Encounter (Korean Drama 2018)

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Drama Rating: 9/10

Cha Soo Hyun went on a business trip in Cuba and coincidentally meets the kind and free spirited Kim Jin Hyuk in a series of unexpected events. They spent a couple of hours together to make the most of Cuba’s beautiful atmosphere. It was a trip that both of them would never forget but at the same time, they both knew that it would simply remain as a beautiful memory as they finally part ways.

Back in Korea, Jin Hyuk finds out that Soo Hyun is the CEO of the hotel he had applied for and got accepted in. He also realized that she was a divorcee and a daughter of a congressman. Despite all these things, he fell in love with her unconditionally while Soo Hyun was swept along with his ideals and passion. Thus making her fall for him in ways she never intended to.

I have written my first impression bout this drama and now that I have finally finished it, I could say that watching all 16 episodes was worth my time. The romance and the drama had the right mix along with subtle comic dialogues occasionally thrown here and there. There are a lot of elements that I love about this drama and I need to break them out, one at a time.

First the story line – it would seem like the average makjang theme with a foreshadow ofEncounter ep01.mp4_001702333.png rich parents trying to control the lives of their full grown children, however it doesn’t really focus on that and I’m really thankful to the writers for thinking otherwise. What made the story line unique was the act of pure love between a simple young man who falls in love for the first time and a woman who has been through so much that she is too afraid to love at all. I like how pure love worked for these two characters because usually this kind of set up is reserved to high school or teenybopper leads whose dealing with young love for the first time. To have something like this for middle aged people, it’s very unusual but worked pretty well for me and most of its audience.

As for the characters – I’d like to initially mention Cha Soo Hyun which was acted by Song Hye Kyo, for a woman who is rich and divorced, I would have thought she would be Encounter ep01.mp4_001616915fearless… but no. She is the complete opposite of that. She has too many inhibitions and reasons for holding back that she couldn’t live her life freely as she’s supposed to be. That’s why when she meets the free spirited Kim Jin Hyuk starring Park Bo Gum, he’s like a breath of fresh air for her. His character brought her back to her past self whom she tried to forget and bury. In some ways, Soo Hyun is a pitiable woman but somehow she emerges as a stronger person from all the trials and tribulations thanks to Jin Hyuk’s support. Due to their encounter, she was able to transform from a crawling caterpillar still bound in her cocoon to a magnificent butterfly. As problematic as Soo Hyun’s character may be, Jin Hyuk on the other hand is the polar opposite. He was young, good Encounter ep01.mp4_000747413looking and had such a bright personality that it was too easy to love him. Everyone around him seems to brighten up somehow whenever he’s around. It’s as if he has a circumference of magically filled happy aura that can envelope other people who are only a few meters away from him. Another thing about his personality is that he rarely thinks ill of other people, he also is the forgiving type and when he loves, he does it whole heartedly not thinking of himself but only the condition of his partner. In other words, he’s the perfect kind of mine… I mean MAN. Where on earth can a person be this perfect??? Yes. Of course, only in Kdrama world can we find someone such as the likes of him.

Other characters worth mentioning are the supposedly villains of the drama, the mothers. In makjang strewn filled drama, mothers tend to be the epitome of evil. TheyEncounter ep03.mp4_000272171 always ruin their children’s lives and this drama is no exception to that. What I liked about their characters though is that they are so effective in their roles that they automatically become the people I love to hate. Kim Hwa Jin acted by Cha Hwa Yun, one of the veteran actresses in Korea was the very image of a controlling ajumma. She’s simply can’t get enough that she even wants to eat the life out of her son and her ex-daughter in law. To think that her son has already divorced, yet she still wanted to be in control of Soo Encounter ep06.mp4_000994493Hyun through legal machinations. She’s the kind of woman who deviously schemes behind the scenes to make the lives of the people around her miserable. That’s how her character is through and through. Jin Mi Ok, on the other hand is a bit tamer but still an utter control freak when it comes to her daughter. Nam Ki Ae who acted Soo Hyun’s mother was perfect for the role. She’s the type who usually plays the bitchy mother or an utterly helpless one. Here though, she’s the kind of mother who had an awesome background as a reported and a great dream of being the first wife of the president. Thus she keeps pushing her husband to stay in politics and let her daughter suffer in the hands of a wretched household. I have so much animosity with her character but I like the fact that Encounter ep11.mp4_003482712Soo Hyun loved her unconditionally despite how her mother treats her because of those big ambitions. Last mother to mention is Joo Yeon Ja, Kim Jin Hyuk’s mother played by Baek Ji Won. She’s not in the same category as the previous mom’s I have mentioned because she’s actually the opposite. Yeon Ja is a loving mother and cares for the family the most, which is one of the nice things in this drama. She’s also soft spoken and always has a smile on her face, yet there’s something about her that makes her personality a strong one. I wouldn’t want to mention it to avoid spoilers, but she’s one the characters to really look forward to.

Other supporting characters that made the main ones shine – Jung Woo Seok, the second lead guy acted by Jang Seung Jo. There are so many layers of manliness from this guy’s character but I feel that it was utterly wasted with all the decisions he made which Encounter ep03.mp4_002603167.pngeventually made Soo Hyun unhappy. Their relationship could have been a promising one if he was just earnest with her from the beginning and didn’t hold back anything because of his mother. I would have even rooted for him if I could, but in the end Jin Hyuk’s sincerity over took Seung Jo’s hesitations thus keeping him at the losing end. Another character I love is Nam Myung Shik, Soo Hyun’s driver and one of her father’s best friends. Go Chang Seok was perfect for this role, he’s a chubby meddlesome guy who only wants best for Soo Hyun as long as it makes her happy. I like the fact that he butts in Encounter ep08.mp4_002893090.pngher life so she can spend more time with Jin Hyuk than necessary. He’s such a charming character that I’d like to have him as my uncle! There are also other characters I’d like to write about, like Soo Hyun’s secretary and Jin Hyuk’s brother and best friends but it would make this article too much about characters and might over shadow the main point of this blog. So I’m struggling to limit myself up to here.

Over all this drama was amazing. It wasn’t action packed or even raced my heart as if it would explode in excitement, but every episode kept me on my toes with anticipation. I liked the overall pacing of the drama as it was a roller coaster ride of deep heartwarming emotions that only I could get from a romantic love story. Everything in this drama, from start to finish seemed to be from a point of view of a true artist because the cinematography was so beautiful that a simple thing could look unique and out of the ordinary. The OST was also great because it added a dramatic touch to a viewer’s heart that it complimented well with the visuals. I would probably rewatch this in the future when I start missing Park Bo Gum’s character as the perfect boyfriend.

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