The King Eternal Monarch Episode 13 Live Recap

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Was challenged to try doing a live recap for this show, so I’ll be trying it out for Episode 13, starting at 10.30 p.m. Singapore timing when the show is up on Netflix. Reload every 5 minutes for updates. Enjoy!

Here is how the character’s names will be abbreviated:
Tae-Eul: TE
Lee Gon: LG
Lee Rim: LR
Shin-Jae: SJ
Eun-Soeb: ES
Jo Yeong: JY
Seo-Ryung: SR
Luna: LU
Noh Ok-Nam: NO

Alright, the episode is up! Let’s go.

Scene 1

NO: What happened to that war? the war that broke out in June, 1950.
TE (looks shocked): How do you know about that war?
NO: What you are thinking is right. It was during the still of the dawn. The cannons began to roar like thunder and all hell broke loose. I was at a loss after losing my parents and siblings. Then one man came up to me.. .and asked if I wanted to go to a world without a war. I left my hometown with just this book, not knowing that I would never be able to return. That man was His Majesty’s Grandfather, King Haejong. What happened to the world’s history after that?
TE: There was an armistice three years after the war broke out. The country is now divided into South and North Korea… I’m sorry to tell you such sad n ews.
NO: No, it’s fine. There were many sad days, but now I know that everything was my destiny. Just like how you ended up here.

Back to Lee Gon’s office with LG and SR
LG: All right, let’s talk about that first Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to talk. Eveyrthing in the news is true. She’s the woman I love. I support her, every step and moment.
SR: You’re always so honest, your majesty. Even in moments like this. That woman has a criminal record.
LG: I’m not asking for your support
SR: I liked being next to you. That was where I could see you best, but you say that it is not my place. Will I be able to see you better if I stood in opposition to you?
LG (stands up): Stop… if you cross the line any further…
SR: I started from the bottom and climbed all the way up, but you’ve had it all to start with, and the only thing that moves you is love. What will my heart beat for now? I don’t think it’ll be for honesty and loyalty.
Both LG and SR fall in pain as the lightning flashes and thunder roars.
SR tries to excuse herself but LG looks at her in shock. SR leaves the room.
LG: Contact the National Forensic Services and see if they have the records of traitor Kim Gi-hwan.

TE walks down the stairs and remembers NO telling her that since her ID card was in Lee Gon’s hands, she has been the one guiding him to his fate. She asks her to take good care of His Majesty.

TE continues to walk down the corridor and bumps into SR, who is still holding onto her neck in pain. She takes her hand off her neck and looks boldly at TE. She walks slowly towards her, trying to intimidate her.

TE: We meet again
SR: Right.
TE: We met… and I saw you buying shoes, Ms Koo Eun-a.
SR (laughs): Oh, sorry. I haven’t seen anyone in this country mistake me for someone else. I was talking about when we met at KU building. Shouldn’t you know your Prime Minister? The proposal you received shook the whole nations.
TE: What did you do before and after you met me? I’m sure you didn’t just buy shoes.
SR: Do not be so cocky and move aside. You can’t stop me yet.
TE: You’re the one who walked in here yourself and you’re the one who stopped. Your heart feels heavy, right? That’s how heavy guilt can be.
SR walks forward and past TE.
SR: Are you curious about what I did? Of course I did not just buy shoes. I mean the day we met at KU building, of course. (aughs)
(lightning strikes again and we see the cracks in her skin)
TE sees it and gets shocked. She runs towards LG’s room. She enters LG’s room.

LG tells her to go to bed first and that the coroner found the mark on the traitor’s body. TE tells him that she saw the marks on SR’s body, which show SR has crossed between worlds and that she had seen her in Korea. LG says that SR seems keen to place herself in opposition to him, recklessly partnering with LR. LG says that if he decides to act recklessly, nobody can stop him. He tells TE to be at peace and he’ll come back with Eun-sup. TE looks worried.

At the forensics services, LG sees that there’s a scar on the left side of the chest of the traitor. LG remembers his own mark.
LG to the Coroner: Did you say you’ve seen the scar before?
Coroner: Yes (passes him an envelope) Nobody believed me until now. I’ve worked for 11 years and I’ve seen 3 bodies with the same scar and all on rainy days like today, but what’s strange is that all these people had served terms in prison for parricide.
LG: (thinking) Those who killed their own counterparts and crossed worlds would get caught easily by their families. (says to the Coroner) Please check if there are any other cases like this. I need to find the answer.

(at Eun-Soeb’s hospital room)

He’s asleep and someone enters and tries to inject poison into his drip. ES asks if it’s supplements, but he’s aware of what’s going on and then he takes out a gun and points it at the head of the intruder.
We flashback to ES doing a security check of the room and he spots trackers below the coffee table. He starts singing songs and shouts into the trackers that he’ll get a good night sleep and see the majesty tomorrow.

Back to the scene with the intruder, who tries to run off but Lee Gon is outside with his Royal Guards. The intruder is arrested.

LG to ES: Great work, and thank you again.
ES: You have to open the car door for me next time. is the Kingdom going to be ok without me? When will TE and I go?
LG: Maybe tomorrow at dawn. it’s about the time she said she’ll leave
(Lighting flashes again) LG is in pain again. ES hugs him, but LG winces.
LG: Are you alright? You don’t have a scar that causes you pain?
ES: Why would I feel pain?
LG: So you and TE don’t have it, but I do.
ES: What do you have?
LG: The mark of people who’ve killed their counterpart. What are these scars?

[SR’s office]
SR looks at her neck in the mirror. She asks her assistant to get a doctor’s appointment for her, a dermatologist or a psychologist. Her assistant is concerned and asks her what she did during her ‘vacation’. SR looks at him uneasily and tells him she likes him more than she thought she did and that she can’t tell him right now or he will be in danger.

[EOSU Bookstore]
LR is waiting and SR comes in to find him there.
SR: You look the same, but you are definitely not. Lee Lim’s hidden son. You look exactly like when I saw you in the textbooks. Who are you? [She takes out the newspapers] Are you the one who sent me this?
LR: Your parents at least respected me. They feared me, listened to me, kept their heads bowed.
SR: So you’re Lee Lim and not a hidden son?
LR: You have a lot of questions and I guess you’ll get the answers soon.
SR: Then you’d be 70 years old. How is that appearance possible? And President Trump of US? What is this – who is that woman who looks exactly like me?
LR: Which question should I answer first?
LR gets up and walks around.
LR: As you can see, I’m not dead. That woman is you in a different world. Her fingerprints, DNA, appearnace and birthdate are the same as yours. There is a parallel world called the republic of Korea.
SR looks interested.
SR: Am I getting black mailed right now? if my answer is wrong, will that woman replace me?
LR: [laughs] I’ve met thousands of people until now, but you’re the first one to know the next step without having to teach you. What will you do? Will you try to answer my question?
SR: (laughs) The men of the Royal Family really know how to make me laugh. it’s only right for you to prove your ability first. Take me to that place. The other world.

(Switch back to SR’s office)

SR (saying to herself): You’re the one who chose where I should go in these heels, Your Majesty.

[LG’s office]
LG’s secretary updates him that TE wants to go out and has asked for the best guard. The secretary has chosen the best trainee of the Royal Guard, Jang Mi-reuk and has given them a business phone.

