Dropped: Snowdrop

You guys, I’m officially calling it quits on Snowdrop, 8 episodes in.

I know that opinions on this show are divided, ie, those who love this show, reallyreally love it, and those who don’t, find it really quite underwhelming.

Clearly, I’m not in the first camp, since I’m writing this Dropped post (heh), but I’ll do my best to lay it out, so that you can figure out whether this one’s for you.

MY TRAJECTORY WITH THIS ONE

The main reason I binged Show’s first 7 episodes, was because of this Dear KFG post, where KS requested that I talk about the controversy around this drama. That was my reason for watching, and that was also my reason for hanging in there, when Show wasn’t really grabbing my attention.

I took a break from Show, after the Dear KFG post was published, because I had so many other dramas on my plate, and couldn’t quite make time for it.

I’d had good intentions of picking this one back up again, finishing it, and then posting a review for it, but episode 8 failed to grab my interest (which honestly wasn’t that great to begin with, based on Show’s first 7 episodes), which is why I’ve decided to drop this one.

To put things in perspective, I would have probably not continued past episode 1, if I hadn’t been on a mission to answer that Dear KFG question.

So my decision to drop this show isn’t about losing momentum after taking a break from the show; it’s more about my not having that much interest in this show, even from its early episodes.

PS: I will not be commenting on the controversy in this post; this post will purely be about my impressions of the drama’s quality. For my thoughts on the controversy, you can go here.

MY GENERAL OPINIONS ON:

1. Show’s tone

I have to admit, I found Show’s tonal shifts pretty jarring.

I was surprised to learn that Show is pitching itself as part black comedy, and I have to say, the “funny” music scoring this show, doesn’t work for me. It has this (probably unintended?) effect of making light of the situation, and I can see how this choice would make sensitive viewers  (see controversy) even more annoyed.

It feels like Show is trying to do an unexpected tonal mashup, kinda-sorta like how Vincenzo managed a weird tonal mashup, but where in Vincenzo it mostly worked for me, here, it’s mostly falling flat, for me.

[MINOR HIGH-LEVEL SPOILERS] In Show’s early episodes, the dorm stuff is played innocent and funny, with lots of emphasis on the romantic potential between Soo Ho and Yeong Ro (Jung Hae In and Jisoo), and we spend a lot of time there.

But then, Show thrusts us into, 1, the men’s politics stuff, 2, the informal women’s society, where they are all angling to make their husbands successful, and 3, the secret agents and their intent search for Soo Ho. I felt like I was watching 4 separate dramas in one. [END SPOILERS]

I feel the contrasting tones is deliberate, to show the difference between the world in which normal people are living, compared to the people who are involved in the political scheming side of things. But I conclude that I much prefer the balance that Youth of May managed.

Here, the school stuff is too cutesy, and the political stuff’s kinda hammy, and the spy investigation stuff is pretty theatrical and OTT, making the whole thing feel rather uneven and whiplashy, to my eyes.

Honestly, it only dawned on me in episode 6, that all the shouting between Eun Chang Su and Nam Tae Il (Heo Joon Ho and Park Sung Woong) is supposed to be funny.

And that, only because Show decided that an epilogue of them shouting at each other, scored with some funny musical cues, would be a good idea.

I honestly struggle with how Show tries to be a black comedy. Maybe I just don’t get black comedies.

2. Show’s pace

Additionally, it feels like Show thinks that in order to fit in all these varying tones that I just talked about, all we need is more screen time, thus the hefty episodes.

Unfortunately, the indulgent length, and the indulgent dips into each narrative arc, just made me space out instead. 😛

I mean, the episodes are long and they feel long. I find it exhausting just to get through one of these, not even exaggerating. 😅

3. Jisoo as Yeong Ro

To be brutally honest, I don’t think Jisoo’s a very skilled actress, and the greenness of her acting is very visible, particularly in more difficult scenes.

