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To Love 最初的相遇,最后的别离 [2020]


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English Title: To Love

Chinese Title:  最初的相遇,最后的别离 (First Encounter, Final Farewell)

No. of Episodes: 40

Broadcast Dates: 19 November to 17 December 2020

Network: Youku

 

 

Cast: 

Kenny Lin Gengxin  -- Yan Jin

Gai Cass --  Ji Xiao'ou

Du Chun -- Zhao Tinghui

Amanda Chin -- Xiao Meiren

Ringo Yu -- Father Yan

Wei Zhi -- Chief Li

Amanda Chin -- Xiao Meiren

Li Kunlin -- Feng Weixing

 

Synopsis: 

The drama begins with a series of police interrogations pertaining to a university student Zhan Yu. Ji Xiao'ou the good-hearted owner of the "Time Passes Like Water" cafe becomes entangled with Zhan Yu  a struggling violinist with a complicated background when she accompanies him to hospital after he collapses on public transport. After hearing about his personal issues, she invites him to come work for her. On Zhan Yu's trail, is restaurateur and former narcotics cop, Yan Jin who has voluntarily gone undercover to infiltrate a notorious drug syndicate to find out who was responsible for the death of a close colleague. At the start he suspects that Zhan Yu is a known drug dealer with ties to the syndicate and hangs around the "Time Passes Like Water" cafe to keep tabs on the music student. 

As their paths intersect, things become more tumultuous and complex.

 

Subbed by: Viki and Yoyo English Channel

 

 

 

 

Edited by 40somethingahjumma
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"Love is not an affectionate feeling but a steady wish for the loved person's good as far as it can be obtained." -- CS Lewis.

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Thoughts after watching 3 episodes...

 

After these few episodes I have great expectations for this one. So far it's extremely well done and the production values are very high. I like everything about it from the storytelling (the use of camera angles and clever editing to show and hide different perspectives), the cinematography and the performances. The fact that it is trying to do something different scores high in my book. I haven't seen any drama with Lin Gengxin since Princess Agents (although I caught the not-so-impressive second Detective Dee prequel) and so this is actually turning out to be something of a surprise and a delight. I am not exactly a fan but I adored him  as Yuwen Yue in PA and the ending of that drama is all kinds of regrettable.

 

The storytelling here is done via a Citizen Kane trope and by that I mean that the storyline is retold primarily from the perspective of the leads through flashbacks. Something has happened to Zhan Yu, a talented violinist with a checkered past but It isn't clear at first what it is. Both the leads -- Ji Xiao'ou played by Gai Cass and Yan Jin played by Lin Gengxin -- are interrogated by detectives as to their relationship with Zhan Yu. So the narrative unfolds as each give their side of the story. 

 

Ji Xiao'ou is a lovely, kind cafe owner who through a series of circumstances gets involved with Zhan Yu as soon as she becomes acquainted with his hard luck story. Soon he goes to work for her at the cafe as a server and live musician. What she doesn't know is that the narcotics cops have their eye on him as a person of interest in their investigations into a powerful drug ring. They believe he might be a drug dealer known as KK. Xiao'ou first meets Yan Jin at a night club that she gets dragged off to by her friend. He thinks she's a honey trap and she think he's a first class jerk and lecher. As she's now about 30, Xiao'ou is under pressure from her mother to get married but what she really wants to do is build up her cafe and make it into a success.

 

Yan Jin who is a well-to-do restaurateur,  is a former narcotics detective who has gone undercover using his present status to take down a drug ring. He is cavalier, funny, glib, charming and seems to be ridiculously good at everything. As one former colleague says, "He's outstanding. He succeeds in everything he sets out to do." To keep on eye on Zhan Yu, Yan Jin spends a lot of his time at the cafe attempting to ingratiate himself with Xiao'ou. She's unimpressed at first and suspects him of ulterior motives but soon discovers the truth of what the ex-colleague says. There's nothing he can't do and he's not modest about it either. As expected he charms the socks off her in no time.

