When I first heard about this 4-episode drama special, I made a mental note to check it out, because not only does the premise sound potentially cute and ripe for hijinks, the show is set in gorgeous Jeju Island as well.
In the end, I have to say that while I enjoyed the first 3 episodes quite well, I was a little underwhelmed by the ending. But, just because I didn’t love the ending, doesn’t mean that you won’t?
I hope that this quick review will help you figure out whether this little show is for you.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
After Song Yi (Bang Min Ah) gets dumped by her longtime boyfriend Do Kyum (Kwon Hwa Woon), she receives news that they’ve won a free couples’ trip to Jeju Island, that they had applied for, when they’d still been dating. Song Yi is determined that they go on this trip.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind, which I hope will help you maximize your enjoyment of your watch.
1. Show is bright and pretty, but there’s also poignance to it. Because of the break-up that’s hanging in the air between Song Yi and Do Kyum, the breezy vibe is meshed with lashings of angst and bittersweetness.
2. Show’s tone leans comedic, despite its angsty lashings. I think knowing to expect that, helps you roll with it.
3. The acting is decent, but not amazing. I think knowing to expect that, helps, too.
4. Your mileage may vary. Like I mentioned earlier, I personally felt a lot more engaged while watching Show’s first 3 episodes, than its finale. However, this is because I’m personally a little underwhelmed with Show’s treatment of its ending.
I do recognize that there are other viewers who would be perfectly happy with how Show handles its ending, though. For example, I was terribly underwhelmed by the ending of Something in the Rain, but that show has lots of fans. This is kinda similar, just less intense. 😅
Edited to add: I think if you liked the ending of Something in the Rain, you’d probably like this one – and vice versa. 😉
STUFF I LIKED
1. Jeju Island is gorgeous. And Show’s bright Spring palette really brings out that beauty in a way that pops.
2. I enjoyed the breezy music that scores this show. Together with the cheerful color palette, this sure made Show feel like a little package of sweet rom-com fluff.
3. Bang Min Ah as Song Yi. I have a fondness for Bang Min Ah, and her husky charm is very present in this show. I feel like she’s lost some weight since I last saw her, and while I do think that she could afford to get a bit more meat on her bones, I do think that the slenderness adds an air of fragility to her character, which I feel works well with the premise.
As Song Yi angsts and works through her heartbreak, I feel bad for her, and I want to wrap her up in a cozy blanket, so that her tiny bony arms will at least be a little protected. 😅
4. Ahn Woo Yeon as Ji Gang. I’ve grown really fond of Ahn Woo Yeon, particularly after his wonderful turn in Mad For Each Other, and I was really happy to see him here. I also liked that Ji Gang is genuinely kind and caring, as a general rule.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
The reason behind the breakup, and the implications on Do Kyum as a character. [SPOILERS]
In episode 2, we learn that someone’s cheated Do Kyum of his money – and that’s the reason Do Kyum is so determined to break up with Song Yi. WHUT. I hate that.
The reason I hate that, is because it’s a stupid reason, but also, Do Kyum’s treated Song Yi so coldly and cruelly ever since he’d broached the breakup, that I find it hard to believe that he doesn’t actually want to break up with her.
He does show flashes of caring for her, true, but it’s far too little to be convincing, if you ask me. Most importantly, if he fails to protect their relationship in the face of this challenge, I don’t trust him to stand by Song Yi through other difficulties and hardships, if they were to reconcile.
I was all in favor of this breakup, because of this.
Yet, despite insisting to Song Yi that they’ve broken up, Do Kyum has the gall to act territorial, when he sees Ji Gang getting close to Song Yi. This, to me, smacks of not wanting his cake, and not wanting anyone else to have it either.
And then there’s how, in episode 3, where he tells Song Yi that he was actually going to go back to her, after getting everything sorted out. The gall, seriously. He basically assumes that even after he’s treated Song Yi so coldly, and broken up with her, that she’ll just wait for him to change his mind, and come back? That is such problematic thinking, honestly.
