You’ve been warned. Kooriyuki is firmly on the Chilbong ship from the very beginning, and if you’re on the OTHER ship, STOP READING THIS NOW. I’m not going to entertain any flames.
All along I tried my best to remain unbias, neutral, towards this drama. Even though we get trolled with endless 2013 and 2002 scenes, I thought it was damn obvious from Episode 1 or 2 the chemistry is between Chilbong and Na Jung as a married couple. I totally can accept all the “clues” to go either way, but for me, Oppa and Na Jung are just, oppa and dongseng. We also get various congratulatory messages from guests at the wedding, the two ahjummas invited by the Sung parents (who somehow cannot remember what is the groom’s occupation, for really, who doesn’t remember someone is a doctor?!)
And then we get the ultimate revelation, and how all this clues get fulfilled. I just couldn’t believe Writer Lee came up with the excuse of Chilbong being the owner of the apartment and he rents it to Na Jung and Oppa, which VERY conveniently explains why Yoon Jin tells him to go back to his room and sleep, and also he serves Mama Sung coffee. That is plain lazy writing. As some other fellow shippers have mentioned, it seems as if Chilbong got a lobotomy, for he can act so naturally with the gang a few days after he gets rejected by Na Jung. What happened to the guy who didn’t want to talk to her when he was in Japan? It is a 5 to 6 years crush, not a fling. One doesn’t take mere DAYS to get over it, or even act that he is fine.
What is the point of developing a secondary character with so much depth, to “abuse” him with a dysfunctional family, no real friends, and finally having to give up his long-lasting first love? And then Oppa gets his love relatively easily, not needing to woo the girl at all. Are we sending the message that as long as the girl is proactive enough, she gets to snag the guy? What happen to proactive guys then? And then what is the point of Papa Sung and his tear jerking talk in Episode 19? I felt that talk in the hospital just cemented Oppa just being oppa, but apparently no.
I suppose one huge reason why I’m upset at the way the last episode turns out is because I identify with Chilbong more than any of the characters in ths drama. Because I also have experiences with being in a crush that last more than 5 years, it just stabs me in the heart to see him not being with the person he likes most (and worse, gets rejected time and time again). There’re people who ask why doesn’t he just give up; when you truly like someone, you’d know that your feelings for that person doesn’t just DIE at will. Why we choose different ship is a very personal thing; while I respect that people ship Oppa (though forgive me for not being able to comprehend it AT ALL), I ask for that same respect to be applied to why I chose Chilbong (I’m not asking for your understanding, just respect we identify with different characters).
It is not that I’m a sore loser fan; I may not like Oppa’s character, but if the writing had been more consistent and convincing, I wouldn’t have felt as cheated as I am now. The entire 20 episodes felt like major trolling, and then relegating Chilbong as a plot device. To be honest I switched off my live streaming of Episode 21 after all the big revelations, because I felt there was no point continuing. I have to stress that despite having chosen sides, I’ve always watched the drama expecting things to sway either way, as long as I’m convinced with the way the plot is heading. However I have to admit that sadly, I’m not convinced at all, because of the way the last episode is being handled did not fit with the rest of the drama.
There’re just too many clues that either get thrown away, or explained unbelievably, just so that domestic viewers can get what they want. To me, this drama is one very apt example that shows how scriptwriters have no choice but to bow to viewers’ preferences. I brushed the spoiler of the crew filmed two different endings away, but seeing how things turned out in Episode 21, I have this nagging feeling it is true. And also, writer Lee did say she wrote several endings. I just want to say, for a writer to choose one ending out of many, just to appeal to the masses, is an insult to scriptwriting.
Lastly, my biggest gripe with this drama is ultimately its length; I didn’t see the point with 21 episodes lasting an average of 90 minutes each. Also, I can’t disagree more with the neverending trolling of the husband mystery. While there were memorable quotes and scenes peppered throughout, one thing that will forever sully my memory of Reply Me 1994 is the needless trolling of who-is-the-husband. JUST REVEAL THE GODDAMN HUSBAND EARLY ON AND WRITE A CONVINCING STORY INSTEAD.