 

It's not hard to see why he makes a good undercover agent. He is very quick on his feet and comes across at times like a fast-talking grifter. He's not your usual male lead. Scarcely a tsundere, probably the opposite ... talkative to a fault but he does conceal a more serious and darker side. 

 

In these earlier episodes the show is a lot funnier than I had expected judging from the trailers. But I will enjoy the rom com elements for as long as I can before the axe falls hard.

 

@NiteWalker

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I m watching a few episodes of this. Lin gengxin is very good looking n his character here is amazing - clever, fun, expressive n such a charmer. Not the usual stony looking, cool c drama male lead. Yj can charm all the birds off the trees. Anyone else think he looks like Hu Ge from certain angle. 

 

But looks like the show is slowly turning darker. 

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40 minutes ago, SnT said:

I m watching a few episodes of this. Lin gengxin is very good looking n his character here is amazing - clever, fun, expressive n such a charmer. Not the usual stony looking, cool c drama male lead. Yj can charm all the birds off the trees. Anyone else think he looks like Hu Ge from certain angle. 

 

But looks like the show is slowly turning darker. 

 

Yeah, that seems to go with the territory with drug dealers and love triangles. :smug: The female lead is a good natured sort and wants to do the right thing but she hasn't been as cautious about Zhan Yu as she should have.

 

Hadn't seen the Hu Ge resemblance but I can see what you're saying. I think LGX just gets better looking as he gets older. It's the cheek and chin thing. 

 

 

 

Edited by 40somethingahjumma
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This drama is all kinds of superb. I'm not normally one for hyperboles and I can't guarantee this won't go south towards the end but honestly this has the potential to be one of the best C dramas I've ever seen. Considering I'm notorious for dropping C dramas or FF through them, it does say something. C dramas even with highly regarded actors can't always be relied on to deliver the goods so I keep my expectations low despite the hype and keep an open mind. But this one has really sucked me in and I've fallen hard for it. Honestly I don't feel that way about very many C dramas in months. If this show can avoid the middle-drag and the third act pitfalls or at the very least survive them relatively unscathed, I will be a very very satisfied customer.

 

Yes, it helps greatly that it's a contemporary crime show that manages to incorporate romance in a way that is both clever and engaging. I've watched quite a few mainland detective dramas in the last few years and while the cases are often intriguing, the romance seldom is. Sometimes it's the chemistry between the leads that's sorely missing. There are the rare exceptions like When a Snail Falls in Love where everything more or less comes together.  This is another one of them. In this drama the romance is absolutely integral to the show in a way that many that I've seen aren't. It's clearly no appendage. It's key to understanding motives and rationales for events that transpire. What's even better is that the chemistry between the leads is fantastic. Whether you're a fan of either is irrelevant because they are both very good and convincing in their roles here.

 

The show also has plenty of twists and turns that keep the viewer on their toes. Like the interrogator, there are moments where you wonder if Yan Jin is on the level about everything.

 

Episodes 4-6

Yan Jin (Lin Gengxin) senses that he's being interrogated as if he's committed some crime. (I think the cuffs is probably proof of that) He also senses that his interrogator is less interested in his undercover work than in his relationship with Xiao'ou (Gai Cass). He's right and it's clear that YJ misses nothing. Despite his cavalier behaviour, his powers of perception is razor sharp. The officer who is interrogating him has a personal connection to the case.

 

We see in these episodes that Yan Jin falls quickly for Xiao'ou. Both of them are under pressure from parents -- mothers more specifically -- to get married. Xiao'ou's mother has been on her case since Ep. 1. We also find out that she dated a detective two years earlier than when she first met Yan Jin. But broke up with him because of parental objections from his side. Yan Jin flirts shamelessly, making his intentions baldly obvious and shows himself as someone capable and indispensable. 

 

Yan Jin is also adept at multitasking. As soon as he realises that Zhan Yu, the violinist is in contact with his supplier and is headed outstation, he drags Xiao'ou along under the guise of her taking a break from work for a two-day trip to Lichuan, a familiar location for the two of them. While he listens in on Zhan Yu's conversations with his supplier and client by day, he romances Xiao'ou by night. 

