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Our Blues Ep 1-2 Review: Cha Seung-Won Meets Old Lover Lee Jung-Eun in This Charming Story

Netflix’s latest K-Drama, Our Blues, takes us to the Jeju Island of South Korea and the closely-knit fisher community, where every person has a different story to tell, which is connected by one common thread- the place they live in. Told in an omnibus style, the first two episodes revolve around bank manager Choi Han-soo (Cha Seung-won) and a well-to-do fish seller, Jeong Eun-hee (Lee Jung-Eun), but also introduces us to characters who will go on to be the focus in the upcoming chapters. On the beautiful yet chaotic island of Jeju, where everyone is connected to everyone either by birth or any other relation, we are introduced to Captain Park Jeong-joon (Kim Woo-bin) and his possible love interest Lee Young-ok (Han Ji-min).

Young-ok is trying to run away from something in her past and is a first-year haenyeo (female divers of Jeju). There there is Lee Dong-seok (Lee Byung-hun) a truck driver and Min Seon-ah (Shin Min-a), along with Han-soo’s childhood friends but the story of episodes one and two is all about Han-soo and Jung-Eun. The former is a bank manager who is going through a tough financial crisis. His wife and daughter are in the US, to support the latter’s dream of being a golfer. However, in the American-Korean community, his wife has a bad reputation for borrowing money and not returning it. Han-soo gets transferred to a bank in Jeju, his hometown, where he reunites with his friends and old lover Jung-Eun.

Both of them lead completely different lives now. Once the most popular boy in the school, who knew his way around his classmates, Han-soo has almost hit the rock bottom now. Jung-Eun on the other hand is a whirlwind of a woman who doesn’t mind creating a traffic commotion to announce that she has met her friend after 20 years. She is sassy with her threats and spares no one- be it a stranger who crashes into her car or her brother who keeps asking her for money.

When he first sees her through the window of his apartment, she is at loggerheads with a person who ran into her car and is threatening to pull out his intestines. He laughs at this and remarks that none of his friends has changed.

The story moves back and forth between the past and present. Jung-Eun and Han-Soo go way back to their school lives, where the latter protected the former from getting bullied by their classmates. Later, during their school trip, she forcefully kisses him and tells a friend that he kissed him. This leads to an embarrassing situation which the two laugh about in present.

The two reminiscence their simpler times and go to karaoke with their other friends. Although in dire need of money, Han-soo doesn’t know how to ask Jung-Eun. He lies to her about being separated from his wife and proposes that they go on a trip to the same place as their school trip. Reluctant at first to go out with a married man, she later agrees and convinces her that this is a friendship trip.

The first two episodes end on a charming note but also indicates that the lives of the people are going to change for the better or for worse after the introduction of new people in their lives. The seaside setting of the series makes it oh so pleasant to watch and gives a vacation vibe all throughout. The series might work for the reason that it has no fixed protagonist. The main leads keep changing based on whose story is in focus and the characters who are under the limelight today will turn into second leads or background characters in the upcoming episode. Their lives are however connected seamlessly by the thread of Jeju island.

However, there are certain things about the episode that might come off as problematic. The people of the island, still hold on to some of their conservative beliefs. The older women of the community seem to have a bad impression of Lee Young-ok because she seems friendly with most men. Moreover, when Jung-Eun tells the story of how she kissed Han-soo forcefully, others seem to enjoy it. The act of kissing someone without their permission is not called out, but rather glorified.

Our Blues is currently streaming on Netflix.

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