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Backstreet Rookie: Episodes 13-14 Open Thread

Will our heroine be able to solve her problems without using her fists? This week there’s a sister and a dear friend to protect, and we see our heroine pushed to her limits. But that’s when support comes in, and thanks to our hero and his family, our heroine now has the support she needs to overcome.

 
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP

It’s our penultimate week of Backstreet Rookie, and we get one plot line wrapped up (Eun-byul, Ji-wook, and the iljin gang), and another ongoing (Yeon-joo making her move on Dae-hyun yet again). What we don’t have, though, until the very end, is the confession that I feel like I’ve been waiting several weeks for at this point. We’ve been teased and baited and tricked, but even though I’m getting antsy with the promise of it happening, I think the choice to wait until our final week to bring Dae-hyun and Saet-byul together was a smart one.

My other main observation with this week’s episodes is that Episode 13 was fantastic, and Episode 14 was a bit of a drag. Is it just me? I loved our storyline in Episode 13 — thanks to our iljin girls, the gossip around Ji-wook, Eun-byul “the nosebleed idol,” and Saet-byul took off, and took over. Saet-byul is faced with a true dilemma, and is forced to find a way to protect two people she cares deeply about.

It’s a good thing Dae-hyun is around. He supports Saet-byul in so many ways, and I love how their relationship has grown. His advice to Saet-byul to use honesty is golden — but before we talk about how that plays out, let’s talk about Dae-hyun for a second. His storyline has always been a bit more reactive (to Saet-byul, Yeon-joo, and the conflicts around him), but we need a moment to appreciate his quality of character.

He’s goofy and often proud of himself, but the guy is so grounded and kind. We’ve seen it again and again. He’s generous and understanding and always willing to help the people around him. I love seeing these qualities in a male lead for a change. Throw in some goofy dancing, movie reenactments, and Ji Chang-wook bouncing off Kim Yoo-jung’s manhwa-esque energy, and we have quite a sweet character.

But back to business — it’s Dae-hyun’s advice to use honesty instead of violence that helps Saet-byul find her solution. Of course, some awesome fight scenes are required (I still love her side kicks), but they are a means to an end (in fact, she even lets herself take a lot of hits this week). The fights don’t end in Saet-byul wiping the floor with people to win — instead, she uses the truth (and some tai chi) to solve her problems. And in this instance that means our lead iljin’s cellphone.

Said cellphone is full of videos that show the truth behind the leaked photos — namely, that Eun-byul was the bullied one, and that Ji-wook and Saet-byul were trying to protect her, and that neither pair is dating. It’s a fun, quick ride watching everything get set to rights. We even get closure with our puppy Ji-wook. He’s finally come to terms with the fact that Saet-byul will only ever see him as a friend; he also accepts that his status/career make it impossible for him to be much more for her. It’s quite a bittersweet moment, and nicely captured. Saet-byul engulfs him in a hug, and I think I felt this just as strongly as Ji-wook did. I liked it so much that I wanted to linger in the plot that was Episode 13, but our drama saved up some time for more conflict with Dae-hyun in the shape of Yeon-joo.

Like many an ex-girlfriend of dramaland, a strong rebuff is not enough. Yeon-joo realizes what a good man Dae-hyun is, and is determined to win (read: lure) him back to her. She uses what she’s got in her toolkit, obviously: rank and social position. At her suggestion, Dae-hyun starts working as a consultant for the head office, representing the store owners. Yeon-joo claims it’s his dream and again uses it as leverage to get Saet-byul to back off… but is that really the truth?

We have another week for our final arc to play out, but I have a hunch that Dae-hyun knows what’s in his heart better than Yeon-joo does, and he’s ready to act on it. This week’s episodes have been filled with teases of a confession between Dae-hyun and Saet-byul — each moment might get interrupted or derailed (that Episode 13 end really got me!), but by the end, it’s pretty clear that Dae-hyun is ready to tell Saet-byul his feelings.

He turns up for a second attempt armed with red tulips, which they both know are the flowers of a first love confession. Saet-byul looks like she’s about to pass out while Dae-hyun explains that his views on love have changed. He used to think it was love at first sight or nothing, but now he realizes that feelings can grow over time. (As a side note, Ji Chang-wook does confession scenes so well that he has me convinced every single time.)

