It’s more than a little late for me to be figuring this out, but apparently Lee Gyum wasn’t a real person either. It’s hard to tell whether this makes “Saimdang: Light’s Diary” better or worse. On one end, only Saimdang’s name has been sullied by the exceptionally goofy plotting of this drama. On the other end, “Saimdang: Light’s Diary” has spent a preposterous amount of time and effort dedicated to the romantic anguish of a fictional character whose only reason for existence is to have a tragic extramarital love affair with Saimdang.
Seriously. For the huge army of characters that pops up out of nowhere to save Lee Gyum, I can’t remember any of them actually doing anything up until now. Although in broad perspective this is probably less strange than the fact that Lee Gyum has been condemned to death when no one actually seems to want to kill him. Even King Jungjong is very half-hearted when it comes to finishing Lee Gyum off.
Yeteven that pales in comparison to the absurdity of the Saimdangcoming up with a rescue plan based on advice froma time traveler, who makes reference to a country that Saimdang has never even heard of. Come to think of it, did anyone back in the sixteenth century have any concept of Italy? It wasn’t actually a country yet and different parts of it were under the control of radically different political factions.
There I go again, putting more thought into the historical background of “Saimdang: Light’s Diary” than any of the people involved in the production did. No, they have to keep shocking us with bizarre surprising plot twists. At one point an apartment door opens and the tension is entirely on whether the person to appear is the logical one, given the circumstances, or, I don’t know, a random gangster come to ransack the house again because why not.
“Saimdang: Light’s Diary” is trying to close out all of its story arcs with these big tearful reunions- but all of these characters are either explicitlyselfish jerks or lack anything in the way of meaningful personality or characterization. We even get a dude killing himself for, I don’t know, betraying the honor of the king or something, a decision made entirely at the behest of…honestly, you don’t want to know. “Saimdang: Light’s Diary” has this fabulous talent for getting dumber with every passing episode, and I’m sure the next one will be even worse somehow.
Review by William Schwartz
“Saimdang: Light’s Diary” is directed by Yoon Sang-ho, written by Park Eun-ryeong and features Lee Young-ae, Song Seung-heon, Oh Yoon-ah, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Ye-joo, Yoon Da-hoon and Kim Hae-sook.
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