I want to start off this post by saying that I really, really, really wanted to love this one.
As you might recall from my episode 1 notes, I liked this one right away, and had hopes that I would enjoy the rest of the show, as much as I enjoyed Show’s first episode, which I had found warm and charming in all the right ways.
Unfortunately, that was not to be. Sigh. 11 episodes into my watch, I’m calling it quits on this one. Sadness.
Still, I hope that you guys will find this post helpful, in figuring out whether this show could be for you, even though I’ve decided that it’s not for me after all.
MY TRAJECTORY WITH THIS ONE
The thing that had gotten me to check out this show, was this set of trailers, which I found suuuper cute and charming:
Right? Doesn’t Show seem so charming in these trailers, versus the other trailers that I’ve seen going around?
The thing is, Show does manage to be charming and enjoyable, for a good half of its run.
It isn’t super amazing or anything, but I found it warm and earnest, and it made me smile, and it made for a pretty solid comfort food sort of watch. In a way, it’s like Racket Boys in its underdog vibe, just with some romantic attraction thrown into the mix.
I was happily engaged with this one, until about episode 9. That’s when the angst dug its heels in and set in for the long haul.
I kept going, because I still liked the show and these characters, but when I hit the episode 11 mark, it just kinda all got too much for me, and I realized that I just wasn’t having a good time anymore.
Some folks actually find this show really solid and enjoyable all the way through, though, so maybe don’t write it off your list just yet?
I’ll do my best to lay out what I think are Show’s strengths, and which areas I think might be tricky to deal with.
I hope that will help you decide whether to give this one a chance after all!
MANAGING EXPECTATION / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a few things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. This is not a rom-com.
Despite the tone of the trailers, the romance doesn’t take centerstage, in our story. It’s an important piece of our story, yes, but the main focus seems to be on character journeys.
2. There’s angst in this.
A big part of the character journeys, particularly for our main characters, has to do with an angsty backstory.
3. The angst doesn’t get fleshed out for some time.
..Which can be frustrating for the more impatient viewer. In the early episodes, Show only hints at the backstory, serving up only fragments of information at a time.
It does become clear by around Show’s halfway point, though, what the angst is all about.
I think knowing this in advance, helps.
4. The angst doesn’t go away easily.
Once Show unveils the full range of angst, that angst stays around for a good chunk of episodes.
I think this is also helpful to know, going in.
5. The writing is not Show’s strongest point.
Some of the logic between plot points are tenuous at best, and I did find some of the given motivations for things rather perplexing.
If you’re ok to shrug off any logic that doesn’t seem very solid, that would help. A manhwa lens might help too.
For example, in episode 3, I don’t get Tae Yang’s (Park Ju Hyun) logic, that being a victim, Jung Hwan (Kim Mu Jun) should be living a better life than she is, and be happier than she is.
That’s.. not how it works? When you’re the victim, your life is directly impacted, and it’s the hardest for you to process everything.
I don’t know where Tae Yang gets the idea that Jung Hwan should be happier than her; this doesn’t make sense to me at all.
STUFF I LIKED
Chae Jong Hyeop as Tae Joon
Chae Jong Hyeop, is, hands-down, my biggest silver lining in this entire show.
I just love his smile, so much. Like seriously, he lights up my screen when he smiles, and then all feels right in this drama world, as a result. 😁
That smile of his basically helps to smooth over any and all the rough spots that I might spot, each episode.
Plus, like I mentioned in my episode 1 notes, I really like how Chae Jong Hyeop inhabits the character of Tae Joon. It’s all very natural and believable, like he just is Tae Joon, and I enjoyed that a lot.
The other thing I really like about Tae Joon, is how he’s casually, offhandedly good at badminton, like it’s almost an afterthought to him.
I just loved watching him do well, in anything, basically, heh.
So, him acing that physical fitness test in episode 2, and impressing his coaches, was a very happy thing for me – especially since it gives us a highlight reel of Tae Joon basically being in excellent shape.
I do have a weakness for male leads demonstrating competence in general. 🤩
On top of all this, Tae Joon’s level-headed and kind as a general rule, and often does his best to be the better and bigger person, for those whom he cares about, even if he’s in the midst of his own pain or angst, and that endeared him to me a lot.