I was very pleased when Song Yi actually breaks things off with Do Kyum, because this shows that she wants and expects more from Do Kyum – as she should! I so approved of this, because it shows that she’s protecting herself, and valuing herself. And I love that she sees that what he’s displayed, is a flaw that’s going to prove fatal to their relationship, if not now, then at some point in the future.
This outcome would have been a very positive one to me, if Show had stuck by it. Or, if Show had resolved this fatal flaw in a satisfactory manner. The reason it’s in this section, is because of how Show handles the reconciliation after the time skip, which I’ll talk about next.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Not gonna lie; I didn’t care for this last episode very much. I’m not sure if it’s just me, I felt like writer-nim appeared to lose whatever grip on the story that they’d had before, which had been holding everything together reasonably well. This finale, it felt like that grip was kind of.. gone, and everything kind of felt like it was free-falling, in as poetic a manner as writer-nim could muster.
I feel like your mileage may vary, in that some people might actually resonate with this final episode’s efforts towards introspection and thoughtfulness. I personally didn’t, and that made this episode feel a lot less engaging than the ones that had come before.
I appreciate the idea that nothing is quite as it seems on the surface, with our various couples. In terms of the older couple, where it had looked like the man was cheating on his wife, the reality was that the wife was the one who was asking for a divorce, after being unable to properly process and accept the loss of their daughter, 15 years ago.
Narratively speaking, I think the concept is pretty good, but I just didn’t jive with the execution of it. The twist reveal felt forced, to my eyes, and I didn’t care for it so much. Which means that the reconciliation, one year on, also felt rather unnatural to me.
I liked that Show didn’t insist on Song Yi resolving her love life with any kind of immediacy. This is one instance where I think the one year time skip makes sense. If she’d gotten back together with Do Kyum, or if she’d started dating Ji Gang, without that time skip, neither outcome would have felt authentic. In this sense, I like that we pause our story for a year, and then come back to it.
However, I don’t feel very satisfied with the way Show brings Song Yi and Do Kyum back together again.
Honestly, I’m disappointed that Song Yi doesn’t give Ji Gang a chance, since he seems to be such a decent guy. Plus, he seems serious about his feelings for her, since he continues to nurse that crush for the entire year that we skip over. But ok, I get that the heart wants what it wants, and feelings can’t be forced. (Poor Ji Gang, though.)
What disappoints me, is that the fundamental problem that plagued Song Yi and Do Kyum while they were dating, isn’t shown to be resolved. All that’s happened in the one year, is that they’ve both had the space to figure out their lives on their own, and learn to be independent of each other. The thing is, this wasn’t their real problem, in the first place, was it?
We see Song Yi looking at the photos that Do Kyum had taken on the couples’ trip, and smile at the thought that he’d been looking at her the whole time. My problem is, she seems to conveniently forget that he’d been insistently breaking up with her that whole time, too.
The final scene, where we see that they’ve run into each other on Jeju Island, because they’ve each signed up for a Solo Tour of Jeju Island, feels rather hollow to my eyes, if I’m being brutally honest. In voiceover, we hear them say, basically, that this could be the worst trip, or it could be an adventure, where they’ll learn more about what they are to each other, and what they are to themselves, and I can’t help feeling like all they’ve managed to do, is meet at approximately square one.
We hear Do Kyum claim in voiceover, that he’s learned to love, but how do we know that’s true? He could be delusional about what he’s learned, after all; it’s not like he’s been practicing or anything. I need some kind of proof that he’s overcome that terrible flaw, but we don’t get any.
Therefore, while I appreciate that Show is gunning for an open-tending-towards-positive sort of ending, I can’t help feeling like we don’t actually have a lot to go on, except an accumulation of wistfulness and fond feelings, after these two have spent the year apart.
That might be enough for some people, but it’s just not enough for me, I’m afraid.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Well-intentioned and pretty to look at, but rather lacking in substance.
FINAL GRADE: B-
WHERE TO WATCH:
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