First Impressions/Review: My Love Eun Dong ~ Episodes 1-4
At first it was Fall In Love with Soon Jung, now it is My Love Eun Dong, i guess there’s plenty of space for a drama getting titled My Secret Passion, Kwon Sang Seung or something; thanks a lot in advance, i promise to review/recap it! Don’t ask me why i started My Love Eun Dong, i don’t even know the reasons why, i should blame my dramatic sixth sense that was pointing towards the direction of deep feels. Let’s be honest, i have a radar inside my room, it’s called feel-o-meter and when i started reading about My Love Eun Dong it transmitted the right vibes and made me eager to find out what may be lying inside this drama’s world and here i am. After the first four episodes reached the end i can say that i don’t regret being a part of My Love Eun Dong’s pilot ride from my emotionally secure seat! Consider me a permanent citizen of this drama’s universe until it reaches the very end; i am ready for feels, how about you?
My Love Eun Dong tells the story of Park Hyun Soo (Joo Jin Mo) and his continuous journey in the discontinuous torrents of love among decades. What gradually became innocent and platonic was lost to be found anew and was able to dream and breathe under more palpable circumstances, but fate had a different plan and we arrive at the present. Before our main story unveils its contours it was essential to go through a glimpse of everything that happened in the past and become aware of the figures’ background looking at them through their ongoing emotional prism. Everything started 20 years ago and at the present Hyun Soo under the name Ji Eun Ho tries to find Ji Eun Dong (Kim Sa Rang) in an attempt to recollect the shattered pieces space and time left scattered on his heart’s soil. The only reason he always wanted to become famous was to find Eun Dong and cherish life by her side. It’s an ongoing struggle between blurry memories and a reality filled with longing and heartache. His fame alongside his autobiography are his last vanguards in this devastating journey with only one destination; Eun Dong.
At first we meet the youngest versions of Hyeon Soo (Junior of GOT7) and Ji Eun Dong (Lee Ja In) in their 10s when everything began back in 1995. It was a rainy day and Hyeon Soo almost hit Eun Dong while riding a motorcycle, but his maneuvering prevented her from getting severely harmed. He already had problems with the law because he didn’t have a driver’s license and had Eun Dong not appeared at the court he would had been sent to the detention center. Hyeon Soo not only took her to the hospital, but as days were passing by he kept caring more and more about her, especially after he found out that her only relative was her dying grandmother. Eun Dong helped Hyeon Soo at the court because she wanted him to become a nice person, it’s a sacrifice she wouldn’t like to be in vein. Ever since we could witness Hyeon Soo’s gradual change into a better and more considerate person. Eun Dong’s story touched him deeply to the extent it could bring tears to his eyes, even though he never was a person that would shed tears at life’s sad aspects.
Stealing secretly food from his parents’ fridge, helping her with washing their clothes, ruining his own shoes to look like Eun Dong’s in order not to make her feel uncomfortable and eventually buying for her a new pair of shoes are just a few acts of sincere, platonic and unconditional affection and caring on Hyeon Soo’s behalf, but also Eun Dong waiting for him outside of his school and spending time with him was her own part of silent admiration while interacting with a person she could relate to finding comfort throughout the hardships of life and also being able to talk about her dream which was no other than to become a famous actress in order to find her mother. What once was gratefulness and feeling indebted to Eun Dong’s kindness on Hyeon Soo’s behalf and what once was having faith in him in becoming a better person and finding someone she could talk to and forget about everything overburdening her at such a young age on Eun Dong’s behalf grew into something pure that would haunt their young lives after Eun Dong’s grandmother passed away.
