The reunion project of Nana and Park Sung-hoon went on quietly. I’m torn whether I’m happy or not that this didn’t gain the recognition that much. You know when we all have that one drama we want to keep to ourselves as a mini secret? We love it so much we don’t want anyone else to know about it. And for 2020, this is my mini gem. I can’t say it’s the best K-drama this year BUT it definitely will not disappoint.
Into The Ring built its universe around the life of its main character Goo Se-ra. She is unapologetic, genuine, funny. Nana was perfect for the role. She was so much fun to watch. Goo Se-ra’s underdog story was believable because of how Nana was able to catch the perfect facial expressions required – cartoon-ish smirk and all. On the other hand, Park Sung-hoon’s Seo Gong-myung perfectly complimented our girl. His almost emotionless face and awkward gestures balanced the bubbly Goo Se-ra.
Mawon-gu District Assembly
Se-ra started her journey as a District Representative for Mawon-gu because of money. Well, it’s just because she doesn’t have a stable job and her mom sold off their house to the bank as collateral, so in short, they needed instant moolah to pay the loan amount. She got the idea to enter politics because of Gong-myung, her childhood friend-turned-boss, while she was working as a graphic artist in the Mawon-gu Community Service Center. Though her stint at the service center was short because of her fault (she couldn’t help but intervene in a very important meeting), this changed her life forever.
Gong-myung dryly mentioned how district representatives worked with the most minimal effort while receiving hundreds of dollars as salary. This motivated Se-ra to enter politics, specifically join the local elections, in hilarious fashion and eventually, make her way into the halls of Mawon-gu District Assembly.
Even though she was running as an independent, she was not alone in her fight. Her longtime friends helped her all the way – from giving name cards and pamphlets to making her public speeches. Kwon Woo-young (Kim Mi-soo), a working mom used to be their Top 1 in the entire school, had to take a break in her career to raise her child. I hate the injustice that Woo-young faced on her own. I was so into those moments when she ranted out against the machismo in the workplace and the unfair treatment among working mothers! It’s somehow disappointing that those moments were just her imagination and in reality, she really couldn’t speak up because she still wanted to leave a good impression behind so that she could find another job with a clean image.
Meanwhile, her other best friend Jang Han-bi (Shin Do-hyun), who is the owner of the manhwa cafe that became their headquarters, used to be a Judo athlete who won a gold medal at a national sports festival. Her back story was really sad, though. Having to quit the sports you love because of the guilt you bear for causing the injury of another player. Good thing, the bright kid Kim Ja-ryong (Choi Go) arrived in their lives. Cutie Ja-ryong was a mirror of the trio’s personalities combined – smart like Woo-young, passionate like Se-ra, and chill like Han-bi. That kid was my favorite part of the headquarters, too.
Goo Family Book
Se-ra’s family was super fun as well! Dad (Ahn Kil-kang) used to be a friend of Gong-myung’s estranged dad and drama villain Jo Maeng-duk (Ahn Nae-sang). He is an upright person and I’d like to say typical. He cares a lot for his family and even Gong-myung, too. Mom, on the other hand, was the comic part of this household. She would get easily scammed by other people! I love Se-ra’s parents so much because of how they treat Gong-myung as their own! Those fun moments of Gong-myung in the Goo household were super cute; I want more!
When Se-ra and Gong-myung started dating, their teamwork also went off the charts. They began dealing with every complaint together and probed past corruption scandals smoothly. The main controversy that they had to deal with was the Smart One City project, a corruption-laden initiative that was years in the making. They unearthed several issues – labor, environmental, graft – it’s all there. It’s a pretty scary deal, to be honest, and I am amazed at how the writer was able to tie loose ends up in the most realistic way.
The most triggering part of this project was the discovery of the abandoned memorials of those who died in the Sarang Resort Fire many years ago in the construction site, including Gong-myung’s dongsaeng Jung-dae. He was one of the fatalities of the fire incident, and his death was used by Jo Maeng-duk for political gain. As awful as it may sound, it’s what happened and no redemption arc was given to Gong-myung’s dad until the end. He may have apologized to Gong-myung but it happened because he lost the elections and his allies! I was satisfied that Gong-myung did not accept his apology and moved forward with his life.
Cute Couple of the Year
I will miss Se-ra and Gong-myung’s love for each other. Nana and Park Sung-hoon had this oozing chemistry that I almost want to root for them in real life. Or maybe can they just work together for the third time? Those little smooches and reassuring hugs were the best part of this drama!
When they discovered the memorials at the trash pile, Se-ra knew Gong-myung would feel bad about it. With no hesitation, she stayed with his boyfriend for days, without asking for anything. She just let him feel her presence and it’s all that matters.
- I aspire to be possessed by Se-ra whenever I overthink
- This may be an unpopular opinion, but I liked what they did to Se-ra’s ex-boyfriend Kim Min-jae (Han Jun-woo). Whatever happened to him was because of own volition, and his decision to leave was the best thing he did for himself. I also liked how he did not turn out to be the bitter ex!
- Se-ra really knows what to say at the right time
- At first, I thought Representative Yoon Hee-su (Yoo Da-in) would form a love triangle with our OTP. Her uneasy alliance with Se-ra was a big help for our heroine during her term at the District Assembly.
I will the small moments of Se-ra and Gong-myung, most specially the way they take care of each other whenever some things don’t go as planned! This drama has a high re-watch value and I can’t wait to re-visit Mawon-gu again in the future!