After the epic awesomeness of Healer, and the oodles and oodles of Ji Chang Wook melty in it, I had high hopes for his next project, especially if said next project had any kind of action slant.
I mean, literally Every. Single. Time. Healer parkoured off a building, I swooned. (I guess I kinda have a thing for a hero who also happens to be an action superhero, heh.)
Sadly, even though The K2 diligently delivered on the action front (perhaps too diligently, even), this show just didn’t work out for me.
I couldn’t make it to the end of this one, even if Ji Chang Wook got to kick butt quite regularly, and looked pretty sharp in his suit – or out of his suit. Ahem.
THE NOT-SO-GREAT STUFF
Let me state straightaway that there are folks who really do love this show. I personally don’t get why, coz I failed to love this one despite really wanting to like it, but, they’re out there. So just because this show didn’t work for me doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work for you.
Also, I watched 11 episodes of this show’s 16, before I decided to call it quits. In this first section, here’s the stuff that didn’t work so well, for me.
1. Everything leans indulgent
Right off the bat, this show looks and feels polished, which in itself is not a bad thing at all.
At the same time though, Show also leans distinctly indulgent in its writing, and particularly in its execution, and this indulgence, when combined with the polish, just made everything feel rather pretentious, to me.
By the end of episode 1, I was already tired of seeing Anna (Yoona) running around barefoot wearing some kind of white dress, and the fight scenes all felt overly long and protracted.
I mean, I found the fight scenes tiring just to watch; I can totally see why Ji Chang Wook said it was very tiring filming this show. Eek.
As I got deeper into the episodes, it occurred to me that this show has a strong Chuno–Yong Pal flavor to it, which is no surprise, since this show shares Chuno’s PD and Yong Pal’s writer.
As much as I love Chuno, though, the same grandeur that feels fitting in Chuno feels a bit (ok, a lot) heavy-handed here, given the modern-day context.
Too much pulsing choral music adds to the pretentious feel of this drama world; it feels as if ordinary folks like me should feel awed to get a glimpse into this highly dysfunctional world. Meh.
At the same time, the kind of world this is smells so much like Yong Pal; high society, high technology, and high on personal agendas with a side of revenge. It definitely feels way less fresh the second time around, and this just feels like another sector of society from Yong Pal’s world. Also meh.
Suspension of disbelief is a must, because from the small moments to the big ones, there are many instances that just made me go, “Wha..?”
Like the time in episode 2, when Anna runs around barefoot in the middle of the night in her white nightgown looking like a deranged woman, and the designer guy whose car she falls in front of, takes one look at her very terrified, very stricken face, and promptly decides poetically that she is his muse.
2. Yoona as Anna
Yoona is a very pretty girl, but acting really isn’t one of her strengths. In a not-too-demanding light and cheery role, I think she can do well, and I liked her as such a character in Prime Minister and I.
Unfortunately, the (admittedly poorly written) role of Anna only serves to highlight Yoona’s limitations as an actress.
As a traumatized recluse, Anna doesn’t speak much, which means that it’s that much harder to connect with her as a character.
In the absence of dialogue, Yoona’s limited acting range is unable to lift Anna off the page to make her come alive with nuances in her emoting, and I found Anna a very flat character for all of the 11 episodes that I watched.
I do feel like Yoona put a lot of effort into the role, and even threw vanity out the window, what with Anna looking like a mad woman for much of the earlier episodes, and running around a lot while barefoot and sometimes drenched to the bone to boot.
Unfortunately, her effort didn’t quite pay off for me, and I found her delivery rather try-hard. Also, I found all the hyperventilating that Anna does in the early episodes pretty hard to watch.
One deal-breaker scene for me, with Anna, is in episode 4, where she literally dances around the kitchen with the packet of ramyun.
The scene is supposed to be cute and adorable, with our cue coming from Je Ha (Ji Chang Wook), who watches her with amused eyes and a soft smile.
But, I found the scene cringeworthy and hard to believe. Cringeworthy because the delivery felt stilted; hard to believe, because with Anna being so closed-off and traumatized, that much joy and happiness actually showing on her face, under any circumstances, was hard to believe, for me.
I tend to think a smaller reaction would’ve been more believable.
Anyway. It took me some time to conclude that when I didn’t expect Yoona to deliver nuance, and when I accepted that Anna’s ailments weren’t quite real, it was easier to watch her scenes. Ouch. I know.
3. The OTP
Again, here’s where I differ greatly from fans of this show; this OTP just never worked for me. After pondering the whys for pretty much my entire watch, I conclude that it’s equally a lack of chemistry and poor writing that made this OTP flop for me.
Chemistry – or rather, the perception of it – is a funny thing in that, sometimes, pretty much everyone can agree on whether or not there is chemistry between actors, and sometimes, people see heaps of chemistry between two actors that others just.. don’t.
This is one time I fall into the “don’t” category; I felt like Ji Chang Wook and Yoona didn’t have much with each other in the way of sparks. In some scenes, I even found their romancing rather awkward – even when it wasn’t supposed to be.
On the writing front, I found Je Ha’s quick affection for Anna hard to buy into, and many of their couple scenes felt clichéd and forced, to me.
Show does try to create a context where we see Je Ha as the kind of guy whose heart warms easily to those who need help. Like how he warmed to the old couple, and the lovelorn instructor, and the kitten from way back.
All added up, logically, it should make it easier for us to buy that he would soften towards Anna very quickly as well. My problem, though, is that I never bought properly into this as something that was organically a part of Je Ha’s characterization.
I mean, it’s a weird and conflicting tick for someone who has so little care for teamwork and the like.
The ramyun scenes in episode 5 sat even more uncomfortably with me than the initial ramyun dancing in episode 4.
Je Ha’s little-boy joy at preparing the surprise for Anna, and Anna’s little-girl joy at the surprise, and the two of them literally dancing in their own corners of the house was just all very hard for me to swallow.
Because, Anna isn’t convincingly endearing that way (thanks to both the writing and the acting), and then to see Je Ha’s eyes soften towards her, and affection warm his face while watching this very unconvincing “cuteness,” felt altogether very stilted and hollow to me.
Sad to say, the OTP cute basically did not land well for me every time it showed up, and Show insisted on serving it up in more and more generous helpings as the episodes progressed.
Generally speaking, I found that I instinctively recoiled from it because Je Ha seemed too invested in Anna’s safety, like it made him scared, and that took away from his coolness factor.
It made me feel like he wasn’t on top of the situation, which, y’know, is pretty unbecoming for a K2 Cool Cat. On top of that, I didn’t feel very engaged with Anna as a character, and that also affected how much I liked this OTP.
Ji Chang Wook as Je Ha
I thought Ji Chang Wook delivered his scenes reasonably well, and he especially shone in the action sequences.
The fail for me, is the writing around Je Ha’s character. As we progress through the episodes, we are told more and more about Je Ha, and we learn more about his abilities, his personality, and his history.
What didn’t work for me, I think, is that the bits and pieces that we learn about Je Ha never did come together for me as an organic whole.
In my head, I know that he’s supposed to be that guy who can ninja-slice your neck off if he wants to, but has a teddy bear fuzzy heart.
But in execution, I found that it all didn’t mesh very well for me.
Sometimes it felt odd because Je Ha can be so cold when he’s in the thick of action; sometimes it felt odd because (as I mentioned above), he gets so personally invested in Anna’s situation, before he even really knows her.
For what it’s worth, I feel Ji Chang Wook did a reasonably solid job of the script that he was given.
It would’ve been even better if he could’ve somehow lifted the character above the patchy writing, which I know is asking for a lot – but since Lee Jun Ki recently did rise above Moon Lovers, I can’t help feeling a little wistful that we didn’t see Ji Chang Wook do the same here.
WHAT KEPT ME GOING – AT LEAST FOR A WHILE
Admittedly, that’s quite a hefty section of stuff that didn’t quite work out for me with this show right off the bat. At the same time, there were some things that kept me intrigued.
Ordinarily, this would be a good thing. In this specific case, though, because I ended up giving up on this show, these good things perhaps weren’t quite so good after all, in the sense that they were enjoyable enough to keep me watching – and thus prolonged my time with this show, ha. 😛
1. Song Yoon Ah as Yoo Jin
In the earlier episodes at least, I found Song Yoon Ah very charismatic and pretty spectacular as Yoo Jin. She made Yoo Jin intriguing, often playing her with an interesting mix of cool evil and simmering emotion.
The writing around Yoo Jin also felt interesting.
She’s all business and steel on the surface, but there are glimpses of vulnerability and sadness, and this made her feel intriguing, even if I didn’t always find her sympathetic.
Song Yoon Ah’s delivery of these nuances – again, at least in the early episodes – is excellently layered and restrained, and I found myself very much intrigued by this antagonist.
A great Yoo Jin scene is the one in episode 5 where her position is threatened. Yoo Jin’s fears run undercurrent throughout the scene as she fights to keep her cool and her position, and I found the entire scene quite compelling indeed.
Really nicely done.
2. Strong chemistry between Je Ha & Yoo Jin
To my eyes, Ji Chang Wook and Song Yoon Ah shared such a strong and sparky chemistry that it completely overshadowed the lack of chemistry I was feeling with the OTP.
In fact, early in the show, I began to wonder if these two were the intended OTP of the show, and if Je Ha’s hints of romance with Anna were just thrown in there as red herrings.
This totally didn’t turn out to be the case, of course. Which is fine by me, since an interpersonal connection can be interesting and meaningful without romance in the picture as well. And I did find Je Ha’s interactions with Yoo Jin quite compelling indeed.
Specifically, I found the shifting power balance between the two characters an interesting phenomenon to observe, and I found myself consistently enjoying their scenes together. Well, at least for the earlier stretch of episodes anyway.
One of the earlier instances where I enjoyed Je Ha’s scenes with Yoo Jin is in episode 5 during Yoo Jin’s aunt’s funeral, where he’s a cool rebel badass that anticipates Yoo Jin’s needs without being told. That was cool to watch.
Plus, the way his cool badassery unsettles Yoo Jin is also cool. Her instinct telling her that he’s not someone she can tame, and that he’s dangerous, felt spot-on to me, and pretty much sums up the appeal and fascination of their interactions.
The scene of Yoo Jin being rescued by Je Ha, and how he directs her in what to do, all calm and matter-of-fact, without her instruction to act, is an interesting scene for the power shift between them.
She, with her status, isn’t the one with power. He – the one with the strength and smarts to rescue her – is the one with the power. I found that intriguing, and wanted to see more of how their relationship dynamic panned out going forward.
There was some furore over whether or not Yoo Jin had romantic feelings for Je Ha, with the production coming forward to state that Yoo Jin did not love Je Ha romantically.
Contextually, it’s easy to see why people were saying that Yoo Jin had romantic feelings for Je Ha. More than a few times, scenes are interspliced in such a way that it suggests a romantic attraction.
For example, in episode 11, we see that Yoo Jin keeps telling Je Ha to come back alive. Then, she tells her husband (Jo Sung Ha) that she no longer has feelings for him.
Right after that, she puts on makeup, thinking that she will go see Je Ha, and then looks conflicted and disappointed when she sees him having dinner with Anna and the Offensive Team members.
I personally think that the context and portrayal do hint at the likelihood of romantic emotion in the mix. I suppose a more neutral way of putting it is that Yoo Jin’s got a definite soft spot for Je Ha.
She clearly favors him, even over Chief Kim (Shin Dong Mi), who’s been loyal to her for years.
3. Spots of funny
I’d be the first to say that the humor in The K2 doesn’t always work. Sometimes, things are unintentionally funny, like the expanding lift scene in episode 4, and sometimes the funny is oddly placed and does weird things to the tone of the show.
Sometimes, though – specifically in the earlier episodes – the humor actually worked for me, and that helped to make the watch just that little bit more enjoyable.
One of the spots of funny that I remember fondly, is the entire arc in episode 4, where all the JSS bodyguards around Je Ha react to the newbie who turns out to possess Ultimate Ninja Skillz.
The martial arts instructor scenes are funny, but the naked group fight in the showers takes the cake. Way to mix badass with funny AND glistening sexy eye candy.
I was very tickled indeed. (For the curious, I’ve embedded the nekkid group fight scene at the end of the post, coz I’m just helpful that way, heh.)
DECIDING ON GOODBYE
Honestly, if the balance of good vs. less good had stayed consistent, I probably would’ve watched this show to the end.
But, this show is a beast which never did allow its parts to stay constant, and as the episodes progressed, I found everything slowly but surely going more and more downhill for me. Not good.
1. Logic breakdowns [SPOILERS]
I already knew from the beginning that logic wouldn’t be that strong in this show. Just that muse incident with the designer guy in episode 2 was enough to be a clue. But, I hafta say that logic broke down more and more as the episodes went on.
Here’s a (pretty large) handful of instances that stand out in my memory:
E6. The church scene. In such a small church, all these bodyguards sidling up the side aisle to get to Anna is freaking obvious, yet nobody bats an eye.
Se Joon’s and Yoo Jin’s pained and shocked expressions are just as freaking obvious, with Yoo Jin even crying tears of fury. Again, in such a place with many eyes on them, how could it be directed this way, to make it such that nobody seems to notice?
Anna successfully blending into the choral number is also a logic breakdown.
Even if the number was performed by nuns from different churches, they would’ve met to rehearse.
The “impromptu” harmonies for Amazing Grace worked until the end, where they went for a non-standard ending. That just can’t be done impromptu. Just, so many holes in the entire scene.
E6. The CPR scene. Argh. I know other kdramas are guilty of this too, and I hate it Every Single Time, but honestly, I expected better skills from a highly trained ninja warrior like Je Ha.
E6. Anna’s social phobia. In this episode’s escape, she’s so coherent while interacting with people, and isn’t scared of public spaces with lots of people. And, she just opens up to Je Ha right away, on the park bench, too.
I just don’t see how this is all supposed to pass for making narrative sense.
E8. Je Ha’s logic that once the public loses in interest in Anna, that she’d be dead, just doesn’t work. Yoo Jin has had to be wary of Anna all this time, that’s why she’s kept Anna hidden away under such strict surveillance.
And the reason she hasn’t killed off Anna, is to retain control over Se Joon. So, just because Anna is out in the public eye doesn’t mean that she’s dead once the public loses interest. Yoo Jin would still want to keep Anna alive to control Se Joon.
It’s only when Yoo Jin has no more interest in controlling Se Joon that she would kill Anna – unless Show’s forgotten that?
E8. Je Ha getting Anna to talk so openly and freely, when she is supposed to have an actual medical condition that makes her afraid of people, just seems way too easy.
Also, Show seems to have watered down her medical condition a lot.
From her inability to interact with people and the inability to go out in sunlight, suddenly she’s able to stand in front of a crowd of people and (non-flash) cameras in broad daylight. I feel like Show’s insulting my intelligence or something.
E9. The fact that Anna’s sociophobia is no longer a thing feels like a cop-out.
Am I really supposed to believe that she was faking it all these years because she didn’t like her security people? But what about how she behaved when she was on the run in Barcelona? She seemed properly spooked by people then. Headdesk.
E11. Twas a pretty dumb strategy, sending in Je Ha to kill Representative Park (Kim Gab Soo) when they knew that he still suffers from PTSD and is unable to actually kill people. How on earth did they forget that very critical little detail?
I can suspend disbelief fairly well for my kdramas, but honestly, when logic fails are this spectacular and this frequent, they become really hard to ignore.
2. Yoo Jin is no longer cool
To make everything that much worse, Yoo Jin actually became less and less interesting to me, as the episodes wore on.
The more she did typical villain things, the less fascinating I found her; I felt like she was losing layers, which is a huge pity.
Essentially, Yoo Jin’s increasing lack of restraint resulted in her reactions feeling too big, and her tears, too fierce. She lost a lot of cool points in my books, and whatever facets she had as well, alongside.
THE END – FOR ME ANYWAY
At the episode 11 mark, I probably could have kept going purely out of habit, but I stopped to think about it, and realized that I pretty much didn’t care about anything or anyone in this show.
I didn’t care about all the political shenanigans, particularly since everybody was such a dirty politician. I didn’t care what happened with the central romance because I found it hard to believe that the OTP loved each other, out of the blue.
I didn’t care about Anna, because I didn’t believe Anna as a character, because what happened to all her phobias and panic attacks?
By this point of the show, she was behaving mostly normally, and I just found it too unbelievable.
I didn’t care what happened to Yoo Jin, because she was no longer compelling to me, and it seemed to me that she was losing control too much of the time.
I cared a teeny tiny bit about Je Ha, but I found him too invested in Anna’s well-being, and losing control too easily over her – which also made him lose cool points with me.
With so little that I cared about on the table, I just couldn’t rationalize spending another 5 hours of my life on this show, and that’s when I decided to call it quits.
SPECIMEN B: THAT NEKKID FIGHT SCENE
For the record, this nekkid fight scene was funny and glorious, and really the only 2 minutes and 39 seconds of this show that I would classify as a must-watch. Enjoy:
Hi….it is my first time writing for a series…just because I can usually finish off most Korean series because of their feel good factor and reasonably strong female leads….I agree with u on almost all the fronts….Anna is most cringeworthy and dumb character equally concomitant with poor acting by yoona in anything I have watched in any language till date….i wish they had focused on more nuanced and complex interactions between ji chang wook and song yoon ah…despite having crush on ji chand wook…series is almost unbearable to watch due to stupid romantic storyline
Did anyone else find it how odd it was that the morally good characters as shown in this drama here were the bad ones due to which all the tension and situation happened????
Se Joon as much as he loved his daughter, was a playboy, told so by many sources with Ume Hy Rin being just another of his targets. So for some reason, he loved the only woman out of many because he sired a child with her, okay? then let’s get to the next point, what was this fellow trying to do, live a double life?? One in-home with his wife Yoo-Jin and politicking and then another with his former lover being all lovey-dovey?? Let’s also observe the fact that he really didn’t try to get back his daughter for any reason and put his ambition in politics higher than Anna’s. He was a playboy who got lucky with a wealthy wife and didn’t want to leave what was a comfortable life with YooJin.
Now to Ume Hye Rin, the dead but according to everyone the angel mother of Anna. We don’t even have to go deep to know that she herself certainly didn’t love Se Joon; why you ask because she went to America for a movie shoot and married the director. Given that she is in a movie and signs of pregnancy start showing under 4 months, and she herself was unaware of being with a child, means she ditched her love when he was in jail, went to America, married the wealthy director, got pregnant, held it in until the director came to know the child isn’t his or he died. And once she was done, she ran back to Korea to his former lover who had already married, and ask him to leave for the states with her and Anna? We know Se Joon tries to make it look like Hye RIn was blackmailing him but she really did have the plans for all three to elope to the US. Remember her going to the photographer’s office for their passport? Doesn’t that mean she was in essence a homewrecker???
There are others like master Song who was the murderer all along and why???? What was the need?
For me, it would have been so much better if it showed that Je Ha lost his daughter and fiancee/wife and then started seeing his daughter in Anna because from every angle Anna was a stunted adult with the functioning of a child/teenager. I seriously doubt she went to school after her mother’s death, was shy, unsocial, cut off from society, no idea at all what is charged by the police and naming the house to you means, what else she didn’t know, how old she must be mentally and a romantic relationship with a 27-28 yo guy??
At last we didn’t even get to what was Kumargate, why so much secrecy, how was everyone including his own father name involved there, how did Yoo Jin will get implicated too that she herself was reluctant, the actual reason of Rania’s death apart from being an interpreter, because for that reason every other soldier who was in the vicinity should have been murdered.
Ohh this show was so great at the start. With a bit of humor, MC’s coolness and most of all the character of YooJin. And for some reason every point of yours is exactly what I thought too. Every single one.
At least you know you’re not alone? 😉 Btw, welcome to the blog, @Lord Phazer!
Do not skip this show!!! It’s amazing. I can’t believe she dropped it.
