There is finally a weekend K-drama worth watching, and one that fully does justice to the meaty grist of the makjang genre. MBC‘s throwback Scandal: That Very Shocking and Immoral Incident is one drama that has exceeded all my expectations. Rather than rant about the insanity in I Summon You, Gold or wish for people to get divorced or commit adultery in Goddess of Marriage, instead I highly recommend Scandal as a drama that has the trifecta of fantastic acting, deft directing, and a gripping narrative. It even has a well scored OST for one more intangible element to make it that much more entertaining. This drama truly has high stakes rather than characters doing stupid things to create their own piddling woes, and then making dumb decisions to drag out the stupid conflict. East of Eden did the swapped sons story and I forgot that there is a piecemeal enjoyment in watching characters learn the truth on by one. Here we have finally gotten to the threshold moment when the the truth is finally going to burn everyone alive or perhaps set them all free. Once Kim Jae Won‘s Ha Eun Joong and Park Sang Min‘s Jang Tae Ha, the final two who still don’t know they are father and son, learn the truth, then the drama can deal with the aftermath and there is still so much conflict to work through.
This drama is worth watching on the magnificent and virtuoso performances of Jo Jae Hyun as kidnapper daddy and Shin Eun Kyung as the courageous battered mom, but I seriously love Kim Jae Won’s character and his performance to pieces. So grounded and cautiously tender, reticent and righteous. This is also the first time I’ve like Jo Yoon Hee in a drama and I am totally cool with her slow moving love line with Kim Jae Won, but the romance is so ancillary to the main thrust of the story which is about how mistakes beget more mistakes and crime that is unfettered only leads to rot and ramifications. The main young cast members attended a mid-point press conference last week and Kim Jae Won discussed how the second half will be about how Eun Joong deals with the crimes of his two fathers and uses a bright optimistic and positive attitude and actions to resolve the gordian knot of anger and pain. I’m so pleased that this drama has managed to remain intelligently written with a nice balance of the sadness with the happy moments mixed with makjang without a lot of screaming and slapping. And I have to stress again that the acting is awesome all around, Kim Jae Won says Shin Eun Kyung is the Korean Al Pacino and revealed that everyone is scared of Park Sang Min on set because he’s so in character that he fairly throbbed with barely concealing intensity. LOL, I can totally see that, probably because the bleach blond/gray hair is probably messing with his brain cells.
A quick recap of the plot – Park Sang Min’s character Jang Tae Ha is a greedy MoFo and marries Shin Eun Kyung’s rich daughter of a land developer Yoon Hwa Young. He then takes over her father’s company, all the while he has a mistress on the side. His mistress gives him a daughter, and right as he’s about to divorce his wife, she reveals that she actually bore him a son. Tae Ha’s greed leads him to cut costs in building construction and it catches up to him when a building topples. Jo Jae Hyun’s Ha Myung Geun has a 5 year old son who is caught inside and instead of saving him, Tae Ha razes the toppled building and kills the son just to destroy evidence of his wrong doing. Myung Geun goes to kill Tae Ha, and meets Eun Joong, Tae Ha’s 5 year old son. He takes Eun Joong in a moment of confusion and panic. Tae Ha suspects its Myung Geun but has no evidence and then Myung Geun disappears. A few years later, Myung Geun loves Eun Joong and wants to return him to his rightful role as heir to the Jang fortune, but by then Hwa Young has adopted an orphan Man Bok from the orphanage and passed him off as Eun Joong. Myung Geun realizes the Jang family has its “Eun Joong” back, so he keeps the real Eun Joong. And now there are two Eun Joongs – the real one who is with Myung Geun, and the adopted one who thinks he’s the real one.
Time skip of 25 years, Eun Joong is now a cop while his former cop dad Myung Geun is a construction foreman. His subordinate discovers wrongdoing at the Tae Ha construction site and gets killed by Tae Ha’s henchmen. He leaves behind a pregnant fiancee Wol Ah Mi played by Jo Yoon Hee, and subsequently she loses the baby and moves in with Myung Geun’s family as he feels responsible for her. Ah Mi and Eun Joong start to become friends. Myung Geun meets Hwa Young at the hospital since both are suffering from depression. They become friends and he knows that he stole her son but cannot bring himself to tell her. Eun Joong starts investigating the death of Ah Mi’s fiancee and all signs point to Tae Ha. The two become locked in a battle of wits. Eun Joong becomes friends with Tae Ha’s daughter with his mistress Joo Ha, and the two pretend to date so Eun Joong can investigate her father while she tries to stave off an arranged marriage. Incest is avoided when they end their charade. Fake Eun Joong realizes his mom is looking for the real Eun Joong, and during the investigation one person after another discovers the real truth that Ha Myung Geun kidnapped Eun Joong. By the end of episode 20, Tae Ha points a gun at his real son Eun Joong without knowing his identity and prepares to kill him for what his father Myung Geun did to him years ago.
