[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 20 (final) 2016/09/15,
It is an episode of goodbyes as one life comes to an end and others continue on after having loved and learned. The end of this story is the start of others, but the end doesn't mean that its true meaning does not persist. That is what Joon-young means to those he loves and to those who love him. His life was short, but his memory lasts in the hearts of those who cherished him. In that way, the ending of "Uncontrollably Fond" was beautiful. In others, it was rather puzzling,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 19 2016/09/13,
Episode 19 is when we begin to say goodbye to Joon-young. His loved ones are coming to terms with his very near mortality and the results of his campaign to clear Eul's name. The results are an acute attack of moral conscience for many of the characters and a tearful denouement. Joon-young has completed his revenge on Eul's part and starts to sit back to live out his remaining days,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 18 2016/09/06, "Uncontrollably Fond" has pulled out all the stops. Rich people who care nothing for others. Trucks that come out of nowhere to obliterate people. Sad breakups. Tearful confessions. Late stage cancer. You name it; it's on this table. It's an excitedly lead into this last week, but I wish there had be more of the little things. More character development. More subtle play on emotion. Less dramatic camera panning. Fewer wildly used melodramatic elements,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 17 2016/09/01,
Joon-yeong's memory starts falter due to his cancer and he seems to realize his mortality and becomes even bolder in his plans to set everything in Eul's life right. In fact, he becomes downright reckless, revealing dangerous truths, challenging those with terrifying amounts of power. The path he has chosen causes pain to others and himself, and I can't say watching him self-destruct is pleasant in any way, shape, or form,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 16 2016/08/28, "Uncontrollably Fond" is heading into its last two weeks and with that comes revelations for our main characters. Joon-young's cancer is discovered by Eul, but their relationship woes do not dissipate with that knowledge. There are others still in the dark, and even more people battling for power with blades of knowledge and money. The most fully developed character is Eul,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 15 2016/08/24,
The major focus of the drama has been on the push and pull between Joon-young and Eul and that focus detracts greatly from the other supposedly large conflicts floating about. Those conflicts could potentially give rise to interesting explorations of the darker side of humanity so often highlighted in melodrama. Unfortunately, "Uncontrollably Fond" falls short of fulfilling those conflicts.,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 14 2016/08/19,
This episode really touches on the plays of power. Money buys power. Health allows one to wield power. Friendship helps to guide power. Connections manipulate power. These concepts are neither new to the show or to the workings of society, but they are highlighted in ways that force the characters to act. Most of the same ol' shenanigans continue throughout this episode and leave me with little to talk about. Joon-young waffles between living by his standards of guilt, or by the pull of his love for Eul,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 13 2016/08/18, "Uncontrollably Fond" has one goal: keep the tension high. Two major secrets are fueling that tension, the truth about Joon-young's health and the truth surrounding his birth. All other tensions stem from that and other similar secrets. Scenes and action wades through problems caused by these secrets while Eul remains a plucky heroine despite Joon-young's treatment of her.
Eul is convinced that Joon-young still loves her, and she would be right,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 12 2016/08/13,
Some secrets find their way to the surface, but rather than bringing relief, they create more tension and send other secrets further into hiding. All four of our romantic leads are experiencing loads of pain in the form of betrayal, heartache, and the physical as they become aware of each other and are forced into very awkward confontations. The intrigue of "Uncontrollably Fond" lies in intricate web of lies and relationships,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 11 2016/08/11,
This episode focused on the mother's: Joon-young's mother and Ji-tae's mother. While the majority of the hour was spent on dredging up the past and repeating mistakes that should've been learned from, we clearly see the motivations behind some characters that remained opaque until now.
