Cheongdamdong Alice Episode 16 Recap

Most weekend dramas are of the longish variety so when I first heard Cheongdamdong Alice would be the typical weekday drama length of 16-episodes, I worried there wasn’t enough time for the entire story to be told properly. Turns out I was right but for the wrong reasons, there was enough time, the writers just wasted most of it on pointless conflicts and redundant discussions. Over and over this drama went like a hamster running a wheel when it could have been a rabbit bolting for the finish line. It wrapped up today with all the hallmarks of K-drama flourishes – most everything is brushed aside while the groundwork is finally laid for the OTP to head towards their happy ending. It was tedious watching this episode pile on the Alice in Wonderland references and allusions, complete with Seung Jo’s dream state and everyone talking about Alice in Wonderland’s ending. As the drama wound down, I was really watching only for Yoon Joo, a character I disliked at first sight played by an actress I haven’t loved in a drama in years. Tommy also captured my interest in the last few episodes, and watching these two interesting characters get wasted highlighted the fundamental flaw of this drama.

There is so much that is interesting and can be discussed and explored by the characters and their inherent situations, but the drama didn’t do anything with them leaving the viewer feeling unsatisfied at the end. But if all that narrative potential was sacrificed for the OTP, did they at least get an happy ending? My personal feeling is that I frankly stopped caring about them episodes ago. Of course I still want them to get their happy ending, but seeing it wasn’t going to miraculously wash away my misgivings or make it all better like sticking a bandaid on a boo boo. I felt like poor Moon Geun Young and Park Shi Hoo was required to keep acting out the same scenes and conflicts repeatedly and its by the grace of their ability they could sell it by the very end. This drama buttressed two years, with the first half airing in 2012 while the second half aired in 2013. It similarly felt bipolar watching it, as if the creative and interesting writer who wrote the first half was kidnapped as a replacement snuck in for the second half. CA – you coulda woulda shoulda been so much better, and I maybe oughtta stick firmly to my rule not to recap weekend dramas rather than getting lured in with honeyed hopes. Continue reading