[First Impressions] “Cunning Single Lady” Is a Fun Love Story of Divorced Ex-Lovers

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The new MBC drama Cunning Single Lady is a fun and modern drama about love and revenge. The drama portrays the relationship between divorced lovers when they meet again after three years of no contact. The ex-husband Jung Woo (Joo Sang-Wook) is now a top business man and multimillionaire, and the ex-wife Na Ae Ra (Lee Min-Jung) lived clueless of her ex-husband’s success for three years. The drama follows the complex relationship between the ex-lovers after their fateful reunion at the police station. The show gives us a good perspective on the serious topic of divorce while also making us laugh. 

*Disclaimer: the article was written by kpop1stop, and the views and opinions below do not reflect Soompi’s views or opinion.

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In the first episodes, we are introduced to the main character Na Ae Ra, a divorced woman who has a dysfunctional family. Her character is strong willed, and she was once married the CEO character Jung Woo. The beginning love between Jung Woo and Na Ae Ra seemed to be genuine. The two first met at Na Ae Ra’s family restaurant where a young, shy and goofy looking Jung Woo would frequent. At the urging of her mother, Na Ae Ra seduces Jung Woo with an elaborate plan. Since Jung Woo is good at computers, she purposely breaks her brother’s computer and gives it to Jung Woo. She offers him 10 restaurant coupons for fixing the computer so that he would come more often to see her. This is how their love story begins. The two get married and enjoy the first hundred days of their wedding, but something occurs on the 100 day anniversary that will shake up the whole marriage.

To celebrate their 100 day anniversary, Jung Woo and Na Ae Ra have dinner at a fancy restaurant. It is here that Jung Woo reveals to his wife that he had resigned from his job earlier that day to pursue his start up business idea. His resignation leads to financial problems for the couple and Ae Ra begins to work demeaning jobs to support them. After four years of no progress in her husband’s start-up, the emotionally and physically tired Na Ae Ra eventually gets fed up and kicks Jung Woo out onto the street on a cold winter night. She eventually files for divorce and tells Jung Woo to get out of her life. Financial distress is the main cause of their divorce. It’s hard to decide who is right in this divorce because on one hand they promised to be there for each other, but on the other hand Na Ae Ra had put up with his struggle for four years, and he didn’t succeed.

The drama then follows the ex-lovers three years after they divorced, and we learn about their past marriage life through flashback scenes. The change in setting between past and present makes the drama more dynamic and exciting. Each flashback gives us another peek into their intricate marriage. Three years after the divorce, Na Ae Ra is working at a clothing store and living with her best friend. She has lived the past three years unaware of her ex-husband’s big success with his start up company. She eventually learns about her husband’s riches through a friend.

After having a bad date, Ae Ra goes out drinking at a cart bar, where she gets into a fight over people talking about her divorce with Jung Woo. She goes to the police station for the fight, and that’s when her best friend calls the CEO Jung Woo. Her friend realizes that Jung Woo is the only person who can clear her name in this fight. Jung Woo picks up the phone and states that he doesn’t know who Na Ae Ra is. This is a sign of his closed feelings for ex-wife. However, the fact that the best friend called Jung Woo’s old number shows that Jung Woo didn’t change his number for three years. He had been waiting for Na Ae Ra to call. Even though Jung Woo said he didn’t know who Na Ae Ra was, he surprisingly showed up to the jail to save Na Ae Ra. As the two meet again at the jail, their gazing eyes showed that they still have feelings for each other.

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It’s hard to root for one character in this drama because both sides are understandable. The drama is a war of pride between the two ex-lovers who clearly still have feelings for each other. This is seen when Cha Jong Woo goes to save Ae Ra when she is in jail. When the couple divorced, Ae Ra said, “don’t make alimony an excuse to see me.” That is why Jong Woo didn’t contact her after he got rich.

How will they resolve the issue? Both sides want an apology, but neither side is willing to give one. On one hand you feel for Na Ee Ra because she suffered for four years while supporting her failed husband. But then, you also feel for the husband because they promised they’d be there for each other through the hard times. You can also tell that both sides still love each other, but their pride and bitterness are stopping them from revealing their emotions. It’s fun seeing them fight and try to get the better of each other, when in fact they are just trying to hide the fact that they still love each other.  Their conflicting emotions are seen when Jong Woo initially says that he won’t go to the jail to save Ae Ra, but comes to save her anyways. He also says that he hopes he doesn’t see her again, but then sends her a message to talk with each other. Also, Na Ae Ra gets dressed up and has her hair done to look good for the meeting with Jung Woo in hopes of attracting him. However, at the meeting, Jung Woo offers the nicely dressed Na Ae Ra alimony instead.

The last scene of episode two shows Jung Woo and Na Ae Ra having an intense face to face meeting. Jung Woo reminds Ae Ra that it was her who refused the alimony and also said she “Don’t contact me using alimony as an excuse.” Jung Woo walks away with a smile on his face saying to himself that if Ae Ra were to come to him for money it wouldn’t be love. It seems that he is testing her, and if she had accepted the alimony, it would’ve have meant that she didn’t love him and that she just wanted the money.

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Other characters we are introduced to in the episodes are Na Ae Ra’s brother who has a failed business in Vietnam, and her who dad wastes all her family’s money.  Jung Woo also has a girl business partner, Kook Yeo-Jin(Kim Gyu-Ri), whose mean and violent father invested in Jung Woo’s company. Kook Yeo Jin has a secret crush on Jung Woo and she will probably try to stop any reconciliation between the two ex-lovers. We also learn that Kook Yeo Jin lost her previous lover in an accident. Her free spirit brother Kook Seung-Hyun (Seo Kang-Joon) was tutored by Jung Woo and he doesn’t follow his dad’s strict ways. He had just returned from a trip in Latin America when we meet him. We are also introduced to Na Ae Ra’s talkative and supportive best friend Kang Min-Young (Hwang Bo Ra) .

What should we expect in the next episode? The preview shows Ae Ra putting an application for a job at her ex-husband’s company and also destroying her ex-husband’s car. Below is the preview to episode three.

*kpop1stop hopes to bring exciting Korean Entertainment to your computer screen.