I started watching this drama with no expectations whatsoever after reading your review, which probably was a good thing, because I actually enjoyed it much more than what I was anticipating. I can see why some have problems with Yoona’s character. I once heard scriptwriter Andrew Davies say that it’s not enough having a young heroine who is JUST good hearted anymore. Nowadays the heroines need to be not only good but also feisty or/and have skills, and also make the hero suffer with their sassiness or complexity… I like those heroines too, don’t get me wrong, but I have always had a place in my heart for those more demure heroines, like Mansfield Park’s Fanny Price: A young woman who is just a good person and well… nothing else.
That’s perhaps why I didn’t think that Anna’s character was particularly badly written… I mean, Anna had a journey. She starts off being a girl who wishes the death of her step-mother more that anything else, screaming at Je Ha “shoot her!”, but ends up forgiving this woman who not only ruined her life but was also partly responsible for the death of her mother. The scene in which she presses on Yoo Jin’s wound to stop her bleeding to death is understated, but relevant, I think. It is where we see Anna’s character being liberated, ready to live her life at peace.
It was also obvious to me that the social phobia thing was a ruse. There are many scenes in the safe house in which Anna is clearly deceiving her guards, like when she uses the electric blanket to pretend she is in bed or when she covers the security camera to relax and be herself (and, yes, do that ramen dance, which I admit was terrible… but, hey, even great dramas like Coffee Prince had uncomfortable moments like that… kdramas, I find, do not have any shame, and do get cringey and sometimes really gross with awful toilet humour…) The Barcelona scenes do not show Anna as a girl with social phobia either. There she’s simply out of her wits terrified because she’s being chased. She even throws herself onto the traffic just to collect a few coins some passerby drops to take the metro and flee. She has no problem either grabbing Je Ha and begging him to help her. Anna’s psychological problem is her panic attacks, triggered by direct light, an echo of her trauma. She also seems to suffer from survivor’s guilt.
As for Yoona’s and Ji Chang Wook’s chemistry I found it fairly good, but I’m not one to be very demanding on that score… Both actors are very good-looking and I find it easy to believe they fancy each other. Also the love story here is very straightforward. Ji Ha seems to have a saviour complex and his falling for someone young, defenceless and innocent seems inevitable. I also find Anna’s romantic feelings towards him inevitable. After all, she hasn’t started to live her life yet and finds in him someone to trust. This is a fairy tale encounter. it was very easy for me to accept.
Talking about fairy tales, this story seems to be heavily inspired by Snow White. You Jin is the Witch Queen with her “mirror” computer and her unhinged, visceral outbursts. I agree that the actress playing her was great. I can tell that the chemistry between her and Ji Chang Wook was somehow engineered to show that Je Ha had a good heart and was sensitive to You Jin’s more human and vulnerable side. It also showcased how needy and impressionable You Jin really was after years of being overlooked by her husband and completely starved of tenderness and affection. Anna is Snow White, the preferred one, pretty and good hearted, she is hidden from the world too, escapes the palace (that magnificent cloistered convent) and even takes the “poisoned fruit”, the strawberries she “poisons” herself with to disappear, and there is also a kiss of life. These are small details, but they made the show that little bit more enjoyable for me. I also loved the big finale between the cheating husband and bitchy wife, which I will not reveal in case you find yourself finishing this show one day. It gave some closure to their very dysfunctional relationship.
I also kind of enjoyed the indulgent nature of the production. I found the Barcelona and Iraq sequences, and the choral music very atmospheric. The show had that touch of the surreal and exaggerated, with that hyper technological nine cloud bunker and a very operatic female villain. It is a bit ridiculous, but it’s also kind of fun. The fighting I found felt very realistic. Kudos to all those actors involved in them.
I didn’t find Yoona such a terrible actress either. I mean, she’s not fantastic, but she did a good job with this character I think. Her great voice was showcased, which was unexpected, as well as her very good English accent (many popular Korean singers don’t have it) and very good Spanish accent, at least in those very few sentences she spoke. Not very often I hear actors speak Spanish in films and convince me easily that they have been living in Spain for years. Yoona somehow did.
Ji Chang Wook also continues to impress. I think that his best performance to date has been in Empress Ki, where he outshone everyone else. He was also fantastic in Healer. For me his only misstep so far it’s been “Backstreet Rookie”, a show that had incredible potential and more than a few excellent dramatic moments, but was finally let down by a myopic portrayal of Jamaican and Rastefarian culture and a lack of commitment to developing the main romantic story properly. Apparently this was in response to complaints about the difference in ages of the OTP. So lame. In the last episodes, instead of your usual romantic comedy love scenes, the producers decided having the couple constantly eating… Like…come on! “Are you hungry? let’s have ramen, let’s have pizza, lets have steak”… What was that all about? So annoying.
@Gloglo – your Snow White comparison and some of the things you’ve said here are making me reevaluate this show. I did love Ji Chang wook in it. Had a problem with the acting of Yoona (the idol) but loved, loved to hate the character of Yoona (the older actress) and I enjoyed the complicated relationship of the older couple. Oh, and the nuance of what was going on with JCW and the older Yoona. I might need to squeeze in a rewatch using the fast forward button on the parts that just grated.
I loved and hated this show at the same time. More or less continuous action, fast pace, and great performance Ms. Song and Mr. Ji. And as you mentioned, they had better chemistry than the OTP. However, compared to Healer, this was a disappointment. Yes, Yoona is pretty, so is Ms. Song (for her age, she is amazing). At first I thought Yoo Jin was affectionate to Je Ha because he saved her life. Then I thought she had motherly affection. Then when Je Ha pushed the arch of back (on their way out of the conference room after sprinklers went off), it felt weird. Then her getting all dolled up to see Je Ha, that surprised the hell out of me. I also thought, in the beginning there was something going on between Yoo Jin and her Chief of Staff. I guess the writers were all over the place. That brings me to what I did not like about the show. Character evolution as the show progress got worse and worse. Their actions would not fit the personality that we saw up to that point – very disappointing. They more or less left Je Ha’s personality intact – everyone else they butchered as the show moved on.
Not a waste of time, but rather disappointing.
Well, it still looks like you managed to enjoy The K2 more than I did, Reviewer! 😅 It does sound terribly disappointing, though, with what happened to the character development. 😛
Now, I felt that the characters evolution was really good. It just wasn’t of the character that we tuned in to see. 😆 The politician and his wife’s characters – maybe I shouldn’t day “evolution” – but Show definitely delved deep into those two dysfunctional spouses.
I went on this to check if I should watch K2 after finding myself crushed by the immense weight of my new love for Ji Chang Wook – developed after binge-watching Healer 3 days ago. Seriously, it’s suffocating to be confronted by that amount of hotness, cuteness and suaveness in one programme. I cannot remember why I even bother watching any other actors anymore.
After this review, I think I’ll give it a miss. But I did appreciate the funny naked shower fighting. Haha.
I just finished my experiment with using skimming through a K-Drama (this one) that has elements of greatness and awfulness conflated into one big hot mess. And the answer is, it worked!
It’s intriguing how many ways this show went far deeper than usual in its portrayal of the bad guys, yet balanced that with ridiculous treatment of the good guys’ romance. Anna didn’t need to be complex, given her social isolation up till that point, but those drawn-out romance montages were truly cringe-worthy. The ramyun, the beach, etc. Or, at least, I’m guessing they were. Because I skipped every single one of them!
I just wanted to re-experience the coolness of Ji Chang Woo’s Healer persona as Je Ha and check out Song Yoon Ah’s superb portrayal of the female villain Yoo Jin. Not to mention savor the romantic/sexual tension between the two of them. The poignancy of which was that no only was it one-sided, but entirely unnoticed by him. More on that in a moment.
So I allowed myself to be spoiled on the full story and everything that happens in the last episode, then watched only the scenes that featured characters I had targeted. Since I was already spoiled, I didn’t need to watch anything just to know what happened. I just savored the acting. To my surprise, however, that didn’t save much time, because up until the 3/4’s mark, those people dominated the airtime. Then suddenly I found myself skipping 90% of an episode that didn’t feature them. Wow, so glad I didn’t have to watch that one.
Anyhow, to kfangurl, I say this: the villain Yoo Jin ended up complex again. And I am sooo glad I experienced all of her scenes. At one point she told her #2 gal that if she murders Je Ha, she (Yoo Jin) would kill her in response. And then admitted that “the way you feel about me? That’s how I feel about him.” Soon after, in episode 15, she starts to confesses to Je Ha that she loves him — not with any hope of it being reciprocated, but just to be honest — but he is so unaware of the possibility that he interrupts and continues to presume her puzzling actions towards him are explained only by self-interest.
I think you should go back and watch just the final two episodes. Or even just the last one. There is considerably more resolution to the various villain’s character arcs and the marriage of Yoo Jin and her candidate husband than I expected. The show ended up being about them, with the Healer persona playing more of a catalyst role. His inherent goodness combined with that Healer rock star coolness changes Yoo Jin, leaving her trapped between the person she has become and the person she regrets no longer being. It was really well-done.
Bottom line: this show had greatness. But awfulness too. Skipping certain parts helped me get want I needed without unnecessary contamination.
See Kfangurl! See! I told you! (Well, I didn’t actually tell you because, ya know, spoilers and all that. But I tried to tell you! 😆)
Now thanks, merij1 cause now I know which episode to rewatch. 😉
I think allthingsanu had it right when she recommended kfangurl watch the last three eps. But I didn’t want to push my luck that far!
I skipped all the scenes where Yoo Jin’s half-brother was con-artist charming Anna. Pretty much all of Episode 12, although there were a few great scenes with Yoo Jin in that Ep.
Actually, the last 4 Eps were great, if you skip the filler.
Yoo Jin’s death threat to her #2 Chief gal (and the implied confession of love for Je He) starts just before the 31 minute mark of Ep 11. By the 15th Ep, all her top employees are keenly aware it. Pretty everyone except Je He himself, who remains utterly clueless, even when she tries to confess to him in the scene that begins around the 13 minute mark of Ep 15.
