Is “Encounter” A Healing Drama Or Simply Boring? – Spoiler Free Review

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Everybody in kdrama land has been talking about this drama for a while now. A lot of people described it as one of the most anticipated kdramas of 2018.

When it aired, the drama was off to a promising start. The premiere was a smashing success, episode one premiered with 8.7% and peaked at 10.1% coming in second place in the highest rated premiere drama of tvN.





However, the rest of the episodes fluctuated in the 7% range.

The drama enjoyed some level of success throughout its run and reached the double digits at one point making it one of the successful tvN dramas of 2018.

This spoiler-free review will be subjective and to some level opinionated. I will try my best to take into consideration the side of people who enjoyed it and talk about my own thoughts as well.

So let’s jump right into it.

The story

The drama script isn’t original or particularly anything special (is there any these days?) but it’s to some degree interesting.

It piqued my interest at the start because it’s reversing roles. A rich woman and a middle-class man who fall in love against all odds and fight against the rich family members who want to end their relationship because of their difference in social status. It’s usually the other way around.

Writer Yoo Young A is behind this drama, she has written three drama scripts “Entertainer,” “Bel Ami” and “Encounter.” What I like about her drama scripts is the way she discussed social issues and inequality between men and women, it’s something that I noticed about her dramas and movies.

If I had to choose my favorite drama script she wrote, “Bel Ami” is obviously the winner in terms of uniqueness.





She also wrote a dear movie to my heart that’s titled “My Annoying Brother.” Her movie script are far more successful and interesting than her drama scripts.

To me, “Encounter” felt very simple, too simple! The writer doesn’t even try to experiment or use the good actors she secured for her drama and that’s really a shame because if I were her I would have had fun with the script.

The idea is interesting but is it interesting enough to carry 16 1-hour-long episodes? In my opinion, no!

I will not go into deep details about the script since this is a spoiler-free review but I will talk about the general idea the script revolves around.

A lot of push and pull takes place, the romance also takes a while to fully bloom, it also falls into the regular stereotype of people who try to actively ruin their relationship using their power or appealing to the lead characters empathetic side, the characters aren’t that interesting and that’s also another issue.

I feel conflicted with the script, a part of me understands why she took so long to get things going between the characters while the other part of me believes that many parts were unnecessary. Let me explain.

The writer takes you through the entire process of falling in love for a woman in her mid-thirties both the interesting and uninteresting parts, it gives you the overall vibe and sets the mood for what’s about to take place without missing a single detail.

This is why some people called the drama boring because it’s a vision of what happens when you take interest in someone, when you realize you really have feelings for them and when you realize you’re hopelessly in love.





As I said before, I understand the writer; she was aiming for a healing drama that takes you through the process rather than an intensive emotionally draining drama. This is also why you’ll see some other kdrama fans call this drama healing while others say its boring, it’s a slow melodrama.

This is why I am conflicted. I don’t know what to say about the writing exactly since I don’t know what the writer was aiming for.

Was she purposefully adding unnecessary sub-plots and scene-fillers because the basic idea is all she has? Or is it intentional because she wanted the audience to feel each character pain and understand their point of view?

She could have done so much better with the base material she had, she could have spin it in a very special unique way. She had the luxury to do so because of the cast.

To explain what I meant with ‘luxury,’ usually kdrama writers take feedback into question as they write since in most cases kdramas are written and filmed at the same time.

With such a stellar cast that’s probably being paid a ridiculous sum of money, the writer should have tried to steer clear from stereotypes mainly because the main actors draw in the audience using their names and that audience is very interested in anything they do.





With a tighter budget and a less familiar cast taking a risky move can sometimes hurt the actors and the production, but in this case we have people who can carry it using their names

With the basic plot she picked, this easily became just another stereotypical kdrama that brings nothing new to the table.

There are some episodes that you can deduct 10 to 20 minutes off that’s because there is a lot of silence sometimes, a lot of repetitive scenes of characters recalling events, at first you find this cute but as time goes back they just keep piling more previous flashback with sad background music.

