12/16/2013

Drama Review~ Secret/Secret Love

 Finally finished my review for Secret though I am sorry I didn't have it earlier, finals were the most important thing on my to-do list.  This particular review took me away to format and get all my thoughts done because it was such a great drama and there were lots of material I potentially needed to use. There is soo much to say that I could write for days about Secret but unfortunately we cannot do that. Beware there will be spoilers in this review.

Secret started out slow the first couple of episodes but that's understandable since it had to establish ground first. When it finally got moving though, it never stopped. It was great drama and entertainment till the end. Secret is about a woman names Yoo Jung(Hwang Jung Eum) who goes to jail in place of her boyfriend Do Hoon(Bae Soo Bin) because of a hit-and-run murder. The rich guy Min Hyuk(Ji Sung) eventually ends up falling in love with her but the kicker is that his ex-girlfriend was the one who was murdered, thus the drama shows how two people who could possible never be together end up falling for each other. The rich guy's childhood bff  Se Yeon(Lee Da Hee) plays the woman whose in love with him but he doesn't even know she exists.

I was certainly curious to see how they would take this angry man and have him fall in love with an innocent woman he believed to have killed his ex-lover. Coming into this drama I had no expectations, that is to say I was coming with a open mind and no formed opinions based off of Ji Sung's previous work. I was curious to know why it was beating its more glamorized competitors. And boy was I sucked into this cult favorite. It was a little more than a melodrama, it had suspense intertwined also. I loved how Secret, though a melodrama, had funny moments throughout the drama to give us time to take a breath every once in awhile. The main leads had some sizzling chemistry, actually all 4 leads had great chemistry but definitely JI & JE. The way JI would get into his character and look at her with those beautiful brown eyes made me feel the heat from my laptop computer. I had to keep reminded myself he was married to the gorgeous Bo Young because he made it look so real.

Min Hyuk
Ji Sung did an exceptionally great job on portraying Min Hyuk and his every emotion throughout Secret. Only having watched Protect the Boss but hearing of his notorious roles in melodramas, I was impressed with his acting range. He took the role of Min Hyuk, which was a hard one to play since he had to convince the audience that he could change from a scheming revengeful man to one that was helplessly in love with a woman he tormented for years. Thanks to his charismatic performance, I can look forward to even more from Ji Sung in the future.

Min Hyuk was actually one of my favorite characters because the writers let us see his every vulnerability and emotion from the beginning. So in fact, we could understand why he would have such strong emotions against Yoo Jung and want to enact revenge against her. To see him fight so strongly against her to then turn and not only side with her but give the greatest gift possible, his love. So unexpected when it did show up but nonetheless was well worth the wait. I believe it was around episode 8 or so when the audience really got to see him fall for YJ.
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It didn't happen overnight but you could tell when he started to care about her and her well-being, that's when the feelings began. In that scene when he found her lying unconscious in her bakery was -to me- the beginning of everything. But I still wasn't convinced yet just thought he was taking pity on her. It wasn't until episode 9 where he yelled at her about what she had done for DH that I could finally see his true feelings. That entire episode in fact, especially when YJ walked out in the road and got hit by the van, and the first time EVER he called her by her name instead of "substitute." That entire scene was just so amazing the emotions of crying/laughter together. Ahh man. I watched that scene more than once because it attests to the wonderful performance that Ji Sung acted out. You could see the desperation and fear in his eyes when he though she had been severely hurt and then that weight was lifted off once she got up and walked off. The sheer relief and joy in his eyes was on point. I think thats when MH realized himself, how much he had fallen for YJ in that moment. Because he realized that he couldn't live without her, MH needs her, as does YJ need him. The perfect ying and yang. Another one I always look back on was when Yoo Jung complains that she owes Min Hyuk too much money and he basically tells her that its her fault. Then he walks away angry that he was hurting because of her. I noticed at first that he would get angry whenever he he came to the realization that he was starting to care for her, he used that defense mechanism to cover up his growing feelings for her.

