K-DRAMA REVIEW: “Welcome to Samdalri” Weaves A Story of Reconnection and Real Friendship

To our heroine, going back to the hometown she vowed to never return to and reuniting with her ex-boyfriend might sound like a scary nightmare.

But it also proves to be what she really needs to recharge and have a better view of the world and herself.

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Bunny S watched Welcome To Samdalri on Netflix

Welcome to Samdalri Series Quick Recap

Faced with a scandal that turns her successful career upside down, professional photographer, Cho Sam-dal, is left with no choice but to return to the hometown she once left to seek success in the big city.

There, she reunites with Cho Yong-pil, her ex-boyfriend of 10 years and also her childhood friend who has been by her side for 30 years. It is clear as day that the two still harbor feelings for each other. But some problems are getting in the way of them getting back together.

Welcome to Samdalri Series Highlights

A sweet romance unaffected by time passing

The lead pair has never stopped loving each other. Yong-pil chose to not move on and keep Sam-dal in his heart. Sam-dal couldn’t have a decent relationship and always wondered why the man before her wasn’t Yong-pil.

The break-up wasn’t about them but the family problems that got in the way. Yong-pil’s father forced them to break up although they never wanted to.

The reunion made Yong-pil and Sam-dal realize how wrong of a decision that breakup was. And with that realization in mind, they resolved to face it head-on and eventually got Yong-pil’s father’s blessing.

The Power Rangers Squad

Sam-dal’s dream has been to rise from the small stream to the big city. And in the process, she cut ties with her childhood friends and led a lonely life. But as Yong-pil puts it, no one can rise from a small stream “on their own.”

If anything, the only perk of Sam-dal going back to her hometown was her reunion with those boys who always got her back and made sure to follow Sam-dal’s news and couldn’t be any prouder of her even if she had no idea about that.

It felt satisfying watching the boys teach the cheating ex-boyfriend and the evil assistant a lesson and kick them out. And even in the end, they were the ones who uncovered the truth and helped Sam-dal follow through with her exhibition.

The three Dal sisters

Together with Ha-yul, the sisterly bond our three troublemaking sisters shared was one of my favorite arcs in the show. They couldn’t be any different but were always there for each other. Be it showing up with suitcases in the yard of their family home, nagging each other, or ranting about their messy lives, those three were a delight. And having a love story for each of the sisters made it more entertaining.

Welcome to Samdalri Series Musings

A trip back to one’s hometown to heal and reunite with an ex-boyfriend is such an engaging premise, and coupled with Ji Chang Wook and Shin Hye Sun as the main leads, viewers were anticipating this series. And while the drama delivered on multiple points, it had some issues that took away the enjoyment.

I understand how heartbroken and devastated Sam-dal might have felt over her career going down, and everyone turning their backs on her, but spending 4 episodes on Sam-dal getting drunk and refusing to say anything about what truly happened was frustrating, to say the least. This was billed as a healing drama, yet the show didn’t quite deliver on that front.

Also, too much time was spent on the gossiping ajummas and the pointless love triangle that felt forced on the plot to add needless tension. That time would have been better spent on Sam-dal and Yong-pil’s relationship as adults, the Power Rangers squad, or the other two sisters’ love stories that had barely any screen time. We won’t be starting about the assistant’s arc, which was dragged out and got too much screen time.

All in all, it was a show with strengths and weaknesses. What’s disappointing was the wasted potential, which would have made for a healing masterpiece if only the show had cut down on the annoying parts and focused on the more interesting ones.

All episodes of Welcome To Samdalri are streaming on Netflix.

Photos and Videos: JTBC Drama