KBS drama ‘Fight For My Way’ starring Park Seo-joon and Kim Ji-won finished its 16 episode long run just today. I covered the first half of the drama in a review not too long ago and thought I should cover the rest of the drama now that the drama has completed.
To be honest, when episode 14 ended, I was concerned that the drama wasn’t going to tie everything up greatly with just 2 more episodes to go. There were more sub-plots introduced or expanded upon by the end of episode 14 and it just seemed like there wasn’t gonna be enough time to wrap everything up nicely. However, the drama proved us wrong by providing a satisfactory ending and giving us an ending that was for the most part satisfying even if it didn’t necessarily go over everything that the audience wanted.
[SPOILERS BELOW SO DON’T READ UNLESS YOU’VE WATCHED THE EPISODE OR WANT TO BE SPOILED]
The drama ends with Dong Man & Ae Ra getting married, Ae Ra making mends with her mother who turned out to be the landlady in the end, Joo Man and Sul-hee also making up and returning back to relationship status (when is that wedding gonna happen tho?), Dong Man winning fair and square his rematch with Kim Tak-soo, and Hye-ran finally having the courage to move on from everything and start anew.
I for the most part enjoyed the last two episodes as I think it did a fairly and expected job of tying up loose ends and wrapping everything up – maybe quicker than I had wanted, but it still did its job. There were many sub-plots that I wished could have been explored and spent more time on, but the Mom/landlady sub-plot really took up most of the time towards the end of the drama that other subplots got placed under the radar. Despite all of that, the drama was still a great and easy watch. There were funny comedic moments as well as really frustrating moments, but also touching times (especially with all the family relationships) that made the show an easy and breezy drama to watch.
Since the drama ended, there are a few things that I wished the drama could have spent more time on exploring. One of them would be Joo Man and Sul-hee’s post-breakup status. They broke up way too late into the drama and only spared us a few episodes that showed us how they were dealing with the breakup. I don’t think it was necessary dedicating 12 episodes to Ye-jin pining after Joo Man as it was obvious from the get-go that she was interested in him and that she would become a threat to Joo Man & Sul-hee’s 6 year relationship. Instead of wasting so much time showing us that, the drama should have used a few episodes on that plot and then give us the rest of the time showing us how Joo Man & Sul-hee reacted to their break-up. I wanted to see smaller details of Sul-hee’s character growth. While I’m glad she went from being a naive, innocent, and kind pushover to someone mature, strong, and independent, it happened rather quickly and I wanted to see how she came about dealing with that transition. The same goes for Joo Man who we saw struggle, cry, and hurt over the break-up and tried multiple times to make amends with Sul-hee (and still did to the very last episode), but I also wanted to see more of that struggle. And within Joo Man’s struggle of the break-up, I would have definitely loved to see him realize his wrongdoings and reflect on what it is that he needs to do to win her back. Even until episode 15, he still talked about himself to Sul-hee and mentioned to her about how she used to be when she was with him and how much of a big role he played in her life. I don’t think it was that Sul-hee wasn’t aware of how great, kind, and caring of a boyfriend he was to her; she was obviously aware of those actions and characteristics which is why she stayed with him so long – even during those months when he was questionably stepping out of boundaries with Ye-jin. It was more so of his actions with and regarding Ye-jin that she became insecure and decided to end things so for me, if Joo Man had wanted the suffering to end sooner, he should have been more considerate about what and how Sul-hee felt instead of what he wanted and this character growth would have been something awesome to witness. But it’s unfortunate that the drama decided to spend the bulk of the time on Joo Man & Sul-hee’s relationship of scenes of Joo Man & Ye-jin.
I think the reason why I have so many things to say about the second lead couple more than our lead couple is just that I rooted for Joo Man & Sul-hee since the very beginning and was quickly invested in the couple from the start. I was sold ever since the first episode when Joo Man saved Sul-hee from being scolded by her boss and then swooped in for a hug and kiss despite being at work (wait now that I think about it, did we ever find out why they hid their relationship at work at first?). They were so so cute and adorable and they were so different from other usual couples in dramas. But then as the drama progressed, we got less and less of Joo Man & Sul-hee and more of Joo Man & Ye-jin to the point where I couldn’t bring myself to continue supporting them because 1) it got way too frustrating 2) it was starting to drag on and I didn’t have the patience or interest to keep being invested anymore. In addition to character growth, I wished we had more time spent on this interesting and intriguing push and pull dynamic between the two. As a couple who’s been together for 6 years and then all of a sudden ending that relationship, it’s not going to be easy and there’s definitely going to be that roller coaster ride that comes along with wanting someone back but trying to fight against familiar feelings of love and care towards that person. It would have been great to see Joo Man & Sul-hee struggle to make amends and put forth the effort to either maintain or completely end the relationship that they had built for themselves. It would allow for a realistic portrayal of what actual relationships and break-ups are like which I thought the drama did a fairly good job demonstrating with Dong Man & Ae Ra’s relationship so I was hoping the drama would spend a little bit more time hashing this out with Joo Man & Sul-hee’s relationship as well. Had the drama chosen to spend more time on Joo Man & Sul-hee post-breakup, we could have also gotten so much more time dedicated on character growth. So much great potential wasted.
