that doesn’t have much more screen time to wrap up its story, so I’m already preparing myself for any possible lapses in logic. I’m still hopeful that Show will end strong though, because it’s stood out quite a bit among its peers, and I’d like it to be an example that a short web drama can be as solid and absorbing as its full-series cousins.

Ho Yoon starts to have suspicions about the past, and starts to question things that he’d seemed to simply accept, before. Like the source of the note on Myung’s dashboard, and the blank pages that he’d seen in Che Kyung’s destiny book.

Also, cracks start to appear in the memory wipe that’s supposed to have occurred after Ho Yoon got eliminated from Che Kyung’s past. This is something that Show doesn’t explain (or perhaps hasn’t explained, since we still have one episode to go).. but even though people are apparently supposed to forget the existence of a god of destiny after he’s eliminated, Che Kyung’s ex-classmate remembers that she’d used to have a crush on a transfer student (who had been Ho Yoon himself). Logically, he shouldn’t remember that, I believe.

On that note, it feels like the heavens aren’t very systematic or thorough in this drama world. Not only do we have random side characters retaining memories that should have been wiped, we also have Ho Yoon appearing in photographs that I would have assumed should’ve been wiped as well. But I guess that’s just how this drama world rolls.

Anyway, that crack also adds to Ho Yoon’s mounting suspicions about his past, which he has no memory of.

The other leap forward this episode, is how Che Kyung suddenly seems to consider Ho Yoon’s previous words about being a god of destiny with seriousness. I feel like this is the leap that’s harder to buy into, because unlike Ho Yoon’s mounting suspicion, Show doesn’t actually spend time building up to it. It just feels like she suddenly feels inspired to ask Ho Yoon if he’s ever lied to her, and when he answers no, she concludes that he must have been telling the truth about being a god of destiny. Okayyy. That was a stretch.

On the upside, I do feel like both our leads deliver the raw emotion entailed by the angsty turn of our narrative quite nicely.

Ho Yoon actually regaining his lost memories is also something that I find quite curious. I’m guessing that this is supposed to mean that the connection between his and Che Kyung’s fates is stronger than the rule of heaven? It’s a romantic notion, but one that doesn’t land easily with me. However, I’m willing to roll with it, because I’m admittedly curious to see how Show will choose to end this story.

After a bout of self-imposed distancing, where Che Kyung angsts over why Ho Yoon’s disappeared all of a sudden, we see that Ho Yoon, now with his gained memories, orders his previously signature drink – a caramel macchiato, from his time as Che Kyung’s regular customer during her college days – while looking her right in the eye.

It seems to me like Ho Yoon’s ready to follow his heart, while throwing caution to the wind. And while I could see him shrugging off yet another elimination, this would create more empty pockets in Che Kyung’s destiny book, along with more memory lapses. I’m hoping that Show’s got a more meaty and meaningful ending up its sleeve, though.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

It feels like Show goes to town playing with its internal fantasy rules, in our finale episode. Some of it works more cleverly than others, but overall, I find that I’m reasonably entertained at the hoops that Show jumps through, in order to get us to the end of our story. Also, I feel like I need to give some credit to writer-nim for pure effort, for what feels like a somewhat contortionistic last stretch to our narrative journey.

We end on a lighter note than what I’d expected, given the melancholy that ramps up in the first half of the episode, and on hindsight, I do think that that works better for this story as a whole,  because by and large, our story has been a pretty light and breezy one, albeit with poignant undertones.

I think the thing that requires major suspension of disbelief, is how long Ho Yoon is allowed to stick around, even after he’s obviously developed feelings for Che Kyung. In his previous eliminations, he’d disappeared a lot sooner, and for much less. For example, in his first elimination, he’d disappeared just for having pity on young Che Kyung, and not allowing the car to run her over. And when Che Kyung had been in high school, he’d disappeared the moment it was confirmed that he was feeling jealous about her other suitor.

So it’s quite a stretch this finale, to see him get to hang around for so long, even after he’s become cognizant of his feelings for her, and even as he seemingly breaks all kinds of heavenly rules, like how he lets Ba Reum read his own destiny book. Granted, we’re never explicitly told that gods of destiny shouldn’t do that, but it’s assumed?

That said, once I decided to shrug off the need for these heavenly rules to stay consistent, I found our finale reasonably good. It almost feels like our characters are taking advantage of loopholes in our heavenly rules. Like, nobody said they specifically couldn’t let people write their own destinies, right? 😉

Also, I found it quite entertaining, that characters would lean into certain heavenly rules to break others. Like the way Che Kyung writes in her own destiny book, and demands to meet Ho Yoon again, immediately – and therefore heaven has to comply, even though Ho Yoon’s already reached his maximum number of eliminations (though I don’t recall that we were even told that there was a maximum number). Ha. That feels quite cheeky, defiant, and devil-may-care.

And then, I found it sweetly heartbreaking, that upon getting her wish, Che Kyung chooses not to tell Ho Yoon anything, and keep her love for him a secret forever. It’s implied that she’s doing this to protect him from himself – and from their love – and the idea of that, is selfless and loving, and I do find it quite affecting.

I’m quite tickled that in the end, though, Ho Yoon finds all the letters that Che Kyung’s left in the building’s suggestion box, and feels provoked enough by Che Kyung’s audacious tone, to immediately make a call to Myung, to find out where Che Kyung’s destiny book is..

..And thus, we can infer, so begins another round of meet-cutes, hyperawareness and burgeoning feelings. Which, I think, is a pretty cute way to handle the idea of a destined love between a human and her (also cute) god of destiny.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Breezy and engaging, with some surprising touches of poignance; almost like Goblin-lite.

FINAL GRADE: B+

TEASER:

MV:

WHERE TO WATCH:

You can check out this little show on iQIYI here, or on Viki here, with Viki Pass Standard.

If you’re geo-restricted, you can use Opera’s free, built-in, unlimited VPN to get around geo-restrictions. A tutorial on that can be found here, and an article on why it’s not illegal to use a VPN to access legal streaming content can be found here.

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Sean
Sean
7 days ago

It was a wonderful little show that somehow managed to roll up all into one the many different themes of what it means to be a god and how to fiddle with humankind’s destiny through a narrative that is not widely used. Yes, they did mention along the way a divinity has three “lives,” before they are permanently removed from existence. So, even our heroine being able to thwart such a destiny was a thumbs up from me. I liked the way too, how show overall steered away from what could have been a ho hum third wheel trope. I have just stumbled across another short web drama: Next Door Witch J – 10 minute episodes. What a hoot. Truly fun and delightful.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
9 days ago

Hi Fangurl – as always, great review for a cute little show. I enjoyed it.

ValiaSot
ValiaSot
9 days ago

I loved this show! And your review helped me a lot to make sense of the ending, as I felt like the creators/writer had written themselves into a dead end. It definitely doesn’t work to apply real life logic to this narrative, because it would feel more like an eternal punishment than anything else… Maybe they could’ve handled the ending in a better way, I was thinking… I had liked how Kim Eun Sook had written the endings of Secret Garden and Goblin, and thus the raised expectations? I realise now, though, that this show’s intention must’ve been to make the ending more poetic.

Another thing that puzzled me was that even though I really liked the music of the ending credits song, the lyric “I wanna make love” was a little too brave for a drama that didn’t exactly scream “sexy”, in my personal opinion…

Anyway. All in all, these are details. The show was excellent in driving us away from any less successful world building points and serving us so many interesting, fun and beautiful scenes, while not hesitating to be deep. It was really, really good overall..!