K-Drama Mid-Series Check: “More Than Friends” Journeys Into The Confusing Crossroads Towards Rightful Love
With a heart full of love, all she wanted was to be loved in return. But now, the tables have turned as Woo Yeon basks in an overwhelming amount of affection from two potential lovers.
Caught in the crossroads of a romantic love, our heroine has to make a life-changing decision. One path is quite familiar. But it used to take her in circles and the destination was nowhere to be found. Now, it draws her to give it another try and the blissful end might just be in sight. Then there is the other road not taken. It’s unfamiliarity is a gamble. But it offers a detour to a promising journey to happiness.
It couldn’t be more confusing for Woo Yeon. She not only needs to weigh her feelings for both men, but more importantly, she has to secure herself a love that acknowledges her value. Will it be a love that was realized late from someone who was dear to her for the past ten years? Or from someone who sees her worth at first instance?
More Than Friends Plot Progression So Far…
The story goes back ten years ago. Kyun Woo Yeon (Shin Ye Eun) is a high school student. With her artistic talent, she has all the makings of a bestselling writer. She participates in writing competitions and wins awards for their school.
Despite her scholastic achievements, Woo Yeon’s kindness towards others turns her into a push-over. Her bully classmates make her an object of ridicule. Because of this, her classmate, Lee Soo (Ong Seung Woo), comes to her rescue.
With Soo’s cold and reserved demeanor, she assumes that he must have a liking for her as he goes out of his way to always save her.
Soo, for his part, feels comfortable in Woo Yeon’s company. Although he is quite distant by not speaking anything personal about himself, he just feels at ease around Woo Yeon.
Coming from a broken family, Soo nurses a wounded heart alone. He keeps his emotions in check while building invisible wall to hide it from everyone.
He decides to study abroad and runaway from the place that reminds him of his pain
A Painful Unrequited Love
Meanwhile, Woo Yeon is falling deeply in love with Soo. She confesses her feelings to him before he leaves for the US. Unfortunately, he turns her down and prefers to maintain the boundaries of their friendship.
Woo Yeon is devastated by his rejection. In a hope that she will eventually forget Soo, she begins to date other guys. But every relationship ends in a failure.
After seven years, Soo returns home for a vacation. Things are starting to look good between him and Woo Yeon with their rekindled friendship. Naturally, the smooth flow of things causes the resurgence of Woo Yeon’s feelings for him.
With another leap of faith, she admits her feelings for the second time. However, all the vague signals turns out to be an impression of a false hope. Soo, once again, emphasizes that he is not interested to get into a romantic relationship with her. Although she gets the same result, her pride is crushed harder this time.
Fast forward to the present time, Woo Yeon and Soo unexpectedly meet in Jeju Island. They reconnect and bond as old friends would. But this time, Woo Yeon is determined to end the curse of her unrequited love.
A Potential Fresh Romance
Also in in Jeju Island, she serendipitously meets On Joon Soo (Kim Dong Jun), the young CEO of a publishing company. Joon Soo instantly feels a connection with her and is awe-struck with her calligraphy works.
Back in Seoul, Woo Yeon unexpectedly receives an offer to work for Joon Soo’s publishing company. Surprisingly, he will be working with Soo to come up with a photobook describing the city of Seoul. Although hesitant at first, she eventually accepts the offer.
Joon Soo becomes enamored with Woo Yeon. Determined to win her over, he offers himself to be her ‘test person’ for her to reflect if the problem lies with her on the matters of failed relationships.
Persistent but patient, he is willing to spend time and effort so that Woo Yeon will like him eventually.
A Tale Of Two Lovers
Meanwhile, Soo finally comes to his senses regarding Woo Yeon’s place in his life. Remorseful, he is racing against time to take her attention back to him. But Joon Soo’s presence further threatens his chances.
Joon Soo, on his part, will not give up. He too had his share of bitter past with the woman whom his older brother married. But he wants to make things right this time with the lady who gives him reason to love again.
One day, Joon Soo invites Woo Yeon to watch a musical event on the coming weekend. She accepts the invitation without any hesitations.
However, upon knowing that Woo Yeon is going with Joon Soo on a date, Soo purposely asks her to go with him in Namsan Tower at exactly the same date and time. Although she had already arranged her schedule to go with Joon Soo, Woo Yeon feels torn with whom to go with.
Come Saturday, all dressed up and made up, Woo Yeon goes to the musical venue to meet Joon Soo. But it turns out to be a heartbreaking meeting for Joon Soo as Woo Yeon just personally came to apologize to him. She chooses to be with Soo on that evening.
Her last thread of hope, however, finally breaks. After waiting for hours, Soo calls her to inform her that he can’t make it at their scheduled date.
Trying to save her pride, Woo Yeon tells him that she is on a date with Joon Soo. Clueless about Soo’s accident on his way to Namsan Tower, Woo Yeon feels as if she has been fooled again.