Tae Joon & Tae Yang
One of the big reasons that I was eager to watch this show, was the promise of a cute romance between our leads.
On this point, I’d say that our lead couple really is pretty darn cute together, when they’re allowed to be.
The reason I say “when they’re allowed to be,” is because, like I mentioned earlier, their romance isn’t actually the main focus of our story.
So, where in other romance-centric stories, we’d get a lot more time focused on the main loveline and how that’s all going, the loveline between Tae Joon and Tae Yang flits in and out of the spotlight, depending on what Show’s focusing on, at that point in time.
Aside from the cute, I also appreciate that the couple dynamics on display are generally healthy, despite Tae Yang’s personal angst.
What I mean is, I like that the romance doesn’t gloss over the fact that Tae Yang’s still dealing with her personal angst. Instead, Tae Joon is written as being supportive of her, through her angst.
So while it’s not great that Tae Yang’s got all this personal angst to work through, it’s nice that Show doesn’t pretend that it’s not there while the romantic moments are happening; the romance is written to accommodate her angst.
Here’s a rundown of some of my personal highlights, with this loveline.
E2. I’m not sure how Tae Yang knows that Tae Joon looks down on his talent, since it’s not like he’s been performing badly at competitions. And I’m not sure how Tae Yang thinks she’s going to help him see his potential, since she’s currently playing much worse than he is.
But, I like the idea that she gets him in a way that others don’t, which is what eventually makes him turn around and ask her to be his partner – and so, I’m willing to wait for Show to fill in that context for me, hopefully soon.
That last high five, which has Tae Yang filled with spirit, and Tae Joon flashing that adorable smile, put a smile on my face too.
E3. This episode, I do like the glimmers of Tae Joon and Tae Yang becoming closer.
Like the way he creates plans for himself, so that she won’t be able to train and will therefore be forced to rest, and the way he buys ointment for her blisters, and the way she tells him that he’s like a desert where it hasn’t rained yet, and once it rains, all these amazing flowers will bloom, and he’ll be #1.
Of course, there’s also the hyper-proximity stuff, like when Tae Yang rolls over towards Tae Joon while she’s asleep, and Tae Joon actually lets her lie on his arm. Or when we see that Tae Yang had actually been dreaming about kissing Tae Joon.
Heh. I do like this early confirmation that these two are definitely attracted to each other.
I personally am not feeling the squees yet, but I see potential here, and I’m happy for Show to mine it, from early on in our story.
I’m pretty sure that the reason Tae Joon goes to Wando for Jung Hwan’s tournament, is not to win, even though that’s what he tells Tae Yang.
I’m pretty sure that he’s there, because he doesn’t want Tae Yang to face everything on her own.
It feels like he’s there just in time, too, because the way Tae Yang leans her head on his chest and breaks into tears at the sight of him, tells me that she was close to breaking point, out there on her own.
E4. I really enjoyed watching the Park twins compete together, and make such impressive headway in the competition, especially given the fact that they haven’t really trained together, at this point.
Their showing is pretty incredible, with that in mind, and it really makes me wonder just how great they could be together, if they actually put in the time to train together.
That sense of possibility, is one of the thrills of watching this show, so far. It makes me root for our Park twins, to achieve what they hadn’t thought was possible, and just blow everyone away, while they’re at it.
On that note, it’s pretty gratifying to see both coaches get so excited about their performance at the competition, that they can’t tear themselves away from Wando, to go back to Seoul.
Show plays it for laughs, but it really is a pretty great feeling, to see that Coach Lee is so invested in their performance, that he keeps changing his mind about going back to Seoul.
I also loved seeing the synergy and comfort build between Tae Joon and Tae Yang, as they progress through the competition together.
That beat, when they win their first match, and Tae Joon puts his arm around Tae Yang’s entire body, feels so personal and intimate, like they’re really one unit.
I also love the fact that Tae Joon genuinely enjoys competing alongside Tae Yang. It’s pretty great, that he’s having fun, and it’s so important, that he reminds Tae Yang to have fun too.
