THE SHORT VERDICT:
On the upside, Show starts out really strong, with a fun premise that pops, and an OTP that works together really well.
Basically, Kim So Hyun and Minhyun are adorable together, and this was THE highlight of my watch.
Somewhere along the way, however, it does feel like Show loses its handle on things, somewhat, and the balance between fun, breezy rom-com and angsty murder backstory gets thrown out of whack, at least to my eyes.
Show does manage to tie everything together for the finish line, but I do still wish that Show could have managed to stay as strong, in its middle and finale stretch, as it had been in its opening episodes.
THE SHORT VERDICT:
I’m mostly coming away from my watch of My Lovely Liar with mixed feelings.
The reason is because, when Show was at its best, it really was such a refreshing pop of fun; I honestly would’ve inhaled more episodes, if they’d been available.
But then, once Show got to it’s later stretch, it kind of did an unfortunate slow slide into mediocrity, and, coming away from the finale, I find that I have to actively remind myself of how much I’d loved this show, to begin with, and why.
Having said that, I feel that I should also mention that some folks loved this all the way through, and consider this one of their favorite dramas of the year.
So just because I came away feeling kind of underwhelmed, doesn’t mean that you will, too.
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
Overall, I found the OST pleasant and serviceable, in that it felt suited to our story, and was applied in a manner that didn’t detract from the watch experience.
I have to say, though, that none of the songs actually managed to get under my skin in a meaningful way. If I had to pick a favorite, it’d be Track 5, Luv Luv Luv, for its breezy groove.
Here it is as well, in case you’d prefer to listen to that on repeat. Just right-click on the video and select “Loop.”
HOW I’LL BE APPROACHING THIS REVIEW
First I’ll talk about how to manage your expectations going into this one, and what viewing lens would be most helpful.
After that, I talk about what I liked and liked less, in a pretty macro sort of fashion, with selected spotlights on characters and relationships. I won’t be doing a separate section on characters and relationships, for this review.
I do, however, have a section giving the spotlight to episodes 13 & 14, our penultimate stretch, before I talk about my thoughts on the ending.
If you’re interested in my blow-by-blow reactions while watching this show, you might like to check out my episode notes on Patreon here.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / 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. Show approaches things with a simple touch
Whether it’s our OTP relationship, other connections between characters, or the murder arc, Show tends to take a simple approach to things.
I feel like a manhwa lens could help with that, because it’s easier to believe that things would be that simple, in a manhwa world.
2. This is still rom-com with a side of murder
Even though Show is pretty good about keeping the murder arc on the sidelines for a good chunk of our story, the set-up literally includes an unsolved murder, and so, Show does have to go there, eventually.
Managing your expectations around this, helps.
3. There are spots of silly in this
And of course the spots of silly don’t really make sense. Knowing to expect it, and being willing to roll with it, helps too.
4. There are logic stretches
Just knowing that this is part of Show’s DNA helps, because then when the logic stretches appear, you won’t be so bemused by them.
STUFF I LIKED
Show makes its premise pop – at least at first
Coming into this show, I’d wondered whether Show would be able to work its premise in a way that I found engaging and interesting.
After all, the central premise does sound a little fantastical.
I was so happy to be completely sold on the premise right from the get-go. Show does a really really nice job of making it pop and come alive in a way that feels interesting and grabby.
[FOUNDATIONAL SPOILER ALERT]
In terms of Sol Hee’s special powers, I’m tickled by the explanation, that her pregnant mom (Jin Kyung) had been so desperate for her child to be born with a special talent that could serve as a livelihood, that she prayed to all the deities she knew of – and that’s how Sol Hee got her powers.
Hahaha. I like how simple that explanation is; no weird curse or superpower passed on through generations. Just the desperate prayers of a mom who prayed so hard to every higher power, that they don’t even know who granted Sol Hee her powers.
It’s extra amusing to me, that Sol Hee now has to come up with a cover story for her powers, because no one will believe that she just has the ability to detect lies. And so, she has to pretend to be a shaman, lol.
A consultant shaman, to be more precise, coz the way she conducts business, is very much like a high-end consultant who’s paid big money for her input. And, she even has a chauffeur to drive her to her appointments too. 😁
When Show manages to feel fresh
When Show was at its best, it felt familiar yet fresh, at the same time, and I liked that a whole lot.
I realize that that’s one of the things I look for in a rom-com, these days.
The ability of a show to work well with rom-com tropes (thus the feeling of familiarity), yet managing to do its thing in a way that makes the watch experience still feel surprising at times (thus the feeling of freshness).
I think Show does a really nice job of this, at least in its early episodes, and here’s an example from episodes 3-4.
E3-4. For example, there are some forced proximity moments that didn’t feel surprising, because of the fact that Do Ha and Sol Hee (Minhyun and Kim So Hyun) are now neighbors – though, for the record, that didn’t keep me from enjoying said moments.
And then there’s how Sol Hee starts to question her powers, because she’s never heard Do Ha tell a lie. I hadn’t expected that, and all the angsting and hijinks related to that felt extra fun, to me. 😁
And that scene at the top of episode 3, where Sol Hee unmasks Do Ha doesn’t quite result in what I’d first imagined, which was that Do Ha would be confronted with the fact that Sol Hee knows his identity (since she’s pieced it together and everything).
Instead, Sol Hee keeps it to herself, that she knows who he is, for quite a while, and I rather like that it feels like she’s doing so out of respect for his wishes, rather than anything else.
How Show plays with the idea of truth vs. lies
A key idea that Show plays with and explores over the course of our story, is the idea of truth vs. lies.
Basically, we explore how things may not be what they seem, whether that’s in terms of how people might be telling the truth when we might expect them to be lying, or how people might be lying, but it’s also not what we might expect.
I also liked how Show managed to weave this idea into our story, in ways that felt relevant to our characters.
I did prefer the earlier scenes compared to the later ones, generally speaking, but overall, I do want to give credit to Show, for taking a theme, and unpacking it in degrees.
Here’s an early example that I had found quite fun, for its entertainment value, even while the incident itself helps to add to the OTP connection.
E3-4. I rather like that scene when Do Ha comes back to the apartment building and encounters Sol Hee outside, which when that man who lost his mobile phone approaches Sol Hee, asking to borrow her phone.
Because she can hear that he’s telling the truth, Sol Hee accedes to his request without much fuss, and it’s cute because Do Ha’s trying to protect her from getting scammed.
And this is so spot on, really, because given all the scammers out there these days, I, too, find that I’m being extra cautious when approached.
So it’s quite refreshing to see someone like Sol Hee trust that man so readily, and then be able to report back to Do Ha soon afterwards, that the man had wired her the money as promised, and with interest, even.
It’s cute, how this incident causes Do Ha to muse to himself, that Sol Hee’s too trusting, and seems to believe everyone who comes her way, when the opposite is true. She really is as wary of people as she says she is; it’s just that she’s able to tell when someone’s telling the truth.