At that time Hyeon Soo lost her for the first time because she was adopted right away while he was at the hospital after getting beaten up by the motorcycle gang he used to belong to after they badmouthed Eun Dong in front of his very eyes. After he got released from the hospital he went to Eun Dong’s house, but it was as empty as his world was about to become. Keeping dear to his heart the letter and a pair of shoes just like the ones he bought for her he was left devastated by the sudden turn of events. In a blink of an eye he lost her and promised to find her. Just like Patra found Nero at the story she was reading to her grandmother, she had promised to recognize him from his warm and caring back, the one that had returned her back home on a rainy day. He moved to Seoul with his parents and started dreaming of becoming an actor in order to become famous and meet Eun Dong just like Eun Dong wanted to become an actress to find her mother.
Ten years have passed and Hyeon Soo (Baek Sung Hyun) never gave up trying to find Eun Dong (Yoon So Hee). He got into college after the third attempt, but his parallel dream of becoming an actor wasn’t flowing well! Even though he didn’t have much talent he tried really hard, but everything was ending in failure and we witnessed many hilarious scenes while trying to work on his facial expressions, performing tap dance and failing at his auditions and acting attempts! His manager is a “friend” from the motorcycle gang days, Lee Hun Bal (Kim Hyung Kyu). Eventually, Hyeon Soo decided to join the army and he got assigned to work at the city hall where he was having a hard time since an idol actor was there as well and his fans were appearing all the time bringing more work upon Hyeon Soo’s shoulders! One rainy day a girl almost hit him with her bicycle and she fell on the ground. He instantly recognizes her and he can’t hold back his tears as Eun Dong’s shivering filled with emotion! Both of them found themselves in a dreamlike state and later on at the restaurant Hyeon Soo’s almost at loss for words since he’s absorbed by Eun Dong’s beauty, he’s even embarrassed to look at her as he’s heart racing!
The change upon him is omnipresent once again while singing and dancing at home with his parents and sister being unable to read through the lines! Spending time together was essential and he not only gets to know her last name but what she’s been up to all this time. She’s teaching Korean to grandmas and she’s in the fourth year at the university studying literature. Amidst flashback scenes and the current present’s magic the moments they meet grow in numbers and she even cheers for him at his workplace! Hyeon Soo’s enamored by Eun Dong’s presence in his life and the more he sees her the more he loses himself in her, but he’s not the only one! Eun Dong’s feeling the same way, but she played a little trick on him by not giving him an answer on whether she has a boyfriend or not! It’s something he can’t stand and asks for his sister’s help! Park Hyun Ah (Kim Yun Seo) appears at the bar where Hyeon Soo had been drinking while in the background Bon Jovi‘s Always is rocking the place with love! All he wants to know is how to steal Eun Dong from her boyfriend, a brother-sister relationship is not to his liking at all!
A grandmother at Eun Dong’s class definitely approves of the young couple and both of them secretly enjoy the lovey ambiance! Hyeon Soo wants Eun Dong to watch a movie with him, as for whether he’s a brother or a man to her? He will take care of his feelings and she should start caring about her own! During their picnic there was a scene of immense affection as she was reading the poem he had memorized while he was at the hospital ten years ago and he was protecting her eyes from the sun with the palm of his hand, that scene could only get surpassed by a rainy scene of ever-flowing love! She appears in front of the cinema and she walks shyly, just like when she was waiting for him in front of his high school, as both of them are wearing the pair of shoes they exchanged in the past. After having watched The Notebook he tries to hold her hand and step by step he achieves it. Even though he thinks she’s got a boyfriend, he can’t give her up and he wouldn’t expect anything else if her heart felt the same way. It’s always the rain and as they find shelter inside a call box she urges him to increase the amount of love! A slow, romantic, old school, affectionate kiss completes the scene as they are unaffected by the pouring rain around them!