I feel like she’s so focused on proving her worth on the court, that she’s forgotten that it’s important to enjoy what she’s going as well. In that sense, I feel like Tae Joon’s an excellent partner, who balances her out.
I also enjoy the fact that Tae Joon and Tae Yang spend time together outside of the arena, and talk about their thoughts, attitudes and beliefs around badminton.
That’s part of creating understanding and synergy too, though I don’t think they are spending time together specifically for that purpose. I actually like the fact that their spending time together, produces this common understanding and bond, almost like a side effect.
It’s too bad that Tae Yang hurts her ankle, and that affects her ability to play.
I’d half expected Tae Joon to forfeit the match, like he’d done back in his old team, in order to protect his doubles partner.
The fact that he doesn’t do that here, but instead stands Tae Yang on the court and works to earn those last 3 points to secure their win, tells me that he truly understands Tae Yang’s need to prove herself by winning, at this competition.
E5. Tae Joon is all sorts of adorable, in the way he yells up to Tae Yang through the window, to give him a chance, because he’ll be good to her.
Awww! SHO CUTE. 😍 He’s so endearing that I feel like if I were in Tae Yang’s place, I’d find it really hard to turn him down.
I do appreciate the way Tae Yang eventually turns him down, though.
I’d imagined that she would brush it off and make up some excuse, but she’s more honest than I’d expected her to be, in what she says to him:
“If I were to worry about my love life in the midst of everything, that would make me a total psycho, right? I mean, look at my situation.
I really I really, really mean it. That was the first time someone said they liked me. And the fact that it was you is kind of exciting.
An opportunity like this doesn’t come every day. I want to grab it. But I don’t have the courage to yet.”
Aw. She’s not lying to him, and she’s not making up excuses. This really is how she feels, isn’t it? I appreciate that honesty a lot, because I can see how Tae Yang has a tendency to create a cheerful cover story, while she suffers silently.
It’s too bad that Tae Joon takes it that he’s been rejected, because, as we see, from Tae Yang’s point of view, she’s the one who’s lost out.
E5. Tae Joon contacting Tae Yang and asking to meet, then acting cool and teasing her, works out to be pretty cute.
I mean, Tae Joon’s grins really are the cutest, so whenever he lights up like that, I feel my heart so soft and wobbly. And it’s so adorable, when he grins that he’s absolutely happy about Tae Yang coming back to Yunis.
And then how cute and swoony is it, that he opens up his jacket to give Tae Yang that big warm big bear of a backhug, grinning from ear to ear that
“I’m glad it’s snowing. I’m even happier that you’re back. I’m so very happy!”
Ahhhh!!! Cute~! Cutecutecute!!! 😍
E6. I gotta say, I have to love Tae Joon’s cheerful, rather amused, rather matter-of-fact way of wearing his heart on his sleeve, when it comes to Tae Yang.
There’s something supremely endearing about how unabashed he is, about the fact that he likes her a lot. 😍
The way he cheerfully tells Tae Yang to pick out whatever she needs to have in his apartment, and that she can move in anytime, as long as she doesn’t take too long, is adorable.
Guh. Tae Yang has more willpower than I do. I’d be a flailing puddle in her shoes, I think. 😅
And how cute is Tae Joon, when he cheerfully runs alongside Tae Yang’s bicycle the next morning? 🤩
Even though it’s admittedly a little mean of Tae Yang to insist on taking her bicycle to work, when Tae Joon doesn’t have a bicycle with him, he doesn’t get peeved or upset in the least, and for that, I luff him. 🤩
With Tae Joon being so effortless adorable and charming, I don’t blame Tae Yang at all, for giving in to her feelings, and confessing that she just can’t resist him anymore.
YES. That happy smitten grin of his really IS irresistible, isn’t it? 😍
It’s so in line with Tae Joon’s cheeky personality, to insist on reading the note in Tae Yang’s presence, just because she’s asked him not to, heh. And also, it’s so swoony, really, that he savors every word as much as he does, calling them gems.
Guh. This idea, that this note is so precious, is, in itself, precious. 🤩
I do love how, even though she’d been feeling really shy and awkward about it, Tae Yang admits honestly, that she likes Tae Joon a lot. How adorable, that Tae Joon pulls her in for a quick kiss, before he tells her that he likes her more.
