Tag: must watch

Unnie Recommends: 3 Reasons Extraordinary You is a kdrama to tune into!

It’s comforting to know that we are the heroes/heroines of our own story, but what if you find out that you’re merely the supporting character of someone else’s fairytale? Would you resign yourself to the grand scheme of fate or will you try and change the path laid out for you? Our protagonist, or rather, supporting heroine, Eun Dan Oh, gets the shock of her life when she discovers that not only is she a character of a comic book, but that she’s only an extra!🤯

Extraordinary You offers a fresh perspective on leading roles as a supporting character realizes that she isn’t human and her life’s purpose is to serve as a bridge between the real leading lady and man of the book . Funny, entertaining, and has stunning cinematography and comic book style graphics, this kdrama is certainly a page turner in its own league.

Current Impression

*As of this writing, I’ve only watched until episode 4 of this kdrama.

It’s an age old question of destiny vs. freewill as Dan Oh goes to great lengths to change her predetermined fate as a student with a heart condition and is engaged to one of her classmates.

1. Ever wondered if a minor character told the main story in their perspective? In this comic book universe, this is how extras live and feel their existence.

Dan Oh first realizes that something is not right when she experiences memory loss such as when she was about to take a test in class; in the blink of an eye, she is done with her exam, with answers and all. With the help of another extra character, she learns that she has become self aware and that’s why she recognizes these gaps between scenes.

She also finds out that despite her nice background of being rich, kindhearted, and well loved by her classmates, she is not the heroine of the story. Entitled “Secret”, the comic book is set in Seuli high school where a love story between two of her other classmates, Oh Nam Ju and Yeo Ju Da, takes place. Along with this revelation, she comprehends the rules governing the comic book realm and realizes that despite wanting to say or feel something else, she speaks and acts how she ought to according to how her character is supposed to act.

Although she can act freely at times and upset the course of the comic book’s story, things always go back to how the writer intended events to occur. Actions such as not paying attention in class, wanting to buy strawberry milk, and avoiding accidents are attempted by Dan Oh but she hears the sound of a page turning a few seconds later and she goes back to her original planned scene and story. Frustrating right? That is, until one fateful day…

2. You’ll surely root and hate the characters of the comic book as each person has a distinct role to fill.

Like any book, each tale has a set of characters to pique our interests. It follows the bullied heroine and the bad boy with a heart of gold type of romance, complete with a 2nd male lead who falls in love with the leading lady. From left to right, meet the cast of “Secret”:

  1. Eun Dan Oh – The main, supporting character
  2. Yeo Ju Da – A transfer student who frequently gets bullied and is the actual heroine of the book
  3. Oh Nam Ju – Leader of his gang, “A3”, and develops a romantic interest on Ju Da
  4. Baek Kyung – Dan Oh’s fiance who doesn’t like her and is part of A3
  5. Lee Do Hwa – The other member of A3 and is the 2nd male lead who falls for Ju Da as well
  6. Ha Roo – The mysterious classmate who helps Dan Oh change her fate in the comic book
  7. Sae Min, Il Jin, Sam Jin, Ae Il – Dan Oh’s classmates in school

It is because of Ha Roo that Dan Oh doesn’t get her leg broken when she was supposed to and she goes on a manhunt to find him. She believes that he is the key to changing her fate. I think that he’s also a self aware character at this point and it will open up a whole new story with her, Ha Roo, and Baek Kyung as the love triangle. Oohhh, I am so excited for this show’s potential!

3. Just because we are supporting someone else’s story doesn’t mean we can’t become a main character in our own story. We are our own person no matter what!

Dan Oh’s character is someone who talks to herself a lot and has an animated persona due to her saying her thoughts aloud and doing hand gestures to express her being dumbfounded or determination in lots of scenes. It’s not that she wants to be the main character in the book itself, like replacing Ju Da or ruining the main leads’ romance, but she just wants to live a life that is decidedly hers.

Will Eun Dan Oh defy the odds of her supporting role and become her own lead character of her own story? Or is she meant to be a bystander in someone else’s story? I have such high expectations for Extraordinary You and hope that like how Dan Oh is forging her own fate, we pen the chapters of our life with choices and memories that we willingly make✨

Unnie Recommends: Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency

Do you leave your life in destiny’s hands or do you believe that you shape your own fate? What if our choices, despite being made on our own free will, is all part of a grander scheme to lead us to the very destiny that we are trying so hard to avoid?

Visually appealing, funny, romantic vibes laced with a bit of drama, Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency will surely be a match made in heaven to brighten up your weekday kdrama habit!🌸

Current Impression

I like that it’s not another ordinary show as the story centers around a trio of young men running a matchmaking agency. What tasks they do, how they work, and what problems they encounter when setting up 2 people in the Joseon dynasty era is a tale worth telling. For our titular Flower Crew, the friends consists of:

  1. Ma Hoon – Smart, aloof, and is the leader of the agency.
  2. Ko Young Soo – Handsome, a ladies man, and lives his life to the fullest.
  3. Do Joon – A happy-go-lucky trendsetter/fashionista who says the wrong things as he actually means another word.