[In the car]

TE is in the car with the Royal Guard, and he looks exactly like Jangmi (haha!). The guard asks how she knows his name. TE says it’s nice to meet him and she needs to look for a snack or bread factory about an hour away from the salt field. The guard tells him it’s a restricted development area with only forests. TE says that she remembers being there and smelling something sweet, like cotton candy. The guard says it’s an area full of cinnamon trees with a strong sweet scent. They head there.

Back in Lee Gon’s office, he wants to go and find TE, but his secretary tells him they have many urgent matters to settle, especially when he’s planning to get married. (Haha) She tells him that the nation is buzzing and he needs to make an official announcement. He tells her that he hasn’t received an answer for his proposal and asks, “Isn’t that harsh?” He tells her that it’s more urgent to stop Prime Minister Koo now and tells her to go to the prison and tell KU Group’s Chairman Choe to send a representative, to make a choice between the company or his ex-wife. He asks for Court Lady Noh.

Court Lady Noh appears at this moment and walks towards him.

LG: When you’re in my sight, it’s either for the talisman or something’s happened in that palace.
ON: Yes, your majesty, it’s the latter. Actually, I’ve caught a spy and I got new chickens during that process.
LG: Someone was using poison?

(Cut to the chicken cages)
ON: The spy was a courty lady named Park Suk-jin. I heard that she had been visiting the bookstore of the traitors. She came out of the bookstore and burned that photo. When I was revealing her identity, she spat out blood.

LG: So the parents were the ones being used. I still haven’t paid him back for the meal yet… How is she?
ON: She asked to talk to you in person.

LG goes to visit Park Suk-jin. LG tells her that she has fooled him for so long. Suk-jin tells him that she has seen him with her son, Shin-Jae, and that it was in the last photo that Lee Rim sent her. When she received the poison, she drank it instead of poisoning him, so that she could pay for her sins. She took a gamble, and now she gets to meet LG. She kneels down and tells him that although it’s shameless, she’s asking him to decide the fate of her son. She pleads with him to protect Shin Jae.

Switch to scene of lady in hospital who’s trying to memorise details of her family members. She recalls back to the scene of her waking up in a house on the floor, and wondering what happened and why she is in a place that’s so rundown.

[Republic of KOREA]

Luna is outside TE’s house and looking in. TE’s dad appears and asks whether she has eaten and tells her that Jeong-hun’s mother has given homemade soybean paste. He cooks her a meal and tells her the soup is amazing. Luna looks stunned. He wonders if she’s complaining about the food and is unhappy. Luna calls him “Dad” and asks if she’s a nice daughter. TE’s dad jokingly replies yes, on 29th when she receives her salary. He tells her to put the dishes in the sink when she’s done as he has to go off.

Luna sits at the table and stares at the soup, her eyes brimming with tears. She then goes into TE’s room and looks around. She looks through TE’s clothes. She lies down on the bed and sees stars on the ceiling. “it’s a Gemini. That sucks.”, she says to herself.

[In Jun-hye’s car]
Song Jun-hye is waiting outside a house, looking in. She tells the driver she has nowhere to go as he is watching her 24 hours a day. She tells him she used to work there when she had Ji-hun. She tries to open the door when she sees Shinjae’s mum. Shinjae’s mum doesn’t know who she is. Shinjae’s mum finally recognises her and says she guesses things worked well for her. She tells Jun-hye that they moved away when Shinjae went to middle school and now she’s here to do housekeeping. Jun-hye asks to have a meal together with Shinjae’s mum, so they can catch up. JY is in the corner and sees this. He looks concerned.

Jun-Hye and Shinjae’s mum are having lunch together. They talk about work and how she’s helping Shinjae and that Shinjae has woke up. Jun-Hye is shocked to realise that Shinjae regained consciousness. Jun-Hye is struck when she sees Shinjae’s photograph as a cop. She then recalls the man she saw at the grave. She then tells Shinjae’s mum about how she was really kind to her in the past and she was grateful. She takes her purse out and gives her money for the meal, rushing off. Jun-hye walks off in a rush.

In the lift, Jun-hye enters and JY suddenly appears. He wants to go to the same floor as Jun-hye.

[COREA]

Change scene to LG at a pavilion, waiting for TE. LG’s royal guard is rushing the guard to bring TE over. TE runs in, panting. LG tells her he was worried and asks why she didn’t pick up. She asks him to go somewhere quiet as she has something to tell him, about Lee Lim’s bamboo forest.

TE: I remembered something about the day and I found the forest where I woke up. The Jangmi in this world is going to look for a bamboo forest nearby. If we find it, you just have to keep watch there
LG stops walking.
TE: What is it? Am I wrong?
LG: The moment that door opens, time stops. And it stops for a longer time each time it opens. Now, time stops for over an hour.
TE: So if you keep men there, they’ll be in danger, since only Lee Lim would be working. Right… I guess you would’ve thought of that already. Time really stops for that long?
LG nods.
TE hugs him.
TE: Then you’d be alone during that time.
LG hugs her back.
LG: You were with me a couple of times when that happened.
TE: is there even a way for us to fix this?
LG: I thin time is stopping because the flute is broken in half. only half its power is being used, so the dimensions are falling apart. Maybe if it’s whole again, things might get better.
TE: how would it be whole again? I guess it’ll be either of two things. You take the piece that Lee Lim has, or he takes your piece.
LG: Or I stop Lee Lim before he gets the half of the flute.
TE: But that’s in the past.
LG: If there’s a time axis as well as a space axis, then it’ll be possible. It’ll explain how I got your ID card 25 years ago.
TE: Does it exist?
LG: I’m not sure yet. I’ve ridden across that place, but no matter how long I rode, I could not reach the edge. I’m sure about one thing, though. I tossed a coin in the air, and it floated. Your seeds sank in there. I think living things sink.
TE: really? I bought more flower seeds today. (shows him magic lily seeds)
LG: Do you really believe that flowers will bloom there?
TE: I know what you’re concerned about. If the flute becomes one, that door might close forever. Right? This is the 10th rule out of the 17. Don’t get scared in advance. It hasn’t even happened yet.
LG: You’re right, but it’s the ninth out of the 17th.
TE: Oh it’s the ninth? You say it as if you’ve followed the first eight. In such situations you should just give me a pat. Never mind, I’ll see you at dawn.
LG tells the guards to take one step forward to stop TE.

LG: We should see dawn together.

LG brings TE into the portal where she plants the seed. ES is also ready to go, with his bag and luggage. He sees the coin that is floating, flicks it and it spins in the air.

We are back at a scene near TE’s home.
TE’s dad sees a group of teenagers smoking and tell him to stop. They are not afraid of him and laugh at him when he says he’ll try to take them down. He kicks off one of their cigarettes and shows them the flyer of his taekwando centre. TE appears, holding her ID and she runs up to her dad and hugs him, saying “I almost got killed this time.” He tells her that she’s been home all this time and TE immediately panics and is in shock.

TE goes back to her room. Her dad comes in and she asks her dad to pass her his phone.

JY is having a meal with SJ of fried chicken. JY asks who is Kang Yeong-min. Shinjae avoids answering, so JY asks whether that was his name in Corea. SJ answers that yes, it probably was and asks JY to look it up for him. JY asks SJ if there’s anything else he wants to find or know in Corea. JY remembers seeing his mum in the palace. SJ tells him that he wants to find his mum or his siblings. JY tells SJ that he knows he has feelings for TE, and that LG and TE cannot be together because their worlds are too far apart. SJ responds that there are people who are in the same world, yet even further apart. He walks off and admits that he does have feelings for TE.