And then how sweet, that Tae Yang then leans in to kiss him, with a smile.
E7. How adorable is Tae Joon, so determined to eat the porridge that Tae Yang’s cooked for him, and then so cheerfully appreciative, even as he does his delightful little happy dance below her window – right after jumping out of it? 🤩
It’s official. Tae Joon is a precious little cutie-pie, and I’d like to fold him up and keep him in my pocket – so that I can take him out for a little happy dance, whenever I feel the need to perk up my day. 😁
The badminton & teamwork stuff
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I genuinely enjoyed watching the various badminton scenes.
I found it quite thrilling to see how our players did, after all that training. And I also felt nicely invested in the various competitions featured in our story.
On top of that, I also appreciated the teamwork touches, where we see team members and coaches alike, demonstrating care for one another.
Here’s the quick spotlight on one of my favorite team-related arcs, from episode 5.
E5. I realize that for Operation Save Tae Yang From Somang to have worked, all our key players had to care enough, and be nice enough, to do something.
Tae Joon had to like Tae Yang enough, to swallow his pride to approach Jung Hwan (Kim Mu Jun). And Jung Hwan had to be decent enough, underneath his jerk facade, to actually do something about it.
And Coach Lee (Jo Han Chul) had to be compassionate enough, to actually go out there, and save Tae Yang, and give her another chance.
It all adds up to a picture of the Yunis folks being pretty decent after all, and that’s heartening, because Tae Yang’s going to be in their midst again, after all that drama around her departure for Somang.
I do love the way Coach Lee swoops in to save Tae Yang from signing her life away to Somang. That felt pretty heroic.
And what felt even more heroic, is the way he takes her by the hand, and leads her out of there, saying that she’s his athlete.
Aww. That must be music to Tae Yang’s ears.
It’s no wonder she tears up in response; it’s so much warmth, where she’d expected only rejection.
Seo Ji Hye as Yu Min
Yu Min’s more of a supporting character in my estimation, in that I see her more as supporting the main story, rather than actually being part of the main story – at least, as far as I’ve watched.
I found Yu Min pretty likable as a general rule, and that’s why I wanted to give her a quickish mention.
I wasn’t super hot on Yu Min’s crush on Jung Hwan and the eventual loveline that comes out of that, but I did find it low-key interesting.
Mostly, I didn’t think that Jung Hwan deserved to be with Yu Min, since he was still moping about Jun Young, more than anything else.
Here’s one of my personal highlights, and one lowlight, with regards to Yu Min and her fondness for Jung Hwan.
E8. This episode, the romance between Jung Hwan and Yu Min acts like spots of levity amid the angsty grappling that Tae Joon’s in the throes of, and I gotta say, I did low-key enjoy this, even when it didn’t always make sense to me.
Basically, I find it hard to believe that Yu Min would actually give Jung Hwan ultimatums like that. Like, be nice to my dad or I’ll ghost you, or, win this match or I won’t date you.
Given that Yu Min’s the one who seems to like Jung Hwan more, and also, that she doesn’t actually appear to feel very secure about the way he feels about her, it feel very, very hard to believe that she would issue this kind of ultimatum to Jung Hwan at all, let alone do it twice.
I mean, yes, Show tries to brush it off with Yu Min wondering to herself why she’d even say something like that, but I find it hard to believe that something like that would slip out of Yu Min’s mouth by accident.
Still, it is pretty fun to see Jung Hwan feel surprised and even a little flummoxed in response, so I don’t hold it against Show too much.
Plus, it seems that Yu Min’s unexpected high-handed ways manage to tap into Jung Hwan’s attention in an unexpected way.
The way he goes so far as to board her bus, in order to talk to her, after she walks past him while he’s being mobbed by fangirls, makes me feel like her unexpected behavior’s somehow worked to get his attention.
Does it feel realistic? Heck, no. But with a bit of a manhwa lens on, it’s fine, and it’s even rather entertaining, so I’m willing to roll with it.
E9. I do feel bad for Yu Min, in this whole thing, because the timing of Jun Young’s return couldn’t be worse for her.
