I have a love-hate relationship with cliches. But most of the time I end up liking it anyway. So, where do My Secret Romance stand in my book? In the middle.
When episode 5 ended, I hoped they won’t use that superficial it-can-be-solved-if-you-just-talk misunderstanding. Cha Jin-wook (Sung Hoon) and Lee Yoo-mi (Song Ji-eun) were being vague about their relationships with Joo Hye-ri and Jung Hyun-tae. But as I’ve said, at least they didn’t prolong it. The hospital scene felt somewhat needed to push our two main leads to show they actually care for each other. It only takes one call to make Yoo-mi run so worried to the hospital. And somehow, Jin-wook reminds me of those silly male leads from earlier K-dramas; doing anything, even if it would cause them harm for the girl they can’t even admit they like.
I think I have been neglecting this series’ supporting characters in my past reactions. I’ve been laughing hard every episode because of the comic interaction between Jin-wook and his secretary, Jang Woo-jin. I actually had an ‘aw moment’ when he looked contented watching Yoo-mi take care of Jin-wook at the hospital. I have to acknowledge PD-nim during scenes like this. Even without any dialogue, that certain shot conveyed that our lonely heir isn’t really alone as much as he believe he is. Someone actually cares. Speaking of a caring person, the cafeteria head is slowly showing she actually looks after her staff including Yoo-mi. She even gave her a hand cream and explained to Yoo-mi that her back pain is making her cranky. Now, if only I could have such scenes between Yoo-mi and her mother. At least the forgotten erotic actress, Jo Mi-hee, had some screen time in this episode. Mi-hee was always portrayed as a liberated and carefree mother. But when she saw her contemporary actress Lee Young-sook in the broadcasting studio, her insecurities and (maybe) longing on the should-have-beens were revealed. I think it’s a good foreshadowing on her impending confrontation with Yoo-mi. I kind-of seeing now where writer-nim wants me to take in terms of Yoo-mi’s relationship with her mom.
I guess this episode is really meant to give more hints on our characters’ maternal relationships. Without him realizing, Jin-wook admitted to Yoo-mi he can’t remember a lot of things about her own mother. The way Yoo-mi looked at him while he recites the few he knew about his mother makes me assume her prejudices to Jin-wook are slowly going away. I really wanted to believe he wasn’t just an annoying good looking boss. And I badly want this drama to show depth to this character.
Lovey-dovey sequences is what My Secret Romance does best. From back-hugs to date-but-not-really scenes, I’ve seen it all before. But cliches when done good can still affect its audience no matter how trite it is. I concede there are a lot of other better Korean rom-coms out there but I will maintain and stand with my love for Sung Hoon and Ji-eun’s on-screen chemistry. It works good with the series’ story premise which depends heavily on the main leads’ relationship. The two characters are now starting to see each other in a new light. For me, it is a step up in their relationship since they have been dragging the story for the past couple of episodes already. That scene where Yoo-mi volunteered to stay beside Jin-wook while he ate his breakfast shows that our female lead is starting to understand Jin-wook. I also like how Mr Three Meals a Day was scolded by Yoo-mi because of his spoiled brat tendencies. The story (finally, at last, yay) is starting to show how their relationship would change this two people for the better, I hope.
The storytelling seems to have a clearer goal now. The scenes being shown is a build-up to what I hope would be a worth-the-wait climactic episode. Or I’m expecting too much again?
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