There are also many unnecessary scenes that don’t add or subtract in the wider spectra of the drama, meaning their addition or subtraction has no effect on the plot.

The other issue was something “Encounter” couldn’t control… comparisons.

“Encounter” aired around the same time “The Last Empress,” “Memories Of Alhambra” and “SKY Castle.” All of the dramas I mentioned were extremely dramatic and over the top.

“Encounter” was overshadowed the moment it aired, the only reason kdrama fans were excited about this drama was because of the cast, if it hadn’t been for them, I don’t think kdrama fans would’ve anticipated the drama.

If “Encounter” had aired in a time when little interesting kdramas were available, I do think it would have been a bigger deal, its just that it aired at the wrong time and failed to capture the public’s attention because there were so many other kdramas with far more interesting unique stories.





When you have one hour to watch something, would you choose a drama about mundane events and two people constantly crying and longing for each other? Or will you pick an intriguing suspenseful drama?

This is something you guys won’t have to worry about since all these dramas already concluded their runtime, the way you answer the question above will help give you an idea of whether you should watch or not.

Aside from the plot which I still feel conflicted about, I am not conflicted when it comes to the way she created the drama characters.

Characters and performances

I didn’t personally like the way she created the characters!

Each character is very basic, the most basic form of character you’d see in any kdrama. The rich-calm woman, the sweet kind well-mannered man, the stuck up stepmother/mother/father, the supporting other parents, the noisy supporting characters that repeatedly say the same sentences over and over again…

This doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t such characters in real life, they actually exist and in abundance but it’s about the dramatic element and there isn’t much aside from the public pressure and pressure of expectations.

Bo Gum and Hye Kyo characters are extremely dull, the actors did well but the characters happen to be written in a way that makes you doze off.

Bo Gum and Hye Kyo look enchanting. Not all actresses can pull a bob hair cut but I think it suits the vibe of Hye Kyo’s character, that ‘stuck up’ powerful female CEO whose secretly trapped in a loop.

I think both actors suit the characters they played. I am going to get heat for what I am about to say but its personally my opinion on both actors…. I think they’re both good actors but not for every role, there are actors who can easily pull off roles across the spectra but those two are stuck on one side of it.

Song Hye Kyo in real life gives off a sophisticated calm vibe and I sense that in almost all of the characters she played throughout her career and she has played lots of them. Its just the way she carries herself.

This is not to say she played the same characters over and over again in every role but I rarely see her play a hyper unpredictable/psycho character that’s unlike anything she usually played in recent years.





I said this because I wanted to draw to the conclusion that this role suits her perfectly, when I read the character on paper, she is one of the first Korean actresses who come into mind for the role.

Some pointed out that this role she’s playing is very similar to the role she played in “That Winter The Wind Blows” and I won’t lie, I was reminded a lot of her role in that drama as well.

It’s the same case with Bo Gum, even though he did play a psychopath character in “Remember” opposite my lovely Seo In Guk, he still has that nice boy-next-door aura to him. It’s difficult to dislike him or not smile back when he smiles at you.

This is also why I think he suits the character Jin Hyuk as well.

I expected Hye Kyo to choose this script type for her comeback but I am disappointed with Bo Gum’s choice here, I am not gonna lie.

He spent about two years and a half MCing events and doing ads for various brands. For his comeback, he needed something with a twist, not this drama.

This doesn’t mean that “Encounter” is especially bad or what not but its not the type of script Bo Gum needed at this point of his career. He needed to try and steer clear from stereotyping himself.

In “Encounter,” he basically plays his own on-screen persona which we all love and adore. The kind sweet boy-next-door who’s extra polite, every woman wanna be with him and every man envy him.

I wanted Bo Gum to come back with a project that’ll leave an everlasting impression and “Encounter” was easily forgettable to me. It would’ve been nice if he had chosen an OCN drama, he needs to challenge himself not re-enforce the stereotypes about him over and over again.

Bo Gum is born in 1993 and he has to enlist in the military in two years, right now idols and actors born in 1990 are enlisting and according to the military law, Bo Gum will most likely have to leave before 2022 ends.