SR walks to his car and sees Luna with a cat in an alley. Thinking that she’s TE, she asks why she hasn’t been answering her phone. Luna stands up apprehensively. SJ asks if she’s sick. Luna then pulls him in to kiss him. He pushes her away, shocked, asking her what she did. She receives a call from TE’s dad and walks away to answer it. SJ chases after her, but he cannot seem to find her. Just at this moment, TE hits him from behind and he looks at her shocked. She asks him if he has seen her counterpart. SJ asks if she had just arrived. TE asks if she looks exactly like her. SJ tells her that Luna had TE’s ID card and applied for a vacation. He tells her that she needs to cancel it immediately.

TE tries calling Luna and Luna answers. She tells Luna that they should meet, but Luna tells her that if they meet, she’ll die. TE tells her not to touch anything of hers, but Luna said that she would have done so already if she wanted to. Luna tells her that she came here to meet TE and she’ll meet her soon. TE tries calling back but the phone is turned off. “So it’s me you’re after, TE says to herself.

JY and LG are now having a meal together. LG checks in on JY and asks whether he ran into Prime Minister Koo. JY asks how he knows. LG tells him that he saw the scar, but there’s no need o worry because she cannot go wherever she wants.

Flashback to LG’s meeting with Chairman Choe’s representative. The representative tells him that he can be used to do any work he wants. he tells LG that Chairman Choe puts the company first and gave plenty of alimony to his wife. Chairman Choe’s answer comes in the form of a thumbdrive, and the representative tells him that it’s treason and the evidence came from her private residence. He tells LG to increase security in his office as his voice was reocrded often, including him saying that he was indebted to her.

Over a news broadcast, the audio file of treason is played, showing what SR said. We see the other Ministers marching into her office, asking her to step away and put all her belongings into a box. She asks them who gave that order – KU? or the Royal Court? She tells them that she has nothing to take and that all she needs is the pair of shoes she bought in Korea. She walks out of the office and asks who went through her private residence and when. Chairman Choe’s representative tells her that she needs to clean up her mess. She says she was always soaring and asks her assistant to go with her. He goes with her and puts the box down.

We switch back to Korea, where LG is chatting with JY and they are enjoying the chicken, saying that this place has the best food (PPL…). JY asks how LG knew he was here. LG tells him he had a tracking app and asks whether ES’s siblings know that JY wasn’t ES.

Cut to a scene of Nari with ES’s siblings. The little girl says that she knows it’s not her brother. Nari also says it’s strange, but just at this moment, ES arrives in a suit and they run up to him. Nari recognises him immediately too and ES runs up to hug her, telling her that he misses her. It’s a cute and adorable scene which ends in a group hug.

At the police station, TE is getting her leave application cancelled, but it’s already cancelled. She decides to go off to get a new phone.

We see Luna in a car at the top deck of a carpark. She’s crying and in pain. She looks up at the ceiling of the car and the gemini constellation pattern is there too.

The next day, ES is ready to leave his hom eand sees LG there, waiting for him. LG opens the door of his very swanky car for ES andtells him that he has bought this car for ES. ES’s eyes open-wide. LG thanks him sincerely for his service. ES cannot believe his eyes and says he has nothing to give him in return. LG takes a packet of coffee from his pocket and sucks it – yet another blatant PPL.

TE is leaving her home and tells her dad not to open the door for anyone. However, as she’s leaving, she sees LG in her home. The dad tells her that the horse owner came and he asked him to sit down. Wow, the product placement is strong in the second half – we see the kimchi again. Her dad teases her that her face is glowing and asks if she has a boyfriend. To his surprise and Lee Gon’s, TE says that she did get a boyfriend and he’s right here. Haha! Lee Gon is shocked, and so is her dad. They bow awkwardly. and TE breaks the ice by telling them the meat is cooked. It’s a really hilarious scene. We have even more PPL regarding the kimchi. The dad asks LG who he really is. TE tells him to stop and that from his face, he should be able to see he is a decent guy.

TE and LG leave their house together and LG telsl her that his dad must be pretty shocked that he’s dating a guy without an identity. TE says she’s going to find out where SR had been. LG says he’s leaving today and TE asks whether he’s really leaving righ tnow. LG asks whether he should stay, just for today. TE asks whether he will stay if she stops him. He asks if she’s sincere, and she replies that she’ll see him after her work is done. She goes to her car and takes something out from the car, which she claims is an excuse to stop him from leaving. It’s a black jacket – exactly like the one we saw on the man who saved young Lee Gon from Lee Rim.

SJ is in the police station and TE arrives. She asks a favour from SJ and he looks at her. She wants to look for Luna.

They go to look for Ms Koo eun-A and realise that she has not been in for almost 4 days. They realise they really need to find her as SR may have done something to her. They receive news that Koo Eun-A was reported as missing. They put together the pieces and decide they need to go to Yangsun Care Centre where Lee Seong-jae died (Lee Lim’s counterpart).

At Yangsun Care Centre, they ask the staff in charge whether she knows Eun-A. The staff demands for a warrant again. SJ asks why it is that there are so many rooms that need ID cards and he reaches out for the staff’s ID card. They do a search of the Care Centre. The staff looks uneasy and nervous.

Flashback to the scene of JY being in the lift with Jung-hye – nothing much happens.

We are now in the hotel room and LG takes out the jacket from the bag, saying that someone did not want him to attract attention in this world. JY speaks to LG and asks if LG would like to have a drink with him. LG asks him if there’s something on his mind. JY excuses himself to go and buy some soju. LG remembers SJ’s mum in Corea, pleading with him, and calls SJ but nobody picks up.

LG puts on the jacket and the cap – and now we know, he’s definitely the one who went back in time. The doorbell rings and it’s TE at the door (or is it Luna?). He asks her if she skipped work.

We are back at the Care Centre again and SJ is searching around. He walks from room to room and stumbles upon a room that looks suspicious. he tries to open the door, but it’s locked tight. He scans the ID card. TE is in a room where bodies are stored and she finds Eun-A’s body.

We move to LR walking by the river and he sees a huge poster of LG on the building. He stops in his tracks and looks at it again. (I’m confused by this scene)

Back in the hotel, Luna tells LG that she looked up how to grow magic lily but realises it’s difficult to grow them. She tells LG that the flower symbolises “hopeless love”. LG looks at her and says, “I thought I wouldn’t be fooled, but that face is his weakness.” He tells her that she has a look at anxiety, which TE wouldn’t have.

LG takes the ID card from Luna and he sees himself in the mirror in that black jacket, holding the ID card. He immediately recalls what happened when he was young and how the black man was skilled with a gun…

We cut to LR.
LR: He knew the structure of the cheonjongo well, and knew who the enemy was.

Back to LG
LG: He was fighting with all his might for me. The one who saved me…

LR: The one who saved you was yourself

LG: It was me. So that’s how everything comes together.

LG falls to the ground, coughing, panting. He collapses to the ground. Luna has poisoned him.

We flashback to the man in black, standing over young LG. The man’s eyes are clearly Lee Gon’s.

Thank you for reading. Review of the episode will be posted tomorrow.









