Category: ‘Drama Recap’

176 Articles
[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Bride of the Water God 2017” Episode 7
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Bride of the Water God 2017” Episode 7

Even ignoring the issues with So-ah's personality, she's also an unspiring character on account of her sheer passivity. Time and again, rather than do anything constructive to assist in her goals or Ha-baek's, So-ah just gets unceremoniously tossed into life threatening danger and has to be rescued from her plight by another character with actual competence. Whether that competence is in the form of a gun, better driving skills, or literal magical powers, the effect is the same- So-ah just ends up feeling like dead weight.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “The King Loves” Episodes 5-6
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “The King Loves” Episodes 5-6

So it's not just my imagination- the opening crawl explaining the background of "The King Loves", with the threat of Mongol invasion, coupled with the increasingly aggressive character descriptions, make it pretty clear that even the production team has realized the content of this drama is incredibly dense. Unfortunately background alone doesn't really help explain motivation. That much is a pretty strong stickler, considering the bizarre series of events that closes out episode six.

I mean, don't get me wrong. That particular cliffhanger is well built up to. We're shown all of the relevant foreshadowing ahead of time. The main part that's missing is who contrived the situation that required Lin to use such a painstakingly specific skill in order to "solve" it. And more importantly why. While "The King Loves" may be great at looking dramatic, its urgency is hobbled by how every character action just begs more increrasingly complicated questions.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Duel” Episode 15
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Duel” Episode 15

The penultimate episode of "Duel" is filled with suspense, regret and hopelessness as Mi-rae's and therefore the twins' and Soo-yeon's lives are in danger. Seong-hoon is having a breakdown and is therefore unpredictable whilePark San-yeong will stop at nothing to succeed. Sadly for him, his rivals are equally tenacious and the time has come for the most risky move from Deuk-cheon and Jo-hye yet.

Things are not looking well for Soo-yeon (Lee Na-yoon), but I do I wish the drama had made her fate a bit bigger a source of suspense, because the science is unclear. Logically, her body is beyond repair and although we know physical injury can be miraculously healed through Mi-rae (Seo Eun-su), we have not been given enough information for Soo-yeon. Then again, I do not believe the drama would kill a child during its conclusion.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Man Who Dies to Live” Episodes 3-4
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Man Who Dies to Live” Episodes 3-4

The other Ji-yeong (played by Lee So-yeon) is, at present, the most likely suspect for Count Said Faid Ali's daughter, although this is based on limited information. Count Said Faid Ali's information is filtered through Abdullah Mohammad Waliwala (played by Jasper Cho), and we've been getting hints that he is not to be trusted. It's just that Count Said Faid Ali is too eccentric to notice. Observe his bizarrely complicated plan for eventually meeting his daughter that in the short term just involves spending a lot of time with Ho-rim.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Man Who Dies to Live” Episodes 1-2
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Man Who Dies to Live” Episodes 1-2

Count Said Faid Ali (played by Choi Min-soo) is The Sheik- not literally, but that's the character type he aspires to. Such clichs about the Middle East are more than a little antiquated. It's hard to escape the sheer cartoonishness of Count Said Faid Ali's supervillain palace, complete with sexy women in blasphemous swimsuits that couple headscarves with cleavage. By the end of the sandstorm it's pretty thoroughly established that Count Said Faid Ali is from a pretty weird world.

...But actually, Count Said Faid Ali is from Korea. Once that's explained, we move into the world of Ho-rim (played by Sin Seong-rok), a nebbish bank employee. He struggles with trying to resign from the job that he hates, and can't even stand up to his wife Ji-yeong (played by Kang Ye-won) when she tries to take the family on an unwanted vacation. Take note, though, that Ho-rim never comes off as a particularly sympathetic.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “The King Loves” Episodes 3-4
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “The King Loves” Episodes 3-4

The editing in "The King Loves" is very quickly starting to confuse me. Here I was thinking that we were just going to watch the three main leads deal with the whole bridge situation chronologically then for some bizarre reason the production team keeps jerking us around between events from before the bridge incident and after the bridge incident and other far away stuff that has nothing to do with the bridge incident and it's just, getting really hard to keep the story straight.

This is where I can see that "The King Loves" is clearly adapting itself from a novel, where introducing a large number of characters in an exceedingly complex plot can be done fairly economically. But the sheer level of exposition going on is the kind where I really kind of need a chart in front of me just to keep track of each character's known motivation. Which is harder than it sounds, since a lot of this motivation is for now being kept fairly intentionally vague.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Bride of the Water God 2017” Episode 6
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Bride of the Water God 2017” Episode 6

Bi-ryeom (played by Gong Myung) is, like Moo-ra, a god living in the human world who is supposed to be doing divine stuff but instead seems to engage mainly in petty bickering. Thus "Bride of the Water God 2017" continues its fine tradition of making Ha-baek a sympathetic character, not by having him engage in character growth, but by making all the other characters he talks to even more obnoxious. I guess it's working. Ha-baek is swiftly becoming the only character in "Bride of the Water God 2017" I particularly care about.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “My Sassy Girl – Drama” Episodes 31-32 Final
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “My Sassy Girl – Drama” Episodes 31-32 Final

The final clean-up takes place pretty quickly. Really, once it's established that the right people were digging in just a little deeper, and that most of last time's cliffhanger was just a matter of dramatic license, there really isn't any direction for Gi-joon to go except for straight down. There is, naturally, also the gratification of seeing all the other villains brought in one by one and punished for their transgressions.

Of course none of that takes very long so the real focus for the final episodes of "My Sassy Girl - Drama" is on the reconciliation between Woo and Princess Hyemyeong. Which initially disappointed me. Not that there's anything wrong with that story arc, just that the whole issue of Princess Hyeomyeong's mother coming back to the palace is surprisingly glossed over. I thought we'd get more focus on that, considering Princess Hyemyeong and her brother now share the unfortunate fate of thinking their mother is dead- but Prince Wonja is just left in the lurch.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Bride of the Water God 2017” Episode 5
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Bride of the Water God 2017” Episode 5

The more I watch of "Bride of the Water God 2017" the more baffling the worldbuilding becomes. Observe how Ha-baek, for all his general ignorance about how most of the human world works, apparently easily understands concepts like skateboarding, motor vehicles, cooking Western style food, and closed circuit television. Elsewhere, Ha-baek does not understand concepts like how it is a dumb idea to knowingly put yourself and others in a dangerous situation.

I mean seriously, at one point a crisis is only able to resolve relatively painlessly because apparently Soo-ri is fireproof. Are the characters from the godly realm in "Bride of the Water God 2017" also invulnerable in addition to being immortal? Although even if they are, So-ah most definitely is not, so it makes no sense whatsoever for Ha-baek to throw her into a dangerous situation.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “The King Loves” Episodes 1-2
Drama Recap

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “The King Loves” Episodes 1-2

Won (played by Im Si-wan) and Lin (played by Hong Jong-hyun) are brothers. Won is small, impulsive, and reckless. Lin is patient, thoughtful, and tall. For most of the first episode we get into a fairly complicated and beautifully choreographed backstory about how Won and Lin were witness to the tribulations of Eun-san (played by Yoona), a girl who was on the wrong end of a bunch of assassins.

To be honest I wasn't totally that enamored with the first episode of "The King Loves" because while it looked cool, almost all of the action was being initiated by characters who lacked screen presence. The main important establishing storytelling it does is by showing off all those kickin' rad Goryeo era costumes. As is usually the case for Goryeo dramas, all of the characters, even the women, are unusually aggressive, so no poking around with obscure court procedures here.