I really enjoyed watching him see YJ's true personality, and not the one that everybody else perceived. How a kind, nurturing, honest, and loyal woman she truly was. That's why that scene in ep 9 was so captivating. He could not believe that the woman he had been stalking decided to give up time of her life to take the place of the real criminal. It didn't add up and I like how frustrated and angry he was when she admitted to the crime, he knew deep down inside that she was innocent but had no way to prove it. I think the best scenes were the ones when MH was so angry with YJ, only because she kept proclaiming a role in the accident that she clearly didn't have anything to do with.

Honorable mention for favorite episodes: Episode 12
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The birthday celebration/dinner with YJ's friends. From the beginning to the end, this scene filled me with pure joy. Its one of the few scenes in this series that has such a light-hearted moment between all the characters that mean so much to YJ. I loved the evil glint in Lee Ja Yeong's eyes when she was told it was MH's bday. He didn't know what was coming at him until they all jumped in and beat him...even Kwang Soo tried to get into the action. Haha I love the *oh shoot I'm caught* expression when MH caught him! The friendship between those two really grew throughout the drama. He became more than he's personal chauffeur/bodyguard, he became a friend and confidant.

Also another great scene in ep 12 was the birthday "party" SY threw for MH. As predictable as SY is, I'm surprised MH didn't catch on to her schemes early on. But what I wanted to focus on was the instant that MH sees YJ, he never takes his eyes off her for the rest of the evening. Then when he went to thank her for getting them the investment, the look of pure love shining from MH's eyes was such a squee-moment. At that moment, nothing and no one was going to prevent him from showing his feelings for all the world to see. He was so grateful that YJ went above and beyond her "duty" just to save the business for him. It was a role of reversal. Its usually the hero who saves the day but this time it was YJ. Then when she spilled the coffee and his first inclination was to push her away from the mess/possible danger of getting cut from the glass. That particular scene drove the nail into the coffin for me. If that didn't prove to YJ how different MH was to DH idk what would. It parallels the opening scene when DH released YJ's hand to steer the way, not even trying to protect her from the impact, while MH doesn't even think twice to push her away from danger. SE saw it and realized that she could never, ever, have his love because another woman had already taken it. Such an epic moment between the two.

Yoo-Jung
Ahh my favorite female character EVER. Seriously. We need more strong females like her in dramaland. Hwang Jung Eum outdid herself. I've never seen any of her previous work so on a personal level this was a great first-drama watch with her as the lead. She has the talent of drawing the audience into a scene with her. I don't know how HJE was able to stay sane throughout Secret because they really made her cry bascially the whole drama - but I'm not complaining - the way she so naturally cries makes you want to cry with her. She made you sympathize with YJ's plight as well as cheer her on when she - FINALLY - slapped DH. The complete rage coming over her entire being was so perfectly timed. It was a scene of great relief for all of us who had to sit back and watch her get walked all over only to finally come to this moment where she stood up for herself and took charge.

When Secret first started it took me awhile to understand why she took DH place. In what world would a grown woman lose 3-4 years of her life for a man? I constantly battled this question episode after episode getting angry at her for messing up her life. But, as the show began to show us more of Yoon Jung's character, the missing puzzle pieces started to fall into place. Loyalty was the core of YJ's being. Countless times, she could have left DH, she certainly had the right since he didn't have enough gumption to say "no" to his mother about blind dates. Regardless of how much crap he and his parents put her through, she still lovingly cared for them. And they happily took advantage of it. So after the accident occurred she took the blame because she didn't want DH's career to be put off. YJ selflessly gave up in a way her life for a man who did not deserve it. That's the kind of woman she was. YJ loved fiercely and loyally, so a way to even show further proof of that love was to sacrifice herself.

