The second season of Yumi’s Cells started with an ending – Yumi’s breakup with Woong. Unlike her previous relationship, our protagonist Kim Yumi (Kim Go-eun) was the one who chose to end her relationship with Goo Woong (Ahn Bo-hyun). Her Love Cell pulled out the rarely used breakup card after trying to stir their relationship forward despite its obvious cracks. Before Yumi sinks with it, she walked away. But that doesn’t mean healing from the heartbreak was easier than her breakup with Ji U-gi.
This time, however, Yumi and her cells were able to survive the flood of tears day by day. The animation, just like in season 1, was very effective in showing the inner workings of Yumi’s mind. So the audience knows she’s struggling internally with her break-up but she coped up with the heartbreak like how most adults would – pretend to be okay until she really becomes okay. She excels in her new work in the marketing department and still socializes with her friends. But at the end o the day, when she comes home alone, that’s when she will let herself feel the loneliness that comes after spending most of her time with someone. I’m actually glad the series used an episode to show that Yumi didn’t jump from one relationship to another. It maintained the realistic flow they had in season 1 which really smoothly showed how one falls in and out of love and how being in a relationship can change you.
Yumi’s past relationships brought upon subtle changes in her life. But out of all her relationships, she has yet to meet someone who can change everything in her – including her priorities and prime cell. This promising possibility is what powered my excitement for the second season.
The real start of the second season is when Yoo Babi (Park Jin-young) officially became Yumi’s love interest. He is the lover anyone would wish to have, especially for someone like Yumi. He’s very perceptive and can figure out what the other person needs. Unlike Woong, Babi was someone who supported Yumi’s creative streak. His romanticism doesn’t end with flowery words or swoony gestures. He knew how to take care of and nurture Yumi’s Writer Cell. It is ingrained in him to take care of people around him – the same characteristic that shook (quite literally) his relationship with Yumi.
All of Yumi’s romantic relationships are different and imperfect in some ways. For Babi, his biggest and most heartbreaking flaw is that he is someone whose feelings can be swayed. He let himself fall for another woman while he was in a relationship. He couldn’t control his own emotions. Although I believe, his character arc in the webtoon is worse than the TV series version, his betrayal still hurts. It was infuriating how Babi can be perceptive to everything except his growing closeness with Yoo Da-eun (Shin Ye-eun). He should have put a clear line between them but he didn’t. And the worst part of Yumi’s Babi era is that Yumi loved Babi to the point that she was willing to compromise almost everything for him.
One of the highlight scenes of this season, for me, is the conversation between Love Cell and Hate Cell. Their conversation showed that Yumi has her own convictions about relationships and yet, Love Cell was bargaining about sacrificing it in order to save her relationship with Babi. It was at that point that it became clear Love Cell doesn’t fit to become Yumi’s Prime Cell anymore. She could have driven Yumi to ruin, if not for the intervention of the other cells. And this is the change I was talking about earlier.
Yumi’s heartbreak from her first break-up with Babi changed her to the core. But the fortunate thing was, it was for the better and not for the worse. It was a love that led to another kind of love – writing. Yumi’s aptly described her relationship with Babi with this line: “He was someone who made me the most excited and made me dream.” Babi is Yumi’s passionate love – the love that turned her life upside down, the love that took her to the highest of highs and pulled her down to her rock bottom, it is that love she had to go through before finding that one unconditional love.
This season, especially for those who read the webtoon, is supposed to be the build-up for Yumi’s final love. And, understandably, some viewers were disappointed with how the follow-up season came to be. A second season is always the hardest especially if the first season had a stellar run. The TV adaptation also decided to change most of the webtoon’s story – even incorporating some scenes that were supposed to happen in Shin Soon-rok’s era into Babi’s era. But I think such changes are inevitable realities in any adaptation. Even with those changes, I can still say the series was still able to stick to the story’s core – that this is always about Yumi.
Yumi’s Cells 2 is still about Kim Yumi but she is somewhat different from the Yumi we met in the first season. The main character we met in the past was okay with settling with the good enough. The main character in this season knew now the kind of love she deserve – romantic and all other kinds of love. Her journey in finding that one romantic love led her back to her love of writing, which brought her the same kind of happiness being in a relationship gave her. And in the end, for a heroine-centric story, that was a satisfying ending.
-I’m still hoping to see Soon-rok’s era.
-I could have paid for more episodes just to see the lovelines of Control Z and Ruby / Ahn Dae-young and Kang Yi-da.