Goodbye Solo

Reviewed by: sukting

March 08, 2014

Rating: three

Year produced

How long
16 episodes

In the urban melodrama, seven lead characters of different generations and backgrounds are all haunted by loneliness; they gradually interact and form a "family" borne out of emotional connection and mutual understanding as they stay close to each other. All these people are linked together by an old mysterious owner of an eatery in the neighborhood, who hasn't spoken a single word in decades.

Story/Introduction on characters
1. Chun Jung-myung as Jin Min Hao
Min He is the son of a rich business tycoon, but works as a bartender in Sky Café. Because he is illegitimate, he feels estranged from his family, and has a strained relationship with his father. He knows Zhi An's family but keeps mum in order not to hurt Zhi An.

He looks like a gangster but he is quite gentle. He likes to joke and is very long-winded to brag about himself. Actually, he is very innocent and cares for others. His first love is Mei Li but later he is attracted by Xiu Xi. He finds a better job overseas and Xiu Xi joins him later.

2. Yoon So-yi as Zheng Xiu Xi
She is Zhi An's girlfriend and is an art designer. She despises her mother for her constantly changing partners, and thus is determined to be faithful toZhi An, despite her growing attraction to Min Hao. She claims to be cool and knowledgeable. She seems warm but is level-headed towards love.

She feels that Zhi An's family is very pitiful so she pretends to marry Zhi An to rest their minds. She is later touched by Min Hao to be with him to settle down in Cambodia. It takes some time for her to find him as she has to draw sketches of him to show the residents there.

3. Kim Min-hee as Cui Mei Li
She is the boss of Sky café. She is Min Hao's high school classmate and first love. She becomes Xiu Xi's model for drawing when she is free. She is chatty, cheerful and also observant. But she keeps crying for Hao Zhe. She doesn't understand why he refuses to marry her. Many find Hao Zhe scary but to her, he is cute, sensible and also pitiful.

4. Bae Jong-ok as Wu Ying Shu
She leaves home when her husband and children discover that she cheats them to have high qualifications. She becomes Mei Li's neighbor and all look upon her as their elder sister. She claims to be crazy to often on the loud music at night. Mei Li sneaks into Ying Shu's unlocked apartment one day to know her better so all of them become her friends.

She steals from others when young to get medical fees for her mother suffering from cancer. She deliberately stops calling for the ambulance when her mother has another attack and she dies. She confides all her secrets to Min Zai. However, through her hard work, she manages to send her younger sister to learn art in France. She is proud that she is happily married in France too.

Ying Shu feels very remorseful and she starts having imaginations of a teenage her at times. Sometimes, she even has illusions of a dirty her at times to wash a child her in the bathtub. That is why she goes to Min Zai for treatment when it becomes too frequent.

She has hoped that her husband can forgive her. After finding that he has a mistress, she gives up on him and stays alone since her children are sent overseas. When having a serious operation, only Min Hao and Wen Ying are with her. She is contented that they really treat her as family.

5. Lee Jae-ryong as Jiang Hao Zhe
He is a stubborn gangster despite of his small built. His sidekicks are terrified of his temper. He keeps getting into fights. He is remorseful when Zhi Xiu is paralysed due to a car accident after he humiliates her for sleeping with him. He registers their marriage but she avoids him. The more he loves Mei Li, the more he feels inferior about himself. In the end, he becomes a taxi driver to earn an honest living to be with her.

6. Kim Nam-gil (credited as Lee Han) as Liu Zhi An
He is Min Hao's high school classmate and best friend. He stays in Min Hao's home like the Jin's son. He works in Zhou Min's company as his secretary. He lies that his parents are overseas and hides his painful secrets. He takes a photo with strangers and lies that they are their parents by putting it at his work desk.

In reality, all of them are deaf mute. He feels inferior when his father takes his rap as he hurts his debt creditors to go to jail. They do not want him to have contact with them to affect his future. He falls for Xiu Xi and Xiu Xi is disappointed in him for hiding his past. So she breaks up with him.

He wants to get money for his niece's operation so he conspires with Zhou Min's business rival. Unknown to him, the rival sells the information back to Zhou Min. Zhou Min has to send him to work at the overseas branch as he doesn't trust him that much anymore. Nam-gil must be happy that he is no longer an extra after acting in here.

7. Na Moon-hee as Wen Ying
She runs away from her ex-husband as she is nearly beaten by him to death. Since then, she becomes silent and all think that she has problems talking. She now opens a kimchi shop and is hurt when Ming Zi keeps blaming her for deserting her. She takes the rap for Ming Zi in a child kidnap case and finally learns to talk when the rest visit her in prison.

8. Jang Yong as Jin Zhou Min
He marries his wife not due to love but due to work. He wants to strengthen his company position and sure indeed, his marriage fails. He wants Min Hao to be his successor but he chooses to be a doctor. In the end, he puts his hopes on Zhi An. He doesn't like Min Hao and is also displeased that Min Zai doesn't choose a prospective major to master as a doctor.

Knowing that Jing Hui wants to see Min Hao's father, he tracks him down and gives his address to Min Hao and Jing Hui. He only realizes his love for Jing Hui much later and their ties are better towards the end.

