How Yu Na-Bi Settles for Less and Succumbs to a Toxic Relationship
By: Angelina Salvador & Gabriell Kleydman
Beginning at a point in Yu Na-Bi’s life where love ceases to exist, the show ends in exactly the way it shouldn’t: her falling into the “clutches” of a man, Park Jae-oen, who is so toxic to her mentally and physically that it seems borderline excruciating at times throughout the show.
Welcome to Nevertheless, the Korean drama on Netflix that was an absolutely disappointing watch; but, nevertheless (see what I did there?) captivated the two of us to the very end.
The show begins with Na-Bi, a student at university majoring in sculpture art, attending a sculpture exhibition of her then-boyfriend, who almost always is shown from the neck down which represents his insignifiance throughout the show. Through small clips, it is shown to the audience that this ex was incredibly toxic, getting angry at the smallest of things that Na-Bi would do, such as painting her nails lime green.
At this exhibition, there is one particular sculpture that captivates the attention of a majority of the attendees.This sculpture, named Na-Bi, is of a naked woman bent over a table, presumably this is a sculpture of Na-Bi herself.
Embarrassed by the attention she gets after her ex-boyfriend calls out her name loudly in the gallery, she runs off, breaks the relationship off soon after, and concludes that love simply doesn’t exist.
Shortly after, she just so happens to run into Park Jae-oen, an art major focusing on sculpture as well, at a bar, after he mistakes her for the blind date he was supposed to meet up with.
One thing leads to another and Na-Bi falls head over heels for the guy who refuses to commit to a serious relationship, which supposedly is the last thing on her mind after just getting out of a toxic relationship.
Jae-oen and Na-Bi start sleeping together, simultaneously her infatuation for him growing, although knowing the entire time that he isn’t one to commit. He would also string along a few women at a time, one that Na-Bi personally meets.
With the most predictable and cliche ending, one must ask: isn’t that the point of the show? To know that there are still going to be consequences regardless, hence the title of the show.
But if she was always going to end up with this try-hard cliché mysterious guy, which she barely even seems to know, why have her childhood best friend come into the picture?
Sure, there are characters and side plots that contribute to a character’s decisions, but Na-Bi’s feelings barely faltered when it came to Yang Do Hyuk, her childhood best friend, coming back into her life. He was a sweet guy, respected her, and had always loved her for as long as he could remember.
So, she cried over him.
But, she kept using him as a clutch to try and get over Park Jae-oen in the most Bella Swan circa New Moon style. He became the one person she wanted to get away from for so long until she decided to keep feeding into Park Jae-oen’s toxicity.
Na-Bi and Park Jae-oen’s relationship was built on lust. There was no other connection unless bonding over sculptures counts…
They never had conversations about who they were, especially Park Jae-oen who kept himself closed off forever, even after Na-Bi had painfully cried and protested against not knowing who he was.
‘Nevertheless,’ just proves that the frenemies-to-lovers or friends with benefits trope might not ever be as good as we want it to be. Although Na-Bi can be compared to Bella Swan from Twilight for using her best friend, the connection between her and Yang Do Hyuk was there.
His smile and the way he was around her, made Na-Bi swoon (which Park Jae-oen never really did to her) as well as people who were watching the show. He even bought her a bouquet of flowers for her at the art show!
People wanted them to end up together, the moment his character showed up; however Na-Bi must’ve not been empowered enough to choose herself over either Do Hyuk or Jae-oen, and ends up choosing the latter, despite the multiple red flags.
We’d like to think the reference to butterflies, Na-Bi in Korean means butterfly, and Jae-eon having a butterfly tattoo on the back of his neck, signifies freedom. However, Na-Bi doesn’t come to the realization that she too can be metaphorically “free” from men, and succumbs to the idea that she needs someone at all times.
Despite the show being so beautifully shot and acted, the last three episodes to be exact were just so painfully devastating to watch as Na-Bi slowly returns back to Jae-eon’s clutches.
Na-Bi didn’t fly away from Jae-oen, but we sure flew away from this show.