I Have Second Lead Syndrome – Our Beloved Summer Ep 13 & 14 Review 

After watching Eun Ho and Sol Yi have such natural interactions, I now have a case of second lead syndrome. This is a review for Episode 13 & 14 of Our Beloved Summer on Netflix.

Check out our previous episode review here

Another slow episode that gave us some hints at a romantic development between Sol Yi and Eun Ho. 

To be quite honest, I enjoyed watching them have a conversation over shucking clams more than the ‘romcom’ scenes between Yeun Su and Choi Woong. 

Then again, I’m not really a fan of the romantic comedy genre to begin with, so there’s that, too. 

Episode 13 

Wow, that was an awful sentence, but I think I’m just going to let it rock. 

Let’s get into this episode review ~ 

There has been a consistent theme of Yeon Su doing whatever she wants in this series, while Choi Woong follows along like a little puppy (or Jjongjjong). We see the real reason why he turned down the extended study abroad opportunity for his artwork – he didn’t want to leave Yeon Su. 

Which we already knew, but what makes it worse is that Choi Woong didn’t even want to go to university to begin with – he only went to spend time with Yeon Su.  

Who…couldn’t even consider going abroad with him because she’s ((poor))?? Given the situation, that logic is nuts to me. 

(I saw an episode spoiler on Twitter a few minutes ago for the real reason of their last breakup, so this is what I’m referencing above.) 

Kdrama always has these weird scenarios with a poor girl with high self-esteem and a rich guy who is arrogant and an overall awful person, or extremely manic depressive to the point of appearing eternally mopey.   

While it is cool that Our Beloved Summer switched it up showcase a poor girl with an arrogant attitude rooted in self-esteem issues and a carefree rich guy who has a loving family – I just don’t believe it’s enough to fully sell this drama series. 

There is this ongoing joke people make concerning romance films that if the two main leads just had an honest conversation, the film would end in five minutes. This is kind of what it feels like to watch this show. 

Without the constant misunderstandings and the clamming up of the FL – there is essentially no substance between the main leads.  

Honestly, I enjoy watching the secondary characters of NJ, Eun Ho, Sol Yi, and even Choi Woong’s parents’ daily interactions more than I enjoy watching CW and YS on screen. 

Why can’t we have a show about NJ being a pop idol with a heart of gold who just wants to find love? 

(Think something in the similar vein of Her Private Life, except it focuses primarily on the Idol.) 

Sol Yi, a retired drama writer who opens a shop and has a quirky set of clientele, with a younger love interest in Eun Ho? 

A mature, episodic-driven drama revolving around Choi Woong’s parents who juggle their restaurants, build loyal customers (while briefly exploring the customers’ backgrounds), and take time to reflect and grieve the loss of their first son each day?  

(Something in the similar vein of the Japanese drama Midnight Dinner.) 

The fact that I’d rather watch spin-off shows with the secondary cast of this show is troubling, to say the least. And I’m not troubled by the fact that I desire to see this, but that I don’t think Choi Woong and Yeon Su can carry Our Beloved Summer as the leads.  

Especially if there’s no unnecessary conflict. 

A nice scene of Kook Yeon Su with her grandma from Our Beloved Summer Episode 15
A nice scene of Kook Yeon Su with her grandma from Our Beloved Summer Episode 15

Also, what the hell is up with Ji Woong, and why is he in his own little world of self-loathing, misery, and depression? 

Episode 14 

I think that if we got both Ji Woong and Yeon Su’s emotional beats earlier on in the series, I would care more. The fact that we have two episodes left, and we learn that Ji Woong’s mother is dying despite never knowing why she treats her son so poorly means nothing to me. 

(Does Ji Woong’s mother even have a name? Other than ‘absentee mother’?) 

Despite being the female lead, Yeon Su has done nothing of note. 

Choi Woong repeatedly mentions that Yeon Su has stayed the same.  

The one time she actually attempts to act differently is on a date for comedic value. To be quite honest, I found the scene with her friend Sol Yi, and Eun Ho this episode to be naturally funnier. 

Why? 

Because Sol Yi and Eun Ho’s dynamic had already been set up. 

Sol Yi is always in her own little world, and Eun Ho has a strong personality.  

Eun Ho likes Sol Yi, and she might like him as well but refuses to show it. Her ex-boyfriend shows up due to a misunderstanding from a scene aired in the documentary, and instead of being sincere, he wants to use her for money. 

Eun Ho breaks it to the ex gently that Sol Yi has taken out a massive loan to the bank, and that she is in no shape to give out money.  

This scene worked, and was funny because: 

  1. Sol Yi’s debt and struggle to retain customers has been a subplot since her introduction 
  1. Eun Ho has been shown to be a real “fast talker” who can convince anybody of anything 
  1. Even though Eun Ho has feelings for Sol Yi, he was not solely telling the ex the truth because of that 
  1. This sparked a natural misunderstanding that caused them to examine their own feelings, and has the potential to bring the characters closer on their own terms 

We can preface this with Yeon Su dryly changing how she acted, Choi Woong walking on eggshells around her because he isn’t sure how to react, and finally Choi Woong confronting Yeon Su about her behavior and yet again reassuring her that she’s fine the way she is. 