Kim So Hyun as Sol Hee
One thing I’d been a little concerned about, coming into this show, is whether I’d be able to see Kim So Hyun in an grown-up space.
The problem with watching Kim So Hyun grow up on my screen, is that in my head, I keep thinking of her as a young teenager. 😅
The last time I attempted a rom-com in which she starred as the female lead was Radio Romance, which I dropped pretty quickly.
She wasn’t the reason I dropped the show, of course, but I did watch enough of it to register that I felt oddly weirded out from seeing her play an adult woman, instead of a teenaged girl. 😅
So yes, it’s not her fault at all; it was all in my head.
I’m happy to report that I’m not feeling that, this time around.
I found it easy to like her character Sol Hee, who just happens to be born with the ability to hear if someone’s telling a lie.
E3-4. Kim So Hyun’s doing a really nice job of making Sol Hee likable and sympathetic, even when she doesn’t always do the right thing.
Instead, when she doesn’t do the right thing, I can sympathize with why she might have acted the way she did. I guess you could say that I find her relatable – except I don’t have her superpower. 😁
For example, I like the way she has a time of confession with her pet turtle (lol), after unmasking Do Ha, about how she knows that she shouldn’t have, but she just couldn’t help herself, because she was just too curious.
E3-4. I also like how Sol Hee is generous to help others, when she perceives that they need help.
That random man is one, but this set of episodes, there’s also that mother-daughter pair at the eatery, who’re lying to each other that they’re not hungry, so that the other person would hopefully eat more.
The way Sol Hee quietly pays for their meal, and asks for 2 extra rolls of gimbap for them to share, is so nice, honestly.
I like that we can see that Sol Hee’s such a decent, kindhearted person at heart.
She could’ve just used her powers to benefit herself, but instead, she’s using it to help others too, and that endears her to me a great deal.
And then there’s the way Sol Hee can’t stay mad at her scammer mom for long.
Even though she swears that she’s not going to give Mom any more money, when Mom brings up the past, and how Sol Hee had ruined the family when she’d been a child (again, through the use of her powers), Sol Hee clearly does feel bad for it, even now, and ends up giving Mom her latest paycheck anyway.
That softheartedness in Sol Hee does endear her to me, I must say.
Minhyun as Do Ha
Before starting my watch of this show, I’d heard the grumbles, that Minhyun’s acting leaves a lot to be desired, and I’d wondered if this would have a negative effect on my watch.
Overall, I’d say that I have no real complaints about Minhyun’s acting.
Sure, it’s nothing award-winning at this point, but I do think that he’s pretty well-cast. His character Do Ha is on the reserved, reticent side of things, and he pulls that off reasonably well.
I do think that the role works with Minhyun’s strengths, and while his limited acting experience might be more stark in a different role, I’m perfectly happy with him in this role.
I could believe that he’s our male lead Do Ha, who’s reserved, and has a lot of hidden pain, and I could care about his growth arc, which was his journey to finding freedom in being himself.
Altogether, not bad.
Here are just a few Do Ha highlights, from my watch.
E1-2. I feel bad for Do Ha, because he seems quite tormented by the ghosts of his past.
And it does endear him to me, to see that he genuinely finds comfort and release from making music onstage. He’s a true music soul, and I like that.
E5-6. Not only does Do Ha track down the songwriter at his apartment, he approaches him with empathy and understanding.
..Which is how the whole thing gets solved, with the songwriter getting an apology, AND clearing Do Ha’s name, AND Songwriter Park getting fired.
I feel like this is the point when Do Ha starts to see for himself, how beneficial it can be, to take charge and do something, instead of hiding, and doing nothing.
E7-8. This set of episodes, we can see Do Ha inching towards putting himself out there, with people.
Like, when Chi Hoon (Ha Jong Woo) tells him that he’s Syaon’s bodyguard, Do Ha says that he’s Syaon’s (Lee Si Woo) songwriter, which, if Chi Hoon had taken him seriously, is a dead giveaway to his identity, which he’s guarded closely for so long.
And then there’s also how, when he sits down with the neighborhood folks after he and Sol Hee solve the mystery around why Bo Ro’s (Cho Jin Se) business was being targeted for a smear campaign, he actually seems ready to tell him his identity – it’s just that nobody believes him when he does, heh.
I just like seeing Do Ha inching his way out of his shell. 😊
The OTP is cute
Honestly, the OTP is Show’s biggest strength.
Here’s a quick rundown of why I enjoyed this OTP:
1. Kim So Hyun and Minhyun are exceedingly cute together
..and Show knows it.
We get some truly cute scenes of the OTP, that had me giggling out loud. Good times. 🥲
2. Healthy OTP dynamics
In a kdrama landscape where healthy communication between couples is really quite rare, I found it a very welcome thing, that we get consistently healthy dynamics between our OTP.
I mean, cute AND healthy? That’s a rare combination indeed. 😁
I do have a smallish bone to pick about the pacing of the OTP relationship, but I’ll talk more about that in a later section, where I look at the balance that Show tries to strike, between the OTP romance, and our murder backstory.
In the meantime, here’s a throwback to a good chunk of the OTP-related thoughts I had, during my watch.
E1-2. Instead of a childhood OTP connection, we have a much more recent connection, where, as young adults, Sol Hee defends Do Ha from getting beaten up, for allegedly cheating on some guy’s sister.
I actually really like the idea, that several years later, they’re thrown into each other’s orbit, when Do Ha, now a mysterious and famous songwriter, moves into the apartment next to Sol Hee’s, in a bid to get away from prowling paparazzi, curious about his alleged relationship with singer Syaon.
It’s drama coincidence, of course, that Do Ha gets mistaken for the masked pervert who’s been attacking women in the neighborhood, but that’s how Sol Hee ends up defending him again, because she can tell that he’s telling the truth.
And of course, it’s her signature soundbite – “If I say so, then it is” – that causes him to remember her, from before.
I like that right away, we see that they have football in common, even though they are fans of opposing teams.
The way they both stay up to watch the live matches, and order fried chicken to munch on while they cheer on their respective teams, is pretty cute.
The way that even their chicken orders are direct opposites, is pretty cute too. It’s like they’re alike, but they’re also so different?
I was possibly most tickled by the arc when Sol Hee’s hired to be the lie detector during Songwriter Park’s hard-won meeting with Do Ha, only for her to have no lies to detect, because Do Ha seems honest to a fault, and with nothing much to hide.
E1-2. It’s funny for a while, that Sol Hee assumes that Do Ha’s in debt and running away from creditors, and that’s why she sees him having his car taken away, when in actual fact, Do Ha’s exchanging cars with his CEO (Yun Ji On playing a nice-ish guy, for once, heh), because his own blue sports car is too flashy.
But, I am pretty glad that this misunderstanding doesn’t get dragged out for the funnies.
Instead, we have Sol Hee putting the pieces together, and coming to the correct conclusion pretty quickly, that her new next door neighbor, is, in fact, that famous celebrity songwriter, Kim Do Ha.
E3-4. I do like how we’re getting little snippets of Do Ha and Sol Hee sharing more than just casual conversation.