It’s a great confession because it’s exactly what we’ve witnessed: the slow, fluid and almost organic way that Dae-hyun and Saet-byul began to get close, closer, and then develop deeply-rooted feelings for each other. For Dae-hyun, he needed time to see Saet-byul as a woman; for Saet-byul, she needed to learn who the real Dae-hyun was, instead of relying on memories and fantasy. It’s a well-timed confession for both characters, and now I’m ready to stop being teased, and have these two chase their dreams as the goofy team that they have already become.

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DH is very unique as a ML of a Kdrama. He doesn't have any special gift : super intelligence, money, super strength, etc. He's a very simple and common person but he's a very caring one (his family, his friends, his clients and overall SB). I like this fact.

I'm pretty angry against YJ and DH's mum (who was perfect until now) because they're trying to choose what is better for DH without consulting him...

SB always let him choose what he wants and encourage him like he encouraged her to take the exam and then to go to college with his help. They support each other.

Their relationship was well written showing the growth of their feelings step by step without rushing anything.

SB crying because she was not good enough to take care of sister was so sad, I cried with her. KYJ was really good. And I was pretty angry her sister, the fact she was sorry wasn't enough. At the end, she's still a part of the group. When she left, she didn't try to go back to school?

JCW can shoot heart with his eyes! He's very convincing in his confession scene.

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I too thought that JCW did a great job with the confession scene- and not only did it convey the feelings in a convincing fashion but he also convinced me that this time is different for him from what happened before with Yeon-joo and her predecessor. That made it seem even more real.

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I can understand the mum viewed on this. Dae Hyun isn't someone who went back on his word and he has a firm idea about what he wants to there is no need to worry about his relationship.
With Yeon Joo, she felt indebted and wants him back. She was always described as someone who likes her work and want to be successful but the fact that Dae Hyun shields him also doesn't sit well with her inner desire regarding work.

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I don't understand what you're saying about the mother. She took the decision instead of him when he was clear about the fact he still wants to be the CEO of the convenient store. She is sending him in the office without discussion because she thinks he will become his father if he doesn't work in an office.

For YJ, she always talks to other people about DH without consulting him, like she did with SB and the fact she wanted her to give a resignation and now the mum.

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I mean, in his mother's view. He lost his job because he protects yoon joo, now that it's clear up with her, it's fine to him to get the new job because he was "demoted" unfairly.
The mother also trust that this isn't related to getting yoon joo back. Her mother views on money and job is that if you can get it, it's fine like when she swallow her pride to get Yoon Joo's mother signature.

Yoon Joo is someone that has pride over her job, it establish since the 1st episode so for her to give back to Dae Hyun isn't out of characters, she has been benefitted and she think dae hyun need to get reimbursement.

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I actually think YJ's actions in getting DH his job back at HQ was genuine. It just went downhill from there. She let her jealousy at the very end of ep 13 redirect her efforts into manipulation to get DH back romantically. I had to actually laugh though with her method of revenge as hiring the new store manager. She obviously doesn't know how tough our Saet-byul is.

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"She obviously doesn't know how tough our Saet-byul is."

I hahahaha'd at my screen when she told the manager to flex his skills on Saet-byul. I guess she's forgotten their first meeting at the bar and, of course, doesn't know how much SB has levelled up in dealing with life's hits since she's been in Dae-hyun's company. 😂

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Lol right? 5 bucks the store manager will be the one crawling back with his tail between his legs

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*sigh* I just really love this show and can't quite articulate why.

It's so many little things, I think. Like how unabashed Dae Hyun is about his loud and brash family. YJ clearly cannot accept DH (as seen in the scene where DH took the loud phonecall in the hotel lobby) even though she probably thinks she can.

I also absolutely love that DH didn't get stepped on, misunderstood and mistreated by YJ and her mom and then still have lingering feelings or intentions toward her. In so many dramas, it's so tough to watch a 'poor' character have to win over the 'rich' family's respect and it's so uncalled for.

I just love these characters and wish I could live in their neighborhood with them 🥰

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I feel that this show is familiar yet making me having faith in humanity without being too positive. The Iljin is an ongoing problem, it just feels good and I like the characters, even to Yoon Joo. I can see YJ in real life and I don't think she is worst ex out there, she just woman who lost her chance.

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I agree about Yoon Joo 100%. I actually find her incredibly relatable and think her character is another reason I love this show.

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I love that confession. I may have watched a dozen times now...
It was so right in so many ways. He is speaking language she loves (the meanings of flowers), then he acknowledges just how she has changed his way of thinking. It is obvious how DH has influenced SB, but truly, she has influenced him too. I think he was riding on emotion with his relationship with YJ and now he sees that it's not emotion that creates a healthy relationship but an equal companionship and understanding. The sparks that fly between them is just icing on the cake. (Though I do hope we get some more icing lol). He's not even being physically pushy. He is a little ways from her and is waiting for her to make the next move (I'm still bitter it cut right there though).

