Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"Radio Romance" episode 10 recap

On the latest episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Radio Romance", Ji Soo-ho (Yoon Doo-joon) and Song Geu-rim (Kim So-hyun) grew closer.

Song Geu-rim was talking to Ji Soo-ho about her family. "I discovered something about you. I realized you are telling me something without telling me".

She said, "When you said 'more, more, more' I thought to myself, 'what's wrong with this guy', but you had been telling me, 'help me', 'hold me' or 'I want to cry'. I realized keeping silent was the way you talked, so when I see you without talking, I want to hold you". She hugged him.

Back at home, they talked on the phone. Song Geu-rim said, "I thought it over, but my hands are the problem. Why did I do what I did?" Ji Soo-ho said, "You did that 12 years ago. Why do you keep hugging me? This is the third time. But I thank you. Thank you for what you did today".
Ji Soo-ho lent Song Geu-rim his car and prepared a present for her. He seemed shy, but he revealed his feelings to her. Song Geu-rim thought, "Is he making a drama?" but felt good at the same time.

The two started opening up to each other and they finally confessed that they like each other. Ji Soo-ho said, "Let's start seeing each other. I like you".

Ji Soo-ho and Song Geu-rim officially became a couple and they went on dates after the radio broadcast. However, Song Geu-rim heard that Ji Soo-ho would be quitting the radio to star in a drama.

Lee Kang (Yoon Park) couldn't help but be surprised and said to Ji Soo-ho, "What's going on. You said you were going to talk to me first. Don't you know where you're going? It wasn't just acting you did according to script but your life depends on it as well".

Song Geu-rim didn't answer Ji Soo-ho's calls. She was at their hangout when Ji Soo-ho found her and he said, "Don't avoid my calls. I know how much you've been waiting for me. I'm going to continued doing the radio. Just trust me" and they kissed.

"Laughter in Waikiki" Episode 8 recap

There's one really funny gag this episode - the climax of Joon-ki's mukbang storyline ends with the guest house earning a lot of money. How Joon-ki was able to get success out of such a fundamentally stupid idea, well, that's where the humor comes from. There's also really good synthesis to the joke, because other characters and plotlines are also involved, and one accidental revelation from the broadcast sets up another storyline.
I'm also willing to give decent marks to Seo-jin's adventure in fashion. At first I really didn't get what was going on, but the more people Seo-jin runs into, the more transparently silly the whole gag becomes. It's been awhile since "Laughter in Waikiki" went with purely visual and contextual humor. I really wish the production team would try this more often, because the usual loud stupidity is horribly grating. Jokes do not become funny just because they are louder and stupider.
Case in point- the entire storyline at the racing track. After a certain point every time Joon-ki opened his mouth I really just wanted to slap him. It really is starting to drive me crazy how no one at the guest house has any idea how to manage money. If they had trouble finding jobs, that would be one thing- but they keep throwing what little they have at stupid frivolities. When Dong-goo finally expresses an idea of financial sensibility, it's only in the service of another idiotically pointless lie.
I can't root for characters who are too dumb and dishonest to solve the most basic problems. There's another throwaway line in here about Dong-goo, Joon-ki, and Doo-sik scraping together enough money to film their own movie. That's a great idea! Except that when they are this bad at managing money and communicating basic ideas, how exactly are they going to make a movie? They'd probably just end up exchanging their camera for magic beans- forgetting that even if the magic beans work they have no way to film the scene.
Their work ethic is similarly uninspiring. Joon-ki doesn't even try for any acting jobs here- but then Doo-sik did sabotage probably the best job Joon-ki has been offered so far. Additionally, if Doo-sik likes Malk-eum that's fine, but that really strikes me as the kind of conversation that should wait until after they're done making the movie. Yes, even erotic movies have standards when it comes to sexual harassment.
Review by William Schwartz
"Laughter in Waikiki" is directed by Lee Chang-min-I, written by Kim Ki-ho, and features Kim Jung-hyun,  Lee Yi-kyung,  Son Seung-won, and Jung In-sun.
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"Shall We Kiss First" Episodes 7-8 recap