They’ll meet Lee Soo, a blacksmith’s son who wishes to be set up with his childhood friend, Gae Ddong, the stubborn but hardworking leading lady of the show. Without spoiling too much, Lee Soo and Gae Ddong’s case was accepted but just as they were about to get married, fate intervenes leaving Gae Ddong without a groom to marry. Our trio will find themselves getting involved with a mystery much bigger than their cupid style moves. Add to the equation Gae Ddong joining their team soon so expect lots of mishaps and learning curve for our Flower Crew.

Of course, in true Joseon dynasty fashion, no story is complete without the presence of the Royal family. One of the King’s advisers is the head villain, along with the Queen who he helped put into a position of power. But this is the 1st period kdrama that I’ve watched featuring a weak, but nontheless, scheming Queen who is an annoying, wannabe antagonist if you ask me.

Smack dab in the middle of this romcom is a love triangle between Soo, Gae Ddong, and Hoon. Soo is clearly in love with Gae Ddong and has the most sincerest intentions for her while I’m sure she also cares for him deeply, I think she loves him more of as a friend than a romantic partner. With Hoon, they always fight with each other but he helps her nonetheless when she is desperate to find Hoon. This is the 1st kdrama where I’m not sure who the girl will end up with because both seem like leading men material so I’m excited about that!😁

Sparks flew, (un)pleasantries were exchanged, and the seeds of a new adventure awaits. Join the Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency gang as they tackle their futures together, weathering whatever destiny decides to throw their way!💓

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 27 & 28)

If someone has a different belief than yours, would you find theirs foolish or would you be open-minded enough to listen to their perspective? Prince Lee Rim and Officer Seong take matters into their own hands to save the innocent from getting hurt. Will they be able to convince other people of their cause or will they be shut down and punished for their actions?

Episode 27

Mo Hwa recalls her past when she was just starting out in Seoraewon. We learn that she was given an opportunity by one of the physicians to learn Western medical practices despite being a servant. She is a fast learner and meets Jae Kyung here too. She cries in despair remembering the exact moment she met Hae Ryung as a kid…so is she the physician’s daughter after all?👨🏻‍⚕️

The next day, we find that Jean has integrated well with the family of Nokseodang. He chops wood for them, gives Sam Bo a massage, pull a prank on him🥴, and even reads to them the story of Rapunzel. Being a hopeless romantic, Prince Lee Rim decides to recite the tale to Hae Ryung to impress her. Tsk tsk, hasn’t he learned anything from their 1st encounter? Even if she isn’t a fan of fairytales and its fantasy-like scenarios, she can still be romantic (and mischievous) in her own way, hehe.

Due to the foreigner not getting captured yet, guards have been assigned to patrol the royal residences, including Nokseodang. Sam Bo comes to his senses since they are harboring the fugitive and becomes worried. Hae Ryung comes up with a plan to distract the patrollers and help Jean escape. One by one, they each spread rumors that they’ve seen Jean in another part of the palace and that he eventually escaped. Hae Ryung confides in Seol Geum that she’s also seen the foreigner down the street with blood on his hands. She makes her promise not to tell anyone, but we all know that she’ll spread the rumor all over town anyway, hahaha! Hae Ryung’s plan works and the guards disperse outside the palace to search for Jean.

Sam Bo successfully leads Jean outside of the palace when the latter disguises himself as Prince Lee Rim. Hae Ryung meets with him in the village as he changes his clothes to eventually board a ship and leave the country. She urges him to hurry but when he doesn’t respond, she investigates the room and finds the robe he wore as a disguise neatly folded on the floor along with a letter. Jean writes that he is not really a merchant and that his true intentions for setting foot in Joseon was to find his long lost brother. He thanks them for everything and is glad that they made him feel welcome, a sentiment that his brother must have felt for staying there prior as well.

Episode 28

Jean finally meets with Mo Hwa as she gets teary eyed seeing him. She says that he resembles his brother a lot (Dr. Dominique) as he was one of the doctors who taught her about Western medicine. She takes him to an open field and Jean understands that he couldn’t have been permitted a proper burial because he was regarded as a criminal. He prays for his brother’s soul to rest in peace.

An announcement has been made all over Hanyang that if no one is able to bring Jean into custody, all the 73 people who were caught as Catholics inside the palace will be executed. The Crown Prince cannot believe that such an order was made though it is revealed that the Second State Councilor had a hand in this. Prince Lee Rim scrambles to find his royal robe to profess to his father that he is the one who hid Jean. He tells Sam Bo and Hae Ryung that he won’t get them into trouble and that they were just following his orders. Despite Sam Bo’s insistence that he won’t let the Prince go, the latter cannot stand by and let innocent people die. I think Hae Ryung was conflicted up to this point on whether or not to let him go, but him wanting to be brave not just for other people, but for himself, was enough to convince her to say that she would accompany him to see the King.