 

Both Yan Jin and Xiao'ou gradually get closer to Zhan Yu because of his mother's health issues. Zhan Yu continues to eye Yan Jin with suspicion and resentment because... it's clear to everyone except the lady herself... that the former sees Xiao'ou as more than just a sister. 

 

It becomes increasingly clear that Zhan Yu is a very talented individual and has fallen to drug dealing to pay for his mother's medical bills. Xiao'ou often waxes philosophical about the unfairness of the situation and Yan Jin tells his handler, Cheng Ruimin, to give the lad a chance to mitigate a terrible situation by offering him a chance to work with the cops. 

 

Meanwhile Yan Jin has been trying to cozy up to Xiao Mei Ren, the head of a large drug syndicate that may or may not be responsible for the death of a very close colleague. Her 2IC, Liu Wei, has always looked at him with a great deal of mistrust but now her interest in him might be cooling off. Yan Jin and Cheng Rui Min then create an incident in order to cement her trust.

 

So complications arise... and Yan Jin is forced to keep his distance from Xiao'ou for a time so that his undercover efforts thus far don't go to waste.

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After 22 episodes it seems that the show has shifted gears. I was surprised at how quickly some of it was resolved but it was clear to me too that the so-called evidence against Yan Jin didn't add up. What was also interesting is that 6 years earlier, Yan Jin was accused of killing his colleague Er Zi. The fatal shots were fired from his gun. 

 

The genius of the show is that even though the evidence presented by the prosecution and cops wasn't watertight, I still have some doubts about Yan Jin. It doesn't seem he has any reason to kill Zhan Yu. Character references and circumstantial evidence is stacked in his favour. I don't know if the guy from the drug syndicate is really the Zhan Yu's killer. He seems to be the obvious suspect. But is it really that simple? On the other hand, it does seem like someone is after Yan Jin. My head is going through all kinds of scenarios where it's possible that Yan Jin isn't quite the man he seems. 

 

I'm very impressed with the sister as I am with Xiao'ou. They are made of sterner stuff than most. The sister was worn out before the trial and yet she soldiered on, encouraged by Xiao'ou. It's good to have decent female characters in the mix.

 

The romance seems to be progressing well enough. But I feel that I'm watching a Hitchcock drama and I can't trust the male lead. :shocked:

 

Edited by 40somethingahjumma
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@40somethingahjumma I have watched all 4 subbed episodes , and I love it. There's something so unique about the story telling and this non-tsundere saleman-like male lead. Seriously he cracks me up. I know this is a pretty serious crime melodrama with romance , but every time he does these things to buy her heart , I cannot help but laugh. The leads are very good in their roles , and clearly there's romantic tension and chemistry in their scenes.

 

The story telling is pretty well done and I hope it stays that way . I was not expecting for it to be told in flashbacks , and from both their perspectives . It is easy to confuse the audience moving back & forth between the time lines, but fortunately  I am able to follow and the drama makes it quite clear.  I am assuming that the episodes will come to a point where the story will continue in the present where we will see how he gets out of those handcuffs. 

 

The premise of  the plot is also something that I like a lot in crime shows where the ML goes undercover. [Think I watched too many of this sort of HK dramas / movies growing up, hence my affinity for such stories :D]  I am worried & excited all at the same time for Jin Xan. The thing about going undercover is that your cover might get blown & things can go real wrong . You might end up crossing the line & being on the wrong side of the law like what I think  is happening to him now. And what is more terrifying is that undercover agents can be betrayed by the bosses of the organisation that they work for.

