Drama Check-In 05/18/2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

In the last Drama Check-In post, I complained I didn't have much to watch. Now I already feel the pressure of keeping up with all the dramas I'm watching and the ones coming up. Weirdly, I find myself interested in most of the upcoming shows, which will certainly pose a problem in terms of time management. But isn't it always this way? When it rains, it pours, right?

My Secret Romance (9/12)
Since we left off at episode 4, our main couple has come a long way. In fact, we're pretty much near the finish line here, with only the mandatory angsty bits just left before the OTP gets to ride off into the sunset together.

First we had Jin Wook realizing that he has competition, forcing him to act out more than usual. While Jin Wook's petty jealousy was wholly entertaining, I'm glad that the misunderstandings about his and Yoo Mi's respective romantic pursuers were cleared out quickly and the pairing got to spend time together in a more honest and open way. 

I was also happy that Jin Wook finally called off the three-meals-a-day arrangement as it was inappropriate of him to use her job duties as an excuse to flirt with her. In real life, this would be sexual harassment, so I'm relieved we're finally done with that and I can turn my brain on again.

Having cleared the air and getting a fresh start, our couple also hesitantly started dating. To Jin Wook's credit, I'd say they got to this point thanks to his sincerity, as Yoo Mi's insecurities and doubts of self-worth kept holding romantic development back. I'd even say that despite starting out as the more immature one, Jin Wook has grown more as a person than her. This is especially evident in how naturally he took over daddy duties, even though nobody ever said he was Dong Goo's father. At this point, I feel he might be very disappointed when he finds out the truth, as he has come to love the idea of starting his own family. I hope he won't take it too hard.

One thing that kinda ruins all the happy things I feel for the OTP's positive progress is our second lead Hyun Tae who, dammit to hell, is kind of a great guy himself. Clearly, he has been in love with Yoo Mi for a long time, but hasn't really found the right time to tell her how he feels. Kind of a classic case of being friends for so long that you can't move the relationship to the next level without jeopardizing everything. It also makes it worse how gracefully he took it, stepping aside to let Yoo Mi be happy with the guy she likes. For what it's worth, it would make so much more sense to choose him over a cocky chaebol in real life. Alas, he doesn't actually exist.

Chicago Typewriter (10/16)
I'm really glad episodes 9-10 brought the needed clarity to the events of the past, explaining the chronology of the memories we'd seen so far, as well as showing us how our trio came to fight together for freedom. Although a lot of this was information we already could guess from context, revisiting these scenes in the correct order helped to piece things together and gain a better perspective on the motivations of our Carpe Diem crew. This was especially effective of course when we got to see the kiss between Hwi Young and Soo Hyun the way it actually happened. And damn, that was one hot kiss.

Admittedly, I was slightly disappointed with the present day scenes in turn, as despite Seol's mom suddenly showing up and stirring some painful feelings in Seol, things were relatively...well, underwhelming. 

I did enjoy seeing Se Joo softening towards Jin Oh and even taking him on a trip around modern Seoul. It was really sweet of him to genuinely thank Jin Oh for fighting for the country back in 1930s, ensuring a future for all of them today. I also felt for poor Jin Oh when he wanted a picture of him and Seol, knowing well that he wouldn't show up on them. His ghostly existence is endlessly tragic and I can only hope he's able to make himself known to Seol soon. Preferably before Tae Min starts causing trouble for our adorable apparition.

What I was confused with, however, was how Seol and Se Joo suddenly seem to be dating now, without me even realizing that they have kinda-sorta admitted that they like each other (did I miss something?). While I like how normal their courtship is, I do feel like I've missed out on a heartfelt confession or a passionate kiss somewhere in between. Maybe that's just me, but I wanna be that invisible third party in that relationship who's there for all the important moments. Well, fourth party if we count Jin Oh...

Suspicious Partner (2/16)
Truthfully, I'm so hesitant to write or say anything nice about this drama, having well experienced the many fuck-ups by promising shows. But against my better judgement, here goes...I like...this drama. Maybe it's because of Ji Chang Wook, maybe because of Nam Ji Hyun, but I had pretty good time with the first two episodes.

Granted, the tone of the drama is a little over the place, with episode 1 focusing mainly on the romantic comedy aspect, while episode 2 suddenly taking a turn for a dark murder mystery. Going in blind, I did not expect things to go from 0 to 100 like that, but the two episodes did do a good job at setting up some interesting conflicts and relationship dynamics. In that sense, I feel the drama knows where the story is going and I'm just gonna have to trust that it leads to somewhere good. 

