Heartbeat Season 1 Review – A charming rom-com with a disappointing third act

Season 1



Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 3/5

Heartbeat follows Joo In-hae (portrayed by Won Ji-an), a cold-mannered woman who inherits an old building after her father goes missing. When she finds a coffin in the basement, her curiosity gets the better of her and she opens it to find Seon Woo-hyul (portrayed by Ok Taecyeon), a vampire.

However, her untimely discovery disrupts his plans to become human, setting the stage for an unexpected cohabitation between the two. Another twist in the tale, Woo-hyeol has spent the last few centuries waiting for the reincarnation of his one true love. Who is she?  

The K-drama starts off on shaky footing but swiftly settles into the realm of a light-hearted romantic comedy. The heart of the show lies in the dynamic between its protagonists, In-hae and Woo-hyul. In-hae’s outward coldness and directness, bordering on rudeness, contrast starkly with her hidden warmth. Conversely, Woo-hyul wears his heart on his sleeve, approaching life with genuine earnestness.

The two fit well, like pieces of a puzzle. They create a delightful push-and-pull dynamic that gradually evolves into a deeper connection, a progression that feels natural and authentic. The other two prominent characters, Do-sik and Hae-won, make intriguing additions to the story. They are three-dimensional characters who are allowed to embrace negative emotions, resulting in a nuanced portrayal.

The four lead actors deliver exceptional performances that breathe life into their characters. On the other hand, the supporting cast such as the neighbourhood residents and guesthouse visitors fall short of capturing any interest. Your attention lies with the main quartet and any time away from them feels dragged and dull.

Heartbeat’s narrative is deftly paced, weaving intriguing twists and turns throughout the season. However, the fantasy elements of the show sorely lack consistency and logic. While Ko Yang-nam’s role as the “wise wizard” of this universe is highly entertaining, he seems to pull arbitrary principles of magic out of thin air. Your suspension of disbelief will be stretched to the maximum and it’s best to keep rationality aside while watching this K-drama.

Ultimately, Heartbeat’s charm is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. The allure lies in its lighthearted approach as it embraces its whimsical nature. This is why even if the magic and curses have no realistic basis, the heartwarming relationships and carefree humour make it a journey worth getting on.

However, the series stumbles in its final third, when a notable shift in energy and tone disrupts the tale. Without revealing too much, the last few episodes of the show become its downfall. The conclusion emerges as a divisive one.

The creators make a risky narrative choice, executed skillfully, yet it clashes with the show’s established genre. While most fans seem to be let down, others may find solace in the same ending. While the ending has docked points off this review, it ultimately hinges on individual viewer preferences.

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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