That’s the scene where after betraying her (without consequence!) he advises her to walk away from her evil ambitions and instead find the happiness a person like her could never hope for in that ugly world of power games they play. Where the best you can hope is the satisfaction of annihilating the ambitions of your equally unhappy rivals.
I’ve copied your notes of the best scenes. I’ll be rewatching those parts soon. It’s awesome because there were parts I wanted to see again but didn’t want to endure the rest of the series. (If only I had a list of the best fight scenes… oh well. I’m happy I’ve got this.) 😊
BTW, as best I can without spoiling others who haven’t watched yet – can you believe who Anna’s mother’s killer turned out to be? For the record – I reject that.
Not entirely implausible given how long ago it happened and how that that person seemed to feel about it, then and now. In any case he or she was only the instrument.
True but I considered him…
…the comic relief.
Prior to the revelation, recall that he saved the strike team who had been captured and tied up. Until that moment, they too thought he was the comic relief.
Awwww. I don’t remember that part.
Hmm. KFG didn’t take your bait. I wonder what it would take to get her to watch certain scenes she missed in The K2?
If I listed them by timestamp? If I talked my wife into watching A Secret Love Affair?
Tee hee. Sorry about that MeriJ & Beez.. I’ll bite at a few scenes if you can provide some timestamps! 😁 I think that’s about all I can safely commit to; I can’t see myself attempting this one all over again. 😝
Deal! I’ll pick a few tomorrow. In return, my gal and I’ll commit to the first 2-3 Eps of A Secret Love Affair.
(I woke up and couldn’t fall back to sleep, hence this late night reply.)
I still intend to do those timestamps. Our Saturday got blown up by this lame new show we just started, whose initials are ASLA. First time we’ve ever been compelled to binge 4 Eps in one day at the BEGINNING of a show. I think we may have done that once at the end of something, but how many shows seize you by the neck when you haven’t even figured out who all the characters are?
Little touch I appreciated: not being treated like a child by the writers when a certain character’s mom dies unexpectedly and he sells off his piano with no apparent desire to ever see it again. Most shows would add dialog to explain why, but this one assumed we would understand on our own that:
1. He’d need money to pay for her cremation
2. He blamed her death on the piano — i.e., on himself and his joy of playing it
@merij1 I was going “ASLA? What’s that?” Then I was wondering if you thought you’re not supposed to say the name of the show on the blog or something. It wasn’t until you started describing what happened that I realized you were talking about SLA. 😆
Yes, that. Is there not an A on the front?
I don’t think there is an “A” in the front but if there is, we only refer to it as SLA. lol. No prob though because even when people correctly use abbreviations, a lot of the time I’m stumped studying the letters trying to figure out which show or celebrity they’re referring to. lol
I think it depends on where you watch? Different places seem to have different titles. I’ve also heard it referred to as simply Secret Affair. 🙂
I’m going to jump in here and congratulate you on watching SLA! It is an ….either you love it or hate it drama. I’m in the love it camp. What a drama. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 Please let us ‘love it’ folk know how it finished up for you. Btw…there’s lots written on line about this drama.
It’s definitely our style — TV for adults. There was only one reason we hadn’t checked it out yet, and that was a foreboding sense that it would surely be a tragedy in the end.
Given the setup with that severe an age difference and the casting of an unimpressive but not dis-likable husband and an somewhat annoying but not hate-able girlfriend, we still expect that outcome. But we’ve accepted it will be worth it for a show of this quality.
It helps that I know some of the musical pieces well. I only know a few classical composers, but I’ve acquired recordings of multiple artists’ performances for the pieces I love best, including Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and the Beethoven piano sonatas featured in these early episodes.
For sure, when we’ve finished, I’ll comment on KFG’s review. I’m avoiding that page till then, lest I be spoiled.
Merij1…excited for you to finished this drama and give me your take on it. And for sure…it’s not your candy cane drama. Like I’ve said I’m some 200+ dramas in and this one has stayed in my top five. Along with Money Flower, It’s Okay, That’s Love, Six Flying Dragons, and…lol…a dozen or so others. Happy watching!
GP: Go see my comment/request at the review page.
merij1. Hope you’ll se my post about how glad I am y’all like SLA! Let us know how you like the finish.
Take your time with the timestamps, MeriJ!! I’m currently swimming hard, to keep the things that I’m currently watching straight in my head, so I can definitely afford to wait a little bit, for those timestamps! 😉😁
I don’t think she can be bribed. 😆
Besides, if I we’re to lobby for Kfangurl to watch anything, it’d be my favorite (which she’s dropped already) Six Flying Dragons. 🐉 🐉 🐉 🐉 🐉 🐉
“Bribe” is such an ugly word. I prefer to think of this as “barter.”
But you’re right, I should have gone with my perennial, Netflix’s Chocolate!
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate
Some you will give it another try and you will thank me.
True, this show is good if you watch the starting 5-6 episodes, and the last one/ on-and-a-half episode and be done with it. Then the show would be on the higher spectrum, LOL. THe rest you can just read the recaps.
yes yes its trueee… i’m stuck at ep 6. the CPR scene is really annoying. i prefer CPR on “Miracle on cell no 7”. but JCW is too good to miss..
Hahaha, the CPR scene really had me rolling my eyes! 🙄😆😆 I don’t know why drama writers think that CPR is romantic!
Another scene I skipped entirely, so I didn’t even remember that I had!
HAHA. You made a good call skipping that, MeriJ! 😆
Nekkid scene! 😲😲😲😲I loved that one toooo ❤️ so MUCH!
I also liked the show, in fact, I finished it just now! The last three episodes are soo GOOD! Ji Chang Wook is dreamy in action scenes! It doesn’t match upto Healer but I feel it is unfair to compare both the shows as they are conceptually so different. And anyway, every K Drama deserves it’s own set of audience and judgements. I was looking forward to reading your review as I have observed that we share the same taste in Dramas, however, this one broke the spell.
I loved the OST and ALL the villains( so many of them?)
Anyway, I am glad to have read your review and reasons to give ip on the show. I get that part. Some shows don’t do it for you.
Tee hee. Yes, that nekkid scene is quite unforgettable, whether one loves the show or not! 🤣 Yeah, this one just didn’t work for me the way I wanted it to. But it’s ok, it sounds like you’ve got enough love for this show, to cover the both of us! 😉
Omg !! Happy squeel! I am soo happy to read your reply! I genuinely thought that I had done something to make you ignore my comments. So, when I came across your post on Facebook (I follow you there too 😉) I reached out.
Your reply there comforted me and now I am happy dancing! It’s so hard to find a fellow K drama lover!
Ah! Coming back to The K2, seems like this is the one time where our opinions differ but that’s completely alright! I am cool!
I have now begun watching “Melting me softly” and am 2 episodes in and though the show is funny, intriguing and well-shot, I haven’t come to really connect with it. Ji Chang Wook is adorable and his acting is above par, I am discovering the female lead and she’s good but I am still waiting for that show Love to hit me! 🤞
Aw, I’m sorry to have kept you wondering about the comments, Anu! 😝 I always read all the comments, but I occasionally fall terribly behind on actually writing replies. I guess I should warn you now, that it might happen again; I tend to have a few seasons a year, where I just find myself too busy to take care of the blog properly, and that often includes replying to comments. 😛 It’s never anything personal; I love reading comments, and I love chatting with everyone. So please don’t be sad if I end up super late with responding to comments again! 😘
I’ve been hearing pretty patchy things about Melting Me Softly.. most of my drama friends say that it’s quite all-over-the-place, and for me, I think the show’s sense of humor wouldn’t quite be my cup of tea. I hear the OTP kiss is well done though, so there’s that! Also, if you ended up loving The K2 when I couldn’t make it to the end, maybe Melting Me Softly might end up working for you, after all? 😉
Melting Me Softly is, I’m sorry to say, a lukewarm mess. This is coming from me, the person that, once I fell for Ji Chang wook in Healer, went back and watched all of Empress Ki, Smile Dong hae, Warrior Baek Dong soo, Five Fingers, and even Bachelor’s Vegetable Store – cause y’all know I’m hard core like that.
The writer is not even trying to make the cyrogenics storyline make sense. And I’m not talking anything so lofty as the science behind it, but merely basic reasoning like: the bad guy kidnaps the Professor in charge of the experiment and threatens and scares him so much that the poor man goes and tries to pull the plug on the remaining cryo chambers, which would be effectively committing murder for the remaining subjects still in the chamber. (No excuse is given as to why the professor did not wake up the other cryos, who’ve also been asleep for 20 years, when he woke up the OTP.) Later, the bad guy bemoans not knowing where the cryo lab is when, if he could scare the professor into killing people, he could’ve simply demanded to know where it’s located or followed the Professor when he let him go. Later, when the bad guy finally finds the lab and is holding a gun to the professor’s head, the professor’s phone rings and he allows him to answer. For no good reason. It’s not like the bad guy needed to have the professor talk to the caller or lure someone. Nope, he just let him answer the phone and patiently waited for him to talk. Actually, none of what I’ve just described is even as bad as the problems with dialog, character motivation, lack of chemistry (because of the story not really giving the two characters enough screen time together). The trailors show an OTP that would need to back away from each other because their smart watches would beep because of their body temperature being raised by proximity to one another. I think it was not until episode 8 or 9 before anything happened with the watches and their proximity and it’s so vague, even the female lead wasn’t sure why JCW’s character wanted to keep his distance. So by episode 10, when JCW is literally weeping and begging the professor to solve their body temperature conundrum so they can “roll around on the bed like every one else”, his sudden strong emotions seem like what, dude? I’m not even sure the female lead feels that strongly about you yet! The dialogue and the emotions seemed to come out of nowhere.
I could go on and on. I really was looking forward to Melting Me Softly, but even for a hard core JCW fan, it’s very disappointing.
Gosh, Melting Me sounds like a mess, alright! 😝 What a huge pity, that this is JCW’s comeback project! I’ve stayed away from Melting Me, so I’m spared from the first-hand frustration you’re feeling, but it’s still a disappointment to hear how terrible the show turned out to be. Perhaps it’s time for a rewatch of Healer, to soothe your JCW-loving heart? 😅
I’ve watched Healer so many times that i’m scared to watch it again. I’m trying to give it a couple years rest before I watch it again. Does anyone else hate when you love a show so much and watch it so often that you start to see every flaw? That hasn’t happened with Healer…yet.
