[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 8 2018/01/23,
An ominous fate teasing was bound to happen at some point in such a series by these writers and "A Korean Odyssey" delivers it in this episode. There is a fallout between Seon-mi and Oh-gong, partially caused by Ma-wang, but based on the problems our two not-exactly-lovebirds have been trying to sweep under the rug. We start to see some of Oh-gong's honesty and change towards others, but the fates are cruel,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 16 (Final) 2018/01/23,
As expected very little effort is required to take down Mr. Jo. In fact that entire storyline is wrapped up within half an hour, after Mr. Jo engages in a petty act if spiteful revenge against Yoon-i. Why he would do this is unclear, since it's implied that Mr. Jo received a promotion once Mr. Bong was fired. And come to think of it, isn't that what Mr. Jo wanted all along, was just a promotion to be earned by getting Chi-won fired? So what does he care about Yoon-i and Chi-won now,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 15 2018/01/22,
The great team-up between Mr. Jo and Mr. Bong has never really gone that well, since instead of actually working collaboratively to come up with better evil schemes, Mr. Jo and Mr. Bong just end having gratuitous dinners together where they pretend to hold each other in mutual respect. The ending to this episode actually implies that Mr. Jo might have been expecting Yoon-i to sabotage Mr. Bong. Which would, by Mr. Jo's standards at least, be relatively smart,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 7 2018/01/21,
Prepare for another round of "Does he or doesn't he", as "A Korean Odyssey" continues to struggle with its lack of a main plot or any significant progress in character and world development. Episode seven is slower than usual and the creators are unfortunately back to treating the main romance as a conventional one, this time dangling the carrot of a love triangle with someone we do not even know,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 6 2018/01/16,
Ask and you shall receive, and although "A Korean Odyssey" is still dawdling on and regurgitating a lot of its key concepts this time around, there is at least one major point of progress in the ever so shaky thing that is its main romance. Ma-wang is feeling the burn of his little tasting and we are slowly discovering some connections made by our self-centered group of supernatural misfits,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 14 2018/01/16,
So Mr. Bong has returned to the story. Good thing I figured out Mr. Bong and Mr. Jo were two different characters already or I would have been really confused...anyway, Mr. Bong's main purpose here is to confuse me as to how the company's human resources policies are supposed to work. By what standard is a consensual romantic relationship cause for dismissal, but delegating a secretary to buy lacy underwear is not?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 5 2018/01/15,
Seon-mi's burdens keep multiplying, as something happens to put our previously detached Bull Demon King in a much more invested position. After the big revelation of our heroine's mission, "A Korean Odyssey" takes a step back to look at her unique connection to Oh-gong. While the nature of this fake bond has been there for us to see, it is starting to dawn on Seon-mi that her needs tend to feed a dangerous and painful delusion of closeness on her end,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 13 2018/01/15,
Once again "Jugglers" is able to salvage the relationship between Yoon-i and Chi-won by having them act like professional adults in the face of a bad situation. Yes, naturally Yoon-i is horrified and freaked out by the way her relationship with Chi-won has been outed. All the same, Chi-won is right there to remind her that this is not the end of the world. More importantly Chi-won is plenty willing to give Yoon-i emotional and physical space to recover, which is especially essential since a company investigation is now necessary,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 12 2018/01/09,
Secret relationships have never been a trope I particularly liked, although "Jugglers" really does take them to the next level in terms of sheer annoyance. All of the conflict is entirely because Chi-won and Yoon-i have decided to have a secret relationship for no good reason. The reason the Mr. Bong thing blew up into a scandal was because he was married. Chi-won is not married, at least not anymore. So at worst this is sexual harassment, which would be a problem for him, not her,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 11 2018/01/08,
So I appear to have confused Mr. Bong, who was Yoon-i's boss in the first episode, with Mr. Jo (played by In Gyo-jin), who has been the antagonist since then. On one end I want to apologize for being too stupid to realize that these are two completely different characters. On the other end I'm now struggling to remember how Yoon-i even knows Mr. Jo in the first place, or why he would have ever thought she would be on his team. Well, I guess it doesn't matter,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 4 2018/01/08,
Well, I asked for a main story and for Seon-mi's purpose in it, and episode four of "A Korean Odyssey" delivers. It turns out that our heroine has a much heavier burden to bear than expected and she needs her group of merry monsters to help her carry it. Seon-mi starts bonding with the group, but the reality of Oh-gong's forced connection to her leaves her feeling lonely as a challenging future approaches,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A Korean Odyssey" Episode 3 2018/01/07, "A Korean Odyssey" is back this week and although the messy production and the injury that was caused due to it should never be forgotten or treated lightly, it looks like enough measures have been taken to keep the related authorities pleased for now. Story-wise, we are starting to get hints about the why of it all and the role of Seon-mi's fate in it, but we also meet new characters and backstories,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 10 2018/01/02,
So apparently the sweet spot for Yoon-i and Chi-won is not quite actually in a relationship, since now that they're officially together, we have to endure a secret office romance storyline. That on its own would not be a problem, except that Yoon-i and Chi-won have now become mostly incompetent again. They are so bad at keeping secrets it begs the question of why they bother trying to keep secrets in the first place,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 9 2018/01/01,
In a surprising departure for a narrative that so far has not been taking its work seriously, "Jugglers" actually takes the ramifications of Yoon-i and Chi-won kissing and examines them in a professional context. The effect is rather ironic- Yoon-i and Chi-won are acting far more professionally now than they have been since the earliest episodes. The change is much welcomed, since it allows their romance to progress naturalistically rather than be clumsily forced by narrative turnabouts,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 8 2017/12/26,
After his humiliation at the Best Boss Awards, Chi-won is understandably upset and not in the mood to talk to Yoon-i about information she should never have known about in the first place. Unfortunately Chi-won is so understandably upset I had a very hard time empathizing with Yoon-i's position. Chi-won is Yoon-i's boss. If he doesn't want to talk to her, that's it. As a professional I would expect Yoon-i to know better,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 7 2017/12/25,
Other characters are curiously oblivious to Chi-won's motives, even when he's explaining them pretty explicitly. Chi-won doesn't like it when people harass his secretary. Chi-won probably doesn't like it when any of his subordinates are harassed, really, yet Mr. Bong and Chang-soo both get extended sequences where they are confused as to why Chi-won is singling them out for rough treatment when all they did was make Yoon-i severely uncomfortable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 6 2017/12/19,
Chang-soo (played by Min Jin-woong) is Yoon-i's ex-boyfriend. No, he's not the ex-boyfriend that abandoned her at the hotel in the first episode. That guy was a jerk, too, but his presence would at least have presented an interesting conflict about how Yoon-i's dedication to work has had deleterious effects on her social life. His presence would have been especially relevant in light of the fake news about Yoon-i being romantically involved with Mr. Bong, since that would have given him a valid reason to break up with Yoon-i,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 5 2017/12/18,
Bo-yool (played by Lee Won-geun) is the boss of the sports department of the big corporation where everyone works. As usual I'm not at all sure what Bo-yool's job actually is. All I know is that he acts in a constant childish jovial manner and even has child-sized arcade cabinets in his office. Also, Jeong-ae has become his secretary, despite the obvious mismatch in their personalities. Well, actually, it would be more accurate to say that they're too well-matched, on account of their both having frivolous personalities,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 4 2017/12/12,
Chi-won has this habit of quickly getting annoyed with people and promptly ending conversations before they've even really started. Narrative-wise this habit is frustrating, since it prevents Chi-won from getting involved with any kind of actual plot. But at the same time it's actually fairly refreshingly comical to watch a hero be completely immune to the villain's various schemes because the villain is such an obvious dork that listening to them at all is obviously a total waste of time,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 3 2017/12/11,
Jeong-ae (played by Kang Hye-jung) is a married woman and Yoon-i's friend. Her husband recently disappeared without explanation, and it appears that he owed money to gangsters. So Jeong-ae ends up struggling to find a job. She fails at nearly every single task she attempts, mostly due to inappropriate soft-heartedness. Eventually Jeong-ae becomes a secretary. I know this because it is in her character description, which oddly enough does not mention anything about her family or gangster debts,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 2 2017/12/05,
Chi-won (played by Choi Daniel) is an up and coming executive who is exceptionally cold to nearly everyone around him. Even the fleeting moments of kindness he has shown to an obviously distraught Yoon-i have always been performed under the attempted guise of anonymity. Chi-won is impatient for results and doesn't tolerate slacking off. So you'd think Yoon-i would be the perfect secretary for him except that "Jugglers" is still in the evading the premise stage of the story,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jugglers" Episode 1 2017/12/04,