Have a Scandal MV above, and then listen to the second ballad off the OST called “I Am”. It is the perfect contrast to the first rock ballad off the OST which was “Last Love of My Life” by The Position. This one is so evocative and mellow and sad.
Scandal OST Part 2 Mastya Band “I Am”:
Click here to download “I Am”
Thank you for this! Another drama to watch, to add to my list of dramas to watch. I really like PSM, he is a really good actor. I am not as familiar with the rest of the cast, so another reason to check this drama out. The plot seems quite interesting, and the drama has a fitting title.
Wow, I forgot about this drama. Even though the title sucks, it’s nice to know the drama itself is good.
But 36 episodes?! No no noooooooooo! Way too long for me!
At least “Empire of Gold” only has 24 episodes. Not much longer!
you should check SCANDAL out when its already done, I actually started the drama when it aired, and that is one of my mistakes cause I should have watched it when its done, cause right now I kinda have this love-hate relationship with SCANDAL, where time and time again I tried to leave it cause the MAKJANG plot was just killing me (I love me a couple of makjang but SCANDAL went all out with getting all the makjang elements, from affairs, birth secrets, incest, terminal disease).
But i stress the word “TRIED”, yup every week i wanted to leave it but the acting is just gripping. You cant help but feel anger to the evil daddy, feel pity for the fake-son when he loses his identity after knowing he is fake, feel the want and craving of mom to look for his real son, for genuine love of kidnapper-daddy, yet hate him when you see mom.
And if you watch the first few episode where kidnapper-daddy was still cop daddy and principled and all, His scenes with his son (now dead) was so palpable. I want that kid to have an award. he really need to get an award.
I highly recommend this drama cause additionally Kim Jae Won has never been hotter than being principled & abrasive detective Ha Eun Joong!!!
Scandal, Who Are You and Two Weeks are three dramas I find decent, and intelligently written compared to all of the currently airing dramas right now. Acting is good too. I dropped GoF, GoM, EoG and HL. I am still watching Good Doctor and Master Sun because of the leads, but it’s kind of boring.
Will definitely check this drama out, since you enjoyed it! Well so far!
Ha! This drama is my guilty pleasure. It’s not that I can’t wait for the next ep, but I will watch it religiously once I find the time.
It’s the first weekend drama I follow live and I am surprised by its quality. Ki Tae-young acts his Eun-joon so well. He is torn between the love for his parents and his conscience. It’s a pleasure to watch. The whole cast does a fantastic job. Although the storyline is quite makjang it never runs danger to become too cheesy or unwatchable.
The two songs you named are excellent. Can’t get them out of my head. My favourite OST of this year.
Definitely worth checking out, but sensitive people should ff some chunks of the first eps, as the parts with the trapped and dying kid might be difficult to endure.
Been following this drama very week since it aired, gosh the tension is heating up every episode and it’s so gonna explode next week (ep21) *Spoiler* when Jang Tae Ha finally know Ha Eun Joong is his real son.
Koala I’ve been waiting to hear your review on this drama, your last review was ep7 and this drama is already at ep20….
I love scandal so much, this drama is awesome with every drama kdrama can throw in together and make it great… All the character rocks and the actor rocks their role… Ha Eun Joong my most favorite character with daddy HMG….
I was just posting on twitter how I wish I had someone to talk about this drama with because as far as I can tell it is on NO ONE’s radar. Probably had something to do with the TERRIBLE posters…
The cliffhangers on this show are just killing me. I check viki obsessively waiting for subs every week. I am curious to see how the knowledge that the EVIL Jang Tae-ha is his blood will effect Eun-joong seeing as he has been brought up to be this upstanding police officer. As we can see from the preview it looks like Tae-ha is falling apart after finding out he almost killed his own son. Even his roots are starting to show again! 😉
It is definitely a good thing the romance is moving at a snail’s pace since it would be hard to swallow a woman who JUST lost her fiancee and baby falling in love like the next month. But the way those two worry about each other is so sweet. I am looking forward to how that develops and she helps him deal with the fallout from the big SECRET. I’ve only seen Jo Yoon-hee in Nine: Nine Time Travels but that show was amazing IMHO and I really liked her character there and am enjoying her here too. She is cheerful and spunky when she needs to be but without being over-the-top like A LOT of drama heroines.
Oh and obviously as you mentioned Jo Jae Hyun is just AMAZING. He was actually the main reason I started watching this one. Shin Eun Kyung is too and I feel so much pain for her character but it is Jo Jae Hyun who is breaking my heart into pieces.
