Drama Check-In 10/02/2016Sunday, October 02, 2016
Updates on Drinking Solo, Shopping King Louis, Jealousy Incarnate and somewhat extended thoughts on this week's Moon Lovers, where shit went down all at once. Again, I had no time to check out The K2, but since I have my plate already very full, I don't feel the need to rush into it right now.
Drinking Solo (8/16)
I had fun with Drinking Solo this week. I was a little behind, so I had to catch up with the episodes that aired the previous week, but in doing so I did get a little more attached to the characters.
We're now at this point where the leads are becoming aware of their feelings, although Jung Seok is so deep in denial that it's ridiculous. The thing with Jung Seok is that I don't dislike him (not anymore), but the stuff he says sometimes is just facepalm-worthy. At first I thought he was purposefully being a dick, but now I feel that maybe he's just not good with people. I mean, there's a reason why he drinks alone. His principles are also awfully slanted, but you already see him struggling to make sense of what he thought to be true and what his heart actually feels, which makes it very amusing to watch him battle with himself. What a high quality fool he is, really.
We also got more insight into side-characters that I previously thought were there for comic relief only. Ki Bum was faced with the reality of disappointing his family, Jin Yi felt unappreciated by her boyfriend who wouldn't marry her and Jin Woong was revealed to be a divorcee taking care of his ill mother. I was pleasantly surprised with them getting their own little arcs and touching ones at that.
I admit finding this drama more enjoyable now that it's playing around with the expectations we have of different characters and making Jung Seok's crush on Ha Na all cute and funny. Then again, the impending conflict between Jung Seok and Gong Myung worries me.
Shopping King Louis (4/16)
Despite its juvenile premise, silly humor and simplistic conflicts, I have so much fun watching this, and man, Seo In Guk is really knocking it out of the park with this performance. Every time Louis smiles and makes puppy eyes at Bok Shil or tugs her sleeve, I simply melt.
This week we had Bok Shil and Louis bonding even more as they continued to struggle with trying to survive in the big city and getting taken advantage of by others. They're both naive, but in different ways and while I constantly worry for them, I'm glad that they always have each other to turn to for comfort. We're also getting tiny glimpses of romantic attraction and while so far Louis' admiration for Bok Shil has mostly been because she is essentially his savior and caretaker, next episode's preview shows him being genuinely jealous of the idea of her liking Joong Won. So, as much as I love their friendship now, I can't wait these romantic feelings to blossom.
Also, I wonder if Louis gonna get his memory back soon. If that means he gets to reunite with Butler Kim, I'm all for it.
Jealousy Incarnate (12/24)
First of all, I was happy that Hwa Shin came clean to Jung Won about Na Ri on his own and despite threatening to confess and make her his, Hwa Shin still firmly chose friendship over unrequited love. It's both amusing and sad how he keeps contradicting his words with his actions, telling Jung Won not to trust him but then being entirely loyal to him.
Also, while Hwa Shin spent episode 11 all tortured and heartbroken over doing the right thing, in episode 12, he seemed to find some balance and kept himself at both a physical and emotional distance from Na Ri. Finding out she pitied him because of cancer really hurt him, but it also made him realize that he can't go on like this. It certainly won't mean the end of his feelings for Na Ri, but at least he tries his best to let her be happy with Jung Won.
But most of all, I was so relieved that even after all was said and done, Jung Won and Hwa Shin's friendship wasn't destroyed. The intense fight in the mud in episode 11 somehow helped them to work some things out and seemed to make Jung Won reflect on being overly suspicious about his friend. So when Jung Won came to take Hwa Shin out for a drink, I was overjoyed how easily they restored their bromantic dynamic. Even if that was mostly thanks to copious amounts of soju, this means they're not giving up on each other yet.
Of course, now Na Ri is going to find out the truth as well and that will most likely get things all mixed up again. I do wonder if knowing Hwa Shin's feelings will affect her own in some way or if she's just gonna be mad at him, but I guess we'll see.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Goryeo (11/20)
Now, this is what I'm talking about. Episodes 10-11 delivered the much needed development on all fronts, with Wook making poor choices and pulling away from Hae Soo, giving the chance for So to step in to be her silent, loyal hero and Lady Oh making the heartbreaking sacrifice to save our heroine. It was an exciting week and despite many of the earlier technical flaws still persisting (bad lighting, clunky editing, intrusive love ballads etc), the drama finally got to the point where it was genuinely compelling.
I'm glad that Wook's transition to a darker and more ambitious character was done subtly , so that we could see him feeling tortured by his decisions, while also proving that he's too weak-willed to ever take care of Hae Soo the way he promised. It was distressing to watch him turn away from Hae Soo at her most difficult time and witness her faith in him being entirely crushed, although he was in a tough position himself, being caught between family and love. Granted, we as viewers don't see much value in his family, but at the end of the day, he's still the breadwinner and man of the household. I still don't feel too bad for the character, because him falling out of favour with Hae Soo was long overdue, but I'm conflicted about outright disliking Wook because I love Kang Ha Neul and his performance here. In fact, this might just become a breakthrough role for him.
Meanwhile, So's character saw much improvement from last week, where he'd been very dismissive of Hae Soo's feelings. I'm glad that the beginning of ep 10 showed him regretting the kiss he forced on Hae Soo and though he did not explicitly apologize, it was good to hear him assure that he was not going to kiss her without her permission again. Most importantly, however, So calmly drank three cups of poison for Hae Soo and if that's not devotion, I'm not sure what is. But being the beast that he is, So spent like a second being bedsick and then got up and marched to Hae Soo's cell, where they shared a lovely, sorrowful moment.
My favourite was of course the cape scene, where So showed no care for his status and stood silently behind Hae Soo to cover her from rain and be her sole protector. It would have been a better scene if they'd just kept the sound of rain in the background instead of playing another love ballad, but it was a powerful moment nonetheless. I especially loved that little detail of Hae Soo straightening herself to let his cape cover her, which was symbolic of her finally putting her trust in So and finding new strength.
The biggest surprise came from Lady Oh, however, who made the ultimate sacrifice and saved Hae Soo from death. The moment in the cave, where Hae Soo desperately tries convince Lady Oh to run away with her was crushingly hard to watch. If I didn't know any better, I'd be convinced they're the OTP here. Wonderful acting job by the ladies in the scene, by the way.
Since this week was so good, I'm fully prepared to be let down again next week, though I do hope that Lady Oh's death and Wook's abandonment will help Hae Soo to mature and become more aware of her surroundings. Obviously, I also want to see romantic development between her and So as well, though I'm more at ease now that Hae Soo saw the extent of So's loyalty towards her. And let's hope we still have time before So goes evil.