Lost You Forever Chapter 21: Embracing in Life, Following in Death

A fair word of warning – this chapter of Lost You Forever is intense. Jawdropping calamity of the first order arriving with almost nonstop action a few paragraphs in and doesn’t let go type of intense. Next chapter is easily one of my personal favorite chapters in the entire novel, but before we get there we need to experience what is forthcoming here. The novel has hinted at Xiao Yao’s birth father the Great General Qi Yo of the Sheng Nong Kingdom, and there isn’t enough pages I can devote to what an awesome leading man he was in Once Promised. As a lover to Xiao Yao’s mom he was unparalled in his devotion, but as a man he lived true to his principles and never once betrayed those who were dear to him. The problem in Once Promised was that there was a lot of decay and dissolution in the world and Qi Yo shouldered the burden of making sure the Sheng Nong Kingdom could survive the oncoming attack from the upstart Xuan Yuan Kingdom.

To do so he needed a revolution and he had the heart and guts to lead one. But for those who benefited from the ingrained corruption and the class subjugation, Qi Yo was persona non grata to the entire world. He dared to change the world to make it egalitarian, to lead it to a better future even if the rotten weeds of today needed to be exterminated. His heart was in the right place but he was but one God against many and his passing at the end of Once Promised left the world a bit better but still fundamentally unchanged. Xiao Yao’s mother knew that Xiao Yao would be in danger if her paternity were ever revealed because there were too many people who hated her father, and this chapter shows us just how impossible it is a task to keep Xiao Yao safe. Her life falls in mortal danger and it’ll take the collective efforts of Jing, Zhuan Xu, and Xiang Liu to save her. As usual, the three men who love her save her in different ways with only one goal in mind – their beloved Xiao Yao must not die! Continue reading

K-remake of TW-drama Fated to Love You Confirmed with Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara

This is totally one of the best drama OTP castings this year so far. The rumored reunion of Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara in the K-drama remake of the TW-drama Fated to Love You is a go! The confirmation came Thursday morning and is one of those super exciting hot off the press news updates for me. Even hearing of the rumored casting got me all excited, moreso for Jang Hyuk returning to rom-coms as well as fond memories of Jang Nara having great chemistry with him in Successful Story of a Bright Girl. The remake will be called, unsurprisingly, Fated to Love You, which if you ask me was a whizbang title for a rom-com that also had an added benefit of perfectly describing the romance between the OTP. The original TW-drama starred the boyishly handsome Ethan Ruan as a chaebol heir with a ballerina girlfriend he is thisclose to proposing to. In a fated cruise ship escapade involving mistaken identity and some love potion, he ends up in bed in a heated tryst with Chen Qiao En playing a bespectacled ordinary office girl with the nickname post-it girl since she’s the repository of everyone else’s demands and orders she can’t say no to.

Their fated romantic encounter results in a pregnancy which leads to a shotgun wedding, but all along the way the OTP fall in love despite their vast personality and lifestyle differences. Ethan and Qiao En were in their late twenties and played similar aged characters, but both Jangs are in their thirties now so I hope the drama allows them to play their ages and introduce a different dynamic into the remake. The drama will air on MBC Wed-Thurs after A New Leaf with Kim Myung Min and Park Min Young, which is itself just started filming and won’t premiere until the end of April following Sly and Single Again. Directing is the PD from The Queen’s Classroom and Feast of the Gods while there will be a screenwriting duo at the helm, one writer did Soulmates and Hello Francesca while the other wrote Believe in Men and Lobbyist. Eeeps, I’m so so excited, and way more for this remake than for the remake of TW-drama My Queen which is airing in two weeks as Witch’s Romance with Uhm Jung Hwa and Park Seo Joon. Continue reading

Secret Love Affair Episode 5 Recap

While the two lead characters in Secret Love Affair are having their personal axis shaken after meeting musical kindred spirits in each other, the drama deftly leads the audience into feeling the same sense of discombobulation. It does so by stripping this story of any context. Did you notice that we know nothing about any of the characters prior the moment we were given the peek into their lives? Five episodes in, other than poor mostly self-taught Sun Jae, we still know next to nothing about their pasts and how they settled into their current spots in life. That really begs the question about Hye Won, are we to believe she was born this effortless and tactical? Or was she once a green and nervous young thing like the way Sun Jae is around her? Does she feel his emotions and it triggers something deep inside her that has been buried or scrubbed away through years serving the rich patrons in her life at the cost of her sincerity? Sun Jae has awkwardly explained what Hye Won means to him – a goddess, his musical companion, the savior of his soul – but what does Sun Jae mean to Hye Won so that she’s actually wavering around him.