Finally someone else who also likes Jo Yoon-hee! She got so much bashing for Nine throughout the net and I simply don’t see it. Love her in both shows.
Her first few episodes in Scandal were rocky but I think a lot of that has to do with how the character has written in the beginning. I really enjoyed her in Nine and her chemistry with Lee Jin-wook was pretty cute. I guess I’m just not as harsh on actors like others fans because I didn’t see anything wrong with her performance. *shrug*
If you want someone you can talk to about Scandal , join us on soompi forum Scandal thread… we are discussing everyday about it to cure our addiction on this drama..
Thank you Koala Unni…. This will be watch later marathon style kdrama.. 🙂 In another note, I am loving Just You and Love Around.
Shin Eun Kyung is absolutely an amazing actress… She was also soooo good in “Bad Couple” where she played a 30+ woman who desperately wanted a baby with Ryu Soo Young but no marriage… Park Sang Min is in it too plus many other great actors/actresses. Shin Eun Kyung is soooo talented and beautiful.
on the poster – just on the poster thought – the girl looks like Jung So Min lol thought it was her at first.
This drama is one of the best this year. I patiently waited every weekend just to watch it live. All the cast are amazing. Kim Jae Won exceeded my expectation, he totally rocks on this drama along with other cast. The suspense was so intense that it can keep you at the edge of your sit through out the series. Definitely worth watching…
There is a forum thread for this excellent drama on soompi.com if u want to join other lovers of this drama to discuss n spazz over everything Scandal.
I’m often on soompi and lurking on Scandal thread was fun… everyone had very good insights and added some fun on discussion to make a better atmosphere..
I’m so excited to watch how detective Ha Eun Joong deal with the crimes committed by his two fathers. He is the ultimate victim of the two, I’m wondering if our tough detective manage to hold his emotions of pain and hatred and deal with it with positive attitude. He is fearless, righteous, and optimistic … i love seeing him doing an awesome job..
Joo Yoon Hee! She was super cute in “My husabnd got a family!”
Agreed! This is how makjang should be done. What a great role for Kim Jae Won– I think he’s at his best here. Park Sang Min, OTOH, not so much (this is the worst acting I’ve seen from him). But overall, this is well-done, highly compelling, and although the plot is pretty crazy, there’s a blessed lack of histrionics. It’s surprising that there are still 16 eps. to go with most of the cats out of the bag already– I’m hoping they do a good job of making the redemption/forgiveness/romance arc as compelling as the first half of the drama was.
The “blessed lack of histrionics” (love that) is what keeps me watching, the blessed lack keeps the storyline in focus.
Huge fan of KJW , all casts are amazing…. Awesome OST…can’t get it out of my head….. Scandal- totally daebak (₩_₩)
I look forward to “Scandal” every weekend. This is Kim Jae Won’s best role and acting so far. “I Am” captures the drama perfectly – it is just so sad and soulful
I have been stalking Koala’s playground every weekend hoping to read a recap of Scandal and here it is, finally. Thank you so much. I love your recaps. This drama is so well written and the casting is superb. I really love that all that was hidden is now out and the way they brought it out especially with how the real Eun Joong learned about the truth was so traumatic and just as the title states shocking. But from the very first episodes, this drama was shocking. I agree that the little boy who played Ha Myeung Geun’s son should get an award. He played that scene so realistically,(I won’t say what scene for those who have not viewed)it was so hard to watch. All the characters in this drama are soaking in self conflict and I can not help but get pulled into it. One time I am rooting for them and the next thing I am wanting to shake them. I think the best of the series, or I hope the best of the story line is still to come, as the characters try to cope with the fall out of the revelations. As for me, I am rooting for JJH and JJW to save and turn the company around into and honest and people friendly one.
I just saw a photo stills of Scandal couple Kim Jae Won and Jo Yoon Hee walking on the beach side … I’m so excited to watch the budding love between them.
But I’m more excited on how Kim Jae Won character overcome his traumatic experience with his two dad … one is kidnapper, the other is murderer. Being a righteous detective, he is going to have a hard coping with it.
Bestand interesting character Kim Jae Won had played so far.. actually I love him in CYHMH as well. He is a great actor.
I’m looking forward for tonight’s episode.
Me too, since the premise of this drama is of lies, revenge and redemption, now that the lies are out in the open, I want to see the drama of how the real Eun Joong comes to term with the truth. JTH, MG, EJ, MB,YHY and JH> those characters have a lot to resolve in the latter part of the series. All of them have much of drama to give us. I like Park San Min’s portrayal of JTH as a megalomaniac psycho, he really gets it.