 

Jin Yan is an interesting character because we can't tell what his real persona is like . He is suave , cocky , dubious , charming all at the same time. We have been told he was an excellent cop and seems to be well liked.  I can't tell how much of his romantic gestures to buy Xiao Ou's heart is merely for his cover . But I think he likes what he sees in her. And oh as much as she is trying to resist him, he is definitely breaking down her walls. He is also interesting because he is a tad reckless  - Jin Yan has a lot  at stake for him but he seems willing to risk even his father's business to get the trust of that widow lady. I can smell the tragedy. Most agents who usually go undercover don't usually come from such good families, at least not what I have seen so far. 

 

I like Xiao Ou too - kind, strong and principled. I hate the fact that the violinist kid is gaining all her trust. She will of course discover the truth in the present but Zhan Yu is no innocent young man . He may have a sad story and may have been lured to do this given his mother's condition, but it is no excuse to be peddling drugs. Xiao Ou will be terribly disappointed once she realises what he's been up to. 

 

Okay , 4 episodes in and I may be jumping the gun...why am I not comfortable with the cops interrogating Jin Xan ? Something does not feel right. Anyway , I cannot wait for subs to come in :D

 

 

 

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@abs-oluteM 

Welcome to the party! It's certainly highly addictive. The plot so far is surprisingly good. And as you've noted, the use of flashbacks doesn't last forever but it's a big pull in the first half of the drama to keep the audience guessing as we make sense of the bigger picture and who's who.  

 

The unpredictability although exciting has me worried about what the resolution brings. There's something about Yan Jing and his past that has me worried that things won't end well for the leads. :P

 

That said, Lin Gengxin is doing a fantastic job in this role bringing together all the disparate and sometimes contradictory elements to the role. He's a really big part of why the experience is entertaining and engaging. It occurs to me when he's on screen how rare it is to have a glib, expressive male lead these days who wears his heart on his sleeve from the word "go". That's probably why I'm suspicious of him. :laugh:I feel that all this chatter is hiding something.

Edited by 40somethingahjumma
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15 minutes ago, 40somethingahjumma said:

A tad spoilery but showcases the leads' chemistry...

I think I have been spoiling myself  :laugh:I keep looking for YT cuts of them while waiting for fully subbed episodes 

 

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@40somethingahjumma I don't think  I can wait for subs! I watched 5 to 7 raw...need to clarify - so is he trying to romance that older lady ( the head of the gang he's trying to infiltrate) as part of gaining her trust?

I feel so bad for both. I know he has to stay focus on the job but I know he's also fallen for Xiao Ou. And poor gal is heartbroken - after the lovely trip this happens...urghhhhh

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19 minutes ago, abs-oluteM said:

@40somethingahjumma I don't think  I can wait for subs! I watched 5 to 7 raw...need to clarify - so is he trying to romance that older lady ( the head of the gang he's trying to infiltrate) as part of gaining her trust?

I feel so bad for both. I know he has to stay focus on the job but I know he's also fallen for Xiao Ou. And poor gal is heartbroken - after the lovely trip this happens...urghhhhh

 

Yes... he is. She's head of the syndicate, Xiao Mei Ren. (Interesting name: Little Beauty)

There's a bit of angst to come.

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4 hours ago, 40somethingahjumma said:

 

Yes... he is. She's head of the syndicate, Xiao Mei Ren. (Interesting name: Little Beauty)

There's a bit of angst to come.

Gosh...the angst is crazy. I just got off eps 8. I feel so angry and sad. Angry because I put myself in Xiao Ou's shoes and can feel the betrayal. From when he told her he has no feelings for her to when he slapped her. I know this the only way he could protect her. And hence I also feel so sad - I could tell how much he had wanted to rush to protect her each time but clearly can't lest his cover gets blown. He is slowly gaining XMR's trust so it would be nuts if he does any wrong move. 

 

Clearly he didn't plan on falling for Xiao Ou. But in some ways from the moment he used her as his cover to spy on Zhan Yu , he had already put her in danger. Talking about Zhan Yu, I like what the cop asked her about whether it had ever occured to her why ZY never accompanied her to confront XMR & discouraged her from doing so. So it seems up to until his death, she never knew that ZY peddled drugs in secret. This is the real betrayal if you ask me.

