I’m always happier picking between a drama starting off shaky and getting better over a drama starting off good and then faltering. Of course the ideal is that it’s good all the way through, but that’s become a rare beast indeed in the increasingly derivative and writing-challenged world of K-dramas. I wrote about the tvN cable ghost drama Who Are You yesterday simply to give a shout out to the gorgeous visage of Kim Jae Wook‘s sparingly used second male lead and to give credit to the drama actually getting over its plodding start. I think a double shout out is in order now because the just aired episode 7 was shockingly good. Not just decent, but good, with the preview for 8 hinting that it’ll keep getting better. The ghost stories have actually gone from too-obvious after school specials type of scares and resolution to stuff that has heart and a decidedly bittersweet tang. Which is the perfect flavor for this type of subplot because ultimately it involves a deceased person who needs to move on. The arc with Taecyeon‘s character Gun Woo and his dim-witted sweet and long dead dad caught me off guard and messed with my tear ducts.
It actually reminded me of one of the best smart-kid-dumb-daddy arcs in recent drama memory, from the J-dorama Zenkai Girl with the whip smart heroine who is embarrassed but ultimately loves her childish father. Taecyeon is actually doing alright here, he really has more than one earnest face though his range is still very limited. And when you compare him with how Kim Jae Wook is acting his pants off with a character that barely gets any screen time and has thus far been silent in every scene, then poor Taecyeon would be sent back to the minor leagues if this was baseball. Idol actors are hit-and-miss with me and I’m generally okay if they are serviceable in a role that doesn’t call for more. And so far that is the case. I’m a bit ambivalent about So Yi Hyun, who is tough and spirited in a way that I like, but she is forced by the nature of her character seeing ghosts to perpetually sport a look of wide-eyed shock. It’s getting tiresome and I hope the writer eases off on that. At the end of episode 7, her character Si On has a very charged scene in a police document repository with her dead fiancee and former cop Hyun Joon. Whatever magic water Kim Jae Wook is drinking to give off that intense chemistry, I think every male actor in Korea needs to get on the same juice. It was so sexy and hot and sad and tense, I alternated between gaping like a fish out of water and fanning myself.