Joseon Gunman Episode 10 Recap

The drama finally shines the spotlight firmly on the Yoon Kang-Soo In relationship in this episode of Joseon Gunman and it’s everything I wanted and more with their sorta reunion. I enjoyed the pretending to be someone else confusion and conflict but these two have always been about how much they mean to each other in the complicated world around them. As Joseon opens up and the ensuing struggles throws them curve balls and strikes, I love how the purity of the affection between them remains so sincere and resolute. This drama doesn’t need love triangles and squares as there are plenty of dangers that will make it hard for the OTP to get together anyways. What I want to see is that their feelings are conveyed to the other person and that totally happened finally. All it took was Soo In getting herself swept up in Yoon Kang’s revenge plan even as his initial strategy was to keep her out of it by pretending to be Hanjo. He ended up needing her help and it’s clear that they are tiptoeing around landmines and one wrong step mean pain whether of the emotional and/or physical sort.

I loved that the good guys got a win in this episode even if some torture was endured for the sake of a greater cause. Yoon Kang’s worry for Soo In and her stepping up to the plate in protecting her man and her dad was awesome to behold. It’s brings back all the stirring feelings from three years ago when they were there for each other even as hammer of doom was coming down. Sageuks are about larger than life situations and JG does a masterful job of balancing that with delivering lovely delicate moments in between big events. The drama also presents a very rich spectrum of antagonists to keep on bringing the conflict, and in doing so show us that it’s not always easy doing bad things. Minister Kim loses his son and his power by refusing to budge and Merchant Choi is reminded once again that even with money he’s still at the back and call of those with even more power. I do wish the business deal that keeps going from on-to-off-to-on would just stick with a decision rather than see-sawing for the narrative but overall the drama continues to be a barrel of unending awesome. Continue reading

Colorful New Drama Stills Showcases More Records of a Night Watchman

More and more stills are coming out of MBC for Records of a Night Watchman as this fantasy sageuk barrels towards us whether we’re ready or not. If it wasn’t for Triangle getting a two-episode extension then Night Watchman would have aired next Monday. Now it has another ten days to get all it ducks/dragons/wizards/ghosts all in a row before unveiling exactly what the heck so much mix-and-match randomness is. Above is the first look at all four leads in the same frame and I must say Yunho sold me nicely on his warrior pose and aura. He plays stoic princely bodyguard and love rival, a classic second male lead who may steal viewer hearts even if he doesn’t win the girl in the end. Jung Il Woo looks like he toddled over from the set of The Moon Embraces the Sun, despite the two year gap, showing up as the dissolute prince who wastes his days away rather than be duty bound. I found Jung Il Woo’s performance in MoonSun to be one of his best despite the very limited screen time and story line he got in that drama so having him repeat it but as the male this time around is good with me.

Go Sung Hee‘s first still where she was sitting on the rooftop looked so enchanting and lovely but in daylight and up close it’s definitely wanting. Her hair is too messy and the hair potato perched on her head with the hair pin sticking out has got to go. She looks like what a stylist thinks a spirit girl from the mountains ought to look like rather than sticking her in a simple cool wool peasant dress. Seo Ye Ji is gorgeous in a young girl fresh-faced way as a rich ministerial daughter with a crush on Jung Il Woo’s character. I heard her character is decidedly not nice when her crush is rebuffed but with this story involving ghosts and mountain dragon demons a bitchy second female lead is clearly not going to be the main antagonist driver. The production also released new stills of Prince Lee Rin with his ghostly trio Greek chorus and I heard that the eunuch before he died was the one who took care of little boy prince Lee Rin which is why he’s still hovering by his side. The kid actors are also revealed in the new stills and include little prince Lee Rin showing off his supernatural skills for the other children in court. One guess it’s not going to end well for him. Continue reading

It’s Okay, It’s Love with Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin Bursts Out of the Gate with a Captivating Start

It’s love at first sight for me and It’s Okay, It’s Love. Episode 1 was everything I love about screenwriter Noh Hee Kyung‘s work without the artificial overwrought packaging of her last dramas Padam Padam: The Sound of His and Her Heartbeat and That Winter, The Wind Blows. It’s quirky and intelligent wrapped in some pretty serious dark subject matter, but presented within the normalcy of daily life happening all around these characters. The drama opens with a shocking act of violence and then quite abruptly jumps to points in the future where many questions wait to be revealed. Leads Gong Hyo Jin playing an attractive and serious psychiatrist ignites seamlessly with Jo In Sung‘s flirty and glib famous writer of murder mysteries. All roads in this drama lead to mental illness and it’s clear all the characters suffer from some form or another of mental health issues of varying degrees of seriousness.