Honorable mention for favorite episodes: Episode 15
Hwang Jung Eum had one of my favorite scenes in all the dramas I've watched this year when YJ went to visit San's adoptive mother. It was such an emotional moment for both woman as they had to deal with the aftermath of DH's mothers actions. Both woman loved San unconditionally, it was never a question in my mind that his adoptive mother didn't love as much as his biological one. That's why that scene was such an emotional time, because knowing YJ's character she didn't want to strip this woman of the only joy in her life. While YJ only had her son for a year or so, this woman had him for 4 years! The way she just took the adoptive mother's hand and comforted HER is what really struck me in this scene. YJ was the one who thought her son dead all this time and now has just discovered him,  she's the one in the most pain because of everything that has happened to her and yet she comforts another woman. I just loved how both actresses acted out that tearful scene, both mother's to San and the biological one comforting the woman who had him all these years. Such a moving moment that I applaud both woman for giving us.

Then later on in the episode when she goes to San's house to get his things was the moment she realized she couldn't go through with it. Seeing how grown San had become, his likes/dislikes were foreign to her, and in that moment she realized she couldn't take him. Which is why she chose not to take him away. I realize some viewers didn't agree with her decision but I thought it was the best possible thing to do. Truly, his adoptive mother was his real mother, biological or not. She's the only mother he has ever known and taking him away from that and everything he knows would have traumatized him, just like when he was first taken away from YJ. That one decision again demonstrated to us the kind of person that she is, and because of her kindness and caring nature, was the reason why MH fell in love with her.

Do Hoon
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Bae Soo Bin blew my socks off with his portrayal of Do Hoon! Personally, he was the breakout star of the drama. If he doesn't win anything for his role we should all protest because this guy was too good in his role. At times he overshadowed Ji Sung and I wasn't upset because he's that good. Its interesting how quite and kind he seems in real life but as DH he's this selfish, narcissistic human being. Since I've already written a piece on his character for the 30 Day Challenge here  I won't spend alot of time rehashing previous words. Instead we'll go straight to the most memorable scene of his.

Honorable mention for favorite episode:16
The scene when DH sees his son for the very first time all happy and very much alive. I know it wasn't him who faked San's death but it was his fault for taking him away from his mother. That was his first big mistake other than covering up a hit-and-run. When he realizes all that he had lost, truly lost, he broke down. That line "Oppa look at what you took away from me" was soo good because then and there he realized how much he had lost. Watching him cry the first time didn't make me feel any empathy but the second time around I kinda felt sorry for him. It's such a sobering scene to watch DH beat himself over & over again his way - I think - of inflecting a well-deserved punishment. Then to apologize to YJ after all these years and to finally admit his wrong. Such a powerful and well acted scene. I really like this scene for two main reason. #1 DH faces his greatest mistake & #2 YJ offers him no comfort and instead leaves him wallow in his own  pain.
Se Yeon
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Honestly I don't know how Lee Da Hee plays the evil/bitchy/slightly psychotic characters when in real life she seems like an extremely sweet person. Its like night and day and makes one wonder what does she use as inspiration in order to get herself into the role. However it happens, is a testament to her growing talent as a actress.

Se Yeon was a character from time to time that I could sympathize with. I mean, you have this woman who is in love with her childhood best friend who doesn't think of her in any terms but that of a childhood best friend. That really sucks. So for years you have to suffer in silence and watch woman after woman come into that person's life. That would make any woman want to go a little crazy at some point but not to the point of wanting to eliminate a human being from the face of the earth. There were those instances where SY's vulnerability showed and in those times, I truly felt sorry for her. The sad thing is that SY believes she loves MH but really its just an obsessions of hers. YJ even points that out to her in the wedding chapel scene from ep 14 though not specifically calling out SY,  but the comment on how she wished she had let go of DH sooner because it wasn't love but obsession. Hit the nail on the coffin and SY wasn't happy about that discovery. I think SY's problem was that she was too controlled. She had her fate handed to her by MH & her father. She was just a money pawn in their world and had no say in the matter what so ever. I think the happiest we ever see her is in the end when starts she painting again. There was a scene with her & MH where he tells her she never looked so happy as when she was painting. Her one outlet on life is painting its also a area she can truly be in control of. When she finally grasps that MH will never love her is when the true psycho-bitch comes out.

