[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 3 2016/05/20,
Poong-yeon (played by Kwak Si-yang) loves Yeon-hee like a brother. Consequently, Poong-yeon is far more frustrated than Yeon-hee about her seclusion, particularly because Hyeon-seo (played by Lee Seong-jae) refuses to explain in clear detail why exactly Yeon-hee requires such elaborate protection. I have a sneaking suspicion that we don't have the full story either- whatever dark magic force keeps hounding Yeon-hee is evidently beyond the power of both Hyeon-seo and Hong-joo,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 1 2016/05/13,
After the dust has settled from a generally disastrous political situation, Queen Sim (played by Jang Hee-jin) ends up having to petition for help from the sorceress Hong-joo (played by Yeom Jeong-ah). The price of all magical aid ends up falling squarely on the shoulders of Hae-ran (played by Jeong In-seon), a willing servant of the Queen. Ultimately, brutal vengeance is promised against those who would use dark powers for the sake of betrayal- with those same dark powers that have left a lasting legacy to Hae-ran,...More
"Maids", a historical story in the Joseon times 2014/12/10, Source,
According to statistics, the middle class take up 60% of Korea.
The new JTBC drama "Maids" deal with the unofficial history of maids who were pushed back by the generation that leaned heavily on the males. The setting is based in the Joseon times with 60% of the population made up of servants and maids. The drama is the story of real people and relates to the middle class people in the world today,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Final episode 16 2013/09/17,
Nothing much actually happens this episode. That's honestly not an exaggeration. Even the drama itself seems to acknowledge that there isn't anything left for these characters to do, as the entire opening is just a replay of the final dramatic scene from the last episode, where Si-On makes peace with Hyeong-Joon's ghost (or more accurately, he makes peaces with her). From that point onward, it's just tying up loose ends.
Except there aren't really any loose ends to tie up. The gangsters are finished,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 15 2013/09/16,
There's very little action this episode as, with Geon-Woo out of commission and thus unable to solve problems with gratuitous violence, Si-On has to resort to actual detective work to start bringing the criminal conspiracy to light. It's quite funny just how little effort she has to go to to do this, compared to every other bit of progress the investigation has made, which was accomplished with the assistance of severe mortal danger.
Less amusing are the hospital scenes, which are sad if only because of the context they're placed in. After the revelation of last episode's cliffhanger, there are any number of directions the narrative could have gone, and it picks one such direction,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 14 2013/09/10,
This episode is sad. Not excessively, sentimentally so, but most of it deals with the stark reality of coming to terms with death, and there isn't really any fun way to discuss that. The usual questions still come up- I find myself wondering how Si-On gets anyone to talk to her. We're always skipping the parts of these conversations where she introduces herself to strangers. What does she say anyway? "I'm from the Lost and Found, my job is to find random people who might know who owns these random objects"?
Yes, the function of this particular branch of the police department is, as always, not totally clear,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 13 2013/09/09,
Geon-Woo, faced with a hostage situation, does exactly what he thinks should be done in a hostage situation. Immediately succumb to all demands without any guarantees that the bad guys will keep their word. I would like to note, for any would-be police officers reading this review, that this is not how you should ever deal with a hostage situation. It's fitting that Geon-Woo is only saved from his stupid mistake thanks to the intervention of the supernatural. With a little help from his fists, of course.
There haven't been many ghosts in the drama lately, but this time around we get a little more focus and explanation on Si-On's abilities,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 12 2013/09/03,
The storyline has been very steady lately. Maybe a little too steady. It's still entertaining and interesting, and has been fairly clearly storyboarded, but the charm doesn't really seem to be there anymore. Maybe it's more accurate to state that the charm has worn off. Previous episodes went really overboard in the outrageous dangerous inexplicable category, and the feeling from those moments is pretty hard to top.
Now, to be perfectly clear, watching Si-On smack gangsters around with a giant wooden board never gets old. There's a cheesy element to the action sequences that always has a great charm to it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 11 2013/09/02,
The relationship between Geon-Woo and Detective Choi has been one of the stranger points of this drama ever since we found out about Detective Choi's hidden agenda. From that point his character has been in the peculiar position of being both kind of an antagonist, and yet the only person Geon-Woo can talk to about his personal problems, since Geon-Woo condescends to his subordinates and his other superior (Si-On) is the cause of most of these personal problems to begin with.
In this episode the awkward nature of their personal dynamic is put into full focus. Geon-Woo, reeling from the events of the last episode decides to drown his sorrows the only way he knows how,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 10 2013/08/27,
This episode isn't bad, exactly. "Who Are You - 2013" still has the good sense to contain its drastic narrative shifts in a single episode to avoid too much whiplash. So while the last one was goofy slapstick, this time around we get a much more serious episode as we learn details about the past relationship between Si-On and Hyeong-Joon, specifically hinging around the day Hyeong-Joon died, and the mystery of what's in that weird box.