Like how, after Sol Hee’s mom leaves with the money, they talk while on their respective balconies, and Do Ha ends up telling her that his mom doesn’t like to see him face to face too, and that every family has their own problems and dysfunctions too.
This feels pretty deep and personal, and the more Sol Hee sees that Do Ha’s telling the truth, the more connected she feels to him, I think.
E3-4. I’m not sure where Show’s going to go, with this fake relationship between Do Ha and Sol Hee, but I very much like how their paths keep crossing coz they live in the same neighborhood, and how this leads to them helping each other, more and more regularly.
I mean, Do Ha even rushes out into the jazz club main area without his mask on, to rescue Sol Hee, when he perceives that she’s in a spot of trouble with that ex-boyfriend of her ex-client.
That’s huge, that Do Ha would even forget his mask, in his urgency to come to Sol Hee’s assistance, and I’m definitely perking up at every indication that the walls that he’s put up around himself, are starting to crumble, when it comes to Sol Hee. 😁
And I just love that he’s even starting to eat in public, when he’s with her.
Of course, that only happens because that restaurant ahjumma plonks down that bowl of stew in front of him, and Sol Hee finds a way for him to take off his mask while still keeping his face from view, but I honestly felt so happy for him, that he could finally enjoy a meal outside his home.
The fact that he says that he doesn’t eat outside his home, gives us an idea of how his hiding away has affected his daily life, and it’s just really nice to see him enjoy the taste of that hot bowl of stew, like a regular person.
I also really like that besides Do Ha helping Sol Hee, we also see Sol Hee coming to Do Ha’s help, regularly.
Like when those paparazzi start snooping around their apartment building, I thought it was pretty quick and smart of Sol Hee, to put on that big show of Do Ha being her boyfriend, and dragging him into the elevator in a headlock, because he’d been late. 😁
It must be so bewildering for Do Ha, who’s so reserved, but it works like a charm, and those paparazzi even remark that they make a cute couple, heh.
Of course, I also very much like how this gives rise to them sitting together in Sol Hee’s living room and sharing some conversation and sliced apple.
On that note, I just wanted to mention that the reason Do Ha remarks that Sol Hee’s got an interesting name, is because her full name “Mok Sol Hee” sounds like “voice.”
I like how Do Ha’s so honest with Sol Hee, that she starts to doubt her powers, around him.
E3-4. I like the idea that Sol Hee’s learning how to push Do Ha’s buttons, because even when he declines to eat with her, she manages to convince him quite easily, by showing him a place that’s not crowded, and has delicious food.
I really like the potential for them becoming meal buddies (it kinda gives me Let’s Eat vibes, with two singles coming together to eat at places that serve big portions not meant for individual customers).
I’m also relieved that Sol Hee’s with Do Ha, when Syaon calls and pulls that suicide stunt.
Poor Do Ha. The way he starts to crumple into a panic attack is so palpable, and yet, he’s pushing himself to get to Syaon, because he’s so haunted by how he’d lost that other girl, who’d also threatened suicide. 😭
It’s such a relief that Sol Hee’s there to take over the driving from Do Ha, and just be there with him, through the whole thing.
E3-4. I thought it was really sweet and kind of Sol Hee to take care of Do Ha, bundling him up in a blanket and driving him home, while he sleeps.
E5-6. Sol Hee, worried about Do Ha’s fever, brings him medicine, only to get trapped when he grabs her arm in his sleep, and promptly uses it as a pillow – which is how we have Sol Hee literally spending the night asleep next to Do Ha, on his bed.
Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that, since they don’t even know each other that well yet. 😅
But this definitely shows us that Sol Hee is growing to care about Do Ha, in spite of herself.
For the record, the whole arc, of Sol Hee staying overnight with Do Ha, doesn’t register as romantic, to my eyes.
Instead, it seems to me that that she stayed out of compassion for him, upon seeing him suffering so much, and looking so distressed.
E5-6. It’s actually very pleasant to see Do Ha and Sol Hee engage in conversation during their date, and get to know each other better.
..Until Sol Hee gets way too drunk, and ends up falling right into that dish of tteokbokki, and needs to be carried home on Do Ha’s back.
I was pretty amused at how, in the space of two episodes, Do Ha and Sol Hee have each taken turns taking care of the other person, when the other person was unconscious.
But, it does effectively strengthen the connection between them, especially with the bonus of Sol Hee’s tipsy ramblings, so it’s all good.
Poor Do Ha does get ttoekbokki sauce all over his shirt, though, and he even gets slapped by a drunk Sol Hee, oops.
How sweet of Do Ha, to go out the next morning, despite his instinctive to avoid people and crowds, in order to get Sol Hee’s favorite hangover soup for her, along with an array of hangover cures. Aw. That’s very thoughtful indeed.
I have to admit that I did find it kind of.. sudden(?), that Do Ha and Sol Hee would be in this space, where they’re both hyper-aware of each other, and looking for reasons to meet up.
That honestly felt like a bit of a leap to me (unless I missed something?).
I rationalize that this is part of Do Ha trying on his new proactive approach to life, and applying it to his connection with Sol Hee, because he feels safe around her.
As for Sol Hee.. I guess her care for and interest in him has been growing step by step, and that’s why we’re here now?
I did think that it was sweet that they thought of each other, when they each saw the ad for the football match.
And props to Do Ha, for making the first move, and inviting Sol Hee to watch the match with him. This feels like a Big Step for Do Ha, honestly.
I did feel some secondhand embarrassment, though, when Sol Hee blurts out that he should’ve figured out what time and everything, before asking her on a date – because it’s not officially a date. 😅
E5-6. It is admittedly very cute how Do Ha and Sol Hee both dress up for their not-a-date. And, it is very melty, how Do Ha explains honestly, that he’d wanted to look good in her eyes.
How sweet is that, especially since Sol Hee can tell that it’s only the absolute truth? 🥰
And, in spite of them finding a suitable place pretty late, it does look like they have a fun time of it, which is very nice to see.
E7-8. I do love that, despite Sol Hee’s worst fears, Do Ha more than comes through, in accepting her power as just part of who she is.
I do love that he simply shows up at the cafe the next morning and starts helping Sol Hee with cleaning up the debris, like nothing had changed.
And then, when Sol Hee brings up the fact that she can hear people’s lies, it’s kinda great, how Do Ha’s response is a simple matter-of-fact “So what?”.
He’s so gently down-to-earth, as he tells Sol Hee that he believes her, and that it’s basically no big deal, that she can hear people’s lies.
In fact, when he says, “If you can hear lies, then you can,” reminds me a lot of Sol Hee’s own signature soundbite, “If I say so, then it is.”
Aw, I’d had a feeling that Do Ha would come through, and not be freaked out by Sol Hee’s power. 🥲
E7-8. This pair of episodes, we can also see the OTP romance inching forward as well, like in the way Do Ha, when he hears that Chi Hoon helps Sol Hee by driving her, tells her that he drives too, and that she can call on him for help.