However, I mostly didn’t find her objectionable as Yeong Ro, because it’s possible to rationalize that Yeong Ro is just this brand of earnest ditzy, and that her lisp and poor enunciation, and the mostly awkward delivery, is just part of her character.

Yeong Ro is kind of clumsy, but goodhearted, passionate and reckless, and I feel that Jisoo’s serviceable, in the role. Yes, the character would be more interesting in a more experienced actor’s hands, but she’s not tanking the show on her own or anything.

4. Jung Hae In as Soo Ho

In Show’s early stretch, before it’s revealed that Soo Ho is a North Korean spy, it mostly feels like Jung Hae In is.. just being Jung Hae In, ha. He’s the perfect boyfriend type that he’s played several times before – but with a hidden secret.

I did find it pretty interesting, though, to see him in spy mode, because this is the first time I’ve seen Jung Hae In lean into the more action-centric, badass side of things.

Or rather, I suppose you could say that I’d actually caught a small glimpse of this in D.P., but since that wasn’t a large part of his character there, I feel like that this role is where Jung Hae In really gets to explore this particular combination of fierce, broody and tortured, with a good helping of fight, gun and survival skills on the side.

I rather like this vibe on him, to be honest. 😁

5. The OTP

I’ve concluded that Show wants to be a Romeo and Juliet sort of story, with Soo Ho being the son of a North Korean leader, and Yeong Ro being the daughter of a South Korean politician. Never the twain shall meet – unless they find themselves in a situation where their contexts are momentarily removed, and they interact simply as two people.

I’ll say that I liked this more in concept than in execution. However, there are folks who are huge fans of this OTP, so I could well be the lonely odd duck in the corner.

[SPOILER ALERT] For example, in episode 3, when Soo Ho turns back to see Yeong Ro again, while running away, I think the fact that the secret agents are on to him and are intent on finding him, is supposed to amplify how romantic this act is, that he’d come back to her, even though he knows it’s a risk.

BUT. While other viewers might well be swooning at the romance of Soo Ho putting aside his personal safety in order to see Yeong Ro again, I just can’t get my brain in that headspace. All I’m thinking is, GET OUTTA THERE, DUDE. WHAT ARE YOU DOINGGG, THEY’RE ONTO YOU. 🙈 [END SPOILER]

Essentially, the more Show leans into the romance while danger is bearing down on them, the more I wanted to headdesk, because it all feels so stupidly reckless, to my eyes. I suppose I’m just not Show’s target audience, when it comes to this romance. 😅

I suppose it’s not much of a surprise, when I conclude that I’m not much invested in the central romance; I could take it or leave it. But, remembering that Show wants to show how epic this is, helps, as does the Romeo and Juliet lens.

WHAT KEPT ME GOING

While Show didn’t grab me from the beginning, there were several elements that helped to keep me going for as long as I did.

[SPOILER ALERT] I do think that I was relatively more engaged in episodes 2 through 4, than the other episodes I watched, because this is the stretch where the girls are working to hide Soo Ho, while he’s being actively hunted by the police.

There’s suspense that’s naturally built into this arc, without Soo Ho’s personal context as a North Korean spy coming between him and Yeong Ro. In that sense, our OTP is allowed some space to interact, outside of their personal contexts.

Once the hostage situation occurs in episode 5, I found my interest shifting away from the romance of the OTP, to Soo Ho’s broody, tortured state of being. This is partly because Yeong Ro’s scenes become more difficult to deliver from this point onwards, and I personally found it rather painful to watch Jisoo’s delivery. 😛

Focusing on Jung Hae In doing his tortured badass strut, worked out to be the most pleasant way of spending my screen time, ha. Hey, whatever works, right? 😁 [END SPOILER]

SAYING GOODBYE

Coming back to this show at episode 8, after a break of about a month, I found myself already tired of the hostage situation – and it even doesn’t look like this hostage scenario is going to end anytime soon.

While I can imagine that it must be very conflicting for Yeong Ro and Soo Ho, to find themselves in such a situation, where they are suddenly on opposite sides, where before, she’d worked so hard to keep him safe, I find that I’m not truly engaged in their story.

