Review

KDrama Review: The Package Brims With Soothing Love Lessons Captured Through Virtual Travel Experience

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The Package heals your heart with thought provoking love lessons while letting you indirectly travel along with the characters in fascinating France.

The Package

Title: The Package
Distributor: jTBC
Theme: Romance, Drama
Length: 12 Episodes
Broadcast Period: 13 October 2017 – 18 November 2017

The Package

The Package top-billed by CN Blue front man Jung Yong Hwa and Lee Yeon Hee (Reunited Worlds) is a rejuvenating romance drama that will calm your mind and warm your heart. With picturesque France as the designated setting, you will get what you never asked for in this comforting drama about travelers who embark on a premium package French tour. As the journey unfolds, they reflect on their current life and love situations resulting in overdue disappointments that need to be forgiven and new beginnings that need to be accepted.

The Package

It initially fired me up due to the stunning cinematography and a visual travel freebie, but as it steered the storytelling, I became drawn to the travelers’ back stories. The Package is a romantic gift that is blended with retrospective pep talks throughout its stunning screenplay. The lines of the cast cut deep into your emotions, inadvertently sending you to a pensive moment of assessing those relatable moments pictured in the story.

The Package is Jung Yong Hwa’s long-awaited present to his fans. There are actors cut to experiment on roles they want to take. But the dashing CN Blue vocalist will get a free pass to focus on light love stories as he is tailored to nail an adorable character every time.

The Package

Highlights

Travelers’ Life and Love Stories

San Ma Ru & Yoon So So

Jung Yong Hwa portrays the honest character of San Ma Ru who takes the package tour alone when his girlfriend changes her mind in supporting him against an issue he caused at work. He accidentally learns about an illegal company project and when he reports it, he earns the ire of his superiors. His girlfriend, who initially vouched her support, sides with the company which leads to their relationship fall out.

Against her family’s wish, Yoon So So left for France with her boyfriend. Her younger brother supports her decision until he learns that his sister’s boyfriend is back in South Korea leaving his sister alone in a foreign country. So So decides to stay and has been working as a tour guide to support her living expenses and doctorate studies until the fortune readings she got of meeting her fated love at an angel’s feet happens because of Ma Ru.

The main couple transitions from whimsical to reality biting truth of how their supposed fated love needs more time and personal healing to fulfil its destined happiness. I love that waning episode scene when the heroine bravely chooses to resolve her personal issue by committing to loving herself more instead of relying on her boyfriend’s promise to complete the love and understanding she can’t give to herself.

What I love about The Package is how all the arguments and insensible actions of the characters make sense. The fleeting romance of the lead couple radiates a resonating message that you can love instantaneously, fall out of it and love more at the right time.

The Package

Grumpy Grandpa and Kind-hearted Grandma

The dying wife who patiently understands her hot-tempered husband agrees to travel when her husband forces her against her will. Not knowing that her husband is aware of her cancer illness, she struggles to enjoy her probably last vacation while calmingly calling her husband’s brusque attitude during the trip. Grandpa, who stumbled on the truth about his wife’s dying condition, chooses to brave the odds for his wife who has already relented to her eventual demise.

The sketching of the old couple’s story is painfully appealing as the audience are led to believe how grandpa is the kind of husband you don’t want to grow old with until they are confronted with the truth they are both scared of.  The couple reaches an understanding to fight together, and though grandpa’s old habits are hard to die, grandma is at ease to reaffirm how she is valued by her husband.

The Package

Seven Year Always Bickering Couple

The long-time couple give a lesson on how sometimes we overlook the reality that love is not there anymore in the relationship, but it goes on because both are scared to live without each other. Sometimes love fall out happens prior to a formal verbal acknowledgment. A jaded relationship can be freed only when you are strong enough to push it. Sometimes a long-time relationship goes in circle because you struggle finding the reasons why you have to break up. But the comfort and memories of spending time for a long time trumps the many reasons you want to break up.  At the end of the day, you only need one reason to realize why you stay in love with someone.

The Package

The Loving Father and Rebellious Daughter Tandem

Viewers are made to believe that it is a May-December illicit love affair for the middle-aged man and young woman partner of the package tour. The unveiling of their true relationship surprised me as well. Their side story is yet another source of heartwarming lesson focusing on the eccentric relationship of a father who is willing to sacrifice his own happiness for her daughter. And a daughter who can’t express what she truly feels for her father. They reach an understanding of how they only want each other to be happy through the daughter’s sweet video letter to her father’s girlfriend.

The Package

Splendid Lyrical Screenplay

I love how the narrative moves through each character’s thoughts about their circumstances and the lingering messages they leave while presenting their woes and fears. The sub-stories deliver surprising twists against what you would normally anticipate, adding flavors to neatly tie the loose ends. What I enjoyed most in this 12-episode travel drama is how the writer generously gave her heart in writing the ruminative life and love lessons. That is the reason why you would feel happy after watching the cast get the send off they deserve.

The Package

Drawbacks

Vague Premiere Week Twist

I want to overlook this faint confusion, but I felt I got conned when the crazy man chasing the heroine who is perceived to be the ex-lover turned out to be her younger brother. Thanks to the heroine’s connecting conflict that was explained through her sibling, viewers just let it go since So So’s dynamic family provide comic relief in their quick screen time.

Time Constraint

I watched The Package on a binge so I found the 12-episode run should have stretched to a few more episodes to prolong the relaxing vibe I got from the story. Coming from a slow start, it picks up after the 4th episode hence the succeeding episodes lean on presenting the side stories and pushing the main romance line. I wish the gang got to have longer bonding screen time. I wish the main love line’s ending reunion scene extended to a 4-episode epilogue.  *wink

The Package

Recommendation

The Package is a romantic gift that is ironically spirited while running on a wistful narrative. The supporting chronicles appear like puzzle pieces meant to complete the entire picture of the plot. It results in an excellent capture of the drama’s ultimate message – how personal relationship, romantic or otherwise, won’t reveal apprehensions due to a man’s self-sacrificing nature.

Take Away Quotes

“Love is easy. Except when she cried, except when she is angry, except when she is having a hard time, except when she is not looking at me.”

“There are people who split up because of one bad thing. There are people who cannot split up because of one good thing.”

“There will always be a tomorrow. But there won’t be another today.”

“Love yourself more so that you won’t need another person to fill in the love you can’t give yourself.”

Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Rewatch Value: 8.5/10
Plus Factors: Soothing Storytelling, Retrospective Mood
Oh No Moments: Time Constraint, Vague Opening Romantic Line
Related Dramas:  Scent of a Woman, It’s Okay That’s Love

 

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