Category: ‘Drama Recap’

176 Articles
[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Ruler: Master of the Mask” Episodes 11-12

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Ruler: Master of the Mask” Episodes 11-12

The opening swordfight gives the impression that "Ruler: Master of the Mask" has decided to be an action swashbuckler about Prince Seon fighting for justice against a corrupt regime. Instead, we get a story arc about international trade with Japan. When I saw that Prince Seon had a whole gang of confederates I was sure he was going to, I don't know, steal the tax money or something. But no, he just approaches Hwa-goon to ask for a loan.

That's what Hwa-goon has been up to the last five years. She's a merchant now. It's unclear whether she still works with Dae-mok. My guess is not, because her idea to become the Queen is a lot more viable now that Prince Seon has been replaced by a compliant puppet. Mostly. The other Seon has a brief angry scene where he gets morally indignant about legislation that hits a little close to home.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Man to Man” Episode 5

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Man to Man” Episode 5

"Man to Man" may have a dark side, but it's really just a story about three people who are growing up. In between all of that are corrupt officials doing dirty deeds to acquire lofty positions, burgeoning love triangles, and bouts of situational humor. It is the last that surprises me most, especially with the dark subject matter that surrounds Seol-woo's life as a ghost agent.

The events that tied the episode together were the romantic happenings between Seol-woo and Do-ha. Placed once again with Woon-gwang and his gang for a top secret mission, Seol-woo uses romance as his guise. What he doesn't realize -- at least not fully -- is that romance is going to get the better of him. He thoroughly enjoys winning over Do-ha who is absolutely smitten with him. Her displays of adorable confusion over his feelings for her and over which decision she should make regarding him are worthy television moments. It is the tension of the push and pull that makes for entertaining romance and we get plenty of it here.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Ruler: Master of the Mask” Episodes 9-10

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Ruler: Master of the Mask” Episodes 9-10

I used to think that Dae-mok was smart, but his plan for maintaining power after murdering the royal family is...disappointing. And also accidentally hilarious. The other Seon does not look, sound, or act like the real Prince Seon. He couldn't fool Dae-mok for a single scene even when the unexpected help of a false witness. Yet apparently, the other Seon is now the lynchpin upon which all of Dae-mok's evil schemes rest.

The actual ambitions of Dae-mok's evil schemes are a tad inconsistent. He had a good thing going with the water price gouging scheme. Water is something everyone needs, but very few people know about the capital costs necessary to procure it. Rather than just continue with that, Dae-mok uses his victory to unnecessarily antagonize the peasantry. At which point Ga-eun comes up with an equally silly and improbable plan to escape, which of course works. Although this is mostly because Dae-mok straight up forgets that the peasants exist for five years.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Circle” Episode 2

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Circle” Episode 2

"Circle" once again proves that there is merit to a shorter series with an episode so packed that keeping up and grabbing onto every little tidbit of information is challenging. In 2017, Woo-jin gets a new study partner who challenges his hard-earned normalcy. In 2037, Joon-hyeok dives deeper into the stabilization chip and its true function. It looks like our seasoned hero holds the key to all mysteries.

Whether Woo-jin's (Yeo Jin-goo) new friend is the alien or not is the current mystery in 2017. That and whether her convenient approach during class is deliberate, of course. The episode also takes its time to establish Woo-jin's identity as Joon-hyeok (Kim Kang-woo) and noticing the little details which achieve that is highly entertaining. From the Rubik's cube to pinching a young Lee Dong-soo's (Jeong Joon-won) eyelid, the series makes it clear in a fun way.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Whisper” Episode 17 Final

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Whisper” Episode 17 Final

The callousness never ends for our villains, who fight until the very end to turn things around for themselves and take one another down. Yeong-joo and Dong-joon's work is not done after his arrest, because there is always the trial. The time has come for everyone to pay for their sins and merits and we all know which ones owe the most. Meanwhile, Tae-gon makes a new friend in prison.

