Drama Rambles: Heaven’s Garden (2011-2012)

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This drama that finished airing in march 2012 came as a surprise to me. The basic plot of this story is that Jung Jae In (Yoo Ho Jung) brings her daughters Eun Soo (Kim Sae Ron) and Hyun Soo (Ahn Seo Hyun) to live at her estranged father Boo Sik’s (Choi Bool Am) home in a mountain village in Kangwon Province just as a temporary measure while she tries to sort out her previously succesful husband who’s in jail, and the fact that her marriage is falling apart at the seams. It wasn’t a move that was meant to last. 

We find out in the first eisode that Eun Soo is actually her stepdaughter from her husband’s first marriage and also partially the reason that she no longer talked to her dad since he didn’t like the fact that her husband was a divorcee. Grandpa of course later falls for Eun Soo’s doe eyes and considers her as part of his household.

Despite how much drama there can be for a child to know that your mom isn’t your mom and your real mom left you behind, Eun Soo, though scared at first that a divorce might mean she has no place to go, soon realizes how much she means to Jae In. Jae In lives for Eun Soo and Hyun Soo equally and can’t even imagine a world where she doesn’t have both of them to raise, and after the first hiccup where Eun Soo runs away- they never doubt each other’s love again.

Jae In is a really great mother, the type of mother that other mothers wish they could be and might also resent since Jae In’s children are also wonderful; being either really mature (Eun Soo) providing a shoulder to cry on or really easy going and cheerful (Hyun Soo) where not even her sister’s birth secret can faze her. Hilariously Hyun Soo is a little jealous of Eun Soo having two mothers wishing she were as “special” as her sister, silly girl.

  Talking about Eun Soo’s “special” status we find out that her mother is now a rising actress who wasn’t ready to be a mother when she had Eun Soo. For most of the drama Eun Soo was Hong Jin Joo’s (Sa Kang)  secret, a secret that didn’t let her sleep that she kept regretting despite Eun Soo’s repeated assurances that she was ok, that she loved her anyway, when all hell breaks loose she manages to rise above it, maybe not career-wise since she does end up doing stage plays with hardly any attendance, but she’s at peace with herself finally and remembering that her original desire was to be on stage, not necessarily to be a “top star”.

Jae In’s husband is really a smooth talker venture capitalist whose greed made everything fall apart. When Jae In bails him out of jail she arrives to find him leaving with some woman. He tells Jae In that the woman is nothing, just a good friend, somebody who’s helping rebuild his business. But to go about rebuilding his business Jae In needs to divorce him, but not for real, since it’s only while he’s recouping his losses.

Jae In doesn’t believe him and for quite a while the fact tha she may have to divorce him depresses and worries her quite a bit. Jai In’s husband even hatches a plot on having his father in law sell his land to a hotel but when the village bands together and stops feuding with each other, he loses that opportunity too and Jae In and her father end up having to carry on with the debt he’s incurred. That’s when Jae In agrees to the divorce but tells him that it’s real. not a fake divorce. He seems a bit put out but accepts her decision – though he does later return to try and interfere with her blooming relationship with handsome coffee house owner.

 oh my god Coffee House owner is so handsome! and has an adorable adoptive son too, Seung Woo, who is Eun Soo’s age. Shin Woo Gyun ( Hyun Woo Sung) poses as a widower though he never got married and he used to be a police officer but retired soon after arresting Seung Woo’s father and adopting Seung Woo. He believes firmly that Seung Woo’s father though a petty criminal didn’t commit the murder’s he’s in jail for and is like an older brother to Seung Woo’s father, constantly visiting him in jail. However Seung Woo though knowing without being told that Woo Gyun isn’t his real father, wasn’t aware of who exactly his father is, but when he does find out and is angry at Woo Gyun and basically everything, Eun Soo helps him see that to be “special” like they are in having two sets of parents isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Father and son are rather adorable.

Woo Gyun soon develops an interest in Jae In as they work together in leading a village wide enterprise with onion and berry products. He is respectful of her decisions and though disappointed that she at first rejects him, he continues to be cheerful and helpful, willing to be the person she can lean on without demanding she like him back. As he tells Jae In’s ex-husband, if something makes Jae In happy he’ll do it, if returning to her ex makes her happy then he won’t block her and make her miserable, he’ll step back and let her go. Thankfully Jae In doesn’t return to her ex. The drama leaves their story a little open ended since they don’t get married but she does promise him that if she were to remarry she hopes it will be with him.

