A few weeks ago, this would have been a very different post. I should know, because I wrote it! Here We Meet Again seemed like the perfect fluffy drama to provide a breath of fresh air when my other dramas were too heavy. But it all changed….well, read on to see when and why, and enjoy commentary from guest writer Sati42!
Our feelings for this drama were strong until almost the end, when it all fell apart. We’ll tell you why we loved it, and then in our spoiler section, we’ll point out where it crumbled to pieces.
We Loved The Leads
The Maknae: Janice Wu has been on my radar from the time I binged Le Coup de Foudre, and Vin Zhang since I glimpsed him in Eternal Love. Having them as an OTP provided the FIRE and comedy and deliciousness I expected. Their backstory as high school friends/rivals and her unrequited crush on him was highly entertaining. Janice Wu’s confidence as she chased him once more was perfect – she wasn’t a stalker, but she didn’t back down, either.
Sati42: Likewise. I have enjoyed these actors and really looked forward to seeing them work together. I have seen Vin Zhang in several dramas and he really won me over with stellar acting in The King’s Woman. I first saw Janice Wu in Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace, which had well over 100 characters, yet her small role caught my attention. I knew these two together would be amazing and they did not disappoint. Vin Zhang’s character was quiet and extremely smart, yet not arrogant at all. He would silently do things for others, and I found this quite endearing. Janice Wu’s character was a go-getter, constantly striving for more and never satisfied if someone told her she couldn’t do something.
Our Favorite Kind of Story
The Maknae: I have to admit that rooting for the underdog is one of my favorite things. Xiang Yuan, Janice Wu’s character, is tasked with saving a certain branch of her grandfather’s company, and she dives in headfirst. (Ok, she’s forced to dive in headfirst or get married. But I digress.) Xiang Yuan is smart and charismatic, and I fully expect her to pull it off. Vin Zhang’s Xu Yan Shi is brilliant, but had ended up buried in corporate nonsense and lost his spark until she came along.
Sati42: I especially enjoy when shows take a common aspect and change it up. Even though Xiang Yuan was ‘forced’ to work at this company, she did her best and truly worked hard rather than whining and looking for shortcuts as is often seen in shows. She didn’t go in and mess everything up, leaving her new colleagues to go in and fix it all. Also, when we learned the backstory of the leads, we learned both sides of the story, allowing us to really understand the misunderstandings. I liked seeing each of their perspectives of these events.
It Was Undemanding
The Maknae: When I started this drama, I had been pulled into time travel mysteries and sequel seasons of my favorite kdramas and was binge watching them HARD. For a little relief from the seriousness of it all, I was gratefel Here We Meet Again was something I could put down and pick back up with ease, falling back into the characters’ stories without much trouble. Originally, it was a great break from the tension I’d been experiencing.
Sati42: I agree, overall it was an easy watch. If I daydreamed or otherwise got distracted, I was able to jump right back into the show without issue. The show had great relationships that were relatable and endearing to watch. I really enjoyed Xiang Yuan and Grandpa. They could be annoyed, argue, and then be right back to being worried for each other. Same with the co-workers – they always had something fun to talk about. I could almost feel like I was one of the group.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
The Maknae: The romance was good, the chemistry was fire, but then things changed. Yan Shi went from quietly admitting under his breath that he intended to marry Xiang Yuan to cockily summoning her with a crook of his finger, setting aside the quiet thoughtfulness that had dominated his character before. Towards the end, when crisis after crisis after crisis was shoved into the plot, he forgot his words entirely, kissing Xiang Yuan forcefully rather than have a grown-up conversation about the issues plaguing them.
Sati42: The leads were so great together and the build up to them being together was quite enjoyable. When Yan Shi burst into her apartment to finally share his feelings it was FIRE. Yet once they revealed their feelings for each other, Yan Shi goes to work in another city. They immersed themselves in work and were rarely together. The last few episodes they were so immersed in their own work that they barely communicated. Then I was let down by the proposal: they are in different towns and he proposes on live tv after the satellite launch (work first of course!).
On one hand, after a long time of keeping their relationship on the down low, he is now telling the world that he loves her and wants to marry her. On the other hand, they are yet again long distance. What is he going to do, overnight the ring to her? Clearly this is how their relationship is going to be, which means all that childhood anxiety they each suffered is going to repeat itself.
Do We Recommend?
The Maknae: Originally, at 6 episodes in, I was happy to recommend this drama. I expected Here We Meet Again to follow the usual pattern of laggy episodes and unnecessary conflict, because that’s how these dramas roll, but to finish strong. I thought I would be happy to get through it, though, because I was sure Janice Wu and Vin Zhang were all I needed. I WAS WRONG. I needed an ending that didn’t undermine our characters’ past traumas, and an OTP that grew together instead of regressing. Was that so much to ask??
Sati42: I enjoyed this show right up till the last 4 episodes. I ended up liking the co-workers’ banter and relationships most of all. The main couple had a great backstory and build up to the relationship, the actors were amazing together, but ultimately the relationship itself was a letdown for me. They don’t learn to talk to each other and end up repeating the cycle rather than living better. If you must, watch and enjoy the first 28 episodes then speed through the rest. HOWEVER, make sure you catch the gum scene. It is worth your time.
Until we optimistically start the next romantic Cdrama, we remain –
Karie the Maknae & Sati42
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi