Summer Strike (2022)
Title: Summer Strike
Hangul: 아무것도 하고 싶지 않아
Writer & Director: Lee Yoon Jung
Summer Strike Cast and Characters
Summer Strike Plot
After Lee Yeo Reum is dumped by her boyfriend and her mother dies, she decides to make a change and uproot her life. She quits her job, moving to the small village of Angok. There, she meets An Dae Beom, an awkward librarian that she connects with and they find comfort in each other.
Summer Strike Ending Explained
Does Summer Strike Have a Happy Ending?
Yes. Summer Strike ends on a high note with all the main characters alive and both couples together and happy. The murder mysteries are solved and the perpetrators are brought to justice.
What Happened to Dae-beom?
Along with Yeo-reum, Dae-beom investigates and solves the murder of Bom’s grandmother. He and Yeo-reum also figure out who the true culprit is of his sister’s murder, Seon-ah.
They record evidence and submit it to the police, leading to the arrest of the Kwak father-son murder duo.
Afterward, Dae-beom visits his estranged father and apologizes for suspecting him of murdering Seon-ah.
Dae-beom continues to work at the Angok library but has also reconnected with his passion for math.
Dae-beom now works on his theories virtually collaborating with Professor Holland, a different professor this time who isn’t taking advantage of him and his work.
What Happened to Yeo-reom?
Despite all the horrible experiences she’s gone through in the small town, Yeo-reom decides to stay in Angok.
Yeo-reom begins to work again and finds a job as a part-time milk delivery person.
Her mornings are spent delivering milk and after her work is done, Yeo-reum has the rest of the day to do what she wants.
She spends her time doing things she was doing before: reading, going to the library, walking on the beach, etc.
Yeo-reom is also persuaded by Bom to write a webtoon so they can enter a contest together.
Yeo-reum has finally moved out of the rundown billiard hall and now lives with Bom and her brother where she pays rent.
At night, she goes jogging with Dae-beom.
Do Yeo-reom and Dae-beom End Up Together?
Yes! Yeo-reom and Dae-beom end up together at the end of Summer Strike.
Dae-beom persuades Yeo-reom to stay in Angok when she’s on the verge of leaving the town after Bom’s grandmother’s funeral.
The couple investigates and solve the murders of Bom’s grandmother and Dae-beom’s sister. They gather the evidence to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Yeo-reom and Dae-beom continue dating, running together every night.
Summer Strike ends with Yeo-reom and Dae-beom on the beach together holding hands.
Sadly, the drama ends with zero kissing between Yeo-reom and Dae-beom.
Who Killed Bom’s Grandmother?
Bom’s grandmother was killed by the town real estate broker, Kwak Doo-hee, who rented out the billiard hall to Yeo Reum. He is also the father of the cop, Kwak Moo-chul.
He killed Bom’s grandmother to protect his son.
Who Killed Dae-beom’s Sister?
The police officer, Kwak Moo-chul, is the one who murdered Dae-beom’s sister, Seon-ah, while they were in middle school.
Moo-chul and Seon-ah were fighting in the billiard hall and he accidentally killed her when he pushed her into a shelf.
What Happened to Bom?
Bom attempts suicide after her father relapses and abandons his family, taking all of their savings with him. Luckily, Yeo-reum arrives in time and Bom survives her suicide attempt.
Yeo-reum moves out of the billiard hall and moves into Bom’s house to live with Bom and her brother, paying them rent.
Bom picks up her art again and convinces Yeo-reum to enter a webtoon contest with her.
Do Bom and Jae-hoon End Up Together?
Yes, Bom and Jae-hoon end up together.
But first, Bom and Jae-hoon break up after they fight over Bom’s childhood friend and Jae-hoon leaves Angok for the US.
But the high school lovebirds end up together in the end when Jae-hoon returns from the US to propose to Bom.
Bom waves off his proposal (thank goodness) and suggests they date first.
The drama ends with Bom and Jae-hoon together bickering at the beach with Yeo-reum and Dae-beom.