The emotional center of this drama is really between  Jae In and her gruff heart of gold father Boo Sik. She’d harboured a lot of hate for him since he didn’t move to Seoul when her mother relocated there for her and her brother’s schooling, she’d been really upset that he really took care of a village granny and that it had sprouted some really long lived rumours about him being unfaithful to his wife with that granny. But nothing like that ever happened, he’d just had a long standing debt with her since he’d never told her that her husband was killed saving him during the war. When everything comes out in the clear Jae In was finally able to let go of all the anger she’d held and really see her father for who he is, and thankfully it’s while she can still live with him, and enjoy his company.

There were a lot of side characters that were also endearing but they could also be a bit annoying.

There was the rich family of the village chief who started out as a jerk who’d stolen Jae In’s father’s land but who recapitualtes and wins forgiveness from Jae In’s saintly father. His wife is a shrew in the beginning being the worst of the gossips who’d made up stories about what a fox Jae In was and how the women should be wary of her talking with their husbands. However we later see that she’s just biter since she lives with her mother in law who finds fault with her at every turn and even colds her in front of her kids so that they really don’t respect her, and you begin to feel sorry for her.

Then there is the best of the village in granny Pal Bok, the woman whose husband saved Boo Sik and her adopted grandson Byung Do, who has a stuttering issue but a good singing voice. Unfortunately we lose granny to Alzheimer’s and Byung Do goes to live Boo Sik. This becomes’ an issue for a bit when Jae In’s mother comes back to live with them and gets upset at Boo Sik for raising “THAT” woman’s grandson, still believing all these years that Boo Sik had been unfaithful to her. When she learns the truth shee looks a little contrite but she’s upset that Jae In has even more work to do with a child that isn’t even hers. But Byung Do is such a sweety and soon she learns to love him and offers to help raise him too.

We also have another family in the village that takes center stage and at first it’s comprised of a 40 year old bachelor and his aging mother who seems to be a shrew but turns out to have a gold heart and actually has had a “forbidden love” for Boo Sik “oppa” who is always very kind to  her. Then it becomes a family of three when her son Lee Nam Gil falls in love with Jae In’s newly found friend, a young pretty North Korean refugee who in turn falls in love with his kindness and the fact that he seems to be 100% pure, a guy who has no trickery in him. She’d been saved by Jae In when she tried to kill herself after being tricked by a guy who’d claimed to love her, and at first she was wary of Nam Gil but his naivete soon charmed her.Nam Gil’s mother Nam Gil Mo also ends up finding her other half in a rich investor who is hilariously a play boy grandpa who flirts with just about anything with two legs and a skirt but falls for Gil Mo’s hospitality.

And that’s basically it. this story in a convoluted nutshell.

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3 thoughts on “Drama Rambles: Heaven’s Garden (2011-2012)

  1. Tim says:

    Nice summation. I just finished watching Heaven’s Garden. I enjoyed it but I also stressed out that Jae in would go back to her ex-husband. Thankfully that didn’t happen, but I was disappointed that she didn’t marry Woo Gyun before the show ended. Too bad they didn’t do a sequel series where they finally got together.

  2. Michael says:

    Jae-In’s constant thoughts of going back to the criminal/dishonest ex husband finally did this program in. I stopped watching at ep 28. In the process, she left poor Woo-Gyun hanging in the wind like a child playing hard to get. Woo-Gyun should have stepped away from Jae-In and found love with his colleague from the police station who showed so much interest. When the community and Jae-In made the ex-husband part of the jam company, it just clicked this program off. Writting is his and miss with this program.

  3. Nancy says:

    I agree with Michael that the writing is hit and miss. There are episodes that are well-crafted and heartfelt and some which are ho-hum by comparison. Having just spent 62 minutes viewing one of the latter, I was prompted to seek out a series synopsis like the nicely done review here just too see if the show would be worth spending 30 episodes of time. I would hate to have gotten to episode 28 like Michael did and then bagged it.

    Kudos to Korean drama for the overall excellent content you provide the world.

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