Most of all, I was happy that I already like the main characters. Our leading lady Bong Hee is refreshingly bold and strong-willed, not letting anyone give her crap or put her down. How she dealt with her break-up was admirable, though also petty. It's great that Nam Ji Hyun plays her with such wonderful energy, making the character come alive in ways that many other actresses would struggle with. I found Bong Hee equally courageous, amusing and vulnerable throughout the first episodes, making me feel hopeful about her future character arc.

Meanwhile Ji Chang Wook portrays his character Ji Wook with a fascinating mix of restraint and humor. Since the character is supposed to be a reserved and cold-blooded prosecutor, I find it curious how I'm already emotionally invested in him. Already in the first episode we saw that he's a man with empathy, taking surprising lengths to comfort a stranger through a break-up. In the second episode, he was much more conflicted about Bong Hee and how much he should help her, but that made it much more satisfying when he ultimately did the right thing, sacrificing his own position.

It worries me a bit that he'll try to distance himself from Bong Hee in the aftermath of his destroyed career, but it might have more to do with his own personal failure than the woman who indirectly caused a chaos in his life. In any case, it's an interesting set-up to the OTP's relationship and I'm intrigued to see how things progress from here on.

Ruler of the Mask (2/20)
With pretty much all of my latest attempts at watching sageuks having ended in bitter disappointment, I haven't put a lot hopes on any of the new sageuk series. I've had my eye on Ruler of the Mask, but kept my expectations low for the premiere. Perhaps going in without expecting much was why I found myself enjoying the first episodes. 

Objectively speaking, the story doesn't seem that original or groundbreaking thus far. We've got an incompetent king, the villain planning to overthrow him and a young, idealistic crown prince who will, in all likelihood, take over the throne soon enough. Before the inevitable tragedy strikes, the young prince will have a chance to fall in love and make friends, then lose or be betrayed by them over the course of the story. I'd say most sageuks follow this formula more or less.

Still, I'm feeling optimistic about this show for one glaring reason - Yoo Seung Ho. I'd really forgotten how magnetic this young actor is, but it only took me minutes to remember. While he portrays the youthful spirit and idealism of the crown prince really well so far, I'm also convinced he'll be equally skilled at depicting the character through the forthcoming hardships which will shape Lee Sun and make him a worthy king.

I'm also quite excited for the romantic angle, as Yoo Seung Ho and Kim So Hyun already look lovely together. Although there's a considerable age difference between them, I don't notice it since they're both younger than me (T_____T). I do hope we'll get to see more of our graceful heroine in the upcoming episodes because we haven't spent much time with her yet.

On the other hand, I have less nice things to say about second leads Yoon Soo Hee and L. While I think Yoon So Hee is technically more skilled at acting than L, she always gives off a somewhat unpleasant, almost untrustworthy vibe. While she is supposed to be sly and cunning here, she doesn't act or talk like she belongs in this era, which bothers me greatly. 

Meanwhile L, bless his heart, does try really hard for this role and I can see that. Yet, I find his acting pretty cringy despite. You can see that the character's emotions don't come naturally to L, so he has to force them and that comes across in his portrayal. I don't think he was the right choice for this role, but perhaps there's a chance that he improves over the course of the series. You never know.

Father Is Strange (22/50)

Pretty much speedwatching this for Lee Joon and Jung So Min. It's an easy watch (especially when you fast-forward a lot), but hardly anything interesting ever happens. We're finally getting to the point where Mi Young and Joong Hee are maybe starting to see each other in a new light. Or at least I hope that we're there now. Although, I gotta admit, it creeps me out that they still think they're half-siblings. I'd like that to be cleared up soon, honestly.

Tunnel (5/16)
As it turns out, I did go back to this but I'm still feeling iffy. I guess I just wish it was shorter than 16 episodes because I don't really care about the weekly cases. I also don't fancy the loveline between  Sun Jae and Jae Yi, mostly because I haven't warmed up to Jae Yi. It also sucks a bit that I'm already exposed to some spoilers, due to the show being so popular. I'd probably be willing to forgive it all for some epic bromance, though. That's just how I am.

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  1. My Secret Romance... Damn, you tempt me. If only SH wasn't THIS yummy. I curse NToG for introducing this man.

    1. Let yourself be tempted. The drama is mostly just him looking hot anyways.

    2. Downloaded.
      You are an enabler. To sin!


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