Hello and welcome to another Korean drama review!
I recently binge-watched all 16 episodes of this drama and I have to tell you, it is simply perfection. While, as always, I have some reservations and complaints about certain story arcs, it was just perfection.
It took me a bit to get to this drama but with the pauses in production and episode updates of this drama due to the pandemic, I am glad I have watched it now. This drama is like a lot of drama with the rich male character and the struggling female character but the way this plays out is more enlightened and an emotional give and take relationship.
Since I loved this drama so much, I decided to share 5 lessons that I learnt whilst watching this drama!
You might notice some ads in the middle of the post, your girl is just trying to make some money, so check them out if you are interested.
Run On tells the love story of Ki Seon-gyeom, a former sprinter who is working to become a sports agent, and Oh Mi-Joo, a translator.
Before I go into the lessons I learnt, I feel it is important that I expand a bit more on the story in general because the Wikipedia synopsis does not do the drama any favors. Seon-gyeom is a sprinter on the national team in South Korea but he is more known as being the son of a well-loved veteran actress and a future presidential candidate. His sister is a world-renowned golfer. Whilst he seemed to be the aspiration of anyone looking for fame, he does not really care about it. He is a simple guy who has made running his life after an accident made him give up his real dream. Unknown to the public who see the family as perfect, every member of the family seem to be just a tool for the father’s ambition.
An incident occurs within the member of the running team. One of Seon-gyeom’s friend is bullied and he lands in the hospital needing surgery that almost left him unable to run ever again. This enrages Seon-gyeom and he decides to speak out about bullying in the team and that is how he forges a strong relationship with Oh Mi-Joo. An unlikely alliance since the both of them are just like fire and ice. Mi-Joo is a translator, she translates movies from English to Korean and vice versa. She is employed by someone to serve as Seon-gyeom’s translator during an event. So that I don’t spoil this drama further, I will leave you to watch the rest.
- Unconscious Bias
I have to admit that watching this drama made me aware of my unconscious bias. I could not stop thinking that Seon-gyeom was on the autism spectrum because of the way he acts and his inability to understand social cues. Honestly, now I admit that this was just ignorant of me. I am of the belief that there is no right or standard brain. The concept of a right or standard body or brain is the foundation of ableism and I do not want to propagate that agenda. Nothing was wrong with Seon-gyeom, we as a society have enforced the idea of ‘the other’ with the belief that anything or anyone that does not fit the box is abnormal. Seon-gyeom found his match with Mi-joo, he only spoke the truth and what he said was only a response to her behaviour and she understood that even when the truth hurt.
- Communication is key in every relationship
I cannot stress the importance of this and how it made the drama a lot more intense. I have always said that I hated stories where the misunderstanding is the story arc. Especially between two adults. Seat and talk about your problems, don’t run from them. Your partner cannot hear your thoughts no matter how close you might think you are. Vocalizing your worries and questions, don’t hold back just because you think you might escalate the problem or think the problem might go away if you don’t talk about it. When Mi-Joo admitted to Seon that she had collected money from his father, she felt shame, not from anything Seon said but because he didn’t say anything. She knew that he was brutally honest and his holding back was worse than he actually admitting his disgust or rather hate of what she did.
- Be Unapologetically you
This lesson was my favourite. Seon did not change to suit anyone even the person he loved. Personally, I think he was unable to change, he was who he was fault and all. He understood his limitation and he tried to improve on his shortcomings. His improvements were never about pleasing Mi-Joo, they were about him gaining satisfaction from it. He loved helping his friends even the ones that tended to use him as a money bag.
- Your parents are guardians, they do not own you
Seon gyeom’s father was honestly disgusting. I mean Korean dramas are well known for their villains but this man while seemingly harmless is the worst I have seen so far. His children and wife were his sources of pride. While that may seem harmless, he saw them as a prize, not as people. When the awards and winnings of your children become the pride source rather than the children, there is a problem. He kept pushing his daughter to his friends, asking her to teach them how to golf and them placing their grimly hands on her. He was absolutely disgusting. He kept blaming Mi-Joo for the change in Seom which was just stupid. He felt a sense of ownership over his children like since he birthed them, they owe him something. Utterly ridiculous!
- Bullies are lesser humans, once you stand up to them they scatter like rodents.
I remember reading somewhere that Korean drama bullying is like attempted murder. This is so true. While I would like to assume that bullying in media is extreme, I would be ignorant to assume that it is not as bad in real life. The bullies in this drama were not only on the brink of destroying the life of a runner in his prime but they were killing his ability to hope and dream. He was lucky to have a friend like Seom who was willing to stand up for him no matter the consequence. And once it was out in the world, the bullies became irrelevant. I hope people being bullied find someone like Seon.
I really enjoyed this drama and I know that watching it again might produce more lessons for me. Lessons on friendship and acceptance are definitely also a product of this drama. I highly recommend it.
One of my favourite couples got together in the end.
I gave this drama 9.3 out of 10 stars