I’m sorry but…why should I care about Kook Yeon Su’s character? 

I can completely understand not wanting to befriend bullies as a child – I will give her that one. 

I can also understand not wanting to share your family situation with acquaintances in high school, despite personally not agreeing with Yeon Su accepting their gifts if she could not reciprocate.  

(If you declare yourself to be selfish at the opening ceremony, and then feel bad about accepting gifts…maybe you didn’t really want to be selfish in the first place, eh?) 

But if she is in college and beyond, and still claiming she has no friends and nobody cares about her…and doesn’t put any effort into changing that about her life…isn’t that sort of misfortune on Yeon Su at some point? 

Yeon Su invites her team to eat only to leave for half of the outing to complain about said outing over the phone while speaking with Choi Woong. Our Beloved Summer Ep 15
Yeon Su invites her team to eat only to leave for half of the outing to complain about said outing over the phone while speaking with Choi Woong. Our Beloved Summer Ep 15

I get the whole “x character left a debt, why do I have to pay?” storyline, as it’s become as much of a cliché staple as Subway product placement in Kdrama.  

Subway - the main character that can never be defeated in Korean drama.
Subway – the main character that can never be defeated in Korean drama.

But did Yeon Su really have to let her situation control her life? 

Yeon Su and Choi Woong dated for five years. How are you suddenly too poor to date? 

(Despite moving back to the same home as before, is she suddenly less poor to date him now five years later? Choi Woong still technically has more money, and opportunities than Yeon Su.) 

Why couldn’t YS just explain to CW that her home situation has changed, and that she couldn’t go abroad at that time with him? Or even mention that they could work out a solution, together?  

Anything other than sitting in front of her mirror watching herself cry while rehearsing the intended breakup with the supposed love of her life. 

I mean, if we’d seriously gotten at least a glimmer of flashbacks on why Yeon Su acts this way, and not a heartfelt scene only two episodes before the series finale…I’d sympathize with her character more. Hell, the fact that even Grandma stepped up and was honest with Choi Woong made me respect her as a character again. 

But Yeon Su?  

No. 

“Yeon Su, why did we break up five years ago?” 

“Oh, I was exhausted lol. Oh look at the time, I gotta go!” 

“Yeon Su, did you break up with Choi Woong because of our family situation five years ago?” 

“Lol what? Grandma you must be sleepy. Let’s go rest hahahahahaha” 

You know what, Ji Woong and Yeon Su would be perfect for each other.  

They both love talking a big game, but run away when confronted with honest questions about their feelings or outward behavior. 

Seriously though, why was this scene so awkward? It was a solid 30 seconds of NJ fooling with her water bottle, and Ji Woong looking around like a lunatic before drinking water. Did the actors forget their lines, and didn't want to do another take?
Seriously though, why was this scene so awkward? It was a solid 30 seconds of NJ fooling with her water bottle, and Ji Woong looking around like a lunatic before drinking water. Did the actors forget their lines, and didn’t want to do another take?

Gosh, this show… 

I really hope that by the series finale next week, Choi Woong decides to live for himself and go study architecture in France. He can’t be Yeon Su’s lapdog (or crutch) forever.  

He needs to live his own life, even if it’s without her. 

But, tell me your thoughts. 

Was anybody else expecting a Maxim coffee product placement when Ji Woong was getting coffee at work? Or was it just so subtly placed that I didn’t notice? (I see M&M and another brand I can't make out. Does putting a thin line of tape really do it for copyright laws in South Korea?) From Our Beloved Summer Ep 15
Was anybody else expecting a Maxim coffee product placement when Ji Woong was getting coffee at work? Or was it just so subtly placed that I didn’t notice?
(I see M&M’s and another brand I can’t make out. Does putting a thin line of tape really do it for copyright laws in South Korea?) From Our Beloved Summer Ep 15

Do you think Choi Woong and Yeon Su are a good fit? 

Is the storyline between the second leads stronger than it should be? 

Why do you think NJ is seemingly the most self-aware character in this series? 

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more weekly Our Beloved Summer kdrama recaps and discussion!    

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

One thought on “I Have Second Lead Syndrome – Our Beloved Summer Ep 13 & 14 Review ”

  1. As the last two episodes are soon to be aired, I’m enjoying this drama, particularly due to the interesting chemistry between the two leads. Their lack of communication is frustrating; however, the story would have been resolved by episode three if they had actually been transparent with each other. Then again, that is the typical K-Drama trope.
    By the way, the real artist behind those gorgeous illustrations is French Illustrator Thibaud Herem.

    Liked by 1 person

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