Prince Lee Rim looks nervous but remains undeterred from his mission to talk to the King. He gets down on his knees and confesses that he was the one who helped Jean in and out of the palace. In his usual enraged mode, the King berates him saying that Westerners are barbarians and that he is not fit to be a Prince. He commands to have all the Catholics beheaded and warns him that if Prince Lee Rim brings up the topic again, he’ll also kill everyone who knew about his deed starting with Hae Ryung. Yikes! Despite ordering his eunuch to execute his wish, the latter informs him that the Crown Prince has already issued an acquittal of all the Catholics.

A confrontation is imminent as the King storms off to see his other son now. The Crown Prince only says that he thinks the King’s decision was a mistake and before the latter can do anything else, the Queen Dowager barges inside the room to intervene. The King is unable to do anything else as he angrily tells his son that he’ll let this one incident slide and walks away. Sa Hui is inside the room when all of this happens and she chooses to stay with the Crown Prince just like last time when he told her not to leave him.

The controversial decision made by the Crown Prince is talked about by the historians in the office. They wonder why he suddenly freed the Catholics because even if they are not executed, believing in a different religion is still considered a crime. Officer Min grows highly suspicious that Officer Seong had a hand in what happened and goes to find him when A Ran admits that the latter asked to speak with the Crown Prince first before Sa Hui goes to do her job. Officer Min confronts him about it and without lying, Officer Seong discloses that if the Crown Prince doesn’t release the Catholics, he’ll show proof that Prince Lee Rim helped Jean all the way. Officer Min is furious for what he has done and he cannot believe that Officer Seong does not regret what he did. He asks to be punished and declares that he’ll face the consequences of what he’s done.

Sa Hui is called by the Second State Councilor to his house. He tells Sa Hui that he wants her to steal Hae Ryung’s sachaek to read about what happened between the King and Prince Lee Rim’s meeting. Uh oh, I know she’s a spy for him but revealing what someone else wrote is another thing altogether. I’ve grown to like Sa Hui but she’ll have to face her just dues when it is revealed (and it will) that she has disgraced the title of being a historian.

No unlawful deed, well at least for the King, goes unpunished as Sam Bo bears urgent news to Prince Lee Rim. He panics and tells the Prince that he is being set up for marriage, just in time for Hae Ryung to hear as well.

Thoughts

I thought that Jean would be a catalyst for Mo Hwa and the others to mobilize and prepare for a fight against the King/Second State Councilor. I’m a bit disappointed to know that he was in Joseon only to visit his brother, although the repercussions of his visit will resonate moving forward with our characters. Getting married to someone you don’t love is although normal and a duty for being royalty, it’s a punishment nonetheless to Prince Lee Rim who is known to be a hopeless romantic and still has his freedom. I have a hunch it’s Sa Hui who the King will set up Prince Lee Rim with… let’s see how they’ll get out of trouble this time around.

It’s hard to remain impartial on a subject that is close to your heart, but I understand that Officer Min is a stickler for the rules he believes in. A historian only records events, whether you agree with it or not, to preserve what really happened. It’d be interesting to see his reaction though if he checked Hae Ryung’s records and read about Prince Lee Rim helping Jean. He most probably will keep it a secret but it’s this kind of situation will make you question your principles…no matter how much you want to maintain it.

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 25 & 26)

There’s no such thing as the calm before the storm as problems are always pouring hard in Joseon. An unlikely visitor makes his way inside the country, but does this spell a blessing or disaster? Get ready for a jam-packed episode as the story gets deeper and shocking secrets are unveiled this week😮

Episode 25

Last episode’s confession has Hae Ryung dolling herself up more than usual in the morning while the Prince is deliriously spaced out again. He has a serious case of lovesickness as he sees Hae Ryung’s face in Sam Bo and his 2 court ladies early morning, haha! He tries to distance himself from the temptation of wanting to kiss her when she arrives at Nokseodang, but she takes charge of the situation and kisses him on the lips anyway, hee💋

The Crown Prince is informed that a male foreigner from the West was caught in a nearby river and has been taken to the Investigation Bureau. He wants to talk to the person directly as he speculates that he isn’t simply passing through Joseon like any other merchant. His interrogation proves to be futile as the foreigner remains silent to the interpreters (Mandarin, Japanese, and Dutch) or even Prince Lee Jin’s (Korean) questions. He gives a slight response when spoken to in Dutch, only to say in French (Aaahhh💡) that he does not speak Dutch. Before he is imprisoned though, he fakes a stomachache and takes a guard’s spear before escaping. Gunshots are fired and the sound echoes throughout the palace. An official manhunt is executed to find the missing runaway.