He needs to hit it while its hot so he can establish himself as a reputable actor beyond just a nice humble actor everybody likes.

In 2017-2018, he was offered a lot of roles, he was offered to lead “Where Stars Land” (which ended up going to Lee Je Hoon), he was also offered the leading role of the monkey in “Hwayugi” (which ended up going to Lee Seung Gi).

Both dramas had serious flaws with their scripts but as individual characters, Bo Gum would have been able to show a different side of himself.

The rest of the characters also do what you expect them to, none of them really try to do anything outside of the box. I think the characters seriously needed more thought.

However, if you like simple characters you’ll probably enjoy this drama. If there is one thing I liked about the supporting characters is that the writer didn’t make the script 90% about the two leads, she did try to be inclusive.

She involved supporting characters and created an environment around them, it wasn’t just about the two main characters which I appreciated.

Despite the fact that Hye Kyo and Bo Gum were leading the drama, the writer did try to make the story also about people around them not exclusively about them. That was nice to see.

Chemistry

This is where a lot of people get into heated debates. Some like the chemistry between Hye Kyo and Bo Gum while others, not so much!

I didn’t personally think it was THAT bad, I had such low expectations going in (I’ll explain why shortly) that I was actually pleasantly surprised when the drama aired.

Hye Kyo is married to Bo Gum’s best friend Song Joong Ki. Personally, in my head I have a certain image the Korean and international media helped cement. The two share a noona-dongsang type of relationship and they were always linked together using Song Joong Ki.

I feel weird watching an actor romance his best friend wife on screen; I just find it awkward!

Now I know they are both good actors and they did a good job at it (I didn’t doubt that for a moment) but it’s the connection they share in real life that had me skeptic, it wasn’t the age gap.

I would give their chemistry 5/10, and depending on whom you ask, you’ll either get 10/10 or 1/10. I think it also depends on how familiar you are with the actors and how immersed you were in the drama.

People who enjoyed this drama thought the couple suited each other so well, others thought the opposite.

Should I watch this drama?

People walked out of this drama having two contrasting reactions, they either liked the drama or not.

To me personally, the drama wasn’t that memorable or intriguing enough to stay in my brain even after it had wrapped up. Others will disagree with me.

I don’t mind healing dramas, in fact I love them but I feel that not everyone is capable of crafting those ‘healing’ dramas, some miss the mark and it ends up being boring.

I believe the writer was trying to go for an easily-to-digest drama but ended up with the results it did.

Whether I would recommend you watch this drama or not really depends on your taste:

  • If you’re a sucker for romantic-melodramas with good looking leads and a heartwarming message, you will really enjoy this drama.
  • If you’re a hopeless romantic you’ll love it.
  • If you’re the type of person who likes dramas with action or a substantial plot that has no dull moment you’re most probably going to give up mid-ways.
  • If you love Hye Kyo and Bo Gum, then of course watch the drama, but I doubt you’d even been looking for reviews if you were so sure.

This drama is perfect for those who just started watching romantic kdramas but for people who have watched many kdramas over the years or many kdramas over a short span of time, they will probably find this drama boring in comparison.

This drama might be more appreciated by people in their 30s; I have read many comments of women relating to Song Hye Kyo’s character and the internal struggle she goes through because she has fallen in love in her 30s.

Younger people might not be able to appreciate this drama as much because they personally don’t relate to it and see the subtlety in some scenes.

So what did you guys think of the drama? Would you recommend it?

21 COMMENTS

  1. We have same opinion about the comeback drama of shk. I am his fan thats why i watch almost his drama and movie. I’ve seen the samr shk acting. There is no new about his acting except for the kissing scene which is she act more agressive to kissed pbg sensualy especially the kissing scene shoot in cuba. They are seems real. They both loved and agressive to kissed each other ( it did not also help to increase there rating either)Aside from that .. her act is just the same with her previous drama. Same with pbg. His act is like pushing his character to be a romantic young boy. Maybe thats the reason why it did not make on top. Even the last episode did not increase above 10%. Sad to say the drama are even behind skycastle, moa and last empress.

