August/September/October 2020 Korean Drama Review

The first drama that I finished was “It’s Okay To Not Be Okay”. It stars Moon Kang-Tae (Kim Soo-Hyun) who works in psychiatric wards but has to keep moving to different hospitals because of his brother who has autism and believes that the butterflies are going to kill him and they have to run away. It also stars Ko Moon-Young (Seo Ye-Ji) who is a successful children book author who has many scars from her childhood. The three of them meet and even when they don’t want to see each other they keep get drawn together.

At this point I was scared to watch another drama that focuses on mental health since I thought the other dramas had not done a great job. This drama was so interesting that even if they didn’t do a great job in the mental health arena it didn’t bother me. Even in the title it explains that even if you are not okay, it’s okay. All the characters are on a journey and even if they aren’t perfect in the moment they lean on each other and allows the space for them to not be okay but it’s okay because you will someday. I really enjoyed the story of this drama it seemed so rich and all the characters felt so dynamic. All the different relationships between each other just really made it a full story. How something in the past felt a certain way to one character would be different to another person, or would go back to the memory with more clarity.

Ko Moon-Young was such a fun character with her outfits and such a different appeal of a heroine of the story, she was really strong and demanded what she wanted and wasn’t scared to be honest. It was a refreshing character played by a female in a drama. She depends on Kang-Tae and Sang-Tae but she also offers a strength to the brothers as well. They are true equal partnership in their relationships. I really like the way Moon-Young becomes best friends with Sang-Tae was just so heart warming and the way that she would act childishly in front of him and treated him like her true older brother was my favourite. Also the drama was filled with serious drama but the comedy was also so great, I really like how they had the balance between them. The mystery part of the drama was pretty good too, I love how it had some plot twists that were unexpected. This drama really is a perfect combo of all my favorite elements.

I really don’t have complaints about this drama, only that I wish that it was longer! One thing was at the beginning it started really dark and made it seem like Moon-Young was kinda evil but it got better after the second episode! I recommend this drama if you like a romcom, drama, murder mystery and family genres.

The second drama is “Train” done by OCN. This drama is a sci-fi/fantasy that focuses on having parallel worlds. Seo Do-Won (Yoon Si-Yoon) who is a detective who gets sucked into investigating a serial killer that dumps bodies from a train. Han Seo-Kyung (Kyung Soo-Jin) is a prosecutor and is childhood friends with Seo Do-Woon but they have had a falling out and she gets involved with this mysterious train and serial killer case and she still loves Seo Do-Woon even though he has put distance between them.

This drama was pretty interesting with the subject of parallel worlds and it really stretched my mind trying to figure out how the two worlds were being affected by this serial killer. I really liked that I had to really think about the story line and figure it all out. It was exciting and interesting all the way through which was good. Surprisingly they allowed for some romance which is unusual for OCN Dramas. So to warn you all it has a happy and good ending so don’t let that stop you if you want to watch this drama.

The rules with the parallel worlds were kinda fuzzy and how they were able to really pass between the worlds which is not unusual for the sci-fi world but can be annoying when the rules can suddenly change. There were moments when I thought what the characters were choosing to do in a situation was so reckless and dangerous and really just them being dumb and unaware of the danger of their decisions. Also when Seo Do-Woon goes into the other world and assumes the Do-Woon’s identity it seemed to easy for him to take over for that role when he has no idea what was happening in that world. The transition was so simple, I would have wanted some obstacles so show how the two of them are from different worlds. Also with OCN dramas they are soo serious, I wish they would add a little more comedy into their dramas just to give a little more pull to watch their dramas!

Overall I thought this was decent drama on the subject matter of parallel worlds, it was interesting and even had some romance without a devastating ending!

The third drama was “Flower Of Evil”. It is about Baek Hee-Sung (Lee Joon-Gi) who is hidign behind another person’s identity and has a past that is being brought to the future which is jeopardizing his present where he is a devoted father and husband. It also stars Cha Ji-Won (Moon Chae-Won) who is his wife and she is working as a detective and starts to get hints of something wrong with Hee-Sung and starts investigating.

I thought that this drama was going to be pretty dark and was worried about how much evil was going to be in it, and at times it does get pretty dark but the story is pretty interesting and I really wanted to see Lee Joon-Gi in a drama again so I held on. Surprisingly it wasn’t as dark as I thought and really found myself on the edge of my seat as I watched this drama. I think this was a really unique drama because you spend a lot of the time questioning the main lead’s intentions and you really are not sure if they are the good guy or the bad guy and this felt really different compared to other dramas. In other dramas you know and expect the main leads to be good or even the best kind of person they are not evil and always do the right thing or fix it when they don’t. This drama just flipped the story and you don’t know who to trust and they keep unravelling the story slowly and with plot twists. I really enjoyed this drama and it really was a great thriller drama with romance. The cast had great chemistry and I really thought it everyone did an amazing job in their roles. I really believed their love for each other as husband and wife and it felt authentic.

The only thing I didn’t like was how the child was kinda pushed off at some parts and she is just not around and that is just not realistic with raising children. She felt a bit like an accessory to the story at times that just kinda bothered me but she still had an important part in the story. I also didn’t really like how they had him hurt at the end and thought it was unnecessary for that to happen but the ending was still good. I also didn’t like the ending for his sister Do Hae-Soo, I think she deserved better for the ending.

Overall it was a compelling and riveting drama that was a thriller and romance. If you can handle a bit of darkness you will definitely enjoy the ride that this drama takes you on!

The Fourth drama I finished was “Stranger 2”, it is a sequel to Stranger or Secret Forest. The second season does not spend any time catching you up from the first season and since its been a couple of years I had to go back and read the recaps and I am still not sure if understood what was always going on. The second season is focused on the fight between the prosecutors and the police. The prosecutors want to protect their discretionary power over investigations and the police want investigative authority that is independent from prosecutors. Prosecutor Hwang Si-Mok (Cho Seung-Woo) and Detective Yeo-Jin (Bae Doo-Na) are both pulled into the committee in opposition against each other.

This is such an interesting drama but at times I have trouble keeping up understanding all the details of what is going on. Even thought it hard to follow at times I noticed that it got high viewer ratings so that hasn’t stopped viewers from watching the drama. There was a few characters that I need refreshers about since I didn’t remember them but overall it is a new drama so you don’t have to know exactly what happened in the first season to watch the second season. When I first started watching it I really didn’t understand why they were focusing on certain cases and I felt frustrated but of course at the end everything ties in beautifully. It was an intricately put together story which I can really appreciate at the end of the drama even if it seems unnecessary at the beginning, it all makes sense at the end. It is funny at times I think I don’t even know this much about how my own country’s prosecution and police work, but I have learned lots about the Korean system. I love how Si-Mok and Yeo-Jin are unwavering in their beliefs and what they believe to be right. They do not bow to any pressure and don’t allow anyone tell them what is right or wrong.

Some things that bothered me was the lack of friendship continued between Hwang Si-Mok and Yeo-Jin. I was waiting for all the warm and fuzzy feelings to happen at some point but felt it was really lacking. Although at the end with Si-Mok and his dream really made me emotional! I felt they didn’t get to work much together which made me sad. Also the ending was so lacking I wanted so much more for these characters. It did feel like they want to do another season and that might be why it felt so unfinished at the ending but if they don’t make a third I feel the the ending was all wrong.

At times I didn’t really understand what was going on but I figure I would get it eventually as the drama went along but I didn’t really understand what was happening with the Hanjo company but I am also not that curious to try and look it up and understand. It was interesting to watch but I didn’t really feel like looking anything up later to better understand so I am fine with it. I guess the drama finished without finishing all the loose ends in the hopes of a third season so it just felt conflicting with how it ends.

I would recommend you watch Stranger 2 if you have watched the first season because it is needed to understand the characters and their interactions. Without watching the first season I don’t think you can appreciate the second season as much. That being said I really hope they make a third season because it is heart breaking to me if they leave the story the way it is without the friendship and connection to each other!

The fifth drama I finished was “When I Was Most Beautiful”. This drama is about two brothers that fall in love with a vulnerable woman who is desiring family. Oh Ye-Ji is working as a student teacher in a rural area and Seo Hwan is her student and falls in love with her at first sight. He tries to help her and introduces her to his family and his older brother Jin also falls in love with her but he also has an ex-girlfriend who can’t let go of him.

This is a strange drama, I am not sure what to make of the story. At times it is interesting and then it can be cringey. It reminds me of a car crash you just can’t look away, you know it is being set up for nothing good but you just finds herself continuing to watch and need to know what happens at the end. I think I have given up on all of the characters and really don’t think they should be with anyone and should move on from each other and find other people. All the characters are frustrating to watch and you want them to make better decisions. They all have unhealthy attachment to each other and they should be severed and let each other all go.

I have a hard time understanding Seo-Hwan, you literally cannot have a crush on someone for that long. Time and distance will make those feelings fade no matter how much you want to believe in true love and soulmates when you haven’t seen or talked to each other for many years you will get over it. All hearts mend and you can move on from people those feeling fade and will not be as strong as they always show! It really was also a weird subject matter with first a teacher and student relationship which feels taboo and then with the two brothers in love with the same women. It just felt like it was awkward material and it was hard to want to support any of the characters in this drama. Also it was so overly serious all the time, I felt like say lighten up already!

I kept watching because I really wanted to know how they were going to clean up the mess that the writer has made and it was a disappointing ending. They were not able to clean up the mess of the story and it was really a terrible ending and at the same time I really wasn’t surprised since the set up was just impossible to have a happy ending. The only thing I enjoyed about this was the cinematography, the scenery and colours were so beautiful.

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It was such a horrible ending, Ye-Ji was terrible when she met Hwan and wanted to spend a couple days with him and act out a fantasy life of her and Hwan being in a relationship. She knew Hwan has been struggling with getting over her and she basically fanned the flame in his heart, teased him, and told him that she loved him. How is Hwan ever supposed to get over her now, he knows she loves him and the only reason they can’t be together is his brother. It seemed torturous to do that to Hwan but she did it because she wanted him to always remember her and that seems so selfish to do. Hwan always wanted the best for Ye-Ji but I honestly don’t really think she cared about him that much. She has always known that he has had feelings for her and she just ignored them and let him do things for her, knowing full well that will only make his feelings grow for her. I feel like she could have shut down Hwan’s feeling more and instead she almost seemed to encourage him to have feelings for her. Then there was Jin and he was sooo creepy when he was trying to woo Ye-Ji and I would have been so disturbed by the different things he did and said to her. Their relationship was so weird and they didn’t even seem to love each other once. Hwan also did some controlling things to Ye-Ji which made me think at times that he was just obsessive and needed to get over this unhealthy attachment and crush to Ye-Ji.

I thought after a while that every character should just end up alone since they were all terrible with each other. When the ending was actually them all alone, I was shocked but I knew that it made the most sense for them to just end up alone they way the story was going. If I would have written the drama I would have had them declare Jin dead and she would have not been married to him anymore. Then Ye-Ji and Hwan would start dating for a while and then Jin would come back. She would wrestle with the idea of being with Jin or Hwan but when she would find out Jin had betrayed her with Carrie then she would be free to be with Hwan. I feel like it is not unusual when someone is grieving over someone that they find comfort with someone who also had a connection with the person. I am sure this would have been still problematic but I would have preferred this to happen.

——————Spoiler————————-

Upcoming Dramas

  1. Record of Youth. I have watched quite a few episodes and I like it so far. It is about a model that wants to become a successful actor with just his talent. He meets a makeup artist that also wants to get success by depending on herself.

2. Start-Up. I am unsure how I feel about Suzy in another drama since she hasn’t been my favorite but I am excited to see Nam Joo-Hyuk. It is about Suzy wanting to create her own company and Joo-Hyuk is also starting his own business tech company but is struggling.

3. Kairos. It is about Shin Sung-Rok who has a successful work and family life until his daughter gets kidnapped. Seems like some time travel involved in the story.

4. The Spy Who Loved Me. It is about a man who is a spy and was married to a woman who didn’t know his true identity, they divorce and she remarries an industrial spy. He comes back into his ex-wife’s and her husbands life. I am not totally sure about this one, I may not pick it up!?

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