Truth be told, this is all a mental, almost hypothetical exercise for me. I theorize this in my head, but I’m not exactly feeling connected enough with our characters, to feel what they feel, or feel like I’m invited to share their struggles and conflicts.

I found myself wondering where this story is going to go, if it wants to fill 16 episodes of screen time. I also found my attention wandering, A LOT.

I considered fast-forwarding my way through all the bits of the show that didn’t interest me, but when I tried that out in the second half of episode 8, I found myself fast-forwarding through.. pretty much everything. 😝 HA. That was my clear cue, that I would be happier pulling the plug on this one.

Unfortunately, I’m just.. not interested or invested enough, to see this one through to the end, even for a Romeo and Juliet-esque sort of central love story.

WHERE TO WATCH:

You can check out this show on Disney+ here.

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Chisom
Chisom
3 months ago

I totally agree with this review, I felt like I was rather forcing myself to like it, the plot and idea of the drama is more Intriguing than the execution, and the episodes are just too bloody long, while I love Jisoo’s acting in this drama as well as the male lead, it is still quite tiring to watch. I will still finish the drama but it’ll take a while cause binge watching is out of the question

ImJisooImokay
3 months ago

You can say all you want about 5he plot, but watching the whole drama we got to see Jisoo playing a lost and heartbreaking character which is not how she usually is (she is funny and a bubble personality). In this debut the world fell in love with ACTRESS Jisoo, of course there are downers like you who are negatively biased from episode 1 and not patient enough to see her character development. The drama was great its currently trending in the US too…That says it all, if it was on Netflix in top 5 you wouldnt talk like with squid game which for me is trash and very violent… End. JISOO FIGHTING WISH A HAPPIER DRAMA AND CHARACTER FOR U NEXT TIME.

Neeta
Neeta
3 months ago

Yessss! Somebody had to say this ! You are absolutely right – overly cutesy, jarring, theatrical , hammy and boring. You took the words straight out of my mouth. I dropped off somewhere in the middle of ep 3.

Panchali
Panchali
3 months ago

For me Snowdrop is one of the best kdrama that I have ever watched. I really dislike dramas that have too clingy love stories because for me they are so cringe and too unrealistic. So I don’t like most of kdramas about high school love stories. May be that’s the reason I like Snowdrop a lot. I really liked its’ unpredictable plot. Since drama says different kind of stories between various characters, I found it is interesting and unique than most of typical kdramas.
For me jisoo’s acting was ok but not that good in first few episodes. But as drama aires I found that her acting is really impressive specially in last few episodes. I also liked the chemistry between protagonists. There weren’t many hugs or kisses but I could feel deep imotional connection between Soo-ho and Young-ro. Compare to other Kdramas it was lack of romance and shouldn’t have discribed as it is. But compare to dramas generally, Snowdrop says a forbbiden love story.

ImJisooImokay
3 months ago
Reply to  Panchali

Preach. Actress Jisoo nailed it.

Bhoomika
3 months ago

It’s good to watch the whole when you started to watch a drama… Finish it to know & feel the things & emotions of this drama…

Widya
Widya
3 months ago
Reply to  Bhoomika

are you new to this blog? I think so, because if you are a regular, you’d see that KFG dropped some show from time to time AND IT IS NOTHING SORT OF UNUSUAL. If you don’t like it, just drop it. She is decent enough to watch until epi 8. And that’s quite generous of her coz she could have dropped earlier if she wishes so.

Park Chaeyoung
3 months ago

Sorry But You Don’t Have Taste. Jusy Say How, Much You Hate Jisoo And Snowdrop And Done, Everything Here🤦‍♀️.

Sharvin
Sharvin
3 months ago

I actually loved this Drama. It’s unique and a whole Masterpiece. The direction, the acting, the music, the cast( every character has its charm) and the mysterious plots kept me hooked up to the drama from ep 1 to ep 16. Jisoo and JungHaein did an incredible job. I am watching it again. Idk about others but for me its was the best drama I’ve ever came across. It’s pure perfection.

