For a drama that doesn’t really have much excitement going on (as compared to say Lookout or even Suspicious Partner), Fight’s watchability hinges on its cast. And thankfully, Fight has selected a group of up and rising actors/actresses who are good at portraying the mundane, and how seemingly small events are BIG things for us simple folks.
1. Letting dreams slide
While it is well and good to end up working in a career that aligns with your childhood dream, not everyone can be an astronaut or a president. So yes, most times, dreams mainly remain dreams. However, in the case of our OTP, I somehow feel that their current underachievement has a lot to do with themselves, rather than extenuating factors. Ae-ra may have a natural flair for the stage, particularly as a presenter, BUT she fails to realise that the job as a news anchor or reporter needs good grades. Given that she and Seol-hee aren’t exactly stellar students, it’s no wonder she doesn’t make the cut – the HR department would probably have screened her out based on her grades. So your parents nagging at you to complete your homework instead of mucking around isn’t cos they love to nag – nerds do end up ruling the world. Juz look at Moo-bin, who was teased as a parrot/ teacher’s pet in school, but grows up to be a doctor (which happens to be a job he does love).
As for Dong-man, I’d initially thought his dad pressured him to give up taekwondo to save his family’s finances. Turns out that he took it upon himself to lose a fight in order to take bribe money from Tak-soo’s richer family. Dong-man’s family didn’t WANT the help, and in fact, they were all in support of Dong-man winning the competition. I now understand why Dong-man’s dad is so angry with him and why they quarrel every time they meet. Both of them are proud men – even though Papa Ko was in dire financial crisis then, he would never want his son to bail him out. Similarly, Dong-man is too proud to admit he was wrong then to have agreed to losing the competition, on the faulty assumption that his family wanted him to. I suppose Dong-man always had this hero complex, ever since he grew up from being the bullied little guy to someone who “protects” others. While it isn’t bad to protect other people, Dong-man sometimes fails to see the big picture and whether the other party really wants his help – or not.
2. The Friends to Lovers conundrum
There are 2 pitfalls to bffs turning into a couple. The first being “familiarity breeds contempt”. I foresee this happening (soon) in Joo-man/ Seol-hee’s relationship. Although Joo-man is thus far still pretty steadfast and loyal to Seol-hee — despite having a strong contender in Intern Ye-jin for his attention — I don’t know if his love for Seol-hee is still a romantic love, or a love that has become a habit or worse, formed out of gratitude. While I applaud his defense of Seol-hee in front of his nasty family members, when I learnt that Seol-hee had supported him through Uni, and scrimped and saved in order to help him secure a better life and career, it rang some alarm bells.
Is Joo-man still with Seol-hee now cos he feels indebted to her? Seol-hee is still doing the self-sacrificing thing, and from the pink dress incident (where Joo-man had forced a new dress on Seol-hee), it seems like the guy is feeling a little stifled by her actions. I have to agree with Joo-man: Seol-hee really needs to learn to self-love first before turning her energy outwards. She mothers everybody (from her 3 friends, to Joo-man’s extended family), but she spares very little thoughts for herself. All her savings (even today) goes to pay for Joo-man’s wardrobe (like a new Italian calfskin briefcase), while she goes around all day (and everywhere) in the company’s uniform, or a ratty sweatshirt. And Joo-man is clearly disturbed by it. He has encouraged, argued and even forced her to buy things for herself, but Seol-hee takes it the wrong way, and either ends up refusing or returning the item. In a relationship this unbalanced, where the receiving party is beginning to feel choked, there is a chance that Joo-man may want an outlet. And I am afraid the outlet may be Intern Ye-jin, who is similar to Seol-hee in terms of being sweet and bubbly…but she clearly isn’t Seol-hee when it comes to pampering herself.
Well, if Seol-hee needs Ye-jin to wake her up, then Ae-ra and Dong-man need a Truth Serum or a pair of night goggles. The next problem of friends turning lovers is: “it’s darkest under the lamp”. Usually, the last person you’d think to fall in love romantically with is the bestie who has grown up with you and probably seen you in your undies (and worse). That is probably the case with Ae-ra/ Dong-man. Subconsciously, they are attracted to each other as a man and a woman, but to ADMIT to it – it will take time and a lot of push factors (which may be in the forms of Awkward Moo-bin and Bitchy Hye-ran).
It is difficult to re-consider the person whom you know for ages as a potential lover because in Ae-ra/ Dong-man’s case, their friendship is so close that they are almost sibling-like. And while it isn’t incest, it still may feel like so, thus Dong-man’s urgent back paddling when he blurts out he “likes Ae-ra”, only to weakly tag on “like he likes Joo-man and Seol-hee”. But I have hope that both of them will come around to it.
3. The only weird, almost deux a machina factor
Fight is generally so low key in its narrative that I find Mdm Hwang’s role rather…eyebrow raising. In case you don’t know who she is, she is the new landlady who has bought over Dong-man et al.’s building and is now residing with them on the 5th storey. I find her pretty…odd. I get it she’s an eccentric, rich lady, who isn’t above staying in the slightly dilapidated building she juz bought (and is now actively repairing – on her own?!), but her interest in Dong-man and friends is weird.
Although she is stern with them and does the usual “asking-for-rent” thing which all Kdramas’ landladies do, she doesn’t exactly press them for payment. Plus, she goes around buying the shopping mall (or does she already own it?) where Ae-ra used to work in, the run-down warehouse where Coach Hwang is training Dong-man and she even picks up the hospital bill for Ae-ra when Moo-bin warded her in the Presidential Suite of the hospital.
My guess for now is she is Coach Hwang’s elder sister? Since they share the same surname? Or she is juz a busybody philanthropist who happens to take a liking to the 4 friends who rent a space at level 2 of her apartment? Or, she may be a Fairy Godmother that is out of this world. 😛 (joking)