  2. We have same opinion about the comeback drama of shk. I am his fan thats why i watch almost his drama and movie. I’ve seen the same shk acting. There is no new about his acting except for the kissing scene which is she act more agressive to kissed pbg sensualy especially the kissing scene shoot in cuba. They are seems real. They both loved and agressive to kissed each other ( it did not also help to increase there rating either and i feel akward everytime they kissed each other even it is just an acting but the fact they still kiss each other the only difference they do it in front of camera.) aside from that .. her act is just the same with her previous drama. Same with pbg. His act is like pushing his character to be a romantic young boy. Maybe thats the reason why it did not make on top. Even the last episode did not increase above 10%. Sad to say the drama are even behind skycastle, moa and last empress. Sad to say it was just a boring and ordinary love story.

  3. While I was watching Encounter I did really enjoy it. I love both SHK and PBG a lot, and I also liked the age difference since I haven’t seen it as a very common thing (and my husband is a lot younger than me, so I felt a bit of camaraderie about that). However, after it was over and I was really digesting all of it, a lot of the things you mentioned here crept up and I agree that you have very valid points. Maybe I didn’t notice it so much while I was actually watching it because I was also watching several other dramas at the same time and all of the rest of them were pretty intense and over the top, so watching Encounter gave me a chance to relax and calm my brain (and my heart)! In that way it really was a healing drama. Thrilling and suspenseful dramas are GREAT, but I appreciate the contrast of a slow, easy drama once in a while as well. Encounter felt that way for me.

  4. I was skeptical because I also know PBG and SJK are good friends. I watched few episodes and it was really weird seeing those kiss scenes. I also did not feel any kiligness seeing them. There was no spark for me. I found the drama to be very slow and too calming which does not suit my already calm life.

  5. I am highly recommending this drama to everyone, to all age bracket that are into K-drama addiction why because Encounter is not only tackling about the OTP’s romance but our LIFE itself na its STRUGGLES. It has give life again to many issues that everybody is facing. It is just you need a smart mind for you to be able to love and understand what the drama is telling about. It makes a person to know what life is all about again. It motivates a person to face bravely his/her life/ . It has the most explosive chemistry for OTP. I couldn”t take my smiles when I watched this. I always shouted and talked to myself because of the fluttering moments plus the VISUAL of the leads,- FANTASTIC and the acting, the sceneries, the cinematography, the OSTs. As in to the NTH LEVEL. Talking about the ratings – for a cable paid channel it is excellently enough and for all its influences around the globe it surely imprinted its significance. Going to the history of this, the beginning, there were a love-hate struggles within the fans of these actor and actress because of family issues; this drama struggles with the “so-called against all odd” but it still reverses it and became victorious. This is not a “BORING” drama but a drama that needs “TO SAVOR” every moment because each since is important and most are figuratively portrayed. Again one must be smart enough. This drama is categorically in the “CLASSIC” type that over the years is worth to watch over and over again. You will never be satisfied. IT IS TRULY A HEALING DRAMA!!! Young people can learn about life, family, loyalty, sincerity and most of all love through this. All those figuratively dialogues were killing my minds and my hearts. And you really become a smart ass because of incorporation of ARTS and LITERATURE. Ms. Lea Salonga is a famous Broadway actress and her mom is a smart person, they recommended this drama because it takes a classy person to know and appreciate a classy drama. Aww, what else? It is their loss if they do not watch it. 10/10 is my rating.

  6. I like the two lead stars but being romantic at that I don’t want them to end up together. I still SHK and her ex hubby will be together at the end since he is still in love with her. So after ep 8 I stopped watching. I am now hooked at The Crowned Clown.