Yoon-i (played by Baek Jin-hee) is an exceptionally competent secretary. Unfortunately, she's just a little too competent. Her boss Mr. Bong (played by Choi Dae-chul) constantly has Yoon-i on-call, even when Yoon-i is is trying to have a cute romantic montage with her boyfriend Kyeong-joon (played by Sung Hoon). Worst of all, Yoon-i doesn't express any kind of discretion when it comes to the kinds of jobs Mr. Bong assigns her, which ends predictably poorly,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Finding Argenta" 2015/08/21,
Seung-hee (played by Lee Soo-kyung-I) is a pole vaulter. Pole vaulting is one of the more gimmicky Olympic sports- basically you use a pole to leap over a high bar. Like all obscure Olympic sports, it's something the athletes do more out of love than glory. And even though Seung-hee is a fairly talented athlete, she's starting to break down in frustration about no longer being at the top of her game. Her parents, having met because they too were pole vaulters once upon a time, help Seung-hee out by getting her a spot with top coach Jin-ah (played by Kim Hee-jung-II),...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 16 Final 2014/04/08,
Why does Se-ro hate himself? We've seen evidence of the fact that he hates himself throughout the entire run of "The Full Sun", but he's been so wrapped up in Yeong-won's problems that Se-ro has never really stopped to question his motivation. In the opener to this episode, Yeong-won finally forces him to engage on this point. And it really is the one essential moment that the drama has been building up to.
Se-ro has constantly felt guilty and frustrated. The problem is he's never had anybody to talk to about these feelings, because everyone he's emotionally close to has been directly promoting the behavior that's been making him so miserable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 15 2014/04/07,
As fun as all this circular emotional grandstanding is, inevitably, something does have to happen in order for "The Full Sun" to actually end. And that something ends up being a chase over documents that are somhow really essential to exposing the fakery behind all the schemes of the drama. I'm not sure what these documents are supposed to do or how any of the characters were able to find them or each other. So the mechanics of that story hook fall down a little flat.
The rest of the drama, though, is as strong as ever. We finally learn what Kang-jae's motivation has been this whole time, and it's pretty disappointing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 14 2014/04/01,
Take note of the rather anticlimactic car chase that opens the episode up. The characters are driving at moderately fast speeds. There's no real reason for this to turn into any kind of serious confrontation. And then, almost out of nowhere, something very serious happens that makes Kang-jae wonder what exactly he's even doing anymore. It's only for a brief moment, yet the sentiment remains. Kang-jae clearly has had multiple reasons to reconsider his course of action, yet stubbornly plows ahead anyway,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 13 2014/03/31,
Yeong-won comes into her own this episode as far as personal agency goes. Instead of weeping in frustration at the sidelines, she insists on taking a personal stake in the greater storyline. This affects her character quite a bit. For most of this drama Yeong-won has just been a passive observer in a plot that she hasn't been allowed to participate in, because her family is pretty terrible about giving her confidence about anything except technical diamond work.
Here, Yeong-won straight up apologizes for her own failures. Technically speaking, of course, Yeong-won's only fault has been placing trust in a family that doesn't deserve it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 12 2014/03/25,
When watching the opener to this episode, take a moment to consider the situation Yeong-won is in. She does not want to trust Se-ro. But I'm starting to wonder when she ever trusted anyone. Yeong-won may have had a bubbly happy existence with her fiance at the beginning of the drama, yet those scenes increasingly feel like the exception to a life that's really been pretty morose outside of diamonds.
What makes this conflict particularly heartbreaking is that Yeong-won's cynical aloof attitude toward intimacy is probably the best course of action, all things considered,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 11 2014/03/24,
Se-ro gets stuck in a corner regarding bad revelations, so he responds in kind, throwing more bad revelations out at other characters fairly randomly in an effort to to just put an end to the story once and for all. This does not go well, mostly because the con artists and Yeong-won's family simply get another chance to prove that they aren't rational actors, and throw their own shocking revelations at one another in a desperate attempt to...uh...
I give "The Full Sun" a lot of grief for building the plot around a scam that doesn't really make much sense,...More
[HanCinema's Drama review] "The Full Sun" Episode 10 2014/03/18,
Yeong-won is, at this point, running into bad information about Se-ro practically by accident. It's difficult to take her new discoveries seriously from a perspective of storyline mechanics. The woman is quite literally discovering new information just from being in the right place at the right time. Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say the wrong place at the wrong time, given that Yeong-won isn't exactly thrilled by the discoveries.