Nasha
Nasha
3 months ago

While for me, I started watch Snowdrop when it already at its 10th. Because I dont want to watch smth if it’ll be canceled halfway. So I watched the other drama at that time. But once I watch Snowdrop, I forgot about the other drama that I watched before SD. I dunno, I am hooked to SD so much. For me it’s toooo good. Still, I respect your points 👍🏻

Su San
Su San
3 months ago

KFG, thank you for your analysis. DROPping SnowDROP was a wise choice.

Only out of love for actor Jung Hae-In and actress Yoo In-ah, did I force myself to watch ALL of this drama.

Sorry to be a grouch: Snowdrop’s plot wa slooking at asnowbank at the end of winter quietly melting away. I was reminded of frustratedly watching of other “big productions” like Vincenzo and King Eternal Monarch. Because those dramas had overly LONG episodes with repetitive, convoluted and stretched plots, I found viewing to be a chore.

Where do I start on Snowdrop?
-The political plot was cringe-worthy.
-The wives’ arc was just dumb.
-North Korean spies suddenly popping up everywhere (in a girl’s dorm–really????) was ridiculous.
-The schoolgirl and spy forbidden romance was too uncomfortable (Stockholm syndrome-esque crush?) to be an engaging OTP story.
-There’s more, I won’t go on…..
Unfortunately, none of it felt like “black humor” or a even like a satire on CLOY (South Korean in the North ).

Yikes. for all the publicity about this being Kdrama genre’s first plunge into Disney+ and the controversy, this drama should have been reduced to a movie or 6 to 10 episode drama (like Netflix) for the intial outing. The title Snowdrop sorta sums it up– snowed by the “flakey” publicity & plot, then wanting to “drop” it since watching left me cold.

charlayne
charlayne
3 months ago

I totally agree with you on the whole OTP thing being not as engaging, despite the fact that it was marketed as a romance focused story. My watch experience was quite uneven, but I found that the episodes got a lot better as the show progressed, especially in its last quarter.
The main reasons why I stuck it out to the end was because of Soo Ho and Gang Mu’s relationship dynamic that was such a treat to see play out and also how nicely the suspense was executed. There were many instances of me being on the edge of my seat with my heart racing because I was so invested in where the plot was going to go.
I definitely think I enjoyed this as much as I did because I didn’t think too much and just rolled with what the show was serving us haha.

Alexandra
Alexandra
3 months ago

Great review, KFG! I started to watch Snowdrop because I really liked Jung Hae In in One spring night and to see for myself about the controversy. I have to say that in the second half of the show the ANSP are portrayed as despicable, greedy, immoral, torturous persons (except for the 2 ANSP second leads who are shown to be quite upright and regretful for having done bad things to innocent people in the past…) so I came to the conclusion the controversy was exaggerated. That was one of my problems with the show: the bad people were so bad, so many and so annoying, I really didn’t want to waste my time on them.
Even more, I didn’t care about any of the second leads, the students, Ms. Pi, the ANSP guy and his ex fiancée, the other north Korean spies. As you well put it KFG, for me too, focusing on Jung Hae In doing his tortured badass strut, worked out to be the most pleasant way of spending my screen time :). I also really liked Yoo In Na’s character as the badass northern spy who, unexpectedly, is loyal and even has a kind heart (but I was thinking in my head: can this kind of character really exist? The same thing crossed my mind many times about Jung Hae In’s character: can a ruthless northern spy be this caring inside and even incapable to hurt a single innocent person? The obvious answer was for me… no, so the show didn’t manage to make me suspend my disbelieve as I did with many other even more far-fetched shows).
The romance was indeed very thin, the 2 leads had so little time together that it was unconvincing that they were so deeply in love. That’s why the sacrifices they made for each other seemed to me more script driven than organic. Furthermore, the FL was week and always crying. I ended up fast-forwarding most of the show to see the ending,

spoiler
which was so depressing and bloody
that I really don’t understand the name of the show, Snowdrop (can anyone explain the name of the show?).
spoiler
The ML dies, the FL leads ends up heartbroken and all alone (no mother, no evil father, no loving brother, no friends-they hate her), the ANSP couple lives happily ever after. 