(I rewatching Empress Ki, although I’m not bingeing it – just putting on an episode once in a while)
I have often thought about watching Empress Ki. So, I might just have to do it now (and avoid the comparisons between the show and the historical record – lol).
I enjoyed Healer very much. I don’t rewatch tv shows as a general rule, even ones I really, really like, but I do rewatch a number of movies regularly. For instance, I ended up rewatching Sense and Sensibility (delightful as ever) and Charade (just as clever and witty as I remember) a couple of weeks ago because I was feeling a bit out of sorts/disconnected with various dramas I have been watching (perhaps due to too many current flaws?). Anyway, it did the trick and as a result I have found myself re-engaged with drama land.
Healer actually is better on a second watch. It’s one of those things where you know what to pay attention to on the second watch. During the first watch, it’s like “who are all these characters from the past that are taking screen time from the OTP?”
I think Healer is very underrated. It’s a romance that finally has a good story around it, unlike a lot of the fluff (which I do enjoy) that can sometimes be ONLY great chemistry and witticisms.
I haven’t had the experience of rewatching something so many times that I start to see every flaw.. mostly because I rarely rewatch anything these days. 😛 But I did watch Healer twice, and I found that I enjoyed it even more on my second viewing. So maybe Healer’s just special that way? 😅
Let me show you how much I like Healer: I hope I will never have to choose my absolute favorite between Healer and CHUNO!. Right now, I just say that CHUNO! is my favorite historical and Healer is my favorite contemporary.
Wow.. that’s a big statement to make, Beez! 😀 I can’t pick actual favorites, but I would rate both Chuno and Healer way up there, among my all-time favorites, so I feel ya! 😉
Hello! Thanks again for replying! I did like Melting Me until now. I am on episode 7. I guess, I really want to watch Ji Chang Wook fight!!❤️😉 And that doesn’t happen in this show. I will have to go and look up his action movies and see them all! The OTP KISS IS LIFE THOUGH!🙈 And the OST isn’t half bad. So, I am going to keep going!
In other thoughts, I recently finished watching “While you were sleeping” and loved it!! Especially, Jung Jae In who has Killed it! He gave me severe Second lead syndrome 😍
Sorry the late reply, Anu! 😝 Did you finish Melting Me after all? I had vague thoughts of maybe checking it out, but changed my mind when everywhere I looked, I saw unfortunately negative reports on the show. Apparently it was quite a mess? Was Ji Chang Wook enough to pull you through? 😅
I haven’t watched While You Were Sleeping, but I’ve watched Jung Hae In in a couple of things. If you’d like more Jung Hae In, I recommend One Spring Night, if you haven’t watched it already. 🙂
Hey!!! I am 3 episodes shy of finishing “Melting me softly”. It’s not his best show or the best show in any way, the only reason I am pulling through is that I don’t watch it back to back or even everyday. I also liked the female lead. But the show is messy.
YOU HAVE TO WATCH “WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING”!!! NOW!!
I also kept it on the back burner and it doesn’t deserve to be there! The cast, the OST, the plot, the friendship and even the witty interactions are ALL Awesome! I feel the romance was cute but I wasn’t waiting for their scenes with hated breath but I did binge watch this show in 2 days!!!? 🙈
I also checked your site for reviews and realised that you haven’t seen it yet. Please remedy that as soon as possible!
I have seen the first episode of “One Spring Night” and really liked it. It’s different! And JUNG HAE IN IS ❤️💖💖
THANKS FOR REPLYING!👏😊
Hm, I did try While You Were Sleeping once, but didn’t last through E1. I think I wasn’t in the mood for it, and it also felt too similar to I Hear Your Voice, I felt. Of course, that was a quick first impression and snap judgment, so maybe I ought to give it another chance. It wouldn’t be high on my list though, coz my list is long and never-ending, and there are always newer dramas that I want to check out. Meaning to say, I wouldn’t expect a review any time soon! 😝
Glad that you’re enjoying One Spring Night! I liked it a lot, and I’m always happy to see someone else enjoying it too! 🙂
I am yet to watch “I hear your voice” so cannot comment on the similarity. I understand completely about the list being long! I began watching K dramas this year and I already have a looong list!! I am still watching “One Spring Night”, so will forward my final thoughts soon.
Again, thank you for your reply!💖
Btw, do you watch K variety shows? I would recommend “Busted”!💖
Apologies for the very late reply, Anu! I’ve been inching my way through the comments of late, and I’m sorry if I’ve kept you waiting. Thanks for your patience! <3
How have you been enjoying One Spring Night? I hope you're enjoying it as much as I did. 🙂 Also, I rarely watch k-variety these days, because there are just too many dramas that I want to check out. 😛 I will keep Busted in mind, thanks for the recommendation! 🙂
I am on still on episode 2 of “One Spring Night”! Not because it hasn’t piqued my interest but because it gave me weird feelings….so, I took a break from it. Currently, I am so hyped up by “Crash Landing on You”!❤️❤️ Are you watching????
Please do ping me if and when you watch “Busted”!💃
Thanks for replying!
Yes, I’m watching Crash Landing on You! I’m behind the airing schedule, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen. I watched about 9 or 10 eps so far, I think. Hyun Bin is so dreamy in it, I must say. 😍😍
I will forever be grateful to the stars of Crash Landing for one thing that I’ve never ever seen in a Kdrama until now – the ruffling of a characters hair during a kiss or romantic encounter! I’m a black woman and while we’re protective of our hair because of the time it takes to get it right and then re-do it, Kdrama characters take the cake! Even we don’t test someone’s temperature through their bangs! lolololol
Your comment made me giggle, beez! 😆 I guess they generally don’t want to muss up the bangs because it might make the actor’s face appear – gasp! – bigger? 😂😂
Or surgeons with their bangs and wispy side curls out side their caps (looking at you side-eye DOTS although you’re not the only offender).
Maybe I should’ve listed. “not disturbing hair” under your ttopes thread. lol
HAHA. Yes, that is absolutely a thing dramas do! Aesthetics are always more important than accuracy, I’ve found. 😆
Ahhh! Hyun Bin has officially joined my Favourite Oppa list with “Crash Landing on You”!♥️♥️♥️ Loved loved loved the show! The cast, the OST, the story, the locations!!! Everything! I am so happy that you are enjoying it as well!
I’m still a few eps away from the end, but I must concur that this is the swooniest I’ve seen of Hyun Bin, possibly ever. 😍😍 Well worthy of your Favorite Oppa list! 😉
Agree 200% Girl 🌼♥️♥️♥️♥️
I am planning on watching his other shows but he does mote movies. What else are you watching these days? I finished watching “Vagabond” recently and it’s so good! I highly recommend it if you haven’t already seen it. Waiting and hoping for a season 2.
Glad you enjoyed Vagabond.. I don’t think it’s my kind of show, so I’m not planning to check it out, unfortunately. 😬
I totally agree, allthingsanu.
As kfangurl often notes, you have to adjust your lens properly to enjoy some of these shows. She watched this one expecting it to be about the Healer persona and his OTP with Anna. But the Healer persona was only consistently incredible in the early episodes and the lame OTP never felt believable at all.
The show was actually about the villains and the compromising life-choices they’d made. I’m so glad I watched it.
I feel bad for Ji Chang Wook because it’s almost as if he peaked too early. His fans (including me) keep wanting more of that Healer vibe and because of his level of popularity in S.K., he’s not being offered any great projects. This is all just my opinion. I watched his show Suspicious Partner and now, when I look back on it, it was a very enjoyable show but at the time, I wanted more Healer. I hope he gets the chance to show what else he can do. I’ll be watching his upcoming show about the convenience store but I’m not feeling good about it. (I hope I’m way wrong!) I’m reminded of the feeling I had at the announcement and trailers for Jang Hyuk’s Greasy Melo, which once the name was changed to Wok of Love, I only sank farther into despair.
But if JCW can pull a Jang Hyuk, who after Chuno, we all wanted more Dae gil and Chuno, and he somehow managed to not disappoint. His next shows were good but not Chuno and yet he still captured us because of the intensity he brought to the roles. And barring any more Wok of Love type missteps, he’s still going strong. Jang Hyuk’s ability to make each character unique is why I don’t watch a Jang Hyuk show with any expectations of what the character will be like. JCW is a good actor. He can express a large range of emotions (see Empress Ki for proof of a huge growth in character arc) but he needs to become very different from only playing himself having those emotions in order to stretch past our expectations. At least that’s what I think he needs. (By “playing himself”, I’m speaking of how Jimmy Stewart was a very good actor but critics said he always played himself in every role.) JCW can’t afford to do that if he wants to distance himself some from Healer. imo
I mean I watched it for JCW but boy, Yoo Jin got be going and I did finish it. She is so damn good, and the chemistry between her and jeha is what gave me that bit of spark when needed. oHHH how I wish they ended togather, but yeah.
Sean…by all means let us know how you like Bridal Mask! Happy watching….watch out for a few tears!
@SeanFletcher – I’m on Ep 10 of Bridal Mask. I’ll meet you over at Kfangurl’s review of it in about a week or two. 👍
Can’t agree with you more on it! It was a really poorly directed drama and I skipped few episodes. As you said, fight scenes were too lengthy and sadly I could see JCW *actually* tired in some of those scenes. I think it was director’s failure that Yoona’s acting was so bad. The supposedly cute ramen scenes were unbearable, to me, at least. While watching this drama I seriously wished that JCW didn’t took this project. Looked like he made a fool of himself.
Oh, and I too thought that maybe Je Ha and Yoo Jin were the intended OTP.
Such a waste of time really. And of talent.
I’m also skeptical about watching his older works but I made myself watch Empress Ki after watching NGs (he seemed like he had much fun at the set) and also his Goodbye Proposal… I’m glad that I did because I never felt like I wanted to skip episodes or drop the end. I’m wondering if I should try watching the Bachelor’s Vegetable Store🤔
Bachelor’s Veggies was a difficult watch for me to get through, as was Five Fingers.
