tvN Thriller Drama Awaken with Namgong Min Heads into Final Stretch with Interesting Idea and Flawed Execution

After MBC underrated gem Kairos ended, I’ve migrated to tvN thriller Awaken (Night and Day) to satiated the who-dun-it craving in me. When I’m in the mood for procedures then I’m all in, and thankfully Awaken has been there to fill the Kairos sized hole in my drama brain. It’s aired 12-episodes so far so two more weeks left to see if Namgong Min‘s eccentric and brilliant cop turned vigilante will bring down a raging almost unholy high levels of conspiracy around human testing on kids to find the elixir of immortality. Yes, both the end goal and the lengths by which the baddies will go to get it are off-the-reservation levels of WTF.

It doesn’t help that the drama tries to be creative and coy in peeling back the mysteries and what happened two decades ago in the orphan village because it sacrifices an emotional cohesiveness for trick reveals. This drama is nearly the Namgong Min one man show but for Lee Chung Ah delivering a fantastic performance of the very rigidly constructed character though increasingly side lined as the exposition. If my review of Awaken sounds mixed it’s because it is, I’m excited to watch the final 4 episodes but feel like this drama could have been so much better – the writing tighter, the execution sped up, and the audience being pulled into the ride rather than feeling like bystanders.


tvN Thriller Drama Awaken with Namgong Min Heads into Final Stretch with Interesting Idea and Flawed Execution — 8 Comments

  1. Ah, Awaken. I absolutely adore Lee Chungah as Jamie Leighton. Such charisma and presence and smarts. She’s my favorite character. I don’t know why they had to make Gong Hye Won fall for Jung Woo. Totally unnecessary. That third kid’s motive of killing Jamie and Jung Woo because boo-hoo they abandoned him back then is just dumb to me. The evil scientists and foundation should be his sole focus! So much more to say but I don’t feel like writing an essay. Can’t wait to see how everything wraps up.

  2. I love Awaken!

    I love the 3 characters, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t find it slow, there always is something happening, action or we know more about the villains.

    The fact there are two kinds of villains is very interesting, the 3rd kid who wants his revenge and the scientist who makes the experiences.

    I’m curious about how the 3rd kid developped different personalities.

    Nam Goong Min is so handsome in this role! His best style!

    I found KAIROS less enternaining around the end because it was repetive.

  3. I totally agree with you there, Namgong Min and Lee Chung Ah are fantastic here and I also wish the writing and execution had been better and had more focus on these two and the third child. The end goal is so ridiculous and far fetched, there is no urgency or stakes surrounding the search for immortal life really. Except it might be fascinating for the scientists, but I don’t get what really motivates any of the bad guys in this aspect… Also the Hye Won character is so bland and the actress is so bad at acting that I fast forward all her scenes. I’m invested enough to see the drama to the end but I also lament about how great it could have been. Makes me appreciate Kairos even more for being able to do better on all aspects.

    • Right? She IS bland. And she’s supposed to be the main female lead. In my opinion, LCA easily overshadows her. But some will argue she’s a rookie whereas LCA is a seasoned actress. To which I say: a rookie actress has no business taking on a lead role if their acting skills are not up to par.

      • And if they cast her hoping her idol fanbase will bring in ratings, it clearly didn’t work since the drama has been stuck in the 4% range since the first episode with it even dropping to 3% on two occasions.

    • I don’t agree with Seolhyun’s acting. She’s not bland. I love her scenes, she’s convincing at fighting, not only the choreography and looking fierce but the energy. And Lee Chung Ah and her are both main characters. They just have different relationship with NGM’s character.

      I don’t think they casted Seolhyun for ratings when they had Nam Goong Min after Hot Stove League… He’s the main character, the story is mainly about him.

      • Didn’t say the responsibility of ratings was solely on her idol shoulders. Relax.

        Can’t speak for Vis. But I still think she’s bland. You can’t change my mind on that. It’s merely an opinion. Just like yours.

  4. 12 episodes in and it still feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface. A couple of things:

    – Why has Hye won’s dad aged when his equally evil female scientist partner still looks the same as 20 years ago?
    – How can Hye won’s dad be so cold and detached from experimenting on innocent kids and killing them when he has a child himself? Not even an ounce of remorse?
    – How did the third child’s multiple personality begin? He was killing even when he was a wee little thing. At what point did the timid personality come in?
    – What’s going on with the Blue House guy (whom I notice is pulling double duty between Awaken and Mr. Queen. And he’s a villain in both!)? Seems the good and bad guys all need some form of medical treatment.
    – Who is the president?

    I cheered when NGM appeared at the end and faced off the third kid. That was badass!

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