Episode 1 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 2 -|Review Score – 2/5
Episode 3 -|Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -|Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -|Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 -|Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 11 -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12 -|Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 13 -|Review Score – 3/5
Episode 14 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 15 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 16 -|Review Score – 2.5/5
Some K-dramas have a bad opening and then grow into their premise. Others start really strongly and then fade away. Somehow, The Interest of Love manages to do both. Not only does this show start badly, it claws its way back into relevance for a surprisingly great string of episodes before blowing it completely by the end.
JTBC have a pretty turbulent history when it comes to K-drama, arguably holding the title for some of the best and worst shows in recent years. The Interest of Love unfortunately falls into the latter category. It’ a shame too because after a rough opening few episodes, this romantic drama actually has some great growth, decent characterisation and a lot of angst and tension.
To backtrack a bit though, The Interest of Love takes place at KCU Bank, where four individuals try to navigate their way through love. There’s hopeless romantic Sang-su, who has been in love with his colleague Su-yeong since he first laid eyes on her. Su-yeong though isn’t sure what she wants, flip-flopping between states of hot and cold toward Sang-su, especially after a date early on goes sour.
Su-yeong soon ends up romantically involved with the bank’s security guard, Jong-hyeon, while plucky newcomer (and Sang-su’s old childhood friend) Mi-gyeong ends up romantically tied to Sang-su. However, the pair start to realize where their hearts really lie.
The story attempts to capture the realism that comes with flickering emotion and how one can’t shy away from what the heart wants, but the manner in which this drama attempts to tell its story leaves a lot to be desired. To be fair the characters do grow but there’s just not enough of it, and the show moves at such a glacial pace that by the time you reach the unsatisfying conclusion, you’ll feel like your time has been wasted.
The middle slew of episodes are where this drama really shines though. There are some great messages in here about working hard, persevering and doing the right thing, not to mention taking a chance and opening up about your true feelings, but it’s all muddied by a sheer lack of direction.
The Interest of Love oftentimes attempts to blend in other subplots or issues for our characters to tackle but half of them are abandoned by the time the final credits roll. An ongoing situation with Su-yeong grieving the loss of her brother is discussed at length but it’s not really tackled that well, nor is it given closure, while a subplot involving Mi-gyeong and Sang-su’s mothers is here for comedic purposes and not much else.
If there’s one stand-out component here though it comes from the soundtrack. The Interest of Love has an excellent OST, with some excellent songs that capture the angst and drama this show flirts with across its 16 episodes. Dice Game and Symphony are definite stand-out tracks.
This certainly isn’t your typical cliched romance but it’s not a particularly realistic slice of life drama either. The show attempts to be deep and say something profound but visual imagery and symbolic references can only go so far. If characters don’t have good arcs and you aren’t invested in their journeys, then you’ll lose interest.
And that pretty much sums this show up. The Interest of Love is a show that could have been great and had a lot of promise. That promise is squandered though by a lackluster story that never really lives up to its potential. While it does have some profound and deep messages, these are lost in a murky sea of indifference and mundanity, making this a drama you should probably skip.
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Verdict - 4/10
12 thoughts on “The Interest of Love Season 1 Review – A drama that squanders its potential”
Hello, I am not sure why a lot did not seem to understand the symbolism of the ending scenario. It was the same scenario in E-10 where SS explained to SY while walking up the “Hill of Oblivion” the meaning of the hill’s name given by the students. He said it meant that after reaching the top, one got so exhausted, forgetting everything and “START FRESH”. This Kdrama has so much insightful innuendos. It does not show “skinship” which may seem to be boring and dragging to us who are used to seeing intimate scenes, mostly acted “sloppily” and “cheezy”.
According to SS while walking up the Hill of Oblivion with SY in E-10, the Hill was called such by the students because when they reached the top, they were so exhausted and could not focus, forgetting everything and START FRESH. This scenario was repeated at the end…meaning that they are starting FRESH with their relationship.
