Where to begin?
To be honest, writing this is more difficult than I thought. How could I be heartbroken, again? Well, I’m not alone on this one. Big hugs to all Team Jung Hwan!! After three weeks not reading any related articles, I can finally move on.
PD Shin & Writer Lee made Reply 1988 frustratingly amazing and heart wrenching all the way. Kudos! I can’t even compare it to the first two series. Though Reply 1988 became a bitter chocolate to swallow, it is definitely on a league of its own.
FAMILY & FRIENDSHIP
If you have watched the franchise from Reply 1997, you know by heart that the central theme will always revolve around family and friendship. I decided to watch Reply 1988 without the husband hunt purely on my mind because I know that I will be drawn loving each family and its members.
Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa is still the best couple. But I was so happy to be introduced to another couple that made Reply 1988 memorable. The chemistry of Kim Sung Kyun and Ra Mi Ran far outweighed any of the love team in this series. I know I already love Kim Sung Kyun as Samcheonpo in Reply 1994, he just proved the reason why I shouldn’t let go of that love here. And since they are the married couple who produced Jung Hwan and Oppa Jung Bong, their family is truly blessed! I think I cried more watching their family grow closer. I’ve witnessed how they struggled and how they went through the hardship together with their heart intact. Amidst the wealth, they never forget to share their blessings to all the people that surround them. Ra Mi Ran had me laughing and crying like there’s no tomorrow. I just love her character!
Each family brought different emotions that touched the deepest corners of my heart. Once again, The Reply series reminded me the importance of family, the importance of our parents!! We always read that as we add years into our own life, we forget our parents are getting older too. We sometimes forget the value of hard work our parents went through to help us get to where we are now. The tribute of Jung Hwan and Deok Sun to their parents is so sweet, to say the least. It’s a great reminder that we should be grateful to our parents and they deserve our love more than what they have given us. That kind of love is still the best love we can give because we are honouring the most important people in our life.
What an amazing display of love! That alone still makes me a satisfied viewer of this franchise.
BROMANCE & BRO-CODE
This was a refreshing way to see a beautiful relationship between two amazing men. When both of them found out that they like the same girl, they never thought of challenging each other for Deok Sun. Instead they decided to give way for each other, even though it hurts, for the sake of their friendship. When Taek backed out to give way for Jung Hwan, that is undeniably a showmanship of respect. I cried along with him when he did that.
I was looking forward to hear them talk about Deok Sun. They really surprised me for not doing so. This proved the depth of their friendship because without any explanation, they just understand each other. Taek and Jung Hwan managed to show us a different level of love and respect between two friends. No woman could ever break them apart! Great job guys!
I never thought that neither Taek nor Jung Hwan is better than the other. Both of them are endearing on their own. The story explained to us that, its not the best guy who will get the girl. It’s actually the guy who had the courage to love, without holding back. Since there is a bigger risk at stake, it takes a man who is daring enough to lose everything to gain the woman he loves.
TAEK & DEOK SUN
Taek, I knew you’d be deadly. His facade is so innocent but he is bursting with confidence within. He’s fierce and invigorating despite showing us that he’s tired most of the time. He is a beautiful contradiction. He should not be brushed aside simply despite of his weaknesses.
I usually fall for the nice guy *coughChilBongcough* so Taek is really my type. Taek took his chances whenever possible, without fear or hesitation. He went after his love and proved to Deok Sun that he can give up anything for her. The moment I watched Episode 18 with subtitles and heard that Taek forfeited the game to go after Deok Sun, I just knew this was a big move for him that will change the course of his love story.
Since Chil Bong made my heart stronger after the heartbreak, I can happily move on because it is Deok Sun’s decision after all. I am not upset that Taek (Park Bo Gum) was the husband but I’m not ecstatic that this was the ending either. I will not say bad things about Taek because I love him as an individual character who showed us that it takes courage to go after someone you love and risk everything for. He knows how important Deok Sun is in his life. For that alone, I rest my case.
