The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Dropped: The K2


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.

Specimen A: Ji Chang Wook in his suit. We’ll save Specimen B for.. later. 😉


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.

[MINOR SPOILER] 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. [END SPOILER]

As I got deeper into the episodes, it occurred to me that this show has a strong ChunoYong 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..?” [MINOR SPOILER] 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. Um. What? [END SPOILER]

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.

[SPOILER ALERT] 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. [END SPOILER]

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.


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.

[SPOILER] 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. [END SPOILER]

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.


Romantic/Not Romantic?

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. [MINOR SPOILER] 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. [END SPOILER]

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.

[MINOR SPOILER] 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.) [END SPOILER]


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.


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.

Don’t be too sad that I didn’t finish your show, Ji Chang Wook-sshi.. Maybe next time, ok?


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:

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

98 thoughts on “Dropped: The K2

  1. I wanted to see how the show ended, so I used the FF button a lot and finished the show. Well, don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything. I wish I hadn’t wasted my time. The only thing I remember about this hot mess is the naked shower fight scene… I got so disinterested after that. Oh well, lesson learned. I should have read the Reddit comments before watching every episode; they were good indicators of whether or not I should continue watching. I’m watching Hwarang now and I’m on the verge of dropping it… Let’s see if Redditors can persuade me otherwise.

    Great review as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to know I didn’t miss anything much with this one, thanks neve! I honestly feel the naked fight scene is the best few minutes of this show, heh.

      I ended up dropping Hwarang – did you finish it in the end? I was going to press on for Park Seo Joon and Park Hyung Sik, but honestly, that show was quite the mess. I should have a dropped post coming soonish.


      • We need more naked fight scenes, or communal shower scene a la Hwarang lol… But better storylines. I dropped Hwarang in the end, I just couldn’t put up with the incest-ish undercurrent and a storyline that was going nowhere interesting.

        I’m only watching Strong Woman Do Bong Soon now (after almost dropping it at ep 4, it kinda got more interesting. But Ji Soo’s acting is terrible). Can’t seem to get into the other popular shows like Defendant, Voice, Tunnel, etc. due to lack of interest in the main leads. I’m highly anticipating Chicago Typewriter though; my YAI thirst is still very real.


        • I ended up dropping Hwarang too! I just felt like the story wasn’t really going anywhere, and I was losing interest with each episode. I’ve got a Dropped post for it in my Drafts, but haven’t gotten around to finishing it. Soon-ish, hopefully! 😛

          I feel like I’m in a moderate drama slump, so few shows are holding my interest as well. It’s probably also partly to do with my mood, and not completely the fault of the shows themselves. I was watching Defendant consistently for a while, and thought Ji Sung was excellent in it, but somehow just slid off the bandwagon when Real Life demands came knocking. I’m taking a detour in Chinese dramas at the moment, but definitely plan to get back to kdramas too. Have you checked out Chicago Typewriter yet? How do you like it so far?


          • Lol I just posted in the other article about my slump… Not you too? Chicago Typewriter is great so far, it’s one of the only two dramas that managed to hold my interest. As expected, Yoo Ah In’s acting is amazing. I can’t say why without spoiling the story for you. I’m also impressed by the drama’s writing, seamlessly blending a plotline that can get heavy with a dose of humor. I’m also liking Go Kyung Pyo here, his comedic timing is especially great. Do check it out if you have time.


  2. I agree with literally every single thing you said!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also agree with everything you said. I was so disappointed. Except for the naked fight scene I loved the naked fight scene.


  4. Well, I took one look at it and bailed out. XD Not my thing at all.


    • Lol. You are always quick to spot the duds, Timescout! You were so wise to bail on this one right away – I spent 11 hours of my life on this, and have only disappointment to show for it! 😝


  5. 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 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • 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! 😅

          Liked by 1 person

          • 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! 😝

            Liked by 1 person

  6. 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! 😅


  7. 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. 😬


  8. 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. 😛


  9. 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!


  10. 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!


  11. 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… 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”!


  12. 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! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. 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! 😆


  14. 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!


  15. 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

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 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! 😆


  17. 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 ! 😀


  18. 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 ❤


    • 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.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. 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! 😉


  20. 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.


  21. Pingback: Review: The King Loves | The Fangirl Verdict

  22. 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… 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! 😝


  23. Pingback: Year In Review: 2016 | The Fangirl Verdict

  24. 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. 🙂


  25. 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 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!

            Liked by 1 person

            • 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 😀

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • 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 😁

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • 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.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • 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. 🙂


  26. Sean…by all means let us know how you like Bridal Mask! Happy watching….watch out for a few tears!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. 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.


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