I am usually not a big fan of romances, so I usually do not watch shows with titles like this. However, I was drawn to this drama because of the two leads – Yoo Ji-Tae and Lee Bo Young – both of whose work I’ve been incredibly impressed with previously.
Yoo Ji-Tae’s performance in Healer was extremely memorable, but unfortunately, I have not seen him in any other outstanding shows thus far. As for Lee Bo Young, I really enjoyed her performance in I Hear Your Voice and thought it was very memorable. I know she has had several outstanding dramas so far like Whisper and Mother, but I have not been able to catch them. After watching this show, I have to say their performances continue to shine. There’s just such a maturity and weight in their performances – they embody their characters, Jae-hyun and Ji Soo, so well and really convey the characters with their entire being. Ji Soo’s brokenness and misery is conveyed so evidently through the way she looks at people, how she speaks to others, and how she walks.
It’s unlikely that I will be blogging about every episode, but Episode 8 deserves a review because it marks a turning point for our leads. Both our characters take decisive and important steps ahead. Ji Soo calls Se-hoon and tells him that she will not proceed with the reunion of marriage. Her son, Young-min, sweetly shares that he will forgive her, because he knows she’s not comfortable staying with him. The mums at Young-min’s school attempt to ambush her and condemn her, unaware of how fiery she can be, and she proves to them that she is not to be messed with. It was honestly quite unexpected, especially as she responded to violence with even stronger violence at the end.
As for Jae-hyun, he rises up in heroic defense of Ji Soo, saying that if the video leaks and she loses Young-min, he will swoop in to take her. He convinces Ji-Soo not to proceed with the marriage reunion, but eve as she decides not to proceed, she also tells him that they should stay apart. He still wants to protect her, but respects her decision, hence he watches over her from afar. On the corporate battlefront, Jae-hyun decides to work with the prosecution officers and the investigation is now all out in the media.
As events start to overwhelm both our leads, they both go to a church, which Jae-hyun sought asylum in 1995. There, they find each other and sit outside the church and chat. Jae-hyun puts his arm around her and she does not reject him. Instead, she leans into him and tells him that she has been so afraid of the past, that she kept walking forward without looking back. However, her legs are now tired and she just wants to stay here today because “if we’re here, we will be okay.” Jae-hyun is completely silent throughout the last few minutes of the show, but Yoo Ji-Tae’s eyes and his frown convey his tender concern, quiet affection and calm protectiveness.
It’s not just the church, but being in each others arms is an asylum for both of them. It was in the past, and it has once again become so now. The scenes from the past and present in this drama are so seamlessly weaved together that it does not seem as if one story is secondary to the other. Both the past and present stories are equally important. While we as viewers are discovering more of their past, our leads are also rediscovering their past and finding strength and their true selves in the past. I must say the music does a wonderful job of tying everything together as well – so stirring, moving and nostalgic. This show is like a rich tapestry that draws us in with its charm and beauty.
It’s a quiet yet powerful message about identity – even though our past may be painful, distancing ourselves from it and ignoring it only makes us weaker. For Jae-Hyun, he has already discovered his strength. For Ji Soo, we’ve seen her strength emerging in this episode – let’s hope her journey from this point onwards is not just forward, but upwards as well as she rises victoriously from her circumstances.