Summer Strike
 I Don't Want To Do Anything
아무것도 하고 싶지 않아
  ENA, Genie TV (2022) 12 Episodes
Based On Web Toon
Grade: B+
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA
(Some Spoilers)

Based on a 2020-2021 web toon by Ju Young Hyun, adapted and directed by female director Lee Yoon Jung (Coffee Prince) about a young lady who yearns to get away from city life and find a new life for herself in a country setting, Summer Strike (2022) is a mostly relaxing short Korean drama to watch while you're in between episodes of your currently viewing longer Korean drama(s). At only twelve episodes, with beautiful cinematography to enjoy in every episode, it breezes by rather comfortably, telling a mostly pleasant, serene tale of simple folks enjoying their simple lives, although toward the end of the story some unpleasant and tragic situations arise to challenge the young girl's goals of living that peaceful life in her chosen new setting.

Starring the exquisite, gentle actor Im Siwan (Misaeng, Triangle, The Moon Embracing The Sun) and the contemplative beauty Seolhyun (The Killer's Shopping List, My Country: The New Age), who had lovely chemistry together, the story is told very effectively through their charming, evocative talents. I really can't imagine any other actors playing these two quiet, kind characters so perfectly. Sweetness personified! And I must say I just loved Siwan's longer hairstyle in this drama! It was very attractive on him.

The Story:

Hard-working Seoul city career girl Lee Yeo Reum (Seolhyun) has been rising in prestige at her company despite an obnoxious, sexist male boss who often yells at her unfairly, probably because he's jealous of her swift success which might unseat him at his own job someday. He accuses her of improprieties constantly, even in front of other employees. She is furious with the situation but hides it well.

With her decent salary Yeo Reum helps take care of her aging mother, who is always cooking her nutritious meals so she can stay healthy and fit. Then one day a terrible tragedy occurs and her mother is killed in an accident. Grief-stricken, suddenly unable and unwilling to put up with her nasty boss at work anymore, Yeo Reum quits, and determines to take some time off from the rat race to re-evaluate her life away from Seoul. With several thousand dollars in savings to rely upon, Yeo Reum travels to a pretty seaside town named Angok. She goes on a tour with a real estate agent to find a cheap apartment for herself, but it seems everything she is shown at first is too expensive for her budget.

Then suddenly a strange opportunity arises when the agent points out an old abandoned building that used to be a billiard room business years earlier. No one else has wanted to rent it out because of its rather dilapidated condition ... and for another, more sinister reason that Yeo Reum does not learn about for quite some time. The agent says she can have it for only 35 dollars per month rent! 35 dollars??? A steal! How can she turn that down?

So in she moves to this abandoned building and tries to make it as homey as possible for herself, inside and out, fixing it up quite well on her skimpy budget. She even nobly buys a cute white dog, whom she names Gyeo Wool, as a rescue from an abusive pet owner, and moves the doggie in with her as a companion (with this move I said out loud to my son, "Now THIS is a girl after my own heart!" I have a white fluffy dog, too!). 

Yeo Reum figures she can stay in this seaside village for a year, not working, if she can keep her daily spending down to around ten dollars a day for food and other supplies. She doesn't buy a car but walks everywhere. As time goes by she tentatively starts to make a few friends, including a kind local librarian named An Dae Beom (Im Siwan) who always seems glad to see her -- basically because this library hardly gets any visitors at all! (Don't country people like to read???). Dae Beom has a female co-worker named Jo Ji Young (Park Ye Young) who starts to get jealous of his newfound friendship with book lover Yeo Reum.

Yeo Reum learns that Dae Beom is a math prodigy who once had a promising future ahead of him in academia, but some family difficulties and a tragedy of a sister dying under mysterious circumstances had caused him to leave the city and settle in Angok. They become fast friends, talk about their favorite things in life including books, go running together every day for exercise, and she even encourages him to return to Seoul on occasion to pursue his math brilliance again at university. As he warms to Yeo Reum, other townspeople who admire him begin to notice, and to warm to Yeo Reum more too, including a rather solitary teenage girl named Kim Bom (Shin Eun Soo), her brother Kim Ha Neul (Shin Ki Joon), and their sweet Grandma (Kim Hye Jung). The family's father is rather a loser, an alcoholic, and isn't around much to help out financially. Bom works at a convenience store after school to earn money to help out. She has a fellow high school boy student who has a giant crush on her, named Heo Jae Hoon (Bang Jae Min), but she doesn't encourage him, possibly because she feels so unworthy. (He was so nice, if I were her I'd be smiling at him constantly, but she mostly scowls at him! loosen up, girl!).

The new clique of Angok friends even go on a scenic trip together and enjoy some laughs. A food store owner named Bae Sung Min (Kwak Min Gyu) and his adorable younger brother Bae Joon (Kim Jun) join the new group of friends as well. However, tragedy is just around the corner, when someone starts writing threatening words as red graffiti on the outside walls of Yeo Reum's rental building. Security cameras pick up an unidentifiable person wearing a hoodie spraying the graffiti. Then even worse, someone attacks and kills Bom's sweet Grandma when she had stopped by Yeo Reum's place to check on her. Bom and her family are devastated. Even her father swears to stop drinking and get a real job to support his family.

Ladies, Imagine Going On A Date
With A Man Who Has Never Been
To A Movie Theater! LOL!

A mentally retarded local teen resident named Hwang Geun Ho (Kim Yo Han) is picked up for the attack, but his parents, who own a local restaurant, refuse to admit their son could have killed anybody, especially not an old lady he was actually fond of! The town is in an uproar over her death. Grandma's funeral is quite public and everyone grieves for weeks. But then, little by little, Yeo Reum and Dae Beom begin to doubt the official story of who could have killed Grandma, especially when they learn that the mentally retarded teen had bad astigmatism and could not have sprayed letter graffiti on anything without wearing his special glasses. The person on the security camera footage was not wearing glasses!

Teaming up to solve Grandma's murder, Yeo Reum and Dae Beom even put their own lives at risk trying to catch the duo whom they become convinced caused the death. They believe that Yeo Reum had been the real target for murder that day, but that Grandma had gotten in the way, and essentially had saved Yeo Reum's life. The real culprits are two men in the town who had a lot to hide, and some of that had to do with Dae Beom's late sister's death as well.

When the murder is solved, and the real criminals arrested, some semblance of normality returns to Angok, but Yeo Reum is exhausted, and has to decide whether she will stay in Angok or move back to Seoul. Will Dae Beom give her any reason to remain? Will she ever be able to restore her friendship with Bom, who unfairly blamed Yeo Reum for her Grandma's death?

I enjoyed Summer Strike a lot and would encourage you to watch it; however I do feel that the story line of a city girl moving to the country to find a new life for herself was done 1000x better in the 2020 masterpiece I'll Go To You When The Weather Is Nice. A library even figures into that story as well! (but at least the townspeople frequented that library a lot more than the folks do in this drama, and they even discussed their favorite novels and poetry in depth! I know which town I would prefer to live in! lol).

Plus, quite frankly, I'm getting a bit tired of so many Korean dramas today focusing on crime and murder. It gets so predictable! Summer Strike would have been even better, in my estimation, if the growing relationships of the townspeople with Yeo Reum had been the main focus of the plot, and not the murders of innocents in the town. It then could have been a pastoral, romantic classic I would have returned to many times in the future. 

Always Keep Your Hair This Long, Siwan! :)