This KDrama was full of innuendos. It was slow and dragging, no sleezy skin/skin scenes so it may be dull and boring to a lot of us who are used to KDramas showing intimate sex scenes, sometimes acted “sleezy”, just for the excitement….. My 2¢
This post contains some usage of the F-word. Many of my opinions have already been expressed here and elsewhere and with far more literary skill and elegance than I possess. Thank you to all of you. Of my contrarian views, very few will agree with them. So be it!
Why I believe Soo Young and Kyung Pil had sex in the Hotel Room?
There is no doubt in my mind that Soo Young asked Kyung Pil to go to a hotel with her to have sex? For what other reason, would they go there? Well, we do know they went there for the reason we all saw on screen. That was real and all of it was part of Soo Young’s plan to end her stagnating relationship with Jong Hyun. (I also believe that that scene had nothing directly to do with Sang Soo. He only became embroiled in the aftermath when Jong Hyun turned up at the office before Soo Young could talk to him). But WTF was in that scene anyway, that necessitated them going to that hotel room? Absolutely nothing! I mean, it was no more than a segmented 30 minute scene with some dialogue either side of phone call. There was no violence. No one was shouting or throwing stuff around. They weren’t even mimicking over the phone the sounds of an amorous couple in the throes of lovemaking. And as there was nothing on the phone screen showing Jong Hyun their location, they could just as easily have gone to a nearby bar or café and got the same result.
But why you might ask, would Soo Young even contemplate having sex with Kyung Pil? And to what end? It doesn’t make any sense. Well it does if you know the reason why. But, I can tell you, it’s not because she has any romantic feelings for Kyung Pil. He just happens to know what Soo Young’s plans are and is simply going along for the ride, so to speak.
At this point, it’s important to consider all that’s been going on recently in Soo Young’s life leading up to this day, and see how it might have influenced her to take such drastic action. We know she’s been living with Jong Hyun in a relationship that has not turned out as she had at one time hoped. She now realises it must end. On top of this, she still harbours mixed feelings for Sang Soo, whom she knows is infatuated with her and seems to follow her around like a sick lost puppy; even though he himself is now in an unstable relationship with Mi Kyung. She works in a toxic environment and has had a recent confrontation with one of the managers. Privately, her mother is sick at home after suffering a car accident; she still mourns the loss of her brother and has a very poor relationship with her father, whom she believes cheated on her mother. Also, she’s been thinking about packing up and going back to her home town to start a new life. There’s angst all around her. She’s in a mess and is desperately seeking a way out! To give herself some much needed breathing space, she has recently volunteered to temporarily work at another branch.
On the day in question, Soo Young has taken the day off. We see her thoughtfully walking along the beach. She appears to be heavily conflicted as thoughts and images of both Jong Hyun and Sang Soo relentlessly flood her mind. Sang Soo tracks her down and they spend some time together talking, until Soo Young conjures up another disappearing trick on him. Later on, after visiting her father, something determines her to call Kyung Pil late at night to ask if he can meet her right now. (I think her action to particularly call him, has been triggered by the recent conversations they had at work. Therefore, Kyung Pil probably has an inkling as to what the call is about). He arrives and the next time we see them they’re already in the hotel room.
So why then, in my opinion, did Soo Young want Kyung Pil to fuck her? For the very same reason Kyung Pil fucked Mi Kyung’s best friend after he was forced to end his relationship with Mi Kyung. For as he told Sou Young earlier; it was the ultimate betrayal. It gave him an ending. It gave him closure to move on. (He knows now he will never be with Mi Kyung again and doesn’t want to be). Soo Young also wants closure – total closure and an irrevocable ending to the situation she finds herself in and to which she will never want to return to. But that is not possible until she gains her freedom from Jong Hyun and Sang Soo and she leaves Seoul. And the start of that process starts in that hotel room with Kyung Pil.
It’s fair to say here; if there was an actual sex scene between them, we certainly didn’t see it. But as they’re already in the room and have no idea how long they may have been in there, it’s more than likely their moment of sexual passion has already occurred and they are now just waiting for Jong Hyun’s phone call. The actual dialogue between those two and especially at the end of the scene, clearly confirms it has already happened.