Starting A New Chapter
To her surprise and embarrassment, she is greeted by Joon Soo in front of her house on a rainy night. Without any sign of disappointment, he hands Woo Yeon a gift for her birthday. And on that night, she finally accepts Joon Soo as her boyfriend.
The scene is too painful to watch for Soo who is lurking in the dark corner holding his gift for Woo Yeon. But he is not about to give up just yet as he holds on to his last vestige of hope.
Kyun Woo Yeon
A picture of resilience, Woo Yeon has endured series of disappointments- from career setbacks to failed relationships. In spite of these circumstances, she is always willing to start anew.
Her once promising career in writing has faltered. To earn a living, she took multiple jobs while she hangs on to her dream of putting her artistic talent in calligraphy into practical use.
After a decade-long of one-sided pining for Lee Soo, she finally made up her mind to break the ‘curse’ and move on. Her fateful meeting with On Joon Soo couldn’t be more timely. For the first time, she felt how it is to be valued.
But timing could also be so tricky as her first love is trying to get into the picture as a third wheel to her almost perfect love story with Joon Soo. This leaves Woo Yeon in a tug-of-war of emotions.
A personification of lost chances, Soo is struggling to assert his place Woo Yeon’s life. After turning her down twice in the past, he is being haunted by regrets as he sees Woo Yeon comfortably enjoying Joon Soo’s company.
It would be fair to emphasize that Soo’s painful childhood had caused him to guard his emotions too tightly to the extent that he shoved people away from him. He was too absorbed by the traumatic divorce of his parents that he grew cold and defensive towards others.
On Joon Soo
A charismatic go-getter, Joon Soo puts his effort and time in all things he wants to achieve. This successful young CEO exemplifies perfection – a smart and well-mannered young man with an illustrious career.
But he hasn’t always walked in a well-paved road as he too was once damaged by his first love. But Woo Yeon’s charm instantly healed the pangs of his painful past.
He was quick to acknowledge Woo Yeon’s artistic gift and nurtures it by entrusting her a project that requires her calligraphy skills. This has boosted her self-esteem which has already been tested by several setbacks.
Becoming Woo Yeon’s boyfriend makes him too protective of their relationship that he is willing to go head to head with Soo.
A Sweeping Love Triangle
More Than Friends engrosses with a love triangle story in the construct of friendship. In Woo Yeon’s case, it is a vicious cycle. She has been held back for years by an unreciprocated love for her friend, Soo. Now, he uses their friendship dynamics to position himself in between Woo Yeon and Joon Soo.
At first thought, it looks like fate is taking revenge for her. She became distrustful of Soo’s intentions that she chose to be with Joon Soo. With the latter’s pure intentions and laudable efforts, she should be assured of her budding relationship with him.
However, she is continuously consumed and confused by Soo’s actions towards her. Whether she would completely let go of such concern or would give it a considerable thought is for us to find out as the story unfolds.
More Than Friends treats us with an amazing friendship of Woo Yeon, Jin Ju and Young Hee. Their lifetime bond started since high school and they have been one another’s support system since then. They have walked through different paths, faced varying trials and tribulations in life, but they always root for each other’s happiness.
Jin Ju questions her worth as a woman as she has never been liked by a man all her life. Young Hee is hurdled by her financial responsibility to her family which hinders her to get married and build a family of her own. Woo Yeon struggles to find her place in her chosen career as an artist. Their shared pains have created a solid foundation for an enviable friendship.
An Engrossing Light Approach
We’re halfway through the series and More Than Friends, so far, has been delivering a realistic take on the dilemmas about romantic love. From being held back by an intense but unrequited first love to trying not to look back when things are supposedly going well. It could be anyone’s story.
The drama’s light yet endearing narrative is somehow refreshing to watch in the midst of intense dramas concurrently being aired during this season. It has a comforting atmosphere that you would love to watch it in a quiet evening or before the break of dawn.
The script was well-written with a simple plot and without any over-the-top conflict so far. The characters’ beautiful and profound lines will tug at anyone’s heartstrings especially the monologue parts.
Relatable Characters And Circumstances
With no despicable character to hate on, the story proves that no one is inherently bad and that everyone needs help in order to become better. The drama has successfully depicted how one’s flaw in character is a result of unfortunate and uncontrollable circumstances.
That is the case for Lee Soo. He is a portrait of an emotionally damaged person caused by his parents’ divorce that he became cynical about relationships and distrustful of people.
On another note, Joon Soo exemplifies a wise man who learned from a painful experience. He is someone who has already come to terms with his bitter past and would like to make up for his shortcomings by taking another chance in love.
The charm of this series lies in its relatability to the viewers. The characters, from the protagonists to the supporting ones, are quite relatable and humanizing. We, or anyone we personally knew, could be living these characters’ lives.
More Than Friends airs every Fridays and Saturdays via jTBC. It is also available for streaming in iQIYI.
Image and videos: jTBC
Streaming platform: iQIYI
FULL RECAPS: KDRAMADIARY