We Need to Talk about ‘Uncontrollably Fond’ and Other Things

(Fair Warning: Contains Spoilers)

This week is difficult for me, as winds of change wash over the writings in the sand and the things that kept me going for a while come to an end.

It is my own hubris of watching Korean Dramas on a loop that has brought me to the brink of melancholy and hopelessness. And to add to the ending of all my favourite dramas, is the actual ending of Uncontrollably Fond.

With the Park Shin Hye starrer Doctors ending a few weeks ago, the lighthearted comedy Beautiful Gong Shim ending way before that and my favourite drama of all times W- Two Worlds being just one episode away from forever ever premiering a new episode, I feel hollow. Life seems pointless, among other typical withdrawal symptoms gnawing at my mind, body and soul.

The reason I started watching Uncontrollably Fond was singular, if I’m being pragmatic. And that reason is called Kim Woo Bin.

His return to tv after The Heirs was a big deal. I got hooked to the drama even before the first episode was released, following all the updates on Facebook and Instagram. I was counting down the days to its premiere, like thousands of others.

And, like thousands of others, I too was a bit disappointed with the way the plot of Uncontrollably Fond panned out to be.

I too cannot help but blame the writers for this. I’m pained that they wasted a really good opportunity, with a stellar cast being a part of the project and a great fan following backing the undertaking. The drama turned out to be a muddled mess that gave me more anxiety than a heartburn in the middle of the night and not enough divine moments of magic that usually balance out the sting of the necessary story-developing desolation. In this case, pretty much most of the desolation was unnecessary.

The characters struggled way too much, whether it was the female protagonist Noh Eul, trying to get out of the suffocation of not doing anything about her father’s murderer or the people who intervened when she tried to get justice, or whether it was the female antagonist Yoon Jung-Eun, the woman whose speeding sports car killed Eul’s father, as she tried to be an unrealistic villain I failed to feel the remotest pity for.

The way I see it, Jung Eun encompasses an indigestible mix of bad qualities. I failed to relate to that, because as we well know: it’s never all black and white. I wish I knew more about her motherless past to understand why she turned out to be who she turned out to be.

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I don’t understand Eul’s character either, to be honest. She’s a weak female whose only goal is to survive. While I can imagine there must be people in the world who are like that, it was traumatic seeing her fall and stumble, while never standing up for herself against the mighty and the powerful. Most scenes involving her gave me stomach ulcers.

The way the plot progressed was saddening: it was slow, brutally sad and painful and boring. Like the scene where Eul is supposed to go on a trip with Shin Joon Young, the protagonist, in the midst of all the pain and sadness. Eul and Joon Young promise each other to leave their troubled worlds behind and spend 5000 years together in their reclusive runaway home. And just before Joon Young can get the car, the police arrests Eul, while Joon Young crawls on the floor towards her after he has an attack due to his brain tumor. I died screaming after watching that scene, feeling so shitty and empty that I finished off all the Oreos I could find in my close vicinity and then ordered a pizza with extra cheese. I felt worse after that.
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It’s excruciating to watch Joon Young die slowly, with the fact that he is going to die being disclosed to us in the first episode and him actually dying in the last episode.

And in between these two episodes, it’s beyond excruciating to watch him punish himself for what he did to Eul in the past, pushing away Eul because he thinks he doesn’t deserve her and being downright cruel to her at every possible instance while pining for her at every other possible instance. Too much drama. Not enough romance. All the time that he had left wasted.

Although, if I’m being honest, this did help a tad bit to ease my pain.

Let’s Bitch About the Ending 

The ending of the series. The reservoir of broken hearts and unfathomable buckets of tears. The shatterer of souls and hope. The reason for me screaming and crying while hugging my pillow and rocking back and forth on the cold floor. It’s all pretty synonymous.

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It’s the way they ended it that knocked the wind out of me.

I was reading the comments on the last scene on Facebook and someone suggested that Shin Joon Young held for as long as he did because he was waiting to see his mother one last time. I sat still for a minute staring into nothingness after reading that.

What killed me most was how he falls asleep (then dies) on Eul’s shoulder and there’s this drop of blood, trickling from his nose throughout the entire scene as Eul says her goodbye. I could have very well imagined the blood, but this has to be one of the most painful scenes ever. The beauty of it was just how simple and serene it was, devoid of any unnecessary factors.

And then, we have to wait another five minutes to confirm that he actually died. I kept wishing, kept praying until the end that he beats the odds somehow, that he recovers miraculously, for this is a Korean Drama after all!

It was after the final scene of the show when the last shred of hope left me that I started uncontrollably bawling.

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Can We Talk About How Amazingly Talented Kim Woo Bin is?!

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While the entire cast does a pretty decent job, I believe it is Kim Woo Bin who carries the show on his bare shoulders, pun unintended because his shoulders were barely bare except in that one scene.

His acting is flawless in the entire series. While I’m not quite happy with Suzy Bae’s performance in a scene or two, I cannot at all complain about Kim Woo Bin. The scene that knocked me over was the one in which his mother comes over to see him, which turns out to be their last meeting before he dies.

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It’s one of the most heart wrenching scenes ever and the way Kim Woo Bin executes it is downright unearthly.

I love his work in Uncontrollably Fond more than The Heirs.

Moral? Verdict? Life Lesson??

It became a bit of a drag towards the middle, but I did love watching Uncontrollably Fond. The story will forever live in my heart.

This drama has escalated my love and appreciation for Kim Woo Bin as an actor. There were moments when I was enthralled and moments that touched my core. It has been, as it always is, another lesson in humanism and character.

I feel like the world is created in pairs that are polar opposites of each other. For every thesis, there is an anti thesis, for every good a bad, for every god a devil. We may not understand why this happens, but it does and it is something we need to remember while dealing with the world. There will always be suffering for happiness to exist and with every low, there will be a high. The characters in the drama prove this.

And while a few plot holes and story line blunders did mar a tad bit of its brilliance, Uncontrollably Fond was a good journey and I’m glad it exists in this world.

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© That Girl in the Fray, 2016. All rights reserved.

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