Dinner Mate/ Will You have Dinner with Me (Episodes 1 – 4)

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Adding to the mix of new dramas is MBC’s Dinner Mate, starring Seo Ji-Hye as Woo Do-Hee, a member in the planning team of a Youtube channel 2N Box, and Song Seung-Heon as Dr Kim Hae-Kyung, a psychiatrist who takes his clients out for dinner as therapy. Lee Ji-Hoon and Son Na-Eun also star as Do-Hee and Hae-Kyung’s first loves respectively, but we have not really met them in the first week, except for Son Na-Eun’s character, Ji No-Eul, through flashbacks.

At the heart of Dinner Mate is the simple belief that we share food and have meals together with people that we love. Food and meals certainly feature a lot within the first episode as we start off with Do-Hee recalling the opening scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s where Holly Golightly stands in front of a jewelry window eating a croissant and sipping coffee. We immediately switch to a less-than-ideal meal between Young-dong (played by Kim Jung-hyun) and Do-Hee, where he over-peppers her steak before awkwardly feeding it to her. She researches recipes to cook for him, as a sign of her love for him.

Hae-Kyung is a psychiatrist who believes in diet counselling and helps his patients by having meals with them. He flies all the way to Jeju to have dinner with a client and meets Do-Hee on the flight. She’s all excited as she thinks Young-dong is going to propose to her in Jeju, so she buys all sorts of good food to cook at the supermarket. However, she reaches the same restaurant that Hae-Kyung and his client are at, only to realise that Young-dong is proposing to someone else and wants to end it with her. He tells her he’s leaving her because he stopped enjoying meals with her and found them a chore.

In a hilarious turn of events, the patrons at the restaurant ask Hae-Kyung to help Do-Hee and cheer him on as he pursues her. He finds her at the water’s edge and thinks she’s going to jump off. As he runs to stop her, she turns away to avoid him, which results in him falling over and getting a concussion. He ends up in the hospital and Do-Hee watches over him until he awakens. Do-Hee helps him to get to the airport to catch his flight, but he is too late and remembering what he saw about Do-Hee earlier, goes out of the airport and invites her to have dinner together with him.

Dinner Mates is so charming because it’s such a light-hearted and easy show to watch. Our two leads are very well-fleshed out and the storyline is simple and straightforward, where two people with very different lives come together to find love and healing. The first two episodes plant the seeds for a very convincing and meaningful romance, as we see that both Do-Hee and Hae-Kyung have been hurt by past relationships. Yet it’s also super fun to see both of them together as they are so different in their personalities and way of life.

The third and fourth episodes really bring on the laughs as we see Hae-Kyung cruelly turning down Do-Hee’s dinner invitation by telling her they’ll meet at 8 p.m. at the fish market when Tae Jin-Ah’s song becomes a number one hit. She’s offended by this and interestingly enough, when she goes back to Seoul, she seems more bothered by how Hae-Kyung turned her down so offensively, rather than by Young-dong dumping her. Do-hee being tasked by her boss to get Dr Kim on 2N Box leads to a series of extremely heated (and hilarious) email exchanges. To both their surprise, Tae Jin-Ah’s song actually becomes number one due to a virus, and the fourth episode ends with them meeting at the fish market.

Dinner Mate has definitely started off well with two very likable yet flawed main characters and a good mix of humorous and sweet scenes. Their growing friendship is nicely developed, with a good mix of coincidences yet intentional decisions on each other’s part. Seo Ji-Hye and Song Seung-heon are good in their roles and they have great chemistry. I’m looking forward to more of their adventures together!

Hospital Playlist – Finale

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Hospital Playlist delivers a mega-finale of almost two hours long with medical cases and movements in all the love stories involving our five core members and their residents. Most of the developments pave the way for a second season (which has just been confirmed – YAY!) and it’s only Jeong-Won and Gyu-wool’s long-drawn “courtship” that gets a happy ending in this episode. While I felt the finale suffered a little in pacing due to the long length and way too many cases to follow, it was a heartwarming and heartfelt end to what has been a very enjoyable series.

One idea that tied many of our characters’ stories together in the finale was that of crossroads. Many of them are at decisive points in their lives, where they need to make critical decisions that will affect their professional lives, their love lives or both.

For Song-Hwa, she has already made that decision in Episode 11 on her own to move to Sokcho branch to rest and fix her neck problem. I always enjoy the confidence of her character, which comes from a position of moral clarity as she knows what is right and what needs to be done. Because of that, all her residents even line up to see her for advice above their research, about their love life or about work in general.

It is only with Ik-jun’s recent confessions of liking her that that she has been more tongue-tied lately, where her usual eloquence is replaced by an uncertain silence. She was similarly silent with Chi-hong’s awkward act of placing his hands on her shoulders last week, but that silence conveyed discomfort and unease. However, with Ik-Jun, I saw her silence revealing a sense of dilemma.

Throughout the series, Song-hwa has been so strongly independent and comfortable with spending time alone. What she’s struggling with also is admitting to her feelings and therefore becoming more vulnerable. I really liked the camera work in this scene – portraying both Ik-Jun and Song-Hwa as being at the ‘borders’ of the middle windowpane – they are clearly in separate spaces, but they are now in that in-between space, whether to move forward and be together, or to move out and therefore be separated again. What’s even more brilliant is that we can see Ik-Jun has moved more towards the centre, slightly away from the border, with his confession – whereas Song-hwa is at the border. My hope in Season 2 is for Song-hwa to agree to exploring the relationship and then seeing how they move from close friends to lovers.

While Song-hwa and Ik-Jun handle more personal cross-roads, we see both Jeong-won and Seok-hyeong struggling with bigger decisions. For Jeong-won, he finally makes about whether to take on priesthood and stay at the hospital. His friends, his parents and the hospital are all clear on what the better choice is. For him, it has been such a huge struggle as he sees priesthood as the best way to honour God. However, he has realised that staying in the hospital allows him to serve God and do good as much. As Song Hwa tells him, “Stay here and save more lives.” The episode certainly affirmed that with his tireless care of the girl for four days, and the whole family noticing and observing it.

Part of me was fearful that the show would go down the over-sentimental line of him struggling and then finally deciding when Gyu-wool cries in front of him. However, the show took a much better route by allowing Jeong-won to make that decision first, and then deciding that Gyu-wool was one of the first he wanted to tell, even before the other guy friends.

Yet in deciding to stay on, he is not abandoning God or his religion – and once again, I enjoy the camera-work and directing of the show as the rosary that Jeong-won carries on his wrist is often highlighted or zoomed in on at critical moments, an affirmation too that kindness and love comes from his desire and love for God.

Seok-hyung has similarly big decisions to make in this episode, both professionally and personally. Regarding the decision to take over his dad’s company, though he was placed in a dilemma, all along we knew what choice he would make. Him going through the thinking process also gave him clarity on what he wants in life and what he want.

As he tells his friends, “I don’t want to waste time. My time is too precious for that. I want to live doing the things I like and the things I want to do right now. That’s why I wanted to start a band. I used you guys.” His touching moment makes everyone silent and awkward, and this is broken by Ik-Jun when he says “As if”, and everyone laughs together. These wonderful friendship moments are what make this show shine.

While making the right choice professionally, Seok-hyung still wavers in his love life, not because he was hurt by his divorce, but because of how much he felt his ex-wife, Sin-hye, was hurt by him. He tells Ik-jun that he does not want Min-Ah to be hurt and that he asked her to date someone better, because his life is complicated. As a caring and loving friend, Ik-jun offers him a different perspective gently – “If you weren’t divorced and in this complicated situation, you would have dated Dr. Chu” and he advises Seok-hyung to open up himself to love again.

