Ok…there’s no avoiding the husband topic now that we are only left with 2 more eps. Writer-nim does live up to her words by making sure 1988 isn’t about the guess-my-husband game — we spent like 85% of 1988 on non-romantic relationships such as friendship and kinship. Only at the end of ep17 do we get a serious bout of the romance kicking in — but that is already waaaay past the characters’ adolescence. All of them are working adults now, having graduated from college and entering the workforce for their first time.
In the line of previous Reply franchises, 1988 also uses clues (or red herrings?) to tease us about the female lead’s husband. We are sure he is one of the gang — and usually the guy in question is narrowed down to 2 very close choices. In 1988, although we get to see Duk-sun’s husband, the PD chooses to replace him with another actor, which is juz as good as making him faceless.
Based on the “clues” we have at the moment, we know that Duk-sun’s husband is:
a) someone she nags for wearing too few clothes in cold weather,
b) a smoker,
c) a guy who has taken a pic with her (which the older Duk-sun teases as his “first sign of intimacy”),
d) hates doing interviews,
e) is embarrassed with Duk-sun’s weird dancing, and
f) banters back and forth with Duk-sun like some arch enemy.
Clues a) to e) seemingly point to Taek, who in the 1988 timeline to 1994 appear to contain all the traits. Then we have him finally approaching Duk-sun with success in ep18, and very likely would be in a bgr with her. In his credit, Taek has given Jung-hwan, the snail-tortoise, a fair chance to overtake him by withholding his confession. Unfortunately, Jung-hwan continues to prefer inaction. (and when he does take action, he decides to use the largest rock to smash his own feet…whatever)
However, if we refer to Reply 1997/4, having salient clues that literally point to a character being THE husband usually mean the reverse. And in Jung-Hwan’s favour, Duk-sun husband’s interaction with her in present day is similar to how Jung-hwan and Duk-sun nitpick at each other waaaay back in 1988 (point f) above).
In many ways too, Jung-hwan is a fairly reticent character. It may not be so eyebrow raising if he too, dislikes engaging in interviews. Plus, Duk-sun’s zaniness sometimes causes ALL the other guys to roll their eyes at her, so not surprising if an older Jung-hwan finds Duk-sun embarrassing when she wiggles her butt in front of him and calls it “dancing”. As for the smoking and nagging bit — for the former, bad habits can be picked up any time (esp when Jung-hwan is now a military school graduate…boys do pick up the most disgusting habits in the army) and women (esp someone who is sensitive to others’ welfare like Duk-sun) do nag.
So if you are to ask me where I’d bet my money on, it’d be Jung-hwan as future husband. But I would be pleasantly surprised though, if Writer-nim really goes with “the obvious” and Taek ends up as the husband. That would also make Jung-hwan (and his rubbish love declaration in ep18) even more tragic than Chilbongie in 1994. (and i’d secretly think he deserves it)