Just Between Lovers is my first foray into melodrama in years.
That’s not a bad thing. My very first melo was early in my k-drama days with That Winter, The Wind Blows. Song Hye Kyo and Jo In Sung were magnificent and enchanting with their character portrayals, but it was a very emotionally exhausting drama to watch. Again, that’s not a bad thing. Melodramas aren’t for everyone. It’s important to note that emotions and events can often be grossly exaggerated, which is why I state that these types of dramas can be very exhausting and difficult to get through at times.
Nonetheless, I was really drawn to Just Between Lovers for its premise. To avoid any spoiler-y tidbits, I’ve added the rest of the content below. If you haven’t watched this drama yet, please be careful as I do mention some things that happen in the first four episodes.
Our main characters meet through tragedy—the collapse of the new mall they’re in, the S Mall. Through they don’t know each other, this event causes both of them to lose someone they love in the wreckage, and the traumatic event has stayed with them through adulthood.
Ha Moon So loses her younger sister. As her mother has always doted on the youngest, the loss is especially devastating to her. Moon So’s parents eventually separate and her mother becomes a drunk. Maybe partly due to survivors guilt and a need to take responsibility for what happened that day, Moon So does her best to take care of her heartbroken mother, Yoon Ok. Yoon Ok spends most of her days in a drunken stupor, and it’s Moon So carrying her mother’s weight and heavy burden. The family spa business would have been closed if it wasn’t for Moon So’s constant work and diligence.
While Moon So’s job is to create architectural models from building blueprints, she’s also highly critical of the designs and tries to find fault in design that could potentially lead to structural weaknesses and flaws. It’s clear she’s deeply affected and tormented from her past and does not want another event like the S Mall collapse to occur again. How deep her trauma runs is yet to be determined as she hasn’t talked about it, but considering what I’ve seen of her character, she’s exhibiting telltale signs of PTSD.
Gang Doo is a bit of a lose cannon. At the S Mall collapse, he loses his father. His soccer dreams are shattered when his leg is pierced with rebar (reinforcing bar). Gang Doo is just going through the motions of life without a care in the world—except for making sure that his younger sister is financially taken care of. He’s often getting into fights and has very little to his name. There’s no doubt that Gang Do is trapped in the past and living with PTSD from his horrible dreams reliving the tragedy.
He has crossed paths with Moon So a few times already, so I’m curious to see how they’ll connect as the story progresses. They seem to be getting closer and opening up to each other, but Moon So is completely oblivious to Gang Doo’s true identity. On the other hand, Gang Doo recognizes her and is slightly hurt that she is unable to recognize him. Sadly, Gang Doo has no idea that Moon So whacked her head during the collapse and is very hazy on details.
I’m really anxious to see how these characters develop and if they can overcome the past tragedies that have shaped them. The tone of this drama is pretty dark and sad, but I think the directing and story is fairly strong out of the gate. As this is a melo, we spend a lot of time becoming familiar with the agony of our leads, so their history is revealed in small pieces. We see how they’re surviving in the present world and how it has hardened and kept them at an emotional distance from everyone else around them. I wouldn’t say that it’s a perfect drama so far because no drama is perfect, but I think all the key factors are present to keep me engrossed in the story.
As far as the drama, I’m bracing myself. I’m more of a rom com girl. Sometimes I do try a psychological thriller or crime drama, but romantic comedies are my personal preference. I have no idea how this drama is going to develop, but I care enough about the characters and I don’t mind some of the more emotionally dramatic moments. Time will tell, but for now, I’m sticking to Just Between Lovers and hoping for the best.
I don’t want to go into too many details or this would morph into an episode recap, but let me know your thoughts below. Are you watching Just Between Lovers? Or will you be watching it? I’m curious to know how everyone else is reacting to this drama.