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]
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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