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 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.
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
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.
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.
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 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
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.