 

This drama is too addictive - plot is so far so good !

@ktcjdrama I know you probably have a truck load of dramas. But this one I recommend it . Crime plus romance . I have never seen a drama like this so far.

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@abs-oluteM

Essentially yes...

He tells ZY about his relationship with Lao Cheng (his cop friend) and what they went through 5 years ago with case 10.20. He says he got involved to resolve case 10.20 and went undercover to get close to Xiao Mei Ren. Then he mentions Xiao Mei Ren's 2IC Liu Wei who is suspicious of his motives because of his prior background.

 

ZY says no wonder his handler Liu Zi sent him to YJ to straighten him out on Valentine's Day.

 

@abs-oluteM

I should also add that YJ tells him that for JXO's sake, he decided to give him (ZY) a chance to work with them.

 

 

Edited by 40somethingahjumma
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Thanks a lot @40somethingahjumma. I think my Mandarin will surely improve after this. My comprehension at this point is possibly 40 to  50% :laugh:.

Eps 10 I really miss seeing them in the same screen. Anyway , I am glad that she is very clear about her feelings. With ZY , it is purely platonic - treats him like a brother. And with YJ , she has fallen deeply for him which is understandable why she still can't move on. ZY must be kidding himself thinking he has a chance. I agree with YJ , that even if Xiao Ou will forgive him for what he is doing , forgiveness does not equate love. 

 

One of the things I like very much is seeing YanJin's POV in the second half of the episode. We get to see how much it pains him to have to push her away. I was so glad that when he came to hug her in her drunken state, it wasn't a dream. Also it seems that Liu Wei has begun to trust JY.

 

On a side note , I was quite amused with Xiao Ou's bestie - she suddenly became so domesticated in order to pursue Feng Wei Xing

 

haha  off air dating rumours :GrowDerp:

 

@SnT are you still watching this? It's so good

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Now that I'm done with the K dramas for the week. All out on the same days. I will get on with watching the six latest episodes.

 

Glad to hear that you're still enjoying it  @abs-oluteM. It really is very good. There are more twists and turns ahead. It's unfortunately very rare for the leads to have such good chemistry in a crime show. Boggles the mind as to why that is. There are really good crime shows produced by the C drama industry but often the leads just don't match romantically... and they force something unnecessarily... probably to fill in the gaps. There's one I really like called Detective L. It's set in the Republican era. Very Sherlock-like. There's implied UST between the leads but the chemistry is good. You should take a look when you can. It's like watching a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. 

 

JXO always drew the line clearly with ZY even though it was obvious even to Blind Freddy that he was crushing on her. Why not? She's not just a beautiful woman, she has such a kind heart. Probably a bit too kind and trusting. But the JXO character is well-written as you'll see later on during YJ's trial. Her mother probably means well but strains the nerves at times.

 

The show does a decent job showcasing the trials of an undercover agent. YJ is extremely good at it but it does take a toll on him and their relationship.

 

This is why I continue to search around for good C dramas to watch because if I don't my Mandarin will go down the toilet completely.  :cry: But I find that the mainlanders sometimes use regional idioms or slang which take a bit of getting used to as well. .Sort of like US vs UK vs Australian English plus a whole lot of modern vocab dealing with business and tech. 

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5 hours ago, 40somethingahjumma said:

There's one I really like called Detective L. It's set in the Republican era.

I will definitely take note of this. 

It is quite rare to have a good crime drama that has such a tangible romance.  I suppose LGX is the more well-known of the two leads but GaiCass is definitely holding her own here. The chemistry between the two is very good which is fortunate since it is so important to the plot.

BTS

 

I finished up to eps 12. These were hard episodes to watch. After the failed mission, XMR is becoming suspicious and begins not to trust YJ . So did Zhan Yuan  tip off the syndicate?  He mentioned something about needing more money when Yan Jin was beating him up.  But Liu Wei is also suspicious of him . Also what happened to Officer Cheng - how come he was in ICU?

