First off, this is not a drama for anyone with a short attention span, nor something you can watch while doing stuff on the side. It demands you pay full attention to what’s going on. Let your mind or eye wander and you are sure to miss something relevant, even vital to the plot. Yes, it can be confusing if you are not used to the style but crime shows probably aren’t your usual fare then. There are of course stylistic differences depending on country, director and writer but as far as I’m aware, this is the general style a lot of these shows and movies these days have. Whether it all ends up as a big old mess or a well told story that sweeps you along, is up to TPTB and their skill in telling it.
A loooong and rambling post ahead (gosh, I do seem to have a lot to say about this drama XD ) with some spoilers in the latter part.
So far I’m quite happy with how My Beautiful Bride has been progressing. It’s intriguing, they give us just enough hints and tidbits to keep things exciting and make us want to know more but so far it doesn’t feel like pointless bating. Even when show seems quite chaotic, if you take a step back and pay attention, you’ll start noticing things. A picture begins to form, bit by bit you are starting to connect the dots. Not that you can 100% trust everything you see though, the dot connecting isn’t always ment to be linear and sometimes you are purposefully left dangling – for a while. It’ll probably irritate some viewers but I’m fine by it. It’s clearly a stylistic choice by this writer as it was apparent in Heartless City as well. Keeping many different threads going without getting them hoplessly tangled up can be a hard task but I’m hoping the writer-nim has what it takes to keep them running smootly. There were times in HC when he almost made an unholy mess of it all, so I hope he’s learned his lession. 🙂 The plot as well as the characters are very layered. There are wheels within wheels. Nothing is quite what you think to begin with and it’ll probably take time to get to see what truly lies underneath.
Generally I’m doing what I always do when a show is this complex – I watch everything twice, ha. First raw as I always notice more when I don’t have to concentrate on subs and then subbed to catch what I missed on the dialogue etc. Reading re-caps then puts me on the map with the rest of the stuff that I didn’t catch. *g* I just love crime shows with a lot going on, as long as there really is order in the ‘madness’, which isn’t always a given.
Can’t give enough credit to the actors for brining these characters to life. Kim Moo Yul is fantastic as the enigmatic Do Hyun. He dominates any scene where the focus is fully on him but doesn’t hog the limelight when the focus shifts. He just knows when to pull back and put a damper on the charisma. At first glance Do Hyun seems like this nice, staight laced, nerdy bank manager with a bit of a clean streak and who is very much in love with his bride to be. His talk is short on chatter and to the point, giving you the impression that he’s a bit abrasive or lacking in people skills. Yet he is almost too corteous. But… gradually you start to get this odd feeling about him. There are definite glimpses of something lurking underneath, something kept tightly in check. By ep 6 we know much more about who Do Hyun is as a person but there is still plenty of ground to cover. Like how much about Joo Young’s past dealings with the gansters did he really know and when did he find it out? He didn’t seem to know the names of the most prominent players, nor anything about the general setup or the Shadows before Tae Gyu told him the basics and Yoon Mi filled in the rest.
One thing to note though is that for a guy who is intelligent and a skillful planner Do Hyun does act too much on feelings and rushes off into things without really thinking. It’s like when it comes to Joo Young his bain short circuits and makes him awfully careless and sort of stupid. He may be a one man fighting machine but even he has a limit to his ability to fend of attackers. Besides without any back up he gets whacked in the head a few times too many. I’m pretty sure if this was real he’d already be dead or in a coma. Yeah well, that’s the ‘suspend one’s belief’ part of action shows…
Go Sung Hee is doing an equally good job as Joo Young. She seems so brittle but there is an inner strength that comes forward when needed. She is ashamed of her poor family with members who aren’t exactly model citizens (her brother especially is a piece of crapola) and she hates the things she’s had to do in order to survive. I’m not surprised in the least she decided to keep all of that from Do Hyun. Of course that was based on the faulty assumpton that he did not remember her. It was also in her nature to leave when it started to look like Do Hyun would be hurt because of her past. You don’t leave the criminal underworld that easily and without a trace, unless you’ve got skills and resources far superior to what Joo Young possesses. I’m also quite qurious to find out what happened in the intervening years between high school and the time she met Do Hyun again for the first time. Yoon Mi seems to know something about that but as my Korean left me in the lurch again at the point she was talking about that with DH, I’m not sure if we learned anything relevant. Got to wait for subs for that, ha.
It would have been way better if these two had been straight forward with each other from the beginning. White lies and withholding information just made the mess much bigger. Had they been truthfull about who they are and what they know about each other would have given them a much better chance to tackle the beast that is now breathing down their necks. They could quite likely have done something to make Joo Young’s past catching up with them much more difficult and harder to accomplish. Now they were both taken by surprise and totally unprepared to what was coming. It’s good that both know how to improvise and hit the ground running but only time and more episodes will tell if it’ll be sufficient. Of course, had things gone down like I envisoned, we’d be having a different drama now. 🙂
Lee Shi Young is perhaps the weaksest link in the top threesome for now. Not that she is bad as the detective in charage of the case but it feels like she is the least rounded out character. I’m not really ‘seeing’ Yoon Mi or what kind of person she is, what motivates her. Not sure if it’s the writing or the acting. Could be bit of both. At least Yoon Mi seems to be quite smart and competent at what she does. Which is good as I’ve had my fill with idiots as cops. Hopefully there is some postive development in the works for her. What I do know is that she is in for a major disappointment when it comes to her sunbae, it’s going to shake her badly. I knew the guy was shifty from the very beginning, ha.
The rest of the cast is pretty much perfect for their roles, competent veterans for the most part. The two rookie detectives are a bit annoying but even they haven’t been made into straight out keystone cops. In fact the dumbness level of this police dept is pretty low, compared. Yes, they do make mistakes and sometimes faulty assumptions but that goes with the territory. Not a genius in sight, not even within the baddies, just normal human beings with different levels of brain power. Some are smart bosses and some are dumb footsolders. In fact I find the mob hierachy pretty interesting as per usual. There are the lower tier crooks like our funny loanshark Tae Gyu (that guy is always quite hilarious in these roles). He is a bad guy, no doubt about it but there is still some shread of humanity in him. Over him is the next level of badness, the Shadows and over them yet another tier, the Even Bigger Boss who, I’ll bet has someone else bossing him. After epis 3-4 I got the distinct feeling that there is a power struggle going on within the criminal organization and that may either complicate or be helpful to our hero’s task. Of course we don’t know yet how he is connected to the whole thing but I’m assuming it’ll turn out to be more than just Joo Young. I could be wrong of course. When it comes to this writer it’s a bit dangerous to assume anything. 😀
- How much do the gansters actually know about Do Hyun and his background? The lower on the totempole like Jin Gi didn’t seem to have a clue. He totally underestimated Do Hyun in the begining, didn’t even know about his fighting skills. And he should have been aware as they do have an informant in the police. So why wasn’t he told? An omission by the writer or something else?
- DH’s mother clearly seems to be someone who has enough resources and clout to get even the big bad gangsters in trouble if she so chooses. The crux of the matter is, would she do anything to help her erring son? Their relationship was strained already when DH was in high school, even before Joo Young. What is it that has pulled mother and son apart and so early on? It could be different moral values. DH is sort of a straight arrow in certain aspects and seems to have been so even when young.
- What’s the role of the new player who arrived at the scene in ep 5-6? She was quite unexpected addition, if I may say so and seems to be a force to be reconed with. It’s fun to have this many interesting females in the mix.