I was suppose to include this in my 2013 year-end review but I opted not to. The second half really tanked and I wouldn’t want my first paragraph to be about how awful it was. When I wrote the 2012 year-end review almost a month ago, I only watched 12 episodes.
To be honest, those 12 episodes were good with the exception of ridiculous parent rivalry. What brought to life a rich narrative was the controversial rape sequence. Never has a frighteningly topic such as that was embarked on national television. Yeo Jin Goo and Kim So Hyun outdone their previous performances with this drama. The fallout and aftermath of this would only take place 14 years. Naturally, there would be heavy tension. On an emotional scale, it really hits your guts because of the trauma. It’s not easy to approach the person since you would not know to react. The character depth in this part was beautiful. More or less, that’s how humans would be when placed in a similar situation. There are moments of real gut sincerity but its so few and far between the bits of manufactured plot I’m left flailing for an anchor to keep me rooted in what is otherwise just a conflict that can be resolved with lots of communication and therapy. Sadly, this was not sustained. The remaining episodes would have dropped this drama to the disappointing level.
There are a myriad of things that went wrong but it started at the point where Lee Soo Yeon’s identity was revealed to Han Jung Woo. In the beginning, Jung Woo lets Soo Yeon dictate the terms of their interaction. It was so winning because he was capable of restraint, of thoughtful communication, of perceptive empathy, of not sucking as a police detective. But that act of letting Soo Yeon go, understanding why she doesn’t want to be Soo Yeon anymore didn’t last long….. He sees her in the little supply room and drags her behind the curtain and then kisses her. This is just narratively-shitty. It feels like a ploy to get more viewers. And this is why Jeon Woo Chi overtook this drama once more….
Before Jung Woo and Soo Yeon reunite in the open and TALK, they first kiss each other’s brains out. It’s just so wrong that the viewers were made to believe that Jung Woo has been wallowing in guilt for 14 years, instead he’s actually been pining for her in that romantic way. As for Soo Yeon, it is even fathomable since she spent 14 years hating Jung Woo for abandoning her but the moment she returns she’s all affected by him like he set her panties on fire or something. What makes it worst was the it looked like she used Hyung Joon, who she said was her boyfriend to EVERYONE.
This sudden romance goes to show how terrible the writing is. It appears like Soo Yeon keeps doing things because she learns more about how Jung Woo and her Mom lived without her. Is that a good enough reason for her to forgive Jung Woo and also return to being Soo Yeon?
Soo Yeon’s character has been so reactive and passive for too many episodes now. I liked her fire when she tried to torment Jung Woo but all she does now is cry and cry and mope and cry. That’s in line with old Soo Yeon’s personality, which makes me sad because its coming back more and more and she’s losing the fire that was Zoe. On the other hand, Jung Woo has been on romance overdrive, acting all aegyo with a lover he suddenly claimed after a kiss. I’m bothered by how they can have those tender moments and many kisses knowing full well how Harry feels about Soo Yeon.
l think the writer is throwing Hyung Joon and Soo Yeon’s 14 years as Hyung Joon’s descent into evilness begins. That’s just a sad method to make Jung Woo and Soo Yeon end up together. I actually feel so terrible for him and understand his misguided revenge plot and his unhealthy attachment to Soo Yeon. This kid’s ultimate fear since childhood was abandonment, and its going to break my heart to see how his actions, and Soo Yeon’s unresolved feelings with Jung Woo, are going to split them apart.
Once those elements were established, a deus ex machina occurs. They used Detective Choi who magically had all the items to for Jung Woo to piece the overall story together. Tell me again, how he’s in possession of those evidence and not the authorities? Jung Woo still in lovey-dovey mode rushes to Soo Yeon. Like a crazed man, he accuses Harry. It felt like the Harry Borrison is actually Han Kyung Joon revelation come out too soon. The emotional stake wasn’t felt. It was the most awkward and inorganic scene I have ever watched. It seemed so staged.
All these were orchestrated so that Kyung Joon would reach his breaking point. It’s so sad how the writer made him the killer- someone who everyone can easily hate. He was my favorite character initially. It’s so terrible how he was reduced to that. Indeed, his love is so potent that he would go to lengths for Soo Yeon. But never once did she ever love or thank him for all he has done. Just as his love is potent, so is his hate. Putting the blame on Soo Yeon for all the murders is plain sad. This is goes to show both are in the point of no return.
It gets worst as each episode goes by. I’m sorry to say from this part onwards I might end up giving tons of negative comments. I’m very very bothered how they can make Harry a worst villain than Han Tae Joon. Sure, he’s driven by revenge but he shouldn’t take the fall of every wrong thing that happened in this drama. I swear the mysterious ahjussi is makes everything worst. He’s the character used to point everything at Harry. How they heck did he assume Kang Kyung Joon is Harry from a single 1×1 pic? My heart breaks as the beautiful narrative surrounding him is gone. I wanted to him become evil but regret towards the end but the writer put him in the path of no return.
I also can’t comprehend how Jung Woo was slipped easily from the police. Not to mention, the fact they’re hiding out is just wrong on all level. It would have been way more interesting to have a court battle while Jung Woo becomes a real detective. Everyone is doing everything he orders just so he can escape with Su Yeon. It’s so messy back in Seoul meanwhile he gets to enjoy himself with the help of a new character, who’s only role is to provide them temporary shelter.
There are more quibbles I can mention but that would end up as long list. I really was just disappointed the writer skirting the substantive issues and focusing on the trivial ones, rendering the drama so shallow to me. The direction the drama has taken as it heads into its finale validates my gripe that the writer is writing her story around reaching an ending and it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t lay the foundation well she’s just going to bulldoze right through it.
I was surprised MBC decided to extend this by an episode. The final week was just one big facepalm. It was a terrible mess to watch. It was so boring and incomprehensible that I almost fell asleep. It was difficult to push myself to write something about this drama. It wasn’t only the writing, which went haywire, the editing was just as pathetic. It didn’t help that there were numerous flashbacks. These were inserted with incredibly awkward dialogues whose purpose is just to obviously fill in the extension. Everything felt so forced. I had no idea what direction they were going.
The over-the-top aegyo was overplayed to the level where it becomes downright laughable and cheesy. To save a sinking ship, I guess they decided to have some MAJOR fanservice. The two points I hated the most was how Soo Yeon was going to confess and how she accepted a wedding proposal. Both are just wrong because it’s still quite sudden. They dated for how many weeks exactly? I can’t believe she easily erased all her hatred for Jung woo and directed it towards Kyung Joon. She got scared of the man she lived and depended on for 14 years. It was like she magically learned how to be “strong.” I’m not surprised that everything fitted together so neatly except there was no satisfaction in something so predictable.
This drama premised itself on raising very serious issues of bad things happening to good people, but then failed to discuss or resolve any of the consequences of those bad things in a way that provided any positive takeaway. But ultimately its just another shallow K-drama claiming to discuss a meaningful issue but positing a conclusion that good triumphs over evil and love heals all.
Before I end this post, it’s sad how Jang Mi In Ae, who signed on to play the second female lead Kim Eun Joo in this drama but has been relegated to one scene an episode, sometimes mere seconds of screen time. There isn’t a solid Eun Joo-Jung Woo relationship built on 14 years of friendship and the shared loss of Detective Kim. They were supposed to be the flip side of Soo Yeon and Hyung Joon. Her role in the plot must have been crucial. I don’t think the writer would have used cheap gimmicks if MBC didn’t cave into the unprofessional demands of Yoochun’s fans.