K-Drama Review: “One Spring Night” Emotionally Grips With Memorable Characters But Disappoints On Conflict Duration
Stories like One Spring Night gets a free pass to have a happy ending.
Narrated in full sentiments of a you-and-me-against-my-ex-bf-and-father love story, One Spring Night honestly makes the viewers perceive how lucky those people, who gets the one they love without any hitches to worry about.
Title: One Spring Night
Theme: Romance, Drama
Length: 16 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 22 May 2019 – 09 July 2019
Main Leads: Han Ji Min and Jung Hae In
Highlights: Heartfelt Cast Portrayal
Oh No Moments: Circling Conflict, Weakly written narrative
Related Dramas: Can We Get Married?, Something in the Rain
Emotionally spent is an understatement on how the heartbreak shared by Jung Hae In and Han Ji Min created a mixed emotion for me. That even with remarkable portrayals, the tedious weekly following felt like a chore I’d rather not go through again in the future.
READ: One Spring Night Premiere Recap
Quick Plot Roundup
Four years of being in a relationship, Jeong In (Han Ji Min) and her steady boyfriend Gi Suk reach an apparent reality where people expect them to marry. However, Jeong In meets pharmacist Ji Ho (Jung Hae In) and her heart starts to waver.
Unable to deny the mutual attraction, Jeong In breaks up with her long-time boyfriend and starts a relationship with Ji Ho. But Ji Ho’s situation as a single parent raises objection from her father.
Heartfelt Cast Portrayal
Presenting the reality that bliss and tears come first before true love, One Spring Night sustained its journey through its main leads. Evidently putting the weight of the story to Ji Ho and Jeong In. Protecting each other, the love couple survive the grueling torment of their situation with Jeong In’s boyfriend, whom Ji Ho also became acquainted because of a basketball club. Hence, the world is too small for them owing to their common friends.
Touching on Korea’s traditional views set for a patriarchal family, the love story traversed the female lead’s strong conviction to defy her father so she can follow her heart. Apparently, the road to true love is not flower-filled for her, it is mostly debilitating as she had been marked as the “woman who left her boyfriend for another man”.
Jeong In provided a reality nudge of how the relationship she had with Gi Suk really existed. Relationship where you might still care for the person after all the years you’ve been together, but you can’t do anything for that person anymore.
At the same time, she also delineated the reality of how a change of heart does not equate to being unfaithful. That falling out of love and falling in love could happen instantaneously against logical reasons.
Both Jung Hae In and Han Ji Min grasped their roles well leading the viewers’ subconscious yielding to support their journey.
Eye-opening love lessons
Representing the league of single parents, Ji Ho courageously depicted how having a child does not make him less inferior to those without one. Especially when it comes to chasing the love he deserves. A subtle attack to how the Korean society critically evaluate marriage prospects through wealth, power and influence.
His distinct difference to Jeong In’s prideful boyfriend emphasized how finding a good man should not include checking his bank account. Often overlook, relationship red flags are there to offer a faint “hey something’s off with that person”. While its true that giving second chances might make someone and the relationship better, a quota should be set. More so, if you are at the age when you are expected to settle down.
Piling up the hindrances to Jeong In and Ji Ho’s love story ran throughout the duration of the narrative. Inevitably, I halted the recaps owing to how the flow of the story keeps going back to the love impossibility predicament for the main leads.
Rising from the problem of falling out of love with her long-term boyfriend, Jeong In grappled on a bittersweet reality. The love for Gi Suk has long been gone, and in a twist of fate, she also met a warm-hearted man with whom her heart beats for with a new love.
The overlap of her emotions would really put anyone in an exhausting dilemma. That’s why the narrative has been crawling its way to break the circling impasse. Still, the incessant unveiling of difficult situation for Jeong In and Ji Ho was uncalled for. Exhaustingly present for three quarters of its narrative was just too much.
Weakly written narrative
Drawing the bends of One Spring Night is simple. A woman with a boyfriend and a single father met and fell in love. The boyfriend left behind is unaccepting of the breakup plus losing his girlfriend to an acquaintance. Thereafter, a forced love triangle erupts. Just when Ji Ho and Jeong In decided to beat all the odds, her family learns that the man she is dating has a son.
Loving between two people who mutually shared the same feeling seemed to be so hard as depicted in One Spring Night. Halfway through the series, I had predicted that true love will not be easy to claim for the love couple. Bereft of emotions because of the taxing love problem, I ultimately threw a white towel after the 14th episode.
With so much potential even with its established conflict, the series suffered with imbalance presentation of story flow and conflict resolution. Because of that, the finale week, though offering a salve with its complete picture of a happy ending for the love couple, felt half-heartedly satisfying. There was just too much to apologize for in the problem-laden plot. Putting it in the last episode just won’t be enough.
Why it happened can be traced to how the writing put so much attention to the idea of how Jeong In and Ji Ho seem not to deserve each other. Like they are on a borrowed time to be happy and in love. But they won’t be able to claim it fully.
On that note, even now a few hours after watching its last episode, I feel like I remember more of their bad times than good times.
Taking in consideration that my upbringing differs to South Koreans who are the same age as mine, this series broke my heart because I liked its initial episodes. However, the scattered emotions put the love pairing of One Spring Night to a pendulum of deadlock. And while I am a willing audience in wanting to support them, my forbearance ran out when the love journey felt so plagued with issues.
We didn’t know the process of breaking up can be so agonizing even in fictional world setting until One Spring Night.
But of course since the inspiration is derived from circumstances happening in Korea, at the very least it shed light on relationship and marriage positions. Additionally, it probed on the sentiments of reminding its targeted audience on what commitment entails especially if you intend to marry someone.
Something that should never be decided in consideration of your previous relationships and parents’ preferences. For people in the right state of mind and age to marry, practical reasons should be included when contemplating about marriage. Ultimately, working on a strong love and trust foundation should be a foremost goal.
Love the characters, forgive the storyline
Without the hardwork evidently showed by Jung Hae In and Han Ji Min, I would have not finished the series. In a few years, I would try to watch it a different age perspective and see if the result is still the same. But for now, the series is a heartbreaking drama memory for me this year. Most likely because I had a lot of expectations on it to begin with.
There are dramas with disheartening themes the same as One Spring Night that left such impression to viewers. Some even came with a bonus healing tone. But this drama would require a lot of understanding and objectivity for the audience who will plan to see it soon to keep them watching.
Savor the high moments and refuse to linger on the drama’s problem is what I can advise if you intend to add this series on your watch list.
One Spring Night can be watched on Netflix.
About the writer
abbyinhallyuland reads and sleeps a lot when she is not traveling. Her calendar reminders are mostly K-Drama broadcast schedules and birthdays of her favorite Korean actors. Promoting K-Drama watching as stress therapy is her life advocacy. She is fond of Spencer Reid, Gregory House, Kenshin Himura, Starwars saga, Haruki Murakami and Hunter x Hunter.
Recommended Korean Dramas: Reply 1988, Nine, Misaeng, Gaksital, Discovery of Love, Because This is My First Life, Descendants of the Sun, My Love from the Star, Healer, Punch, You’re Beautiful,Coffee Prince, Princess Hours, The Greatest Love, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, City Hunter, and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.