The supporting cast is excellent with Sung Dong Il having loads of fun as a fellow psychiatrist, Kwang Soo as a guy who suffers from Tourette Syndrome, and D. O. playing a character that was immediately clear to me was more than meets the eye. I really don’t think it a spoiler for me to discuss who I think he is in this drama but I’ll save it for after the jump. The highlights are an excellent ear for music selection which starts off with the amazing first track “Best Luck” by D.O.’s EXO group mate Chen and plenty of great use of background music to liven up many scenes subtly. PD Kim Kyu Tae also returns to fine form after doing a visual stillness overkill in TWTWB and here lets his actors move with the scenes rather than pose prettily in it. The ratings for the Wed-Thurs dramas are neck and neck right now with Joseon Gunman at 11.6%, Fated to Love You with 9.7% and IOIL right behind with 9.3% I think all three dramas are excellent in their own unique ways and I wouldn’t be sad for the two that don’t end up winning the ratings race since the quality speaks for itself and will last longer than eking out ratings wins. I’m so mesmerized and fascinated with this drama already and can’t wait to get a better sense of the full set up. Continue reading

Joseon Gunman Episode 9 Recap

Happiness is another exciting episode of Joseon Gunman. So far this drama hasn’t had a single misstep yet for me yet as the drama progresses without surprises but delivering plenty of fantastic narrative. Yoon Kang starts reuniting one-by-one with the people from his past, first with best buddy Officer Han and now with his little sister Yeon Ha. Soon it’ll be Soo In’s turn to get confirmation that her Yoon Kang doronim isn’t dead in the least and is back awesomer than before. Yoon Kang is a male lead that needs to use equal brains and brawn to survive and watching him outwit Merchant Choi is always cathartic. I’m forever going to hold a grudge with Merchant Choi killing Commander Park and leaving his two kids orphans and traitors, and now watching him still piling on the pain for Yoon Kang and Yeon Ha. I love watching Leader Kim chew him out as a mere dog that needs to obey his master because that’s the price Merchant Choi needs to pay for doing the dirty deeds for a corrupt faction.

Episode 9 wraps up the Yeon Ha rescue nicely with a slew of well-earned reunion tears, though my gut tells me little Yeon Ha isn’t fully in the clear yet. If Yoon Kang wanted to keep her safe he should have packed her on a ship bound for Japan. Yoon Kang also turns himself from a revenging gunman with a fake traitor’s son brand to a bona fide killer after offing the sleazy minister of justice. That does not bode well for my Yoon Kang even if the minister totally had it coming. I guess he was bound to get his hands bloody in this revenge scheme and the baddies aren’t going to be that easy to apprehend and brought to justice. I loved progression of Yoon Kang and Soo In’s interactions back to him encouraging her to keep on gaining new knowledge and expertise despite being a woman in Joseon. She also spends this episode picking up on more clues about Yoon Kang’s identity and finally putting two-and-two together. This drama has plenty of shades of gray but the OTP remains the beacon of goodness even when bad people may have some decency and good people are forced to do bad things. Continue reading

Ji Chang Wook’s Reverse-aging Drama Mister Baek Moves to MBC and Pushed Back to November

There’s something slightly off whenever I watch Ji Chang Wook act, and that’s probably more him always picking characters I don’t particularly like. He’s a good actor and likely headed the Lee Jong Seok route for me wherein all he needs is one role that gets me right in the gut and I’ll be all over him. His upcoming drama actually sounds right up my alley considering I loved Big and Miss Granny and in general like the age/body swap hijink genre. Ji Chang Wook will be headlining the drama Mister Baek, which was initially going to air on SBS after It’s Okay, It’s Love but for whatever reason suddenly changed networks and the premiere date got pushed back. Mr. Baek will now be a MBC drama airing in November after My Spring Days, which itself will air after Fated to Love You on Wed-Thurs.