DEOK SUN & JUNG HWAN
It all started at the alley scene. I’ve felt the intense chemistry right then and there, they were too close for comfort! Jung Hwan discovered for himself that not only does he like Deok Sun but she’s a woman to him. The sexual tension he felt confirmed it. Then the bus scene happened wherein Jung Hwan’s veins almost exploded out of his skin, then the umbrella scene.. I can go on and on you know! And his biggest struggle all this time was, keeping his feelings all to himself. That’s difficult dude! Concealing what you truly feel is harder than expressing it out loud. He was acting coolly, but deep inside he’s going crazy in love already.
The confession scene felt more meaningful to me after I’ve watched everything again. In Jung Hwan’s perspective, he thought he’s the only one who likes Deok Sun. At some point he was on the same page with her, but upon looking closely he grabbed the wrong book! I mean, when he said that the early bus scene ride going to school was a coincidence, I cried after listening to him. If only he knew that for the first time in Deok Sun’s life, she woke up early just to catch up with him and ensure they are together going to school that day. She even waited for it to happen, it was not a coincidence!! Deok Sun was smiling from ear to ear upon seeing Jung Hwan. He was so stupid not to have noticed that he was the reason she went to school earlier than usual.
Add to that, at one point she even faked a sprained ankle just to hold your hand, Jung Hwan-ah! Damn. This is why Jung Hwan’s unrequited love felt more painful than any other I’ve seen. The fact that he did not confess what he truly feels at the moment where it matters, crashed my heart a million times over. It is true, we regret the chances we didn’t take.
The possibility of what could have been will only be left in our imagination now.
Every time he smiles, the heart ache is gone.
That’s why, no matter how frustrated I was with his character, his smile is my soft spot! It was Ryu Joon Yeol‘s fault that I became so forgiving. Coz honestly, Jung Hwan is infuriating. But damn, because of Ryu Joon Yeol’s impeccable charm, I fell for Jung Hwan! Ryu Joon Yeol stole my heart on this one when I wasn’t even expecting anything from him. He made Jung Hwan more than just a character in my Korean drama book. This guy surely knows how to make any woman’s heart flutter a million times over and break it all at the same time. Personally, more than the husband hunt, it was really Jung Hwan’s story of love that I cared more about. His love story is very relatable because love can be painful, not just sometimes.
Taek and Jung Hwan were given a chance equally. Jung Hwan made a huge mistake. He was given so many chances, to think he was living near Deok Sun already! Dude, she was literally few steps away from where you are! Jung Hwan said that his love was not something to regret nor is timing at fault nor the red lights. Actually, the fault was in the wallet. For me that wallet scene was the turning point because Taek backed off for him. But stupid Jung Hwan instead of stepping up to move forward, he stared at the wallet for days and thought harder than usual. He allowed love to slip away from him, countless of times.
Every episode we saw how he struggled with his feelings, and develop his love for DS. Jung Hwan was showered with chances that he didn’t take. It was his hesitation that truly made a difference, it left a piercing throb in the heart. If only his love was stronger than his fear, things could have been different. Every time I look at him, I could easily understand what he feels. Even if I don’t understand Korean, Jung Hwan speaks in a language that feels familiar. His facial expression was profound that I can hear his heartbeat for Deok Sun.
We’ve watched Korean dramas and the centre theme is always on “first love” that is framed to last forever. First love has become a “be all and end all” of most Korean love stories but we know in real life this often happens. Finally we have a character who represents those hearts that are broken by their first love, and learned the value of love because of it. He represented the kind of first love that could have been beautiful. Though it was planted, it didn’t bloom. Surely most of us made that mistake of not loving someone wholeheartedly when we still had the chance. For those who haven’t experienced this, let this be a lesson in love. There is nothing worse than holding back – every second counts.
It’s that time to say farewell again. This was really hard to write! But as much as I cried, I still felt the love for this series. PD Shin and Writer Lee made me an avid fan. Though I have one request – on the next Reply series, please don’t break my heart for the third time. Jebal.
See you next time!!