The whole star-crossed lovers thing has gotten to be a bit overdone. What makes it obvious is that quite a bit of the screentime is simply dedicated to Jae-min and Ma-ri moping about how they can't be together forever, and it's hard to escape the fact that this is a very modern romance narrative. That's not necessarily horrible on its own but given that this is the Joseon era I'd sort of expect that the possibility of concubinage would at least be discussed. Even if the vampire thing makes that obviously impractical.
Speaking of vampires, that whole problem gets into some very serious territory here. Si-hoo comes up with some nifty tools to pull of his own investigations into the matter, and it's easy to see how the vampires could be overpowered even considering the possibility that they're much stronger than the humans. Si-hoo is very much a man of action, and these segments are so different from the love story they're practically from a different drama.
And that's the main problem with "Orange Marmalade" right now. The main extent to which it is interesting at all has pretty much nothing to do with the high school romance plot that made up the first four episodes. While cute initially, the way the script keeps calling back to these plot points has gotten to be rather annoying because now there's a vampire war going on right in the background and that would be a much more compelling backdrop than the whole arranged marriage problem.
This is especially true because Ah-ra doesn't just sit back passively. She actively takes a personal part in the battle and I can't help but think that, teenage love notwithstanding, it seems like Ah-ra is taking this way too far. Obviously all of this is going to end in a huge horrible mess but it's starting to be difficult for me to care. Outside of Si-hoo the other teenagers are just starting to come off as kind of dumb.
As usual "Orange Marmalade" is beautiful to look at, and I also like the occasional odd oriental musical clue. Overall, though, this leg of the story is running into the same problems that hit the first part- there doesn't actually seem to be enough plot to justify the extended runtime. This much is especially odd because there's definitely interesting details that could be better fleshed out going into the final Joseon portion- but I guess this is all we're going to get.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Orange Marmalade" Episode 7"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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