Despite its length and sometimes lack of forward movement, I enjoyed Smile Donghae (aka Smile Again) much more.
Oh, I see… Smile Donghae is just so long :(( But now I will try watching it! 🙂
Pre surgery Ji Chang Wook. And while he’s uber handsome now, there was just something very attractive and unique with his original looks.
As to length, Donghae never seemed as long as Veggies (even though it’s probably 5 times the length). I kept taking long breaks from,Veggies and coming back to it and it was a hard push to finish it.
Yes, I agree with you, even with his original looks he seemed so attractive! 😚 Honestly, I think, some other actors too have facial features like him but it’s on him that those features appear really handsome 😋 I’m watching Smile Again now and it’s interesting 😊
@justlikethat0705 If you like recaps as you watch, this site https://asianaddictsanonymous.com/lists/drama-recaps/
recapped Smile Donghae eps 1-84
Thank you for the link!:)
Yes, The K2 was a big disappointment for me too.. so flashy but so hollow, is what I felt after dropping out. The fight scenes that went on for way longer than they needed to, made me zone out instead of making me more excited for the show. I don’t think that was the PD’s intention though! 😛 I agree, this was a waste of time and talent, unfortunately.
I haven’t seen Bachelor’s Vegetable Store, but I heard it was pretty terrible. So I’d second beez’s advice to skip that one. I did hear good things about Smile, Dong Hae, so that’s definitely worth considering 🙂
With over a hundred episodes, Smile, Donghae, could be a bit repetative as far as the evil character repeating behavior and me wishing someone would just slap her already. But we get a reunion of Healer and his mother- in-law-to-be, actress Do Ji-Won, whose character is described as having the mentality of a 9 year old. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
I did find it disturbing that two adult men were in love with her. Perhaps that is due to a wrong understanding of the developmentally disabled on my part. I’m honestly not well informed enough because who am I to judge if they should or should not be sexually active with “normal” guys or if that’s taking advantage. But I couldn’t understand how any “normal” adult man could be in love with a child mentality. I thought what we call in love with someone (once you get past the exterior) is a person’s thoughts, personality and/or intellect, like-minded or opposite thinking. I don’t see how that came into play for her very sweet but simple – minded character.
But given her character’s unique issue (for dramaland) it was interesting to see how the actress and JCW interacted as developmentally disabled mother and adult son. (She’s amazing, by the way.)
Well. That’s an interesting loveline indeed. I haven’t seen the show, but it sounds like something that I would wonder about too. I don’t have enough understanding or experience of the developmentally disabled either, but I can totally see why this arc in particular was disturbing for you. The character is described as having the mentality of a 9 year old, after all. I don’t expect 9 year olds anywhere to be mature enough to have a romantic/sexual relationship with anyone, so that alone is enough to be disturbing for me, in principle. At the same time, dramaland does tend to take a lot of liberties with stuff like this. If memory serves, wasn’t Joo Won’s character cured of autism or something, in Good Doctor? Yeah, that one didn’t make sense to me either. 😛
Smile Dong hae – yes. Obviously the man Dong hae’s mother is looking for (his father) had sex with her despite her mental capacity and then disappeared. Dong hae keeps telling her the man was no good and to stop searching for him but to no avail. Later another middle aged man says he loves and wants to be with her as well.
Good Doctor – I don’t recall them saying Joo won’s character was chief of autism. But I did want that romance to proceed further. My impression of Joo won’s character and of autism, depending on where the individual is in the autism spectrum – and he was very high functioning – his mental age and emotional development had no issues, but autism in his form is about over focus or lack thereof on what others want him to focus on.
Darn it! That show was so good that now I want to rewatch it but where will I find time to squeeze it in!
I’ve heard lots of good things about Good Doctor, but I didn’t really manage to get into it, when I tried it out. Looks like I need to put it on the “try again – someday” list, since you liked it so much! 😉
They didn’t quite stick the landing but I’ve learned to appreciate Kdrama for the journey of 14-15 episodes and if they manage a good ending, YAY. (Or 19 or 23 episodes.) Good Doctor’s ending was not bad, it just didn’t leave you able to imagine where the story is saying they go from there. Of course you can imagine your own thoughts on it but I prefer an ending that leaves me with an idea of the road where they’re definitely going. Similarly (but not as bad as) Remember Son’s War. With that show I was like “What? So did he become one of the homeless, begging in the street or what?”
Oh dear. I’m now glad I didn’t go near Remember: Son’s War! 😆 You’re right though, a lot of dramas don’t get their endings right. I prize a satisfying ending a lot these days. But you are very right that we shouldn’t penalize a show in its entirety, if it got the first 80-90% right. 🙂
Well, I do feel like the ending is the most important part of a story. It’s like a comedian who is more of a storyteller than a one-liner. You’ve got to have a good punch line to finish the build up of a long joke.
But if I didn’t want to bear the frustration that I would get with Kdramas, I had to adopt that philosophy regarding the great journey that ended with everyone either lost and wandering or anticlimatically just ended up back at home. lol
That’s so true. The ending really is like a punchline. And one would expect that after 15 or 23 episodes of build-up, that the punchline should be satisfying and robust. But.. that’s so rare these days in dramaland. I mean, just look at how Lets Eat 3 and Time lost their male leads in the same week. 😛🙈 That’s the kind of stuff that totally messes with the ending. Sigh.
Definitely try it again. It is loaded with tons of ‘feels’. The US version was a total disaster for me!
Thanks Georgia Peach, I’ll definitely keep it in mind for another try! I like feelsss. ❤😉 Pity about the US version tho! 😛
Agreed re both sentiments. I have been watching the Japanese version as well. It’s okay, but some like it better 😀
seankfletcher, I could have cried after watching the first episode of the US version of Good Doctor. I was so devastated at how a beautiful sensitive drama was turned into trash. It’s a shame that this was so many people’s introduction to KDrama. I realize it was a hit here, but my guess is that 99.9% of the viewers had not seen the original. I’ve not seen it advertised in the fall line up. Really glad for that… Will look forward to Joo Won’s return to dramaland next year. Hope you have seen him in Bridal Mask.
GP, I kept going for seven episodes (because I really like Richard Schiff) in the hope that the US version would turn the corner, but it never did. It didn’t need to be “americanised” (if I can say that?). Looking at the ratings, yes, it was a big hit, but the critics, from what I can see, didn’t really like it. Season 2 starts on Monday 24 September. I have been thinking about watching Bridal Mask for a long time, so I will now go and do it!
I second that vote for Bridal Mask! 😀 If you’re up for one of my monster reviews, the Bridal Mask one is here. It was one of my earlier monster reviews, I hope you enjoy 😁
I liked both versions of Good Doctor. I liked the Korean one far better as it felt more… sensitive (maybe?). I’m probably feeling Joo Won in that statement.
The American version was what I expected because it started with two people in bed having sex because they need ratings, don’t they? It’s what I expected in every way, including the way they show Sean’s life because the crude people around his personal life are, frankly, in general, how people are here.
I would’ve have loved for the Korean version to dive more into Joo Won’s character’s personal life. I wanted to see him and the lady doctor who supported him progress BUT since I’m not well versed in autism I don’t know if that would be proper or would it be perceived as her taking advantage of someone considered disabled? Am I a bad person that I still would love to see it go further? Scratch that. I know I’m not a bad person, but is it ignorance and ill-conceived (or just plain wrong) on my part?
Seankfletchr, I hope Bridal Mask will be a good watch for you. It has it weak points, but when it is good it is very good…i.e. the bromance. The ideological differences between our Korean hero and his Japanese friend makes for a heart moving conflict. Joo Won and Park KiWoong turn in excellent performances. I’ll not be watching the second season of Good Doctor. I made it only to the fourth episode and had to quit. Agree with your assessment of the story trajectories…so bad. Not good writing at all. And the personalities of the cast were not at all people I’d want to know much less associate with. Sadly this left Sean also not as endearing a character as Park ShiOn.
To Beez, quite a few people with autism want to have, and are in, good relationships. Autism seems to occur on different levels. In essence it is considered a communication disorder. In Jon Woo’s situation he has many autism attributes that people value including loyalty, dependability, commitment and honesty (although was too honest on occasions as we did see). Difficulties are the social issues and helping him understand what is appropriate behaviour and in turn understanding that he may have difficulty recognising that he is in love (in my mind he certainly is). So, no, she wouldn’t be taking advantage of him at all. In fact, she is probably the best placed person to take him from a rigid or regimented life to one that has some flexibility in it and thus make him less anxious – eventually.
In Sean’s case re the American version, they blurred the good role models he needed to help him understand life. I liked his neighbour – because she was prepared to be someone positive in his life and then she moves on. I struggled with that, and so this change became a negative for me. The initial hospital shenanigans would certainly be considered bad role model behaviour, but at the heart of it all, they were good people. In the end, despite some good performances, the way the stories were portrayed were not for me.
I have started watching Bridal Mask. It seems to have the right vibe for me 😊
Glad you’ve started on Bridal Mask, Sean! 🙂 It does strike me as the kind of show that would work for you. 🙂
The K2: Great team of actors but terrible drama script and storyline. In conclusion, blame the director.
I was really intrigued by K2 at the beginning and then I started losing interest because the story sounded nonsensical, incoherent, and unrealistic.
1) The whole story about JB group didn’t make sense in real life. I don’t expect it to be 100% realistic, but it can’t be too childish, can it?
2) For a rich storyline like this drama, 16 episodes is way too few. Maybe that’s why many parts of the story are cut into bits and pieces, with no proper patch-up of information. Up to the end of the show, I didn’t understand what went wrong with Park’s meeting with the Arabs… 🤔… And what that secret message was all about which got Raniya killed. Everything sounded ridiculous.
3) Towards the end of the episode, you see a gravely wounded Jeha bravely fighting like he wasn’t wounded at all. C’mon, if you’ve had an open-wound surgery before, you won’t be able to fight like that… Was Jeha a superhero mutant with natural healing powers like the characters in Naruto?