It’s actually really sweet, because we know how this isn’t something that Do Ha would have been able to offer anyone, not so long ago, and definitely not this easily.
Do Ha definitely feels comfortable with Sol Hee, and he definitely is keen to spend more time with her, given how he’s offering to drive her around.
And, this is also sweet because Sol Hee had expected Do Ha to run screaming for the hills once he found out about her secret, and he’s not only not doing that, he’s gently pushing their connection closer, as he offers to drive her around, and offers to buy her a nice meal, because it’d been hard work cleaning up the cafe.
What a lovely, unexpected surprise this must be for Sol Hee.
Instead of rejection, she’s receiving the very opposite: acceptance, and indications that Do Ha still likes her and wants to spend time with her. I would be a tearful happy puddle in her place, for sure. 🥲
E7-8. I do like how matter-of-fact and earnest Do Ha is, when it comes to the developing connection between him and Sol Hee.
Like when Sol Hee admits that Kang Min had figured out that they weren’t actually in a relationship, because Do Ha clearly didn’t know that Sol Hee can’t eat eggplant, he doesn’t get upset.
He just sets out to close the gap in his knowledge about Sol Hee, by asking her to tell him about all the things that she can’t or doesn’t like to eat. Aw. Doesn’t he come across as a really good egg?
E7-8. It seems like a stretch to think that, in Sol Hee’s entire life, this is the first time that she’s considered that there’s context to every lie, and that some lies are not malicious, and have reasons for existing, but I guess I’ll roll with it, because that’s what Show’s trying to tell me. 😅
And, I’m glad that she’s able to apply that learning quite quickly, to the situation with Do Ha, such that, even though she doesn’t yet understand why his denial is registering as a lie, she chooses to believe him.
Aw. I liked that moment, not gonna lie. 🥲
It must mean so much to Do Ha, that Sol Hee is choosing to believe him, rather than what her power is telling her.
E9-10. We get some truth and backstory around these parts, this set of episodes, and it occurs to me that while Dramaland may not be ready to move away from romance with a side of murder, it might actually be ready to embrace honest communication between an OTP?
Because, where other OTPs have traditionally been inclined to hide the truth and be evasive, Show is demonstrating that being honest and truthful is the more attractive way to be, this set of episodes, and y’know, I really do like that.
I find it very refreshing, that Do Ha comes out and tells Sol Hee everything about what had happened with Eom Ji, even though it’s very likely uncomfortable for him to talk about it.
And I’m glad that this allows Sol Hee to figure out why Do Ha’s denial had registered as a lie; it was because he’d believed that he wasn’t innocent, even though he was saying that he was.
I’m also glad that as Sol Hee figures this out and explains it to Do Ha, she looks at him with so much sympathy and compassion.
Poor Do Ha looks so stricken and broken from it all, it feels like sweet relief, that Sol Hee would be able to understand him, and comfort him, instead of judge him and reject him.
It’s such a turnaround, isn’t it, because what we saw between Sol Hee and Kang Min, was her judging him for a lie and breaking up with him. Instead, here, she’s the one assuring Do Ha that he did nothing wrong, even though what she heard, had registered as a lie.
I feel like this is a really important milestone in their relationship, and I do think that this moment, so full of healthy relationship dynamics, convinces me more than ever, that Do Ha and Sol Hee belong together.
Of course, on top of that, they are also proving to be exceedingly cute together.
When Do Ha grabs Sol Hee’s hand and asks her to sleep over, it’s all so pure, wholesome and innocent. Literally, not a single cell in my body thought that Do Ha’s Naughty Cell wanted to come out to play. 😁
Instead, it’s very cute how, when Sol Hee asks for comfortable clothes, Do Ha cheekily hands her one of his soccer jerseys – knowing full well that she’s not a fan of his team.
And then, that scene of Do Ha making them a snack, while Sol Hee stands by and watches, is also very wholesome and cute.
On top of the cute, it’s also nice to see that they’re getting to know each other better.
Like when Do Ha asks when Sol Hee had started to like soccer, and she shared that story about how soccer made her dad happy, and that’s why she’d started liking soccer. Aw.
Isn’t it very sweet though, how Sol Hee says that she likes soccer because what you see is what you get – and then tells Do Ha that he’s like soccer?
Aw! She’s saying two things, isn’t she?
1, that Do Ha is also straightforward like soccer, and what you see is what you get, and
2, that she likes him. 😁
Smooth and a tiny bit sneaky, too, for slipping that in there, Sol Hee. 😁
And, even though we don’t get kisses at this point, it’s actually very pleasantly wholesome, to see them eat noodles and cheer on the soccer game together. 🥰
The whole segue to Do Ha taking Sol Hee camping is far from smooth, but it was fun to have a glimpse of Let’s Eat 2 on my screen again, and it’s dorky-cute that Do Ha is inspired to take Sol Hee camping, with the full works.
Watching them happily putting up the camping stuff together, legit feels like I’m watching a CF for camping &/or camping equipment, heh.
Afterwards, it’s really nice to see them talking some more, and getting to know each other better.
I realize that this has become important to me; I’d like to see our OTP actually learning to understand each other and how to communicate with each other, and this is exactly what Do Ha and Sol Hee are doing.
I like that he learns that when it comes to her power, it’s better to say something precise and succinct, and I also like that he puts it into practice right away, by telling her that he likes her, in the exact format that she demonstrates that she does for her clients.
“Right now, the person I like the most, is you.” – which he follows with a swooped-in kiss.
..And, I wasn’t super sure at first, how I felt about the kiss, since he swoops in without warning, and kisses Sol Hee, and the last time he’d approached her to kiss her, at his apartment, she’d demurred.
BUT, because Sol Hee responds positively, ie, she doesn’t push him away, and actually leans in to kiss him some more, I decided that I was fine with it too. 😁
E9-10. That scene, where Kang Min tells Do Ha to cover his bruises and wounds well, so that Sol Hee doesn’t see, is, I think, the perfect demonstration for why Kang Min just isn’t the guy for Sol Hee.
Even though Sol Hee’s told him that she hears lies, he appears not to have registered it, and his default way of handling things, is to hide inconvenient things from Sol Hee, for her own good.
This, even though Sol Hee’s shown that she does not appreciate being treated this way.
I really do love that Do Ha doesn’t allow Kang Min to influence him, and instead, tells Kang Min that he won’t hide things from Sol Hee, and that he will make her happy in his own way.
YES. Very excellent, Do Ha! You tell him! 👏🏻
Afterwards, I’m glad to see that even though Do Ha tries to shield Sol Hee a little bit, by wearing a mask to hide the bruises and wounds to his face, it’s not long before he shows her his face, and tells her what happened.
It doesn’t sound like rocket science; all Do Ha does each time, is tell Sol Hee the unvarnished truth, in his hesitant, slightly dorky way, but I LOVE the honesty, which feels refreshing and straightforward, and I’m beginning to think that perhaps honesty is Do Ha’s superpower, after all.
E9-10. Show serves up the cutest little OTP scene so far, where Sol Hee hints that people don’t automatically start dating just because they’ve shared a kiss.
The way Do Ha starts asking her to date him, while offering her all manner of little snacks and trinkets, is ridiculously cute and wholesome.
This is officially the cutest, happiest, most wholesome minting of an OTP that I can remember. 😁 All the smiles, giggles and hugs makes me smile, and somehow I don’t even care that our OTP doesn’t share a kiss, to commemorate the moment.
We just go straight to them being a cute little couple doing cute little couple things, like go to the convenience store to pick up snacks, and then settle down to watch soccer together, and it totally works.
E11-12. I really like that moment, when Sol Hee, in response to Do Ha apologizing that she’s gotten swept up in all this because of him, clarifies that she didn’t get swept up in this; she was simply standing by the person she likes.
Aw. That is very sweet, and I really like how Sol Hee is taking responsibility for her own choices, and not allowing Do Ha to blame himself.
E11-12. I do like that Do Ha’s so matter-of-fact about owning up to the neighborhood folks, that he and Sol Hee are dating.
The way he holds up her hand and declares that Sol Hee is his girlfriend, is sweet, because the feeling I get from this, is that he’s proud to be able to say that Sol Hee is his girlfriend. I like that a lot. 🥰
I also like the fact that Do Ha remembers so clearly, the things that he and Sol Hee have talked about, even in their early (ie, not so recent) conversations, like how he refers to what she’d once said, about sometimes wondering if telling everyone about her secret would make her feel better about everything, and uses that to explain why he’d seemed so ready to tell the neighborhood folks about his secret.
This does help me to understand him better too, because I’d wondered as well, why he’d be so ready to tell these people, whom he doesn’t really know very well, a secret that he’s been guarding for so long.
The way he frames it, helps it to make more sense to me.
I also like the idea that Do Ha and Sol Hee are both growing, side by side. He’s learning to accept himself, and allow himself to breathe freely without his mask, and she’s learning to be around people, and be comfortable and happy about it.
It’s actually really pretty sweet, to think that they’ve each grown in important ways, as a result of their relationship.
It’s also nice to see Do Ha enjoy playing piano at the jazz club, without feeling the need to hide his face or his identity.
Plus, we get that spot of cuteness, where Do Ha sits with Sol Hee at the piano, and they play Chopsticks together for a bit, before Do Ha plays for Sol Hee.
More than the music itself (which is very pleasant on the ears, for sure), I just like the idea that Do Ha’s able to enjoy his favorite thing, with his favorite person, with such a sense of liberty and contentment.
E11-12. I’m glad that Sol Hee goes out to Hakcheon to seek out Do Ha, because that moment when he sees her at the beach, I feel like he feels an acute sense of sweet relief.
In that moment, her presence makes the world of difference to him, and I’m glad that she did drop everything to go to him, even though he’d asked her to go about her business as usual.
Park Kyung Hye as Cassandra
I do enjoy Park Kyung Hye, and I liked seeing her as Cassandra, the cool-as-a-cucumber goth-lite, vampish tarot card reader, who’s as observant, matter-of-fact and loyal as they come.
I kinda wish that Cassandra had been given a larger role in our story, but.. perhaps part of the beauty of her character, is how she’s happy doing her own thing, in her own corner?
STUFF THAT WAS OK
Seo Ji Hoon as Kang Min
I’m putting Kang Min in the neutral category, but I will say that Show did a nice job making my emotions towards him go a bit all over the place.
In the beginning, I was very sympathetic towards him, and I sincerely felt like if not for Do Ha’s presence in our story, that I would root for him and Sol Hee to get together.
And then later, Show does just as good of a job helping me to see that Kang Min really isn’t the right person for Sol Hee.
The key reason I’ve got him in this neutral category instead of as something that I liked about the show, is because of some of his actions, which I found presumptuous and unhelpful.
Overall though, I’m really happy with how Show wraps up his arc, which I’ll talk about more, in my thoughts on the finale.
In this next spoiler section, I highlight THE Kang Min moment in the drama that hit me the hardest, as well as the moment I realized he really wasn’t the right person for Sol Hee.
E7-8. This pair of episodes, we finally find out the actual story behind Kang Min’s evasiveness with Sol Hee, back when they were dating, and it turns out that he’d been diagnosed with Stage 3 stomach cancer, and hadn’t felt able to tell her.
Ohh. No wonder he’d balked when Sol Hee had asked if they would get married the following year.
He couldn’t answer because he didn’t know if he’d still be alive, by then. Ow. My heart.
Poor Kang Min, it must have been so horrible to have lost Sol Hee, whom he clearly adored, right when he’d learned of his diagnosis. This means that he had to deal with his cancer AND the break-up, at the same time.
Gulp. That must’ve been so hard. 💔
My heart totally goes out to him.
Knowing how much he’s continued to like Sol Hee, despite all that’s happened, I’m not surprised that he’d take his shot, and ask to start their relationship over.
And then, my gosh, it must feel like such a punch to the gut for him, when Sol Hee responds by revealing that she’d thought of someone else, when he’d said that.
That look in his eyes. 💔 He’s being all casual about it, and telling Sol Hee to go quickly confess her feelings to Do Ha and date him, so that she can then come back to him after, but you can totally see that it’s killing him to try to keep up this casual, nonchalant act.
Poor Kang Min, I do feel bad for him, because it feels like he’d lost Sol Hee by accident, because of a misunderstanding, and now can’t get her back.
I really hope that Show manages to make it such that we leave Kang Min in a happy, contented place, whether that means him finding love with someone else, or not.
E9-10. I also like that Sol Hee has a chance to talk honestly with Kang Min, on why their relationship failed.
This provides closure for the both of them, which they hadn’t had before, and it’s true what Sol Hee says; their relationship failed because of her ability to hear lies.
What she doesn’t say, but is also true, is that it’s also because of Kang Min’s attitude, where he thinks that it’s better to lie to her, for her own good.
That’s just not how Sol Hee rolls, and this is why her power doesn’t stand in the way of her relationship with Do Ha, unlike in her relationship with Kang Min.
Deuk Chan’s arc
I talk about Deuk Chan’s arc in detail, in my section on episodes 13-14, later in this review, but I just wanted to take a moment here to say that:
1. I thought Yun Ji On did a nice job with his delivery, and
2. I didn’t find him to be a token or throwaway character.
More details later!
The community stuff
The reason I’ve got the community stuff in this section, is because I do get the idea, that it’s supposed to be a warm and nice thing, that Do Ha and Sol Hee are connecting more with the community around them, and that the community welcomes them.
However, I have to confess that this particular community didn’t really work for me, in that, I didn’t find the various characters very likable nor interesting.
Which is why this lands as just neutral, for me.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
When Show feels scattered
After a really strong start, where Show’s writing and handling felt nice and tight, Show started to show signs of being more scattered and random, past the initial handful of episodes.
I first felt it in episodes 5-6, and then it hit me again, at episodes 11-12.
I didn’t like this very much, because not only were these episodes less enjoyable, I also felt like I had to work harder, to connect everything together in a way that made cohesive sense in my head.
In episodes 11-12 specifically, it felt to me like, with Show bringing the murder plot to the forefront, it was scrambling, a little bit, to also bring other things to the table, so that it didn’t feel like everything was all murder – and that’s how we end up getting some rather random-feeling secondary arcs. 😅
Show’s balance between the rom-com and murder stuff
I do think that Show wobbled somewhat, in trying to balance the rom-com stuff with the murder stuff.
In our earlier episodes, before Show brought the murder part of our story to the forefront, I liked the balance much more.
However, I do feel like Show tilted the balance in favor of the murder mystery a little too much, in our later episodes, and thus loses its grip somewhat, on how to keep us engaged, as an audience.
E11-12. In the midst of all the murder-plus-random-stuff, our OTP relationship is in a nicely steady and strong sort of space, and I do like that.
In concept, I like the idea that Show is making the relationship strong and steady, instead of reaching for relationship conflicts in order to create narrative tension in this section of our story.
However, I do feel like, in the absence of the usual OTP misunderstanding at this point of the story, Show isn’t super sure what to do with itself, in order to remain interesting and compelling.
And, I feel like Show’s therefore pulling out the various aforementioned random secondary plot points, to fill space?
I think it would have been helpful if Show had taken a little more time with strengthening the OTP connection, so that it didn’t feel as sudden as it did.
Then it would have had less time to kill, at this late stage, when bringing the murder stuff into focus.
That would probably have made for a more balance narrative overall, I feel.
Lee Si Woo as Syaon
Syaon is a character that I spent a good chunk of time disliking, during my watch.
Show juust manages to redeem her enough, by Show’s end, such that I found her kind of likable, but to be true to how I felt about her for much of my watch, I’ve got her in this category.
The main reason I disliked her, was for her toxic behavior, which was largely directed at Do Ha.
At points, her behavior was so bad that I just wanted her written out of our story, never mind what it took. 😅
Like I said, though, Show gives her a turnaround, which I welcomed, even if it didn’t feel 100% natural, in the execution.
Here’s a quick spotlight on what made me so mad about her behavior, in our story.
E3-4. I hate that when Syaon says that she’d really intended to die, we and Sol Hee hear that it’s a lie – not because I actually want her to die, but because it shows that she’d pulled that stunt in order to get a reaction from Do Ha, without any consideration for what kind of stress this might put him through. That sucks.
I can totally understand why Do Ha would raise his voice at her, and tell her to get out of his car.
I do foresee that Syaon’s going to be causing more trouble going forward, and likely targeting Sol Hee too, because she’s suspicious of the fact that Sol Hee comes to get her, together with Do Ha, and that Sol Hee even knows Do Ha’s name.
E5-6. It’s horrible enough that Syaon pulled that suicide stunt, but now, she’s even threatening to Deuk Chan, that she’ll spend all her time shadowing him at his current place, and thus bring all the reporters there, if Deuk Chan doesn’t move Do Ha somewhere else.
And this, all because she’s jealous of the fact that Sol Hee’s Do Ha’s next door neighbor, and Do Ha seems close to her.
This totally smacks of the same brand of toxicity that we’ve seen from Eom Ji, and I honestly feel like, Man, hasn’t Do Ha suffered enough with one toxic girl in his life? Did he really need another?
I’m glad that he tells Syaon so plainly, that he doesn’t like her as a woman. I’m just not sure if that’s going to be enough to deter Syaon from being clingy and crazy, around him. 😬
E7-8. UGH, I really dislike Syaon for how she’s so obsessed with wanting Do Ha for herself, that she doesn’t even think twice about telling Sol Hee that Do Ha’s killed someone, in the hopes of scaring Sol Hee away from Do Ha.
Clearly – CLEARLY!! – Syaon doesn’t actually like Do Ha, because if she did, then where’s the compassion and empathy that ought to come alongside? She threw him under the bus, without thinking about how this might impact him.
Jin Kyung as Sol Hee’s mom
So ordinarily, I love Jin Kyung, but I did not love her character in this.
I know Show tries to make Mom sympathetic, especially in our final stretch, but I have to confess that I never warmed to her, and I did not like her whiny, entitled, self-absorbed vibe.
Even when she cried, I didn’t feel sorry for her, because it felt like she was already feeling plenty sorry for herself. 😅
Seo Jung Yeon as Do Ha’s mom
Similarly, I did not care for Do Ha’s mom, in our story.
Like Sol Hee’s mom, Show does work to make her more sympathetic towards the latter part of our story, but I have to say that her character just never resonated with me.
She’s shown as being so consistently consumed by her ambition, that I didn’t really feel it, when Show tries to ground her more, and make her more sympathetic.
Song Jin Woo as Songwriter Park
At the beginning of our story, I wasn’t too fussed about Songwriter Park’s existence in our story, because his larger-than-life caricature-y characterization made me feel like he would be a one and done sort of side character.
But then, Show brings him back, later in our story, and by this point, I felt like he had long overstayed his welcome, I groaned inwardly at all of his appearances on my screen, in this stretch.
Kwon Dong Ho as Eom Ho [SPOILER]
Overall, I found Eom Ho really quite creepy and scary, because of the way he keeps hunting down Do Ha, utterly convinced that Do Ha had killed Eom Ji.
He is so aggressive, and it’s unsettling to see that he’d actually once stabbed Do Ha in the back, literally. 😬
He really struck me as being dangerous and unstable, and I did not like the idea of him channeling all his twisted energy towards Do Ha.
Show does work to humanize him later in our story, but I have to admit that these efforts had a minimal effect on me.
What I mean is, I did feel kind of sorry for him, for how he’d suffered personally, but I still wanted him far away from Do Ha, because he’d terrorized Do Ha so much, for so long, that I was kinda relieved that he was locked away in prison.
I do feel sorry for him for losing his sister like he did, but nothing he does, can take away the fact that he robbed Do Ha of a great deal, in terms of quality of life, over many years.
SPOTLIGHT ON EPISODES 13 & 14 [SPOILERS]
Because this pair of episodes sits squarely in the penultimate stretch, which is often infamous for being angsty and no fun to watch, I have to say that Show does an unexpectedly nice job of these episodes.
I do need to qualify that, a little bit.
To put it in perspective, I recently watched the same episodes (ie, E13-14) of Heartbeat, and I’d felt that those were a real drag to watch.
In comparison, I found this set of episodes more engaging and interesting, relatively speaking.
I didn’t find these episodes a drag to watch, and Show kept me nicely interested in the mystery of Eom Ji’s killer, while serving up healthy couple dynamics for our OTP, and I’m honestly quite pleasantly surprised, overall.
I must say, Show really had me going with Jae Chan as Eom Ji’s killer, particularly when he’s shown going to the police station in Hakcheon, to turn himself in.
In my head, why else would he turn himself in, right, if he wasn’t actually guilty of killing her?
Show gives us yet another reveal, that Jae Chan really isn’t the killer after all, and it’s only after this point, that it slowly came together in my head, that it was Deuk Chan who was the killer, not Jae Chan.
I thought this was very nicely played, on Show’s part, because I personally hadn’t suspected Deuk Chan, until pretty late in the proceedings.
But, Show is pretty good at dropping this various hints, with things not quite adding up, that made me question what was the truth, after all.
And, I also really like the effect that this reveal has, because it resets everything that I know about Deuk Chan, in my head.
It gives every kind gesture that he’s ever made towards Do Ha, land completely differently.
It means that while Do Ha had been suffering from crippling social anxiety, because of being framed as a murderer, Deuk Chan had stood by and watched, while pretending to be so kind and helpful; the only one who’d stood by Do Ha, when the rest of the world had believed him to be a killer.
And, he’s basically lied through his teeth every single time Do Ha’s come to him looking for the truth.
Yet, he considers himself Do Ha’s friend?
That’s pretty twisted, honestly.
I’m really curious to know whether Deuk Chan had murdered Eom Ji, or had accidentally killed her, akin to the story that Jae Chan’s been telling the police during his own interrogation, and I’m waiting with expectancy, to see how Show resolves this, in our finale episodes.
I need to pause here, to talk a little bit about the rumblings of dissatisfaction I’ve heard around the dramaverse, about Show making Deuk Chan the killer.
Basically, the dissatisfaction is around the fact that Deuk Chan is a gay character, and making him the killer, unfortunately touches a raw nerve in our collective international consciousness, because the gay community has struggled for so long, to not be relegated to the fringes of society.
Therefore, it does sting for many, that Deuk Chan, being the lone gay character in this drama world, gets saddled with being the killer, and then promptly attempts suicide.
I have to confess that I didn’t have the same struggle, or at least, any struggle that I did have, was quite muted, and I found myself able to digest this plot point, more or less divorced from the context of how gay characters have been traditionally portrayed as token, and with a sheen of homophobia, in many kdramas.
To my eyes, Deuk Chan is presented as a character with complicated feelings and motivations, who lands as quite tragic, to my eyes.
I personally didn’t pick up on any homophobia in relation to his character, and didn’t feel that Show was treating with contempt or convenience.
Sure, he’s a more secondary character, but it seems to me that writer-nim had conceptualized his character with this reveal in mind, from the beginning.
That’s why he’s been positioned as caring so much for Do Ha, and that’s why his truths and lies have been such an intriguing mix of being in support of Do Ha and believing in him, while not being supportive of his new relationship with Sol Hee, even though it’s clear that Sol Hee makes Do Ha happy.
To my eyes, Deuk Chan is a very gray character, with good intentions mixed in with selfish ones, and is therefore not easily categorized as good or bad. Maybe I’m oversimplifying things, but I feel like that alone sets the tone of him not being a token gay character.
In my head, this arc would work almost as well, as if Deuk Chan’s character had been female, and been a noona of sorts, to Do Ha, except that it would’ve been easier to guess that the character was in love with Do Ha, and that’s probably why writer-nim chose to make Deuk Chan male – for the element of surprise.
In terms of details like Detective Kwak coming around and confessing that he’s been covering up the case in exchange for money from Do Ha’s mother, I do kind of feel like his turnaround feels rather contrived, even though I do follow the dots that Show is connecting, to get us there.
I do appreciate, though, that as Kang Min does his investigations, he is showing more trust in Sol Hee, and by extension, Do Ha, where before, he hadn’t quite believed either of them.
Of course, this entails suspension of disbelief of how detective work is actually done, but I count that as par for the course, particularly with a drama like this one, which isn’t primarily a crime show.
I think we need to keep in mind that Show is more interested in building relationships between our characters, rather than in portraying accurate policing work.
With that in mind, the fact that Kang Min sits down with Sol Hee and Do Ha, and discusses the information that he’s found, definitely is progress.
The way he works with Sol Hee, to gather information on the case, also demonstrates his trust in her and her power, and that’s nice to see too.
Through it all, I do appreciate how our OTP stays steady, anchoring each other, and putting each other first, as they face each challenge along the way.
When Jae Chan threatens to stab Sol Hee, and Sol Hee hears it as a lie, Do Ha refuses to take that risk, and allows Jae Chan to get away, in exchange for Sol Hee’s safety.
Afterwards, the way he holds her and cradles her head, with so much tenderness and relief, is really nice to see.
I really like the fact that he’s got his priorities straight; no matter how much he wants to find Eom Ji’s killer, in his eyes, nothing is worth risking Sol Hee’s safety for, and I like that.
It’s also a really nice moment in the car, when Do Ha says that he’ll make it up to her after this is all over, and Sol Hee answers that, after finding her power a burden all her life, of late, she’s started to be grateful for the fact that she is able to hear lies (so that she can help him, which she doesn’t say, but which I believe she means).
I love this moment; it’s so sweet and wholesome, and so full of gratitude, on both sides. 🥰
I also like that Do Ha chooses to talk with Sol Hee about it, when he continues to feel burdened by Eom Ji’s death, even after things appear to be wrapping up, with Jae Chan turning himself in to the police.
And, even though it’s rather too simplistic, I do appreciate the sentiment that Sol Hee offers, that he needs to set himself free, so that he won’t be weighed down by this forever.
It’s admittedly somewhat tone-deaf of the neighborhood folks to throw Do Ha a party, in the sense that, well, this is still a tragic situation where someone got murdered, but I get that their intentions are good, and that this is to show how much they’ve come to care for Do Ha.
With that in mind, it’s actually quite heartwarming to see the neighborhood folks come together and work with Sol Hee to throw a surprise party for Do Ha, to celebrate the proving of his innocence.
His little speech is heartfelt and really quite sweet too:
“Actually, I used to secretly come here alone and leave after I played the piano. I wanted to play the piano with my face covered up. Thanks to Mr. Jang, who still let me play, I could come here alone, play the piano, and leave.
Then, one day, I saw Sol Hee watching me from the bar. That’s when I realized… that I wanted someone to come and see me play here. And now, I’m here with the people I like. And being here with everyone.. makes me happy.
I’m so glad that I moved to Yeonseo-dong.”
Aw. It really is quite lovely to see him happy. 🥰
In terms of our big reveal at the end of episode 14, that Deuk Chan’s been harboring feelings for Do Ha all along, I thought it worked really well, in the sense that this does explain a lot.
It explains why Deuk Chan would do so much, to help Do Ha, and why he would sincerely say that he would save Do Ha instead of Jae Chan, if they were both drowning. And of course, it also explains why Deuk Chan’s been cool towards Sol Hee; he was probably jealous of Sol Hee being close to Do Ha.
It also explains why Deuk Chan would tolerate his wife’s infidelity, and why he would just go along with her request for a divorce; now we know that his heart had never been in the marriage, in the first place.
I don’t think that Deuk Chan actually planned to kill himself, but when everything comes crashing down around him all of a sudden, and he suddenly finds himself on the run from the police, it probably seemed like the fastest and easiest way out of a terrible situation.
