Review: Reply 1997
I swear that this drama has twists at every turn, and it was such a killer. The reason why the twists worked was because they always revealed just enough of the story in the flashbacks to get you thinking, and the these developments always enriched the characters so you learned a lot about them, and yet you still learned so little. It really had the habit of showing things first, then explaining them afterwards in the following episode.
The worst was in the latter half of the series, when there was so much more pain and emotion in every character’s actions because we now understood where they were coming from, but we couldn’t help them or defend them For example, when Hak Chan does not introduce Yoo Jung to his mother as his girlfriend, or when Yoon Jae runs half barefoot through the streets to protect Shi Won from a rapist, only to be bleeding and then recoiling from Shi Won’s touch because he must give her up for his brother. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster because I found myself sobbing very hard at the end of episode 12, only to laugh at episode 13, then sob again, then feel all warm and fuzzy, then laugh like a maniac, then cry. I mean dude – how much more pain can I go through in 5 hours?
But all that pain was when watching the characters grow up, mature, and become more confident in realizing what it is they want in their lives. They all need to live moving forward, not in the past. There were some growing pains, but it was very necessary considering that no character can switch in emotions in an instant. As much as I hated the dragging out of situations, waiting for them to have the courage was a gut-wrenching process that held my attention for the full series.
There were so many breakout stars in this group, with some actors known for their supporting roles. Seo In Gook (Yoon Yoon Jae) was previously in Love Rain, and he was one of the sweet side characters during the 70’s paortion of the drama. I loved him there, but in this drama he completely proved that he could be a leading man. He had the charm and shy boyishness that balanced out to Jung Eun Ji‘s Sung Shi Won, who was forthright and loud. The two of them had excellent chemistry, as I could really believe in their comfortable friendship with each other, and when they both started falling in love with each other. (Kiss scenes were hot!)
Lee Shi Eun is that supporting actor you would recognize, but I would never really pay attention to him much. That is no longer the case. While his character was the standard talkative jerk who would always put things out in the open when you didn’t want him to, he really proved himself in the latter episodes. I kind of felt bad that he was always the one who got beat up, and that his character was shown so much more depth only at the end of the series.
Eun Ji Won was hilarious as the awkward Do Hak Chan, especially when he apparently doesn’t know how to talk to girls.
Song Jong Ho of Will it Snow for Christmas and The Princess’ Man really won my heart in this series. I never really cared for him, and he didn’t really play good guys before. Now, he’s totally a good guy, and him smiling so much was a big reason why I didn’t recognize him in the first place. He’s the perfect older brother Tae Woong, and I really wanted him to have a happy ending. Unfortunately he just had to be the perfect third leg of the love triangle between him, Yoon Jae, and Shi Won. What’s difficult about this particular love triangle is that they all really love each other, but you just knew Yoon Jae and Shi Won were meant to be.