I’m going to be honest; I just binge-watched all six episodes of “Valid Love” to write this recap. And now all I feel is “UGH!” and “WHY?!” and “ASDFASJDFL” and “Wow.” Let’s go through all of these emotions one by one.
That pretty much sums up my feelings for this drama so far.
Not necessarily in a bad way, but everything in this drama makes me feel… complicated. Contradictory. Frustrated and confused and indecisive. (Did I just describe what it would feel like to be in Il Ri’s position? Is this drama that good at influencing its viewers?)
“You can come back anytime.”
Why? You were the same guy that, less than an episode ago, was telling her she was annoying and to never come back. Why turn to the dark side now?
Il Ri finally gets it together and books it out of there, only to realize she’s left her sister-in-law Hee Soo (Choi Yeo Jin) by herself in a cafe. Her mother-in-law is not happy about it.
Meanwhile, Il Ri’s husband Jung Hee Tae (Uhm Tae Woong) is visiting none other than Kim Joon’s shop. Joon recognizes him from watching the couple’s sweet moment on the street and adamantly refuses to serve him. Hee Tae is undoubtedly confused; it’s the first time he’s met this guy. What could he have against him? (One of the countless ironies this drama offers us.)
The next day, Hee Tae’s younger brother Ki Tae (Park Jung Min) steals Il Ri’s younger sister’s cellphone. He needs it to exchange it with his own, which Il Ri had stolen in order to force Ki Tae to get his life together and actually start working. When Il Ri’s younger sister finds out, she demands Il Ri get it back- that, and her laptop that Il Ri has left at Joon’s place.
During her visit to try and get the laptop back, Il Ri ends up giving him her mom’s homemade food that was meant for her husband.
Joon also uses his sly skills to get her number, and then starts to unceasingly text her when she leaves. Specifically, he texts her about the moment he fell for her: when she was using his hand to help with her hyperventilation.
Things get complicated when the two main men run into each other while drinking. Joon agrees to work for Hee Tae, who wants to make a present for his wife. (Again, irony.) After their meeting and even while working with him, Hee Tae realizes that he really likes Kim Joon the carpenter. (Irony explosion.)
However, things are starting to get dangerous. Hee Tae sees Joon eating the food that was meant for him, although he doesn’t quite add it up completely. While talking, Joon slips and says something about Il Ri that Hee Tae has not mentioned. He covers it up by lying but ends up with hiccups. (“Pinocchio” crossover?)
Also, Duk Bae, a worker at XYZ cafe, happened to see Joon and Il Ri kiss on that rainy day.
He goes around telling everyone that Joon has a girlfriend, and Il Ri misunderstands him as a taken man who was just playing around with her. That is, after she dresses up to see him, gets the laptop back, and beats him up with it.
Enter Yoo Sun Joo into Hee Tae’s life. Sun Joo is Hee Tae’s college junior who just started working at Hee Tae’s workplace. She’s also what he describes as everyone’s first love. What could be blossoming here?
Meanwhile, Il Ri leaves Hee Soo out in the rain when she accidentally drops her cell phone in water. Her mother-in-law finds Hee Soo on the balcony by herself, not surprisingly gets furious, and gives Il Ri a slap.
Il Ri ends up at Joon’s place to cool off. She tells Joon that she doesn’t cry in front of anyone, not her family, not her husband. Then, the episode ends with her crying in front of him.
Actually, this goes back to the initial “UGH!” emotion. I am still in conflict over how I feel about this drama.
First of all, cheating is not good, especially because Jang Hee Tae is a great husband. But on the other hand, Il Ri is struggling in her new household. She loves Hee Soo but hates being blamed for her state, constantly being responsible for her in-laws, and continuously being abused for making mistakes. (Although the slap for leaving her out in the rain – that one is iffy.) Her husband is also her first man ever, so she constantly asks things like “What would it feel like to sleep with another man?” and “If we had met at a later time when I had already dated and had fun with guys my age, would we be different?”
Past the plot line, I’m also conflicted about the drama as a whole. Sometimes the pace is too slow, and I find myself wanting to skip forward. Additionally, I’m not a fan of any of the characters – like, none of them. (Disclaimer: As always, these are my personal opinions. Feel free to give me your opinion in the comments!)
But… wow. Just wow. I believe this is the first drama that I can genuinely say I am watching to simply… watch. The camera work, the lighting, the scene set-up (visually) is absolutely stunning. Breathtaking. Sometimes I found myself not paying attention to the characters and just staring at my screen, trying to take in the awe of… everything else.
For that reason, I plan to continue watching. That, and the superb acting. And the subtle humor.
What do y’all think so far? Do you like it more than I do? Let us know in the comments!