Highlighting the weaknesses that have plagued Joon-young's mother's character, this episode finally delved into the reasoning behind her poor treatment of her son,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 10 2016/08/06, "Uncontrollably Fond" is an interesting mix of very beautiful staging and cinematography and a glacial plot pace. The story moves along so slowly that it's difficult to make it through an episode because there is no impetus for curiosity of the events in the show. Part of the lack of forward motion is caused by undeveloped characters, which by episode 10 in a drama, should not happen,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 9 2016/08/04,
Plot threads start to twist and knot as underlying relationships between characters are exposed to the audience. Those aware of the dark, painful secrets become typical melodramatic characters who make bad decisions and pine and brood at their misfortune. There is some happiness present as well, which in a Lee Kyeong-hee drama is normally fleeting,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 6 2016/07/21,
Episode 6 was No Eul's episode. It was her turn to discover and reflect instead of recklessly living. Her character up until this point has charged forward, doing anything and everything to earn the money to keep her and her brother afloat. Although she professes love for Ji-tae, it is Joon-yeong who gives her pause and challenges her current lifestyle. As Joon-yeong and No Eul adventure to the ocean to escape the paparazzi, the not-quite-a-couple couple start to learn about each other in the most interesting episode thus far,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 5 2016/07/20,
The somber note that sounded throughout last week's episodes of "Uncontrollably Fond" was little seen in episode 5. Only with Ji-tae, secret chaebol and Daddy Longlegs extraordinaire, did the angst verge momentarily above the surface. What rose to the surface we the re-kindled interest between Joon-yeong and No Eul and the heavy baggage of dating in the limelight. What struck me most about the episode was how normal Joon-yeong appeared and how hard he worked to maintain that guise,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 4 2016/07/15,
The intersections of relationships and individual goals begin to clear up in episode 4 of "Uncontrollably Fond". And, rather than settling down, the personalities of the main leads remain as capricious as ever and are defined situationally. This episode was Kim Woo-bin's, however. Each scene he was in was laced with such intensity. Suzy has also been realistic as No Eul. I mentioned in the last review that Joon-yeong's illness had not been mentioned in a while and this episode addresses that in spades,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 3 2016/07/13, "Uncontrollably Fond"'s penchant for bookending episodes with dilemma's in the character's present is already a repetitive plot tool. It is attempting to draw parallels between past and present, and work the story in a non linear fashion, but these efforts come off as heavy-handed. The glimpse into the past is welcome, but Joon-yeong's motivations are hard to follow and make the past a messy place to be. The first two episodes indicated that Joon-yeong wanted some sort of revenge on No Eul,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Uncontrollably Fond" Episode 2 2016/07/07,
The dark past is unveiled, at least partially, in episode number 2 of "Uncontrollably Fond" that sat prettily atop the drama ranks at 12.5%, matching the first episode's rating. No Eul and Joon-yeong in their high school years are those who have not: they lack power, money, and influence, three assets that their opponents have in abundance. A complex web of family relations, payoffs, deals, loans sharks, and emotional agony was woven during No Eul's and Joon-yeong's high school years,...More
"Uncontrollably Fond" VS "W" VS "Incarnation of Jealousy": Hot summer battle 2016/06/06, Source,
It is unpredictable. No one can know which is more superior. The three ground-wave dramas are battling against each other. They say a drama is a writer's art. Three dramas with tight scenarios and the best cast are competing against each other and it's going to be intense.
The greatest drama so far is the KBS 2TV drama "Descendants of the Sun" which ended in April. After that, dramas battled to be the best on the 10% range. "Lucky Romance" has taken its place and is running on top rank but the gap between it and the second ranking drama isn't that much,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 16 Final 2015/03/06,
The crescendo of the conflict is, like the previous episode, a fairly easy to understand affair. The characters here fight to hold on to any possible advantage they can find at any given moment. When the first stage of Gi-cheol's plan goes wrong, it takes quite a bit of quick-shooting and hot-headed negotiation before the scene finally ends with one character taking a prop from a previous scene out of nowhere. Unfortunately for Gi-cheol, keeping track of everything that's going on at once is pretty hard,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 15 2015/03/06,
As the shootout indicates, the time for negotiation is over. Seon-woo being, of course, the doof that he is, attempts to further negotiate anyway, and the results are predictably bad. Right to the end both he and Hye-rim are determined to make sacrifices for each other, and right to the end Gi-cheol takes advantage of this fact to make sure all his enemies are more focused on ethical discussion than they are the actual long-term goal,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 14 2015/02/27,
I don't feel comfortable calling the pacing in "Spy - Drama" bad because it tends to be really unusual. The episodes are twenty minutes shorter than the standard for the format, and they also air back-to-back. Be that as it may, this episode got to be really long and tiring, mainly because we had to run around in circles with motivation cross-checks before finally getting to the big confrontation of the cliffhanger, where all the various spy faction manage to coalesce into a single location,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 13 2015/02/27,
Seon-woo is his usual fumbling self here, making threats he knows he can't deliver on while handcuffed to a woman he knows full well will split at the first opportunity. It's surprising then, that Gi-cheol is the one who manages to come off as not really in control here. The strain of having to juggle so many moving pieces is getting to the man. Hye-rim even manages to get a late stab at his psyche- although overall I'm afraid she doesn't have that much to do,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 12 2015/02/13,