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naaahh i dont buy YJ's words at all, i feel like she just wanna make DH's social class higher and closer to hers so she dont feels embarrassed for liking him and wanna going back to him.
im disappointed to mom too, she should have known her son better, she should have talk to him before agreeing with her son's ex.
DH and SB interaction is everything to me, i wanna see them more :((

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I don't think she knows they broke up. Or, does she? I can't quite remember now lol

I did believe YJ at first but her actions have started to cross the line. She keeps projecting the problems with their relationship onto SB. At first it made sense because from her perspective it did look like DH kept purposely running to SB and getting entangled with her then lying about it. But now, there has obviously been other issues with their relationship that she just can't accept. And, she truly doesn't know DH if she thinks getting SB fired will resolve their problems.

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Kim Yoojung is such a good actress. I love her expressive eyes. She did crying scenes with flying colours. I cried so hard when she cried whole eating fried egg 😭

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She makes it feel so genuine. She's not just another FL who cries for every little thing, but you can feel and understand the emotion in every scene. No two cries are the same it seems like.

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Kim Yoo-jung is one of my favorite actresses because she is so very good: She is not just someone with talent but an actress who has worked for years at developing her craft and that is exactly what you are seeing here. At not yet quite 21 years of age she is actually a true veteran because has has been acting for fifteen years, but this is not just a chronological fact because she has worked to develop her skills the entire time. That is why she is so effective.

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I cry every time she is sad. It just conveyed really well. There is no pretence, just an emotion from simple stuff that personal from her. It also an emotion we all recognised in our self and our daily life. I was looking and a screencap of her talking with Dae Hyun and even without dialogue, you can see her being afraid, about to cry but hold back then she just let her emotion fall and you are sad.

We know it's not the end of the world, we know it isn't a big tragedy, it's a problem that she needs to solve but her fear, her sadness and her desperation is alive from her acting.

I think doing normal characters like in when the camellia bloom, lots of GHJ characters is hard because it feels like they are too normal, they aren't one of a kind, they don't come with one in a million backstory based on the characters only but it's the performance that stand out. It makes you feel that it's happening to them and you want to give them a hug.

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This drama convinced me that KJY is a very good actress. Just wow!. For one so young and so beautiful, she will go places.

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I am enjoying this show in large part precisely because it is not taking the usual journey towards love but instead a deeper and, in my opinion, a more realistic one.

I love what Missvictrix has to say bout Dae-hyun’s character. He is a good, decent, kind, solid and generous man with real integrity. I agree with Missvictrix that we seldom see someone like him in dramas and that is too bad. He is very grounded- in part because of his dad’s example of what not to be (though his dad is not a bad person) but also because of what he consciously learned from Saet-byul’s father. He knows himself. I would add one thing here: Because he is also an educated thinking man, who pays full attention to the world and the people around him he is also a man with real vision. That is what makes the thousand and one days which Yeon-joo had with Dae-hyun almost a tragedy in the sense of an opportunity missed.

Yeon-joo concealed her family from Dae-hyun right up to the moment she dumped him. She never respected him because she could simply manipulate him- so she never really got to know him until it was too late. Because she never got to know him she never felt that she trust him- and to her that justified deceit and concealment. But you cannot build a lasting relationship on such deception. Had Yeon-joo been more mature she would have known that. Had she been honest from the beginning Dae-hyun could have made different choices (like not having to resign to protect her)- there was the risk that he would break off the relationship but there was also the potential that he would have stuck with her- which would alsdo hve been good for the company. She would have been able to introduce him to her family and the Chairman early on- with the sstrong chance that he would have seen Dae-hyun’s potential and have starting grooming him for a top position- which would have been a long term benefit to everyone. This was a serious opportunity lost.

Episode 13 was packed with action as all of the side conflicts are resolved. Episode 14 has to be slower because it was the prologue to the final battle. But make no mistake- that final scene- when we see Dae-hyun handing Saet-byul red tulips again is all important. This time Dae-hyun knows what red tulips mean: It is a confession of love.

