The Poster that had me Hook, Line and Sinker

Give me more! That’s me after ten episodes of SBS’s I have a Lover. I find myself mesmerized by this melo and ended up marathoning the first eight episodes over one weekend and then promptly followed up with episodes 9 and 10 as soon as they were aired and subbed.


But imagine the horror I felt when I learned that it is 50 episodes long! Oh dear! Normally I don’t touch dramas longer than 20 epis but I was reeled in before I did my homework. Will I get through the wait or will I lose interest? That’s the million dollar question.

It’s been a while since I am this hooked into a drama. Real life has taken a turn lately and I find myself not glued to the small screen as much as I was before. So how did I happen on I Have a Lover? Oh well. Nothing extraordinary. I was merely browsing through the collection of new dramas on my reliable streaming site for nostalgic reasons and came across the poster that caught my eye.

Four good looking leads. They appear familiar and yet I couldn’t put my finger on any of their work. I was drawn to actress Kim Hyun Joo’s expressive eyes and facial expression. She’s got one of those faces that says I’ve got a story to tell…if you know what I mean….a beautiful face but one with substance. Next comes the synopsis or blurb. These blurbs are such a difficult thing to write and most of the times they are not well written. But this one did it for me and voila….I clicked my mouse through to the first episode and the rest, shall we say is history.


So here’s what I like about it so far. Spoilers included.

Do Hae Gang (Kim Hyun Joo)

Do Hae Gang is the main draw for me. A complex character with so many layers, she is neither the perfect goody two shoes heroine nor is she the pathetic victim or the insufferable villain. She traverses somewhere in between this continuum. The first few scenes show a haughty and unfeeling Hae Gang, driven by career and ambition. Devoid of emotion even when the plaintiff she defeated (amid questionable scruples) committed suicide, one would have easily dismissed her as a character to root for. But unlike many one dimensional characters, we get to see another side of Hae Gang. Her deep-seated pain comes through on screen thanks to her masterful acting and excellent scriptwriting.

On the outside she maintains her aloofness and detaches herself from reality; whether it is her love-hate relationship with her mother or her strained love for her husband. She fails to nurture her marriage and blindly assumes that the love Jin Eon has for her will survive at all costs. But even a desert cactus will eventually wilt away if it does not receive nourishment. But I am happy to see that the writer did not make her into a pitiful wife. She finally lets go and walks away with dignity after seeing Jin Eon willing to compromise his values to work for his father in exchange for his freedom.

Choi Jin Eon (Ji Jin Hee)

Jin Eon. Many (including me) despise him for being the adulterous husband, the weakling that deserves to be cast aside, forgotten, wiped off our memories but somehow I also want to see him redeem himself in Hae Gang’s eyes. Though I do not condone his behavior, I don’t hate him either. It is a show after all, a make belief reality….a drama for dramatic sake. If this were real life, my opinion will beg to differ.

Yes, he is vulnerable to a fault, and deserves our loathe but he is also a conflicted human being. Broken by the loss of his child, he never recovered and though we don’t know yet how she died, hints are that it has something to do with Hae Gang’s neglect. That could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Each chooses to deal with his/her grief differently; she chooses to internalise her grief while he wants to grief openly, longing for the warmth that Hae Gang fails to deliver, hence both allowing the marriage to slowly slip away.

Tempted and seduced by a younger version of Hae Gang, he finally caved. But his love for Hae Gang never really went away, buried deep within his sub-consciousness. Now and then his eyes betray his lingering love but he had to walk away so he can breathe again.


Kang Seol Ri (Park Han Byul)

A hot blooded man’s ideal woman, beautiful, smart and engaging; hard to resist for any man, let alone one with a marriage waddling on the rocks. She is irritating and her manners despicable. Though she did fall for Jin Eon at face value and not because of his background, at least not initially, she did ultimately cross the moral boundary by tempting a married man. How this relationship unfolds is yet to be seen. She’s the antagonist and her character is one that is easy to hate. But I hope the PD and writer keep it real for the rest of the show and don’t turn her into an over the top deplorable, conniving character.

