In a somewhat confusing twist, it would appear that we're still not done with the Joseon portion of "Orange Marmalade". Lately I've found it more and more difficult to relate the Joseon phase to the high school part of the drama, and this turnabout doesn't make matters any different. At this point "Orange Marmalade" legitimately appears to be a historical fantasy action thriller, with high stakes combat, political maneuvering and almost incidentally, a love triangle.
The love triangle is somewhat fresher than usual this time around because the focus is on the young men rather than Ma-ri. Si-hoo directly insults Jae-min's masculinity, and the worst part is that Jae-min realizes that Si-hoo is probably right. With all this crazy vampire action going on back and forth, Jae-min simply doesn't have the luxury of goofing around with the arranged/love marriage conflict. He's only barely able to keep enough of a grasp on the situation to save Si-hoo.
I should that it's a bit dubious to say that Si-hoo has really been "saved". He's not happy about what happens, although it's hard to tell which part makes him more angry. The fact that Si-hoo has literally been transformed into that which he hates, or the realization that Ma-ri has been misleading both him and Jae-min this entire time. Of course, this still begs a lot of questions- like why the vampires would feel the need to go after Ma-ri when she herself is a vampire.
It certainly doesn't sound like this story is anywhere near to finishing does it? This is why the formatting of "Orange Marmalade" really confuses me at this point. As I understand it most of this material wasn't even in the webtoon anyway so I have no idea why it's taking over the entire drama, and making the high school story look more like an afterthought. As much as I loved the visuals of the high school portion, those really can't compare to epic vampire battles in terms of attention-grabbing.
The funny part about all this is that epic vampire battles notwithstanding "Orange Marmalade" still has a very soft, almost dreamlike mood- it doesn't quite feel like a fusion costume drama. Unfortunately this unworldly feeling isn't quite as much fun here as it was in the high school portion, mostly because the setting is now much more obviously fantastic and straightforward. In that light, more direct storytelling would probably be more engaging.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Orange Marmalade" Episode 8"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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