Episodes 5 – 6
What I enjoy most about That Man Oh Soo is that so much of it is about Yoo-ri being a good person and Oh-soo seeing that in her. Yoo-ri is raising her little sister, she pays for her mom’s nursing home and visits her, she protects high schoolers from their bullies (of which her little sister is one, smh). But she also does smaller things that the show and Oh-soo find extraordinary: she feeds stray cats, she cares for abandoned plants. I like how so much of the show is Oh-soo simply observing her being kind and being touched and impressed by it.
I also like the kind of carefree attitude Yoo-ri has—there’s something dark in her past (she says she’s the reason her father died), and she has a lot of responsibilities, and she’s just been dumped by a guy she thought was going to propose to her, but she herself isn’t gloomy or angry or pessimistic. I don’t mean that I appreciate that she’s peppy, because that’s not the quality I see in her; it’s hard for me to describe—it’s like she’s airily dismissive of things that are actually pretty serious, she’s ironic, almost. It’s a kind of attitude that arises as a reaction to trauma, I think.
Kim So-eun is legit funny in this role. I’m into the whole quiet and passive guy thing Lee Jong-hyun is doing for Oh-soo, but Kim So-eun is the one who brings all the charm to the show (Park Na-ye, who plays Yoo-ri’s little sister, and Park Geun-hyung, playing Oh-soo’s grandpa, are cute too). My favorite part of episodes 3 – 4 were when she was in the bathroom and she motioned to herself and then they window and she was like “But I don’t think I can fit through there.”
I like the contrast between the show’s fantasy elements and how it’s basically only filled with ordinary, every day moments—there’s something to how Oh-soo’s life depends on the well-being of a tree and how he can see people’s emotions, and then he spends so much time observing Yoo-ri just watering a plant or talking to her sister or feeding cats. Like he can see people’s emotions, he can see how good Yoo-ri is, and like the magical tree needs to be cared for, Yoo-ri cares for abandoned things.
Episodes 7 -8
Not only does Oh-soo recognize and appreciate how compassionate Yoo-ri is, he tries his best to do as she does. He learns from her, tries to navigate the world as he sees she does. He finds her admirable, and he tells her she is. He also recognizes her pain, and reaches out and offers her comfort.
I really liked how in episode 7, when Yoo-ri gives him money for helping her out, instead of waving it off or trying not to accept it, Oh-soo takes it without pushback and says “I’ll take it if it makes you feel better.” It’s another way he’s learning from her, in that he accepts her as she is and doesn’t try to change her. Money and being indebted to someone may not be a big deal for him, but it is for her—he understands her.
Episodes 9 – 10
I love that Oh-soo’s supernatural powers don’t give him power over Yoo-ri, (unlike in My Lover From Another Star or I Can Hear Your Voice). The whole time he’s been misinterpreting her aura (for lack of a better term) thinking she’s in love with someone else, but he confesses anyway—he tells her the truth anyway. And then when he realizes she’s in love with him, Yoo-ri is actually allowed to confess herself. She’s allowed to declare her feelings and tell him she likes him. He doesn’t just get to know everything about her; and the knowledge he has that she doesn’t have access to isn’t used against her.
Episodes 11 – 12
I like so much that Oh-soo is sincere in his love for Yoo-ri, that he’s totally open with her, and you can see he’s giving it his all. I also love that the main way his love for her manifests is through care: feeding her, bringing her tea and water, giving her that blanket, helping her up in bed, cooking breakfast, giving her rides, telling her explicitly that she can lean on him; and all the cuddles and hugs!
Episodes 13 – 14
This break up doesn’t actually make sense. The curse is: if the person you love drinks from the potion, they’ll be in mortal danger and bad mojo will follow them until they die. OK. But Oh-soo still loves Yoo-ri, even if he breaks up with her, so that wouldn’t put an end to the bad mojo. Now if this were a full blown melo that was wholly committed to form and cared little about its heroine, more emphasis would have been put on Oh-soo not believing in love, then miraculously finding love, and then in a terrible twist of irony, that love being cursed—which would serve as a punishment for his initial disbelief—and then Yoo-ri would die. I hope that won’t happen here.
…About Oh-soo, I really like how quiet, and even passive, he is. For Yoo-ri, I like how straightforward she is. I think this role has all the hallmarks of a classic Park Min-young role (which is high praise, coming from me; I adore Park Min-young and always look forward to her choices and even if the drama ends up being terrible I always trust her choice in character)—Yoo-ri’s got her job, her family, her own motivations, and when it comes to love she’s honest and to-the-point.
Episodes 15 – 16
Here’s some random stuff I like:
I like that Oh-soo’s the one who lost his memory. One of the things I hate the most is when women are robbed of knowledge or kept out of the loop—this show never made a big deal about Yoo-ri not knowing about Oh-soo’s powers (the drama never really cared about them; turns out the drama was more interested in fate then in anything supernatural), and it didn’t drag out her lack of knowledge for the sake of The Noble Break Up.
I like and dislike how Oh-soo losing his memory kind of makes him a whole new person for Yoo-ri. One of the things I hate about Beauty and the Beast is how Beast transforms back into a human at the end. I don’t know who that man is! That’s a stranger! With That Man Oh Soo, one of the things that made Yoo-ri and Oh-soo such a compelling pairing is their similarities—both their fathers died and they felt guilty about it. The trauma and sadness of their childhoods and the way they dealt with it in adulthood drew them to one another, and it gave Oh-soo the ability to comfort Yoo-ri. I really enjoyed that. but without his memories Oh-soo seems so lighthearted, the way he was with Yoo-ri when he was at his happiest, all smiley and playful. I like that for him, and for Yoo-ri, too, for her to be with someone like that.
I’m super intrigued by the ending. It’s flirting with a real danger; Yoo-ri’s life hangs in the balance, right? But at the same time maybe it’s more hopeful than it is dark—maybe without the memories of the price his father paid for being cursed, somehow Oh-soo will be able to escape the curse.
I love that we get to see Yoo-ri pining, and we get to see her missing Oh-soo and wanting him back. Her desire matters. She gets to love, not just to be an object of affection. And I love that even with all his memories gone and his not knowing who Yoo-ri is, their dynamic immediately falls back into place—Yoo-ri was crying and he wiped her tears away, she was coughing and he brought her water.
I’m gonna miss these two. I wish we’d gotten more kisses.