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Part of what makes BACKSTREET ROOKIE so good is that it is NOT following the usual rom-com formula. This may be in part because it is based upon a web-toon. It at times even imports some of the cartoon aspects into the drama and we got that in spades in Episode 13. But Missvictrix is right about the fact that we have seen a more organic and natural love story between our two leads. Despite being based upon a webtoon it has shown an amazing amount of depth when it comes to the shifting relationship between our two lead characters. In the first episodes Dae-hyun is constantly worried that Jeon-joo will get the wrong idea about Saet-byul but now, even though he and SB are not dating yet, the shoe is on the other foot and now it it Saet-byul's feelings which matter. The gift of the red tulips then comes at exactly the right moment.

People scoffed when Kim Yoo-jung said she took this part because the show was about family but this has actually turned out to be true. I am afraid that she may now get hurt by Dae-hyun’s mom who has ambitions for her son but if so, that too is a part of what happens with family (we just got a whole drama on the subject with the just concluded, but great, MY UNFAMILIAR FAMILY) but I suspect that Dae-hyun’s mom will alsoexperience pain because she too has come to love Saet-byul.

What all the people who now will oppose them are these two simple facts: At the end of Episode 10 we learned that Saet-byul is determined to marry Dae-hyun. At the end of Episode 14 we saw Dae-hyun, a solid man of integrity and honor, commit himself to Saet-byul. All of the people who oppose this are faced with the dramatic equivalent of Scylla and Charybdis. There will be much anguish and struggle in the final two episodes but I have great faith in the outcome.

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Pardons for some misspellings and that sentence fragment at the beginning of the last paragraph: I meant to say "What all the people who now will oppose them will have to confront are these two simple facts".

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I am worried about the mom too. I don't think she'll intentionally hurt SB but as of now she sees YJ in rose-colored glasses. In one way, it's nice that she isn't judging YJ based on her mother's actions, but I hope she learns quick that YJ is now no longer any better than her mom.

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This is what I meant by it being painful for Dae-hyun's mom. On the one hand she wants her son to achieve great things- which is why she almost will certainly push him back towards Yeon-joo, as being a path to that. On the other hand she genuinely cares about Saet-byul and even sees her as family. We would normally describe her as conflicted but really this is more than that- she s going to feel that she is torn in two. As I said- she will actually be in pain even as she causes pain to Saet-byul and her son.

In the end I hope that she does see YJ more clearly and finally sees SB's value. While the show does not spell it out I cannot help but think that sub-consciously SB has been the daughter-in-law that she really wants, which makes hurting her all the more painful.

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I do wonder if her fear of losing SB if they break up will play a role. In comparison, YJ is pretty disposable if it doesn't work out the 2nd time. My guess though is she won't even know SB is an option when she suggests YJ.

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We will have to see but I like your hypothesis. At this point it is not as if SB and DH have gone public which means that initially the mom would have no idea that SB was even a part of the picture.

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To your latest comment: Exactly and DH is known to not confess quickly to his parents when he's afraid of their reaction.

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Being between Scylla and Charybdis is an idiom deriving from Greek mythology, which has been associated with the proverbial advice "to choose the lesser of two evils". The Wikipedia explanation was much better than my own so I quoted it. Though I always enjoy a reference to Greek mythology, I do not understand how it applies here? Are you saying that the relationship between Saet-byul and Dae-hyun is going to be considered "lesser evil" than some other unknown alternative by his family? I am confused...

In classical mythology, Scylla was a horrible six-headed monster who lived on a rock on one side of a narrow strait. Charybdis was a whirlpool on the other side. Ships would choose to pass close to Scylla and therefore only sacrifice six sailors, one to each head. Venturing too close to Charybdis would guarantee the loss of the ship and the entire crew. Scylla was the lesser of two evils.

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On a side note, the choice is rendered irrelevant if the ship has a crew of six or less. This is something that seems to be almost universally ignored. If I was a member of such a crew, I would choose Charybdis. I really enjoy an exciting water park ride.

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Exactly- neither choice is now ideal. If DH goes back to YJ he will be unhappy and the family will lose SB. If he sticks with SB then he misses out on a career at company headquarters. Either choice involves a loss.

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I feel like a broken record trying to say how much I appreciate KYJ acting in this drama. Her acting isn't something that hard to describe or situation that just out of this world but it's so natural. The way she holds back and tries to toughen up yet failed feels so real. The way she smiles and being genuine with her heart also convey as something so cute.

I also like how JCW shows the nice, kind, normal guy persona here. He feels genuine and you can feel when his feeling started to change.
The characters in this drama impress me and I want to stay with them because they feel real. I don't think word is enough to explain what they did in this drama, it's the whole atmosphere, the way they shoot and film stuff, the way they frame the background, it feels natural, rich and it doesn't look much like a staged drama.