She’s just starting to date Jung Hwan, which means that their relationship, if you could even call it that right now, is far from stable.
The last thing she needs, is for Jung Hwan to get all confused and thrown off, because Jun Young shows up, after having disappeared for 3 years.
The thing is, I personally think that Yu Min would make a better girlfriend than Jun Young, because she just seems nicer and more grounded in general.
Oddly, though, Yu Min seems to think that one’s ability in badminton counts a lot on the “awesome girlfriend scale.”
Not only does she mention her own skill when she’s working to get Jung Hwan to agree to date her, she also mentions outstanding athletes, when she’s naming Jung Hwan’s possible dream girl – including Jun Young.
And when Jun Young shows up on the scene, it’s clear that Yu Min is very intimidated by it, not just because Jun Young is Jung Hwan’s first love, but because Jun Young is THE Park Jun Young.
I would love for Yu Min to learn to recognize her own awesomeness, and not be intimidated by the likes of Jun Young.
I’d also like for her to quasi kick Jung Hwan to the curb right now, for choosing to go to Jun Young instead, on the day that Yu Min wins her match, and deserves some celebrating.
As far as I’m concerned, Yu Min doesn’t need Jung Hwan in order to be happy, and I’d like her to become cognizant of that. If Jung Hwan realizes this later on and comes crawling back, sure, she can take him back if she wants to.
I just don’t want her to feel less than, when it comes to Jung Hwan.
STUFF THAT WAS OKAY
Park Ju Hyun as Tae Yang
I actually thought Park Ju Hyun did a solid job of what she was given, in the role of Tae Yang.
As a general rule, once Show unveiled the details around Tae Yang’s personal angst, I understood why Tae Yang would beat herself up so much, and why she would find it so hard to move on from it.
In fact, I’d thought that Tae Yang’s personal angst would make for some meaty narrative, if Show kneaded it well.
The thing is, I think Show dragged out the angst for too long (more on that later), and had Tae Yang circle the angst for too long as well.
Not that that’s not true to life; sometimes people are stuck in angst for years, and find themselves unable to move on.
For a show like this, though, this felt like too much, and any progress that Tae Yang made, always felt like too little, too late, in the face of everything.
Basically, I feel that Tae Yang’s written to be drowning in her angst, for way too long, in our story.
If anything, I feel that Tae Yang’s lesson to learn, would be forgiveness. She needs to learn how to forgive herself, and move on with her life.
It’s true that what she did was stupid and had terrible consequences, but that’s how life shakes out sometimes. Sometimes, you DO do stupid things. But that’s no reason to beat yourself up for the rest of your life.
At some point, you need to forgive yourself and move on, and that’s where I think Tae Yang’s growth journey lies.
I’m guessing that this does come at some point in our story, but after 11 episodes of dancing around this with no real progress, I ran out of patience and goodwill, waiting for that forgiveness part to come.
Kim Mu Jun as Jung Hwan
I’ve got Jung Hwan in this section because, even though he starts our story by being really aloof, prickly and annoying, he does show flashes of decency, as early as episode 2.
Also, when Show unveils more of Jung Hwan’s backstory, I found his general angry facade much easier to understand.
Show does make Jung Hwan more likable in slow degrees over the course of our story as well, so even though I didn’t make it to the end of the show, I am pretty sure that by story’s end, Jung Hwan’s much more endearing than he was at first.
Glimmers of reluctance bromance
The arc between Jung Hwan and Tae Joon is something akin to enemies-to-brothers, even though I didn’t get to the end, and therefore haven’t actually witnessed any overtly bromantic parts for myself.
Show does slowly introduce glimmers of reluctant partnership and bromance with these two, and I just wanted to say that I was not opposed to this.
Here’s the spotlight on one of those glimmers of reluctant bromance, which I rather enjoyed.
E6. We get that flashback of Tae Joon and Jung Hwan working together to convince Coach Lee to bring Tae Yang back to Yunis, and it gives me quite a lot of satisfaction, to see Tae Joon and Jung Hwan on the same side, for once.
