K-Drama Review: “Love Alarm 2” Affirms That We’ll Always Be The Masters Of Our Own Fate When It Comes To Love
Dubbed as one of the most highly-anticipated Netflix Korean dramas this 2021, Love Alarm 2 ended on a sweet and neat note with its impressive take on romance, self-love and even bits of societal issues.
Love Alarm 2 was an emotional roller coaster ride. While its first season focuses on how the characters’ manage and evaluate their feelings through an app, the second installment takes a huge leap with its more mature take on love in general.
The series simply proves that there will be always more than meets the eye through its interesting and highly-addictive storyline and its realistic portrayal of young love set in an alternate world. Deviating from the typical teen drama theme, the second part of the series thrives through its relatable scenes brought to life by the casts’ amazing acting abilities that would certainly warm and touch audiences’ hearts.
Love Alarm 2 also does a good job on giving a closer look on the problems young people face in this modern age. From delving into the greed that can be brought by social media to describing how young people cope up with family problems, the series leaves its mark as not only as a feel-good watch, but also as an highly-engaging one that teaches us important life lessons as it sustains its main theme regarding romance.
Title: Love Alarm 2
Themes: Romance | Drama | Youth
Length: 6 Episodes
Broadcast Date: March 12
Main Leads: Kim So Hyun | Jung Ga Ram | Song Kang
Highlights: Three Main Leads That Deliver | Unique Storyline
RELATED DRAMAS: Love Alarm | Who Are You: School 2015 | Extraordinary You
Love Alarm 2 Quick Plot Roundup *Spoiler Alert
Love Alarm 2 follows the story of three youngsters, Kim Jojo (Kim So Hyun), Hwang Sun Oh (Song Kang) and Lee Hye Young (Jung Ga Ram), who got caught up in a bittersweet love triangle.
Set four years later, the series focuses on how the highly innovative Love Alarm 2.0 greatly affects people. The update now provides users the list of people they will like and people who will like them in the future.
Picking up from the last season’s cliffhanger ending, Jojo, who still has her Love Alarm shield on, now gives Hye Young a chance to prove his true feelings. The latter then promises to ring her Love Alarm ten times a day to remind Jojo that he only has his eyes and heart set on her. With the app’s evolution, Hye Young is now more dedicated to pursue Jojo after seeing that she appears on the top of the list of the people who will like him in the future.
Meanwhile, Sun Oh, who is now slowly rising to stardom, tries to keep himself busy by focusing on his career as a model and actor. Although still haunted and unsettled about his breakup with Jojo, he, nevertheless, does his best in making Yook Jo (Kim Shi Eun) feel special despite the fact that he can’t ring her Love Alarm just yet.
Slowly realizing how Hye Young becomes her ultimate source of comfort and instantly becomes her safe space, Jojo now starts to contemplate about her feelings and discovers that she likes him back. With guts that Duk Gu is the mastermind behind the unique feature in her app, she begins her search of the developer of Love Alarm with the help of her friend Moon Sin (Bae Da Bin), in order to take out the shield from her app immediately.
Convinced that Duk Gu has already passed away after failing to obtain his information, Jojo’s last hope is to flood the Chief Executive Officer of Love Alarm’s inbox, with hopes to find answers regarding the removal of her shield.
After numerous emails, Brian Chon, finally invited her for a meeting and told her that she have no choice but to live with her decision all throughout her life. Sun-Oh then found out regarding the shield feature, realizing that it was the culprit behind his break-up with Jojo and her unresponsiveness to his feelings. He confronts Jojo about it and asked whether Hye Yeong also knows about the same.
Thinking she’s hurting both parties because of her dishonesty, Jojo is now even more determined to get rid of the shield in order to tell Hye Yeong how she truly feels. She suddenly received a notification from an anonymous sender regarding the spear function. This allows the app’s user to ring another person’s Love Alarm using one’s own free will.
Deciding she’s done with dealing with her confusion, Jojo finally decides to ring Hye Yeong’s Love Alarm, causing the latter to burst with bliss.
The series displays Jojo’s painful yet purposeful journey towards finding out the answers to whom she really likes between two men, Sun Oh and Hye Young, who are both eager to convey their true love for her. It also displays the main female lead’s journey towards finally learning how to love and forgive herself despite her complicated past.
Moreover, the series also takes pride in tacking deep family problems, abandonment issues, repercussions of using too much social media as well as bits of career troubles, making it more appealing to watch.
Three Main Leads That Deliver
Entering adulthood can be both considered as an exciting yet critical moment in our lives. While it means getting a stable job or earning money for some, it is also where the concept of love deepens, causing us to be more prudent and cautious with our decisions.
