Genre- realism, slice of life, family, drama
Our Blues is set in Jeju island. It follows the lives of a group of people who call the island their home.
It has around 8 different storylines and each storyline has a couple of episodes dedicated exclusively to them. This helps with the continuity of the drama and makes it easy to follow.
The series starts with a seemingly normal plot and slowly takes the viewer on an amazing ride through the various stages of life. The drama addresses the situations that come up in any given relationship, be it between couples, lovers, friends, parents, children, siblings, grandchildren, in-laws etc.
With 14 main characters and several supporting actors, Our Blues captures every incident and narrative wonderfully and all the characters leave a lasting impact on the viewers long after the drama gets over.
Lee Byung-Hun plays Lee Dong Seok, a crabby truck merchant with a sharp tongue. One wonders why he calls his mother Ok Dong as “aunt”. The viewer can sense there are a lot of unresolved issues between the two. As the series progresses one can see the struggles he has been through and how he has managed to cope with his life and live through it. Towards the end, one realises that deep down that the child in Dong Seok just craves some love and attention. Lee Byung Hun plays the role with ease.
Kang Ok-Dong (Kim Hye-Ja) is Dong Seok’s mother. She comes across as a quiet woman who minds her business. Often one pities her for the life she leads. Kang Ok Dong is a strong-willed woman who is stubborn and unyielding. As the series progresses she often comes across as selfish and doesn’t bother to rectify things with her son. She is adamant when it comes to her wishes and doesn’t stop until she gets what she asks for.
Dong Seok and Ok Dong’s is one of the very first relationships that is shown in the series and is also the last of the lot to get addressed.
Seon A (Shin Min-A) is a woman battling depression and is amidst a child custody battle with her husband. Shin Min A has portrayed the role well as she plays the slow and depressed Seon A who despite her state, tries her best to retain custody of her son.
She also plays Dong Seok’s love interest from the past. We see Dong Seok’s soft and gentle side in the scenes where they share screen space. The couple’s chemistry is good as one can see Seon A slowly beat depression after she starts interacting with Dong Seok.
Lee Yeong-Ok (Han Ji-Min) is a new Haenyeo (female diver). She is a mysterious woman who spins stories about her personal life when asked about it. She ends up earning the mistrust of the natives of Jeju. The other Haenyeos dislike her but she is determined to stay on in Jeju. She ignores captain Park Jeong Jun’s romantic advances toward her.
Park Jeong-Jun (Kim Woo-Bin) is a captain of a fishing boat that takes the Hanyeos to sea. Yeong ok sparks an interest in him and he is patient with her despite her blowing him off multiple times. Park is accommodative and non-intrusive as he gives Yeong Ok the space that she requires in their relationship. Kim Woo Bin excels in his performance as he fits this role perfectly.
Jung Eun-Hye portrays Yeong Ok’s sister Lee Yeong-Hui who has Down Syndrome. Her character addresses the ostracising that disabled people and their families face in society. Lee Yeong Hui’s role came as a surprise package in the series and was a welcome one. Her role is wholesome and it was one of the highlights of the series. Every scene she was in was deep-seated and well-conceived. Lee Young Hui’s presence in the series took the series to a whole new level.
Bang Yeong-Ju (Roh Yoon-Seo) and Jung Hyeon (Bae Hyun-Sung) are teenage lovers whose life gets complicated when Yeong Ju falls pregnant. The drama does a great job of portraying a teenage pregnancy right from how teenage pregnancy is looked upon by society, how it affects the young couple, how little to no say they have on the situation and to how the family takes it. Most duration of the pregnancy is spent on the family coming to terms with it rather than the unborn child. It takes quite a long for everyone to gather themselves.
Though they are young, Bang Yeong-Ju and Jung Hyeon handle the situation much better than anyone. Yeong Ju is strong and she holds her ground while Jun Hyeon is always present by her side as a strong pillar of support during their trying time. The portrayal of the couple surely sends out a strong message to the women and men in society.
Jung In-Gwon (Park Ji-Hwan) and Bang Ho-Sik (Choi Young-Joon) are the fathers of the teenage couple. They are friends turned enemies and the news of the pregnancy doesn’t make the situation any better.
They come across as egotistical and childish men who pick regular fights with each other. The pregnancy forces them to come together and leaves them no choice but to eventually see the situation from a mature point of view.
Jung Eun Hi (Lee Jung-Eun) is a spinster who has done well for herself. She is a loyal and trustworthy friend who always stands up for everyone. People often take advantage of her good nature but Eun Hi isn’t able to do anything about it. Her peaceful life takes a turn when her childhood crush turns up.
Choi Han-Su (Cha Seung-Won) is Eun Hi’s childhood crush. He tries to take advantage of Eun Hi’s feelings as he is short of money.
Ko Mi Ran (Uhm Jung-Hwa) is Eun Hi’s friend and her appearance in the series is a turning point in Eun Hi’s life.
Hyeon Chun-Hui (Ko Du-Shim) has lived alone all her life after losing her husband and three of her four children. Her only surviving son Man Su meets with an accident leaving him in a coma. Man Su’s wife Oh Hae Son feels sad for Chun Hui and decides to hide the fact that Man Su is in a coma. Hae Sun leaves their daughter Eun Gi with Chun Hui while she works hard in the city.
Eun Gi (Ki So-Yu) struggles to adapt to life in Jeju while Chun Hui wonders if Hae Son has abandoned her son and granddaughter.
This was an interesting and different storyline as it showcases the level of understanding between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. It depicted the mutual respect the two women have for each other as they both understand how tough it is for a woman to nurture a family without any support.
As all characters are a part of the small community, there is very little room to hide their issues. At one point everyone is aware of the hardships that their counterparts are going through. They all help each other in whatever way they can as they address their issues.
The drama is realistic and the character sketches are flawless. This makes every storyline memorable. It explores almost all kinds of relationships between humans. Our blues shows that Healing has nothing to do with others’ influence or behaviour. It is a journey with self and finding your self-worth. It is a masterpiece of human emotions that the viewer will remember for years to come.
The acting, direction and screenplay are spot-on and it is one of the best dramas out there. The series portrays the ordinary life of people in an extraordinary manner.
“Our blues” is a wholesome series that addresses emotional wounds and showcases the role love plays in the path to healing. This makes the drama a must-watch.
Image Courtesy- Netflix
-By Soul Sword-