I do love the fact that they fall into sync with each other, without much need for discussion, like the way they thank Coach Lee in advance, and praise him, even though he’s just told them he won’t do it. Heh.
And it tickles me greatly, that when Tae Joon grins at Coach Lee and declares, “I love you!,” Jung Hwan looks Coach Lee in the eye with his deadpan expression, and echoes the same sentiment, “I love you too.”
Ahaha! Why is this so amusing to me? Look at Jung Hwan trying to be cute and all. Sorry dude, but Tae Joon wins hands-down, in the cuteness department. 😁
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
From the very beginning of our story, Show teases that there’s Angst with a capital A, in our characters’ backstories, and I’m not opposed to that, in principle.
It’s the treatment of the angst that ultimately ended up not working for me.
For a start, Show doesn’t give us the full context of the angst for a chunk of episodes, making it hard to understand why our characters are behaving the way they are.
In episode 2, for example, it was hard to understand why Tae Yang was being so hard on herself, and why the Yunis team members were being so cold to her.
This lack of context made Tae Yang seem self-indulgent and wallow-y, and the team members, childish and petty.
By episode 9, we do get the full backstory of all the angst, and while I understood the angst in theory, it just wasn’t popping for me, in the watch experience.
The thing that really niggled at me, is that, while I understood the angst, and the angst is reasonably well-delivered (ie, sad characters look appropriately sad), there’s something that’s making this all land rather.. hollow, for me.
It’s like, Show’s going through the right motions, and I understand the motions, but I’m not feeling it, somehow.
I’ve liked angsty shows before, and I’ve liked angsty stretches in normal shows before, but weirdly, I’m just not feeling the angsty stretch here, even though my brain says that it makes sense.
And, I can’t quite put my finger on what that is, either.
There’s just something that’s preventing me from seeing these characters as real people. Instead, I tend to see them as the actors going through their lines, and delivering their scenes, as written.
I felt it a lot less when Show was being bright and cheery, and we could enjoy the thrills and spills of badminton competitions and all that team spirit that goes with.
When Show’s spending its time exploring Angstville, though, whatever it is that’s lacking for me, that’s preventing it all from popping, is making its presence more felt, at least for me.
That, combined with how long this angst had been teased and dragged out for, was just rather all too much, for me.
Park Ji Hyun as Jun Young
We don’t get a proper introduction to Jun Young until about episode 9, and, well, her presence in our drama world, while necessary to our story, just wasn’t my favorite thing.
To be brutally honest, I just don’t enjoy her character, and I find her abrasiveness unappealing.
I understand that there’s a good chance that she’ll mellow out by the time we finish our story, but the few episodes that I spent with her, made me feel like that was quite enough, thank you. 😅
I mean, I’m honestly really not keen on the way she throws a tantrum in episode 9, when she gets home, about her family having messed with her room, when she’d been the one to disappear on them without notice.
There’s a sense of entitlement that comes through in this scene, which I don’t like.
I feel like Jun Young owes her parents an apology for disappearing like that and not staying in touch, and making them worry. Instead, she’s the one lashing out at them, for storing her trophies away.
I get that Mom and Dad (Lee Ji Hyun and Sung Ki Yoon) care about her and worry about her, and that’s why they’re giving in to her, but I honestly kinda hate that they’re walking on eggshells around her like that.
Also, Park Ji Hyun is just too good at playing these types of prickly, unlikable characters. By the time I dropped this show, Jun Young’s presence onscreen, was almost enough to make me flinch, on its own.
However, I rationalize that she’s going through a really rough patch in her life, and she’s just the type of personality to respond by being prickly and angry.
It’s also understandable that she’s antagonistic towards Tae Yang, because it’s clear that she sees Tae Yang as the reason her sparkling career had been ruined overnight.
When bad things happen, most people would look for someone to blame, and in Jun Young’s case, it makes sense that she would reach for Tae Yang as her punching bag.
Of course, as a bystander, I can say much more easily, that even though Tae Yang had done a lot to persuade Jun Young to go snowboarding with her, and to also drink with her while doing so, the fact is that Jun Young did have the choice to say no.
If Jun Young had persisted in saying no, Tae Yang couldn’t have forced her to go to the ski resort, is what I’m trying to say.