What with all the sexual propositions and the preview where Soon-jin is blurred out and naked, and you'd think "Shall We Kiss First" was taking a turn for the raunchy. Actually the intimacy is more subdued and weird than that. To start out with, Moo-han and Soon-jin end up going to a themed love hotel and make fun of the generally peculiar devices other people apparently use to arouse themselves.
"Shall We Kiss First" has a refreshing lack of mystique when it comes to sex. This is mainly because the main characters are old enough that nothing especially shocks them anymore. It's one of the ways you call tell "Shall We Kiss First" was made by actually middle-aged people. Younger ones, or even older ones in insular subcultures, simply assume that older people are flabbergasted by everything. Incredible how every successive generation thinks they invented sex.
I-deun has not gone that far, obviously. But we can still see shades of this philosophy in her character, as I-deun explicitly says that she is acting out for attention from her absentee father. I-deun is a fascinating character, because no matter how much sympathetic backstory we get...I still really don't like her. Plenty of people grow up to resent their parents and resolve to become better people because of that. I-deun isn't even trying. To the contrary, she makes life miserable for other people out of sheer spite, and willfully refuses to show even the slightest sense of remorse.
In that light Moo-han's sense fatherly abandonment actually comes off like a karmic punishment. Moo-han is so fundamentally disappointed in I-deun he doesn't even bother to try and lecture her. While this is entirely a consequence of Moo-han's own psychological issues, it's gratifying that I-deun instead interprets Moo-han's actions as a vicious personal slight. Especially since I-deun naturally assumes that the whole situation is Soon-jin's fault. Soon-jin did not force I-deun to steal a truck filled with expensive equipment.
Other fundamentally unsympathetic characters are equally interesting. Soon-jin finally loses patience with Kyeong-soo, and explicitly spells out why her life is none of his business anymore. Ji-min is so selfishly obsessed with her own happiness that she similarly fails to realize that Kyeong-soo's continuing obsession with Soon-jin is an obvious sign that he regrets their affair and subsequent marriage. The poor woman talks to Kyeong-soo's portrait more frankly than she does to the real Kyeong-soo- and yet, I feel no pity.
Review by William Schwartz
"Shall We Kiss First" is directed by  Son Jeong-hyeon, written by Bae Yoo-mi and features Kam Woo-sungKim Sun-ahOh Ji-ho, and Park Si-yeon.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

"A Korean Odyssey" episoode 14 recap

On the latest episode of the tvN drama "A Korean Odyssey", Son Oh-gong (Lee Seung-gi) declared he wouldn't take off the Geumganggo and continue to love Jin Seon-mi (Oh Yeon-seo). He told her he loved her.
He asked, "You're going to marry me right? There's no need to think about it". Jin Seon-mi replied, "I've decided to trust you. We are destined". He'd heard the love bell rang for them and said they were fated.
However, Son Oh-gong knew that their love was ill-fated and felt bad for Jin Seon-mi who didn't know.
Son Oh-gong decided to mix blood and switch souls with Jin Seon-mi. He didn't budge even when Summer Fairy (Sung Hyuk) seduced him but Jin Seon-mi dreamed of Ah Sa-nyeo and started getting powers.
He announced in front of Woo Ma-wang (Cha Seung-won), Secretary Ma (Lee El), and Sa Oh-jung (Jang Gwang) that he was getting married. He said, "Marriage is a promise with my heart. I will fight with the one the Heavens has decided for me. If I lose, I die".
Meanwhile, Jin Seon-mi dreamed of calling Son Oh-gong and leaving the dream, but in her dream she heard "He's going to die if you call him". Jin Seon-mi realized the bell she had wasn't good.
She realized she and Son Oh-gong had to kill each other. She couldn't call him anymore and decided to fall asleep in a monster's coffin to put on end to their love. She loved him too much.
He found Jin Seon-mi at home unconscious and tried to tell her to call him. Will she be stuck in the dream forever or will he save her?
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"Man Who Lays the Table" episode 43 recap

On the latest episode of the MBC drama "Man Who Lays the Table", Kevin Miller (Lee Jae-ryong) found out that his mother Joo Ae-ri (Choi Soo-rin) was alive.
She even had a funeral 3 years ago, but she reappeared as Lee Kyung-hwa, director of Gold Man Partners. She'd targeted Kevin Miller's company and shocked him when they ran into each other.
In the preview, Yang Chun-ok (Kim Soo-mi) and Kevin Miler met at the formal meeting between groom Jung Tae-yang (On Joo-wan) and Lee Roo-ri (Choi Soo-young). Yang Chun-ok is Kevin Miller's step-mother who abandoned him at a train station when he was young. They didn't recognize each other, but thought each other familiar.
However, Kevin had always resented the step-mother who threw him away.
It seems that Yang Chun-ok is going to be of some help to Kevin whose company is about to go down. Will he be able to keep his company from Joo Ae-ri and protect his son Jung Tae-yang?
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"My Golden Life" episode 45 recap

On the latest episode of the weekend drama "My Golden Life", No Yang-ho (Kim Byung-gi) collapsed after getting a text message from Choi Do-kyung (Park Si-hoo).
Choi Do-kyung refused to come to Haesung Group and it made Yang-ho angry. He grabbed his chest and fainted in the car.
Yang-ho and Choi Do-kyung hadn't seen eye to eye with Choi Do-kyung about Haesung Group. Choi Do-kyung refused to join Haesung Group and his text message had caused Yang-ho to become ill.
Not only that, Choi Jae-sung (Jeon No-min) who was vice-president of Haesung group, had a lot of complaints, too. After announcing that he knew about his wife No Myung-hee's (Na Young-hee) affair, he resigned from his post.
Yang-ho looked for Choi Jae-sung, but he hung up on him saying he resigned. Later, Yang-ho tried to make Choi Do-kyung the president of the apparel department and told No Myung-hee he was giving Choi Do-kyung final chance.
However, things didn't work out the way he planned. His grandson and son-in-law didn't do as he asked and Yang-ho collapsed out of anger.
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Sunday, February 11, 2018

"Mother - Drama" Episode 6 recap

Soo-jin has been juggling a lot of lies and deceit towards different people currently in her life, so it was only a matter of time before it all came crashing down. Different truths are revealed to different characters, and a meeting takes place which has been a long time coming. Jin-hong becomes the next shelter for our heroines, and I finally see the value of his role in Soo-jin and Hye-na's life at a time they need him the most.
The meeting between Soo-jin's (Lee Bo-young) biological mother (Nam Gi-ae) and her adoptive one is more surprising than I expected. It is clear that Yeong-sin (Lee Hye-young-I) has great fondness of Soo-jin, but the degree of her attachment keeps being revealed as deeper and deeper with each moment of bonding they face together. Seeing the person responsible for the pain of a loved one she has been trying to bond with for half a lifetime is a challenging moment.
Yeong-sin happily looking at Soo-jinThe four women meet
This meeting between Soo-jin, her biological mother and Yeong-sin will eventually become one of healing. One about facing the past and the reasons behind their struggles. At the moment, however, it is a meeting bringing back old scars still bleeding to this day. This is why Soo-jin taking a break and reassessing how she faces her past and her current situation is such a pivotal part of the series. Her upbringing and trauma are luggage she needs to sort before her trip with Hye-na (Heo Yool-I).
This is where Jin-hong (Lee Jae-yoon) comes in as perhaps the most surprising character to me so far. I had fully written the man off as a simple innocent bystander. I thought that he would just be a nice person the duo will briefly stay with. Seeing his brilliant, sensitive and insightful approach to Soo-jin and Hye-na makes me appreciate his role, and its importance in their lives and this narrative greatly. Jin-hong is exactly what Soo-jin needed right now. He peels back her layers so effortlessly, and gives her sound advice.
Jin-hong telling Soo-jin she can staySoo-jin having a moment with her thoughts
I am less pleased with the development of Ja-yeong (Ko Sung-hee), who is back to celebrating her freedom after what seemed like a moment of realization and perhaps regret. I understand that her character is removed from our heroines in many ways, but she is someone I would have liked to see more development from so far. On the other hand, going slowly and carefully with the development of the single most important person in shaping Hye-na's life aside from Soo-jin is smart.
This fateful meeting between the four women feels like the start of an important journey for all of them. They fall on different sides and under different circumstances of being a mother or daughter, but their stories rely so much on one another for their future. Each of them carries their own chain and their own key to unlock that of others. While Soo-jin's crime and Hye-na's abuser are catching up, addressing the shackles between them is something our ladies need to do.
"Mother - Drama" is directed by Kim Cheol-gyoo, written by Jeong Seo-kyeong and features Lee Bo-youngHeo Yool-ILee Hye-young-I and Lee Jae-yoon.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

"Black Knight" episode 20 (final) recap

On the final episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Black Knight", Sharon (Seo Ji-hye) disappeared and immortal Soo-ho (Kim Rae-won) watched Hae-ra (Shin Se-kyung) die.
Sharon hid herself in the tailor shop. She was cursed and her hair turned white. Sharon passed on her final outfit to Jung Hae-ra through Yang Seung-goo (Kim Seol-jin), but Soo-ho angrily burned them. Sharon burned with the clothes.
Park Gon (Park Sung-hoon) headed out to stop his father Park Chul-min (Kim Byung-ok) and convinced Kim Young-mi (Shin So-yul) to report Park Chul-min, getting him arrested.
Soo-ho and Hae-ra had nothing to stop their love. Eventually, Hae-ra became old and Soo-ho remained young.
Hae-ra remembered what Baek Hee (Jang Mi-hee) said about the only way to break the curse is if they broke up and tried to leave him, but he wouldn't let her. 50 years later, Soo-ho and Hae-ra were in Slovenia where they first met and Hae-ra passed away on his shoulder.
Meanwhile, "Black Knight" is the innocent love story about a man who stands in the way of the woman he loves and danger. Coming up next is "Queen of Mystery 2" starring Kwon Sang-woo and Choi Kang-hee.
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Thursday, February 8, 2018

"Mother - Drama" episode 5 recap

On the latest episode of the tvN drama "Mother - Drama", Sul-ak (Sukku Son) realized that Hye-na (Heo Yool-I) disappeared with Soo-jin (Lee Bo-young).
The police started investigating Ja-young (Ko Sung-hee) for the abuse of Hye-na and Sul-ak left. He went to meet his ex-girlfriends threateningly; he had in fact been meeting women with children.
He met a woman whose daughter, Won-hee, was dead. She was getting married soon and he asked her for 5 million won. He also blamed her for her daughter's death by saying, "You wanted Won-hee to disappear. If she were alive, would you be able to get married?"
He then headed to another woman's house where she was raising two children. One of three had already died and the sister of the two was scared that she might lose her sibling to Sul-ak once again. They started coloring in the book he was holding, which was Hye-na's book of 'Things I Like'.
The coloring caused some hidden letters to appear on the pages of the book. The letters said, "Class Ongdalsem Lee Won-hee" and "The day teacher Kang Soo-jin first smiled". Seeing this, Sul-ak remembered Hye-na and the girl that was on the bus with him were the same children.
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"Return" episode 13 recap

On the latest episode of the SBS drama "Return", Kang In-ho's (Park Ki-woong) third trial was broadcast.
Choi Jae-hye (Ko Hyun-jung) called upon Kim Jeong-soo (Oh Dae-hwan) as her witness. She asked if he knew Yeom Mi-jeong (Han Eun-jung) and he said, "Yes".
Previously, he had said that he didn't know her. He explained, "I was a regular at the bar she ran. Everyone called her Rachel there. I only found out recently that Yeom Mi-jeong was Rachel".
Choi Jae-hye asked, "Did you talk to her before she died?" and he replied, "I heard her rant for about 20 minutes. Honestly, the call was annoying".
Choi Jae-hye then brought out something new. She mentioned that Kim Jeong-soo was a scholarship student in Daemyung. She asked how someone unqualified like him could become a scholarship student.
She added, "You have a sister. 10 years ago, she was abused by 'K' from private school foundation and 'S' from a major hospital". Kim Jeong-soo told her to stop.
Nine years ago, Kim Soo-hyun (Han Eun-seo), who was a teenager at the time, was abused by Kim Hak-beom (Bong Tae-gyu) and Seo Joon-hee (Yoon Jong-hoon), but it just ended has a mishap. Kim Soo-hyun was Kim Jeong-soo's sister and it was very likely he was involved with this case because of his past.
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"Black Knight" episode 19 recap

On the latest episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Black Knight", Sharon (Seo Ji-hye) couldn't overcome her jealousy and anger at being unable to have Soo-ho (Kim Rae-won), so she tried to kill Baek Hee (Jang Mi-hee) and Hae-ra (Shin Se-kyung).
Sharon learned the truth after her reincarnation and that Soo-ho was immortal. She then met Hae-ra. "I heard Moon Soo-ho is a monster now? He's painfully going to watch you grow old". However, she started to age herself and she was losing her ability as an immortal.
Soo-ho was outraged and warned Sharon to stay away. She told him he could only break the curse if he broke up with Hae-ra.
She put her hand on Soo-ho and felt something change. She started hurting. Soo-ho said, "I wish you'd grow old and I hope we never meet again".
Hae-ra later realized that Soo-ho was cursed with immorality because of the ring she gave him. She felt confused as she remembered Sharon telling her that he would become a monster forever if she didn't break up with him.
In addition, Sharon attacked Hae-ra accusing her that everything was her fault. She even tried to kill Baek Hee. Thankfully, Soo-ho appeared just in time and when he tried to stop her, Sharon started growing older.
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"539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 5 recap

Do-hee is ashamed of her current failures trying to break into the corporate job market, and so comes up with a mildly elaborate scheme to convince her mom that the situation is not as bleak as it looks. After a mildly amusing setpiece we then discover that apparently Do-hee's optimism was not a complete lie. Unfortunately the foundations for Do-hee's optimism were a lie, as Bong-tae has to break the bad news that she has been made victim to a scam.
I continue to really enjoy everything "539 Yeonnam-dong" does when it comes to cybercrime. We see, through flashback, how the company Do-hee applied for was obviously extremely shady. Yet Do-hee, in her desperate hope to attain a real job, reluctantly accedes to all manner of suspicious requests. You know what they should have a course for in school? How to spot con artists. Now there's a practical life skill everyone could use.
Unfortunately the case doesn't really have a climax. The conflict is resolved almost entirely offscreen, such that Bong-tae only belatedly runs into the criminals after they've already been summarily defeated, in a very goofy wish fulfillment style way. The revenging against the revenge porn guy made sense, since in that case the victim was simply doing exactly what her persecutor had done with a greater veil of plausible deniability since by that point literally anyone could have acquired a copy of the video. But here? It all just seemed like gross dumb luck.
Elsewhere Bong-tae makes an accidental discovery about In-na. Really, we're talking more a factoid than a meaningful revelation. I don't think anybody especially cares whether In-na is technically violating the terms of her lease with Jordan. I doubt even Jordan would care, because the implication given by the rules was that they only apply inside the house. What enforcement mechanism is there outside the house?
I do like the little chats Bong-tae has with In-na. The small chats in general are a strong point in "539 Yeonnam-dong" because they tell us more about the characters. So it's unfortunate that we learn so much about the personality of a generally unpleasant peripheral character, as opposed to his father or son, both of whom actually live in the house. Incidentally Do-woon (played by Chunji) has very little characterization besides being Jordan's grandson and Ryan's friend. Well he has a terrible dad too. I guess we know that much.
Review by William Schwartz
"539 Yeonnam-dong" is directed by   Min Yeon-hong, written by  Park Ga-yun and features Lee Jung-shin,  Seo Ji-hoonLee Yul-eum,  and Kim Sun-young-III.
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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

"Radio Romance" episode 4 recap

On the latest episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Radio Romance", Ji Soo-ho (Yoon Doo-joon), Song Geu-rim (Kim So-hyun) and Lee Kang (Yoon Park) left on an overnight business trip.
Geu-rim headed out to the boat to get her laptop and Ji Soo-ho followed her. When she found what she was looking for, they both got on the bus.
However, the bus they got on was headed to the opposite direction of where they were supposed to go. They got off somewhere unfamiliar and they had to spend a night there.
In the middle of the night, Ji Soo-ho woke up to find Geu-rim outside and awake.
She said, "I was so scared of the cockroaches. Can you read my opening script? It's not long before the DJ reads my first script".
Later, Geu-rim fell asleep next to Ji Soo-ho and Ji Soo-ho carried her into the room.
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"Cross" episode 4 recap

On the latest episode of the tvN drama "Cross", Kang In-gyoo (Go Kyung-pyo) was about to report an illegal organ harvest, but instead fell into the trap himself.
In-gyoo was taken somewhere and put into an ambulance. A little girl who reminded him of his sister was laying there. They ordered him to remove her organs, but when he had the chance, he sprayed his kidnapper with gas, took the girl, and ran.
He fell while he was running, but he made sure she was still with him and said, "Don't worry I'll keep you safe. I won't leave you alone again".
He cleared the mountains and he jumped onto a truck. He called Go Jung-hoon (Cho Jae-hyun) and headed for Sullim Hospital.
In-gyoo put her in the ER and prepared for surgery, but her heart was stopped. He pushed aside Go Ji-in (Jeon So-min) and Son Yeon-hee (Yang Jin-sung) and performed CPR himself.
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"Laughter in Waikiki" Episode 2 recap

Seo-jin (played by Go Won-hee) is the final member of the main cast - the mother of the abandoned baby. Although she's the same age as the male leads, Seo-jin consistently and somewhat impressively manages to come off as even more dumb than they are. I approve of this, since Seo-jin's life is defined by her decision to have a baby with absolutely no plan for how to take care of it. The preview appears to imply that Seo-jin didn't even tell her ex-boyfriend.
But overall there's far less pretense of a serial story here than there was in the first episode. The plots we get are just extended situation comedy gags. Joon-ki being forced to dress up as the wolfman for a full day is everything I could have hoped for in terms of tacit absurdity. Does Joon-ki belong to an actor's union, which would stand up for his right to avoid such indignities? Although maybe the better question is how does he go to the bathroom?
Speaking of which yes, the other major plot is just an extended poop joke. I found this funnier than it had any right to be, although that's probably just because I haven't seen any poop jokes in awhile. Incidentally, when one of the regular cast members is a baby, writer Kim Ki-ho really needs to institute a limit on poop jokes. There's only so many of those a writer can do before it's obvious they're out of ideas.
Although I rather liked the ending to the poop storyline. It ends with Dong-goo solving, however accidentally, the problem of a guest house that is intended to house dozens of people at peak season only having one bathroom. But again, the lack of continuity doesn't let this develop so much. The minute the poop storyline is over with, it's on to two completely different storylines- one about Dong-goo's predictably abortive attempt to make Soo-ah jealous, and another about Yoon-ah's terrible secret
That these two new storylines happen right when the other two end, and even get their own title, create a bizarre irony. JTBC is producing an hour long drama that would work a lot better in the two half-hour format currently being used by MBC and SBS solely for the sake of adding commercials. That's a bit of an aesthetic disappointment. Although what I'd really like to see is more creativity with the format instead of just hewing to the traditional half hour situation comedy style.
Review by William Schwartz
"Laughter in Waikiki" is directed by Lee Chang-min-I, written by Kim Ki-ho, and features Kim Jung-hyunLee Yi-kyungSon Seung-won, and Jung In-sun.

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"Longing Heart" Episode 10 recap

So the big breakthrough moment ends up coming through courtesy of Sin-woo's mom. The way "Longing Heart" brings us back to this plot point is very awkward, since it calls attention to the fact that Sin-woo's mom knew that Sin-woo had traveled back from the future, yet completely failed to heed his warning about the danger of taking that ferry that day. I'd like to think that if a future version of one of my trusted relatives came back and told me not to do something, I'd not do it.
Admittedly this was probably a better way for writer Park Ga-yun to resolve the conflict compared to using Sin-woo's very poorly defined time travel communication powers. Actually, when we saw Ji-soo at the bridge I was kind of hoping that she would travel through time too, however briefly. But then "Longing Heart"has already been established to exist in a closed time loop. Also this would call further attention to how young Ji-soo and old Ji-soo are played by the same actress, unlike Sin-woo, the only character whose appearance meaningfully changes over time for some reason.
But all of this pales to the thematic problems at play. There's a conversation here that just sort of made me suddenly realize that actually over your high school sweetheart for ten years is actually really creepy. Even though Sin-woo is not the character discussed in that conversation, it's very awkward realizing that his motivation is fundamentally identical to that of the drama's very weak villain.
Well wait, you might be thinking. Ji-soo likes Sin-woo too, so it's not that creepy, right? While this is sort of a defense, we're still looking at a ten year passage of time here, over which we would logically expect Sin-woo and Ji-soo would have major life experiences that would completely change who they are as people. You know how dramas sometimes force the leads to separate for a year at the end for no reason?
This is literally ten times as bad as that, especially since they don't communicate with each other at all. Maybe I'm overthinking this. Oh who am I kidding, I overthink everything, it's my job. I'm just really unnerved at how the first episode played out Sin-woo and Ji-soo's once in ten year reunion fairly realistically, yet they're all happy and lovey-dovey in the latter half of the episode without having actually spoken to each other that much.
Review by William Schwartz
"Longing Heart" is directed by  Min Yeon-hong, written by Park Ga-yun and features Lee Jung-shinSeo Ji-hoonLee Yul-eum, and Kim Sun-young-III.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

"Cross" episode 3 recap

Ko Kyung-pyo managed to overcome danger in a moving car.
On the latest episode of the tvN drama "Cross", Kang In-gyoo (Go Kyung-pyo) saved a pregnant woman in an accident.
In-gyoo and Go Ji-in (Jeon So-min) started first aid on those who were hurt in a car accident. In-gyoo told the ambulance to speed up and worked on saving a pregnant victim. Hemanaged to give her first aid and did his best as a doctor.
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"Radio Romance" episode 3 recap

On the latest episode of the KBS 2TV drama "Radio Romance", Ji Soo-ho (Yoon Doo-joon) agreed to Song Geu-rim's (Kim So-hyun) offer to be a radio DJ.
She did everything to change his mind. However, after having refusing her for so long, Ji Soo-ho felt touched by a video message she left for him.
Determined, Ji Soo-ho headed to Geu-rim and said, "Let's do it", grabbed her hand, and took her away.
Geu-rim freed herself from him asked what concept he was after this time. Ji Soo-ho yelled at her, "Don't you have any pride in yourself? Why are you standing there and hearing those things? Why do you stand there without saying anything in front of that woman?"
Geu-rim was on the verge of tears as she said, "I keep showing you embarrassing moments, even in my home ground. Will you just leave and leave me alone?"
Ji Soo-ho comforted her by saying, "If I say I'll be on the radio show will you stop crying? Come by tomorrow so we can write up a contract".
Geu-rim went to see Ji Soo-ho the next day. Ji Soo-ho's conditions were; no live shows, 100% recorded, Ji Soo-ho gets to quit when he wants to quit, and Geu-rim can't refuse anything Ji soo-ho says.
Geu-rim was shocked to see this. She tried to convince him that radios were supposed to be live, but in the end she told him she would talk to the director.
Lee Kang (Yoon Park) called Ji Soo-ho out for a meeting. Ji Soo-ho said, "If it's rubbish then I'm leaving".
Lee Kang said, "I just want to get friendly with the DJ" and Ji Soo-ho replied, "I will believe you when I want to believe you. I'm worried you'll cause trouble again when I'm in the booth".
Geu-rim was nervous between Ji Soo-ho and Lee Kang. Ji Soo-ho then said, "I thought hard about the radio but the director wasn't a part of my concern. However, now I'm really nervous. Should I leave now?"
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"A Korean Odyssey" Episode 12 recap

An unfamiliar evil takes a familiar face in episode twelve of "A Korean Odyssey". The soul trapped in the coffin is here to claim what they want, and it will manipulate everyone in its power to get there. With the tensions between Oh-gong and Seon-mi rising due to their understanding of how fatal their bond can be, the group starts drifting apart. This is the absolute worst time for that, as well as for Ma-wang to start plotting once more.

The romance between Seon-mi (Oh Yeon-seo) and Oh-gong (Lee Seung-gi) might be strained, but I am glad to see our heroine keeping her eyes on the cause. The rest of the group have not witnessed the end of the world like she has. She carries a lonely burden. I am curious about what the destruction of Earth would mean to the Heavens, however. Do they continue to exist or are they bound to us? So far, none of the supernatural characters in "A Korean Odyssey" (also known as "Hwayugi") seem to care about mankind much.

Speaking of others, Ma-wang (Cha Seung-won) getting a taste of the power he probably enjoyed as a demon is dangerous. As foreshadowed by the Librarian's demise, Ma-wang is selfish and goal-oriented. He lacks respect for the fates he wants to be in charge of. After all, this is why Oh-gong is being shown pain and responsibility now, so that he can be worthy of his title and the powers that come with it when he returns to the Heavens. Will Ma-wang evolve? His current "one step forward and two steps back" development is not promising.

Now let us tackle the rose-tinted elephant in the room. Asanyeo (Lee Se-young) looks like the Big Bad indeed, if Master Soo Bo-ri (Sung Ji-roo) needs to leave his place and attend to the matter personally. It has been 1000 years, Sam Jang is back and therefore whatever destroys the world has to come back in order to be fought. I still see Kang Dae-seong (Song Jong-ho) as a potential vessel, but for now it looks like we may have a situation with Oh-gong on our hands. A temporary one, but a situation nonetheless, if Asanyeo is as strong as touted.

I hope that this will spark a change in Seon-mi and a change in focus. I feel like Seon-mi's character has become a plus one to Oh-gong's lately. Our heroine has done little outside of the romance, and we all know that her role is much bigger than holding the spotlight for a romantic partner. Perhaps Oh-gong being in danger due to her will boost her determination to stop relying on guidance and grab the bull by the horns. Probably the bull we know, too.

I am still waiting for the development of the other characters and for something to unite them. I hope that this will be the function of our new, and probably final villain. I have been wondering if all our monster misfits have different powers that can help Sam Jang on her mission, but even their superhuman strength, senses and their immortality can be of use. I just need the show to start bringing all the pieces together already.

"A Korean Odyssey" is directed by Kim Byeong-soo, Kim Jeong-hyeon-I, Kim Seul-ah and Park Hong-gyoon, written by Hong Jeong-eun and Hong Mi-ran and features Lee Seung-gi, Cha Seung-won, Oh Yeon-seo, Lee Hong-ki and Jang Gwang

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

"Laughter in Waikiki" Episode 1 recap

Dong-goo (played by Kim Jung-hyun) had a dream. It was a dream about Hawaii, a place where people go to have fun. People also come to Korea to have fun. So Dong-goo though, he would live in a large apartment with his friends and brand it as a guest house in order to defray the costs of rent, since none of them have regular jobs. Alas, the plan has its pitfalls. The guest house isn't that profitable. Also weird stuff keeps finding its way into Dong-goo's mouth. Then the baby shows up.
Ah, the baby. That symbol of adulthood, since only adults can create and take care of babies. But babies are so...demanding. Sure, Dong-goo does his best to take care of the baby. Like life itself, Dong-goo is determined to succeed no matter how many stinky failures are thrust in his path. Incidentally I liked how the baby is a girl baby. I, too, just assumed that it was a boy baby, since for no good reason I can think of almost all babies in media are boys.
"Laughter in Waikiki" features one indignity after another- its characters survive only because none of these indignities are powerful enough to kill them. There's just the emotional pain of failure. Observe how Joon-ki (played by Lee Yi-kyung) fails at his job for the weirdest possible reason. Incidentally, I like to think that Park Sung-woong always acts this way on set, because his behavior really is just so incomprehensibly cool.
Everything in "Laughter in Waikiki" is transparently ridiculous like this. Every few minutes there's great new gag that warrants either a genuine laugh or a helpless cringe as the characters continue to make fools of themselves. But then the production team is in good hands. We've got Lee Chang-min-I, director for "Birth of a Beauty" and screenwriter Kim Ki-ho of "Modern Farmer" on deck- now those dramas were funny.
They also suffered from serious pacing issues later on. But so far "Laughter in Waikiki" is pretty brisk. In short order three of the lead characters have major long-term goals (Dong-goo even gets two!) and the other three already have clearly defined roles. Doo-sik (played by Son Seung-won) is the straight man. Soo-ah (played by Lee Joo-woo) is the cool aloof and successful ex-girlfriend of Dong-goo. And Seo-jin (played by Go Won-hee) just kind of stumbles into the plot by accident and is forced into a major role as the straight woman.
Review by William Schwartz
"Laughter in Waikiki" is directed by Lee Chang-min-I, written by Kim Ki-ho, and features Kim Jung-hyunLee Yi-kyungSon Seung-won, and Jung In-sun.

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"Longing Heart" Episode 9 recap

So Sin-woo does indeed have a steady job. I was just kind of surprised by that, what with how he seemed to have all this free time to run around looking after his younger self and also go time-traveling. Well, all right, time traveling by definition means he can come back whenever. Apparently the younger Sin-woo also has this ability. I was very surprised when, after all the trouble the older Sin-woo had to go through to go back to where he came, the younger Sin-woo successfully accomplishes the task off-screen.
But then if I'm going to nitpick anything it really out to be how nonsensical the continuity becomes once the two Sin-woos are separated and are still able to...communicate? Sort of? Eh, that's not really worth overthinking anyway. This does render the cliffhanger rather incomprehensible, if reasonably tense. The older Sin-woo does not, after all, have any apparent means of preventing his younger self from making stupid decisions.
Up until that point "Longing Heart" is just about, as the title implies, Sin-woo and Ji-soo's own longing heart. There I was surprised at just how compressed their whole love story was, especially when presented in terms of flashbacks which make it clear that the two of them didn't really spend all that much time together. Wait, how much time did they spend together anyway? Was Sin-woo time-traveling for a few months there?
The main plot of "Longing Heart" invites so much overthinking it really is a relief when we take a step back to watch the romantic subplot between Geun-deok and Na-hee. There's very little substance to this subplot. It just amounts to Na-hee having to learn that it's OK to date a former student when he's, like, in his late twenties now. Besides, he's so cute and persistent! How do you say no to an adorable face like that?
In a way this also mirrors the main conflict between Sin-woo and Ji-soo. Time and again, they keep finding elaborate new excuses to say no to each other, denying how they feel. It's frustrating the way they keep coming up with new rationalizations. We can always see the logic at play, the attempt to play off sincere romantic feeling in an unnecessarily noble way, and how this faux nobility keeps ruining everything. Sin-woo and Ji-soo only have one episode left to learn now, that it is OK to want things.
Review by William Schwartz
"Longing Heart" is directed by   Min Yeon-hong, written by  Park Ga-yun and features Lee Jung-shin,  Seo Ji-hoonLee Yul-eum,  and Kim Sun-young-III.

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

"A Korean Odyssey" Episode 11 recap

It may have taken "A Korean Odyssey" half a series to get the ball rolling on the doomsday part of the story, but episode eleven gives said ball a good kick. Death is never far away in the life of Sam Jang and our familiar monsters, be it death for show, death among lovers or a very old death about to resurface. If it were not clear enough from the moment we first saw him, Kang  Dae-seong's nature brings him closer to the supernatural and to bringing about the end of the world.
My frequent stab at the romance in "A Korean Odyssey" (also known as "Hwayugi") may seem like the complaints of some serial anti-romanticist, but episode eleven demonstrates the reasons why I have come to be wary of over-reliance on one core element in any work involving many. The drama has had its romantic leads running in circles around each other for so long, that the progress of the world building and the doomsday scenario in this episode feels like one huge information dump.
Oh-gong having a calm moment with Seon-miSeon-mi and Secretary Ma have disturbed something bad
While I would have preferred simultaneous focus on the romantic and the adventure side of the story, I do love how this episode develops both more than they have been developed in a good while. On the romantic side, we have the ever looming threat of the Geumganggo, which very clearly involves more than emotional pain. In a way, it is a wake up call about the series itself. We and the OTP may enjoy the romance, but said romance relies on a slave and master relationship built for a bigger cause.
I still do not think the couple will die, since I believe people are still quite mad about the one time these writers went there, but the implications are enough to warrant some doubts. After all, even if death will not be the ultimate tragedy, we care about these characters enough to not wish great suffering upon them. I do find it refreshing how the episode tackles the topic from the viewpoint of these demons, however. Beings who do not belong in our world and whose lives are governed by different rules do not think much of it.
Dae-seong finds something dangerousBoo-ja saying her goodbyes
Death is not final in this series, after all. It is sadly not final for our stone-clad friend, who is clearly a very powerful, very evil being. Aside from bringing the alarming implication that many of the creatures banished by our protagonists may not have been evil, the tree spirit essentially acts as an introduction to the drama's Big Bad. Sam Jang destroyed them, the tree spirit became their seal. Kang  Dae-seong (Song Jong-ho) found them and he will therefore become a slave or a vessel for their terror.
What really gets me, however, is that it was Jin Seon-mi (Oh Yeon-seo) who breaks the seal, rather than our human villain himself. For someone supposedly blessed as the warrior against evil, she is causing quite a few of the calamities that brought about its re-entry to this world. Perhaps it must be freed in order for a new seal and a new guardian to be created once in a while. Would that guardian be among our group, and will their mission mean an early demise? Perhaps this is where Boo-ja (Lee Se-young) comes into play.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'