Crystal Dreams

In which I talk about something a little different

If there is one thing I really don’t do often anymore, it’s watching TV and movies. I’ve found most TV Shows are just… not that interesting anymore, either due to overdone concepts or lasting much longer than I care for. With movies, while that is a similar issue, it’s also issues with trailers and what exactly passes and I find myself preferring to look things up before actually seeing anything. And even then, I don’t necessarily mind waiting to see something later with very few exceptions.

But of TVs and Movies, the ones that generally coincide with me the least are dramas. I’ve never cared for soap operas or the over-dramatic tragedies of whatever crazy thing happens. This was especially the case with any Asian Dramas I had seen bits of due to knowing multiple friends who are really into them. I just… couldn’t get into them. They felt too over the top. I couldn’t connect to the characters.

Regardless, while looking for references for yet another failed art project that will likely remain unfinished, I stumbled upon this image:

The dress reminding me of my own wedding dress and curious what it was from, I did some searches which brought me to look up a lot more about “Go Back Couple” (Also known as Confession Couple), a Korean Drama.

The plot sounded interesting enough: “A couple has fallen out of love and are having troubles with their married life get sent back 18 years to their 20-year-old college selves and decide to make different choices”. So, I figured I’d give it a shot.

As per usual, I suck at talking about things without spoiling so consider this your warning if you would like to check it out.

I want to say from the premise, it hurt. I could tell the main issue was they weren’t communicating (and while I couldn’t figure out just how far this went, it was apparent to me from the get-go)–she didn’t understand why he did so much to his job, he took for granted all the little things she did, and so when the final straw hit and they decide they want to divorce, it broke me. And I cried. It was the first episode and I was already in tears.

And let me tell you right now, I cried a lot. I’ll admit I’m overly sensitive and it’s really not that hard to make me cry during a movie or a show, but I found myself caring so much for all of the characters so quickly and I really didn’t expect that.

Everything is amazingly acted, I found everything hit such a chord with me in so many ways including some of my own worries for the future. And of course, it wasn’t always sad, there were many more great moments and plenty to laugh and smile about too. I’d actually consider rewatching it which as someone who generally doesn’t rewatch anything, that says a lot for me.

The big thing that comes from their journey, besides generally acting on things they were too shy to or immature to really handle then (as they still have the memories of their 38 year old selves), is learning a lot more about those they care about and also making different choices for the future… But at the same time, still rekindling those feelings for each other and realizing how they fell apart and just how important they still were to each other. At first, it felt a lot of it was just for their son, Seo-Jin, which while I found important (after all, if they didn’t get back together, Seo-Jin wouldn’t exist), I really wish there was more focus on Ban-do and Jin-joo’s relationship and what they meant to each other because that really was the important part. They could take care of Seo-Jin even if they weren’t together, but it was them finding what went wrong and how much they still cared for each other and realized just how much they would do for one another that they started just… taking for granted.

One of the big moments is when Ban-do is given some peaches as they’re Jin-joo’s favorite. Only he’s incredibly allergic. His hands break out in a rash just touching them. And he forgot how much she loved peaches because she would always order any fruit or anything without peaches. She wouldn’t get them anymore because he was allergic.

In a similar sense, we eventually learn what ended up fracturing their relationship was Jin-joo’s mother’s death. They ended up not making it to the hospital as Ban-do ends up getting pulled into a gang fight and thus, they don’t get to see her before she passed away. Jin-joo never got to say good bye and it wrecks her. She’s also angry at him despite knowing that it wasn’t completely his fault, but she had trouble forgiving him. But Ban-do was so busy trying to comfort her and make up for it, he never grieved himself and it wrecked him too.

Through out the series, Jin-joo is clinging near constantly to her mother in the past due to what happened. At the same time, Ban-do is doing what he can to help even while avoiding Jin-joo for a while because he cared for his mother-in-law a lot as well and missed her. Trying to find out if there’s anything they can do at the hospital, trying to just spend more time if possible because who knows when this will end and they’ll be back.

Jin-joo also harbors a lot of anger with her father due to him wanting to “move on”, but in the end, he was just lonely and missed her mother so much… But didn’t want to tell Jin-joo that. Back in the past, her mother tells her to make sure she spends a lot of time with her father and to bring her son around as he will miss her so much which turned out to be very accurate.

I still think a lot about Ban-do’s speech on how hard he tries and it just… doesn’t always work out. And it sucks. It really does. Especially when you have to keep apologizing for failing even when you’re trying your hardest to just make things right. Of course, while Jin-joo and Ban-do’s relationship is the focal point of the series, it’s not the only relationship that ends up getting touched upon with their friends also getting quite a bit of development.

