I did not think I would like this series! I think I’ll be recapping this, albeit a little delayed as I have 6 episodes to catch up on. Episodes 1-4 are pretty simple to recap at once because it’s everything you’d expect in a Yoon Suk Ho melodrama – moping, gazing, beautiful music, nice lighting, your usual love square, and noble idiots galore. Woohoo!
Warning: I’m going to be very succinct, and apologies for the snark – I really like this drama, I do!
Na Yoon Kim – “Like Love Rain” [download]
We’re living in 1970’s Seoul. SUH IN HA (Jang Geun Suk) is a sensitive artist. I mean, he’s really sensitive and introverted, and he’s a talented artist. In the college he attends, he passes by the beautiful KIM YOON HEE (Yoona) and then, “One…two… three…” In THREE SECONDS he’s in love. Like so smitten, so deeply in love that he feels like he was born to marry her. Dude – I want a guy like that. That just means he loves me more than I love him, and that means I can get whatever I want, and that means I can wear the pants in the house, and that means I don’t have to work. I digress…
Anyways – he’s super in love with her, but doesn’t know her name. He even paints her portrait when he spies her outside his window at the studio. He quickly sketches her writing in her diary, but when he looks up for another look, she’s gone. Like the wind.
He runs out of his studio – because yeah, she’s totally gonna be outside still – and bumps into her (literally). Her stuff fall out, and instead of helping her pick up stuff, he just stares at her. Yeah, not creepy at all. She leaves, and he finds her diary in the bushes. He keeps it – for a day they may meet again, because you know, they will – and reads it. She’s an orphan, but her parents loved the movie Love Story (which could totally be the title of this drama but there are too many with that name already). She muses over the meaning of “Love means never having to say sorry,” and In Ha finds that they have similar interests and beliefs.
The most poignant moment of the drama (and the reason why it’s called Love RAIN) is when both of them find themselves on campus without an umbrella in the pouring rain. While Yoon Hee is willing to patiently wait it out, In Ha scours the library basement to find an umbrella. He opens it up for her – only to find it broken. Haha. He holds it up awkwardly, and offers to walk her to her destination. Because he’s so engrossed with her, he makes the umbrella cover her more than himself, so half of his body is soaking wet. When a car passes by, In Ha quickly covers her so that his back gets splashed instead.
With his best friends LEE DONG WOOK (Kim Si Hoo) and KIM CHANG MO (Seo In Guk), they form a little musical trio. Their calm, hippie voices just make the girls go wild. BAEK HYE JUNG (Son Eun Seo – who for shame is only in the first four episodes) is their friend as well, and she’s got a long crush on In Ha, while Chang Mo has a long crush on her. Her friend NA IN SOOK (Hwang Bo Ra) has a crush on Chang Mo. And no one has a crush on Dong Wook.
The two girls know of Yoon Hee, but because she’s so quiet, she’s misunderstood to be quite the snob. Nevertheless, she’s introduced into the fold because Dong Wook proclaims her to be the love of his life. Yeah – I know right? Dong Wook met her at a bus stop, and she had given him a band aid for his cut. She even put it on for him, which made him think of his mommy, which then made him fall in love with her.
I don’t know which is better – to remind a guy of his mother? or to just be the object of affection from a complete stranger who likes to stare? Maybe the latter…
To make things worse, when Yoon Hee joins them during a group date, they all decide to play a game where the boys put out one item that represents them. The girl who chooses their item will be their mate. In Sook hilariously gets Chang Mo’s, and Yoon Hee picks In Ha’s. They both smile at the prospect, but Dong Wook kicks In Ha under the table and pretends that Yoon Hee picked his object. Agh… fate is foiled again!
During a school festival, Dong Wook keeps trying to hit on Yoon Hee, making things uncomfortable between her and In Ha. They end up partnering up during a group dance, and it’s clear they’re both unwilling to trade partners once their paired up. However, the dance dictates they must part. At the end of the night, one of the flimsy wooden arches gets knocked down, and In Ha pushes Yoon Hee out of the way. He hurts his hand in the process (oh no – an artist’s hand!!), but he’s mostly ok. The point is, Yoon Hee feels bad, and she makes him kimbap as a sign of thanks. This is an opportunity for their feelings to grow!
Anyways – Dong Wook and In Ha have a tendency to play tennis for things, such as a new guitar. but one thing In Ha refuses to do is to compete with his friend for Yoon Hee, so he lets his friend chase after her. Even though he really likes her, he avoids her, making the rest of the group think he hates her. Dong Wook finally propositions Yoon Hee to be his girlfriend: if she would join all of them on a trip to the countryside, he’ll take it as her accepting him. She shows up. Dammit.
Oh and this entire time, In Ha still has her diary. He hasn’t found the perfect moment to give it to her. He does invite her to watch Love Story with him but that plan never goes through. (Duh.)
While at the countryside, In Ha performs an unfinished song to his friends, which they’re hoping he will use to perform at a radio contest. It’s about falling in love with a girl in the rain. We know, and Yoon Hee knows, that In Ha is talking about Yoon Hee. When everyone else asks who he’s talking about, he keeps mum. Duh… So he decides to ignore her, which makes her think he doesn’t like her, so she turns to date Dong Wook, but the two of them can’t help but be drawn to each other.
Jang Geun Suk – “Love Rain” [download]
They all play a truth and dare/questions sort of game, and Hye Jung asks if In Ha is still vowing to paint the portrait of the girl he loves. He says he’s keeping that vow. Hye Jung has plans to be “that girl” but little does she know, he’s already painted the love of his life. On top of that, Chang Mo also discovered his painting of Yoon Hee, so he knows about the triangle, but he’s keeping mum to preserve the friendships.