 

My heart broke though every time Xiao Ou misunderstands Yan Jin further. But I had a look at some spoilers - looks like I  must persevere to eps 16 for them to get back together  :D

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Ep. 23

Yan Jin clearly doesn't do anything by halves. LOL. Although he's genuinely injured himself and undergone an op, he's really not as badly hurt as Xiao'ou is led to believe.

The plan is to get her back to Li Chuan (where they went for their first trip together) and offer his proposal.

 

DPlayer (10)

 

Ironically she has the same idea. XO wants to propose to YJ as well. 

 

Of course Mum is against them marrying. Maybe she's right to. Because as she says Yan Jin is the kind of person that invites  all kinds of trouble. I too feel uneasy about their future together. But XO needs to be able to make her choices even if they're not safe ones. Whether it's the right decision one can't really tell until often much later down the road.

 

You know, when I look at her I wonder why there aren't more FLs like JXO. Grounded, strong-minded, good-natured and not over-the-top. "Resolute" shouldn't have to mean "crazy". Spunk doesn't have to mean hijinks. 

 

DPlayer (12)

 

But it's clear to me that things aren't going to go their way. 

 

 

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I stayed up super late to watch till eps 16 . I was so happy they reunited with a kiss & all , but he barely was out for a day & he’s back for interrogation! :shocked:

 

23 hours ago, 40somethingahjumma said:

The show does a decent job showcasing the trials of an undercover agent. YJ is extremely good at it but it does take a toll on him and their relationship.

You’re right . I felt his loneliness at the time when he was fighting the drug addiction.  It is part of the risk of the job to go all in just so that you can gain trust & not have your cover blown . Not every cop can be an undercover agent - you really have to be made of stronger mettle 

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Up to eps 18 , just have to say how much I appreciate the two strong women in Yan Jin’s life . Not just Xiao Ou but his sister too . It’s perhaps fortunate that she’s a lawyer & a very capable one  . I’m also impressed with the way Xiao Ou dealt with Zhan Yu’s useless father ( not surprised he was a drug addict too ) & with the press at ZY’s funeral . 
 

I have to say the XO’s mum is the most annoying character in this show . :pandarage2:

Please leave your daughter alone 

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Hmm I’m very curious with what happened in the past did YZ really shoot his friend? Was it an accident? 

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I am watching eps 20 , and I am shocked that the investigating officer is Xiao Ou's ex!!!!! :shocked:

edit:

Eps 20 was such a highlight. The way the case was won. Xiao Ou & the sis really worked tirelessly to prove that YJ was innocent. Doing that mock up video to show how impossible it was for YJ to be the one to kill ZY was brilliant. I really love these two women. At least Xiao Ou will always have a very cool sis in law. 

QedyeNT.png

 

And the part that moved me was when she said that even though she & YJ were not really in a relationship, he was the one she loved. And the look they gave each other - tell me now if this isn't some fantastic chemistry. 

 

zdI2Plz.png

 

 

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Mon-Tues : The King's Affection Wed-Thurs: Dali & Gamjatang, Reflection of You Fri: Work Later Drink Now Sat- Sun: Jirisan C-drama : Once We Were Married 

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Eps 23 was perfect. :wow: I stopped just before she had to go get her mum's blessings for the marriage. ( Mum grates on my nerves  and I did not want to spoil my mood. Lol! ) After episodes & episodes of angst , this episode made me very happy with what was a fairy tale proposal. But given Yan Jin's flamboyant personality , I won't expect anything less than a dramatic set up :laugh:. Can't believe the lie he told and how he got everyone involved including her father ( wonderful dad !)  Though they  were a couple who barely dated like a normal one, they have been through a lot more than what most couples would. And I just wanted to savour this moment & episode

 

This was hilarious

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Can't say no to this face right ? :smile:

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Really great chemistry

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  • Heart Eyes 1

Mon-Tues : The King's Affection Wed-Thurs: Dali & Gamjatang, Reflection of You Fri: Work Later Drink Now Sat- Sun: Jirisan C-drama : Once We Were Married 

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