Just as the guards finish searching in Nokseodang, the foreigner jumps in front of Sam Bo and they all get into a small brawl. The group manages to tie him up in Prince Lee Rim’s room but Hae Ryung suggests that they don’t tell the Royal Investigation Bureau just yet of his capture. She, just like the Crown Prince, is curious of his reason for being in Joseon. The Prince agrees with her (of course) but they find no one in the room as their intruder has already escaped.

Officer Seong runs into him in another part of the palace and the former shows him a wooden beaded bracelet with a cross. The runaway sighs in relief as it signifies a friend in Officer Seong for having the same religion. He and Officer Min attend the royal meeting and the King is furious that the intruder has yet to be found. The Second State Councilor declares that he must still be inside the palace because no uproar has been heard in Hanyang of a strange man loose in the city. They deduce that someone inside must be helping him: Catholics who have sided with Westerners before. Officer Min notices Officer Seong’s discomfort as the King orders a thorough inspection of everyone in the palace. Anyone who is suspected to be a Catholic will be severely punished.

Several court ladies and eunuchs are dragged away for possessing Catholic books and cross bracelets. The search continues to the Queen Dowager, but she shows up before the guards outside and tells them to search her right then and there. The guards don’t enter her chamber because of this and it is revealed that Mo Hwa is inside. It turns out that the foreigner has knowledge about Seoraewon and that she was supposed to meet up with him. The Queen Dowager issues a warning to Mo Hwa that if he is caught and mentions his true intentions for being in Joseon, he will have to face an unfortunate punishment.

Episode 26

It’s the historians’ this time who are searched for having any Catholic possessions. Officer Seong is nervous as he clutches his bracelet hard in his hands, but Officer Min pries it away for him to hold instead. A guard tells another to back off when Officer Min refuses to show his hands. The search continues into the library but Officer Yang quickly makes the guards leave because of the sensitive information stored inside the room. Luckily, they don’t find the foreigner hiding in between the bookshelves.

Officer Min confronts Officer Seong on how long he’s been a Catholic. The former scolds the latter how dangerous it was to risk his life for having the bracelet. Officer Seong argues that he would be willing to put his life on the line for the belief that everyone is created equal.

The hungry foreigner is fed a ton of food when he is found scurrying around Nokseodang again. Can I just say how scrappy and quick this guy is? Haha! He can apparently understand and speak Korean and is delighted to finally eat. They don’t understand when he utters his name (Jean Baptiste Barthelemy) so he explains that what he just said was indeed his name. He recounts that he is a merchant who sells books that got screwed over by the bookstore rental owner (Mister Kim). Sam Bo and Prince Lee Rim sympathize with Jean because of their bad experience with Mister Kim in the past.

Not fully convinced of the backstory just mentioned, Hae Ryung cautions Prince Lee Rim to be careful. This is because merchants are more fluent in Mandarin when conducting business, but Jean is remarkably good in Korean despite their language being more difficult. She also retorts that Mister Kim is not bold enough to trick a merchant out of his money.

Unable to sleep, the Prince thinks about what Hae Ryung said and checks on Jean. He finds him outside and they talk about what it’s like living in France. Jean tells him that they have no King anymore because the people overthrew him for making them suffer. He talks about democracy and repeated Officer Seong’s sentiments that everyone is born free and equal. Jean suddenly asks him if he knows of a place where the dawn comes to greet you (pertaining to Seoraewon). When the Prince is genuinely clueless, he retracts his words and bids our loverboy a good night.

Mo Hwa is hesitant to knock on the Goo residence when Hae Ryung sees her outside. The former doesn’t want to intrude but the latter insists on treating her to a meal. Jae Kyung is invited by Hae Ryung to meet Mo Hwa and unbeknownst to her, both of them are already acquainted with each other. When Hae Ryung steps out for a moment, Mo Hwa looks at him very suspiciously. She asks him how he could have a younger sister when his father died before he was born and his mother was sickly. She looks around Hae Ryung’s room and it dawns on her that she is someone else’s daughter. She is livid at what Jae Kyung has done and he begs her not to tell anyone. The last scene is a flashback showing a young Mo Hwa meeting a a much younger Hae Ryung.

Thoughts

Between the external (Smallpox) and internal (Salary corruption, Historians getting investigated) problems that happened, I’m glad that they are finally expanding and building on the 1st and main conflict of the show. I’ve only realized again that Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung has 40 episodes and that the creation of other but relevant dilemmas has made the show more interesting. Other than Mr. Sunshine, I don’t think any other period kdramas that I’ve watched tackled the timeline of Korea getting to know democracy and the influence of Western culture. I know that this kdrama promotes girl power but I’d like to see the men learn a little something too💁🏻‍♂️

