[Drama Review] ‘Man to Man’ — Episode 3

[Drama Review] ‘Man to Man’ — Episode 3

Seol Woo saves Woon Gwang with some quick thinking and some serious car crashing. Woon Gwang, in turn, does some serious soul searching. He knows this is the second car crash on set he’s been in, and that’s not a good thing. He remembers that his ex, Mi Eun, left him following the crash – so in his mind his career may have robbed him of his girl. When he finds out Mi Eun is a major stakeholder with the movie company, and that she hired Seol Woo, he is incensed and announces he is leaving Chewing Entertainment. Woon Gwang decides that seeing his old friend Chairman Victor in Russia is just what he needs. This is the opportunity Seol Woo and the organization have been waiting for, as Chairman Victor has one of the carvings. Seol Woo’s partner yells at the agent as he enters a room that is shielded against surveillance…

Again with the cliffhangers! I’d be mad except for the fact that I can see the conclusion the next day. I think it’s fairly adroitly set up like that, although we had to wait a week to find out how he saves Woon Gwang. Let’s be honest here, Woon Gwang is a main character. He’s not going anywhere, and they’re not going to kill him off this early in the series. But still, this drama is really well done. When they need to amp up the tension, they do it well.

The scenery is absolutely fantastic. One of the things about spy thrillers is the exotic locations, and this has it in spades. From the hotel to Chairman Victor’s palatial estate, we’re treated to some serious eye-candy. I’m not sure if they really were in Russia or not (I know that they were in Hungary for the pilot), but I was pretty well immersed. I’m looking forward to seeing some additional scenery that we can chew on.

Seol Woo’s relationship with Do Ha is an interesting one. We’re getting way more hints now that his interest in her isn’t just for the job. From the initial scenes that had him photographing her and telling her flat out that she’s pretty, everything’s been leading up to this one. When he sees her coming up the stairs in that dress, he knows — she cleans up really well. They’re just teasing us right now, and thankfully they do it way better than I’ve seen it done before — the tropes, if they’re there, are nicely hidden.

I didn’t know Woon Gwang was so complex. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. The standard tropes that Korean writers use when it comes to chaebols are well-established and old hat, but they treat this guy differently. He’s got a life and loves, and old flames that still burn his heart when he remembers them. And the Do Ha connection is pretty funny…she’s way more his mother than anything else.

And Mi Eun, her character grows in complexity with each new episode. She’s got connections, but I’m not entirely sure what they’re leading up to with this. She definitely doesn’t seem real happy with Seung Jae (nobody seems to like him, either, but that’s a topic for another time). It makes you wonder why she married him instead of Woon Gwang. I have a feeling this is more of a business arrangement than a marriage.

This show has taken on a lot of James Bond-ish characteristics. That’s not a bad thing at all. 007 is an established character and has quite a few imitators. He is the one to beat as far as the spy game goes, and this show leans quite a bit in that direction this time around, with gadgets hidden in fake coins and the transitions as he notices where the guards and cameras are placed. Put together with a gorgeous looking Do Ha, exotic locations, and a smart outfit, you have all the trappings in place.

This episode was interesting because it was the one that’s had the most character development out of all of them so far. The first week was an introduction, apparently, and this week we get underneath the surface. A lot. I like that because truthfully Woon Gwang was wearing a little thin, and it’s nice to see the shell crack some. So yeah, ‘Man to Man’ hasn’t lost any of its charm so far, and that quality is refreshing.

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