Baek Seok (Lee Gyu Han)

The nice guy that will not get the girl? As much as I like Baek Seok and all his good intentions, I am not yet invested in his character. He adds some spice into the show but it is too early to tell where this is heading.

As expected of a 50 episode drama there are many subplots and secondary characters which are necessary to fill the dead space. I am intrigued with Yong Gi’s story and what has become of her but I could easily do without most of the other storyline. The grandma is endearing and the mothers bickering over their Miss Korea supremacy may be fillers but most of all I want to see the evolution of Hae Gang’s journey and see it come full circle.

Is it perfect? Of course not! It has its share of unbelievable scenes (like how did she survive falling off the cliff 🙂 ) and makjang galore. Diehard critics will find plenty of flaws. I do too but the main story has kept me engrossed that I can easily overlook the rest. If needed, the fast forward button is never too far away.  

Bottom line, I have a Lover has somehow managed to remind me why I love kdramas in the first place; the good, the bad and the ugly all intertwined into one compelling entertainment.


12 thoughts on “The Poster that had me Hook, Line and Sinker

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    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Louvenia! Thanks for such an encouraging comment. I have really neglected this blog for a few months and somehow your comment went into the spam folder. Luckily I took time to check before emptying it out! So glad you enjoyed this post. I will keep posting my thoughts for someone just like you – a soul out there that happens to enjoy my writing style and/or share my views on Asian dramas. Thank you! You made my day. 😀


  2. Hahaha, I got trapped like this before, with “Sweet Secret” (100+ epis) so I definitely know how you feel. When I saw the poster I instantly wanted to watch it, reading the synopsis made me even more curious but after finding out it was 50 epis I gave up. “Wonderful Days” will be my first and last drama with 50 epis. A friend of mine told me though, that this drama “condones extra-marital relationships”, it is apparently creating some scandal in Korea, is that true? Can’t bring myself to read all the e-fights on blogs if that’s the case, that’s why I am asking.

    As for “Second Time Twenty”, it grew on me, and I am enjoying it now. If you want to read a first impression on it I have one on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Blue!
      Glad to hear from you! I am really hooked on this drama. I do have a liking for melo esp ones that have compelling plots. Undoubtedly it’s got questionable moral issues and I am not surprised it has generated debates and scandal though I haven’t read up on them myself…no use getting all worked up. I am enjoying it as it is…a piece of entertainment and nothing more. 😊 I will definitely check out your post on Second Time Twenty!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hadn’t really noticed this drama, but it does look really interesting! At 50 eps, I think I’ll put it on the back burner for a rainy day, but I would sure love to see some makjang goodness!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tried the first fiew episodes and gave up… too makjangy with a convoluted plot for me to watch without wanting to strangle someone in the long run. I just can’t with these type of long weekenders… they make me have anger management issues, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Timescout…this one’s definitely not you. I can picture you rolling your eyes at the absurdities of some of the characters. Lol! I think the difference for me is that I came in fully expecting to drop it at any moment but this time I just let it be…if I am bored with a scene…I FF and if the episode sucks…I may not come back. But funny enough the reverse happened…I kept coming back. Still can’t say I will stick around…I think it ends in Feb…that’s 2016! Thanks for stopping by!


  5. I thought of watching it…just for the same reason you mentioned — the lovely posters. Haha.
    But then I can’t really commit to a 50 episode drama right now, so I just skipped it,
    I do like Kim Hyun Joo a lot….she played Lee Min Ho’s sister in Boys Before Flowers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Snow! it is not just me…enticed by a great marketing poster. If I had gone and looked up how many epis first…for sure I wouldn’t have started it. I am prepared to drop it anytime though since 50 ep is too long if I don’t enjoy it. No wonder I thought KHJ looked familiar. I did see BOF in her bio but it didn’t connect until you mentioned it. You are a walking kdrama encyclopedia! Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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