Summer Strike Ending Review
I really loved the ending of Summer Strike and its commentary on what it means to be happy.
Yeo-reum’s definition is beautiful and succinct:
“Happiness: the state of not lacking anything.”
Yeo-reum quit her job, sold off most of her belongings, and left her home in Seoul. She arrived in Angok with barely anything to her name.
But not once does she express missing the things she used to have.
The only part of her old life Yeo-reum longs for is her dead mother.
In Summer Strike, we see Yeo-reum find happiness through simple pleasures like swimming in the ocean and reading books at the library.
But above all else, what makes Yeo-reum happy is her newfound relationships. With Dae-beom. With Bom and her grandmother.
Even when she was unemployed and living in a rundown billiard hall, she found happiness in her relationships with others.
And that’s good enough.
“This really is enough. I still haven’t figured out how I should live my life, but this is good enough. I shall live.”
Summer Strike Review
Is Summer Strike Worth Watching?
Summer Strike is worth watching for Dae Beom and Yeo Reum and their relationship.
Yim Si Wan and Seol Hyun have a very sweet and natural chemistry and are a joy to watch.
Sadly, they’re often overshadowed by unpleasant supporting characters, overwhelming tragedy, and the obligatory kdrama murder plot.
There are many healing dramas with the same premise as Summer Strike that are easy and relaxing watches that make you feel good.
Summer Strike is not one of these dramas.
Although Summer Strike is flawed and darker than expected, Dae Beom and Yeo Reum’s relationship is wonderful and make the drama worth watching.
The Main Leads
Yim Si-wan as An Dae-beom
I absolutely love Yim Si-wan’s performance as Dae-beom. Si-wan is one of my favourite actors and I always enjoy his unique interpretations of the characters he plays.
Dae-beom is not a very talkative character but Si-wan expresses so much through his eyes and body language. I was really impressed at how he successfully conveyed Dae-beom’s kindness and warmth with so few words actually spoken in the first few episodes.
Equally impressive was his depiction of Dae-beom’s grief and pain. Very quiet and understated but no less heartbreaking.
After watching Summer Strike, I have a newfound appreciation for Si-wan’s physicality and microexpressions as an actor.
Character-wise, I was really taken with Dae-beom’s lack of anger and bitterness. Dae-beom is a math genius and if life treated him more kindly, he would probably be very rich and successful in the city.
Instead, he has a boatload of trauma and works at a library in a small town. I would not blame Dae-beom if he were a little bitter and jaded over how his life turned out.
But he isn’t.
Despite everything he’s been through, Dae-beom remains inherently kind and I really admire him for that.
Kim Seol-hyun as Lee Yeo-reum
I enjoyed Seol-hyun’s warm and understated performance as Yeo-reum. But I have mixed feelings about her arc in the drama.
In episode 1, Yeo-reum deals with a toxic work environment, her mother’s death, and her break up. All of these things happen in quick succession but they didn’t really make me feel anything.
They were just the events that needed to happen to jump-start the drama and get Yeo-reum to Angok.
We don’t see Yeo-reum process her grief, trauma, and unhappiness which lead her to uprooting her entire life in Seoul and moving to Angok. She barely even talks about it.
I think this does a great disservice to her character and her journey.
It feels like a missed opportunity.
Instead, Yeo-reum was always the one supporting people through their grief and trauma.
Yeo-reum’s primary role was being someone to lean on for both Dae-beom and Bom. Yeo-reum’s presence vastly improved the lives of Dae Beom and Bom.
Yeo-reum’s relationships with the Dae-beom and Bom brought happiness to her life as well. But I still feel her character was not highlighted as much as she should’ve been.
Although I was disappointed by the lack of time spent on Yeo-reum directly dealing with her grief and trauma, I did enjoy watching her find happiness.
I enjoyed watching Yeo-reum discover happiness in living a simple life, leaving behind the stress and expectations of her old love in Seoul.
I enjoyed watching her find joy in the everyday, mundane things people take for granted.