    • yeah… you’re right. i, too, stop watching. i didn’t even finished ep 7 because i got bored. i prefer if he better be reunited with his Ex-husband who was supportive. he did made a mistake but at least, he didn’t do something bad with regards to his Ex-wife sharing a relationship with a much younger guy…

  7. I am a fan of shk since autumn of my heart.. I think her latest drama seems like his old kdrama. Her facial expression and acting is almost the same. Beside the story is just a common and old love story. There is only one thing i recognixe was her kissing scene. She only kissed agressively her previous boyfriend but with pbg who is a friend of his husband she act like its real. They both act like they loved to kissed each other which is new from shk. U cannot see her kissing other actor like them. Even sjk did not experienced a kissing scene like that in dots. How i wish shk try to do other genre after this drama. Or after conceiving a baby. She is on late 30’s it is better for her to get pregnant first before doing another drama. Just a friendly advice from her concern fan. God bless song song couple.

  8. i am not so much impressed with the story. it is more on a fairy tale romance drama. SHK fits the character of being the CEO however, going into that kind of relationship without reservations, it’s not typical of a woman with high status in life and also considering the age gap.

    the blogger is right by saying that some will just stop watching this drama midway. it’s not because of bad acting, but the story itself has flaws.

    ‘Something in the Rain ‘ is far more better that this drama. you won’t get bored to watch it a second time.

  9. I beg to differ. For me this drama is very heartwarming, every dialog is beautifully tailored and create a magical scene. Nothing is too much. This is my first time watching PBG act,and he nailed it (I used to doubt his acting skill, but not anymore). Good job for the Writer.

  10. I tried to watch 3-4 episode of Encounter and stopped. I find it boring, the story is dragging, the acting is forced even the smile of SHK (there is no twinkle in her eyes when she smiles). I also.noticed that she rarely open her lips to show her teeth when smiling. It’s almost always pursed as if she does not want to ruin the projection of her face. I felt that she wants to always look beautiful in every scene thus making her acting suffer. I don’t see nay spark between her and PBG. I think the perfect guy for that character is Song Joong Ki. He may be older than PBG but he looks more boyish and it will bring more kilig moments. Also, I think the divorce wouldn’t happen in that case. Sad 🙁

    • SJK is more boyish than PBG???. I think you need eyeglasses bc you are blinded in seeing things objectively.

      The divorce issue??? Don’t drag anyone here. Don’t blame anyone bc a drama will never be an issue of divorce. These people are professional celebrities. Unluckily it is SHK last drama is with PBG but it is not correct to drag a persons name or a srama bc of kissing scenes and explosive chemistry. If another actor is with SHK last drama, by whatbu r stating and emphasizing it means he will also be blamed about that. It is just a chance that it was a drama of SHK with PBG and a fresh one when SJK poorly declared his divorce issue to SHK.

      Moreover, it means you are telling SJK is that SHALLOW bc he filed for a divorce bc of kissing scenes of his wife with PBG. Oh my G, SJK will spit u out of his fandom bc you r thinking of him as shallow as this. Plus dont you know that SJK even told the viewers while filming AC to support and watch Namjachingu.

      Before the marriage began it was meant to break. FYI: Personality Indifference is the reason here. Like I said before it was even began it was meant to break.

      The truth of the matter of this SJK is totally a BiG LIAR bc during AC press con he said about SHK totally supporting him and having stability when you r a married person already. And after weeks/month he decalred his divorce. What a PATHETIC LIAR. Just to gain sympathy from viewers about his drama he would do everything and when the rating is poor he declared his divorce. AC suffered so much. It is great drama but it did not catch the good ratings given the BIG BiLLIONS of budget.

      Now It has been months already after the divorce of the year, my question is- are there issues connected to SHK and PBG about romantic relationships that we can see online or the dispatch floated it in all news portals – the answer is NONE. They are busy doing their own projects.

      Another point- you telling it is better for SJK to play as the green grape. Well FYI he can’t play that role bc in real life he aged drastically. He doesn’t have the same fresh look anymore. His hairs are loosing and his face becomes old. He can’t be Kim Jin Hyuk bc he is old in age in his face. Kim Jin Hyuk is only suited for PBG. The green grape is PBG and SJK is rotten grape.