Eyre Reeze
Eyre Reeze
3 months ago
Reply to  Alexandra

The title refers to the flower which blooms in winter. It is referenced by the ML in his love confession to the FL: “you bloomed flowers inside me who was so cold.”

CarpControl
CarpControl
3 months ago

Good call KFG! 🔥
I say this having sat through all 16 movie-length episodes, that were, to put it mildly…. excruciating even at 2x. I think I had too much faith in the team, having heard they produced a ‘masterpiece’ like Sky Castle, to worm themselves out of the rabbit-hole they kept writing themselves into. The hostage-situation was a quagmire to begin with, and I couldn’t see how ANY of them could get out of this happily, much less *alive*.
To prove my suspicion correct, their solution was to introduce us to a Houdini-esque character, with a plot-armor as thick as the Sarcophagus on the Chernobyl Reactor. While she does manage to achieve some miracles, and all is set for the spies to depart happily back to their homelands in ep 15… love prevails ultimately and Soo-Ho is turned into a literal sieve as he sacrifices himself to a shower of bullets to protect Yeong-Ro, Yawn. I have major competence-kink, and I got badly cheesed-off because everybody was SO incompetent, and just wouldn’t do their jobs right (which annoys the heck out of me!) 🙄

Even some major twists, like Boon-Ok’s sister, the shaman-fraudster, the sleeper-spy in the hostel, etc… lost their shock-value because we’re so DONE with the plot by then. I also stayed for the amount of work JHI has put into his fitness (hoo boy, is he THICC!) and it was awesome seeing him roam the corridors as a tortured soul. 😭What can I say, I simply love having the man on my screen! 😅

Carulhein
Carulhein
3 months ago

I watched 5 episodes and then kind of unintentionally or intentionally, I just stopped watching. When I first walked into K – drama, I was just like most people in lock-down-land, searching for something new to watch on Netflix. A politician on Twitter I was following, alerted me to Arthdal Chronicles, and being an epic fantasy fan, I literally gulped it up. Then I got this idea in my head, while watching all these newfound amazing k-dramas, that I would never drop a show. I’ve been writing stories for a while and posting them online and I felt sorry for projects being criticised by ‘online people’. People were just so mean to these poor Korean drama people that I thought I would stick with them. But this attitude was not sustainable. 😁 While some shows pulled me in to the extend that I would do background searches on the actors and then watch all the shows they were involved in, others, did not. I have no idea why I felt so personally involved in every show I watched. 😁 Maybe it’s a K-drama thing. I’ve never been a fangirl person and to be honest when I first started watching Crash landing on you, which was my second show, it annoyed the hell out of me when behind the scenes articles about the actors popped up:Hyun Bin just bumped into Son Ye Jin and it trended all over. It put me off a little from Crash landing on you. But as I started watching all these shows, putting this newfound wonderfulness of entertainment up on an extremely high pedestal, one where shows are not to be dropped😁, I started to fangirl myself. Lee Joon in My father is strange was my first fangirl experience. I literally watched everything I could find him in and yes, I loved I heard it through the grapevine. He was different in this show, but very loveable. And the acting was on point. Anyway, I’ve digressed 180 degrees, but I’ll pull it back and say that I LOVE Fangirl Verdict. I don’t feel bad for dropping shows anymore. 😁 I tell myself that I’ll pick them up again sometime somewhere. Snowdrop might have to wait for a while. I didn’t dislike it, my interest just fizzled out a bit. Anyway, K- drama love from me ❤️❤️❤️

Natalia
Natalia
3 months ago
Reply to  Carulhein

Carulhein, you wouldn’t know whether there will be a new season of Arthdal after all, would you?