The Main Romance
Dae-beom and Yeo-reum’s Slowburn Relationship
I absolutely love watching introverts fall in love and Dae Beom and Yeo Reum’s relationship is no exception. Their romance moves at a snail’s pace which might frustrate some viewers but for their characters it felt right. Si-wan and Seol-hyun have great chemistry which makes it all work.
There aren’t any sweeping declarations of love, passionate fights, break-ups or make-outs.
No pettiness or jealousy. No drama.
Dae-beom and Yeo-reum meet and they just click.
They feel happy and comfortable together.
It’s a simple and beautiful love story.
Dae-beom and Yeo-reum’s quiet joy is palpable whenever they’re together and it’s adorable.
Their relationship progresses slowly but there are many heart-fluttering moments.
Surprisingly, despite being the leads, Dae-beom and Yeo-reum’s relationship doesn’t get as much focus as you would expect. And if you’re a fan of skinship, you’ll be very disappointed. Physically, the farthest their relationship progresses is hugging and holding hands. Yes, Dae-beom and Yeo-reum never kiss. Not once. Not even a peck on the cheek.
My favourite moments between Dae-beom and Yeo-reum were watching the small changes Dae-beom made in his life to make room for Yeo-reum. From changing his running routes to buying a cell phone so he can talk and text Yeo-reum, I loved watching Dae-beom open up his life to her.
Incredibly sweet and romantic.
The Supporting Characters
Everything Horrible Happens to Bom
Bullied at school.
Stabbed by her alcoholic father.
Those are just a few horrible things that happen to poor Kim Bom through 12 episodes of Summer Strike. The constant pain was gratuitous and after a while, it was difficult to really feel anything but exasperation at the lazy writing.
I did get really angry by the lack of support Bom received after being stabbed by her father. Bom is pressured by her family and everyone around her to protect her father. I was sad that not one person stood by Bom and prioritized her feelings and well-being. Not even Yeo-reum.
I understand the importance of filial piety but it was hard to watch Bom’s feelings diminished by her loved ones.
Bom really deserved better.
Yeo-reum and Kim Bom’s Friendship
Yeo-reum and Kim Bom’s unexpected friendship was one of the few bright spots of Summer Strike.
Bom needed someone on her side that she could trust and Yeo-reum slotted into that role in her life perfectly. It was touching how caring and supportive Yeo-reum was to Bom and her family. I loved watching the friendship between these two lonely characters blossom.
The Other Supporting Characters
Before I reached episode 12 of Summer Strike, I was hoping the drama would end with Dae-beom and Yeo-reum leaving Angok together and finding a new place to live with less unpleasant people. Yes, they were that bad.
I found the people of Angok annoying and unbearable to watch from start to finish.
I disliked how they made Yeo-reum the town punching bag and blamed her for absolutely everything. Yeo-reum is incredibly kind and the awful treatment she received by almost everyone in town was infuriating. And they never apologized for treating her like garbage.
I enjoy the idealistic depictions of small towns in other dramas where the people are kind and friendly and the town is like a family. Summer Strike offers perhaps a more realistic depiction of people in a small town but my goodness it’s a chore to watch.
The Obligatory Kdrama Murder Plot
A murder subplot is a requirement these days for kdramas and sadly, Summer Strike is not an exception.
In fact, Summer Strike doubles down with TWO murders!
Yeo Reum lives in the abandoned billiard hall (with no locks!) where Dae-beom’s sister was murdered because it’s the only place she can afford. I actually didn’t mind this murder storyline at first because it involved Dae-beom and his trauma and I care about Dae-beom.
Expanding the murder storyline by killing Bom’s grandmother was just unnecessary and cruel to our characters. It felt like just another reason for the Angok residents to bully Yeo-reum. And the mystery and motive around the murders weren’t even compelling.
Just very frustrating to watch.
Should You Watch Summer Strike?
If you like quiet and introverted leads and slow-burn romance, you should definitely watch Summer Strike.
Just don’t watch this drama expecting passionate romance and skinship.
What did you think of Summer Strike?