Before watching episodes 25 and 26, I did for a split second think that Hae Ryung could actually be the physician’s (Yeongan) daughter but since Mo Hwa wasn’t more surprised when they both talked back at Pyongyang, I dismissed the thought altogether. I’m not sure what the big deal is if my hunch is correct.. could it be that Yeongan has proof of the King’s father’s death? But why do I get the feeling that she could also be the current King’s daughter?👑 Since Prince Lee Rim is presumably not the King’s legitimate son, what if they were somehow swapped? My conspiracy brain is kicking into overdrive but anything is possible with a TV show. Gimme the next episodes stat!!🙈

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 23 & 24)

Hae Ryung and the historians may have won the fight against the King, but the war isn’t over yet as he deploys his own tactics to punish her. After everything she’s been through, no matter who she’s up against, don’t expect our rookie historian to go down without a proper fight😈

Episode 23

The loud banging on the Goo residence was not of a dangerous kind, but a summon back to the palace. Apparently, the King has requested the royal family along with Hae Ryung to greet the Queen Dowager in the wee hours of the morning. He apologizes for not visiting her as often and from now on promises to go at the same time everyday to see her. It’s an odd proposition given their estranged relationship, but things get weirder when the King joins in on the daily lecture of the Crown Prince; even telling Prince Lee Rim to participate in as well.

It is the Second State Councilor who reads the lesson for the day and an awkward silence ensues when the King asks if he has ever portrayed any of the 6 traits that a King must abstain from. I don’t know what kind of answer he was expecting when he asked Prince Lee Rim, but despite the Crown Prince signalling him to not say anything, he speaks up his mind declaring that he has engaged in at least 3 of the taboo behaviors. Instead of taking offense, the King laughs at his answer and does not scold him in any way.

There is a truth to the Prince’s words as Hae Ryung has been tasked to follow the King and be his historian moving forward. I was pleasantly surprised that the King had this comedic side to him and that they downplayed the punishment he intended for her. It wasn’t child’s play, but his scheme was something that Hae Ryung could battle against. In a hilarious scene of events, she wrote down what he specifically ate, spoonful for spoonful. This in turn gave the King a stomachache where he had to walk around in circles and take a dump later. Poor girl as she was instructed to take his 💩💩 to the medical bureau as an obvious attempt to make things hard for her.

Taking a break from the King, it’s the Crown Prince who gets to have some fun today. He is dressed to go outside as he permits Sa Hui to tag along with him. He plays with kids, strolls along the market, and has a delicious meal in a tavern. Crown Prince Lee Jin is beaming with happiness and tells Sa Hui that he grew up outside of the palace. Doing an undercover inspection reminds him of his simpler times so that he doesn’t forget the feeling. Before returning to the palace, Sa Hui asks him that the reason he probably had her join him was that so he could ask her what Hae Ryung wrote in her sachaek to get the King so angry. This time though, it’s the Crown Prince who looks hurt with what she said but he simply gave her a gift he bought in the market and left.

Poor Hae Ryung as she only gets back to the office at night and has to start work very early the next day. Officer Min treats her bruised hand and offers her advice to avoid incurring one again next time. I want to say it’s a love triangle tease, but that’s a misdirect. Both of them are truly friends as he feels bad for her and says that there’s no shame if she gives in to the power struggle between the historians and the King. Come on, do you even know who you’re talking to?😼 Hae Ryung is determined to power through the King’s mind games, a trait befitting her strong and sometimes rambunctious persona.

Episode 24

Karma’s a b*tch and it’s time for Hae Ryung to take her sweet, silent revenge on the King. In another royal lecture, the King is asleep even when the Chancellor is reading the book aloud, haha!😴 His early visits to his mother prove to be his downfall and Hae Ryung gets to record such mishaps on her end. His Majesty is shocked when his eunuch wakes him up at 4AM and that Hae Ryung is already there inside his room.

Later that day, the King employs a new tactic trying to get her drunk to spill what she wrote in her book. Hae Ryung informs him that her alcohol tolerance is very high and the latter gets frustrated with her hardheadedness. He offers her 2 propositions: Either she can get rid of what she wrote secretly or he’ll grant her anything she desires. Her interest is piqued on the latter idea but we don’t get to see what she decides on just yet.

A letter is sent to Officer Yang written by his Majesty himself. It’s an apology for not acknowledging a historian’s true worth and that they will now be able to roam around in the palace to record daily life/history without any restrictions. She gets a vigorous name chant from her peers as she smiles and cheers in triumph.

It’s the King who reminisces about their conversation and we find out that Hae Ryung told him the truth that she actually wasn’t able to hear anything that day. She shares that she thought he was a good King because he still withdrew his order to check the administration record and instead of threatening her to spill what she wrote, he tried (in his own way) to ask her about it instead. Granted it wasn’t a sincere talk but like I mentioned above, I was amazed that he didn’t do anything harmful to have his way with her. Hae Ryung did a good job of telling the King to not hate historians anymore because they don’t just record the mistakes of the royal family, but that they also write down their good traits. It was enough to make him contemplate and give a little smile at how interesting she is.

