As expected, the sweet flashbacks continue as “My Secret Romance” slowly but surely moves toward its happy ending. There is a bump in there as Yoo-mi decides to briefly abandon Jin-wook for reasons that aren’t all that clear, but not to worry. Nothing beats the power of flashbacks. I expect excessive use of flashbacks also makes it easier on the production company, which doesn’t have to spend as much money filming actual new scenes.
The main new content of note consists of Yoo-mi and Jin-wook reconciling with their mothers. This sort of works with Yoo-mi, underdeveloped though Mi-hee is as a character, because we did at least see from the very first episode that Yoo-mi has mother issues. Jin-wook is more tangential. While we always knew that he was harboring angst over the breakup of his parents’ marriage, his mother has not had much story presence and her appearance here is just a tad out of nowhere.
Another important character also pops up out of nowhere to give us a bait-and-switch wedding. Which on principle I don’t have any problems with. “Answer Me 1988” had a great bait-and-switch wedding in the final episode. But the reason it worked was because that couple, even more than the alleged main couple, had a lot of screen time and a very developed relationship. Whereas in “My Secret Romance”, we were only ever invested in Yoo-mi and Jin-wook.
As a result none of the other characters matter and their approving glances throughout this episode just don’t do much for me. One of the big problems of all these flashbacks is that they constantly remind me of all these story points that never went anywhere. Remember the cat, the one that had kittens? I wasn’t expecting an entire subplot out of that but still, that would have been nice as a metaphorical representation of Jin-wook’s character. Kind of like how the cats in “Marriage Contract” worked.
“My Secret Romance” has the bad habit of constantly reminding me of other, better dramas. Even “Something About 1% – 2016”, director Kang Cheol-woo’s previous joint, is just a better version of “My Secret Romance” because while it, too, suffers from a complete lack of subplots, the main characters in “Something About 1% – 2016” also had better developed personalities and more emotional range. Remember that scene in the first episode of “My Secret Romance”, where Yoo-mi dances and makes a fool of herself? That character trait never shows up again. Why the outtakes at the end felt the need to remind me of this, I do not know.
Review by William Schwartz
“My Secret Romance” is directed by Kang Cheol-woo, written by Kim Ha-na-I and Kim Yeong-woon and features Sung Hoon, Song Ji-eun, Kim Jae-young and Jeong Da-sol.
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“[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “My Secret Romance” Episode 13 Final”
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Something About 1% – 2016