Just Between Lovers takes you into the lives of people struggling with everyday life after a tragedy. Ten years ago, a mall collapsed due to faulty construction leaving 48 people dead and many injured. Lee Gang-Doo lost his father in the accident and severely injured his leg, while Ha Moon-Soo lost her younger sister. The survivors find their lives entangled as they work together on a new project to rebuild on the land they once escaped from.
Lee Kang-Doo (Lee Joon-Ho) is headstrong. After losing everything to the mall collapse, he spends his day working odd jobs and living with lifelong debt. Between his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and crippling leg pain it was hard not to feel sad for him. His ability to be straight forward and take action had me rooting for him throughout. Truly a character that has the worst of luck and couldn’t catch any breaks.
Ha Moon-Soo (Won Jin-a) lives her life guilt-ridden for surviving the accident that killed her younger sister. She is emotionally bottled up and struggled with her family falling apart. She ends up choosing a career in building models in hopes of catching problems before accidents occur.
There there’s Seo Joo-Won (Lee Ki-Woo), the CEO of the company where Moon-Soo works. He was also affected by the mall collapse and works to prevent similar tragedies. Although he seems like he’s got it together, he is emotionally damaged. He relies on others to keep him focused on doing the right thing.
After taking a break from dramas, Just Between Lovers was a nice change of pace. There has been a very common theme in many dramas lately. The main couple knew each other as kids, but don’t recognize each other present day. Then it takes 10 episodes just for them to remember or find out they had a connection in the past. Right off the bat, Lee Gang-Doo figured out who Ha Moon-Soo was and crossed paths with her knowingly. Their interest in each other was also determined early in and the story was able to focus on other things, not just a typical love triangle.
The love story between Gang-Doo and Moon-Soo progressed naturally. It wasn’t about spending money or large romantic gestures. The focus was on 2 individuals suffering alone, but soon found support on their journey of healing. It was nice being able to see them rely on each other for things that they used to deal with alone.
Considering the main plot takes place around a collapsed mall, there were a few gory scenes in the flashbacks. Nothing too over the top, but necessary to show the suffering that the main characters and victims went through. The side characters were an important part of the main character's development and it was nice being able to see how everyone connected. Although people expect others to recover and continue with life after a tragedy, this drama does a good job showing that trauma can have lifelong effects.
Overall, I found myself understanding of the characters and their circumstances. People tend to forget that there are hundreds of people affected even if “just” 48 were killed. No matter how people may seem, everyone copes differently, and no one can truly understand someone else’s pain. It was an inspirational story about working harder for that happiness you deserve.