How are you all holding up as you’re literally holed up? We’re wishing you health and productivity, but enough down time for dramas!
Here’s what we’ve started, finished, dropped, or kept watching this week. What have you caught up on this weekend?
(Note: We’ll mention some plot details, but will try to keep major spoilers to minimum.)
The opening episodes of this show were borderline boring—your typical creepy cultists using sin/virtue as an excuse to rape and murder women. But it turns out that was a front because BOY did the show level up by episode 5! It was hair-raising and chilling and DO NOT WATCH AT 3AM. I mean, nothing should be watched at 3am (sorry not even #YooSeungHo—don’t murder your brain for a boi folks!), but also, 3am gave it maximum potency. I was nearly crying from the tension and general horrory-ness and there was nobody to save me from myself. *sob*
WHEN THE WEATHER IS FINE
It was hard to watch Hae-won struggle with Eun-seob’s non-answers and avoidance this week, especially because he’s finally so close to having what he’s yearned for. It’s completely true to his character, though; this is such a well-done portrayal of the fear of connection that results from abandonment and loss. In some ways Hae-won has it too, in that she doesn’t let down her guard easily, and her good opinion, once lost, tends to be lost forever. But she is braver emotionally than he is (and more honest); Eun-seob is so deep behind his walls of silence and self-preservation that it takes him much longer to dig himself out (or even muster the will to). Normally I’d wonder where we’d have left to go after the ending of episode 8, but these two have a lot of scars and traumas to deal with before they can have a functioning, healthy relationship, so I feel like we’re in for quite an interesting ride in the second half (and by now, I trust this writer-PD team to pull it off). The theme of the bluebird story that threaded through episode 8 was lovely, and I really appreciated how we got a parallel echo in Aunt’s life, with the lesson Hae-won and Eun-seob needed to learn buried in that flashback where we get to see her without her sunglasses for the first time. Also, is anyone else shipping Lee Jae-wook with his old crush, who scares his pants off?! So cute.
This week’s episode was a doozy. The preemie getting heart surgery and his poor young parents dealing with this overwhelming initiation to parenthood was so moving. Seeing the flashback that showed us Jun-wan’s own first experience feeling a little heart beat, and his teary decision to do cardiothoracic surgery—and how he’s ruthlessly using the same method to get the new residents to choose it too, haha—was such a great way to tell us more about Jun-wan, who has mostly been an emotional closed book up until now. But there are always hints that he cares deeply about people even if his bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired.
What really got me, though, was poor Ik-jun’s truly awful day, which should have been wonderful. But the people that he thought of as sources of happiness in his life turned out to cause him great pain instead: his patients, his wife, even his sister given the end of episode 3. It was a harsh reminder of how quickly things can change, not just in a person’s health but with life in general. It only takes a second for everything in your life to turn upside down; and for Ik-jun, who tends to give his heart wholly and express is freely, when the people he loves are hurt (or hurt him), he feels it especially deeply. Guess I’ve have to comfort myself by going back to that noraebang scene.
No wonder the teaser for this was nonsensical and cut together with footage of hyenas ripping at each others’ flesh. Even if you asked me, I wouldn’t be able to describe what exactly this show is. It defies all the tropes of legal dramas, standard relationship progression between the leads, even the loose rules about antiheroes vs. prickly but likable heroes that we’ve absorbed over the years. Neither Kim Hye-soo nor Joo Ji-hoon are playing characters I’ve ever seen before; both of them are awful yet relatable, terrible but lovable, in their own unique ways. She cons him; he goes behind her back; neither of them are fighting for justice or truth, but simply want to win. He seems to care about no one’s opinion but hers; she might care, but she’s too caught up in the demons of the life she’s lived to have the luxury of giving into her emotions. And it’s all put together in a stylish package of flashy but controlled directing, an incredible cast, costume and set design that pops and draws the eye, and incredibly sharp, delicious dialogue that makes each episode more satisfying than the last. Oh, and the chemistry? Run or you might catch on fire.
WHEN THE WEATHER IS FINE
This week was especially heavy on the nature sounds and slow, contemplative shots of heartbroken faces. But there were two scenes that made these two episodes worth watching. The first was the moment when Hae-won confronts Eun-seob, and the second was at the very end, when through a nicely knitted montage, the show reminded us why Hae-won fell for Eun-seob, cause they were all the moments that made us fall for him too. But now, I’m mad with curiosity about what happened. They have given us enough pieces to guess at Eun-seob’s story, but why would that make him react the way he did towards Hae-won? Next week might tell. I can’t wait. Oh and also, Im Hwi is a gem. And I think Kim Young-soo is starting to see it too.
A PIECE OF YOUR MIND
Precariously close to dropping this. The synopsis promised me a “fun, romantic romp”, but what do I get? A story where rich people travel to Norway like we take a bus to an aunt’s across the city, and buy up sound studios to execute an elaborate plan to get an ex’s voice recording by forcing their employee to lie on their behalf. It’s not fun, romance is clearly an obsessive fever dream here, and this is NOT my definition of a romp. I’ll give it one more episode to redeem itself, and if Jung Hae-in is still sporting his wounded puppy face while flashbacks slow down an already stumbling plot to a drunken crawl, then I’m done. DONE!
My favourite trope in the world? Two badass people meet and fight, fall in love, and be badass together. And Hyena has this in bucket loads. Jung Geum-ja [Kim Hye-soo] is a tough, amoral heroine after my own heart. And Yoon Hee-jae [Joo Ji-hoon] is a competitive, arrogant hero who is by turns ready to battle her and fall deeper in love with her with every episode. While I enjoyed them outmaneuvering each other for the first few episodes, I’m now at the part where they are forced to join hands, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The heat with these two is high!