There are so many occasions when I feel a drama starts out strong, but then loses its footing and becomes underwhelming; it isn’t too often, that I feel the opposite way about a show. Granted, that’s often because if a drama isn’t working for me, I’ve learned that I don’t need to suffer through it, and that it’s perfectly ok to drop it.
However, because this little drama special is just 1 hour 7 minutes long, it wasn’t all that hard to persevere to the end, even though I wasn’t too taken with Show’s first half. And whaddya know, Show actually ends much stronger than it starts. Yay for this little show managing to exceed my expectations, and buck the trend, at the same time. 😉
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Woo Jin (Lee Sang Yeob) is devastated when his bride (Kim So Eun) runs away from the wedding, and is determined to learn why she’d left. However, what he finds out is more than he’d bargained for.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Show feels predictable, but really isn’t that predictable after all.
I was rather tempted to drop out, even up to the 45-minute mark, because I felt like I could guess exactly where our story was going. I’m glad that I hung in there, however, because Show manages to end on a stronger note than I’d anticipated. Having a little patience with this one would be helpful, I think.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Our main cast is solid. Did I feel like these were the best performances ever? Well, no. But everyone does a very decent job of their roles, and I didn’t find anyone particularly lacking. I count that a win, especially in a little drama special.
2. Show has a few surprises up its sleeve. Given how staid Show’s first half felt, I welcomed some of the more surprising writing decisions in Show’s final stretch.
3. There are some nice themes in here, about identity, self-esteem, love and honesty.
4. There are a couple of fun cameos, with Kim Won Hae, Taecyeon and Nam Goong Min making their appearances as supporting characters.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
To be honest, Show had done such a good job of setting up Seo Yeon (Im Hwa Young) as the one who’d liked Woo Jin (Lee Sang Yeob) first, that for a long second, I wondered if Show was breaking its internal logic, when it flipped everything on its head, and revealed that it was really Tae Ra (Kim Go Eun) who’d liked him first.
After all, it was Seo Yeon who had written all those messages to Woo Jin, and it was via those messages, that he’d felt drawn to the person on the other side. However, once I realized that the scenes of Seo Yeon asking Tae Ra for the favor of scoping out Woo Jin first, was just a narration of Seo Yeon’s lies, and not the actual events that had taken place, everything clicked into place for me – as it also did, for Woo Jin.
All along, I’d assumed that the discomfort that we’d seen in Tae Ra’s eyes had been because she felt guilty for pretending to be Seo Yeon. That reveal, that it had been Seo Yeon who had wronged Tae Ra, by putting down her own name instead of Tae Ra’s, when she’d actually been ghostwriting Tae Ra’s feelings for her all along, changed everything. I know I keep saying this, but context really is everything, after all.
Show isn’t super clear about what the arrangement was, between Seo Yeon and Tae Ra, after Seo Yeon put down her name instead of Tae Ra’s, but in the end, it’s pretty smart of Show to have Woo Jin tell Tae Ra that the thing that he’d liked most about her, was the way she looked at him. That’s something so simple and so universal. I’d believe it, too, because for all the poetic things that Seo Yeon might have written to him, it was the way Tae Ra looked at him, that won his heart.
And so, it feels fitting, that ultimately, Woo Jin reconciles with Tae Ra, instead of choosing Seo Yeon. Plus, the way Seo Yeon was behaving, felt rather stalkery and obsessive, so the idea of Woo Jin realizing that the person he really liked was Seo Yeon, didn’t sit right anyway.
It’s a little surprising that Show makes it such that longtime photographer friend Do Young (Kwak Hee Sung) has been nursing a crush on Seo Yeon for years, but I think Show does a nice enough job of dropping a hint or two along the way, so that it doesn’t feel like it came completely out of left field.
I like the idea that Do Young helps Seo Yeon to see herself with new eyes, via the pictures that he takes of her. It’s true that a photographer’s loving lens totally shows, and I like the thought that it’s Do Young’s loving lens, that promises to help Seo Yeon love herself properly.
Last but not least, I enjoy the idea that each of our main characters comes away having learned to be more honest, both to themselves, and to others. Not bad at all, for a little drama special.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Starts slow but ends strong. A solid little nugget of a story.
FINAL GRADE: B+
WHERE TO WATCH: