After the intensity of episode 10, things start to lighten up and then sweeten up tremendously as Joon Hyung confesses his love for Bok Joo at the end of episode 11 and Bok Joo also admits to liking him at the end of episode 12. I couldn’t stop smiling when watching these two episodes as the two of them are such lovable characters on their own, and even more adorable together.
I am pleasantly surprised at how convincingly Bok Joo and Joon Hyung’s relationship has been developed. Unlike many shows where the romantic connection may sometimes seem forced or something we grow to accept as part of the show’s premise, we truly see Bok Joo and Joon Hyung’s relationship growing as the series progresses. It starts from bickering and merciless teasing, where Bok Joo just cannot stand Joon Hyung, to them slowly starting to relate to each other more closely and building a genuine friendship. Even though Joon Hyung doesn’t realise his feelings for her in episode 10, it’s evident that he cares so much for her, and she feels completely comfortable with him to open herself up and share her pain and sorrows with him. In this episode, Joon Hyung’s care for her is so obvious and so warm – he cheers her on, checks in on her, walks her home. They have such a charming camaraderie and you can see they are already best friends, which is a great foundation to start building a romance.
What’s impressive as well is how mature Joon Hyung is about the whole matter. Even when he’s rejected by Bok Joo after confessing his love for her, he tells her to give him a month to “test it out”. Of course, it’s a little too convenient that he somehow discovers her “bucket list” after that, but it’s when he deviates from the bucket list and decides to dump the 100 roses for a bag of tissue papers and other necessities at the hospital that he truly proves that he cares for her and is sensitive to her immediate needs. Realising that she’s going through a lot with her dad, he also takes a step back and doesn’t pester her about the relationship until she calls him and asks to meet him.
Besides the romance, it’s also heartwarming to witness Bok Joo’s journey of growth over the past two episodes. I can completely relate to her need to step back from something she’s been so wholeheartedly engaged in, so as to do other things and find her purpose again. It takes courage to do that, against peer pressure and also from her dad. However, it’s when she realises how much her dad has given up for her and watches out for her that she’s reminded of the genuine joy in weightlifting. Lee Sung Kyung really does an amazing job portraying Bok Joo in such a real and raw manner, particularly in the scene where she goes through her dad’s stuff and finds his insurance documents and clothes with holes in them. She just breaks down completely as the discovery of his great love and sacrifice for her also brings her so much pain because he’s in hospital now. In response to that, she then does what she can as a daughter not to disappoint him, which is to get back to weightlifting.
Bok Joo and Joon Hyung’s relationship is so well handled in this show that it’s inevitable that all the other love stories seem rather lacking in comparison. Jae Yi seems less compelling of a character now that he’s no longer Bok Joo’s crush and I find it harder to get into the current story-line with him and Dr. Go. In a show like this, there seems to be a tendency to get every character paired up when that might not necessarily be the main story for them. Take for example Coach Choi – besides exploring Dae Ho, her and Coach Yoon’s love-triangle, I was hoping that the show would explore more of the fallout of her being fired and how that’s affecting her in light of her attachment to the team. Nonetheless, given that there are so many characters and relationships, the show is already doing a sufficiently good job in making them all compelling in their own ways without being repetitive. That in itself is not an easy feat and that’s what makes this show such an excellent show.