Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 13 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 14 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 15 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 16 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 17 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 18 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 19 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 20 -| Review Score – 4/5
Hometown Cha Cha Cha was one of last year’s best K-Dramas. Depicting the trials and tribulations of a small village and its inhabitants, the show captured the hearts of audiences across the world, delivering a simple, concise and well written series with lovable characters to boot.
The say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and while Our Blues isn’t a direct copy of that drama, you can definitely feel the same influences in the DNA of this K-Drama. In fact, both shows even feature the same female lead in Shin Min-A! However, where the shows differ is in its presentation.
Our Blues is a 20 episode K-drama that essentially works as an anthological slice of life series. The different episodes are broken up into different two or three parters, following residents on Jeju Island as they go about their day.
What’s particularly interesting here though is just how varied these stories are. Not everything works – including a pretty tepid three-parter to get things started – but the sheer amount of diverse storytelling at play is why Our Blues works so well. Tackling topics like Down Syndrome and teen pregnancy through to domestic violence and estranged mother/son relations, Our Blues tackles all of these difficult topics with both sensitivity and confidence.
Unlike a series like Tomorrow, that wrapped up these sort of ideas with as much subtlety as smashing a hammer into a cake, Our Blues actually takes the time to dive into the core of each relationship.
There are a fair amount of people living on this island, and the 20 episodes certainly help to give this show enough time to introduce everyone and tell their stories.
Among those on the island is Dong-Seok, who was born in a small village and now sells wares from his truck on the island. He gets involved with Seon-A, who has just moved to Jeju Island and has a fair amount of baggage pertaining to her life in Seoul. Dong-Seok also has estranged relations with his mum, Ok-Dong, who’s one of the old women on the island.
There’s also resident loud-mouth and fishmonger Eun-Hui, who’s incredibly nosey and gets involved in everything. She’s essentially the mum of the island, and although she does have some stand-out moments, these mostly come from her friendship with Mi-Ran, which has layers of complicated drama explored across the run-time.
Eun-Hui’s best friend, Yeong-Ok, is another resident on Jeju Island that has a dark past. She’s bright and a competent diver, although she alienates most of the people around her. She also brushes off the advances of Captain Jeong-Jun (or Captain Fantastic as we’ve come to know him here!) because of a secret from her past.
These form the core stories that take place across the season, although there are numerous other characters here too. One particular narrative that really stands out involves school students Jung Hyeon and Yeong-Ju.
When Yeong-Ju falls pregnant, she’s conflicted over what to do. This is something made even worse by the intense rivalry between fathers Ho-Sik and In-Gwon, who go way back. This whole narrative is so beautifully portrayed, and the actors effortlessly step into this complicated role and give their all.
Speaking of complicated, the final 3 episodes (including a 90 minute episode to close the show) finally tackles Ok-Dong and Dong-Seok’s estranged relationship which has been an ongoing part of this since the opening chapter – and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a beautiful way to round things out, with a lot of symbolism throughout.
The soundtrack is great too, with the show-stopping “With You” effortlessly depicting the emotion and poignancy this series manages to juggle so well.
Aesthetically, Our Blues is just as impressive and part of that comes down to the beauty of Jeju Island. From breathtaking sunsets to sweeping establishing shots, this K-Drama makes the most of its lavish, paradisiac setting, and the series is all the stronger for it.
Although some of these narratives don’t quite hit the emotional highs of others, the bright spots outshine the shades of grey. This is a beautifully written drama, with great acting, good storytelling and show-stopping visuals. Just be ready to go into this one with a pack of tissues because Our Blues 100% lives up to the ‘blues’ part of its name!
Verdict - 9/10