So I realize that I haven’t covered a whole lot of shorter dramas, like web dramas and drama specials, on this blog, although I’ve reviewed a number of them in the past. I’m going to try to remedy that, starting now, because I’m getting the impression that more of you guys are interested in these shorter dramas than I’d originally thought.
Maybe it’s coz you like the occasional palate cleanser between longer dramas; maybe it’s coz the pandemic’s affected your desire to watch full-length dramas; maybe it’s coz you simply don’t have time for a 16-episoder. Whichever it is, I wanna be here for ya, so you’ll be seeing more of these quick reviews of shorter dramas here on the blog, going forward.
For a start, Mute turned out to be a surprisingly fun little drama interlude, and I’m here to tell you alll about it.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Our female lead Han Na (Bae Yoon Kyung) has the ability to hear the thoughts of another person, if she likes them romantically. She has a chance encounter with our male lead Je Won (Won Hyung Hoon), and finds, to her surprise, that she can hear his thoughts pretty much right away. She also appears to have a very special impact on Je Won, whose sound-related struggles seem to disappear in her presence, and he seems drawn to her very quickly. However, as they spend time together, she loses the ability to hear his thoughts. Is he really her destined love after all?
RANDOM FACTOID: THE SCRIPTWRITERS
I was very surprised to realize that this little web drama is written by Jung Jae Won / One (who acted as Park Min Young’s idol crush in 2019’s Her Private Life) and Kang Han Na (who all too often plays the unsuccessful second female lead, like in 2018’s Familiar Wife).
First of all, I’m intrigued because I’d never thought of them as people behind the camera, until this web drama. Second of all, what an unexpected pairing, yes? How did this even come about? If you know, please tell us about it in the comments below!
ADJUSTING YOUR VIEWING LENS
This web drama is only about an hour long, and it took me about a third of my watch before I realized that this one is best consumed while wearing a manhwa lens.
Sometimes the character reactions are weirdly large and exaggerated; sometimes the characters behave in ultra simple, slightly dim ways. The manhwa lens takes care of it all, and makes this fun instead of cringey to watch.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Our story is a sweet, light, easy romance that’s easy to slurp up.
2. Given Show’s short run-time, it doesn’t feel like too many tropes are used (vs. fellow web drama Timing, for example, which had felt quite heavily sprinkled with tropes. For the record, Timing was still a solid little watch, despite it).
3. The music is very pleasant. In particular, there’s a song that Je Won sings in Show’s first half, while he plays the guitar, and I thought it was really quite lovely. I wish we’d had more of that.
4. He falls for her first, and is obviously quite delighted by her. His leaked smiles were a very nice highlight of my watch.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
1. Can’t lie; the acting leans green and awkward, and if it weren’t for the manhwa lens, I would’ve found this much more difficult to watch.
2. Our OTP relationship does feel like it develops very fast, but I rationalize that sometimes people do develop feelings and jump into relationships very quickly. I also rationalize that Show doesn’t have much choice in the matter, since it’s only about an hour long.
3. There’s a fundamental mistake in the piano scene in episode 3 that’ll be very obvious to people who understand a bit about how pianos work. (Our OTP plays a duet, and he’s supposed to play the more difficult portion, which is on the lower registers. But, in the scene, he sits on the right, which puts him smack in the higher registers, so when we hear the music being played, the visual doesn’t match in the least.)
4. We aren’t actually ever given a real explanation for why she can’t hear his thoughts anymore.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
I felt that our ending was a little rushed, but it was still sweet.
Han Na getting so confused about whether she truly likes Je Won, just because she can’t hear his thoughts, strikes me as a little strange, because besides the question of whether she can hear his thoughts, there’s also that other, much more common barometer that the rest of us use – feelings – which is also fully available to her. But ok, I rationalize that she’d second-guess herself, because she’s so used to being able to hear the thoughts of the one she likes.
The other thing that made this ending feel less than elegant, is how everything is resolved in an almost deus ex machina sort of fashion. I mean, all we see is Han Na running away from Je Won and not actually telling him why, and after this has gone on for a while, Han Na’s roommate Ji Eun solves everything by telling Je Won exactly why Han Na’s avoiding him, thus giving Je Won the confidence to pursue Han Na anyway, and overcome her insecurities. It’s narrative magic, basically. Everything’s solved in a quick snap of the fingers, pretty much.
That said, on the upside, I do like he goes straight to Han Na, gives her hug, and proceeds to tell her the truth about everything about his own identity and struggles with misophonia. I like the idea that he puts across to her, that even though he can’t hear her thoughts, he can tell what she thinks and feels; that she doesn’t need to be able to actually hear his thoughts, to know what he feels, either. He kisses her on the forehead, and tells her, “This is the true sound of my heart.” Aw.
I like Show’s ultimate message, that rather than superpowers like being able to hear someone else’s thoughts, the true miracle in life, is finding someone who becomes special to you. That’s a sweet sentiment, and one that I’m happy to end this little watch on.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Light, fluffy and quite enjoyable – given the right lens.
FINAL GRADE: B+
You can check out the teaser on Viki here.
WHERE TO WATCH:
You can watch this little series on Viki here.