(Anyone who’s had surgery before would understand how hard it is to even get up after a major surgical wound)
4) Anna: she’s a character with full of contradictions, like what has been explained in the review..
I was really disappointed. But every actor in this drama did an amazing job, especially these 3 characters:
1) Kim Je Ha
2) Chief Kim (Yoo Jin’s best secretary)
3) Choi Yoo Jin
I watched from the beginning to the end.
Kudos to you for watching this entire show, Wong! I couldn’t make it to the end, after all. A lot of things didn’t work in this show, and I do think the writing was largely at fault as well. I wonder if you’ve seen Healer? Ji Chang Wook was fantastic in that, and the writing was very solid too. 🙂
I actually started watching this before your comment lol 😀 and I just finished it. Have to say, I was captivated and thoroughly enjoyed it. BUT not for the reasons that I thought I would? JCW is brilliant as ever, even with the limitations of that role and crappy writing, Song Yoon Ah is sensational and the fireworks between her and JCW were jumping out the screen. It was as if all the leads were mixed up and it was her story, not K2’s. Towards the second half of the series you hardly see him, which made me sad.
So, I agree with a lot! I had zero interest in the romance which JCW clearly gave his best shot at but there was nothing there which made much sense. I SO WISH they’d been brave and done an OTP with Madam and K2 because that would have been blinding, and very interesting. I think in all fairness to Yoona, Anna was a very poorly written character. She just ended up being the very stereotypical girl-victim-always-needing-saving kdrama type. One commentor on Viki pointed out, rightly, that she spent sixteen episodes crying. It was about as exciting as watching paint dry, although the actual romance scenes they did give them were very cute, even if that OTP was totally unbelievable. It was like, suddenly episode 10 or something and they’d had about two conversations, then they were suddenly in love? Erm, no.
The action was great, and I thought the scenes were done so well (plus the shower and JCW really can’t take his shirt off enough for my liking <3), but once I realised they'd made a mess of his character, I really watched because the actual political intrigue story and the antagonistic relationship between Se-joon and Yoo-jin was really engaging. The story did lag in the middle, but then suddenly blasted into orbit towards the end of the series. I definitely needed to not roll my eyes when a bomb appeared though! Couldn't you find a more inventive way of ending the series??
It's just…..it wasn't about the lead protagonist was it? It actually became dominated by Yoo-jin. Which is absolutely fine because she was fascinating, but don't market this as some clever ex-mercenary getting revenge because that actually wasn't what it was at all.
Once I ignored Anna (I think I skipped through a lot of her scenes tbh, not that it made much difference, and the romance really only accounted for a small proportion of the story overall), it was much better. Very disappointed to not see more of our JCW as I was expecting, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Haha! Well, since you ended up enjoying this one, I guess it’s a good thing you didn’t actually see my comment until after! 😆
Yes, Anna was indeed a poorly written character, and it would have been much more interesting to me, if Show had explored a loveline between Madam and K2. They had much better chemistry, and that would have been a much more interesting arc to explore. And then perhaps we could have been spared all the ramyum dancing. That was truly cringeworthy! 😝
I (stupidly) I think watched this, just because of my JCW love after Healer. Gosh- it was a painful experience. I so wanted to abandon it but I am often a masochist much to my detriment and with the help of over reliance on heavy bouts of fast forward and glazing over on other parts and then just taking in the eye candy that is JCW, I persevered and watched it all but it was way too many precious hours wasted on a bad show I am afraid. Even JCW couldn’t save this as there was nothing to save and I am not sure if I am in the minority but I felt the whole “romance” in this was SO lack lustre it felt totally pointless:(
Oh dear. I feel for you, that you watched this in its entirety, out of JCW loyalty!! This one didn’t work for me, and I really really had hopes that this would be a nice follow-up after Healer. Unfortunately, it was not. 😝 Also, you’re not alone; I felt the romance was awkward and underwhelming too.
Thank you for saving me all of those hours. I just had a feeling this one wasn’t for me.
You’re welcome, Amy! And yes, based on how we often have similar feelings about our dramas, I fully agree that you wouldn’t have liked this one, badass Ji Chang Wook or no! 😉
K2 started out promising and had the potential to be good but ultimately turned out this way.. I watched it till the end although many things were not working for me too. It’s a pity, but Song Yoon Ah certainly stood out in the drama. I looked forward to her scenes the most, and she had sparks with Je Ha which made the show a slightly better watch. Thanks for sharing your thoughts kfangurl <3
Lol. You have more patience and fortitude than I, Jas! I’m impressed that you held on to the very end, despite so many things going downhill. *salute* Song Yoon Ah was excellent, but her character became too OTT as the episodes progressed, so much so that I gradually lost interest in her too. Sigh. The could’ve beens. This could’ve been a much more intriguing and interesting show, if only they’d written it differently.
Lol I actually should have dropped it, it wasn’t worth my time at all. Maybe I continued also because of Lee Jung Jin, I have a soft spot for him. 😛 Thankfully I did FF through parts of the show and got it over with. She really was, but the writing didn’t help at all. It was a pity.
Unfortunately for me this show was an empty shell. I did not succeed in finishing it. Huuummm I wanted sooo much to watch an action-show similar to Healer (but not too similar!) … I think that the seen with the ramen cooking was the real indication that it was going nowhere. I recently eat some of these ramen thingy … huuummm no sexy images came out of my dish ! 😀
scene … spelling mistake!
Hahaha! Your ramen remark made me giggle, Ocha!! I know, that ramen scene was the first warning sign that this show was NOT going in the direction I hoped for! 😝 I honestly think Healer will forever be my favorite role of Ji Chang Wook’s.. so cool, so badass, so dorky-endearing and so melty-wonderful. ❤
I think i get your point of saying are the writers is insulting our intelligence. Thats why I’ve become pickier when watching Kdrama. Eventhough i don’t watch K2 (becus Yoona is in it….sorry guys, she’s really not my fav in terms of acting), i agree with you on that point. Even if the story is fantasy genre, the characters must be written well & developed well. Even the smallest details can make the scene logic or become a disaster. Currently I’m feeling the same with Hwarang but can’t cus Park SeoJun….LOL
Lol. I feel you on Hwarang too, azleenaa!! I hung in there for quite a while, for Park Seo Joon, as well as Park Hyung Sik, but in the end, the terrible writing just got the better of me, and I dropped it. I haven’t gotten around to a dropped post yet, but will probably write one soonish.
I love when a show is smartly written, but isn’t too obtuse or obscure for general audiences, but I’ve learned that that brand of drama doesn’t come around too often. So I wasn’t expecting rocket science with K2 either, and STILL, it was terrible and made no sense. Sigh. You were right to avoid this one, is all I can say! 😆
Only 5 reason why I watched it till the end:
1. Ji Chang Wook
2. Ive already wasted around 5 hours watching it.
3. Ji Chang Wook
4. Ji Chang Wook
5. Ji Chang Wook
Tee hee. Your comment made me laugh out loud, seriously! 😂😂😂 But I totally get how you made it to the end. Tis the power of Ji Chang Wook indeed! 😉
Ah, everything so well put! Although I did waste five more hours of my time watching the show until it ended, hoping it would get back on track since I loved Yoo Jin’s character way too much. Sadly, I was perfectly betrayed… yes, the ending for Yoo Jin was somewhat acceptable, but Anna’s character is very much a nuisance right till the end.
You certainly have more fortitude than I, aethel! Yoo Jin was interesting, but fell way too much into OTT melodramatic territory by the second half, which is a huge waste, considering the fabulosity that Song Yoon Ah dished out when her character was allowed to be restrained, elegant yet badass. Glad you enjoyed this read despite your chagrin over the show itself. Fingers crossed they all get better projects next time around!
Thanks for this great review!
Can I let this out from my chest? :: I loathed this show. ugh. There I said it. Even JCW couldn’t save me from dropping it at episode 11
(for the same reasons with what you wrote here). I was trying really hard to like the OTP because it was what this drama tried to shove it to our face all the time (and OTP in other shows sometimes help me to go through such a very bad plot until the finale episode), but this OTP became one of the biggest reasons that made my watching experience was extremely painful. The romance just didn’t work for me. It felt too rush (like the one in YongPal), too unreal, and simply flat. That’s probably because I hadn’t warmed up to each character yet, had not connected to their story (like you said, it was difficult to buy the story with Show’s logic), and the big letdown came from the ramyun scene…and followed by the CPR. Such a hot mess.
That said, I admit that I enjoyed the action in some episodes (like episode 1&2) but I lol-ed at every action scene in the later episodes, which seemed so good on paper but really bad at the execution.
Regarding to Anna’s sociophobia, some people in other site wrote that there was no proof that Yoo Jin had been telling the truth about it. They assumed YJ just made it up to hide Anna. But, I personally still can’t connect with that theory because the narrative seemed presenting to us that Anna was really having an illness or something. errr, okay they said Anna only had problem with sudden light directed at her so she was okay in a broad daylight…but still… it didn’t sit well with me.
As JCW’s fan, I really really hope to see his new drama with much better quality than this!
Hey there, caaramelts, I’m so sorry this reply is coming to you so late, but I just wanted to say, I feel exactly the way you do, about K2!! I cringed at the ramyun scenes, and I also cringed – so hard – at the CPR scene. I had to cover my eyes and peek through my fingers, I found it that hard to watch! 😝😝 It made Je Ha look like such a noob, and I never, ever find CPR scenes romantic, and wish so hard that all writers and PDs in all of Korea would get on the same page on that! 😆
As for Anna’s sociophobia, I also don’t buy the theory that YJ made it up. In the scenes where Anna was shown by herself, ie, not with Yoo Jin or any bodyguard, she displayed serious symptoms of abnormality, and right away too. Immediately in E1 we see a lot of it, and she can’t even handle it when a sweet old lady tries to help her. In which case, I believe Show is trying to tell me that her sociophobia is real and not imagined. In which case, making it go away just like that was a serious cop-out.