To celebrate their victory, the historians went out that night for a drink. Two of them find Prince Lee Rim (Who they still know as Clerk Yi) skulking around near their table and insists that he join them for drinks. Hae Ryung ends up saving him by drinking all of his cups because he might not be able to hold his liquor. It’s the 1st time that they aren’t divided by their gender; they’re all just genuinely having fun, singing, and dancing the night away.

Hae Ryung escorts the Prince back to Nokseodang, but he makes her warm honey water outside to help her sober up. Hae Ryung is inside his room as he prepares the drink and happens to see a piece of paper sticking out in his main drawer. As she opens the paper, it’s actually the poem that she requested him to write for her. Prince Lee Rim heads to his room but wonders seeing Hae Ryung sitting outside. Without warning, she begins reciting the poem to him. Aww, this is her official admission of her feelings for him!🎉 Before the Prince can say anything further, she plants a tender kiss on his lips💏

Thoughts

Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung does a good job in balancing out the serious moments and funny breathers and these 2 episodes were no exception. Not all fights need to be violent and Hae Ryung’s solution to appease the King was just brilliant. Of course this could have gone another way if he was really ruthless and unforgiving, but it just proves her belief that his Majesty can listen to other people’s opinions. Her honesty most of the time gets her in trouble, but it is what redeems her and the other historians this time to be accepted and understood😊

I’m happy to see Sa Hui smile and loosen herself up in the palace but the moment between her and the Crown Prince is puzzling to me. How about the story with the Crown Princess? Does that simply go away now?🤔 I’m a fan of the Crown Prince’s character, but I hope we don’t get strung along a possible romance that gets sidelined in the end because it doesn’t serve the kdrama’s overall direction. I also like Sa Hui’s character and she doesn’t need a man to let her character shine⭐️

Unnie Recommends: 5 Times Love Alarm will buzz our kdrama hearts

In a world where information is readily available and technological advancements are constantly evolving, our lives have become in sync with an open and fast-paced lifestyle. What if even our most complex emotions, love, can also be determined and shown at the tips of our fingers?

Love Alarm is a korean drama based on a webtoon by Chon Kye Young revolving around a high school student named Kim Jo Jo (Played by Kim So Hyun), who gets a wake-up call when she downloads the app and explores her first steps in falling and love and going through adulthood. The show is produced by Netflix and following its predecessor (My First First Love), the show’s 1st season (8 episodes) have been released already.

Current Impression

1. It has a unique plot involving an app that can show if someone likes you📱

Love Alarm is an app that lets users know if someone likes you within a 10 meter radius. There are certain rules for this to work: For example, one’s Love Alarm has to be turned on so that when you have a crush on them, their app will ring informing them of how many people like them. It cannot show who likes you specifically so if there’s more than 1 person who likes you but there are 3 or more people in the radius, you just need to take an intelligent guess on who likes you, haha!

Jo Jo and Sun Oh’s 1st meeting

Our leading lady, Jo Jo, is attracted to the new transfer student, Hwang Sun Oh, who has also taken an interest with her. Sun Oh is best friends with Lee Hye Young, who also studies in the same school and is the 1st one to have a crush on Jo Jo as they work in the same Korean Bbq restaurant. When she downloads the app, she discovers her feelings for Sun Oh and that both men are also in love with her.

Jo Jo and Hye Young
2. A love triangle that will have you side with either of the guys!

*Spoilers ahead*

I’ll be honest… the majority of the episodes focused on Jo Jo and Sun Oh’s romance that it made me root for them completely. How can I feel a shred of conflict when she and Hye Young had almost zero interaction and he was basically stuck in a one-sided crush? Korean dramas have a tendency to make it obvious who the leading man/woman will end up with despite a love triangle angle. If you’re wishing for a fighting chance for the 2nd lead, tune in and don’t tap out until the last episode💕

There are 2 timelines in the 1st season: One is when they were in high school and another is 4 years later down the road. High school was all about Jo Jo and Sun Oh’s blooming romance while the more grown-up versions of themselves will find Hye Yeong and Jo Jo becoming friends. Sun Oh and Jo Jo started out with an attraction based, shallow, kind of vibe — but it naturally developed into a meaningful relationship because he accepted her problems and truly wanted to be with her despite it.

I didn’t think Hye Young could top Sun Oh’s efforts but the show did a good job in making me root for him too. Hye Young was shy and reserved back in high school, but he became more outspoken and didn’t hold his feelings back for Jo Jo anymore when they met again by chance. Jo Jo was honest to tell him that she might not be able to open her heart anymore but instead of getting dissuaded, he expressed that he’ll be okay with taking a chance on her. He also comforted her when she needed a friend so when she agreed to have Hye Young ring her love alarm, that small leap of faith made my love triangle heart throb🥺

3. It deals with real life issues such as the negative effects of social media and the consequences of depression.

This show surprised me a lot with as it tackled the impact that such an app, or any other social media platform, can have on our mental health. Our life is so exposed because we post and display so much of ourselves — from our mundane thoughts to our worst fears and feelings, we sometimes forget that this kind of validation shouldn’t define our self worth.

