I don’t think I’ll be able to move from Chicago Typewriter anytime soon. Sometimes, it’s the drama you promised not to invest in too much ended up owning your mind, body, and soul, not to mention the tears. CT was like that to me. It was during the pre-emptions between episodes 8 and 9 that I realized that I was lost without the drama to bury myself in, proving that I was already too deep into it. I blame the drama and its soothing, lullaby-like background songs (despite the heavy themes looming behind), which became my respite from the real world in the past two months. The wait was worth it, and I’m left feeling hollow after the finale.
CT was not perfect. There were plot holes and missed shots; the stalker, the Baek household’s story, where it all started for Hwi-young and Yul. I have a lot of questions left unanswered, but I have to be content with those answered by the writer at the end. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who see its appeal, it was a treat. It was a small heaven for book lovers; those dream bookcases and rooms, the quotes, the lines, and the feels. Plus, it was aesthetically pleasing to see the 1930s set coming to life, not just the dark side of the Japanese occupation, but the glimmer of hope present in the lives of the youth there.
The Blurring Line between Past and Present
I think a lot of us wished that the story was solely about the Gyeongseong trio instead of going back and forth between the past and present, but the beauty lies in the transition. It highlights the stark contrast between the dark past and the (somehow) free present. Although Hwi-young, Yul, and Soo-hyun didn’t get to see the fruits of their labour and their dreams coming to reality, Yul was there to witness everything in their stead, ‘living’ vicariously through Jin-oh and reuniting with Se-ju and Seol. Their losses, their sacrifices, their dreams didn’t go burned into ashes; they somehow materialized and reignited in the present people. Their stories remembered, and their tales told to the whole world.
Memories and Reincarnation
Their respective endings in the past explain why they are in their current state in the present. Soo-hyun was the last to leave among the three, and it made sense why her memories were the first to emerge in Seol; her regret was as huge as the ocean that she looked back hundreds of times while crossing the River of Oblivion, desperately searching for Hwi-young and Yul, fervently yearning for their presence beside her even in her death, reminiscing their times together, regretting her choices along the way.
His betrayal on Hwi-young was not the reason he was locked in the typewriter; it was his strong love and compassion towards his best friend and Hwi-young’s last cordial request that made Yul locked himself in the typewriter, believing that they will cross paths at one time, patiently waiting for the time that might not even come. It was his love for Soo-hyun that consumed his soul – he was nothing but a ghost after the last mission – but it was his loyalty to Hwi-young that made him resilient to stay as a mere apparition in the world instead of crossing the boundary.
Hwi-young’s yearning for Soo-hyun was so strong that his souls possibly wandered around her in the 49 days before he departed; he did everything possible for him not to regret anything, but he had to look back one more time for Soo-hyun, wondering if she’s living fine in a world without him. Hence, the birth of Han Se-ju who is as strong as iron, whose past memories starts to come only after his encounter with his most trusted buddy’s ghost.
I was (and still am) glad they didn’t take the routes I’ve imagined, from what I’ve seen in various dramas. Jin-oh’s departure felt real instead of planned (with goodbyes and hand shakes and all), although Se-ju’s cries made me choke. We could never know if he got reincarnated too later, and boy, how glad I am they didn’t go down the cheesiest route of making him Se-ju and Seol’s child or something like that. Seol and Se-ju continue on with their lives, and the only thing we knew was Yul had joined his band, back to where they belonged: Carpe Diem. Nothing mattered more.
Here’s to the unforgettable moments:
Hwi-young’s piercing stare,
Yul’s regretful wailing,
and Soo-hyun’s resentful glare.
Thank you for the treat, show.
You will be missed.