Drama Check-In 01/28/2018

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Drama Check-In is a recurring post that helps to keep track of dramas I'm currently watching and allows me to share immediate thoughts on them as I go through the episodes. The intention is to write down my prevalent impressions and encourage readers to do the same in the comments. Discussion is welcome.

I'm Not a Robot (26/32)
Okay, now I know why the angst in this show hasn't bothered me. It's Yoo Seung Ho and his ability to make every bit of Min Kyu's pain so darn real. It's awful and beautiful at the same time, which is a hard balance to achieve but Yoo Seung Ho is doing just that.

Now that we dealt with the aftermath of Min Kyu finding out he'd been lied to by everyone he cared about, we really got to see just how much the deception hurt him. I was obviously there with him already but watching him viciously lash out on Ji Ah and realize that all the feelings he'd poured out for the first time in his life were all part of an elaborate hoax really drove the point home. Yet, despite how hard it was to watch Min Kyu take out his anger on poor Ji Ah, I still felt every tiny bit of his humiliation, betrayal and heartbreak like it was my own.

Of course, I also felt for Ji Ah, who was largely on the receiving end of Min Kyu's tormented rage. I don't blame her for her choices as she had been mostly unaware of what was really going on with Min Kyu during her Aji 3 act. She hasn't had a chance to show Min Kyu her side of things yet, but I believe that the most painful part is over now and she'll finally have the opportunity to tell him how she feels. And I think once Min Kyu learns that his feelings weren't one-sided even the slightest, he'll no longer carry any resentment towards her.  

Overall, I've been very happy with how the drama has dealt with the angst so far, but especially in these episodes. Min Kyu's harrowing monologue towards a tearful Ji Ah in episode 26 was definitely one of the best and the most agonizing scenes in the entire drama, with both Yoo Seung Ho and Chae Soo Bin giving their all in the scene. While I'm now convinced that Yoo Seung Ho truly shines in dramatic moments, I'm also very pleased with Chae Soo Bin's acting. Both have been marvellous in their respective roles and I feel the show owes a lot of its appeal precisely to them. I wouldn't have enjoyed (?) the pain as much if it weren't for them. 

That all being said, I think I'm looking forward to some cute now and I do believe we're finally at that point.

Just Between Lovers (14/16)
Oh man, how am I supposed to write about all the good things that happened in these episodes when that darn preview for next week sent me into despair?

Now I'm sure that this drama will end in Kang Doo's death and I'm so sad and angry about it because it's devastatingly unfair. I find it unlikely that the preview's misleading since I've watched every preview so far and they've all just been pretty straightforward spoilers. Besides it's best for me to prepare for the worst and maybe that way the forthcoming blow will be easier to handle, though I doubt that. I'm already reluctant to watch the last two episodes, knowing they're going to break my heart, but out of respect for all the good times I've had with this show I won't be quitting now. 

Thing is, this drama has otherwise been beyond my expectations. It has dealt with heavy themes in a very thoughtful and subtle way, and if you've watched Korean melodramas before you know that subtle is usually the last thing they are, so this is quite a feat. Directorial style, cinematography and musical choices have also been strong throughout and made the drama visually and technically very pleasing to watch. 

But most importantly, I really grew to love our main leads Moon Soo and Kang Doothe emotional core of this story—who have been just as intriguing individually as they are together. I've never rooted for a melodrama couple as much since usually the miserable lovers are far better off separated. Here, however, Moon Soo and Kang Doo are kindred-spirits that deeply recognize the trauma and pain the other is going through and thus are able to console each other in a way that no one else can. The drama has proven as much with how Moon Soo stayed with Kang Doo as he was grieving Halmoni and how Kang Doo supported Moon Soo through her problems with family. They are truly therapeutic for one another and I could see them leading very healthy, happy lives if only they were able to stay together. I guess that's probably what devastates me the most.

I don't know if I'll be able to handle the finale week and the pain that's sure to come. I will never agree that Kang Doo's death is necessary for the story, but at the very least I hope that the writer can somewhat explain that choice in the end. I do have enough faith in the writing that I believe the last episodes are worth watching even if I know and hate what's coming. But make no mistake, I'm still furious and heartbroken that the writer doesn't think Kang Doo is worth saving. 

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