The busy street, small alleys, the packed convenience stores, the full hospital and the not so perfect road is encapsulated really well. It's not dreamy cinematography that makes you want to screencap the scenes but it's the feeling of belonging in the drama, it's like seeing real life in zoom effect when we need it.

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You are right about the directing, staging and cinematography in this show. Both of our leads are playing their parts very well.

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Yess!!

It’s the accumulation of the show’s nice little things that manage to hook and impress me. Really love the set up. Settings feel alive and bustling, yet also feels like a casual neighborhood where everyone kinda know each others a little. Even characters are of a casual backgrounds, which make their struggles so familiar and correlated with us viewers.

Nothing in this show is over the top, nothing too fancy, yet they all manage to deliver a great cinematography. And of course, the NEON COLORING theme 😍 in general always helps to make the scenes more vibrant and satisfying.

Maybe I’m a little bit biased because I prefer this kind of a drama which characters are more of a ‘commoners’ and we can see better about portrayal of social interactions and values in a common Korean society. Yeah, always prefer this kind of drama especially rather than some stories about persons with a very rare 1-in-hundreds-of-millions medical/psychological condition that I never heard of or stories about a young-perfect-prodigal-genius of a CEO. 😆

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I haven't managed to watch the last 2 episodes because I am so busy but I am also like drama with normal people or commoner. I think the poverty aspect here also well done. They way she and other residences get scammed also sad, they didn't make it like it's the end of the world but even that, for normal people is way too sad.

There is a lot of stories about one of a kind childhood connection, genius CEO, rich people being bad but this drama has childhood connection (that only her feeling it) but the relationship isn't built because of that.

It has rich and asshole rich people but they aren't the other end of hell, they have their own life (like Yoon Joo) and their own pride, Yoon Joo's mother and they aren't just someone who stomped other people.

I remember when they went to the new open bar/cafe and you can see how packed the new places, how overly nice the cafe worker and how the atmosphere feels like it belongs in real life.
In the hospital, when she get into the normal room, there are other people who somewhat annoyed, somewhat looking at her, other who look at her way and other who just doesn't react.
In the alley, I frequently see the lady in the shop who watering her flower, who hang her clothes and people who stop and enter the convenience store despite there was dramatic things happen. Idk if I remember but sometimes a delivery man pass by, people talk in other stores.

I like seeing the background of the drama and many dramas has nothing, for example: secluded alley, empty street, perfect road and line up vehicle. It's pretty to look at but it feels like a drama.

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Definitely.. I’m used to have one constant complain in my early years of following Kdramas and that is precisely how the characters always had the entire empty/secluded spaces to meet with each other and do their things. You could feel it especially worst in a rom-com drama. The lead couple need to find a place have a serious talk before some naughty flirt? No worries, they would so conveniently manage to find a table at a fancy restaurant with hardly any people inside, but which was supposed to be famous with a hard-to-get reservation. 😆
Nah.. I don’t find the empty spaces as pretty. It feels like an easy cheat code for the sake of quickly advancing the story. Little bit annoying for me because that simply doesn’t happen IRL. Sorry, I just value a more creative and realistic way to progress the story. Plus, having a lively backdrops always help with the atmosphere and moods of the story.

I still remember my prime example for my complaining was Secretary Kim. And I also remember My ID Is Gangnam Beauty as the first Kdrama that I lauded for having bustling backdrops. 😂😂

Fortunately I also feel that in recent years, Kdrama is getting better in this issue. It’s no longer so blatant and more attentions are put towards backdrops and settings. Well at least I recognize that with the newer shows, I don’t spot the empty spaces problem as often as I had a few years back. 😉

Back to the show, Backstreet Rookie is a very well done drama in term of its setups. Should be a prime example and new standard to point out of how a Kdrama could deliver its moods, feelings, and atmosphere in a right way to the viewer just by using its backdrops.

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I have always preferred slice of life dramas like Hospital Playlist and Diary of A Prosecutor, and while this drama is not strictly in the same genre, it certainly has that real-life feel which makes it believable. You can almost believe that this story can happen to you or your next-door neighbor and the behavior and reactions of the characters will be the same. No coincidences here, no histrionics, no tragic backstories. Just a believable romance and a believable family.

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ok i just finished the last episode and i love this drama! we got our wookie back. he was perfect for this and kim yoo jung also!

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