MBC must really love Ji Chang Wook after Empress Ki and this network change makes sense since Mr. Baek was left floundering without a time slot when SBS decided that Song For You (courting Rain and IU) would get the post It’s Okay, It’s Love airing. Mr. Baek will be about a man in his seventies who reverse-ages back to his thirties and gets his chance to do over a life that originally had him living to be rich and miserly but without anyone who cares about him. Imagine Mr. Scrooge reverse-aging instead of having the three ghosts to point out his errant ways. I’m game to give this concept another go and have a feeling Ji Chang Wook is just right to play this character as a grumpy parsimonious fish-out-of-water. He’s got two new magazine spreads out this month, one for Arena magazine that looks like a seaweed crawled on his head after a rock concert and the other a very bright and casual Sure magazine pop of color. Continue reading

Lee Jong Seok Looking Cheerful and Rested at the VIP Movie Premiere of Roaring Currents

I’ve finally fallen for the charms of Lee Jong Seok despite years of wondering what exactly makes his fans gaga over him. It’s probably the height of irony that I actually grew to like him after Dr. Stranger, a troubled drama with a polarized audience base which plenty of his fans probably want to erase from his resume. I still think his face is a little off looking, probably his lips being too wide and his cheekbones too taut, but strange looks have never deterred me from liking an actor, case in point the mesmerizing Kim Woo Bin. I like him now because I see something special about his acting which actually reminds me of why I love Lee Jun Ki so much. Lee Jong Seok gives it his all into a role and performance in a way that never feels fake and collecting a paycheck. There’s a tendency to overact but most of the time he’s really alive onscreen and easy to watch.

He’s back in the limelight after sticking with the Dr. Stranger production for an extra week after the drama ended to film additional scenes to be shown exclusively in the C-movie scheduled to be out at the end of the year. He looked exhausted by the end of Dr. Stranger, moreso than the other three leads since he had the most scenes and carried the show, so it’s a relief to see him looking rested and relaxed attending the VIP premiere of the upcoming sageuk war movie Roaring Currents (Battle of Myeongryang, Whirlwind Sea) starring Choi Min Sik and Ryu Seung Ryong. I really liked Lee Jong Seok’s hairstyle towards the end of Dr. Stranger which he’s still sporting at the movie preview, and his black jeans and black-and-white splashed paint button down looks great on him. I’ll probably go back when I have time to finish up School 2013 now for the purported best bromance of Jong Seok/Woo Bin. Continue reading

Lost You Forever Chapter 33: The Wind is Moving, The Person is Still

I can’t believe the end of volume 2 of Lost You Forever is finally translated! I’m letting out a major sigh of relief and accomplishment despite knowing the journey is hardly at its end since volume 3 with many more chapters looms on the horizon. Chapter 33 wraps up the much more action and romance packed volume 2 of this epic novel. Volume 1 was simply titled 长相思 which means “Eternally Missing You” but the English translation was the more melancholy “Lost You Forever”, which I guess is the same end result. Volume 2 was called 长相思:诉衷情 and the added phrase means to lament sadness but the English title was “Love You Forever”. This volume really was a lot about love and we saw how three different men loved Xiao Yao and how she loved them back. Beware of volume 3 called 长相思:思无涯 which translates literally as missing with an endless cliff and the English title is “Missing You Forever”. You’ve all been forewarned, but then I did also say this novel has a happy ending so also be prepared to feel all conflicted and twisty. So much happened in volume 2 as the action moved to the vast Middle Plains and Sheng Nong Mountain.

Xiao Yao died and was resurrected after spending 37 years in a clam shell with her same heartbeat demon soulmate Xiang Liu. She was all ready to live happily ever after with nice guy Jing when he went and might’ve knocked up calculating Yi Yang and then had to marry her. Xiao Yao’s broken heart took a backseat to helping Zhuan Xu win the Xuan Yuan throne and after that was said and done she nearly fell apart until she realized medicine was more meaningful than pining over broken promises. She almost married dull as beans Feng Long, who may or may not have a man-crush on Zhuan Xu, but got a last minute reprieve in a super dramatic awesome Fang Feng Bei wedding crashing sequence. Everything culminates in this ending chapter to volume 2 where Xiao Yao is going to confront Jing and finally the two of them are going to hash things out rather than pretend all is swell. I may love Xiang Liu to the Heavens and back but its impossible to deny that he’s got no future with Xiao Yao unless he gives up the single most honorable thing in his life, and if he did that he wouldn’t be Xiang Liu. That makes Jing still the only guy who has a chance with Xiao Yao, and maybe he’ll finally man up and do something about his dysfunctional family that keeps trying to kill him and in the process actually rekindle things with Xiao Yao. Continue reading