In the end, In Ha decides that he must go to the army (because that’s the best way to get over a girl). His friends are pissed because he told them without discussing it with them, and his singing buddies worry that he won’t be able to perform at the concert. In Ha apologizes, and then tells them that he’ll be going on a trip with the other art students to the countryside, then go to his hometown, then go to the army. Yoon Hee worries about never seeing him again, so she goes after him.
Meanwhile, Hye Jung discovers the painting of Yoon Hee. Dun dun dun…
Yoon Hee sees In Ha and they spend the evening together at a train station. They take the next available train to a beach, spend the night there, and then head back to Seoul. Everyone rejoices that In Ha has decided to return, but he also breaks the bombshell to all that he’s in love with Yoon Hee.
As for Yoon Hee – she goes to the hospital after fainting from a fever – and she ends up with tuberculosis. This is my face: -_______-
Anyways – Dong Wook is stunned into silence, and the girls spread vicious rumors that Yoon Hee is a slut. Dong Wook tries to play tennis against In Ha for her, but In Ha refuses to participate. He will never play a game for a girl. Oh, snap! Dong Wook has no choice but to accept this sad fate.
However, Hye Jung has a trick up her sleeve – she found Yoon Hee’s diary among In Ha’s possessions, so she confronts them both. Everything In Ha said to her must have been a lie, because he knew all these things about her from her diary. Oh, snap – betrayal time! Of course, Yoon Hee is angry, but then when she reads the last page, she sees In Ha’s note of apology. He begs for forgiveness because he knows that whenever he gives it back to her, it’ll be too late, and she may already think badly of him. Soft-hearted she is, she forgives him – but drat that bloody cough! She refuses to still be with him.
The boys perform, as they’re all friends again, and they win lots of applauses. Yoon Hee manages to even get herself out of bed and go watch, which makes In Ha really happy. Unfortunately, the police arrive because they’re after Chang Mo and his debts. Since In Ha lives with Chang Mo, he’s arrested, while Chang Mo goes on the run. Dong Wook, who’s rich and safe, stays behind and sees Yoon Hee collapse from another fit of coughing. So he discovers her disease – of course!
In Ha ends up in jail, and the only thing he can do is to go to the army. (Haha – we’re back at this!) As he’s being sent off by his friends, Dong Wook hands him a gift from Yoon Hee. She’s returning a watch that he gifted her, and she thanks him for all the memories they had together. It’s like a break-up letter basically. Then Dong Wook spills the beans as the train to the army camp pulls away: “She has tuberculosis! She’s going to the States for treatment! Wait for her!”
And bam! We end up on a train in present-day Japan. This time, we’re watching SUH JOON (Jang Geun Suk again) look out the window. The train pulls into a station, and as he disembarks, a girl – JUNG HA NA (Yoona again) – bumps into him.
“One…two…three…” End scene.
The first few episodes were a little tedious, and Yoona and Jang Geun Suk were so mild and passive that it was seriously killing me. Suffocating me to death! I fast forwarded a lot, but didn’t miss a beat. Lots of longing, gazing, and “I wish I could be with you but social mores say that I must be demure and endure.” I liked Chang Mo and his awkward relationship with In Sook and Hye Jung. He clearly loved Hye Jung, and she was beginning to look at him as a potential mate when she realized that In Ha liked Yoon Hee more. But then he was also trying to respond to In Sook so as not to hurt her feelings.
However! Episode 5 and 6 picked up and brought me back to life. While I don’t feel every student in the 70’s was that passive, I do think that they were played to that extreme so that it could contrast greatly with Suh Joon and Ha Na in the present time. Jang was so infuriating in the beginning that it was good. He wasn’t his Hwang Tae Kyung self, and he wasn’t his Kang Gun Woo self. (I can’t judge for Mary Stayed Out All Night because I didn’t watch that.) When he becomes an arrogant Suh Joon, the disparity in personalities became so much more apparent that one could appreciate the restraint he puts into the role. As for Yoona, I think I had a weird bias against her and never thought of her as a good actress. However, she fit the role of Yoon Hee (where she just had to stand and look pretty), and I think she has the spunk to carry off the Ha Na role. So hey, I’m impressed.
On a cinematic level, this drama is SO PRETTY. I mean, seriously pretty. All the soft focus, the light summery pastels, and the bright yellow that pops out in this drama truly help evoke the feel of the 70’s as well as the old school melodrama that director Yoon Suk Ho is so famous for. If anything, the palette reminds me of Autumn in My Heart, and in the winter scenes of episodes 5 and 6, it evokes Winter Sonata. The lush greenery in the raining scenes reminds me of the poster for Summer Scent. Heck, I would love it if he evokes the feeling from each and every one of his season dramas. I applaud the art direction in this drama – it’s consistent and evocative. The cinematography is calm, and it makes even the most chaotic of scenes feel like a simple walk in the park.
I also enjoy the music selection for this drama. For one thing, the theme song sung by Na Yoon Kwon is on my repeat playlist every morning. The rest of the soundtrack is fun, sometimes cheesy, sometimes cheeky, but never too out of place. The songs fit with the scenes; they’re not just slapped on to heighten an emotion, but rather complement what’s happening in the scene. Besides, nothing can be worse than the horrid use of Coldplay in episode 1 of Man of Equator.
Episodes 5-6 recap coming soon!