K-dramas fans are getting ready for several finales as many series come to an end for the late winter season.
Crash Landing on You ended on a very high-note earning the highest finale viewership ratings for a Total Variety Network (tvN) K-drama. And later this week, both Dr. Romantic 2 and Touch will air their penultimate and final episodes too.
Recently, one of the darkest and sexiest K-dramas/web dramas concluded too — XX.
Hani and Hwang Seung-Eon starred in this series, centered on the difficult relationships people have in the shadow of cheating. The setting of a speakeasy bar further enhanced the story.
The relationship XX concentrated on the most is Yoon Nana (Hani) and Lee Roo-Mi (Hwang Seung-Eon). Because of an incident of cheating in the past, their relationship became strained, almost non-existent.
The question is this: were Yoon Nana and Lee Roo-Mi able to save their relationship by finally facing up to the “wedge” that drove them apart?
The ‘wedge’ returns to hurt Yoon Nana and Lee Roo-Mi
In the fourth episode of XX (seventh and eighth episodes in web drama format), Yoon Nana and Lee Roo-Mi made a huge stride in repairing their broken relationship.
Together, they caught and humiliated Jeong Gyu-Min (Kim Joon-Kyung) and afterward, during a meal, finally come clean about how they hurt each other five years ago.
It seemed as if Yoon Nana and Lee Roo-Mi’s relationship was slowly healing. Unfortunately for them, a twist of fate occurred as the “wedge” that got in between their relationship five years ago appears.
That wedge is Seo Tae-Hyun (Shin Jae-Hwi), Nana’s ex-boyfriend who cheated on her with Roo-Mi.
Seo Tae-Hyun is the director of Levan Cosmetics — the company featured during a party set at Yoon Nana and Lee Roo-Mi’s bar, XX.
Both Nana and Roo-Mi are surprised as they haven’t seen Tae-Hyun in five years, nor do they want to. Suddenly, all three of them are in an uncomfortable situation.
Initially, Yoon Nana and Lee Roo-Mi try to get through the Levan Cosmetics party. But as they open up more to each other, the two finally gather the courage to step up to the last person who is still a “wedge” in their relationship.
Things move fast in this episode, but the truth about what happened five years ago is revealed. Starting with Lee Roo-Mi, it is implied her sleeping with Tae-Hyun might be a “chaebol pairing” given their families.
Lee Roo-Mi is always trying to attain her father’s approval. We learn this at the party with Levan Cosmetics, as it is something her father wanted. Five years ago, he possibly wanted Roo-Mi to be with Seo Tae-Hyun, explaining why she approached Tae-Hyun.
Being best friends at the time, Yoon Nana knew Lee Roo-Mi always sought out her father’s approval. Nana possibly also knew that was why Roo-Mi cheated with Seo Tae-Hyun.
She wanted to protect Roo-Mi, despite what she did, by convincing Tae-Hyun to have people believe it was him who approached Roo-Mi.
After finding out that Yoon Nana protected her despite what she’s done through her best friend Jayden Wang (Lee Jong-Won), Lee Roo-Mi stands up to her father.
She cancels the party with Levan Cosmetics and even goes one step further by asking her father to stop sending money to her.
For Yoon Nana, Seo Tae-Hyun not only affected her best friendship with Lee Roo-Mi five years earlier but any possible good relationship she could have during those five years.
That changes with Danny Park (Bae In-Hyuk), her fellow bartender who is kind and understanding of Nana. Eventually, his patience in love for Nana results in her finally opening up and letting in someone else in her life.
Yoon Nana finding love with Danny Park is very important as it helps Nana be around Seo Tae-Hyun without any fears, standing up to him after all this time.
She lets Lee Roo-Mi know she wants the party with Levan Cosmetics to happen. With both in agreement, they throw the party.
It is at the party that Yoon Nana finally stands up to Seo Tae-Hyun, letting him know why she did nothing to him when she caught him cheating with Lee Roo-Mi.
With Roo-Mi, Nana’s silence and not acting on the situation was her way of punishing Roo-Mi because Nana felt Roo-Mi betrayed her.
With Seo Tae-Hyun, Yoon Nana’s silence and not acting on the situation has a different meaning. When she tells Tae-Hyun, it hurts his pride.
“I’ll tell you since you really want to find out. But I didn’t know back then, but now I do.
The reason why I didn’t slap you or told everyone that you’re a terrible guy and didn’t do anything to you. I guess you just weren’t worth making such an effort to revenge. I just didn’t like you as much. That’s where you stand to me. “
In the end, Seo Tae-Hyun coming back in Yoon Nana and Lee Roo-Mi’s lives was a good thing. They both were able to have closure with the “wedge” in their relationship by sending him packing.
Both can move forward without their past hindering them. More importantly, both have saved their relationship forming a stronger bond than what they had before.
Availability on the web affects television viewership
XX had cult popularity online.
Unlike other web dramas, XX was available not just on most major streaming video platforms in Korea, such as VLive and Naver, but was available for free on YouTube.
As a result, its online popularity was very high, given its reach and availability.
Maybe that is the reason why XX didn’t do so well as a K-drama. Airing on the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) channel was not a problem for most viewers, but the time.
Episodes aired on Friday mornings at 12:50 a.m. KST. That is almost one hour after midnight. Not everyone will be able to stay up to watch an hour-long episode.
The viewership ratings provided by AGB Nielsen Korea are proof enough. The highest viewership rating was only 2.2 percent. As a matter of fact, the finale — which traditionally would have the highest viewership ratings — was the lowest at 1.4 percent.
Ultimately, XX was a great drama overall. It may not have done well in the K-drama format, but that does not negate that it was very entertaining with a memorable cast and decadent plot.
XX is no longer airing on MBC, but the entire series — ten episodes as a web drama and five as a K-drama — are available online.
For viewers wanting to watch XX in the K-drama format, it is available for free, with ads, at Rakuten Viki. For viewers wanting to watch XX in the web drama format, it is available for free on the Playlist YouTube channel.
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