Hyeon Soo appearing at Eun Dong’s workplace and staring at each other through the glass was a moment of blissful silence and the grandma made it happen by urging everyone to remain silent! Now that he’s happier with Eun Dong in his life everything starts flowing well and he will get auditioned for a supporting role that could actually have a positive impact on him! During dining time Hyeon Soo lets his parents know that his sister wants to marry someone and all the expected questions pop up making her life uncomfortable! Hyeon Soo takes her side urging them to stop asking senseless questions since it’s the person that matters! Soon the truth comes to the surface, the man Hyun Ah’s in love with is a cancer patient she’s taking care of, but she’s not mad at Hyeon Soo since he helped her tell the truth to her parents. Through her brother’s reactions at the table she also understood Eun Dong’s background when it comes to her real parents. Even though she had told him that her adoptive parents were treating her well it definitely wasn’t the truth, but her father can’t prevent her from traveling with Hyeon Soo by bus where she reminds him of their song!
Days have passed and Hyeon Soo inevitably wonders whether she’s still seeing the other guy and during the tension of the moment he mistook her ring as one of his presents and threw it inside the water at the park. The truth behind the ring is that it was her mother’s and he jumped into the water to find it! He had found it, but he intended to give it to her after she would come back with a towel. He kept waiting and waiting, but the only thing that came was the rain. On her way to bring Hyeon Soo a towel Eun Dong was hit by a car and was transferred to the hospital and for the second time they were bound to part ways.
Ten years later, Park Hyeon Soo has changed his name to Ji Eun Ho (Joo Jin Mo) and it’s always related to Eun Dong. His most alive memory with her is a video of just a few seconds and he’s watching it over and over again to keep her memory alive in his mind and feel closer to her. The reason behind his autobiography is to find Eun Dong, his one and only fiancée. As for dating Young Sun Group’s oldest daughter, Jo Seo Ryeong (Kim Yoo Ri), it’s just a rumor, he only see her as a good friend. Except for the video, he always returns to the same place at the park and eagerly prays for Eun Dong’s presence. The only reason he became a famous actor was to reach this point in his life and try to find her once and for all.
He doesn’t intend to write the book on his own and his manager found a ghostwriter for him, Seo Jung Eun (Kim Sa Rang) who’s eager to work for the renowned actor Eun Ho. It’s just the beginning of a quirky and deeper connection since Eun Ho will be contacting her with the recordings of his memories and various information concerning everything that has to do with Eun Dong whom he holds dearly close to his heart, just like their very own song. Eun Ho is the mastermind of his past and Jung Eun is the one structuring his memories into a book form. Jung Eun’s life is tough, she has to take care of her husband, Choi Jae Ho (Kim Tae Hoon), who’s on a wheelchair and their son, Choi Ra Il (Park Min Soo), whereas at the same time she’s working as a part-timer at a store and on very specific days she progresses Eun Ho’s autobiography which isn’t really an autobiography but the cartography of his heart. “My Love Eun Dong” is the title of his forthcoming book and was conceived by Jung Eun.
Going throughout Eun Ho’s memories, as time passes by they echo differently in Jung Eun’s mind, especially the name “Eun Dong” and flashbacks of utterly blurry memories emerge to the surface as she maintains a connection of the song and the moment it became more precious in Eun Ho and Eun Dong’s lives. There’s a reason behind her blurry memories who felt as if she was hallucinating while losing herself way too much inside someone else’s story. See dwells in the empty waters of amnesia that occurred after a car accident, the same car accident that separated Eun Dong from Hyeon Soo ten years ago.
Her adoptive mother tries to hide everything related to her life before the accident and her father makes her feel guilty for her husband’s condition and considers her a constant sinner for this. On top of that, her mother-in-law accuses her of not taking care of her husband properly even though she was the one whom her husband tried not to hit with the car and ended up in a wheelchair. Her father had his own benefits from that accident, i can’t know for now what deals took part in the background and how Eun Dong found herself married with a child, but one thing is for certain, her adoptive father’s coaching career was benefited from this and he sacrificed his daughter’s memories, dreams and whole life for his own ambitions.