Love Alarm 2 perfectly portrays the experiences and struggles the youth face in this modern age, be it about family, career, friendship, but most importantly, love. It serves as a reminder that it is okay to take our time in making life-changing decisions, especially if our happiness is at stake.
Albeit its 6-episode run, Love Alarm 2 evokes a variety of emotions – joy, anger, disappointment and sadness to name a few – from viewers. It can instantly warm every spectators’ hearts because of its endearing quality that makes us craving for more.
The series become so easy to watch mainly because of the main characters, who make every scene convincing and satisfying. Despite being far from perfect, one cannot help but to feel empathic towards the the trials they have been facing since childhood.
Kim Jojo (Kim So Hyun)
Jojo is the kind of character whom you’ll be drawn to without even realizing it. Yes, she is flawed and is still haunted by her dark history, particularly her parents’ suicide, but she managed to push through with life slowly but surely.
She may have regretted her decision of installing the shield but she overcomes that challenge by listening to her heart. Choosing to act through her own volition proves she is capable of love that is worth fighting for.
Despite being scared to make a choice, Jojo overcame her own thoughts and faced the reality that there will always be someone that is going to get hurt – in this case, it was Sun Oh. However, this does not make her a bad person but instead an admirable one. Her braveness is what brought her to a good position.
Amidst the criticisms thrown at her and despite growing up alone, Jojo eventually learned to forgive herself and accept that none of what happened to her in the past was her fault.
Her soft heart and her kind personality are what makes her stand out the most. As the focal character, she instantly becomes a persona that we could all relate to.
Lee Hye-young (Jung Ga Ram)
For Hye Young, being able to give love even without anything is return is already enough. He was introduced as someone who’s pure and yet timid, but is consistent about his feelings.
His unwavering love for Jojo all throughout the series is already remarkable enough to prove his true intentions. His quiet exterior does not necessarily mean he yields and gets so insecure easily. In fact, this is Hye Young’s strength. He caught Jojo’s attention and heart because of his certainty.
Along the series, we also discovered that Hye Young was emotionally scarred due to her father’s imprisonment. At some point in the middle, he even questioned his true personality, thinking that he is a terrible person all along. In other words, he patterned his life in his father’s image – one that he himself has created.
While watching the show, I realized that it is with Jojo that Hye Young can be himself. He can easily set aside his fears and worries whenever he spends time with her and he can feel genuine happiness just by sitting across her. With this, being chosen by Jojo was indeed a blessing for him because they are each other’s comfort – the light after a pitch black tunnel.
Hwang Sun-oh (Song Kang)
Due to his cold appearance, Sun Oh could easily be mistaken as someone who is indifferent of the things around him. We’re used to seeing boys who comes off as charismatic and arrogant as male leads in K-Dramas but this man radiates changes the game with his depth and caring personality.
He may seem possessive especially with the “whole kissing Jojo randomly” situation but he does it out of excessive admiration. He just loves Jojo too much that he tries all ways he could possibly think of just to get close to her again. Sun Oh just possess a more straightforward and kind of reckless method of reaching out to Jojo rather than Hye Young’s gentle approach but this does not affect the whole flow and vibe of the story.
In the story, we also get to learn that Sun Oh’s weakness is Jojo. Despite being deceived by the shield function, he still longs for her after all these years, proving his immense and deep affection for her. While he blamed Jojo briefly because of their sudden break-up, he eventually realized that she has her own reasons for doing so. He did not dwell on that pain but instead decided to move on for the better.
Exhibiting his soft and sweet spot, Sun Oh is actually a kindhearted individual. He cares for the people close and dear to him although he does not show it openly like others do. When Yook Jo went out of the country to take a break, Sun Oh kept coming back to her apartment just to check if she is back already and is finally ready to try building a connection with him.
Moreover, when her mother faked her feelings on national television just to help his father win the election, Sun Oh seemed concerned and kept checking on her.These alone proves that Sun Oh is more than just a pretty face.
Superb Acting From The Main Leads
Proving she is one of the highly acclaimed actresses of her generation, Kim So Hyun did her magic again in Love Alarm 2. She consistently charmed viewers with her versatility and ability to pull off any complex emotion.
Through her persuasive acting, Kim So Hyun perfectly gave life to Kim Jojo, who possess a heavy, emotional baggage. You cannot help but wonder if Kim So Hyun is actually Jojo in real life because of how she studies and digest her character’s traits and personality.
Furthermore, the actress does an excellent job in building distinctive and powerful chemistry between her two leading men. She ensures that both love teams in the show do not overshadow each another. Whether you’re Team Hye Young or Team Sun Oh, you can always rely on Kim So Hyun’s magnificent abilities. She can feed both parties’ with good scenes to rewatch over and over, making her the highly suited actress to star in young romance-themed dramas.
