Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pre-Finale Reply 1988 Thoughts

For a while I was contemplating on whether or not I should make a pre-finale post for Reply 1988 but after watching the penultimate week of episodes, I knew I needed to make it. I wrote one for the previous Reply series which was 2 years (!) ago, so might as well make one for this one. Let's make it a tradition. Since the pre-finale posts are supposed to be about who will end up with whom, we're sticking strictly on ships for this one. A review will come when time is due.

Before diving into the deep end of main couple-dom, let's talk about the "lesser" couples. I put lesser in quotations because they're not really all that less but in the scheme of the drama, they kind of are. The first one is Jung-bong and Man-ok couple. Their relationship have been of comical nature from the start, what with that Temptation of the Wolves parody. But when the moment calls for it, their relationship did have a lot of heart. I kind of teared up a little, in between my other cries of episode 17, when Man-ok told Jung-bong to forget her. Alas, their relationship didn't end just there. Their posting days were over since they've moved to a new decade and the internet was there. It was cute how he met her again through the primitive internet of that time. If you want to call it fate (oh, that dreaded word), then I'd wholeheartedly agree. I'm not sure if their relationship will end up down the aisle, but it would be cute if it did. Man-ok might even be able to whoop Jung-bong's ass so he can focus more diligently into a more productive human being, but without the heartbreak this time.

Since fate was a big word for episode 18, let's not forget the noona-dongsaeng romance of the hour, Bo-ra and Seon-woo. Their relationship was and always has been so sincere, it was incredibly sad when it ended. I kind of hated Bo-ra for not explaining her reasons, but I could imagine this was the best for the two. I'm glad they didn't wallow in their sadness and were still able to achieve great things in the mean time. Their re-encounter in the future was bittersweet and showed how much the two have grown and changed. Seon-woo, who's love for Bo-ra was once puppy-like and wholehearted, was now cold to the idea of even seeing her again. Bo-ra on the other hand was the one who had many hopes, and showed the deeper feelings we didn't get to see much of when they dated before. I'd like to think that their relationship is it, as long as they mend the broken hearts that happened in between.

Now the biggie, who will it be? Jong-pal or Taek? Honestly, I'm not sure. Episode 18 makes me think Jong-hwan has given up on Deok-seon completely. (An episode entitled 'Goodbye First Love' doesn't make it easier). It seems he realized that all this time he's been doing it wrong and should've just confessed in the beginning. He waited way too long. It hit him the hardest when he did finally tried to grab onto her, he was too late and Taek has already been there. Again. But it's not like Taek isn't clearly the winner in this case. He has the tendency to do things with Deok-seon but not making it clear what his intentions were. They had so many chances of being alone with her so he can confess, but he always chickens out. These two are so frustrating, honestly. Compared to all the pacing back and forth of the two previous Reply series, they're not really going anywhere.

And Deok-seon isn't making it easier. We don't know who she likes. She was starting to develop feelings for Jung-hwan, mostly because she also thought he liked her, but that ship soon capsized when Jung-hwan, being his true self, was too slow in making decisions. Towards Taek, I've never felt she had any romantic feelings towards him. More of an older sister taking care of her clumsy little brother who was sometimes awed when he did things she couldn't imagine him doing. It's not her fault really, since she has never been the type to be obsessive over one single thing, unlike Si-won of 1997 and Na-jung of 1994. We know she's more of the move on easily type of girl, as seen with her brief crush on Sun-woo. I doubt she has lingering feelings for either during the year 1994, and instead she will grow to love her eventual husband after he confesses. If he does.

Meanwhile, many people are rooting for Jung-hwan because he's classic Reply husband material. He gets in fights with the leading lady all the time. He's aloof but secretly cares for her in a seemingly platonic with romantic intentions sort of way. Taek is definitely more of the one that got away sort of man. Gentle and kind and successful and was the first to make actual moves to our lady. Ironic, I know. But since it's episode 18 and there aren't any clear progression, it gets kind of frustrating.

One thing for sure though I'm glad it's not first loves all around. If the "lesser" couples become the ultimate couples, the first love victims only comes down to 4 out of 7. 8 if you count Dong-ryong (poor Dong-ryong). 10 if you count Taek's dad and Sun-woo's mom (but I don't think they count since they were married before). What I hated most about Reply 1994 especially was that everyone except Chilbong (poor Chilbong) got to marry their first loves. What the heck? So cheers to the people who didn't marry their first loves. (For those who was wondering, or didn't pay too much attention to the drama, those lucky survivors include Bo-ra, Deok-seon, and the befallen man. And Dong-ryong, maybe.)

Speaking of Dong-ryong, why isn't he getting any love interests? Or to be more specific, why is he ignored much of the time? He didn't really evolve much throughout the series unlike, say, Jung-bong who I would say is equal footing in terms of character importance (or was I wrong?). Is he going to be a befallen baby boomer later on? I hope he doesn't get forgotten in the present day flash forward either. We don't even know anything about his love life. He likes pretty girls just like any guy, but there's never a deeper feeling. Heck, I don't even know if he has experienced his first love yet (as of 1994). I hope it gets sorted out soon.

Also yay to Taek's dad and Sun-woo's mom getting married! Their relationship was so low key (as was the proposal), that their marriage came with little fanfare. But it reflected their relationship which was mellow yet comforting. They were the ultimate OTP for a while so I'm glad they got together in the end but I wish there was something to commemorate the union. A picture would be nice.

So, unlike the previous Reply series, which was such a mania drama to me, Reply 1988 was a lot more chill and less husband drama, which I like. But on the other hand, the dramatic portion is so weak it's frustrating. I want something at least. Well the finale is this weekend so hopefully all the questions will be answered. But honestly, the only thing I hope is that neither episodes break the 2 hour mark. And here I thought Reply 1994 was long.

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