So far, Secret Garden is my favorite Korean drama. It’s plot has depth, unlike the usual plot lines of idol dramas. Everything and everyone tie together thanks to its intricate story line. The twist of fantasy and magic gives this dramacomic relief, and spices up the otherwise simple story. There were parts in the drama that made me burst out in laughter, and others where I used up boxes of tissues wiping my tears. This drama is cleverly written, giving the perfect combination of fantasy, romance, and reality.
As always in a heartfelt romance drama, the rich guy falls in love with the poor girl. Hyun Bin plays Kim Joo Won, the rich and cocky CEO of Loel Group, a successful department store situated in Seoul. He often goes on blind dates to satisfy his mother’s constant matchmaking. Ha Ji Won plays Gil Ra Im, the strong but poor stunt-woman who has learned to care for herself since her father’s tragic death when she was 17.
And also typically, there is always another love story intertwined within the supporting roles. This love story happens to be between Oska and Yoon Seul. Yong Sang Hyun plays Choi Woo Young (stage name Oska); a cocky Hallyu star who enjoys the company of many pretty ladies at the same time. In other words, he’s a player. Yet all his life, he has only truly loved one woman… Kim Sa Rang plays Yoon Seul, a beautiful, rich, confident director who, many years ago, was the object of Oska’s love, and whom she also had feelings for in return. No one was aware of their history except for the two themselves.
There is also a third love story, not as heartfelt as the first or second, but still sweet. Yoon In Na plays Im Ah Young, Gil Ra Im’s roommate who is dating Joo Won’s secretary Kim Sung Moo, played by Kim Sung Oh. In this story, they are the example of simple sweet love without the hardships of misunderstandings and heartbreak.
How it all magically ties together:
[Spoiler] Throughout the drama, there are many hints that Joo Won seems to suffer from memory loss and claustrophobia due to a tragic accident he experienced many years ago. It is later revealed that he was stuck in an elevator during a building fire that nearly took his life. Gil Ra Im’s father was a fireman who died on the line of duty. And guess what? Gil Ra Im’s father saved Joo Won’s life, and in the process sacrificed himself. Before Gil Ra Im’s father died, his last words to Joo Won were to tell his daughter that Daddy loves her. Of course, eventually Joo Won regains his memory of the accident and finally conveys Ra Im’s father’s message to her.
Oska is Joo Won’s older cousin. According to Oska, the two used to be like brothers until the accident. After the accident, Joo Won became an emotional rock and Oska turned to getting on his nerves and into small fights/arguments with Joo Won so that atleast he would complain about it. Oska would then purposely lose the fights to satisfy his cousin. AWEE.
Yoon Seul is Oska’s first love and vice versa. At first, the audience can infer that the two have something going on, yet we don’t know what it is. Little by little, it is revealed that the two were in love a long time ago, and eventually, we learn the cause of their present bitterness for each other. Because of words Oska said that were not meant to be heard by Seul, she rejects his super duper romantic proposal (including a giant ring) and disappears. Years later, Yoon Seul is still single and gets set up on a blind date with Joo Won. Like the other girls Joo Won goes on blind dates with, she meets him at an art museum, where he sees right through her sophisticated, elegant, and mature outer image. He rudely dismisses her as someone he would never marry. Yoon Seul becomes determined to marry Joo Won… But not because she loves him. She simply wants to hurt Oska by marrying his cousin. But don’t worry, she doesn’t become the typical evil, jealous girl who tries to ruin Joo Won and Ra Im’s relationship. That position would belong to Joo Won’s mother.
Honestly, I was just as moved by Oska and Yoon Seul’s story than I was by Joo Won and Ra Im’s.
– TO BE CONTINUED… DUN DUN DUUNNN