By now I am surprised that the villains are still trying. I understand why they are, but it is funny seeing Jeong-il (Kwon Yul) act cocky when he is no longer free to influence the evidence as he likes. There are several trails and people who can point to them on the outside. Then again, Jeong-il has not been playing with a full deck for a while, so perhaps this is just another manifestation of his madness.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “My Secret Romance” Episode 11

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “My Secret Romance” Episode 11

As expected, Jin-wook and Yoo-mi continue to be generally sad as they try very hard to pretend like they don't miss each other. Jin-wook, being the man, is of course the first to snap and realize that of course he loves Yoo-mi and needs her very much. But various contrivances pop up to insure that Jin-wook misunderstands what Yoo-mi is doing, until finally, a disaster comes up that's big enough to force Jin-wook to do something.

The good news is that we finally get a pay-off to Mi-hee's constant efforts to get on television. The relevance of this subplot was completely unclear to me until Mi-hee finally gets on-screen and promptly manages to make a huge mess of everything for everyone except herself. Much like the Dong-goo subplot, the payoff here is much better than I was expecting. The scene is not only humorous in its own right, but it also gives a badly needed jump start to the plot.

[Drama Review] ‘Man to Man’ — Episode 10
Drama Recap

[Drama Review] ‘Man to Man’ — Episode 10

We find out that Mr. Seo is still alive, surviving the car bomb the same way that Seol Woo did -- he wasn't in the car at the time. Woon Gwang is worried about his money, so he keeps our favorite bodyguard close to him. It gets even worse when he finds the NIS funds have been frozen. Meanwhile, Lawmaker Baek begins the NIS coup, kicking out and arresting key players, men of honor who can't be bought. Seeing Do Ha get hit on, Seol Woo decides to finally commit his heart to her and takes her in a kiss...

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Circle” Episode 1

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Circle” Episode 1

"Circle" enters the drama game today and expectations are high for a genre so rarely loved by Korean film and television. The episode introduces both timelines, their characters and the two mysteries which will unfold through their adventures. These mysteries are instantly engaging, the characters easy to feel attachment to and the pop culture references and homages abundant. There is a lot to talk about, so here we go.

Before talking about the human and by far best element of the series, I have to say that I am surprised by how rich the world-building in "Circle" is. From the written to the mise-en-scne this is a series which makes its setting clear. This is especially crucial in 2037, because the creators face the challenge of presenting a foreign world. From the masks carried by Normal Earth inhabitants to the giant, narcissistic phallic buildings of Smart Earth, everything paints a clear image.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Whisper” Episode 16

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Whisper” Episode 16

One of the governing elements of standard villains is their refusal or even inability for remorse and redemption. "Whisper" makes this inescapably clear as Jeong-il and Soo-yeon try to one-up each other in being horrible until the very bitter end. Dong-joon and Yeong-joo can taste victory, but this victory comes at a price. As Dong-joon comes collecting dues, his own cannot be overlooked.

It is time to enjoy more backstabbing from the two villains as their time is up and while their poor characters have left me unable to get completely into it, there is still fun to be had. Soo-yeon (Park Se-yeong) and Jeong-il (Kwon Yul) hit an unfortunate middle ground of not being cliche enough to find entertaining or nuanced enough to feel engaged by. Even so, there is a good enough dose of satisfaction to be felt as Jeong-il pays Soo-yeon back with her own medicine.

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “My Secret Romance” Episode 10

[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “My Secret Romance” Episode 10

I was expecting the big dramatic event that would force the rift between Jin-wook and Yoo-mi to be related to Dae-bok's meddling. But surprisingly, that all gets resolved in a single scene. An exceptionally long scene where Dae-bok and Mi-hee somehow manage to have a big fight without either of them clearly explaining what exactly it is they're fighting about. So yeah, that was pretty funny, although once the miscommunications are over with, Jin-wook and Yoo-mi proceed to spend the rest of the episode in dramatic angst.