A few dates in and we’re in deep. We’re finally nestled in and cozied up to the warm-and-toasty embraces of a committed relationship.
But if you look closely enough, you can see the pressures of family obligation and years of hardship weighing heavily. Tension begins to build and minds begin to wander. “What would it be like to sleep with another man?”
A wife smelling another man’s scent. A stolen kiss on a rainy day. Moments that shouldn’t have happened.
Ah, but they did.
Our couple gets hitched and starts their married, normal life. We cut to seven years post-nuptials and find the happy couple: Il Ri (Lee Si Young) is the ever dutiful daughter-in-law and loving wife, Hee Tae (Uhm Tae Woong) the supportive husband who loves his job.
All is good, seemingly – one thing to note about our odd fish: Il Ri hyperventilates, a side effect of the car accident, but it rarely happens.
Let’s catch up with the rest of the family.
Hee Tae’s parents fight constantly as usual, his father’s cheating ways never missed a beat, and his mother is wise to every offense committed. His father suspects she’s psychic, ha. (Sidenote: Gentlemen, never doubt a woman’s intuition.) Hee Tae’s family never saw Il Ri as someone who was ever good enough for their Hee Tae – him being the smart, educated son, her being a working-class painter who only finished high school. Mom-in-law nags, which looks commonplace, except for one major red flag: She blames Il Ri for their daughter being sick, a hefty fault to place on anyone.
Hee Soo, Hee Tae’s older sister (played by Choi Yeo Jin), is now paralyzed and spends her days bedridden and unable to speak. Il Ri has been caring for her for the past seven years – apparently Hee Soo collapsed when the couple returned from their honeymoon. (From photos, it seems that Hee Soo was a professional ballet dancer – all the more devastating.) Why did she collapse and what caused her paralysis? This we do not know yet. She was against their marriage, even more so than their parents. Though she cannot speak in person, we see her speak while in her own stream of consciousness, and we hear her thoughts in voiceovers. Il Ri actually confides in Hee Soo the most in their moments alone.
Ki Tae, Hee Tae’s younger brother, is a lazy mooch. He went to a university in Seoul, but is one of those unemployed, idealistic young grads who think that nothing is good enough for him, and isn’t in that much of a hurry to join the work force altogether.
Park Jung Min effing shines as Hee Tae’s little bro, in the few moments he appears – the tossed ramen down the sink, the stare-down with the girl on whom he has a crush. Makes me want to see him as the lead in a drama, and soon. Character nuances, physical movement, and comedic subtleties are treated with such thoughtfulness… he should be on your watch list, if he isn’t already!
OUR KID STRANGE
Il Ri is still the same girl at the core, just grown up (and now, with a perm). She has become a painter, as expected. She says what she wants, when she wants, as always. Even when it may be inappropriate or immature, she still expresses herself. She’s actually a bit of a busybody in many ways. She insists on having her way, she pushes herself into places where she’s not necessarily welcome, and she’s unapologetic about her actions.
IL RI’S FAMILY
Il Ri’s mom still works at a hospital cafeteria. Il Ri’s younger sister clocks in hours at a cafe, which Il Ri’s old high school classmate (and bully, ha) now runs.
ENTER: THE OTHER MAN.
Kim Joon (Lee Soo Hyuk), the carpenter with whom Il Ri works, is one extremely guarded bloke. They clash – she’s constantly chattering, pressing into his personal life. He’s eternally annoyed by her presence and wants her to quickly finish the painting job and send her on her way. He overhears an intimate moment the couple shares. Then, at times, he seems like he wants to know more about her, and then suddenly he’s back to being irritated. She keeps coming back to his studio, long after she’s pushed out the door, twice. After she pushes his buttons one too many times, he snaps (this was rather creepy, admittedly).
And she hyperventilates.
She promises never to come back to his studio, as he’s requested.
But imaginations can get carried away. A voice echoes in your head. A spark of curiosity flickers. A moment replays back in your mind.
She pisses him off again.
And then… oh, and then.
And that’s where this date ends.
Hours later, after the rain has stopped, our husband visits the studio for the first time.
Ready for the next rendezvous?
[tv]Watch Valid Love on SoompiTV! [/tv]