I’ve finished watching this drama for a couple of weeks now and I know this review is super late but so what. 😀 The Package premiered in 2017, and is said to be a long-awaited gift from Jung Yong Hwa to his fans. This is the second drama I’ve seen of him (I’ve been watching all his variety show guestings and live performances when I signed up to be his fangirl just early this month). In all honesty, I didn’t expect much from this drama as I never heard of it and I’ve never heard of the characters either. It was worth the shot though – The Package is a picturesque drama that teaches about love and healing.
10 nights in France
The entire drama was shot in France, maybe except for some of the indoor shots. It is a multi-character-based story which doesn’t happen in lot of Kdramas unless we count the second lead syndrome (oh right fine, this happens all the time). I watched all of the 12 episodes in 2 nights, all of which have effectively brought me to one of the most historically significant countries in the world. An elderly couple comprised of a nagging husband and a dying wife, a yuppie couple who have been together for seven years and seem to have been losing the “spark” between them due to too much familiarity and comfort, a dad and daughter duo who were mistaken to be involved in an elicit affair, a guy who ended up alone in one of the most romantic places on earth after his girlfriend ditched him in the middle of a company mishap, and a woman who ran away with her boyfriend against her family’s will – these people ended up together in a package tour that would leave a stain in them forever, a stain that also left me nodding, smiling, and in tears all at the same time while realizing how love can give us both pain and healing. They went to the famous tourist attractions in France as a group, and through these scenes the drama was able to showcase the beauty and timeless grandeur of one of the most famous places in Europe.
A beautiful yet a lonely place
I’ve always perceived France as the place of grand gesture in romance. In fact, I’ve written a romance fiction set in Europe where the main leads went to France. I’ve always thought about how nice it would be to kiss a boy by the Eiffel Tower at night. I’ve always imagined how romantic it would be to walk hand in hand in the cobblestone-floored streets and sit on an outside table of a cafe and drink coffee until the late hours of the morning. I’ve always pictured in my head how the male lead in my fiction stories would confess his undying devotion to the female lead in Pont Neuf while the district lights illuminated the evening streets. But it never occurred to me how cruel it would be to ask your husband to take a picture of you by the Eiffel Tower because it might be your last beautiful picture taken before you die. I never imagined how sad it would be, to sit in an outside table for two of a cafe in France right after your girlfriend has broken up with you. I never thought it would be lonely to stand by Pont Neuf with a close stranger, close but nonetheless a stranger.
When you meet that guy…
San Ma Ru is funny, full of curiosity, apologetic, and has the tendency to think only of himself and his feelings. Far from Lee Shin who’s more serious and has done nothing to apologize for. Jung Yong Hwa did great on both portrayals that I can’t wait to see his other dramas.
San Ma Ru appears to be an experimental character, he’s not a common gem in the world of Kdramas. When I saw the still cuts of the kiss scenes on Youtube, I thought I already understood why this was rated as PG15 (they’re all sizzling hot it’s like ASMR), but it appeared to be just the tip of the ice berg. San Ma Ru is not the type of male lead you’ll easily fall in love with (unless you’re already swooning over Yong Hwa before watching this drama). He appears to be lost most of the time, with his mind scattered all over the place. His ceaseless curiosity is too dangerous it could be the death of him. It’s almost as if he never did anything right. But as the story progresses, he is revealed to be an upright, determined, and thoughtful man. Why else would he be in France and break up with his girlfriend on a vacation? Why else would be following So-so around and spend an enormous amount of time with her? Why would he still want to talk with the hotel manager to help the old couple after all the cruel nagging of the husband at him? No, San Ma Ru isn’t the princely guy we’ve learned to expect from Kdramas. He’s that average, random guy who became your friend because you had no other choice, and overtime you’d ask yourself why and how are you falling in love with him and you can’t get him off your head.
If you’d ask me, San Ma Ru is probably more dangerous.
Love heals all wounds
The characters in this drama are all emotionally wrecked, in one way or another. But somehow, their tour in France taught them what it was to be broken by love and be mended by love. It is painful to understand that a father’s unconditional love isn’t all and enough for a teenage daughter that yearns for acceptance. It is painful to accept that in sickness, you could potentially lose everything you’ve cherished for so many years in a fleeting second and you do not have the power for defiance. It is painful to think that despite all your efforts to know yourself, you still have no idea what you want to do and what you want to be. It is painful to discover that the person you’ve trusted most in the world isn’t on your side after all, just when you needed that person the most.
But love understands. It understands that you cannot be everything to anyone, and maybe that’s okay. Love understands that there are things beyond your capacity, and maybe to smile more is all you need to do in order to create more beautiful memories. Love understands that your worries are valid and it’ll do its best to chase you fears away. Love understands that you need more time to reflect on your feelings, and it is willing to wait until you’re ready to open up your heart again.
Love is a beautiful thing. But dangerous too. We should be careful.
JB & Jackson’s U & I is something I imagined Jung Yong Hwa would include in his albums (GOT7 fans, please don’t hate me). Maybe because of the guitar strums – I don’t know, but it reminds me of him apart from the fact that it became an official soundtrack to his drama. Fateful Love and You Look Nice Today also made it to my Kdrama soundtrack playlist as well.
The Package is an unexpected twist in my Kdrama journey, much like Heartstrings which I’d play randomly on a stressful workday. But it gave me a lot of things to reflect on, to smile about (I love San Ma Ru), and also to think of Europe (again) as one of my future travel destinations (should I share that story I wrote set in Europe?). I’m not sure what to binge-watch next, but I have a lot on my list that I’ve created a spreadsheet for it.
Stay sane! Watch Kdramas!