This week’s episodes of ‘Strangers Again’ probably had to be my favorite so far.. which doesn’t say all that much because it’s a show where I’ve relatively enjoyed all the episodes so far. But I point this out because our main characters, Ha-ra and Eun-beom, were the primary focus in episodes 7 and 8 and I really appreciated that.
I think I’m coming to realize that ex-lovers-to-lovers is slowly but surely becoming one of my favorite tropes. It started with ‘Matrimonial Chaos‘ which centered around our main couple struggling to overcome the challenges in their marriage and considering divorce to now ‘Strangers Again’ where our main couple is divorced. I can’t quite pinpoint what exactly it is about this trope that tugs at my heartstrings, but I assume it has something to do with the process of watching our main leads fall back in love with each other. Enduring and overcoming the challenges in their relationships. Being honest with themselves and each other about the break-up/divorce. Then garnering the courage to learn from their past and work harder towards a better future. This is why I was content and happy with episodes 7 and 8 because it hinted at that path for Ha-ra and Eun-beom to find their ways back to each other.
Episode 7 was more focused on the little things that Eun-beom did for Ha-ra while episode 8 focused more on Ha-ra’s side of things and her feelings for Eun-beom. As we saw in these 2 episodes, Ha-ra was a lot more direct and expressive on how she felt about him. She had no issue confessing to him ten times (and being rejected 9 out of the 10 times) and saying how she loved him. Meanwhile, Eun-beom was a bit more shy and he showed his care for Ha-ra through his actions, such as taking on the court case that Ha-ra was originally tied to. In the end, Eun-beom actually did a lot more work on the case than expected, but the show stayed true to itself and played to its strengths once again, and we witnessed the impact that the case had on Eun-beom in the end. The case opened his eyes and made him realize that the situation with Ha-ra in his own personal life was representative of the court case in one aspect: you can hate someone but also love them just as much at the same time. That’s how he and Ha-ra felt about each other.
I’m just glad that the drama has paved the path where Eun-beom and Ha-ra will begin to make up and make amends. I was honestly sort of getting tired with Ha-ra and her boyfriend and them meeting each other again in episode 8 didn’t help. But thankfully, it was just sort of a final confirmation about their break-up to make it official. That then closes the door to that relationship and Ha-ra can focus on the one person who she had always had feelings for: Eun-beom. Eun-beom’s initial reaction to Ha-ra’s confession and expression of affection towards him wasn’t because he didn’t feel the same way. Of course, there’s probably some shock that comes from being confessed to by your ex-wife who despised you and loathed you. But at the same time, it was obvious through the small, subtle ways that Eun-beom still cared for Ha-ra. He was just clearly stressed with work and the court case that proved to be a lot more challenging and difficult than he expected to care about anything else in his life at that moment, Ha-ra included. The case also taught him something in his personal life about his relationship with Ha-ra. Therefore, it didn’t come as a surprise that Eun-beom finally gave his answer to Ha-ra once the case concluded. He didn’t reject her during her final confession and instead expressed how he had truly felt all along: he would love the opportunity to meet again and get a second chance at their relationship.
I actually like that the drama began the process of Ha-ra and Eun-beom being on the same page with each other by the end of this episode. I think some could see this as the drama rushing things a bit too early, but I actually perceive this as great pacing from the drama. I don’t expect things between Ha-ra and Eun-beom to be all roses and rainbows just because they’ve opened that door to their relationship again. I don’t expect things to magically improve all of a sudden and the two just easily getting along. I still expect things to be a little bumpy at first. Yes, the two still had feelings for each other and still care for the other, but there’s still work to be done in their relationship. It’s not going to be easy; they might have to address some uncomfortable concerns in the past and reflect on how they can develop a much better future for themselves. And it’s this process of doing so that I’m excited about. I think the drama will show us Eun-beom and Ha-ra getting to know each other again in this second chapter of their relationship in episodes 9 and 10 and then we’ll (hopefully) get a much more consistent (and lovey-dovey) version of the couple in episodes 11 and 12 once they’ve overcome those initial bumps and challenges. It won’t be all fine and dandy at first, but it’ll definitely be worth it in the end.
I just love this push-and-pull tugging between Eun-beom and Ha-ra because even though they might have had things going on in their own lives (Ha-ra with her parents’ divorce and Eun-beom with work), they were still connected somehow. Eun-beom was still in touch with Ha-ra’s parents and Ha-ra reached out to Eun-beom for help when she was overwhelmed with life in general. I love that Ha-ra was brave and comfortable enough to reach out to Eun-beom for help; I love that Eun-beom was brave and comfortable enough to accept that request and be there for Ha-ra when she desperately needed support.
One of my favorite scenes from the entire drama so far actually came in this episode following the rescue where Eun-beom and Ha-ra talked things out at a restaurant. Ha-ra cried over her parents’ situation and was so honest and straightforward about how she felt about her parents, Eun-beom, and life in general. She wasn’t feeling great, she hated how things got to where they were, she hated that this was happening to her in her life. Then there was Eun-beom who just sat quietly and listened to Ha-ra as she broke down in front of him. Ha-ra was in desperate need of companionship and someone who she could go to who she trusted and Eun-beom was that person for her. They were both vulnerable in that situation: one saying just a tad bit too much and the other not saying enough. But yet, their actions spoke volumes about how they felt for each other and you could get the sense that they always cared about each other and still cared about each other even after getting divorced. The feelings were always there even if the status of their relationship changed.
Now the formerly married couple will get another chance at love and at their relationship. What have they learned from the first time? Will history repeat itself? Or will they come out of this bump much stronger and better this time around? There’s no knowing what Ha-ra and Eun-beom will do now that they’re on the path to making amends and if things will work out this time, but they’ve realized a few important lessons along the way leading up to this very moment. It’s now time to put those lessons and messages into practice.