Kim So Hyun makes sure that every scene she is in is well-executed, which truly makes her the center of the show.
Meanwhile, Song Kang rose to stardom with his role as Sun Oh in Love Alarm series. Considered as his breakout role, the actor did not disappoint with his flawless and convincing portrayal of Sun Oh’s character.
He knows his strengths as an actor that’s why every scene that he is involved in becomes engaging to watch. Song Kang became the primary reason why the drama is popular, all thanks to his ability to portray a variety of sentiments wordlessly. His enticing line delivery and his wonderful facial expressions makes viewers go through a turmoil of emotions.
Since his role is kind of similar to how he is in actual life – an actor and a model, Song Kang delivered a unique and astonishing performance. He was able to prove his talent as the main lead, exhibiting his potential as an actor.
Jung Ga Ram’s tender personality in real life makes him the ideal person to take on Hye Young’s character. His fuzzy and bright aura brings more color to the drama.
Moreover, he manages to embody Hye Young’s positive and worst traits in a balanced manner. Like Hye Young, Jung Ga Ram is consistent in sustaining his character’s energy and disposition in the drama.
While the love triangle between Jojo, Hye Young and Sun Oh captivated the spectators’ attention, Love Alarm 2 displayed other sub-plots that kept viewers interested.
Gul Mi’s (Go Min Si) struggle of getting into the elite club of Love Alarm was kind of a breather from the main plot, which was heavy and difficult to digest.
Her scenes were more on the entertaining side but they also deliver life realizations that can be useful in our daily lives. The emphasis on the effects of too much social media usage on her scenes proves that she is also a vital character in the drama.
Meanwhile, the tension between Duk Gu and Brian Chon also provided a unique touch to the drama. Without their opposing views and the mystery behind their relationship, Love Alarm would simply exist as a simple teen drama. The addition of their characters allowed more room for mysteries, leaving viewers puzzled with much thoughts every episode.
Love Alarm 2 Series Afterthoughts
Ending on a sweet note, Love Alarm 2 can be enjoyed by anyone who is looking for a drama that has a refreshing and innovative take on romance. It is a light one yet the sci-fi aspect and the bits and pieces of the dark side of social media makes it more interesting.
I honestly enjoyed watching the build-up towards the climax to the story. The phrase “nothing worth having comes easy” perfectly captures the journey of the three main leads, particularly Jojo and Hye Young. They had to sort out their personal issues first before coming to terms with one another, which puts emphasis to the importance of embracing the process.
I personally felt the characters’ own share of pains in the series, proving the casts’ efficiency and professionalism. Crying over some scenes is an understatement. Plus, you won’t definitely need that skip button because understanding each character’s disposition is a vital part towards realizing the drama’s true intentions.
The message that it imparts won my heart – that no matter how grueling and agonizing the process can be, our own happiness will still depend on us, particularly on our own decisions. While the concept of the show may be considered as plain sailing, the drama itself is full of life lessons.
It shows the greed social media brings to people; how one’s social media posts can prompt people to do reckless actions; how the youth heavily relies now on dating apps rather than building actual and personal attachments; and how social media can instantly turn people’s lives into a whole fiasco.
Fair warning, second lead syndrome is also actually real in this drama considering how the first part of the series gave emphasis on the relationship between Jojo and Sun Oh. The sudden shift of focus definitely caught me off guard but the steady and absorbing plot of the second season still made me look forward until the end.
I personally loved the subplots too, thinking how they blended well with the show’s main concept. However, I was kind of disappointed when the show did not manage to give enough background and depth to other characters. In other words, some situations remained unresolved given how the series is now on its second and final season.
For example, the show failed to show what happened to Brian Chon after he was called out by his brother, Duk Gu, regarding his growing ambitions for the Love Alarm app. Moreover, the show did not also give a glimpse on the relationship between Duk Gu and Gulmi, particularly on the happenings that took place after their serious confrontation.
Although rushed as it may seem, the talented and brilliant lineup of actors still gave justice to their respective roles, which is also considered as a win for the show.
I was personally rooting for the second lead, but I understood the writer’s purpose for choosing an ending that is completely far from what was hinted in the first season. She may have taken the safest approach but the characters still managed to obtain their own well-deserved endings.
If you want a feel-good drama that blends young romance and technology altogether, along with sprinkles of heartaches on the side, then this is for you. Considering how short the second installment is, Love Alarm 2 can easily be your next weekend binge.
In fact, I finished the series in one sitting so I’m sure you could also do the same. The glorious visuals of the three main leads are also a major plus. What more could you ever wish for?
Head over to Netflix now to watch Love Alarm 2.
- Kim So Hyun, Song Kang & Director Kim Jin Woo Hype Anticipation In Love Alarm S2 Press Conference
Photos from Netflix Korea’s Twitter Account