His presence causes her to do things she would never consider in her orderly self-contained life, to bail him out of jail, to considering throwing Da Mi off his track, to consciously keep him out of her house so that she’s not tempted. I don’t blame Hye Won for keeping Sun Jae at bay, it’s not in her personality to throw caution to the wind for a romantic assignation however soul rending it might be. Young Woo is like a shining (and proximate) example of everything NOT to do for Hye Won, and one of the do not does is mess around with younger men for gratification out of marriage. I think it a moralizing double standard to say that Young Woo’s money paid for relationship with her boy toy is inherently more wrong that Hye Won engaging in an affair with Sun Jae over an uncontrollable attraction to each other. Both have the same end result but merely a different process of getting there. We feel for Hye Won because we have the context of seeing her always try to do the right thing, versus Young Woo doing whatever the heck she wants. Which makes Hye Won’s struggle to keep the wall up between her and Sun Jae a tense and nervous thing to watch because it feels so doomed to failure. Continue reading

The Jin Se Yeon Wedding Curse Strikes Again in Penultimate Episode of Age of Feeling

I’ve been following along with Age of Feeling (Inspiring Generation) intermittently. It’s not a super bad drama but definitely super wonky what with the scriptwriter switch around episode 10 then second male lead Kim Jae Wook quitting as well as supporting actor Song Jae Rim getting written off for a few episodes and then brought back again. The story felt like Fight Club in Shanghai with a dash of war era machinations thrown in. Leading man Kim Hyun Joong acquitted himself admirably, but his leading lady Im Soo Hyang was all sorts of awful with her stiff face and even stiffer acting. Luckily the other female lead Jin Se Yeon added the dash of life to this mostly dull and lifeless plodding endeavor, with a character that was charming with a backbone of steel. She loved Kim Hyun Joong’s character from beginning to end, and I almost cried hallelujah to have him love her back and be with her throughout the drama instead of pining away for his first teenage crush Im Soo Hyang’s character since those two had zero chemistry whether in acting or character interactions.

But as the ending drew near I got a bit concerned. Jin Se Yeon made waves a few weeks ago in the K-news for taking on her next project Dr. Stranger for SBS which wasn’t going to air until AoF ended but had already started filming due to an overseas shoot in Eastern Europe. Jin Se Yeon had to take a few days off AoF filming to jet overseas and the usual filming snafus delayed her return a few day later than she had anticipated. The AoF production was so pissed it actually aired its grievances to the media rather than keeping the dirty laundry in the house. Jin Se Yeon’s agency countered that AoF had approved her days off to film for Dr. Stranger, and in fact she accepted Dr. Stranger before she even accepted and starred in AoF since she was a last minute replacement for Kim So Eun who dropped out. This week is the AoF finale and I was totally glued to the set this morning waiting for what I shall call “The Jin Se Yeon Wedding Curse” to arrive. Not only did it show up, it was so hilariously absurd the context and set up I was laughing until tears came out. Continue reading

Baek Jin Hee and Oh Yeon Soo Join Lee Bum Soo and Jaejoong in MBC’s Triangle

While MBC has owned Mon-Tues for the last five months since the epic sageuk drama Empress Ki premiered, it’s finally decided to end it’s nearly two years long sageuk airing in that time slot after EK wraps in a month and try something modern on for size. I’m still following EK and the drama has been mired in repetitively dull political scheming in different character combinations for the last fifteen episodes and suddenly and abruptly taken a turn into full-blown crazyville. One main character may or may not actually be crazy, but the plot has definitely gone cray cray. It’s time to out that baby out of its misery and free Ha Ji Won and Joo Jin Mo, but I’m also intrigued enough by its followup Triangle to want that one to arrive sooner rather than later. Triangle has finally locked down a main cast this week as Baek Jin Hee joins the already signed on Lee Bum Soo, Kim Jaejoong, Im Si Wan, and Oh Yeon Soo.