I also wish we had gotten more time dedicated to Ae Ra’s journey to becoming an announcer. Although not the typical news announcer that one would expect, she eventually became a MMA fighting announcer so in a way her goals and dreams of becoming an announcer was accomplished. However, we spent I think maybe 2 episodes max on this towards the end of the drama when earlier into the drama we had spent so many episodes on her struggle to becoming an announcer. There were episodes of her going to different job interviews, of her failing these interviews, of Hye Ran interrupting her chances of earning the position, etc. and then as the drama progressed they started to focus less and less on this sub-plot and then suddenly gave her the position of becoming an announcer without any real hint or clue of struggle. Like there was no struggle at all. Ae Ra passed on her first try and she became successful and that was that and she suddenly got the job. I don’t know. It just seemed like the writer took a shortcut and got lazy with this sub-plot and didn’t want to spend more time on it (which is ironic because that was mostly what the writer focused on for Ae Ra in the first half of the drama). I wanted to see Ae Ra’s journey into becoming an announcer and it would have been great to see her fail at least once and then get back up again to earn the announcer position. It just happened way too quickly for me and I think a problem for that was the writer was basically adding more and more into the drama with not enough time for each plot so he basically had to choose which ones to spend more time on and unfortunately Ae Ra’s announcer experience suffered the blow. If you’re gonna spend so much time in the first half of the drama dedicated to Ae Ra’s journey into becoming an announcer, then continue to focus on that towards the second half of the drama as well. But the writer failed to do that. It’s unfortunate, because once again this just causes for a lack of consistency with the drama and there was wasted potential for character growth for Ae Ra.
Another aspect of the drama that made me iffy was Ae Ra’s stance on Dong Man’s career as a boxer. I can see and understand why she’s hesitant to support him as a fighter because it’s dangerous, he could potentially lose his hearing forever and even his life, and he’s always going to constantly be in danger/injured and she can’t put herself through all of that horror and trauma again. So I can see where she’s coming from, but at the same time, it was immature and childish of her to make him have to decide between her and his dreams. After taking a 10 year hiatus, he finally harbors the courage and audacity to fight again and to step into the ring and do what he’s always wanted to do but refused to try because of the incident a few years back. It took him so long to get to that point and now that he’s in a position where he’s stable and strong enough to try again, his girlfriend refuses to acknowledge that. It’s his dream and plus he’s a grown man who can make decisions for himself and be responsible for them.
So to me, for Ae Ra to place Dong Man into a box where he can’t have both and can only choose between her or his dream was a little bit too much for me. Ae Ra should be supportive of Dong Man and should be proud that he’s steps closer to achieving his dream, that he now has a job where he’s making money, etc etc. And it’s not that she wasn’t supportive of him because she was – she would go to his matches to support him and take care of him and whatnot, but then over time at the stakes got higher and there were more risks involved, she got less and less supportive to the point where she had Dong Man choose between either her or his dream/career and that just got frustrating for me. You should never have to make anyone choose between you and your relationship or something else that is precious to your significant other. That just screams insecurity, loss of trust, and lack of understanding. And it especially sucks for Dong Man because he wanted both – he loved Ae Ra and cared for her deeply and supported her throughout her entire life (especially during her struggles of becoming an announcer) but then he also really wanted to fight again and had gathered enough courage to step back into the ring. Like why does he have to be in a difficult position where he has to choose? And it makes me frustrated, because Ae Ra’s the type where she doesn’t care what anyone says and does whatever she wants so I think it’s a bit hypocritical to me in a way. For Ae Ra, it’s okay that she can do what she wants and has all that she wants, but for Dong Man, he should listen to her and can only do what she wants. For Dong Man, he supports her in whatever she does or wants to do, but for Ae Ra, she only wants Dong Man to do certain things that she approves of and if he rebels or thinks otherwise, he’s in a potential place where he might lose his relationship because he’s not meeting the demands and wants of his girlfriend. That just screams childish to me and makes me frustrated.
I also think the drama rushed Dong Man and Ae Ra’s relationship (marriage after a few months break-up? Seriously?), but I think this was done more so for the purpose of giving our main couple that happy ending that all main couples are expected to have in dramas. I just wasn’t expecting it nor did I want it to happen so quickly.
The drama could have done without the creepy stalker guy that was supposedly Ae Ra’s friend. I felt like he was only put in there for the purpose of showing the documentary that revealed Tak-su’s true colors, but failed to serve as any other purpose or reason in the drama. Also, the drama heavily rushed Sul-hee’s relationship with Joo Man’s family. In prior episodes, they didn’t like and approve of her, but in episode 15, she all of a sudden gained their approval and her mom was behaving so kindly to Sul-hee. I don’t know – I felt like it was too random for me and it bothered me because of how drastic it was from that one birthday/family party where they had basically treated Sul-hee like crap. I also wished more time could have been spent on Dong Man, Ae Ra, Joo Man, and Sul-hee’s friendship! I wanted to see more of that! The drama would tease us by giving us little bits here and there, but never really gave us more and it was so sad because it would have made for great storytelling but also just a lot more fun. I wanted to see more of their friendship as younger kids growing older together and the challenges and adventures they faced along the way so I’m a little sad and heart-broken the drama didn’t give us more.