The story pivots away from family somewhat and back to action. Yoon-jin, contrary to the other characters in "Spy - Drama" has dedicated almost all of her energy to trying to escape the spy world. So it should come as little surprise that there was a bit more going on in the last episode's cliffhanger than was implied. In the immediate sense this is interesting because of the way it affects the spy interplay. In the melodramatic sense, though, I liked the exploration of the Seon-woo / Yoon-jin relationship better,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 11 2015/02/13,
All this time later and the good guys still can't get their act together. Seon-woo and Hye-rim come so, so close to actually getting on the same page and swapping notes on what's going on- but both are determined to go it alone for the sake of sacrifice. Note particularly the scene where Hye-rim chases after Seon-woo- this is very nearly a parallel of when Woo-seok did the same with Hye-rim, but ultimately, Seon-woo and Hye-rim are too heavily locked into the spy mindset to take their emotional relationship all the way,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 10 2015/02/06,
The focus still remains on Seon-woo, although perhaps not quite as emotionally. The episode is bookended by confrontations with Gi-cheol, and it's surprising how unintimidating Gi-cheol seems when faced by Seon-woo, even though the older spy acts the same with Seon-woo as he does with everyone else. The chief problem is that Gi-cheol is used to dealing with people who can be reasoned with. Seon-woo, as much as he tries to hide it, is pretty clearly freaked out about everything he's learned,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 9 2015/02/06,
Seon-woo slowly starts to build up a case implicating his mother as a spy, as well as the entire conspiracy she's apparently involved in. The pacing is still pretty on-track, though, partially because "Spy - Drama" episodes are short, but also due to the larger theme of emotional conflict. Almost all the evidence pointing to Hye-rim is circumstantial- enough so that Seon-woo could choose not to believe it if that was what he wanted to do,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 8 2015/01/30,
Disappointingly, most of this episode is just a dinner party with too many spies. It seems like everyone has come to Hye-rim's home with a rather convoluted agenda in mind, and at times it's difficult to sort this out from self-parody. Really, what's most remarkable here is that more characters aren't found out. Then again, everyone is so determined to make sure that nobody else knows they're a spy to wonder what exactly everybody else is doing,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 7 2015/01/30,
Almost the entirity of the focus this episode is on Yoon-jin- specifically, her motivation. Surprisingly enough this isn't just a simple clichéd case of the seductress spy falling in love with her mark. Yoon-jin has, in fact, been using her true personality for pretty much the entire time we've seen her on screen. And finding out that this is all legitimate really underscores the woman's true character conflict- circumstance has forced Yoon-jin into being a spy when this entire attitude runs completely contrary to her personality,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 6 2015/01/23,
It's another episode of conversations this time- interesting conversations, for what that's worth. Hye-rim's snooping into Yoon-jin's backstory finally comes up with some concrete plot points, and further cements the status of "Spy - Drama" as a story about negotiation, character relationships, and information management. The cumulative effect is an odd one. These are the spy games of a John le Carre novel fused with the social elements of a melodrama,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 5 2015/01/23,
Everyone has screwed up, and now they have to face the consequences for that. Interestingly, even Gi-cheol has to make an apology. While it remains unclear what the greater plan is for Gi-cheol or his bosses, the lethargic pace at which the drama is moving isn't putting him in a much better mood than anyone else. He even apparently gets serious with Hye-rim this time. But once more, he loosens his grip at the last minute,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 4 2015/01/16,
Storyline progress is mostly slow here. Certain facts became obvious to us as viewers last episode, and it's only through continued exposure that the characters themselves are able to figure this out. Hye-rim remains determined to try and save Seon-woo without actually explaining to him what's going on, and predictably only really succeeds in uncovering details of her son's healthy personal life. Apparently Seon-woo's strategy to avoid blackmail is to not have any dark secrets he can be blackmailed over,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 3 2015/01/16,
Apparently the emphasis "Spy - Drama" has put on romance was deliberately in the service of the story. This is in fact a battle between the power of spying and the power of love. A battle which so far love is mostly losing. While Hye-rim and Woo-seok are perfectly capable of communicating with each other, in terms of the spy world their success here is pretty limited. At best, they can manage a negotiation,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 2 2015/01/09,
Gi-cheol (played masterfully by Yoo Oh-sung) is exactly the bolt of energy "Spy - Drama" needed. From the man's very first confrontation with Hye-rim, it's obvious that Gi-cheol means business. Gi-cheol knows that he's operating from a superior ethical and tactical position, and milks these advantages for all they're worth. The man's just so deliciously smug- he even manages to make the old facial deformity trope feel fresh,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 1 2015/01/09,
The set design for "Spy - Drama" feels kind of...off. Take the very first scene. It took me a minute to figure out this event was taking place in China. But even after that point the place just looked kind of oddly dirty and clean at the same time. No litter or trash or graffiti anywhere. And yet it was exactly the kind of random dingy alley where you'd expect sneaky spy antics to go down. Perhaps this unsettling cleanness was part of the point, given how we soon see the entire situation was staged,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Witch" 2013/10/23,
What makes this drama interesting isn't so much its actual objective quality, but the unusual context of having a Joseon-era action storyline set in the single hour Drama Special format. In a typical historical drama featuring swordfights and intense equestrian action, there's a lot of stretching of the political material to justify these encounters, mainly because there's only so many fights to the death you can have before a story hits self-parody,...More
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