"The Full Sun" is making a point of sticking to the harsh emotional cruelty of these discoveries,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 9 2014/03/17,
Yeong-won's family are kind of like reverse mobsters. Whereas actual mobsters try to make a point of separating business from personal vendettas, Yeong-won's family are attacking her in ways that simply don't even make sense, and are paying the price for it by having everything backfire so spectacularly. So far all they've managed to do is alienate the woman and make her more angry. Not much of an accomplishment.
Even as intimidators they're pretty incompetent,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 8 2014/03/11,
At this point even the characters don't actually care about the elaborate con artist scheme anymore. I'm kind of astonished at the extent to which everyone in this drama is such a romantic busybody. Given the circumstances of the situation it's not exactly inconceivable that Se-ro and Yeong-won would want to hook up. But no, a good con artist is supposed to avoid emotional attachments. Also Yeong-won isn't allowed to be happy.
Normally the phrase "isn't allowed to be happy" refers to a narrative conspiring to create tragedy in a person's life for no good reason. But in this case it really is just a matter of characterization,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 7 2014/03/10,
The focus this time is on how terrible Yeong-won's family is. We've had lots of exposition up until now about what a terrible family it is- lots of talk about secret past motivations or stuff that happened off-screen. But it's been falling pretty flat since there's been very little in the actual performances to get across what makes these people so terrible. This episode, all that changes, as we suddenly get a portrait of a family that genuinely doesn't even like each other that much.
It seems kind of silly to me that they've all been putting up this effective facade for what, years? Decades? And it's only now that the con artists show up that they're having trouble keeping it up?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 6 2014/03/04,
I have trouble keeping track of the secrets in this drama. Some of them seem really obvious but half the characters don't know them yet. Others kind of come out of nowhere, and then, once more, I'm stuck trying to guess how many characters have figured this out and at what point a sudden revelation is going to pop out and spin everything on its head. Basically, while I think I know what's going on here, I'm never really sure.
The weird thing is, described abstractly like this, "The Full Sun" actually sounds kind of exciting,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 5 2014/03/03,
We finally get a good grasp on what the greater con artist plan is. And it's a pretty dumb plan, as expected. However, it's not dumb in the metatextual sense, in that it requires all the characters to be idiots. It's a perfectly workable plan that will probably achieve the con artists' goals in the short term. The problem is that in the long term the plan will almost certainly result in all of them being viciously murdered. Stealing diamonds is one thing, but messing around with loved ones?
I actually like this bit about the con artists,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 4 2014/02/25,
Let's consider Yeong-won's character for a moment. In the first episode she was fairly bright and optimistic about life. The woman was dead-set on the whole marriage issue and was willing to persevere in the most difficult circumstances to get what she wanted. Even though Yeong-won's trade of choice is quite literally diamonds, her life is surprisingly lacking in cutthroat tendencies.
Well, was anyway. Yeong-won in the present day is a wholly different character,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 3 2014/02/24,
Apparently this drama is still setting up the premise and storyline. For some reason I assumed that Se-ro already knew all the same basic background information of the plot that we did. But no, it pretty much takes him the whole episode to get all that information straightened out in his head. Which puts a bit of an odd spin on the man's actions up until that point. Particularly in regards to Yeong-won.
Basically, Se-ro is being the cool aloof type, the kind that gets plastered all over bad romance novels,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 2 2014/02/18,
Se-ro (played by Yoon Kye-sang) finds himself in an awkward position. The guy just wants to have another talk with his dad Do-joon (played by Lee Dae-yeon), but ends up finding some guy clearly being held prisoner against his will for reasons not particularly clear. The frustration in this moment is palpable. Se-ro is angry on multiple levels- mostly just for the clear slight against himself, finding that his father is engaged in unnecessary criminal enterprises.
And then there's the gunshot. Once more it's not at all clear what's going on with the storyline here,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Full Sun" Episode 1 2014/02/17,
Yeong-won (played by Han Ji-hye) is a woman whose lifelong dream has been to attend an international jewlery convention and win the grand prize for best jewlery or something. Is there anybody who can relate to this? Granted, I'm a guy, and I'm not a big fan of diamonds considering where most of them come from. At the same time, though, "The Full Sun" does almost nothing insofar as explaining why an unengaged person (no pun intended) should care about a bunch of shiny rocks.
The focus, rather, is on explaining how the events in this drama conspired to cause a tragic unnecessary death,...More
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