Halftime Report: “Heart to Heart”
Of the currently airing dramas that I’m watching, “Heart to Heart” just might be my favorite—and nobody’s more surprised by that than I am! The first two episodes established interesting characters and an intriguing premise, but “Heart to Heart” has blossomed into a beautiful exploration of love, relationships, and human interaction. Every episode delivers so many joyous, touching moments that I’m genuinely sad when they’re over—and I never would have expected that after the first week of episodes.
So what aspect of “Heart to Heart” has helped turn it into such a must-watch drama? For me, the answer is simple: the main couple. The relationship between Hong Do (Choi Kang Hee) and Yi Suk (Chun Jung Myung) has developed from its initial adversarial nature into a believable, sweet, passionate, swoon-worthy, refreshingly adult romance.
The truth is that after the first two episodes, I was worried that Yi Suk was far too cold and uncaring, and that he would never be a suitable partner for the cripplingly shy Hong Do. But it was quickly revealed that while our initial view of Yi Suk wasn’t inaccurate, it was far from complete. As his grandfather puts it, once Yi Suk has a project, he dedicates himself to it wholeheartedly. So once he made Hong Do his project, he seriously applied himself to helping her to interact with people—which meant that he himself got closer to Hong Do than she’d allowed anyone before. The effect of this closeness on both of them is undeniable, especially as it becomes increasingly clear that Yi Suk is, in his own way, just as lonely as Hong Do (his family life is certainly no picnic!).
The quick, intense development of their relationship results in Hong Do and Yi Suk sleeping together by episode four—which completely shocked me. But it also completely sold me on “Heart to Heart,” because the scene when Yi Suk first kisses Hong Do is truly one of the sweetest, gentlest, most beautiful scenes I’ve ever seen. The look on Yi Suk’s face as he starts to realize that maybe he’s finally met a person he can feel safe with is nothing short of astounding, and the respect with which he treats Hong Do made me instantly forgive him for every terrible thing he had done up to that point.
The aftermath of Hong Do and Yi Suk’s night together is also handled well, as Hong Do struggles between her developing feelings for Yi Suk and her years-long love for Doo Soo (Lee Jae Yoon). It’s easy to see why she has trouble deciding between Yi Suk, who is alternately abrasive and loving, and Doo Soo, who is (almost) always gentle-hearted and kind and solicitous. But when Hong Do decides, in episode eight, that she is going to pursue her relationship with Yi Suk, even though its future is far from certain, it’s a triumphant moment. It’s quite moving to see this shy, scared woman resolve to boldly pursue her desires, even though it won’t be easy.
Doo Soo also a great character in his own right. What I find interesting about him is that even though he is the “nice guy” option for Hong Do, he’s very clearly not perfect. Although he’s well-intentioned, he lived most of his life being just as passive as Hong Do. It takes being dumped by his fiancée for Doo Soo to realize, too late, that he reciprocates Hong Do’s feelings. As the viewer, there is definitely a part of me that is on Doo Soo’s side—he’s a genuinely really good guy, and I believe that he would always try to treat Hong Do well.
Ultimately, though, I’m watching “Heart to Heart” for Hong Do and Yi Suk. I’m watching for the chemistry between Choi Kang Hee and Chun Jung Myung, which sparks even when they’re just looking at each other. I’m watching for the way that Yi Suk inspires Hong Do to be brave—and the way that she inspires him to be good. To be clear, I always enjoy this drama. The acting is excellent across the board (in addition to the actors I’ve already mentioned, I also really enjoy Sohee as Ko Se Ro; she’s made me laugh out loud more than once, even with limited screen-time), the soundtrack is superb, and the comedic and dramatic elements are well-balanced. But Hong Do and Yi Suk are, to me, what make “Heart to Heart” such a stand-out delight.
Just a few short weeks after my first impression of “Heart to Heart,” where I reacted negatively towards particular characters and cited general uncertainties about the plot, I’m a canary singing a completely different tune now.
Although my leap onto the I-can’t-get-enough-of-this-drama bandwagon didn’t occur until episode 5, that didn’t signify that “Heart to Heart” wasn’t good in the beginning because it was. It offered the type of stability and consistency that I adore, but it was also the kind of drama where I preferred to dip my toes in a few extra times to make sure the water is okay (and maybe not secretly swimming with piranhas?!) before diving in headfirst.
But once I did, boy, did I get swept away by the waves! … And I’m not even trying to save myself.
Cha Hong Do continues to completely win my heart with her witty sassiness towards Ko Yi Suk and I love that she’s actively conquering her anthrophobia, even if she doesn’t realize she’s doing it sometimes! She consistently feels so incredibly real, even her tendency to curse on a normal basis, and manages to touch hearts without even trying that I adore her to the ends of the earth and back. She’s so fabulous and I hate that she doesn’t even realize that. (Come on, Hong Do! It was only a list of ten qualities!) Luckily, Ko Yi Suk will be there to bring her some self confidence.
Speaking of, Ko Yi Suk’s transformation has been nothing short of amazing. He’s still quick tempered and sharp tongued, but he also has a surprising sweet side that makes me swoon. The insight into his family’s history definitely explains his flaws and brash attitude, but what I like about him is that he always listens to Cha Hong Do’s suggestions, even if he decides to pitch a fit first. His unique relationship with his director, Uhm Ki Choon (Seo Yi Sook), was also a pleasant surprise that always makes me crack a smile. Ko Yi Suk has successfully managed to worm his way into my heart and set up camp, so it looks like he might be staying for a while.
Perhaps what’s most surprising of all though, is that sweet, kind, and lovable Detective Jang Do Soo now seems a tad bit menacing to me and I’m not sure what to do with that. Aside from his unexpectedly violent temper tantrums, I was more concerned with his attempts to control Cha Hong Do, which made her feel uncomfortable in the process. Threatening bodily injury towards Ko Yi Suk, practically taking her phone out of her hands by force, speaking for her without her consent, saying things like, “I hate this the most, so don’t do it,” and even telling Cha Hong Do that she’s misunderstanding her own emotions when, not too long ago, he only knew her as the woman who had sent him side dishes for seven years and had never held a conversation with her, is all sorts of wrong to me.
In fact, his deep, sudden love for Cha Hong Do appears pretty dicey to begin with, but I’m not sure if all this is a result of misled directing, poor editing, or if that is just Jang Do Soo, the character, himself. What I do know; however, is that rather than fawning over him as I did in the beginning, now I feel leery whenever I see him.
Other than the changes I saw in Jang Do Soo, I also find it disappointing that Ko Se Ro is still an insignificant character at this point, because I was pretty curious about her. Although I think she was meant to be comic relief, I’ve yet to laugh at her antics. I’m also still questioning the approach of Ko Yi Suk’s supposed genius abilities as a psychiatrist. All the examples we’ve been provided so far of his talent would not have been successful if Cha Hong Do hadn’t guided him in the right direction and I’m really craving an intense scene where he can truly wow me with his abilities.
All in all, “Heart to Heart” certainly has its flaws, but it’s still well worth the watch for our delightful OTP, Cha Hong Do and Ko Yi Suk, and to witness Cha Hong Do facing the world with confidence for the first time. Not to mention, I do love some of the issues they’ve been tackling in this drama that others dare not touch, like consensually sleeping with each other on a whim before love ever decided to enter the picture and then dealing with the aftermath like two (semi) normal and mature adults? Yes, please!
Are you watching “Heart to Heart?” How are you liking it? Let us know in the comments below!
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