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
3 months ago

Despite my curiosity regarding Snowdrop, your review has firmed up for me some good reasons as to why I wouldn’t enjoy it. I had pretty much reached the conclusion (99.9%) I wouldn’t be watching it in any case, despite Yoo In Na being in it.

Firstly, if I have to use a Romeo and Juliet-esque lens, then that in itself is a big no no for me. I have never forgiven Will for writing one of the most iconic and original stories, only for it to unfold in a way that ruined my enjoyment. I know many say that is what makes it great, but not for me 😱

Secondly, black comedy. Very few shows, regardless of who makes this type of comedy, do it well. Snowdrop doesn’t sound too convincing here, and it makes me wonder why they would even frame show as such, given the subject matter.

Thirdly, it comes down to the quality of the acting, which doesn’t mean the quality of the cast per sae. Even not so good actors, in the hands of a good director, can deliver performances they have yet to grow into. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Fourthly, I certainly don’t enjoy shows that feel like they are multiple shows in one. It is jarring!

Finally, when it comes to fast forwarding through a show, if kfangurl has reason to do this, then I’m quite certain I would have done it long before now and bailed out accordingly. There is only only drama I have ffwd through and still kept watching. Well, it’s airing right now and I have no idea why I’m still watching it 🤷‍♀️🤔

Carulhein
Carulhein
3 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

You have to say which show 😁😁 But I do agree about Romeo and Juliet. If I hear so etching is a Romeo and Juliet story, I switch off. No thank you. I don’t like those types of endings. Also, black comedy, not a huge fan. Not that I found any kind of comedy in the first 5 episodes of Snowdrop.

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
3 months ago
Reply to  Carulhein

Carulhein, here it is: Young Lady and Gentleman. It’s a weekender and SK loves it. The first 18 episodes were delightful and refreshing, then it became “what have they done to this show” for the next 16 episodes, but the ratings soared. In fact it’s the fourth highest rated show by viewers ever and took out 7 awards at the 2021 KBS Awards. Now, it is sort of back to normal for me. Also, I have just seen they have extended it by two episodes to a total of 52 in all 😱

JJ
JJ
3 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

– Reaper and I took a break from YLG. ML started to wear on my nerves. Waiting for more episodes to load so that I can FF if need be 🙂 GAH! 52, no way! Must tell Reaper!

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
3 months ago
Reply to  JJ

@JJ – Well you can skip up to ep 34 🤣 I enjoyed eps 39 & 40. I’m not sure how the story can stretch to another two episodes, but it is Kdramaland afterall!

Dannii
Dannii
3 months ago

Yoo In-na’s character was by far the most interesting. I kind of just ignored the OTP. It was a very thin romance anyway.

Alexandra
Alexandra
3 months ago
Reply to  Dannii

I also like Yoo In-na’s character and her acting.

Trent
3 months ago

Thank you for your service! I admit I’ve been kind of on the fence about this one, and now that it’s actually possible to see it (legitimately) in the U.S. (if you have D+, at least), your take has me leaning to the “not” side of the fence.

The reasons I was actually interested in potentially seeing this in the first place was 1) it’s by the SKY Castle creative team (writer, director), and SKY Castle was an a very good piece of work, I thought; and 2) I’m not exactly a Blink, but I do have a good inclination toward Blackpink, and would like to see how Jisoo manages on her first outing in the acting arena. Sounds like not great, alas…

BBD
BBD
3 months ago

Agree with you on all your brilliantly articulated points! I only lasted 5 episodes myself, I also find guys running around shooting each other with guns a major turn-off and NOT why I love kdramas!

amc
amc
3 months ago
Reply to  BBD

Fine points indeed and agree here with the guns. I managed to finish DP with JHI because it is about the military, therefore the guns would seem appropriate. But here, it was just too much.

ImJisooImokay
3 months ago
Reply to  BBD

Dramas ain’t all about love you know. Drama itself as a world has a negative meaning. I prefer realistic dramas then..