The doctor Jung Eun had been visiting with her husband has been Hyeon Soo’s sister, Hyun Ah who’s currently a single mother since her husband eventually passed away. In order to move on with the marriage and her life she ran away from home and she never looked back ever since. Another coincidence has to be the fact that Hyeon Soo’s mother who has never seen her granddaughter buys clothes for Hyun Ah’s daughter from the store where Jung Eun works as a part-timer. All in all, Jung Eun or most preferably Eun Dong is surrounded by Hyeon Soo and his family! Hyun Ah urges Jung Eun to give it a shot and try to recover her memories and she’s the only one actually supporting her in her decision. As the episodes were passing by the grandmother from the Korean class who used to have Hyeon Soo’s letter in case she appeared recognized her and so did Hyun Bal (Kim Yong Hee) who has become quite successful and he’s currently the president of the company promoting Eun Ho.
Hyun Bal and Seo Ryeong doesn’t want Eun Ho to meet his ghostwriter because it would inevitably mean that he would definitely find Eun Dong in Jung Eun’s existence. Hyun Bal doesn’t want this meeting to take place because it would go against his ambitions since the relationship between Eun Ho and Seo Ryeong wouldn’t progress, not that it would progress anyway, but if it had a 1% chance of blooming now it doesn’t stand a chance. Seo Ryeong swims in the waters of one-sided love and she doesn’t want to lose Eun Ho, even though he only sees her as a friend. She’s willing to try to hide the sun, Eun Dong, from his eyes and it’s one more reason to join forces with Hyun Bal. However, Jung Eun’s voice has already started echoing differently to his ears and he started making connections to Eun Dong despite the information about her that points towards a different person, he won’t rest until he finally meets his ghostwriter who’s no other than the ghost of Eun Dong awaiting for its awakening!
Thoughts: I can’t deny it, there are many clichés all over the place and during the first four episodes of My Love Eun Dong they have already made their appearance. There’s the adoption factor, there are family secrets, there was an accident which caused amnesia when love’s most precious bird was just learning how to fly, there are villainous parents and figures, there’s unrequited love and of course there’s fated love against all odds and everything which derives from it. Some call it fate, some others refer to it as a massive explosion of coincidences parading in front of our very eyes one after the other, but humble experience has shown that it’s just a part of the world of South Korean dramas!
One could easily ask what could make this drama a pleasing and eventually rewarding sight to someone’s eyes. There are quite a few possible answers and one of them is the acting factor and along with it pace the nature of the characters and the way the actresses and actors embed all the necessary vibes each and every figure asks for. It always depends on how many feels you can handle. Apparently, since you’re watching South Korean dramas there are many feels and you obsessively ask for them, so it’s always a positive aspect! My feel-o-meter has already entered the heartfelt area and i am certain there are more feels coming our way.
Amidst glimpses of bliss one can easily notice tremendous amounts of pain lurking in the background waiting for the right moment to come to the surface. I don’t know about you, but once i get attracted to a drama i have already invested my forthcoming time in it beforehand so the more the pain the better if the scenario flows in a like-minded tone. Of course, there’s always hope for an emotionally rewarding ending, especially when you can find quite many irritating figures throughout a drama and My Love Eun Dong has plenty of them. I would like to put them in a row and punish them all alone by myself until i have found some peace of mind.
Irritating figures are unavoidable with so many clichés, but sometimes their very presence makes the longing for more feels even greater and My Love Eun Dong has all the required potential! I am still cautious though since there’s always a chance of this drama turning into a makjang paradise and a noble idiocy hideout, but i deeply hope all this longing and the desire for unfulfilled love to finally burst into millions of mutual lasting fireworks will find its way. I talked about acting a while ago and it’s definitely one of My Love Eun Dong’s strongest aspects. Within the first four episodes all of the main and secondary figures make their appearance, but the main couple throughout its sparse meetings and separations always manages to be in the foreground whether they are together or apart, even when none of them appears on screen it’s always about them. Truth be told, i love the fact that the main couple haunts each and every aspect of this drama, after all it’s all about them!
