Sit tight. Because what you’re about to read is a tale so fantastical it’ll leave you alternately reeling and hooting. If owls (and diaper-clad chickens) are your thing, and if you enjoy intrigue and romance (and also a spot of comedy, intentioned or not), you’ve come to the right place.
But first, a disclaimer. Any resemblance in this story to old or current TV fare is purely coincidental and should not be misconstrued as mischief (punishable by hard labor on a treeless and TV-less island). If there’s any mischief at all, you’ll find it in this extremely tall tale, all eighty-two episodes of it. And now we begin with Episode 1.
A strange thing happened to me in May. And it’s got nothing to do with the six new dramas that began airing that month. (It has, however, affected how I watch those dramas.)
I’ve become a face watcher. Specifically male faces. Specifically actors’ faces. I lean close and stare. I study every inch; I check even the earlobes. And then I lean back and announce my verdict to the lizards in my room. (Well, to the remaining two whose reptilian hearts overflow with pity for me.) Triumphantly, because I have a point to prove, I say aloud:
“Close enough but not quite. He’s still fairer.”
As if we really need an introduction. Our lovebirds lived happily ever after about says it all. With three adorable rugrats no less. And not in a poor house, either. Just not in his mother’s house. JW gets his memory back and more. And we get a classic ending to beat all endings. And after twenty episodes, I give the Secret Garden its final personal rating, 8 out of 10, which places it at the same pedestal as the previous classics such as Coffee Prince First Shop and My Girl.
We don’t see much of romantic love in these two episodes, but that’s okay because we see a different kind of love. A love between parents and offspring – a love where one parent sacrifices his life for somebody else’s kid, and a love of a mother for the very kid, however misguided it may be, brings once a seemingly indomitable force to her knees.
Being stuck in an elevator for the second time in 13 years brings back the partial memory for JW, while RI hears from his mother, what JW is beginning to suspect, that they lost someone “precious” that fateful day.
Christmas is for celebration of love, and we are certainly blessed this season in more ways than one. While I was slumbering away in the festivities of this Christmas, our two lovebirds were busy going from precarious to a sure thing in little less than four episodes.
When I last saw them, which seems like a lifetime ago (I am told that too many screaming kids and too much eggnog can do that to anybody), our lovebirds were sweating away in the evil witch of the West’s abode. Based on the subsequent sequence of events, the chasm between them appears to grow deeper and their parting almost inevitable. But thanks to the most unlikely fairy godmother and even more improbable of a bodyguard, they become, at least in their minds, a bona fide couple that we have all been waiting for.
Given their newly but ethereally cemented bond, starting their journey even in the witch’s presence doesn’t thwart my fingers from dancing on my laptop’s keyboard. Yeah, I know, my fingers need to get a life.
As we near the halfway mark in this drama, I’m beginning to realize more and more just how similar our two lovebirds really are. Bite my tongue, you say? How dare I compare the os to our damsel-in-combat? Well, let me count the ways.
First, they both have temper. So what, who doesn’t, you say? Okay. Second, they are both very strong-willed. Yawn, do you? Tough crowd. Okay, how about this? Third, they both love each other “with all their hearts,” but they are too proud, thick-headed, and misguided to admit it. Their hearts know it, but their brains don’t. That’s evident when JW chases after RI through flights and flights of stairs, and when RI makes an effort to read all that he reads to find out what he’s really thinking. What they say to each other and what their hearts are saying are two entirely different things. Let me show you what I mean.
As a general principle, I don’t like spoilers. But somehow I couldn’t help finding out that soul-swapping was going to occur in this drama. But I have accepted that and moved on, hoping that the switch would be funny, realistic, and maybe, just maybe, provide some poignant moments.
Well, there were some funny moments. We even had a kiss. Okay, technically two kisses. But as a guy, I tend not to count the first one, only because it was just a peck on the lips. We were also given a poignant moment when JW in RI’s body (JW*) finds out that her body is full of bruises and marks from her occupational endeavors, and he feels new compassion for her, enough to lose the desire to peek at her body when he had the chance.
But since the switch, the original characters appeared to have lost some of the edge. RI in JW’s body (RI*) acts more feminine than RI ever did, while JW in RI’s body (JW*), even though Ha Ji-won does an admirable job, just doesn’t have the same cutthroat, all business persona that JW portrayed so well. And there also were some unrealistic moments since the switch.