9. Jung Ae-ri as Piao Jing Hui
She is Zhou Min's ex-wife who wants to end the loveless marriage. She commits adultery by having Min Hao through Zhou Min's chauffeur. Min Hao learns that his blood type is different from his family when he can't donate his blood to Min Zai when both are involved in a car accident. Min Ho gets so dejected that he leaves home.

This ignorant woman still doesn't know the reason and even comes to Min Zai to reveal her decision to divorce Zhou Min. Min Zai gets fed up with his parents who keep coming to see him due to this and tell her about it. In remorse, she stays with Min Hao for one night at his roof-top home.

She secretly observes how Min Hao's father is working at a company at another province. Strangely, she doesn't live with him and returns to Seoul. What she wants is only to know how well he is. She likes to look at paintings and meet Zhou Min at an art gallery. It seems that they are getting along better now.

10. Kim Hyun-kyun as Jin Min Zai
He is a doctor but he can't cure his own wound. He witnesses how Jing Hui kisses the chauffeur at the gate and can never forgive her after that. Zhou Min has thought that he is the only one to know but he has not realised that Min Zai also knows about it. This also ruins his relationship with his family. After that, he is also hostile to Min Hao to often beat him up and he refuses to talk to him as well.

He becomes a psychiatrist at the hospital and treats different patients. He feels sorry for Ying Shu's plight and spends more time with her even after work. He also reveals his secrets to Ying Shu unknowingly. He is stunned when Min Hao comes as Ying Shu's guardian when she is hospitalized. The operation can improve her situation slightly although she can't be cured completely. Determined to make his own marriage work, he spends a lot of time with his wife.

11. Uhm Soo-jung as Yan Ji Shu
She is Xiu Xi's mother who is very impractical. After losing her husband, she has not stopped looking for another lover. She is upset with Xiu Xi not wanting to stay with her so she often comes to stay over at her place. Xiu Xi knows that Ji Shu is concerned about her but she is unable to express her love for her.

12. Kim Mi-kyung as Liu Shan Ji
She is Zhi An's younger sister. She is deaf and blames him for their father's arrest. She has a strong sense of pride and doesn't want to approach Zhi An at all. She marries Zhi An's classmate and both have a daughter. However, the daughter is sickly and needs a major operation. Zhi An finds his conscience back after seeing his niece and decides to be with them.

13. Yoon Yoo-sun as Lee Ming Zi
She is the daughter of Wen Ying's ex-husband. Although she is not her daughter, she treats her as her own. Ming Zi can never forgive her for deserting her so she keeps coming to Wen Ying for money. It is a hard time for her to see through her father's death. Wen Ying is the third mother and the only one that she trusts and yet hates now. The others do not know why Wen Ying gives in to her all the time.

She only feels bad after seeing all the wounds that her father has inflicted on Wen Ying's back. Ming Zi is married with a daughter but her husband is in jail. In need of money, she sees a rich boy who is close to Wen Ying to keep playing with her. She then kidnaps him but Wen Ying shields her from the police to get arrested on her behalf. She feels remorseful but is never brave enough to visit her in prison.

14.Kim Tae-hoon as Lin Zhi Xiu
She is Hao Zhe's ex-girlfriend who is a kindergarten teacher. She offers herself to Hao Zhe one night. Hao Zhe calls her a slut and tries to condemn her as much as he can as he knows that he will implicate her. On the very day she leaves the motel, she becomes paralysed after a car accident.

Hao Zhe feels responsible and often becomes her guardian when she is warded in hospital due to illness. She knows that he truly loves Mei Li so she talks to Mei Li to let her rest her mind. She also manages to make Hao Zhe to annul their registration so that he can start a new life.

15. Jang Tae-sung as Chang Yun
He is Zhi An's friend and later brother-in-law. He also knows Min Hao and he often gives Zhi An updates on his family. Zhi An often passes money to him to want his family to manage their finances better. He wants Zhi An to improve his ties with his family.

Most favourite character
Min Hao, he is undeterred by setbacks. He feels awkward to face Zhou Min but he still faces him in the end. He tries hard to improve his ties with Min Zai and he is finally successful in the end.

Most hated character
Jing Hui, she is the killer to kill her sons' trust in her. I don't understand her – if she loves her lover so much, is she so easily contented just to see him and not live with him? That doesn't make sense to me. This actress is the same as the mother for the brothers in ‘Lovers in Paris' – she is a famous son- wrecker indeed.

When we see what happen to each character, it is like seeing how all of them try hard to hide their past but it is like a shadow that tag them around. I don't really like how the producer reveals the female characters' sufferings too soon. When this is done too fast, the impact becomes small.

I like the part where Min Hao knows about Xiu Xi's past. He waits for her to cry for one whole night at Jiju island over her mother. He grumbles to her again but in a softer tone. Xiu Xi feels warmth to be with him than with Zhi An. Zhi An seems perfect and doesn't lack anything. Xiu Xi also gets to know of Min Hao's past to feel sorry for him. Despite of his experience, he transfers his warmth and sincerity to others.

Renowned for her in-depth, realistic portrayals of ordinary lives, writer Noh Hee-kyung said that the drama's theme is that all human beings are beautiful just the way they are, simply by existing in the world. It is quite true in a way as the real world can be harsh at times.

However, the pace can be too slow at times as the story is very serious. Acting wise, all give a satisfactory performance although most of them are unknowns. They have depicted the pain that each faces every well and how they struggle to overcome them.

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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