Honorable mention for favorite episode: Episode 15
Wow episode 15 must have really been the bomb since most of my HMs are from there. Anyway this is the part where SY embraces her craziness. She is willing to risk her companies failure just to make MH come crawling to her in defeat. That creepy smile of hers - though great doesn't rival Bae Soo Bin's - really gets to me everytime. She skipped the crazy part and went right to the dysfunctional-really-needs-medical-help part. SY wanted to MH to know that she didn't care what happened to her, as long as MH would be by her side is all she wanted. The lengths she goes to just to have MH all to her self is quite maddening and a little sad. I wonder since we never really know the relationship between her and her father, if she never knew what it meant to be loved. Because the "love" she displays, isn't the normal type. I kinda wish we would have gotten a little more background on her family life because I'm pretty sure that would explain her psychotic nature.

The Gang
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I cannot end this review without talking about the various other characters in Secret. Honestly without them, our main leads would be powerless. These seemingly useless characters, were the backbones and supporters of MH & YJ. Without them constantly bringing laughter to their lives and being the voice of reason, who knows how this would have ended. My favorite character was Sandra Hwang. She was quite hilarious and I loved her ferocity. Lee Ja Yeong - famous for her curly hair - was my favorite turn-around story. The companionship and trust between the her and YJ was profound. How two woman who didn't get along at first, through the mutual love of their sons, became such close friends. JY always had her back and was always the first to tell YJ to fight back. Next is Kwang Soo. I can never think of him as Kwang Soo anymore but "plus one." He was more than just the secretary, he was the bodyguard and the confidant to MH. And the icing to the cake is that he got with Yang Hae Ri - those two are super adorable together - but I was hoping they would give us a twist by pairing him up with Ja Yeong...oh well.

Now that Secret has ended, I'm at the crossroads with what to watch next and how can I possibly move on. Was it a satisfying drama? Yes. Did it satisfy till the end? Yes and no. Since they only had 16 episodes to work with, it was inevitably gonna be rushed to get everything resolved in the end. The only gripe  I have with the ending - very minor- is how little time our OTP had. Seriously I was anxiously awaiting to see them together and only got that in the last 10 minutes or so. But, they did compensate by giving us that fabulously delicious ending. Thank you drama Gods.

10 comments:

  1. Finally!a review tt does great justice to a an almst flawless piece of art n to the cast wc brought perfection to life..
    Best review of Secret ,ever!tq

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    1. Ahh thank you very much that was sweet of you :)) I just wish more people loved it as much as our small community does.

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  2. Ah thanks to your wonderful review, I watched this drama and finished it today! I really enjoyed it! The leading characters are so talented and portrayed the whole plot well :) thank you for writing this review!

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    1. I'm super happy you enjoyed it. Glad I could bring attention to such a fascinating and intense drama! ^_^

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  3. Hello. This is A.K.I.A. Talking…
    Thanks for the great review of Secret /Secret Love 비밀! I enjoyed it a lot.
    I added it to my collection of reviews for the show. The show has now an average score of 85%.
    Here is a link to the page if you would like to give it a look:
    http://www.akiatalking.com/2014/12/secret-secret-love-2013-db.html
    Thanks again for the review. If you want to do something with my blog, please contact me.

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    1. Thank you so much for showcasing my review on your site. It is such an honor.

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  4. One of the best k-series I've watched so far--and i've watched tens! Very few can compare to it. The plot was powerful: revenge/hatred turning to love. All the actors played their parts almost too PERFECTLY. The director certainly did a good job. And the romance scenes? Memorable. The best for me was where YJ came looking for MH at the airport when he was leaving for Armenia and in spite of the fact that they missed each other, simply just walked past without a backward glance. Perfect!

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    1. Glad you too enjoyed my favorite drama!

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  5. This is my favorite drama of all too :) thank you very much for your review :)
    I am glad that many people appreciate this drama because every scene to me is so unforgettable :)
    Now that Kill Me, Heal me has ended (my 2nd favorite drama w/c is also from the leads) , I am planning to rewatch Secret for the nth time :) Thank you!!!

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    1. No thank YOU for taking the time to read it :))
      And Kill Me, Heal Me was another masterpiece as well!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment today, I love responding back. I hope you have a lovely day! :)