      Given how he handled his divorce application and telling everyone in the world he would tell everything if SHK won’t cooperate is totally a pathetic man doing. He loved SHK b4 and he made a vow with her and then a divorce that can done SILENTLY , he had done NOISILY. What a pathetic man that SHK had gotten married to. Good thing they are divorced already.

      You are sad but I’m floatingly HAPPY .
      Don’t make judgements bc you will also be judged negatively higher than what you stated.

  11. Well everyone has their own cup of tea but this drama is highly recommended by me.

    This is a heartwarming drama and teaches so many lessons in life. Everything is beautifully crafted. The ratings are high for a kdrama shown in cable channel. This is a slowburn and that what I love most about this. If a viewer drops this and do not continue to watch, theyll never enjoy the wisdom of it . Speaking of professionalism-the leads just did what they needed to do and they just treated it as work so a 100% thumbs up for them for being so professional. And Its just natural and normal for a couple to do those kissings in the drama It called for the script. PBG and SHK slayed their roles here.

    FYI this drama has been aired to many countries. It just finished in the Philippines and is airing in Wowow TV of Japan and in Chile aside from these that mentioned in wiki:

    “In Indonesia, the series aired on Trans TV since January 7-26, 2019. Encounter the first K-drama ever, airing in Indonesia while still on going in South Korea.
    In the Philippines, the series aired on ABS-CBN on August 5-September 27, 2019 during The First and True Home of Asianovelas programming block, replacing Pinoy Big Brother: Otso.
    In Chile, the series aired on ETC on September 9, 2019 under the title Encuentro, in original Korean audio with Spanish subtitles. ETC is the only TV network”

    I don’t think if people are not enjoying this drama, networks around the world won’t purchase it.

    These are just my two cents about your article. God bless.

  12. A big YES! It is a HEALING DRAMA. Those that did not enjoy it are people biased with their feelings about the SSC.

    This drama will enjoy by INTELLIGENT VIEWERS that know how to distinguish what is real and reel.

    So to those who ENJOY it let’s reminisce the best memories of Encounter.
    Let me state it here a few of those:
    1. Cuba Meeting
    2.The Salsa Show
    3. Walking along the Malecon Beach
    4. The Lobby Ramen Invitation
    5.Dating Along the Metaseqouia Trees with Couple Ring Proposala
    6. Mukbang Dates
    7. JinHyuk covered Drunken Truth
    8.Cha Soohyun Surprisingly Chosen KJH Family Dinner instead of former in laws
    9.The creation of Theres No EXit, Ten Cm Radius Coordinates

    And many many more. So many to follow.
    This is a healing drama. Yes to that.

  13. Ofc it is a healing drama. It’s 2019 and I’m still stuck watching this drama just for my heart to be relaxed. Although it has its own share of momzilla moments but the touching/heart fluttering moments of the otp covered it all. The fact it has many great realizations in the end of it and how it is poetically done, that’s the factor WHY it becomes a healing drama to me.

    I think even I’m not a fan of SHK and PBG I enjoy this drama so much. Actually , I became a fan of Bogum after this and I even attended Bogum FM in Singapore bc I became attached to him. I searched every drama he has and watch it little by little.

    So to answer your cute question Yes writer nim this one is a healing drama after the commotion Sky Castle and MOA gave me. I want a relaxing drama like this and me being not a fan of melodrama and a fan of crime thriller one, to my surprise and unexpectedly I enjoyed this.

    Kudos to all of the people who collaborated here. They made a masterpiece.

  14. Oh holy cow, what kind of question is that jazmine…. I think you are being biased when you made this article. This Encounter drama is so good. Most of the time I was in my best smiles and giggling bc of the scenes here. Maybe, I could never see any drama like this that is so full of warm scenes well less the mothers pain in the ass a but what to do, mothers are born to be protective. And the hot passionate kissing scenes. Wahhhhh, daebak, Bogum is just so yummy when it comes to kissing. He is a kissing craftsman, no hesitations, full of passion. Oh my. The Best in Kissing. I love Bogum here. I really love him here.

    Pls don’t be bias when doing an article.

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