Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Is it okay to start my post like that? I’m feeling pretty emotional right now, and I decided I will write as such. I literally just finished watching episode 8 of Bubblegum, splashed a little bit of water on my face to compose myself, turned on the Lasse Lindh song “Because I” from the Bubblegum OST and started immediately writing (well, technically it’s a day later now, and I’m editing.. but the vibe of the article will remain my initial reaction directly after watching episode 8).
Ok breathe… this is intense. Really intense, but this is what I love about Kdramas. I’m completely enamoured by this drama even though it has taken a rather deep, sad and uncomfortable turn.
The acting is so on point in both episodes. Especially Episode 8. The emotions feel so realistic and I literally wanted to reach out and comfort the actors. I like dramas where I can connect to the characters. They don’t have to be perfect (because no one is perfect anyway) but I need to be able to have a sense of empathy for them.
So let’s rewind and talk about Episode 7 a little bit. First you will have noticed I’m not a true recap-per at all. There are many other bloggers that are doing a fantastic job of recapping this drama. My thoughts are too scattered, so I prefer to spew it out on the page and hopefully I make at least a little bit of sense…
… Getting distracted here. Episode 7, okay… Episode 7… Episode 7 had a lot of really sweet moments both with our main characters and other characters. This was a rather important episode because Haeng A (Jung Ryeo Won) finally really starts truly opening up and embracing her feelings for Ri Hwan (Lee Dong Wook). I imagine it was quite difficult for her to share her feelings with him, but what’s in a persons heart cannot stay hidden for long. It’ll sooner or later get exposed. Her saying “I like you too” is a pretty big deal.
The kimchi making scenes were adorable. They were playful, light and fun. I really loved the part where Haeng A is getting surprised as she’s watching Ri Hwan and really starts paying attention to some of his physical traits. His eyes… his lips… his large hands.. his height (insert squeal here).
I should mention too, although I’m not invested in the developing relationship between Oh Se Young (Kim Jung Nan) and Ye Joon Soo (Ahn Woo Yeon) they had some pretty great scenes. They’re a bit of an odd match with a large age gap, but hey! Why not? I liked their reference to the Movie “When Harry Met Sally”. That movie came to mind when this drama first started, because it challenges the idea of “Can a man and a woman just be friends”.
Another budding side romance I’m interested in is No Tae Hee (Kim Ri Na) and Jo Dong Il (Park Won Sang). I think they would be really cute together, but I can’t help but feel a little bad for Kwon Ji Hoon (Lee Seung Joon) because he is still in love with her. The thing is, just because his feelings are still very strong, doesn’t mean they should be together. You can tell she loved him a lot, but he hurt her deeply. I’m not sure she could go back to him. So anyway, this love triangle is really quite a good one. Tae Hee is so likeable in her stern, cold, blunt way. Despite the vibe she gives off, she’s extremely caring. Really, it is quite an eclectic mix of personality types which I think is great.
Okay… let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Episode 8. It’s sad. I watched the episode clutching the pillow on my lap. I wish I could have watched it with all of you.
Let’s applaud both Lee Dong Wook and Jung Ryeo Won’s acting in this episode. Jung Ryeo Won’s stumbling in the rain after leaving Park Sun Young (Bae Jong Ok) was phenomenal acting. I could feel everything that was going on in her mind. I imagine it was racing with many thoughts and yet she probably felt numb at the same time. Overwhelmed, lost, confused… numb. She’s hurt. She’s scared. She’s heartbroken, worried. Her heart cannot handle it. So many emotions.
Now let’s skip over to Ri Hwan finding out his mother has Early Onset Familial Alzheimer Disease. He had many other strong scenes, but this is the one I would like to highlight. I’m trying to put myself in his position, hearing news like that. When you hear sudden bad news, it feels like everything momentarily freezes. Almost like you are having an out of body experience.
I feel like they did a good job of depicting this by showing everything moving around him but blurry and out of focus as he is in a daze. He then starts remembering things that had happened recently, and the signs of her illness then become clear to him.
I thought it was really on point that this is where they chose to insert the kiss scene. The fact that it was a flash back scene we weren’t aware happened was really clever. It really solidified the intensity of the growing relationship between Ri Hwan and Haeng A. It was also a much needed passionate moment in this sea of mess… but there’s a definite sadness to it… because of what is unfolding in the story now.
But back to the kiss. Let’s focus on it for a moment because there’s a lot of tears in this episode, but this was a lovely moment. It occurred sometime after Haeng A admitted she likes Ri Hwan too, during that evening while they were outside of his work.