The trouble is, the episode still contains what I now consider to be the main hallmark of every character- their basic incompetence,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 9 2013/08/26,
Characters who had previously taken very specific actions in regards to their love interests have apparently failed to consider what exactly step two of their plan was. Geon-Woo knew when he contrived this a-date-or-maybe-not situation that you were still going to have to go to work the next day. Apparently he really was so short-sighted that the best plan he could come up with was acting like a shy, idiot teenager.
I like how, in spite of that epic kiss, apparently Si-On and Geon-Woo still aren't in what we could reasonably call a romantic relationship. Si-On barely even registers that the event happened at all,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 8 2013/08/20,
This drama is now deliberately straddling the line trying to see just how dumb its characters can act while still being basically sympathetic and creating a genuine conflict. It's like watching a high-rise tightrope walker. Sure, the fact that the drama has made it halfway seems to imply that it can do it the whole time- yet at any given minute I'm absolutely convinced it's going to fall down several stories and completely destroy itself.
As goofy as the storylines are, they're just barely real enough that I can't fault the humor or see it as out of place,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 7 2013/08/19,
The drama takes the perplexing direction this episode of actually being really, really good. I had trouble believing it at first, but most of the writing issues have pretty much been fixed. Characters now respond to events in largely intuitive ways. The dramatic tension is genuinely effective because the threats aren't arbitrary. The villain displays genuine competence and foresight. There's real detective work. When scenes have multiple possible endings, the different choices actually make sense rather than being different variations of absurdity.
Most of the goofier story elements are still there,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 6 2013/08/13,
This episode marks a departure from the series so far, in that it's relatively normal. There's not that much in the way of ghosts, ill-conceived ill-executed murder attempts, and contrived plotting. For the most part this is just the story of what happens when Si-On and Geon-Woo go on a company retreat. It's light-hearted comedic fare, with the occassional reference to the greater ghost storyline as, uncharacteristically, the two of them stop acting combative for the sake of being combative.
I give this drama a hard time for its absurdity, and for the most part it's well-deserved. A convoluted illegal plot does show up this episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 5 2013/08/12,
There's something nearly artistic about the screenwriter's insistence on making sure that every single plot event and character in "Who Are You - 2013" connects to everything else somehow, regardless of whether it makes any kind of logical sense. It's not even an idiot plot- the story feels like a divine hand is specifically manipulating people to do weird stuff for no reason just to set up whatever's going to happen next episode. Accept that conceit, and the characters are almost behaving somewhat intelligently.
The annoying ghost this time around isn't scary, but he has an astonishingly bad sense of timing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 4 2013/08/06,
After an extended, protracted conflict that involves fistfights, knifefights, clubfights, and gunfights, we finally discover who murdered the poor chilly ghost who's been pestering Si-On. And it turns out...that it wasn't actually much of a murder at all. Legally speaking, I don't think the villain technically broke any laws. Well, I guess there's the shady guys in suits, the skulking around at night, the dismembering of the body, and the strange fixation with the suitcase, all that stuff was probably illegal somehow. But aside from that, there wasn't any real original crime to cover up.
Seldom have I ever seen a drama where so many people expend so much effort to accomplish so little,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 3 2013/08/05,
Si-On seems to have trouble making up her mind about the best way to get rid of the annoying ghosts. One minute she decides to just do whatever it is the ghost wants her to do, even if it makes no intuitive sense in the situation and makes her look like even crazier a person than usual. The next she tries to avoid or run away from the ghost, always forgetting that, as a ghost, Si-On can be followed basically anywhere. Sometimes she asks for help only to ignore it in a huff. Si-On seems to have forgotten that she can make the ghosts leave by taking her meds. Or maybe that was just the writer, I'm not really sure.
Ghost rules also take a perplexing turn in this episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 2 2013/07/30,
It turns out that the evil doctor is just as loony and cartoonish as the name "evil doctor" makes him sound. Literally the minute Si-On finds out his terrible crime, the stress of pretending to be an innocent person becomes too much for him and he immediately resorts to every ridiculous stock villain cliche he can think of in order to...actually, it's really not at all clear what he was planning to accomplish by attacking Si-On. There's a monologue reciting his villainous misdeeds. I guess sometimes you really just need to do an evil monologue.
Fortunately the villain has magical plot powers that keep Si-On from just beating him immediately. The evil doctor isn't physically intimidating at all,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 1 2013/07/29,
Within the first few minutes of this episode a police officer gets on a boat and repeatedly gets lost. He gets so lost, in fact, that the gangsters chasing him can't find him even when they just had the guy surrounded. "Who Are You - 2013" is one of those shows where spatial reasoning does not apply. Characters (and ghosts) can appear basically anywhere the plot needs them to, regardless of where they are or how difficult it is for them to get there.
Normally this kind of continuity problem drives me up the wall- however, "Who Are You - 2013" is so cheesy and absurd that I can't help but laugh every time it happens,...More
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