Another possibility which I haven’t discounted is that this being a KDrama, the content required for this scene, would have been too hot to be included; perhaps even too risqué for the cast to perform. I would imagine something a notch or two up from the imagined hotel scene between Sang Soo and Soo Young in episode 8/9 would be sufficient. Just a thought: I don’t think we’ll ever see D H Lawrence’s novel ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, ever done as KDrama.
Further supporting my theory they had sex in the hotel is the scene in the rain where Soo Young is upset because Jung Hyun is throwing away his text books. It’s a very emotional scene for both of them as a teary Soo Young, trying to console Jong Hyun, tells him, ‘Our love had come to an end’. He then says to her, ‘I’ll ask you one more time’. ‘Did you really sleep with him?’ To which Soo Young replies with a small confirming nod, ‘Yes’. And she says it with such conviction that as he stares at her, he realises, she is in fact telling him the truth. They did fuck. And that’s when his hurt turns to hate and he calls her ‘a real bitch’.
Finally. There are many aspects of this drama I wanted to write about which include.
Where was the Love, in ‘The Interest of Love?’
Did the script writers get some things wrong?
The brilliant acting from everyone, including two standout performances from Moon Ga Young (Soo Young) and (GEUM SAE ROK) Mi Kyung.
What was on the recording on Kyung Pil’s phone? (And who cares)?
The pacing throughout the series and why it was ‘Oh so clever’.
The series is based on a novel/webtoon, and followed it without compromise.
A second season would be unexpected, but has all kinds of possibilities.
S2 E1 “Daze”
Time frame: 2022. Opening scene, Sang-Su reading a book in the break room, sipping on a cup of coffee before work. Min-Hee stops at the door. “Aaah, Sang-Su, I heard about that book. Is everything in it true?” SS: “Mmm, don’t believe everything you read.”
This is lousy ! Dragging ! A very disappointing ending , a waste , the cast especially Ss& SY are great , they could have happy ending ,
The four most boring people alive in one drama. Thought it would get better, it didn’t.
I was completely annoyed from the get go. The way the FL started off wrong just killed me. I love YYS so I was actually happy since he hadn’t done anything since HP, but the FL just killed it. This was the worst drama that I’ve seen in a while. It started so so but it began to die and never recovered.
Of there’s a S2 I’m out
Completely agree with this review, and another reviewer who said they wanted to slap some sense into these people. Maybe start with the script writers and director. Thoroughly disappointing ending.
I was disappointed, the lead actor is one of my favorite but the story line so disappointing. I was hoping that the they will ended up together at least..
It started out gaining my interest in all the characters and their individual entwining relationships, but then after by being fully engaged It went on and on and the pace was getting tortuous especially into the last two episodes which finally ended with less than a thud! I was really frustrated and disappointed that I invested so much time to end up with nothing.
“Interest of Love” captivated me as well. I have to agree with Greg’s interview. The ending was a disappointment. I have seen enough Kdrama to live with some loose threads at the end of a drama. However, “Interest of Love”(IL) earned the “Loose Thread” award. Closure for some of the characters and the plots, for example, the mothers, My-Gyeong and her father, the friend who hasn’t recovered from marrying the wrong woman hanging in the wind. It’s ok as our last views of them show them moving forward in the present.
However, Sang-s. and Su-Syeong are left dangling on Oblivion Hill. I loved their story with all of its twists and turns. So in spite of the vague, cryptic, inconclusive ending I want them to descend the hill; enjoy the pork cutlets, and move forward together.
The OST is fantastic. It is beautiful and is an integral part of the drama. It weaves the plot, characters, and viewers together beautifully.
I agree entirely with Greg’s review. I am not a fan of open-ended endings. If I had know that the series was going to end this way, I would not have wasted my 17+ hours viewing time. On a positive note, I thoufht the acting was good particulary Moon Ga-young