What a creative kiss. I like it when Kdramas have these original cute kisses, but the neat thing about this one is it wasn’t only cute. It was sexy. It was a deep kiss. So can we now put to rest this hole “but they are like siblings” for those that feel that way. Ya, they’ll have some awkwardness and shyness because they’ve known each other forever, but this is a man and a woman who care about each other very much, who share a unique, sensual, “this feels really good, let’s do it some more” kind of kiss. I love that moment when they first break apart, they look at each other, Ri Hwan with deep eyes and Haeng A with a bright smile who then goes in and kisses him as she admits to herself silently “Wow.. this is really nice, let’s do that again”.
The kiss ended perfectly in a way that is really true to both of their personalities. She gets embarrassed, but in a cute super happy kind fashion, and he’s all proud of himself and being funny by showing her that he has her gum. Oh how did it get over there Ri Hwan? Naughty boy. Then she pops his bubble. Haha. Perfection.
Then we are thrust back into the reality that things are not rosy right now. It made me feel really sad when Ri Hwan and Haeng A were texting each other and acting upbeat through text when it reality they are both completely and utterly destroyed at this present time.
Haeng A’s breakdown when her coworkers gave her a birthday cake was just so heart-wrenching to watch. Her acting blows my mind. She’s bolted up my list of favourite actresses. I’ve always liked her a lot but her range is amazing. She can put on her brave smile and pretend everything is fine, but then, like everyone else she has her breaking point. Also, in reality she is extremely fragile to begin with. I don’t mean she’s weak. She’s very strong actually, but she’s like a beautiful vase that has fallen but has not shattered. The cracks can be seen and the integrity of the glass is not the same. The more I think about it, the more concerned I am that she’s really going to lose it. Her biggest fear was to lose both Ri Hwan and his mom… now those fears must feel sharp in her mind.
What an amazing friend Kwon Ji Hoon is to Park Ri Hwan. I could really feel his concern for his friend. We haven’t seen Ri Hwan drink that much before. Although Ji Hoon tries to slow him down and get him to drink some water, in the end he’s just there for him silently and let’s Ri Hwan drink. I’m not saying this is the best way to let your friend deal with issues, but first, who is he to stop him anyway? Besides, if he doesn’t sit with him and let him drink Ri Hwan will drink alone.. Then we have that moment where Ri Hwan is stumbling along, with Ji Hoon not far behind. Then he spots Haeng A. I’m not sure how the scene will go from here… but that was a beautiful moment. He’s so crushed and so is she. I’m glad in that moment they can be together. My heart sank in this moment.
I’m also happy we got a flash back scene of them when they were younger. It confirmed what I think we’ve all been suspecting, that Park Seon Yeong was in love with Haeng A’s father Kim Joon Hyuk (Park Chul Min). I can understand how she would feel weird about “the kids” being together.. but I really think she needs to let go at this point. But who am I to judge. Although I don’t agree with her logic, I can understand why she thinks the way she does. I also know this isn’t the only reason she doesn’t want them together. She’s so scared that Ri Hwan will end up a broken person in the end. But love is a powerful force, you cannot talk someone out of being in love. They haven’t said I love you yet, but it’s obvious he’s completely in love with Haeng A.
Anyway, those are my scrambled incoherent thoughts on Episode 7 and 8. My apologies for skipping over a bunch of stuff as usual, but I feel I’ve said what I wanted to say (until I think of a bunch of other things after the fact of course).
Episode 7 had lots of cuteness, Episode 8 warned us to keep a box of tissues nearby for the next coming episodes. I hope we get more happy moments, but I’m not upset or turned off by the drama. Although you could say it’s melodramatic, it feels really realistic so I don’t really want to use that word. The change in tone is done deliberately to help tell the overall story. It’s not thrown in “just because” the way it is done sometimes with “once was a rom com” dramas. This indie feel drama has captured my heart. I don’t mind the mellow pace. Although it has a laid back flow, the story has been progressing quite a lot, but it doesn’t feel rushed and I don’t find it’s dragging. I like how this drama gives us a lot of insight into the characters. They paint a picture of why the characters are the way they are. The characters respond to situations in a way that’s true to their individual personalities.
Episode 7-8 Quick Rating:
Bubblegum Episodes Recaps:
Bubblegum Episode Recap 1-2
Bubblegum Episode Recap 3-4
Bubblegum Episode Recap 5-6
Bubblegum Episode Recap 7-8
Bubblegum Episode Recap 9-10 (audio)
Bubblegum Episode Recap 11-12
Bubblegum Episode Recap 13-14
Bubblegum Episode Recap 15-16