The more I watch this drama the more I’m struck by how this is the saddest romantic comedy I can ever recall! You know going into something like Dokkaebi that there is heartache on offer, but here I was not expecting the depth of sorrow and loss they’re exploring. More spoiler-ish content after the break.
I think it has to do with the fact that they both go back with their memories of all they’ve lived to date intact. If they were indeed going back with a clean slate, perhaps to see if they would indeed make the same choices because they had lived longer lives (I feel the way I feel, but I don’t remember any details) it would be far less poignant. But it’s the fact that they have left behind a beloved toddler who looks to be barely 14 or 15 months old and that she especially grieves that she cannot get back to him that makes me feel the loss.
Yeah, I get it that she’s surrounded by her mother who she loses in 10 years, and a father she’s made at for remarrying so quickly, but as that baby was not born until she was at least 36 and they got married 18 years ago, it was a very much long-awaited child. This trip back in time is crueler each time we’re treated to the laughing and supremely cute little Seo-jinnie (do you think the writer is a fan of Lee Seo-jin and thought the little mite looked as if he could be his progeny?), though the bit with him on Ban-do’s knee, watching the sad movie and sympathetically crying watching his dad crying was a moment of unadulterated adorableness and natural humor.
So far, the other sad (or potentially sad) elements are the ROTC crush (and isn’t he a fine specimen!) who not only comes from a sad and apparently dysfunctional split family who has fallen for her and therefore will have his heart broken by her leaving him for her ex (we might suppose), unless she can work some healing magic on him before she returns to the future. The same is true for the dancer – though if he can change her career path as he seems to be doing already, he might be making her much happier as she seems to be more career-focused. I’m just waiting for him to mess up his friend’s relationship with the cheerleader pal because that seems to be much on his mind.
The business of Ban-do and her mother (him being so struck by seeing her alive, helping her, buying her grapes) is so far the most positive thing in his favor. Mostly it seems like he’s operating on the belief that he’s getting this second chance because he made a mistake getting married to her the first time and that they were never meant to be a couple. It’s just when he remembers his son and the love he received from her mom that he seems to think otherwise. It doesn’t make him particularly likable when she’s crying so heartbreakingly whenever she’s overcome by her losses of the future life. It is interesting that her expression of grief and pain might just be what makes her most attractive to her new/past beau, as he’s limited to expressing his hurt through sarcastic remarks and oppositional life choices.
Is this an easy show to watch? Generally yes, but sometimes not so much.