Shining For One Thing is nicely written drama that explores regrets and second chances we have in our lives. Maybe all it would take to mature and get our lives on track is to go into a parallel universe and relive part of our past where we can judge things based on our current experience. I know I’d tell my high school self to back away from the Aqua Net and travel a lot more before I had kids. Come see what the characters in Shining for One Thing would tell themselves, and see if you would do the same.
Lin Bei Xing is a lost soul, discarded by her high school sweetheart before their wedding and not happy with her job. Through the magic of Nokia, she is sent back in time and experiences her senior year through a new perspective. She spent her teenage years following narcissist Zhan Yu around, never really discovering who she really was or who her true friends were.
In a very similar way, Zhang Wan Sen spends his entire time in high school standing in the wings watching over Bei Xing. He is the top of his class, so he studies and makes his parents proud, but he too has no sense of identity and sacrifices himself for Bei Xing. It isn’t until she comes back again that she truly sees him.
Two people — who lost themselves for someone else — get a second chance. As a the result, they’re able to discover who they really are and become both independent and connected in a way that reaches across space and time. The highlight of the show was watching Bei Xing’s face light up when these two were together and seeing Wan Sen blossom in her presence. He was so closed off at the beginning, but each time they grew closer, they both learned more about who they were and what made them happy.
The side characters all seem to have similar trajectories no matter which “timeline” we’re in, but it’s nice to watch them draw together like magnets each time the scenario changes. Gao Ge is the dean’s daughter and comes off as the bad girl, but she just wants to pursue art and know that her father sees her as more than a student. Yang Chao Yang ends up being the perfect sidekick for Bei Xing after she sheds her annoying best friend. Mai Zi has layers that need to be revealed but each time the story unfolds, his softer true side shows itself. Even Zhan Yu gets a timeline where he isn’t a total jerk. I loved that though the core of who everyone remained the same, we did get to see how small changes could make a difference.
Ultimately, this story is not a fast-paced time travel drama with tons of twists and turns. It was about slowing down and really seeing who the people around you are, and how even if the choices we make don’t make gigantic changes to the world, they still change us. Lin Bei Xing didn’t come out the other side the same person, and for my life, I hope that even though I don’t have magic to redo any of my past regrets, I can still learn from them and become a better person.
Until the next deleted text,
Dramas with the Side of Kimchi