Suicide and stalking are some of the severe concerns that grew rampant over the course of this korean drama. The presence of an anti-love alarm group was even established to show that something created out of good intentions can malfunction into an ugly product.

4. Relate or hate the leading lady, but aren’t we all just trying to find our own path in the world?

I didn’t expect this show to deliver so much drama — the baggage of Jo Jo regarding her current financial and living situation showed through her character portrayal. I have always admired Kim So Hyun and this kdrama exemplifies her talent as an actress even further. Physically, she rarely gives out smiles and her lips are almost always curved downward like a pout. She was socially alienated by her peers and keeps her problems to herself. Jo Jo is a fighter though, but I’m hoping that she doesn’t close herself off being with other people to enjoy her life.

I thought Love Alarm would be a cutesy romcom but it actually deals with relevant problems such as self love, bullying, and addiction to the digital world.

5. Look forward to Love Alarm 2.0 and season 2!

No news yet on when season 2 will launch but I’m hoping it’s within 2019 or my crazy alarm will go off from waiting too long🤣 Before the show’s cliffhanger, a little bit of information was shown in the last episode for the titular kdrama’s newest update.

The app will be able to predict how your feelings will develop and whether or not one will be able to ring one’s love alarm or not. It’s farfetched to think that a program can relay such subjective information but I’m excited to see how accurate it will be given that a person’s feelings can change. I’m curious to how different scenarios will play out such as if the app can detect a person loving 2 people at the same time (because it can happen) or if a person chooses not to follow love alarm’s findings.

Love Alarm poses the question on whether or not we should rely on electronics to convey our emotions and ultimately influence our actions. Before we ring someone else’s heart, we ought to learn to love ourselves first and fight for a life that we want. No program in the world can tell us otherwise❤️

Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 19 & 20)

No day is complete without trouble being caused in the palace. Politics and government affairs are like bread and butter — they go hand in hand no matter what era. Expect a target on your back as long as you possess an advantage whether by familial relations or by merit.

Episode 19

With the rain not letting up, Hae Ryung and Prince Lee Rim find themselves seeking shelter under a large rock. The Prince hesitates to hold her hand but musters up the courage to do so and Hae Ryung does not move away. Their moment is interrupted when her friends’ voices call out her name. Hae Ryung helps the Prince find his way back by teasing that there are tigers in the mountain so they need to go together.

Hae Ryung asks the Prince if he wants to hold her hand with the reasoning that when she was young, her older brother would hold her hand in the mountains so she wouldn’t get scared anymore. She reaches out her right hand to hold and the Prince declares that he doesn’t have an ulterior motive in agreeing to this. Riiight😏 As they walk hand in hand down the path, they hear A Ran and In Im’s voices looking for her. She pushes the Prince to a nearby bush to hide him and the girls find her. She tells them to go ahead first and just as she was about to help him up, she lets go of his hand when the girls call her again, hahaha!

Several eunuchs are waiting outside Sa Hui’s house to curry favor with her father. They hand him a paper with their name and rank for him to get to know them and possibly get transferred to a higher ranking or better government position. When the appointment paper arrives, 3 historians are disappointed because they spent a lot of money to get in good graces with the higher ups but discover that their names are not in it. Hae Ryung takes the Record of Appearance book since changes in positions mean that they have to update the book as well. She finds discrepancies in the addresses of a number of newly appointed officials and investigates herself where they really live.

She reports the irregularities to Officer Yang and Officer Min interjects that the change in address must be due to the Kinship Act (A ban on people working in the government office where they reside). It causes a ruckus inside the Office of Royal Decrees as they all double check the information for themselves. Once they had verified that the details were indeed forged, Officer Hyeon (A**hole🤬) points to Sa Hui pertaining that her father is the culprit.

Officer Min takes the appointment list without a word and heads directly to the Section Chief’s quarters. He confronts him about forging the addresses and says that he cannot write the new certificates of appointment. Sa Hui’s father admits to this eventually, explaining that appointing people in their own hometown is good since they ought to know their own village and must know the people better too. Officer Min disagrees arguing that such connections lead to lax enforcement and corrupt decisions. The Section Chief is pissed and boasts that he is good friends with Officer Min’s father and that this is no way to treat him. He does not budge with this fact and leaves the room anyway.

A new day means another meeting at the Royal Court. One of the officials is hesitant to read a petition but the Crown Prince insists that he continues with it. The petition is a request to impeach Officer Min as a historian because of his past about that his father-in-law was branded as a traitor to Joseon and how his wife committed suicide because of this. One side defends while the other side supports the issue. The Crown Prince orders Officer Min to leave the room for his sake.

