Even though my blog is more focused on Taiwanese-dramas, I actually watch a handful of Korean and Japanese dramas but I hardly blog about them as there are so many other bloggers that write better reviews than me with great English command. As I tend to rely on Chinese subs for these foreign shows, my interpretation may not be 100% accurate as meanings of the dialogues may be lost in translation. Still, I feel the itch to continue writing about my thoughts on Valid Love. I’ve written a brief review on ep1-4 of Valid Love before HERE (which was very rough as the whole series still feel a bit fuzzy to me at that point of time) and now, I’ll go further in detail on ep1-8, consider this as a midway review.
Valid love continues to be hard to read, not that it’s abstract, it’s just that I can’t fully grasp and interpret the motivations behind these characters. It’s difficult to peel of layers and layers of complexity wrapping around these characters. They’re all flawed but real because humans commit mistakes and things can’t be easily defined as black and white.
Strangely, this “hard-to-read” aspect of the show is magnetic. It draws me in as a viewer as I’m inclined to keep on guessing and analyzing the reasons behind every single move these characters make. It’s like a micro human study. Feel free to agree and disagree with my perspectives on this show as different people may interpret situations differently. I love it when a show can be this complex because it elevates the fun of studying these characters.
Midway Thought/Review on Valid Love
Sometimes I think these characters are getting all intertwined with each other due to circumstances and coincidences in timing. Even though the timing may seem right at that moment, it’s actually wrong in the whole big picture, it’s like fate made a cruel joke on them.
If Il-Ri (Lee Shi-Young) didn’t push Hee-Tae (Uhm Tae-Woong) away from that car accident, Hee-Tae would have left the country with fond memories of the student that had a crush on him or probably would have forgotten about Il-Ri. He won’t be guilt-ridden and Il-Ri won’t be an unforgettable presence. He did like her as a student, but he only thought that she was cute and the attraction was not deep enough to be irreversible. Il-Ri was young and couldn’t fully understand that her affections for Hee-Tae were mere infatuation and idolization of a grown-up.
I also feel that she would have pushed away anyone that’s beside her during the car accident as she’s a kind person. The motive behind that “push” wasn’t love. It’s just that coincidentally, Hee-Tae was right beside her at that moment and the whole thing happened the night before he planned to leave the country for further study.
Years later, if they didn’t reunite as adults, they probably wouldn’t have gotten married and if Il-Ri didn’t pushed Hee-Tae away during the car accident, even when they meet again as adults, Il-Ri might already have another man beside her or Hee-Tae with another woman beside him. In all actuality, the foundation for their so-called “fated love” was shaky from the start. Did they truly love each other or it was just the timing and circumstances that brought them together?
Soon, a problem enters – Hee-Soo (Choi Yeo-Jin) became a human vegetable right after they’re back from honeymoon and that pulled Il-Ri out of her Andro-planet, she became an ordinary human. She, who once was a naïve and eccentric girl that loves to daydream becomes guilt-ridden. When she rationalizes it, she knows that she’s not the cause of Hee-Soo’s state but she blames herself in her heart. So, even though she rebuked her mom-in-law accusations of her bringing bad luck to the family, deep inside, she actually accepts her accusations.
Years after years, there’s no improvement in Hee-Soo’s condition and Il-Ri continues to be that good daughter-in-law that takes care of Hee-Soo without any complains. But the guilt is like a limitless abyss, no end to that deep black hole. Thus, guilt consumes her heart and left a deep hole on it, which explains why she still feels empty and lonely despite having a loving husband, Hee-Tae (who becomes far more interesting as a character as he learns of his wife’s infidelity). No amount of love from Hee-Tae is able to fill up the hole in her heart because the sight of him reminds her of Hee-Soo and his family that is making her weary.
At this point, Joon (Lee Soo-Hyuk) came into the picture. He’s not correlated to the shared past of Il-Ri and Hee-Tae, he’s a brand new character that infuses fresh air into her mundane life. She finds him interesting and is attracted by his loneliness because she can understand him on a certain level. Hanging out with him is fun because she doesn’t have to think of the family problems that will make her feel weary. He is also attracted to her because of the warmth she gives him, he’s also lonely deep inside, having to live alone for so many years.
To a certain extent, Il-Ri’s fast-moving and passionate affection for Joon in my opinion was an excuse to escape from reality. As he is a brand new character in her life, she can easily open up herself to him without any considerations. The emotions that have been welling up inside her came gushing out like a broken faucet because she’s too tired from constantly trying to tighten that faucet and putting on a strong facade in front of her husband, his family and her family, almost everyone in her life.
Now, the question is whether their mutual attraction is a “true love” or was it just another “right timing” that brought them together as they’re lonely and they found each other during the time where Il-Ri is on the verge of breaking down?
I remember the tagline of Valid love is “All loves are valid” or something that goes along that line. But I feel the more I watch this show, the more I question whether Il-Ri’s love for Hee-Tae and Joon was even valid from the start or she just mistook “infatuation” for love for Hee-Tae and mistook “escapism” for love when it comes to Joon.
Truthfully, despite being attracted by Lee Soo-Hyuk’s hotness, I’m neutral to whether he ends up with Il-Ri or not, either way is totally fine with me. I’m alright with them ending up together as long as they’re ready to be responsible for their decisions. Even if they didn’t get together in the end and Il-Ri goes back to Hee-Tae, I’m fine with it too but I don’t see how a broken relationship can work out. Once trust is broken, it’s irrervisible. All in all, I feel at this point, they all just need a fresh start and learn from their mistakes. Mistakes are always the best stepping stone to becoming a better person.
Il-Ri who once lived in Andromeda planet doesn’t believe in UFO anymore and she is now just an ordinary flawed human that carry scars from her life. I don’t want to judge the actions or mistakes of these characters, I’m just attracted to their journey and I hope that they have enough guts to take responsibility for the outcome of whichever route they choose in the end.
Moral of the story? Ordinary humans make mistakes.