Even though we end the episode on a tense sort of note, with that explosion, and Sol Hee looking like she’s experiencing some ringing in her ears, I don’t actually expect that anything truly bad will happen, as a result of the explosion.
I doubt that Show would actually let Deuk Chan die like that (this doesn’t feel like that kind of drama), so I’m going into the finale stretch, fully believing that Deuk Chan’s going to be ok – and more importantly, Sol Hee too – and that we’ll get to learn more about Deuk Chan’s side of the story.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Not gonna lie; this ending was just ok, for me.
It honestly felt like writer-nim had a bunch of targets to hit, and this was the list:
1. Wrap up Deuk Chan’s arc, but without spending too much screen time. Note to self: do not attempt to go deep.
2. Explore what Sol Hee’s life would be like, without her superpower. Keep it simple.
3. Give the people some happy endings. Selected highlights: Cho Rok and Oh Baek; Mom and Dad; Syaon and Chi Hoon.
4. Give the people some community highlights. It’s ok to poke fun at Bo Ro for being ugly and single.
5. Deal with the PPL backlog; we need to pay the bills!!!
6. Wrap up the thing with Kang Min.
7. The OTP must have a happy ending. Maybe a proposal?
I have to admit that I mostly dragged myself through this finale pair of episodes. It just didn’t feel very meaningful, to me?
Let me talk about the various aspects of the finale, using writer-nim’s hypothetical list above.
I thought Yun Ji On did a really nice job of Deuk Chan’s more emotional moments, but I also feel like Show let his arc get too heavy, without giving it the appropriate amount of screen time to properly explore and resolve it.
I feel that the resulting effect, is a weirdly unsatisfying one, where Deuk Chan’s given a few key moments to explain himself, before being shown off the stage in a bit of a hurry.
At the same time, I understand writer-nim’s constraints; it would be difficult to give Deuk Chan more screen time, without the poignance and somberness of this overshadowing the cheery tone that writer-nim was gunning for, with this finale.
Hmm. Perhaps it might have been worthwhile to have had the murder reveal earlier in our story, so that there would have been more time to deal with Deuk Chan’s arc in a more meaningful way?
On another note, maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was kind of weird that Do Ha says that he’s happy to continue living in Yeonseo-dong – when it’s actually Deuk Chan’s apartment that he’s living in.
The fact that Show doesn’t acknowledge this and resolve it in some way, makes it feel weirdly like Do Ha’s taking advantage of Deuk Chan’s feelings for him. 😬🙈
Sol Hee without her powers
As for Sol Hee living without her powers, I like the idea of it, but was bored with the execution of it?
I don’t think this is the core problem, though. I think I was just bored in general, with the finale episodes, and that boredom seeped over to something that I did think was meaningful to address, in our female lead’s life.
The various happy endings
I honestly didn’t care about Cho Rok and Oh Baek’s happy ending, and I also felt like Show spent way more time on Mom and Dad’s happy ending than I really wanted to watch.
It was heavy-handed and simplistic, and it kind of chafed at me, that Mom had been such a trying character to have on my screen, and now, she was getting an unrealistic happy ending, because Dad inexplicably loves her, in spite of her calculating, manipulative ways.
I would have liked to have spent less time on this arc, to be brutally honest.
I did find it kind of cute that Syaon and Chi Hoon start to get along well, so much so that Syaon would start to tease him about maybe dating her.
I wouldn’t have minded more time spent on this arc, in our finale. Syaon’s not half bad when she isn’t obsessing over Do Ha, and she obviously finds Chi Hoon endearing, and of course, Chi Hoon’s got stars and hearts in his eyes for her.
I think it could’ve been cute, to explore their dynamic, a little bit more.
As for the community highlights, it was SO NOT OK that Show poked fun at Bo Ro, by having everyone push him to participate in a singles show, only to have him lonely and humiliated at the end.
Seriously, who thought this would be a good idea, and how is this supposed to be funny? 🤦🏻♀️
This was not cool, Show. *grumbles*
And then we have the PPL, which made this finale stretch feel like an extended combined CF for a collection of brands. 😅
It’s.. a lot. And I wouldn’t mind it so much, if it had been more naturally incorporated into our story world?
That beat of Do Ha suddenly feeling sleepy while working on his music, and then stopping for a spot of coffee candy, was so awkward and cringey, I felt. 🙈
The thing with Kang Min
I actually thought that this was nicely done.
As in, most dramas would have introduced a token new love interest for the second male lead, so that we’d be able to imagine him having a happy ending, despite not winning the heart of our female lead.
Show doesn’t do that.
Instead, what we have is Kang Min tell Sol Hee, in a grounded, mature sort of way, that he’s not able to continue being friends with her, but has no regrets, because, unlike what she thinks, he does feel that she’d helped him through the most difficult time in his life, because the thought of coming back to her healthy, had kept him going.
It’s bittersweet, yes, but it feels realistic, and I also feel like Kang Min’s content to leave things here.
And, I do like the idea that Kang Min doesn’t need to be given a token new love interest, in order for us to believe that he’s going to be happy, going forward.
The cuteness and sweetness of our OTP did help to temper the disappointment I felt over these finale episodes, because it was nice to see them being supportive of each other.
We see Sol Hee being supportive of Do Ha through the upheaval of finding out the truth about Eom Ji’s death, and Deuk Chan’s involvement, as well as feelings for him.
And we see Do Ha being supportive of Sol Hee, as she figures out what to do with her life, and her powers.
Do Ha planning that surprise date where he takes her to see a play for the first time, is sweet too.
Also, I do like how he consciously helps her to explore the plus points of being without her powers.
I have to admit, I personally felt like the proposal was premature, but ok, I can support the idea that the length of time that a couple has been dating, doesn’t determine their readiness for marriage.
And since Do Ha and Sol Hee complement each other so well, who’s to say that they shouldn’t get married yet, eh?
Married or not, I can see them being happy (and cute!) together for a long time, and that’s what really matters, right?
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Well-intentioned but uneven; it does have some veritable spots of cute, which helps to make it all better.
FINAL GRADE: B
The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of My Lovely Liar, is
Love is an Accident [China] Twinkling Watermelon [Korea]. I’ve taken an initial look at Love is an Accident Twinkling Watermelon and I’m happy to say that I’m having fun with it, 4 episodes in I really like it, so far! You can check out my episode 1 through 4 notes on Love is an Accident on Patreon here.
My episode 1-2 notes on Twinkling Watermelon will be up on Patreon sometime this week!
(And my Dropped post on Love is an Accident will be up next Sunday, 22 October 2023! 😅)
Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!
Foundation Tier (US$1): Entertainment tidbits + the first set notes of all shows covered on Patreon (that’s 2 episodes for kdramas and 4 episodes for cdramas)
Early Access (US$5): +A Time Called You [Korea]
Early Access Plus (US$10): +My Journey To You [China]
VIP (US$15): +Twinkling Watermelon [Korea]