“Is there a rule saying how love should start in a certain way?” – Jo Mi-hee.
Importance of self-love
I had qualms about the trajectory for Lee Yoo-mi (Song Ji-eun) as a character in my last reaction but I ended up understanding where she’s coming from. Her inhibitions to be with Cha Jin-wook (Sung Hoon) was fairly reasonable. She’s not ready yet and she needed time. And Jin-wook gave her that. He let her be for awhile.
Jin-wook then used his time to also think about his self. He finally summoned the courage to face his mother. He really looked like a lost child when he cried during that touching meal scene with his mother. I have been rambling on how I wanted this conflict to be resolved in previous episodes but I think its timing was just right. Both Jin-wook and Yoo-mi needed to resolve their individual issues before they could go and love another person.
As it turns out, Jin-wook and Yoo-mi did not need to look far to find the person that will give them wisdom amid the chaotic state of their relationship. Jin-wook’s mother told him she actually met Yoo-mi and eventually realized it was the nutritionist involved in her son’s dating scandal. She let Jin-wook know that Yoo-mi thought about him. It made him realize his perseverance will not go in vain.
At the same time, Yoo-mi’s mother went on to another interview. I never thought free spirit woman, Jo Mi-hee, would be the one to deliver the words that would push Yoo-mi into action. This is I think I good way to close Yoo-mi’s conflict with her mother.
Supporting acts that mattered
All’s well that ends well for this drama. And my finale reaction will not be complete without mentioning supporting characters that have been part of our main leads’ journey.
Secretary Jang and Yoo-mi’s cafeteria buddies. I’ve been fond of Secretary Jang despite his robotic accent and questionable fashion sense. It’s probably because he is Jin-wook’s only friend. He looks after Jin-wook even more than his father, Chairman Cha. At least, Jin-wook in the end has settled things with both of his parents. On the other hand, Yoo-mi had a handful of support peers that she won over through her genuineness. I like how they have their own little moments in the ending although I do think that all of these characters weren’t fully utilize in the series.
Jung Hyun-tae and Joo Hye-ri. I don’t know what did I do to convince dramagenies to make my speculative ship a canon. Since their first encounter I thought that they should end up together. And they did! These two characters totally deserve it. I’ve seen how they treasured their respective unrequited love for a long time that it’s time for them to be happy. Hul, I didn’t expect I’d end up liking Hye-ri at all.
The happily ever after
After all the push and pull for Jin-wook and Yoo-mi, they finally decided to meet half way. Well, quite literally. I was grinning like a fool while watching their kiss scene at the office lobby. Most rom-com grand gestures involves one party chasing the other but I like how this time, both characters were so desperate to find the other. Jin-wook and Yoo-mi didn’t have to say any words that swoon-worthy kiss said it all.
It was clear from the start that this series will have the happily-ever-after ending. So, it was really the journey of these two main leads that mattered.
The character arcs for this drama was predictable yet a little bit refreshing. I have to admit that I was frustrated at some moments. I felt their characters are taking step backwards when they already made a progress but somehow, the actors make it work me. I also notice how both Jin-wook and Ji-eun didn’t solely rely on each other on overcoming their own fears. They held back on times that they needed space and resolved their inner conflicts on their own. Their story has been told in many ways before but Sung Hoon and Song Ji-eun have this undeniable chemistry that their scenes together were all romance gems.
I’m actually impressed by Sung Hoon’s acting skills. His sleeping-crying scene on the last episode, the car break-up, and his scene with his mother. These were just a few in which I really thought he could do well melodramas. I’m hoping he’ll be given a daebak role for his next project.
With its hot imperfect hero and admirable heroine, I will stand with my first impression that this rom-com felt like a live action of a shoujo manga. This series has surely filled up my “kilig” requirement each week. My Secret Romance had its highs and lows but in the end it fulfilled its promise: romantic escapism.
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