I highly enjoyed Junior‘s presence on screen, somehow he reminded me of Yoo Ah In when he was younger. He depicted perfectly well young Hyeon Soo’s transformation and shyly blooming internal world. Lee Ja In shone as well and she’s a rough diamond at this very moment, time shall tell whether she’ll be able to shine even further in the future in the vicious world of dramas/movies, but for the time being she was always spot on when it comes to younger Eun Dong’s kindhearted and innocent soul and essence. Baek Sung Hyun and Yoon So Hee were a humble apocalypse to my eyes, i could fall any second for So Hee’s astonishing beauty and both of them lived up to my expectations as our story’s couple in their 20s after ten years of absence. All the intensity, beauty and awkwardness which derived from their sudden meeting were breathing the air they deserved to breathe while at the same time they were exhaling all the representative vibes.
My Love Eun Dong doesn’t only evoke feels, pain and hate according to the figures and their interactions, there are also hilarious moments! In the past it used to be Junior and Sung Hyun with their quirky presentation on Hyeon Soo’s growing character whenever the occasion was asking for it, now it’s Joo Jin Mo‘s turn to fill in the laughter factor! At first it always used to be about Hyeon Soo and Eun Dong and in the way their lives were progressing towards one another, now it’s all about the way Eun Ho’s personality has developed throughout the years in Eun Dong’s absence. He’s seemingly an unsocial person who doesn’t possess the art of communicating with other people and he’s often being misunderstood as rude or odd, but underneath his seemingly cold shell lies a heart pounding brighter than a thousand suns and he actually has his own hilarious moments! They are always related to his personality and in the way he’s unable to understand what could he be doing wrong in his interactions with other people! The military housemaid was priceless and he finally found a teacher!
Joo Jin Mo does a really good work in presenting Eun Ho’s multifaceted characteristics, but you have to love Kim Sa Rang‘s interpretation as well as Eun Dong imprisoned in the forced reality of Jung Eun. The way she breathes through Eun Ho’s recordings is a louder than silence awakening as Eun Dong’s name starts echoing differently to her ears with the passing of time. Her expressions and all the hints that point towards the direction that she could actually be Eun Dong are always carved on the canvas of her face with the most intense of colors. The more she dives in Eun Ho’s half part of the story the more her own half part of it struggles to blossom and you can sense her boiling internal world through Sa Rang’s interpretation.
I am highly looking forward to the next episodes and i hope they won’t get overshadowed by tremendous amounts of hate instead of the more than welcome amounts of feels. I came here for the kiwis of love and found the watermelons of wrath! I like Kim Yoo Ri (The Master’s Sun, Kill Me, Heal Me) as a second leading female figure in general, she always manages to present all the necessary amounts of feels, hate or quirkiness and i am glad i could find her here as well. In addition, she’s a real pleasure to my eyes and no matter how villainous her character may be, well, i can’t help it but secretly love her! After his exceptional interpretation as the ultimate villain in the world of bullying, embezzlement, etc in Angry Mom i was really curious to see Kim Tae Hoon in a different role and Jae Ho is quite an intriguing figure making me curious about his internal world which has already started falling apart once the signs started pointing towards the most unwanted direction when it comes to Jung Eun; Eun Dong. His physical scars are related to Eun Dong, but his life isn’t sincere and stands in the shadow of two families’ secrets, i am curious to find out how he will progress as a character.
Concluding, i love the sense of rain in My Love Eun Dong, it’s characteristic of these very specific grains of sand in time’s infinite hourglass when they met, but it’s also highly representative of the moments they shared and when they were separated. It’s nature’s element that defines perfectly well their unfortunate relationship quenching their thirst at times, but mostly flooding the void within. The excessive use of flashbacks connects the past at the present as the blurry puzzle in Jung Eun’s mind starts taking shape, the one of Eun Dong. The narrative tone throughout Eun Ho’s recordings are not only a declaration of his most profound love, but also a heart-awakening moment in Jung Eun’s unawareness. I want more towards the right direction, the one of a love craving for mutual completion and not a hate-fest with all these irritating figures!