I also think the drama also didn’t really know what to do with Hye Ran. At first they characterized her as Ae Ra’s enemy and Dong Man’s clingy ex-girlfriend and then I think they were trying to slowly improve her image by making her seem pitiful so that viewers would sympathize, but then the drama didn’t spend too much time fixing Hye Ran’s image so by the end of the drama, she was just kind of there. Not the once clingy ex-girlfriend she used to be anymore and not Ae Ra’s enemy like how the drama had first pinned her down to be. I’m glad that she got her own happy ending though and that she can finally move on with her own life and start anew. I’m always for character growth and clingy ex-girlfriends not being clingy anymore.
The plot with Landlady Hwang being Ae Ra’s mother was an interesting one and I was definitely intrigued by Landlady Hwang because here she was – a random lady who just popped up out of no where spying on Dong Man and Ae Ra and telling them what to do and not to do. So that aspect of the plot got me interested and then as it started to get more and more obvious that she was Ae Ra’s mother, I sadly wasn’t as invested anymore. I also do think the drama rushed with Ae Ra’s acceptance of Landlady Hwang as her mother. In the last episode, Ae Ra gave in and was willing to call Landlady Hwang as her mother even though she had been missing from her life for her entire life so I would have liked to see more time spent on their relationship development. I like that Ae Ra is taking that first step forward by accepting Landlady Hwang as her mother and calling her mother, but I don’t know – to me it was a little bit too rushed. Also, I’m sad that the drama focused a lot more heavily on this plot to the point where it overpowered some other sub-plots from being explored and basically rushed other aspects of the drama. Better pacing for this sub-plot would have been nice, but I’m glad that the drama decided to even reveal to us what the big deal about Landlady Hwang was in the first place (a little too late into the drama but better than never). Just imagine if she had no purpose and was just placed in there for comedic purposes – that would have been so funny, annoying, and weird
(let’s not pull another ‘Strong Woman’ now).
Overall, ‘Fight For My Way’ was an interesting drama. It never really had a plot and instead was based more on the characters, their lives, their experiences, and the everyday up’s and down’s that they face in life as adults just trying to make it in the world. While there were many things that I wished the drama could have spent more time on, it was still an enjoyable and easy drama to watch and did a great job in showcasing our characters’ lives and challenges of adults working hard to achieve their dreams and goals in life. If there’s one thing that the drama did exceptionally well with, it would be the casting of the actors and actresses. Everybody in this drama was just so amazing at interpreting and playing their characters and doing all that they could do with the characters they were given.
Park Seo-joon was great as usual, giving us really great comedic timing with his character but also pain and anguish and tears when needed (he’s proved time after time that he’s not just eye candy but also has the talent in acting). Kim Ji-won also did a wonderful job in this drama. She played her tough and fighting character with sass and confidence and even though there were times where her character was frustrating and limited, she still did the best she could with what she was given. This is the second (I watched the first few episodes of Answer Me 1988 so I don’t know if that counts?) drama I’ve watched Ahn Jae-hong in and it’s also the second time that I’ve enjoyed his acting. He’s such a great actor and I especially like that he’s not your conventional and standard pretty face flower boy actor. It’s refreshing seeing an actor like him make leaps and bound in the entertainment industry these days and it definitely helps even more that he has the skills for acting. Song Ha-yoon was such an adorable actress portraying Sul-hee. She definitely made you sympathize and care for her as the young, naive, and kind pushover and then definitely root for her as she transitioned into a powerful, strong, and kickass CEO. I’m glad that her character also got her own happy ending in the end as the CEO of a business that she was passionate in (now that’s the one aspect of the drama I’m glad was explored just because I least expected that to happen). I don’t have the time to go over how well everyone in the drama did, but the cast overall was strong and when the drama itself was frustrating to watch, the cast still did great in working with what they were given. I’m gonna miss this cast in particular because they all worked so well with one another and were so compatible.
‘Fight For My Way’ might just be another typical rom-com for some and for some others it might be much more, but for me, it was a little mix of both and I’m grateful that I gave this show a chance. I admit, I first watched it for Park Seo-joon (one of my many boy? man? crushes), but quickly became invested for the other cast members and storylines. It was a cute, fluffy, and quirky drama and I ultimately don’t regret spending my time watching it. Until then, I’ll be waiting for the cast’s next projects and maybe, maybe even take the time to go back and re-watch this drama if I find that I can’t wait long enough to see what else they’re up to next.
Thank you ‘Fight For My Way’ for making me laugh, cry, yell, and scream. And thank you for being a great watch. You were good while you lasted.