Sigh. I do enjoy JCW, but this just was a huge disappointment from start to finish. I did like the nekkid fight scene though, so there’s that! 😆
This is a fantastic review. For me, K2 was a very enjoyable ride – so, yes I really enjoyed it from the start to the finish.
Hi there Sean, good to know that you enjoyed K2! I know I didn’t, but I could tell that Ji Chang Wook and his fellow cast mates worked really really hard on this, particularly in the action scenes, so it’s comforting to know that the hard work was well appreciated! 🙂
I agree with everything you said…but I still loved this show, and happily watched it from start to finish. I liked Yong Pal a whole lot too, and knowing this was from the same PD-nim, I gave the show a lot of leeway. Similar to YP, I feel that the whole thing is happening in a parallel universe or alternate reality–like a sort-of fairy tale. PD-nim really pushes the boundaries…..like the shower scene. 🙂 Not everyone is good with that.
I can’t say enough about the awesome BG music; it was another reason this show worked for me.
Waiting for JCW in “Fabricated City”!
Glad to know you enjoyed this one, shamrockmom! I mean, I do appreciate some of PD-nim’s work (love Chuno, So Much), but this one just didn’t work for me. Having said that, I can see that a lot of work went into this, from all aspects. PDnim, the actors (especially JCW), and the stunt doubles and the crew clearly put in a ton of work, especially for the action scenes, and I actually felt rather bad for feeling bored during the extended action sequences. 😝 So, to know that you appreciated their hard work, is actually really nice!
I haven’t seen Fabricated City yet (I think it’s come out?) – have you seen it, and what do you think? 🙂
When anyone finds Fabricated City….please post it asap! It has been hugely popular in Korea ….want very much to see Jo In Sung in The King.
I haven’t been able to find it either, Georgia! I think it’s going to take a while for it to become available, particularly if we want subs too.
Yeah, since it is so popular, your right, we may not get it online for some time. BUT I’m hoping someone will let us know when it is. Bounty Hunter was popular in 2016 and DramaFever has picked it up…..hoping same for Fabricated City.
Fabricated City is already up on hdfree.se –but only the raw.
(Link removed to stay clear of DMCA bots ~kfangurl)
It should be subbed soon. There’s not a ton of dialogue 🙂 Warning: This site has a lot of ads, but is ok for viewing on a computer–phones/tablets are problematic.
Thanks Shamrockmom….I found it quite by accident on YouTube this morning and it’s subbed! Now to get the popcorn and cokes out for two hours of Jo In Sung!
Fabricated City is available to rent for about $4 on Amazon.
Thanks…I’d almost forgotten about this Chi Jang Wook movie!
Yes! Review is on my blog: https://shamrockmom3.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/shamrockmom-goes-to-the-source-a-review-of-fabricated-city-with-ji-chang-wook/
Great action scenes, not much dialogue, very violent and plenty of social commentary
Thanks for sharing, shamrockmom!! How cool, that you got to see FC on the big screen! 😀
Will for sure read your review! Tell me….how does a shamrockmom go to a Korean movie? 😄😄😄
“Shamrockmom” originated when my kids were involved in Irish Dance (like Riverdance) many years ago. It just sorta stuck!
Great name! Yeah, saw River Dance…. There’s a girl on JYJ3 whose tag is Koreamom!
Girl, I’m crazy….I’m thinking about The King…..still join me and enjoy! Will try your web site suggestion for Fabricated City. The King just came out in January…January the 18th to be exact…I was in Korea then and promos were everywhere. So it could be FC will soon be on YouTube 😊
The King is also PPV on OnDemandKorea.com. Their subs are pretty good
I stopped around episode eight and I totally agree with you on a what you wrote here. The naked fight scene is what originally got me so watch the drama after I seen that little snippit on YouTube. Also, I totally enjoyed Yoo Jin x Je He more than the actually shows intended couple and once I noticed their relationship was losing substance, I basically dropped the series right then and there. I’m glad to see many other did similar haha
Oh noes.. you basically already saw the best 2 minutes & 39 seconds of the show before you started! I feel for you, Alexa! 😝 I hope it’s some consolation to know that you’re totally not alone in bailing on this show!
I love the car chase scene dont u guys
I thought the car chase was pretty well done. But like a lot of the other action sequences in this show, Show was gunning for “more is more” while I was feeling all “more is too much” – which is why I felt it was kind of a little overdone. 😅 But y’know, that’s just me!
I made it through episode 10, and I didn’t actually make a decision to drop it. I just never picked it up again. I think if I wasn’t watching as it was airing and was binge watching, I might have clicked ahead. It would have taken a lot of fast forwarding to get me to the end. Usually I know if something is going to work with me within 4 episodes, especially with the shorter dramas. This was an odd one in that it had enough to keep me going, but I was never really satisfied with it. And I’m just going to say it, after Yong Pal and this one, this writer should stay away from romance. I don’t think he actually wants to do it, and this aired on TVN which generally allows more leeway in writing. To me he is trying to have a lot of action, a little comedy, a little romance, a little intrigue when he actually is probably only interested in the action and intrigue.
I agree with your review wholeheartedly. I also found it odd he was ever willing to work with these people and the whole all knowing computer thing didn’t work for me and seemed a bit too much like scenarios I’ve seen on multiple US tv shows already. I did always plan on watching the last 15 minutes but read basically how it ended and was happy enough with that.
Oh and this past year or so has been the year for me realize how PD’s can really go overboard. After seeing a few episodes of Neighborhood Hero (I dropped) and then this one, this PD needs to chillax on how he films action. He is not doing anything new or innovative, and to me it is a conceit as annoying as the neverending close ups from the Moon Lovers director or the slow motion in Goblin. Because writing so often goes sideways and, well, acting can as well in the dramas, sometimes I forget how important those directors are because other issues get more attention.
Hey there Kat, first off, I just want to apologize for this reply coming so late! But I just wanted to say, I do think you’ve hit the nail on the head – this writer really doesn’t seem to enjoy writing romance. It’s quite possible that he felt compelled to have a romantic thread simply because this is kdrama, and almost every kdrama has a romantic thread. Unfortunately, the romance in this as well as Yong Pal feels forced and unnatural, and just all-around not very believable. I don’t think romance is his genre at all, am completely with you in hoping that he realizes that and sticks to what he does well. I would much rather watch a show with no romance, than a show with a half-hearted stab at romance. 😛
Ditto with PDs going overboard with a favored treatment or technique. It can be interesting for a while, but too much of anything is usually not a good thing, and these directorial ticks become so distracting. 😛
Unfortunately, you’re right on the money here. I did eventually finish it but there was a long break after ep 11. Another lead and I wouldn’t have stayed. JCW brings an earnestness to the screen that I adore. That said, the OTP was way off…I don’t think I ever liked Anna or saw them as an interesting couple. I did enjoy Yoo Jin who brought layers to some serious villainy. But, in the end, like you mention, I just didn’t really care about any of them; the fight scenes (which I’m all for) just got long and gratuitous; the politics was too much; Yoo Jin’s crazy step bro was one more demented laugh away from my shoe hitting the screen; and it all just became too predictable.
Better luck next time JCW. We’ll be waiting for your return and great this to come.
Tee hee. Your comment made me chuckle, sisterdoc, especially that bit about YJ’s step bro being one demented laugh away from your shoe hitting the screen! That is some inspired ranting, so I suppose something did come out of your watch of K2? 😆 Totally agree with all of your points; it became gratuitous, nonsensical AND predictable. I feel so bad for Ji Chang Wook, since he had to work extra hard for this show, with all of the extended, gratuitous action sequences. 😬
I was so looking forward to this drama. Ji Chang Wook and all. Did I mention Ji Chang Wook? But it was surely a big hot mess! There were moments of greatness….mostly JCW and Song Yoon Ah. But like you said that began to fade in the later episodes. I was most distracted by the cinematography. Be still with that camera, can you? Even those moments that JCW did his best emoting….the camera was all over the place! I literally got dizzy watching. And I did watch to the end, but it was a difficult task. And I can’t tell you how it ended! Seems the bad people blew themselves up? But our OTP? Did they live happily ever after in KDrama land? I just didn’t care. And what a shame for our JCW! I feel JCW is way better than this drama. His acting skills were poorly presented and the script left so much to be desired, I felt very sorry for the skilled actors in this production. Yoona needs acting lessons big time. One facial expression stimular to those of IU had in Moon Lovers…..well, get an acting coach, please! When will our talented male actors find good scripts and a director worthy of their talents?
Kfangul, will you be reviewing Goblin? I’m watching it now. Lee Dong Wook❗ Gong Yoo ❗
Hi there Georgia Peach! First of all, I’m sorry this reply is coming to you so late! RL and all that, y’know. 😝 Second of all, yes, this was such a shame for JCW! From interviews and some BTS, I know how hard he worked on this show, and it’s such a pity that all that hard work pretty much went to waste, for many viewers. Some folks enjoyed this show, but like you, I found it just all over the place, and far from compelling. I so hope that his next project will be a good one!
To answer your question, I am currently paused on Goblin because I wasn’t in the mood for it, and I haven’t yet gone back to it because I’m distracted by other dramas – and am also not sure I’m in the right mood for it. I do plan to finish it and write it a review – it just may not be so soon on the horizon! 😅
I dropped this too for all the same reasons you listed here. I just couldn’t muddle through, not even for Ji Chang Wook. 💀😔
Tis a sad day in dramaland when even the love for Ji Chang Wook isn’t enough! 😝 At least we know that we’re not alone 😉
At least we have his new drama to look forward to! 😆
I’ve been looking at the casting news for this, and I am not sure how I feel about the possibility of Han Ji Min as his co-star. I thought she was good in Rooftop Prince, but I found her very underwhelming in Hyde, Jekyll and Me. Crossing all available limbs and hoping for the best! 😅
I was excited when the possibility of Lee Sung Kyung as his co-star was raised but now that it’s switched to Han Ji Min I am disappointed tbh. Hoping she either declines of does a really good job… or else it might sadly be another K2 situation for me. Fingers and limbs crossed indeed! 😝
Well, I took one look at it and bailed out. XD Not my thing at all.