Jin-joo’s best friends are Yoon Bo-reum and Chun Seol. Bo-reum actually dated one of Ban-do’s best friends, Ahn Jae-woo, only for them to break up in the future and Jae-woo to essentially be a wreck for it. The reason they broke up was because Bo-reum apparently can’t have kids and she didn’t want to disappoint Jae-woo. And like the general theme (you’ll be seeing me saying this a lot), communication is just so important and this is why it happened. They get back together in the end and decide to get married and work it out which is great, but Ban-do and Dok-jae (Ban-do’s other best friend) were both really upset with Bo-reum feeling she was just playing with his feelings which was a worry in college as well.

As for Seol, she actually disappeared during their semester and they were never able to find her which is one of the things that gets changed with their going back. She had gone to work at a restaurant to help her family earn money, but in the end, felt ashamed for dropping out of school and couldn’t get the nerve to talk to anyone again about it.
In the back to the past timeline, Jin-joo actually shares how Seol’s mother put up wanted posters which she originally didn’t mention to Dok-jae which gets him to reveal where Seol is as she’s working at his father’s restaurant. This helps Seol reunite with her mother and go back to school and again, as I said, communication is so important.

The story is full of a lot of fun friend moments and bonding and it really hits so many good notes while also highlighting just how important it is to try and talk to those you care about. And I know it’s easier said than done, but trust and communication are the two most important things in every relationship.

I’m not going to talk about Mr. Cheating Doctor jerkface, but I’m happy he got what he deserved and that his wife got a better ending in the future. That said, I hate that he apparently never learns his lesson.

Finally, I want to bring up Min Seo-young and Jung Nam-gil. They aren’t exactly part of the friend groups above, but each have strong story arcs connected to Ban-do and Jin-joo respectively. Seo-young is a ballerina and Ban-do’s first love. He was always too shy to talk to her and while he finally does, he now sees her more like a daughter than someone he’d want to be with. He helps encourage her to take better care of herself and follow her dreams, including merging ballet with her love of hip-hop.

Nam-gil, meanwhile, had asked Jin-joo out to make a point to his father only for Jin-joo to flat out reject him. She ends up befriending him and while Nam-gil grows to genuinely like her, even if she doesn’t feel the same way, she helps him improve the relationship between him and his family.

I will say I adore Seo-young and I’m sad she seemed to have the least amount of time of mode of the side characters. Once her arc is finished up helping her talk to her father and her realizing that Ban-do does not have feelings for her, she’s just kind of… gone. She’s not even given any mention in the future which is pretty sad outside an earlier scene where it mentions she got injured in the future and Ban-do mentions she was his first love.

Nam-gil at least gets a moment in the future where he and Jin-joo pass a glance, though, I wish they did talk or something… I would’ve loved if they ended up becoming friends. I wanted to see both Nam-gil and Seo-young join their friend group so badly.

Similarly, we don’t really see Seol in the future even though we hear from her and do know she is keeping in contact with them. We get nothing new from Dok-jae though which is… incredibly surprising considering how involved he is in the main story and part of the main friend group. I also kind of expected him and Seol to get together but nothing really seems to happen there.

I would say my only big complaints though are:
1. I wish it was a bit longer. I would’ve loved to see more on how everyone was doing and how things were effected. The time travel is a bit wonky because they change quite a few things (One of the biggest is Ban-do tells his parents to invest in something and they actually do which earns them a bunch of money). Jin-joo’s mother sadly doesn’t make it (which is… expected but I guess part of me hoped something would change), but she does have a better relationship with her father. It’s just unclear just how much things changed as a lot of things should’ve had a bigger impact with their future now. As it is, while specific changes happened to people around them, for Jin-joo and Ban-doo, it was more like they were just put back into their original bodies as the divorce was still pending and they just didn’t complete it… But so much changes around them. It really didn’t take away my enjoyment from the series at all, but I just felt like I had a lot of questions.

2. The way they get sent back to the future is by re-getting their wedding rings. We’re then showed a clip of a God and Goddess, played by the same actor and actress as Ban-do and Jin-joo respectively, tossing these rings to essentially explain how they were magic. This was just… so silly and unneeded and I would’ve loved that time put more into the characters we had seen and a stronger epilogue over trying to explain something I found myself not even questioning.

Anyway, on a final note, I loved the music in the series so much and wish there was a full high quality version of Jang Na-ra, Jin-joo’s actress, singing this song. I also have a lot of 90s Korean music on my playlist now. So many catchy songs.

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