Falling in Love with Soon Jung: First Impressions

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How could I not watch my girl Kim So Yeon in Falling in Love with Soon Jung? And coupled with Jung Kyung Ho they make a very interesting pair. I enjoyed this drama, but not enough to be exuberant about it just yet. It’s a very complicated set-up to begin with, and it makes the drama more of a melodrama than a romantic comedy I hoped it would be. Nevertheless, I’m curious to see what comes of it.

Summary

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Kang Min Ho, a.k.a. James Kang (Jung Kyung Ho), is a bitter 34-year old Director of Gold Partners, an investment/consulting group that has ties to his uncle’s company, Hermia. He wants to take over his uncle’s company because he has a grudge against him for taking over Hermia from his father. The company was stolen right under his and his mother’s noses and many of his father’s former friends ended up “switching sides” to Uncle Kang Hyun Chul’s side. I say “switching sides” under quotes because there could be another side to the story. So Min Ho wants to destroy everyone who betrayed his father.

One of those friends who switched sides is Manager Kim, who turns out to be Kim Soon Jung’s (Kim So Yeon) father. She grew up to become Hyun Chul’s most trusted and senior secretary, and her first meeting with Min Ho does not go over well. When news spreads that Min Ho is out to take over Hyun Chul’s company, she prevents Min Ho from entering the meeting room because he didn’t have an appointment.

Hyun Chul’s company is not doing so well at the moment either since news has broke that one of their cosmetics needs to be recalled after finding a poisonous substance in them. So with his company failing, Gold Partners is in a prime position to take over.

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Soon Jung works at the company with her best friend Lee Joon Hee (Yoon Hyun Min), who’s Hyun Chul’s “hunting dog” and legal counsel. Basically he has to do all the dirty work. Joon Hee clearly cares for Soon Jung, but she’s already taken by her childhood love, Ma Dong Wook (Jin Goo), a gutsy detective. In fact, Joon Hee helps his best friend win Soon Jung’s hand in marriage, playing a part in a ruse to get her to a small performance space where Dong Wook serenades her and then proposes.

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Soon Jung and Dong Wook are very very happy, while Min Ho is just… not. The same heart disease that claimed his father’s life is afflicting him now, and his doctor believes he has less than a month to live based on how it’s accelerating. Min Ho looks very fit despite his sickness, I might add. Because of the shortened timeline, he accelerates his plan on acquiring Hermia and barges into one of the factories where Joon Hee and Dong Wook’s fathers work to sell it. Dong Wook faces off with Min Ho, as he has quite the short temper, not realizing that he just made more trouble for Soon Jung at work.

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Min Ho has his eyes on Soon Jung now for revenge, and he decides to use her in one of his schemes to rattle Hyun Chul. He “buys” her for the day – in exchange he’ll drop charges against her fiance – and makes her attend a secret meeting beside him. What she doesn’t realize is that it’s a secret meeting hosted by Hyun Chul with some important bondholders in the company. Hyun Chul doesn’t believe his secretary betrayed him, since she didn’t know about the meeting in the first place, and so Min Ho offers to buy everyone’s bonds at face value immediately.

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All of them bite, and want to sell to Min Ho. Unfortunately Hyun Chul discovers around the same time that Min Ho is suffering from a disease. In front of the bondholders who are about to sell to Min Ho, Hyun Chul reveals Min Ho’s impending death, which ruins his potential deal with the bondholders. Min Ho believes that Soon Jung ratted on him, as she had accidentally discovered his condition when he fainted on her and she had to bring him to the hospital. The stress of feeling betrayed and his dreams shattering takes too much of a toll on Min Ho’s heart and he passes out again, with one of his heart vessels this time completely giving out.

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Meanwhile, during all of this, Dong Wook decides to investigate the Hermia case as he feels that if he can find the product manager in charge of the cosmetic he’ll be able to help Soon Jung and Joon Hee in some way. The product manager had conveniently disappeared when the news had leaked about the poisonous substance, and so Dong Wook does everything he can to find the man. When he does, he realizes that Joon Hee has been hiding the product manager the entire time. That same evening, he confronts Joon Hee and discovers that his best friend has been working the entire time for Gold Partners and trying to stage a coup from within. Joon Hee is tired of being Hyun Chul’s bitch, and wants to take over the company. He made the product manager put the poisonous material in so that Hermia’s products would get recalled, and then Min Ho could swoop in to take over the company and destroy it.

Dong Wook can’t accept this though. As a righteous and moral detective he cannot turn a blind eye to this. How convenient it is then that he gets struck by a white van and is left to die on the streets. Assumption is that Joon Hee killed him, but we don’t know yet.

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As Dong Wook is rushed to the hospital, dying, so is Min Ho. Soon Jung is with Min Ho when she learns the crushing news that her beloved fiance is dead. But it just so happens that his heart is a perfect match for Min Ho, and the transplant takes place.

Some time later, Min Ho has recovered enough to go outside of the hospital. When his friend and M&A director Oh Woo Shik (Lee Shi Eun again!) steps away to take a call, a young patient drops her rubber ball right under Min Ho’s feet. He picks it up and hands it over to her, and then taps her on the nose – just as Dong Wook used to do for Soon Jung. First visible change in Min Ho is that he’s smiling broadly.

Thoughts and Comments

The first two episodes were definitely quite heady as we had to establish why Min Ho hated his uncle and many other fathers so much. It’s also such a small world because very quickly we see how all the fathers and their children are related to one another and work together. It was a lot of serious information, making the show more of a melodrama than I thought it’d be.

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It also makes me wonder what direction the show will go in. Will we have to spend hours watching how Min Ho tries to take over his uncle’s company? Or will his change of heart (hur hur) cause him to give up on that cause and just work to better Hermia from the inside out? Of course, he will have to woo Soon Jung the entire time, which is going to be a tall order for him because I really liked Jin Goo. (I know he had a small role but at the same time he was really lovable.) Will the show be more romantic comedy as it focuses on the romance, or more melodrama to show the business deals going on? And what of Joon Hee? Surely someone’s going to have to find out about his duplicity. Right now it feels like there are more dark overtones than light ones on this show, which makes me feel like it’ll be a lot more serious than I’d wish for it to be. But we’ll have to keep watching to truly know, right?

I’m kind of surprised that Kim So Yeon took on this role. I haven’t seen any of her earlier work, in which I know she did a few more melodramas in her day, and I haven’t really watched her in historicals. However in the shows that I have seen her in, she always played a character with more agency. Here I feel like she gets pulled and pushed around too often, being someone’s pawn from one scene to the next. I hope to see her character gain the means to take control of her life. So far she’s the typical female character who’s always working hard but upon which bad things just happen to her. It’s not that she causes them, but she’s just unlucky in that sort of way. I don’t like seeing Kim So Yeon like this, so I hope her character changes soon.

In any case, I’m definitely curious to see more. I want to see how Jung Kyung Ho changes, and how subtle those personality changes are. (I hope they’re subtle; Heart transplants aren’t personality makeovers.) He was very convincing as an angry, bitter, and serious melodramatic lead, and so I’d like to see him infuse some of Dong Wook’s more whimsical personality. I’d also like to see what happens to Joon Hee, who gave such a good first impression that it’s hard to shake it off despite how evil he turned out to be.

But I am wary that this drama could veer way off the Cliff of Reason and into the Valley of Over-dramatics.

 

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