I genuinely enjoy both Kim Ji Suk and Jung So Min, so when I saw that they’d starred in this little drama special together, and that it had garnered more than 10 million views, I couldn’t not give it a look.
That, and the fact that I’d recently checked out episode 1 of Monthly Magazine Home, and hadn’t been super wowed; this little drama special had felt like a nice, quick alternative way to have them on my screen.
I hafta say, Kim Ji Suk’s character in this, is definitely more quickly endearing than his character in Monthly Magazine Home, who starts out as a quintessential jerkwad type. I wonder if I’ve stockpiled enough goodwill for him through watching this drama special, to attempt episode 2 of Monthly Magazine Home..? 🤔😅
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Gang Seok (Kim Ji Suk) and Ha Jin (Jung So Min) are both struggling to keep afloat in life, when they meet each other and fall in love. The trouble is, they haven’t told each other the truth about their financial struggles. What will happen, when the truth inevitably comes out?
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind, that I think would help you to maximize your enjoyment of this little drama special.
1. Our story world is closer to the cold reality of city life, than the escapism of a rom-com fantasy. It’s better to adjust your expectations accordingly.
2. The telling of our story is efficient, but it also means that sometimes we’re expected to fill in the blanks for ourselves.
3. This story leans bittersweet.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Kim Ji Suk and Jung So Min pair well together. I thought their chemistry was warm and sweet.
2. Both of our leads are warm, decent people. It’s not hard to relate to them, and the situations they find themselves in.
3. Our story leans slice-of-life and realistic, which is a plus, if you’re looking for a break from the fantasy worlds that are so common in Dramaland.
4. Our story is managed efficiently, so that it feels like we get a whole story, even though Show’s running time isn’t very long.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Ultimately, Show doesn’t give us a happily-ever-after sort of ending, but I do appreciate that we see that Gang Seok and Ha Jin do love each other a great deal.
It doesn’t quite make sense, that Gang Seok would think of pulling his mom off life support, before thinking of selling his car, but I’m willing to look past that, in favor of the idea of love that Show serves up, in our final stretch.
Even though Gang Seok’s once said that he’s desperate to hold onto Ha Jin – to have her, in a manner of speaking – in the end, his greatest act of love towards her, is letting her go. He understands that the timing and situation is just not favorable to their relationship, and he does all that is within his power, to give her what he believes will make her happy.
That’s a huge decision on his part, because, as we’ve seen, he deeply, painfully desires to be with her and spend his life with her.
What a generous, thoughtful gift he gives her: an apartment lease that will give her more space than she gets at the gosiwon, with a little window, so that she can see the sky – because she’s been discouraged that she can’t even afford a room with a window, and therefore the sky doesn’t feel equally accessible to her, as compared to someone who’s more financially secure.
I was gutted to see that news flash, that Gang Seok had gotten seriously hurt in the fire that the old drunk (Lee Byung Joon) had set. The news anchor is right; this is a senseless act of violence indeed. And it feels painfully unfair, that a good, decent man like Gang Seok would be a casualty of such a senseless event.
I’m glad that Ha Jin turns back while boarding that bus; this means that she’d been running to see Gang Seok, even before she’d found out about him getting hurt. She had changed her mind; she had chosen to go back to him.
We don’t get to see what transpires in the two-year time skip, but by the time Ha Jin opens that apartment door, it’s clear that Gang Seok has passed away. Sob. 😭 I imagine that perhaps she’d cared for him, until he’d passed.
How deeply poignant, that Ha Jin finally sees the window that he’d wanted to give her, and how meaningful, that it’s only after putting on the shoes that he’d once promised to give her – and which he’d left for her, next to the window – that she can see the sky, and the star in it, that he’s become.
Although it feels like a waste of Gang Seok’s effort, that Ha Jin never enjoyed that apartment during its lease, I think it’s probably to signify that Ha Jin never needed the material things that she’d said she had been looking for; she’d only really needed his love, and here, in this moment, she is assured of it, all over again.
Gang Seok may not have had much, in terms of time or money, but he had loved her with all that he’d had, and seeing Ha Jin now, I feel like she will continue to reciprocate that love for a long time, while keeping her heart and her eyes set on Gang Seok’s star, that shines down on her in return. 💔
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Poignant and bittersweet, but quite beautiful.
FINAL GRADE: B+
WHERE TO WATCH:
You can check out this little drama special right here: