Friday, May 08, 2020

[First Impression] Good Casting

This is both a blessing and a curse for SBS' Monday-Tuesday drama time. It replaced Nobody Knows, so of course the expectations are high, but it's nowhere near its suffocating and dense atmosphere, but the fun and comedy here is peppered with surfacing troubles.
I, for once, am happy about that approach.

Before I start, I will say this - Shawols infiltrated your drama production. Shawols are making your dramas. Little wonder, considering how talented we are as the fandom. And yes, WE - my main talent is to annoy people.

The plot gets its propulsion from the events 3 years earlier - when during the failed op one agent lost his life and an elusive criminal got away. This event quickly put him, nicknamed Michael, on the NIS list of wanted criminals, however life goes on and all the agents involved in this are busy with other stuff.

Two of the best (and also most wild and unpredictable) agents are again dragged back to the field three years after the events. So we meet Chanmi in jail, where she slowly works her way on her mission, Misun - who's busy working off-field as the insurance saleswoman and an annoyed housewife. Then the Gwansu's Angels are assembled - Ye-eun is added, despite strong protests because she's a complete "white agent" - she was never out in the field.

SBS really has some good creative editing team there.
What the rest does not know - Ye-eun is a single mom, raising a three year old daughter. If you have a moment of "wait, three years? Coincidence?" - you are right. It's not a coincidence. The agent killed during the op three years earlier was her secret partner and the father of her daughter. They planned to go official after this fateful mission.
I am unsure on his character though - will he remain a good guy who had the bad luck and even a worse day to cross paths with Michael or maybe they will turn his past into a murky pond?

There are various themes that will be featured here, I think - the technological espionage, foreign capital flowing through criminal ties, intellectual property stealing, workers' exploitation, the ties binding entertainment, crime, politics and police. And I hope bad people will be punished. And I mean BAD bad, because I can bet every character has some flaws and less than honorable behavior chart. One wouldn't be an NIS agent if they haven't. Chanmi operates on a very thin line between acceptable violence and a downright crime, Gwansu moves in a very grey area during the mission, his boss is a borderline psycho, and the Il-Gwang company bosses are just scumbags.

I liked the shower scene here in ep 2. And not only it did not include a man (which I really don't mind), but showed scars on Chanmi's body. And those scars say much more than any background story. They are big and nasty, so the wounds must have been very painful. Also, the attitude towards scars serves as the memory link - because what Chanmi said once to Seokho after she, admittedly, hit him, he remembered. And he says exactly the same words in the present times - hitting not only Chanmi with her scars on her back, but also us - because we know about them. One sentence here and there and the link between the past and present is established.

Episode 4 also featured a segment straight from the silent movies - along with the piano music and dialogues on the boards. It was a continuation of Chanmi and Seokho's backstory. And I really hope they won't ruin this because sometimes you want all the backstabbing you can get and sometimes you want a nice person to just be a nice person. Seokho seems to be one and if he turns out to be a dirty backstabber, I will shed a solitary tear. I also wouldn't be surprised if he were recruited by another agency to bring the fraud and exploitation proof from the company.
So far we know, he recognized Chanmi and she still remembers his declarations that once he gets to like something, he just continues. People or food alike. This I can sympathize with.

I love the friendship here and the fact that women can lead the action series and can kick ass while looking fabulous. I especially liked the fight scene in the prison kitchen - the fight choreographers gave Chanmi some really nice moves and fighting scenes.The last drama with nice fight choreo was Kill It and I am beyond myself with happiness that this season we have not only Rugal, but also this one.
Because not many things make me as happy as violence. On the screen, of course.

And please, let my nuna romance shipping heart have its fill this year, OK? Ye-eun deserves to be happy and maybe Uwon needs someone to kick his idol ass. Ass that everyone saw anyway.

I really like the animated sequences showing neatly how an op is gonna be done - and then it goes not exactly as planned. Which shows only how unpredictable life is, how agents must adapt quickly to the situation and how easily everything can go south. Just like the ending of ep 4. You don't bring a gun to a fight with someone who kills for a living, Gwansu.
Or the whole plot of the Black Hawk Dawn - what was supposed to be an easy job for one hour turned into an over day long nightmare.
Now I need to rewatch it. It's been 8 months.

Also - love to see the cast. The last thing I saw Yu In-young in was Mask so I'm elated to see her again every week. I love the girl and the character she plays. Yi Jonghyeok brings awesome to anything and I'm happy to see Yi Sangyeob in something longer than one episode Drama Special.

Highly recommended so far!