Seok-hyung thinks him and Min-ah are back to a professional relationship after he turned her down. However, it certainly is not. This is where the production of this show shines – as Seok-hwa voices over about how the friends differ in terms of how they like to eat, she and Jeong-won share that Seok-hyung loves eating ramyeon by himself while watching videos. However, we see him genuinely smiling even as Min-ah barges into his office with a drink and fishcakes and he enjoys eating together with her.

At the end of the finale, he is faced with a dilemma – whether to open himself up and agree to have dinner with Min-ah, or to protect himself and reject her. He decides to turn her down, and gets a call from Sin-hye. This is one storyline I’m keen to see in Season 2, because Seok-hyung obviously was very affected by this experience. What Season 1 hasn’t been so good at doing is to show us how our characters who have been hurt have healed emotionally. We are aware that there are characters like Ik-Sun, Ik-Jun, Seok-hyung who have experienced pain in their love life. With a second season, let’s hope the show can go more in depth to explore these areas.

And finally, we have Jun-Wan. While he’s professionally adept and makes good decisions, we see him this episode that Jae-hak, who has been under his mentorship, rises to the occasion and makes a critical decision to save the man with a punctured aorta. It is also Jae-hak that helps Jun-wan to make an important decision on the relationship to send Ik-sun a ring. It was endearing to see Jun-wan being so lost and uncertain.

He makes the decision to send her the ring. However, the package he has sent to her is returned. They are such a sweet and adorable couple that we really want the best for them, so let’s hope Season 2 explores them working out these issues in a mature and healthy manner.

The song “You to Me, Me to You” that ties the finale together is a fitting ensemble piece that celebrates how relationships of all sorts – friendship, colleagues, family, love – have been at the core of this wonderful show. While many questions remain unanswered at the end of this season, what we are left with is a comforting sense that these friends will always be there for each other and their friendship is definitely something I’m looking forward to enjoying once again in Season 2. Thank you Hospital Playlist for a wonderful journey. Ending off this review with the song that ends off this season.

Mystic Pop-Up Bar Episodes 1 & 2 Review

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JTBC’s first drama to air on a Wednesday-Thursday time-slot delves into the supernatural as it features a pop-up bar manned by three members, all of whom have supernatural abilities.

The female lead is Wol-Joo, played by Hwang Jung-eum, and she has the ability to enter people’s dreams and psyche to help them resolve their problems or inner turmoil. Playing her superior, Chief Gwi, is Choi Won-Young, who is there to keep her in check and to support her in her goal of helping 100,000 human beings. In the first episode, Wol-Joo and Chief Gwi come across Han Kang-bae (played by Yook Sung-Jae) who has the ability to make people pour out the truth and their deepest darkest secrets to him when he touches their hands. They see him as being extremely valuable in helping Wol-Joo identify those who need help and how to help them. Within the second episode, Kang-bae is recruited into their team and the trio are all ready to work towards the Wol-Joo’s goal of 100,000.

Woel-Joo certainly reminds us a lot of Jang Man Wol from Hotel Del Luna, especially her personality and also her sad past. However, this drama certainly isn’t a copy cat and has a clear and distinct tone as well as different rules from Hotel Del Luna. It’s a highly creative show which is able to blend humour and darker themes and moments very well. For now, the format of the show seems to follow a “case of the week” format, with each episode featuring a different human that the trio will help. The issues are certainly very real and dark, with the first two episodes exploring issues to do with workplace sexual harassment, jealousy, trauma and living with guilt. I thought the first episode was bolder than the second, with many scenes of the male superior harassing the female subordinate that made me very uncomfortable. The second episode dealt with a somewhat more familiar type of story, of hidden pasts and guilt.

However, even though the issues may be familiar, the ways in which they are explored are unique. Woel-Joo gives a special magic liquor to those that she wants to help, causing them to go into a deep sleep where she can then enter their dreams. From the first episode, we see that Mi-ran enters into a room where she can see her memories and Woel-Joo dealing with Mr Park. From that, Woel-Joo then gains strength to report Mr Park the next day.

After watching the first episode, I expected the second episode to follow roughly the same formula again, with Kang-Bae agreeing to help and then they go into someone’s dream and helps them. However, even in the second episode, the show starts to throw a wrench in how things happen and reveals even more fun and fascinating facts! Woel-Joo refuses to help the Ms Andong after Kang-Bae makes her reveal that she actually caused the death of her daughter’s, Eun-Su’s, real mum through spreading rumours. This makes Kang-bae resort to having to steal Woel-Joo’s liquor so he can help the Eun-Su. I really liked how the show was willing to already push the boundaries and show us what happens when someone unauthorised uses the liquor.

However, the show gets even more fun when the trio go in search of Eun-Su’s real father, because Ms Andong’s last wish before she died was for Eun-Su to meet him. They realise the father was traumatised after his wife’s death and now had amnesia. He blocked out all that happened back then, including the happy memories. While this is a very serious and tragic issue, the show explores this in such a fun, humorous manner while not trivialising it. The trio realises that they need to go deep down into the man’s psyche to unearth his memories and they literally walk down a deep, dark spiral staircase and reach a locked door, behind which his memories are stashed. It was both exciting and humorous to see them try to unlock the door, but Kang-bae saves the day as he recalls the man’s birthday. The visuals were over the top, with the collapsing pathway to the door, but it’s so crazy and fun.

If you can’t already tell, I love this show! Woel-Joo is so hilarious in her directness and her mannerisms, but we know she has a dark and painful past that will come to haunt her in the episodes to come. Hwang Jung-eum has such a manic energy about her and she’s so charismatic and confident. The character of Woel-Joo is very well written thus far and we know enough of her from each episode to sympathise with her and also yearn to find out more about what exactly her sins were in the past, that made her choose coming to earth instead of the Hell of Extinction.

The first two episodes have put the show off on a good footing by setting up the dynamics and providing so much laughs and excitement. I’m certainly looking forward to more visits to our Mystic Pop-up Bar!

Unlocking the Keys to Kdrama Webminar

Dear readers, I’m planning to have a webinar soon to cover a comprehensive approach to appreciate Kdrama using dramas like Healer, Queen In-hyun’s Man, Legend of the Blue Sea, Goblin, Suspicious Partner, Hotel Del Luna and The World of the Married. I will draw on literary and film analysis learnt from my Masters in Literature and Education and also my experience writing 200 blog entries.

If you are interested, do indicate your interest by clicking this link!

The World of the Married Special (Part 1 & 2)

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This is the first time I’ve actually watched an entire “Special” for a series, which shows how much I loved the series, but also how interesting this special was. I usually don’t enjoy watching it as I find it’s just a chance to rehash plot points and let the cast members sing praises of each other. While there was some of it this time round too, I appreciated too how the special allowed us to gain more insights into the characters and key moments.

Part 1

Part 1 focused mainly on walking us through key moments in the series and the actors/actresses personal responses to it. For a series with so many emotional moments, walking through the entire series within an hour was a quick and effective way to relive its intensity. When watching this, I remembered how the ending of Episode 1 just blew me away, so I went to rewatch the ending again just to experience that powerful moment when Sun Woo’s world just fell apart.

It’s not an understatement to say that the actors really put their all into the series and the emotions we felt as we watched them were so powerfully felt by them even on the set. And you must realise that when acting on set, there are so many distractions like cameras in your face, lights above you, as well as no score in the background which can detract from the emotional experience. Yet, you hear Han Soo Hee sharing that her hands were trembling and she felt like vomiting when she acted that scene where Sun Woo finally reveals all.

Kim Hee Aee also shares about the scene in the hospital, where she walks into the director’s room and sees In-Kyu as well as Tae Oh there. While she knew it was already written in the script, when she opened the door to the room, she was just taken aback by the toxic energy in the room

One actress that really impressed me during this special was Shim Eun Woo. Though less experienced than most of the cast members, from her interviews, you could really see how much she had brought to her character and how invested she was.

When talking about the scene after In-Kyu dies and she warns Sun Woo not to end up as her, Eun Woo tears up uncontrollably and says, “I think I felt really sorry for Sun Woo. If Hyun Seo’s character wasn’t in the story, Sun Woo wouldn’t have reflected on herself. I don’t think she would have looked back.”. As the episode ends, she calls this drama “the last and best present I got in my 20s”.

Part 2

I felt Part 2 was a whole lot of fun as it went into the technical details of the show, like the choice of Sun Woo’s home, how characters were framed in shots, costume choices and even the choice of art pieces. Some things we learn:

  • Sun Woo’s home only has one single shut window, which highlights the secrecy of their life – you can’t look in and you can’t figure out what’s going on. The house shows the stability and instability of married life.
  • The ‘title’ scene of each episode was a “spoiler” for what happens in the episode. There’s actually an image hidden in the title from a key scene in the show. The special only talks about four episodes, but you can find out from this site what the image is for all 16 episodes.
  • I loved how they illustrated the use of windows and their frames to show the fracturing of relationships. Like in the scene below:
  • There was also a segment where they talked about outfits and how Sun Woo and Da Kyung’s dressing starts to become similar after Da Kyung gets married, to show how their feelings become similar.
  • Even the choice of art pieces was intentional, like how this Mark Rothko’s art piece that he made after his divorce is in the background as Tae Oh is violent towards Sun Woo

After going into the technical details, there’s another segment where they speak of the young actors/actresses and how well they did (which I wasn’t quite keen on) and another segment where they interviewed 4 specialists on whether Tae Oh was guilty or not – and the conclusion was 3 Guilty – 1 Not Guilty. I learnt a new term called “habit strength” and get to hear interesting psychological perspectives on Tae Oh’s behaviour, like one who shared that he has actually 4 different egos and finds it difficult to reconcile them.

And we end off with brief interviews of the cast members where they all talk about how this show will linger on in their memory for a long time. I have no doubt at all of this – it will certainly linger in mine too. A jampacked two hours where we learn more about the characters, the technical details of the film, about psychology – a definite must-watch for all ardent fans of the show.

Announcing my first webinar!

Having written over 200 blog entries on k-drama, I have decided to launch a webinar very soon titled “Unlocking the Keys to K-drama” soon.

Drawing on my two Masters (one in Literature and the other in Teaching), the webinar will cover my comprehensive approach to analysing and appreciating dramas more. The course will cover popular dramas (like Goblin and The World of the Married), but also lesser-known but well-made ones.

Spaces are limited. If you are keen to appreciate k-dramas more deeply, click here.

 

 

 

 

 


 

The King Eternal Monarch Episode 12: Key Moments

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The King Eternal Monarch slows down in Episode 12, giving us much more OTP moments and some interesting revelations. There’s not much in terms of plot movement, but that is not a bad thing as we get more invested in our characters. Here were some key moments for me:

Court Lady Noh

The biggest revelation in this episode came like a punch at the end, in a quiet conversation between Tae-eul and Head Lady Noh.

She walks through her family history, telling Tae-eul that her name is Noh Ok-nam, her father is Noh Gi-seop, her mother is Shin Jeong-ae and her sister is Noh Yeong-nam. She was born in 1932, in Pyoksong of Hwanghae Province and she left her hometown at 17. Since then, she has not heard any news regarding her hometown for 67 years.

This opens up a huge storyline about what happened to Ok-Nam, why she came over to Corea and how that ties to the story of Lee Rim and Lee Gon’s parents. Of course, this also reveals that Lee Rim was not the first to travel across the universe and Head Lady Noh must be familiar with the use of the flute to travel across universes and its consequences. I am interested to see where this takes us.

Prime Minister Koo & The consequences of travelling

We were earlier led to believe that Lee Rim and Lee Gon were the only ones who experienced pain when there was lightning and thunder. However, in this episode, we see that it’s no longer just them, but also Lee Rim’s henchman. And not just them – but also Prime Minster Koo! This confirms that she was the one in the car that Yeong was chasing. And therefore that she too is somehow involved in Lee Rim’s bigger plans, as she drove away when Yeong was shot.

I’m still a little uncertain about Prime Minister Koo’s motivations and grand plans. Her scenes thus far have been brief and focused on her wanting to be married to Lee Gon – but why? We know in this episode that she is status-conscious and her term is running out soon. Once her term ends, she’ll be back to just being the daughter of a fish-monger. Yes, so we know she wants to marry him to continue having power and status. Why are these so important to her? Her character has not been fleshed out much and currently just seems like another chess piece in Lee Rim’s big plan.

There are many theories about why the pain from lightning and thunder only affect a few, but not others – like Shinjae, Tae-eul, Luna, Yeung or Eunseob. Right now, we can see that these are the four who have moved across the universe, but have not attempted to disrupt the order. They have not been involved in taking out anybody in the other universe and largely been there to maintain order. However, the pain also affects Gon. This points to the possibility that Gon may have also done some things to affect the order of both worlds, but this has not been shown to us yet.

Our OTP: Lee Gon and Tae-Eul

While I’m taking to them as a couple more, the timelines are getting wildly confusing. The scene where Lee Gon confesses his love to Tae-eul caused much confusion earlier as to whether it actually happened, given that he just disappeared. Thus far, we are led to believe that the confession and the flowers were given before the events in Episode 11 and 12.

Strangely, in this episode, Tae-eul says to Lee Gon after she’s first seen by the doctor that she was afraid that their moment in the bamboo forest would be their last. Okay, so that confession and flower-giving moment has not happened yet? However, later on, when Tae-eul is asked to choose her clothes, she sees the coat that Lee Gon is wearing being hung up and she remembers the moment he came to her with the flowers and confessed to her. If that’s a scene from the future, then why does Tae-eul remember it? Or was it a dream?

That point notwithstanding, I enjoyed their other interactions. Like mentioned before, Lee Min Ho and Kim Go Eun do have good chemistry and they are very natural and relaxed around each other. In terms of the writing, we see them getting to know each other more as they walked towards the church and took their first photograph together.

The time pauses are getting longer as we learnt in the previous episode. However, because these time pauses take Lee Gon away from Tae-Eul, he ends up feeling more lonely and a sense of loss during them. In this episode, as he is right next to Tae-eul, the reality of being forever in a time pause dawns upon him, which leads to him tearing.

Announcing my first webinar!

Having written over 200 blog entries, I have decided to launch a webinar very soon titled “Unlocking the Keys to K-drama” soon.

The webinar will cover my Genre, Characterisation, Technical Details approach using dramas like Healer, Queen In-hyun’s Man, Legend of the Blue Sea, Goblin, Suspicious Partner, Hotel Del Luna and The World of the Married. If you are interested to sign up, please indicate your interest by clicking this link and you will be placed on a mailing list to be notified once the webinar is up. Spaces will be limited since it is my first run. Thank you!