The news reaches the Office of Royal Decrees and the female historian find out about Officer Min’s unfortunate past. It becomes a backbiting session as the Scribe who came says that he wasn’t qualified to become a historian in the first place and it was only because of his father why he got the position. Officer Hyeon (Yes, you’re an a**hole👿) chimes in that Officer Min’s tainted past with his father-in-law should have been considered when hiring him. As Officer Min walks in the room, Officer Yang assigns both of their work to someone else and they head out.

Episode 20

Both historians went out for a drink. I was surprised at Officer Yang’s concern to be honest because he acted indifferent to Officer Min and got along with the other historians more. At the other table, other officials are gossiping about Officer Min and mock his character. They even go so far as insulting his wife and he tries his very best to keep his anger at bay.

Hae Ryung is requested by Officer Min to go to the Crown Prince’s chambers with him. Officer Min gives his letter of resignation to the Crown Prince with the latter profusely refusing it. He reminds him that the reason he became a historian was to right his father’s wrongs. Even if he passed the state exam with flying colors, he decided to start from the very bottom rank as a historian. Officer Min admits that he cannot take people talking ill about his deceased wife and bows respectfully to Crown Prince Lee Jin. Officer Min’s character has been nothing but admirable, but it’s only natural that jealous people will undermine his authority. Hae Ryung tries to convince him to stay but to no such luck.

Later that night, the Second State Councilor informs Officer Min that he agrees with his resignation. The latter asks the former on why he did that to his wife (Dan Yeong) and he lashes out that a lot of people suffered because of him. He is infuriated that his father said the same thing to forget about the past when he simply cannot because Officer Min is not like his dad.

He visits his old house and memories come flooding back of a happier time when his wife was still alive. He was a different man back then — affectionate, sweet, and more talkative. Another flashback reveals how his wife begged the Second State Councilor under the pouring rain to spare her father because the latter was suspected of plotting a conspiracy. She cried and pleaded for his forgiveness but we all know what happens next…

Officer Min finds his wife having hung herself a few days later. Back in the present, he caresses a handkerchief that his wife had made before with both their names embroidered on it. As he quietly weeps for her, he does smile probably remembering their good memories together.

It’s a quiet day at the office as the elephant in the room of Officer Min resigning hangs heavily with everyone. It’s only when Officer Hyeon (Yes, this is a 3rd time I’m saying it. He is an a**hole to his very core🤮) comes in, happy and beaming, that noise fills the room. He expects to be promoted now that a position has become vacant and even sits at Officer Min’s chair to imagine the feeling of moving up a rank. He is stupefied when Officer Min walks in and hits his leg on the table, HAHA🤣 Officer Yang treats him the same way as he always has and smiles.

It’s been awhile since the focus was on Prince Lee Rim, but he’s up next as he is bored waiting to see Hae Ryung. Sam Bo tells him not to be too available and play hard to get with her, but he is wary of this idea. Officer Min and Hae Ryung take a walk and he apologizes to Hae Ryung and she teases him to try saying thank you in a sweeter and more informal manner. It’s a shame though because I think she’s the only one who can bring out the side of him that he had lost but it’s looking like just a blooming friendship at this point. Crown Prince Lee Rim and his group see them walking and calls for them. He tells Hae Ryung that he needs her at Nokseodang but Officer Min states that he needs to tell her the reason why she is being summoned. An awkward silence follows until Hae Ryung gestures that it’s okay and that she’ll be back at the office.

Hae Ryung asks if there’s anything he’d like to say and he expresses that he is frustrated not knowing anything about her. She begins telling him bits of facts about her family, hobbies, and a little about her childhood. She also confesses that the story about her brother holding her hand was a lie. He doesn’t probe too much on why and smiles in content with their conversation.

Officer Yang is told by Officer Song that he saw the Second State Councilor heading to the King to talk with him. He is worried that when Officer Min finds out, he’ll want someone to record their conversation; but since it’s held in the Inner Palace, it’s technically outside a historian’s jurisdiction. Just then, Officer Min overhears them talking. The next scene immediately shows Hae Ryung sneaking outside the King’s chamber as per Officer Min’s instructions. She overhears the Second State Councilor ask the King if he is hiding anything about Prince Lee Rim, but 2 guards suddenly spot her lurking around.

Thoughts

Sorry if I’ve been repeating my sentiments but it just goes to show how much I love Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung!😊 I feel like Shin Se Kyung is her most versatile here as she makes jokes, smiles spritely, and has a different set of facial expressions compared to her previous kdramas. She is my kind of heroine and I hope she continues her trajectory to influencing change in the palace. Even if she ends up in trouble😅

I’m convinced now that there is no love triangle between Hae Ryung, Prince Lee Rim, and Officer Min anymore. It was only a small tease but these 2 episodes confirmed that Officer Min is not ready to move on from Dan Yeong yet. I love the background they gave to him, it was a startling revelation, but it adds color to why his character is portrayed the way he is. People may mock his inflexibility and initial advantage, but he got to where he is because he is a man of principle and no one can take that away from him.