MBC lurves Baek Jin Hee and she’s finally getting her first leading lady turn after playing in multiple MBC dramas such as the well-received antagonist in Empress Ki, the doormat in I Summon You, Gold, and whatever she played in Jeonwoochi which no one watched. Lee Bum Soo plays the mat-hyung of a trio of brothers who are separated in childhood, with Jaejoong as the middle brother, and Im Si Wan as the youngest sibling. Eldest hyung grew up to be a cop and will have his own romance with Oh Yeon Soo (childhood counterpart played by Kim So Hyun), while middle brother is now a rough-and-tumble gang boss while the youngest lucked out by getting adopted into a rich family. Baek Jin Hee’s character will be involved in a love triangle between Jaejoong and Im Si Wan. At least that leaves Lee Bum Soo and Oh Yeon Soo free to act like they are in their own separate drama if Triangle goes to pot on bad acting from a subset of its cast. Continue reading

Written and Video Preview for Bride of the Century Episode 13

In the ongoing speculation over whether Doo Rim gets pregnant in Bride of the Century, which may be a deus ex machina way of solving a lot of impasses, I think a new cast picture below answers that question. I find all the twists and turns in BotC entertaining and mostly unexpected. I don’t over think this drama at all, sitting around conjuring up future plot points or analyzing the morality of Doo Rim marrying Kang Joo as Yi Kyung or her getting guilted and cowed into giving him up. These are minor dust-ups in the bigger picture, which is that both Kang Joo and Doo Rim are alive after the wedding and managed to find the one person they love so much they are willing to put everything on the line. I think that bottom line understanding between them shapes how this drama will head towards its ending, namely Kang Joo and Doo Rim doing what is right but holding true to their love for each other until the time comes when they can be together.

The written preview for episode 13 is out and builds on what we see in the video preview. I loved how quickly Kang Joo absorbed the Doo Rim as substitute princess deception reveal in episode 12 and still wanted her. The problem is he’s no aware of the bigger danger lurking out there, namely that President Ma and Yi Kyung have his mom on the leash with the threat to reveal his grandma’s homicidal past. He also doesn’t know the pressure Doo Rim is under, with the order from Kang Joo’s mom to stay away as well as her understandable consideration for poor comatose Yi Hyun. I’m so glad he woke up at the end of episode 12, he slept much longer than I expected but his return to he story will add another weapon to the good side to counter President Ma. I also want to find out more about his back story and how he ended up in that family. There is still so much story left to tell I really hope the drama crams it all into the remaining episodes and not be stingy on the OTP making out either. Continue reading

Secret Love Affair Episode 4 Recap

[There are multiple layers to experience Secret Love Affair, from auditory to emotional to a sensation of peeking via corners and doors or even cameras. The characters are living in their world and we're just glimpsing at a mere sliver. The kiss at the end of episode 3 encapsulates that, with the camera choosing to have Sun Jae and Hye Won's head turned so all we see is the act of a passionate kiss without actually seeing the very form of the kissing via their joined lips. It's clear they both affect each other, but it's hard to separate what the longing means.

Likely both a musical transcendence as well as physical desire, and for Sun Jae's return back into Hye Won's world, it reminds of a longing he knows cannot be whether for her or for the piano. The drama doesn't explain why he gave up on music after his mom died, guilt that her death arrived when she was anxiously trying to support his dream, or an acceptance that the dream needs to end now because he has reality to face. Hye Won knows exactly that it means to keep the dream of music and the reality of living it alive, a constant and never-ending giving of her mind, body, and soul to Seohan. Will Sun Jae be willing to go down that same road if only he knows what is to come? ~ Koala]

There is a French word I love that describes how Sun Jae has affected Hye Won’s life: She is bouleversée. Upturned. Knocked over.  While it was nothing expected, his arrival had to be well timed with her willingness to be upended. Sun Jae didn’t implant the passion, he uncovered it.  The beehive she has busily constructed over the years, churning out honey and more bees has been there, but under her complete control. It is profitable, and reflects well on her. People think she’s cool, and she enjoys hearing that about herself.  The bees, meanwhile, are starting to sneak out, one at a time. The harder she tries to keep them trapped, the more they struggle for release. They are bees, after all, not sheep. To quote my favorite scholar, Winnie the Pooh, “You never can tell with bees.” Continue reading