The King Eternal Monarch Episode 11

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The battle heats up in The King Eternal Monarch’s 11th installment, culminating in an no-holds barred battle between Lee Gon and Lee Rim’s forces. Let’s look at the key developments in this very meaty episode.

Lee Rim and Luna

Having done away with Prince Buyeong, Lee Rim now proceeds to move more of his plan ahead.

After Luna gets hit by a car, she finds herself in front of Lee Rim, who plays god again by offering her a new life in a parallel world. Not having a home or a family and constantly on the run, Luna is miserable and angry in the world of Corea. Given that she already has no place or sense of belonging in Corea, it is no surprise that Luna takes up the offer. Kim Go-Eun shines in this episode, playing two very different characters very convincingly. As Luna, she’s edgy, frustrated and raw.

Thus far, Lee Rim has co-opted people into his force are often those who are displaced – with no status in the world of Corea. This idea of movement across world works on two levels. Firstly, Lee Gon had referred to this in earlier episodes as illegal immigration, which is an apt metaphor. While moving to Korea gives them a better life, they continue to feel a sense of dislocation (as seen by Shin-jae) and have to hide and remain untraceable like Song Jung-hye who declares a fake address and gives cash to the undertaker so she cannot be traced.

On another level, it also works on the supernatural level as a form of reincarnation or rebirth. They are ‘born’ into a new world with a new name, new family, new destiny. Yet, they remain trapped because besides Shin Jae (who was moved against his will), they have made a pact with the devil, and are thus stuck in a path of misery and darkness.

Coming back to Luna, we see that things are not so straightforward as she also goes to meet the girl with the yo-yo, whom we’ve already established earlier represents some form of godly figure. He passes her a jack knife, but she asks him to keep it to “protect what belongs to [her]”. We later know that this knife is passed to Tae-Eul to help her to escape, as part of the girl’s attempt to restore the balance. I’m very fascinated to see what’s going on with Luna, what her bigger plan is.

Prime Minister Koo Seo-Ryung

I’m not really liking her character much thus far, because her intentions do not seem pure. Her smiling during the wake of Prince Buyeong also cemented my dislike for her.

Her storyline in relation to the parallel universes has not been so clear, but we are led to believe that Lee Rim is co-opting her into his plan and has been sending her newspapers from Korea. How would he tempt her into that world though, given that her life in the world of Corea is much better than Korea? However, in this episode, it seems like she has gone over to the world of Korea. The person that Tae-Eul meets on the street, who looks like her, may actually be her, because we see her going to a store later to purchase stilettos. The involvement of Seo-Ryung definitely has potential, but her storyline has been quite unclear so far. Given that Korea is a democracy, is Lee Rim co-opting her to rule the world of Korea, while he rules Corea? How would he convince her? I’m liking how Kim Eun Sok plots this series – we see enough each time to get interested, but we also know bigger pieces are moving which keep us asking questions.

Shin Jae

Shin Jae learns more about Lee Lim in this episode and Lee Lim sends his henchman to pass him a 2G phone. This leads to a scuffle, where we know that Shin Jae has an important part to play in this plan and cannot be killed – yet.

We know though that Lee Rim referred to Shin Jae previously as the plan that did not work out well – why is he approaching him yet again? Similarly, what could he possibly tempt Shin Jae with? On a separate note, I was disappointed that we saw so little of Yeong in this episode. Wasn’t his role in this world to help defend it from Lee Rim’s actions? He should have been more proactively defending both Shin Jae and Tae-Eul then, but in both instances, Yeong was not there to protect them.

Tae-Eul

In terms of the romance, the Tae-Eul we saw in this episode was vastly different from the weepy one that we saw in Episode 10. I much prefer her in this episode, but am also hoping the writing of the romance can be more consistent.

Once again, we go back to that conversation which seemed to have taken place when they went to look Song Jung-hye and what I liked was Tae-Eul being more assertive in this relationship, not just swooning or crying over Lee Gon. Firstly, she tells him that he never asked her to marry him, he just told her. Then, she tells him that she has decided just to live for each day, rather than think beyond that. Of course, Lee Gon responds that couples usually pledge their love for eternity, but for her, she has decided just to appreciate what they have for that day that they are together.

If this scene supposedly took place before Lee Gon went back to Corea, then why was Tae-Eul crying so much when she saw him in the forest or outside her flat last week? There seems to be some inconsistency there, but I like this version of Tae-Eul much better. While she still does not understand how the worlds work, she knows how to make the most of it. I like how assured she is around Lee Gon, yet we know she still loves him and misses him. While the love story isn’t written well, I feel that Kim Go Eun and Lee Min Ho really have great chemistry and their interactions are fun and sweet to watch.

I really like the character of Tae-Eul, because she is constantly on the move and always taking action, whether it is in the world of Korea or Corea. Once she is kidnapped in the world of Corea, Tae-Eul’s determination and quick-thinking really shine. After the girl with the yo-yo saves her, she breaks out, drives herself away, uses her limited bullets to derail a car, then walks all the way to Corea where she makes a pay-phone call to Lee Gon. She narrowly escapes from a speeding lorry and that is when Lee Gon comes sweeping in to save her. Lee Gon riding in and declaring she’s the Queen of Corea was indeed a majestic and heroic scene.

Lee Gon

And of course, we have to end with Lee Gon. I’m a little frustrated by how he still always seems to be one step behind Lee Lim, but I guess his uncle has had 25 years of scheming and universe-travelling ahead of him.

In the privacy of his home, he crumbles and breaks down over the loss of Prince Buyeong, but when facing his guards and those against him, he is authoritative, decisive and is unafraid of bloodshed. In the world of Corea, while there may be laws, the King’s word is final. While beheading is abolished, he sentences Lee Rim’s henchman to beheading, because of his silence.

The camera work for this scene is particularly powerful – with many shots where Lee Gon’s head takes centre-stage in the frame, and he is looking downwards, almost in a God-like manner, deciding on the fate of these criminals. (Yes, of course these head-shots also capture Lee Min Ho’s chiseled looks.)

Unlike Lee Rim who plays god to disrupt the order of the worlds, Lee Gon’s authority aims to restore law and order and he is willing to get his hands dirty to do this. Once the bookstore is discovered, he also wastes no time and leads his royal guards there to take it down and it’s a ruthless takedown. While most of Lee Rim’s henchmen at the bookstore are taken down, he also has another group of them at a shipyard – just how big is his army? And this leads to the final showdown that concludes the episode. Lee Gon is unafraid to get his hands dirty – he is not a king who leads from the back, but one who leads the charge in front and he gets blood splattered all over him while he engages in the fight.

While being willing to fight, we also participate in Lee Gon’s thought processes and it’s always fun to watch him piecing the mystery together by remembering what happened in the past, and then applying his knowledge of the Euclid number this round to calculate how long the time stops are.This time, he realises that at some point, the time pauses will last for an eternity. He must either work to ensure that does not happen, or somehow gain control over the time stops.

The battle for victory definitely cannot just be won through a physical fight. In order to win over Lee Rim, Lee Gon cannot just eradicate all his henchmen – Lee Gon needs to claim control over the universes and in order to do this, the flute and the sword definitely must come into play. Certainly, the yo yo boy must also be involved. I’m looking forward to how these elements and characters start to come together.

