Is a happy ending possible?
Well, it depends on one’s definition of “happy”. Some people might think it would be Min’s death and Lee Joon Young’s incarceration. Others might agree with the writer: Min’s survival and Lee Joon Young’s continuous wandering would be better.
I actually hoped that Lee Joon Young would be caught. He has created too much damage and has taken a lot of lives. Regardless of his seemingly “noble” motivation, murder is murder and a man like him,sadly,should be isolated from the world. That lady in white was simply a plot device. I’m thankful she stopped Hyun from committing a crime but if she’d been there from the beginning, Lee Joon Young wouldn’t have envied the brothers’ relationship. All Joon Young ever wanted was for someone to understand him. I think that lady understood him enough. They could’ve just lived together instead of Lee Joon Young asking Hyun and Min to run away with him.
Anyway, I’d take the closest thing to my “happy ending” aka “whatever happens as long as Min stays alive”. Whether as Hyun’s brother or not, I’m fine with that. And it’s not just because Park Bo Gum is the cutest psycho ever, but it’s mainly because I sympathized with his character all throughout the show. Just as young Lee Joon Young (played remarkably well by Exo’s DO Kyungsoo) said;”there is a critical period for humans: a significant time of development that once already established, cannot be easily changed.” Joon Young has already passed that stage and ended up as someone who deserves to be locked up in jail, but Min hasn’t gotten there yet. Hyun could’ve prevented it too, but he himself was misunderstood and the revelation of what happened that day when their mom died, also broke my heart as it did Hyun’s.
“I’m glad you didn’t live as Lee Joong Min’s son.”, said Hyun at that time when one of their father’s enemies was out to get them for revenge. “I was definitely born this way.”, said Min when he realized that Hyun might blame himself once he regains his memories. This kind of bromance is simply one of the most heart tugging ones in Kdramaland. Which is why Cha Ji An’s alternate reality became all the more poignant. The thought of growing up and hanging out as normal kids would’ve been possible if it weren’t for the wrong choices in the past that could never be undone. Planning Officer Hyun started a series of unfortunate events when she made a deal with Lee Joon Young which she thought was harmless at that time. Hyun’s father also doubted his son instead of confronting his fears head on. Lee Joon Young shouldn’t have taken Min with him, but he and his twisted mind, decided that separating the brothers would be what’s best for them.
The time jump and Min’s sudden resurrection seemed a bit off,making the ending feel like it was rushed but that’s exactly what I wanted for Min. To be given another shot at life: a choice as to whether he’d continue to live as a free man under someone’s identity or own up to his mistakes and deal with the consequences. As himself. With Hyun by his side.
I’ve been a fan of Seo In Guk since Reply 1997. I’ve read that Hyun’s role was offered to other older actors before they casted him. I also doubted if this would work despite his age difference with Jang Nara but his manly built and male equivalent of a resting bitch face convinced me that they hired the right actor for the job.
Park Bo Gum totally killed it in this drama. Both literally and figuratively. I’ve seen him play a minor role in Gaksital and a non-canon major supporting character in Naeil Cantabile. In this show, Bogummy proved that he’s just perfect in a role that requires him to switch from an adorable sweetheart to a murderous villain in a sec. And instead of hating him the way we curse other serial killer characters, his teary eyes and innocent good looks just make you want to hug him.
Rounding up the perfect psycho trio is Choi Won Young. Such a brilliant character actor,one of the most familiar faces you’d see on films and TV, but is just as underrated as the drama itself. Choi Won Young has a natural reticent aura that makes Lee Joon Young more mysterious and his ability to fit in to society without looking suspicious makes him even more dangerous. He was able to effortlessly humanize the “monster” that most serial killers are deemed to be and even make us want to sympathize with him. He just wanted to be considerate all along. The way he thought he was saving kids, the way he thought he raised Min for his and his brother’s sake, the way he tried to give Ji An the closure he thought she wanted. I marvel at the way his twisted mind works.
Cha Ji An! I didn’t expect to love her character as much as I do now. She’s upright but not naive, clumsy but not a coward. I’m glad we’re getting more heroines like her instead of the usual Candys and Cinderellas. Jang Nara was awesome and unexpectedly sassy.
The romance wasn’t always the focus of the drama, but when it’s there,it’s THERE. Nothing was ever forced for the sake of shipping. I was pretty impressed when Ji An was kidnapped but confident that Hyun would find her; at the same time, Hyun was worried but confident that Ji An would survive. It was mutual trust that gradually developed into something real and romantic. Throw in the usual Kdrama trope of forced cohabitation and it’s perfect! Aside from their characters’ deep connection with each other, even the actors themselves showed some apparent chemistry. In the beginning, I thought a younger actress like Go Ara should play Cha Ji An but Jang Nara’s babyface and comedic timing perfectly matched Seo In Guk’s mature looks and cold personality. Speaking of Go Ara, I liked her in Reply 1994 so I thought it might have been a good idea to pair her up with Reply 1997’s leading man just for the feels, but I remember how she was in You’re All Surrounded and I was quite disappointed. And now I’m feeling a little bitter that that show actually got decent ratings even though it has some pretty lame detective team. I Remember You’s Investigative Team, led by dorky but dependable Park Chun Hee, could kick their @$$ big time.
The IRY squad also includes the usual: the kickass female lead, a funny sunbae, a shady hyung and an adorable maknae. But more than the detective stereotypes; there were episodes,however short, that highlighted each of the members’ significance on the team and on the show.
Author Kwon Ki Young succeeded in making me “care” about all the characters. I Remember You is certainly one of the best but underrated dramas on my list of favorites. Despite the abysmal (but totally undeserved) ratings, I hope it would at least get some technical and acting awards. This is one of the most well-thought-out storyline and fleshed out characters I’ve seen recently. Rating? 100+α!