So, while I get why Jun Young would blame Tae Yang for what happened to her career, I also feel that the big learning point here, for Jun Young, would be to take personal responsibility too, for her part in what happened.
And then in episode 10, Jun Young’s explanation for why she dislikes Jung Hwan now – because he knows the truth that she wants to keep buried – says a lot more about her, than anything else.
It tells me that she’s still not brave enough to face her truth, and would rather hide that truth, by pretending it never happened.
And, she’d rather cut people out of her life – people whom she used to care about – than force herself to face her truth.
That makes me lose respect for her, honestly. However, I reason that she’ll get there at some point – or so I hope.
It’s just that I’m out of patience and goodwill, to witness the rest of that journey.
I started episode 11, still thinking that I would make it to the finish line with this show, but.. by the last third of the episode, I found myself dozing off – literally. Oops. 😅
There was just too much angst all-around, and not enough silver lining, to keep me engaged.
Word on the street is that this angst is lasts a few more episodes, leaving roughly the last two episodes for resolution and closure.
On the one hand, I did want to see the happy ending for these characters whom I’ve grown moderately fond of. On the other hand, I didn’t want to sit through the angst for several more episodes.
If I were already at episode 14, I’d have been more inclined to power through, but at episode 11, it felt like there was too much “dead” story to push through. (Not that the story’s really dead, but it did feel like they’d been flogging a dead horse for a long while. 😬)
So my solution was to skip the angst, and skim through the finale, to catch a glimpse of the happy ending that I wanted to see, but didn’t want to suffer through more angst for.
After peeking at the finale, I’m happy with my decision.
The finale is feel-good, but it’s not mindblowingly amazing or anything, so not enduring the angst to get there, feels about right, to me.
I think I would’ve been a bit disappointed, actually, if I’d suffered through several more episodes of angst, to get that degree of feel-good wrap up.
So my solution for you, if your drama taste is like mine, is to maybe watch the first 8, maximum 9 episodes, and once you kinda stop feeling as engaged, skip to the end, and watch episode 16.
I think that would make for a moderately satisfying watch, with enough of Chae Jong Hyeop’s bright sunshiny smile, to make it worth your while. 😉
The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Love All Play, is Alchemy Of Souls. I’ve taken an initial look, and I’m happy to say that I feel it’s off to a solid start. My E1 notes on Alchemy Of Souls can be found here.
Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!
Foundation Tier (US$1): Yumi’s Cells 2 + k-ent tidbits + E1 notes of all shows covered on Patreon
Early Access (US$5): +Our Blues
Early Access Plus (US$10): +Why Her?
VIP (US$15): +Bloody Heart
VVIP (US$20): +A Dream Of Splendor [China]
Ultimate (US$25): +Alchemy Of Souls
I ditched the drama at episode 11 too… I couldn’t take it anymore… But reading your verdict, especially the part about Tae Joon/ Chae Jong Hyeop, I swear I almost returned to watching the drama. Telling myself I should see it to the end, if not solely for him😔…. I totally share your sentiments when it comes to him…like totally absolutely. I started this drama really hoping I would like it despite it’s low ratings(because I really enjoyed Racket Boys). But it turned out not to live up to my expectations, or if anything, my hopes.
The plot is dragged to utter Excruciation! I couldn’t bring myself to watch it to the end, afraid I’d get to episode 16 a bitter, raging mess.
Yep, I felt pretty similarly to you, KFG and this covers it spot on. I adored our leads In the early eps and wanted to see more badminton/growth with the team and Park twins. I didn’t care for Jun Young’s character at all — I get how everyone looked up to her, but unfortunately, I don’t think the writing made me really see for myself who she was before, and while logically I understood her feelings, she did seem selfish in some ways to me too. I never quite let go of this, and to the end, I wanted some awareness from her and from others that she made a choice too. I remember Tae Jun’s mom from She Would Never Know and unfortunately didn’t like her character there either, so felt some glimmerings of that again here.
Ultimately, I enjoyed seeing the final relationships, but I do feel that the story had a lot of potential and never quite got there. The first few eps gave me solid cavities though, they are so cute to me.