All in all, this was an engaging, exciting episode where the plot pieces moved forward while we also got interesting facts on the parallel universes. I’m hoping we see more of the flute or sword in upcoming episodes. And please bring back more of Yeong and Eun Soeb too!

Announcing my first webinar!

Having written over 200 blog entries, I have decided to launch a webinar very soon titled “Unlocking the Keys to K-drama” soon.

The webinar will cover my Genre, Characterisation, Technical Details approach using dramas like Healer, Queen In-hyun’s Man, Legend of the Blue Sea, Goblin, Suspicious Partner, Hotel Del Luna and The World of the Married. If you are interested to sign up, please indicate your interest by clicking this link and you will be placed on a mailing list to be notified once the webinar is up. Spaces will be limited since it is my first run. Thank you!

First K-Drama Analysis Webinar!

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Analysing k-drama has helped me realise how much work goes into these shows and appreciate them so much more. Having written over 200 blog entries, I would like to share my approach on how to analyse k-dramas so as to enjoy them so much more. I have a degree and Masters in English and will be applying literary and film analysis techniques in the webinar.

I will be launching a webinar very soon titled “Unlocking the Keys to K-drama” soon. The webinar will cover my Genre, Characterisation, Technical Details approachusing dramas like Healer, Queen In-hyun’s Man, Legend of the Blue Sea, Goblin, Suspicious Partner, Hotel Del Luna and The World of the Married. If you are interested to sign up, please indicate your interest by clicking this link and you will be placed on a mailing list to be notified once the webinar is up. Spaces will be limited since it is my first run. Thank you!

Hospital Playlist Episode 10 (II): Song-hwa

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Thinking about my review for Episode 10 yesterday, I realised I completely forgot to capture the scenes with Song-hwa and residents, which were some of my favourite scenes in the episode!

At the end of the previous episode, we were led to believe that she was meeting only Chi-hong for dinner, i.e. it was a date. However, we learn in this episode that it’s it’s not just two of them as Seok-min and Seon-bin join them as well. We see a lot of the four of them in this episode and besides our 5 friends, this is the next group of people I love in this show. At the restaurant, they take turns to tease each other – first poking fun of Song-hwa for her speed of eating, then there’s a fun exchange where Chi-hong and Song-hwa call Seok-min and Seon-bin out for dating, which finally leads to a confession. Their interactions are so natural and relaxed that it’s fun to watch.

Later on, after a discussion is over, they tell her about the intern who got scolded, which leads to yet another cute exchange where they challenge her to swear. She gamely takes up the challenge, yet her ‘swearing’ is so sweet that Seon-Bin and Chi-hong teasingly tell her that they feel blessed by it. Her saintliness is then reinforced by when they realise that she is actually taking the intern out for dinner. And that isn’t all! Later on, when they see a full moon, she asks them to make a wish and her wish is not for herself, but the intern to become a good surgeon. Her only self-centred wish is to get a good spot for her weekend solitary camping.

Let’s make a wish!

Seok-hwa’s almost overwhelming goodness and kindness could easily come off as unconvincing and bland in another show, yet somehow it’s believable and we buy it in this show. This is because of how the dynamics have been set up, such that the show does not overly exalt her goodness and uses her residents to mimic our reactions to her. In some strange way, the fact that the residents tease her for her goodness and find it amazing makes it easier for us to accept. It’s both heartwarming and funny to watch.

A show that is willing to poke fun at its own characters is always fun, and while we know Song-hwa is virtuous and selfless, she’s also has quirks that both bewilder her friends and endear her to them, like the ravenous way in which she gobbles down her food. She’s also human in the way she takes care of herself by buying a wood stove for herself, and then a rack for logs. These little touches of characterisation make these characters more complete and relatable.

Although I know the show is moving towards a Song-Hwa and Ik-joon relationship, I’d be equally satisfied if Song-hwa ends up in the series without being paired with someone. Not because I feel she does not deserve it, but because I know she’ll continue to be happy and fulfilled leading her life the way she wants to, as she knows how to care for herself. It’s no wonder that almost every mother wants their child to be with her!

When My Love Blooms: Episode 8

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I am usually not a big fan of romances, so I usually do not watch shows with titles like this. However, I was drawn to this drama because of the two leads – Yoo Ji-Tae and Lee Bo Young – both of whose work I’ve been incredibly impressed with previously.

Yoo Ji-Tae’s performance in Healer was extremely memorable, but unfortunately, I have not seen him in any other outstanding shows thus far. As for Lee Bo Young, I really enjoyed her performance in I Hear Your Voice and thought it was very memorable. I know she has had several outstanding dramas so far like Whisper and Mother, but I have not been able to catch them. After watching this show, I have to say their performances continue to shine. There’s just such a maturity and weight in their performances – they embody their characters, Jae-hyun and Ji Soo, so well and really convey the characters with their entire being. Ji Soo’s brokenness and misery is conveyed so evidently through the way she looks at people, how she speaks to others, and how she walks.

It’s unlikely that I will be blogging about every episode, but Episode 8 deserves a review because it marks a turning point for our leads. Both our characters take decisive and important steps ahead. Ji Soo calls Se-hoon and tells him that she will not proceed with the reunion of marriage. Her son, Young-min, sweetly shares that he will forgive her, because he knows she’s not comfortable staying with him. The mums at Young-min’s school attempt to ambush her and condemn her, unaware of how fiery she can be, and she proves to them that she is not to be messed with. It was honestly quite unexpected, especially as she responded to violence with even stronger violence at the end.

As for Jae-hyun, he rises up in heroic defense of Ji Soo, saying that if the video leaks and she loses Young-min, he will swoop in to take her. He convinces Ji-Soo not to proceed with the marriage reunion, but eve as she decides not to proceed, she also tells him that they should stay apart. He still wants to protect her, but respects her decision, hence he watches over her from afar. On the corporate battlefront, Jae-hyun decides to work with the prosecution officers and the investigation is now all out in the media.

As events start to overwhelm both our leads, they both go to a church, which Jae-hyun sought asylum in 1995. There, they find each other and sit outside the church and chat. Jae-hyun puts his arm around her and she does not reject him. Instead, she leans into him and tells him that she has been so afraid of the past, that she kept walking forward without looking back. However, her legs are now tired and she just wants to stay here today because “if we’re here, we will be okay.” Jae-hyun is completely silent throughout the last few minutes of the show, but Yoo Ji-Tae’s eyes and his frown convey his tender concern, quiet affection and calm protectiveness.

It’s not just the church, but being in each others arms is an asylum for both of them. It was in the past, and it has once again become so now. The scenes from the past and present in this drama are so seamlessly weaved together that it does not seem as if one story is secondary to the other. Both the past and present stories are equally important. While we as viewers are discovering more of their past, our leads are also rediscovering their past and finding strength and their true selves in the past. I must say the music does a wonderful job of tying everything together as well – so stirring, moving and nostalgic. This show is like a rich tapestry that draws us in with its charm and beauty.

It’s a quiet yet powerful message about identity – even though our past may be painful, distancing ourselves from it and ignoring it only makes us weaker. For Jae-Hyun, he has already discovered his strength. For Ji Soo, we’ve seen her strength emerging in this episode – let’s hope her journey from this point onwards is not just forward, but upwards as well as she rises victoriously from her circumstances.