Shows I’ve been following


There have been quite a lot of new shows lately, in addition to good ones that are still continuing. I must say we are quite spoiled for choice for shows from a wide variety of genres during this period. Here are some shows I’m following lately and my current thoughts on them.

The King Eternal Monarch (up to episode 13)

The intensity has certainly waned ever since that huge clash on the street between Lee Gon and Lee Rim’s forces in Episode 11. I was expecting things to heat up and both Lee Gon and Lee Rim to start moving chess pieces faster and take more decisive action. However, they both seem to be taking their time and giving each other time to react.

We still have many questions unanswered and there are only three episodes left. We are getting reveals, but they aren’t picked up in the subsequent episode, like Court Lady Noh’s reveal. I was surprised that Lee Gon was not alert enough to prevent himself from getting poisoned by Luna, yet he was able to make that huge realisation just before he collapsed. Also, I was not as shocked by the reveal as there weren’t many other characters left who could have been there to save him, plus the moment Tae-Eul gave him that jacket, I already saw it coming.

Let’s hope we get more answers this weekend and that things get taken up a notch!

Mystic Pop-up Bar (up to episode 4)

This show is a whole lot of fun! While both TKEM and Mystic Pop-up Bar are both supernatural shows with a lot of world-building to do, Mystic Pop-up Bar takes itself far less seriously and keeps adding new rules, new aspects and new characters to its world-building in each episode. It does so with such light-heartedness that we are less inclined to scrutinise it.

I much preferred the first two episodes where we saw the characters in the case of the week going through personal triumphs and changes, as opposed to the cases in Episodes 3 and 4 where our trio basically used their powers to tweak the circumstances and situations in favour of the characters they were trying to save. Those stories felt more meaningful to me, though my heartstrings were certainly also pulled by all the stories lately.

What’s most delightful is the chemistry between Wool-Ju, Manager Gwi and Kangbae and how they play to each other’s strengths. I’m loving the little snippets of back-story that we get in each episode – it’s sufficient to tantalise us to want to find out more, yet it also deepens our understanding of our characters and where they are now.

When My Love Blooms (up to Episode 10)

The relationships and emotions in this series definitely go deep and just when you think there cannot be any more pain, each episode takes us deeper and deeper into the suffering felt by Ji-Soo and Jae-Hyun – both in the past and the present. There’s so much in this show about trauma, healing, reconciliation, relationships and ultimately just growing as people.

What I’m loving the most about this show is that it gives its characters time and space to talk, to connect and understand each other – be it our lead couple, or between them and their sons or between friends. The relationships, the characters and their stories get so deeply fleshed out.

I’m loving the performances by Yoo Ji-Tae and Lee Bo-Young so much too!

When My Love Blooms: Episode 8


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.