When My Love Blooms: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread
As our concurrent storylines continue to unfold, we learn more about who are leads were, and who they are now. This sets up some dynamic contrasts between the passionate student protestor who sacrificed his principles and became a chaebol son-in-law, and the well-to-do daughter of a prosecutor who hit rock bottom in every sense of the word.
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP
No wonder I loved this drama’s opening week — it’s a poem to all things underdog. It’s about principles and passion, and how people change as they move through life. Does it use some predictable story elements to get there? Yes, but don’t they all? When My Love Blooms might have some tropes of a typical romantic melodrama, but they don’t detract (at least not yet) from the lovely gravity that this story has, nor the steadiness with which it’s delivered.
We ended last week’s episodes with Ji-soo getting on her knees to appease Seo-kyung, only to be yanked up by a rather angry Jae-hyun, who calls off the school violence committee once and for all. Jae-hyun might be known as a sell-out (to himself and those that knew him when he was young), but deep down he’s still the Jae-hyun of the past. We see it in tender moments where he shows concern for Ji-soo, or when he talks to her son at school and tells him he knows his own son was bullying him.
He’s only just met her again, but already we are seeing Jae-hyun affected by Ji-soo. His wife notices that he’s acting/thinking differently (after he sees the ajumma protestors in a different light), and he warns her, “I might change even more.” When she asks why, he says, “To be happy.” It’s such a great moment, because we’re not only seeing the change in Jae-hyun, but we’re seeing him become cognizant of this change, too, and the need for it.
Jae-hyun and Ji-soo run into each other an awful lot, half of it by storytelling serendipity, and half of it fabricated by Jae-hyun himself. It’s like he sees in her what he lost in himself. And Ji-soo doesn’t spare the horses as she tells him, obliquely, how much he has changed. “You taught me the losing side is our side,” she says. She’s still on that side, but he’s not.
Every bit of principle and moral that Ji-soo now lives by is one that she learned from observing Jae-hyun back in their college years. In the college storyline, we might get to watch Ji-soo swept off her feet by Jae-hyun, but in the present day, we see how much their relationship really informed who she became. It’s a powerful statement because so much of what attracted her to him, she took on herself. Ah, it’s all so romantic. And this drama is incredibly romantic, in the most grounded and graceful sense of that word.
We get a better sense of Jae-hyun’s present day life with this week’s episodes, from the lime green lambo-driving wife that plays like she’s cheating on him but actually idolizes him, to the father-in-law that makes him do all the dirty work. How did Jae-hyun get himself here, though?
Those same questions are still floating around Ji-soo too, except in reverse. She might still be true to herself, as her faithful companion JOO YOUNG-WOO (Lee Tae-sung) points out, but did her steadfastness work against her? She’s been a punching bag for the people around her her whole life, and if she did indeed escape the abusive household of her past, grown-up Ji-soo has boomeranged right back to it.
How much have our characters really changed, and how much have they stayed the same? And the biggest question of all: Jae-hyun and Ji-soo are magical together in the college storyline — what exactly happened to tear them apart? I love that the drama is taking its time to tell us.
I don’t want to say there’s not a ton of plot in this drama, because it’s got a really strong story — it just covers ground slowly and steadily since we are essentially watching two dramas at the same time get woven into one. The plot is about piecing both stories together and answering all those questions.
That being said, there’s a lot that happens in the present-day storyline to push things forward. In addition to all the internal conflicts swirling around, there’s Seo-kyung, who looks to be our major source of external antagonism (but look out, I’m sure the ex-husband will stick his nose into things shortly).
Not only does Seo-kyung know that her husband is dissatisfied with his life, but she knows it has to do with the choices he made (viz., to marry her and into the conglomerate) — and she knows that Ji-soo is at the center of it all.
So, Seo-kyung does what all jealous chaebol heiresses do: she sets up a scenario to humiliate our heroine. While I was glad Ji-soo didn’t just stand there and take it, I was hoping for a little more… well-roundedness?… to Seo-kyung’s character. I’m hoping she doesn’t just become a 2D antagonist.
Regardless, her ploy only pushes our leads closer together. Even though Ji-soo hasn’t shown a smidgen of warmth around Jae-hyun, we know her heart is about to explode. So when he takes her away from the scene of her misery (that particular moment and the overarching circumstances of her life), it’s no surprise that she cracks.
The pair has been slowly reliving all their moments, from the footsteps in the snow, to Jae-hyun giving her his shoes. She told him again and again that he was her whole world, but this time it’s Jae-hyun’s turn. He tells her she was his dream. And now, to meet that dream again after he had lost it… *cue ultra romantic moment on the beach*
At the end of the episode, the two share a kiss, and though it’s half romantic, it’s also morally objectionable, and way too soon in the story (for me, anyway). I would have liked to see the tension between them play out for much longer than we have, because watching them be pulled back together is half of the journey. Also, since this drama looks like it will be very much about Jae-hyun finding his way back to himself and his principles, wouldn’t it have been nice if this was a story about them loving but holding back? Sometimes that can be more powerful.
Mixed feelings on the ending of this week’s episodes aside, When My Love Blooms has been very confidently telling its story. The way the two storylines echo each other (almost too perfectly), gives me the feeling that they know what they’re doing — and that they know exactly where they’re going too. So, let’s see where week three brings us.
- Premiere Watch: Born Again, When My Love Blooms
- Love is in the air for Lee Bo-young and Yoo Ji-tae in tvN melo When My Love Blooms
- Character stills for Most Beautiful Moment in Life with Lee Bo-young, Yoo Ji-tae, and Jinyoung
- Yoo Ji-tae, Lee Bo-young confirmed for tvN’s Most Beautiful Moment in Life along with Jinyoung and Jeon So-ni
- Lee Bo-young, Yoo Ji-tae, Park Shi-yeon courted for upcoming tvN melo