If you’ve been able to catch up or start new dramas this week, what have you been watching? What’s keeping you engaged these days?
Here’s what we started, finished, dropped, or kept watching this week.
(Note: We’ll mention some plot details, but will try to keep major spoilers to minimum.)
It’s been a couple of weeks of staring glassily at the walls, but otherwise I’ve been finishing off a few “leftovers”…though sometimes I feel like my drama-plate is heaped solely with leftovers. I want to finish them, but I can’t find the immediate hunger for it. Pressing play is hard. (Shameful first-world problems O_O)
P.S. I have realised all the following is full of food metaphors. This is called Writing While Fasting. Ramadan kareem, everyone!
I think this show is one of those that benefits from being watched all in one go. That’s how I watched 11-16, and maybe that’s why it felt tighter. This show really relies on its details, and that means if you’re casually watching the episodes on a week-to-week basis, it can feel disjointed, and at times even seem to not make sense.
The show has admittedly been uneven overall. It had a typical, somewhat boring start, and then brought excitement in its next leg, but went on to become convoluted and confusing. However, it all came together for that last third, and in the end, I think Memorist was worth its time. It was refreshing to have a show where the supernatural ability was openly acknowledged, and came with rules and consequences. The mysteries paid off, the finale was satisfying, and it came at you with the warmth of a bone-crushing hug. And can I say crybaby Yoo Seung-ho is the best Yoo Seung-ho?
I really liked the cast chemistry, and surprisingly (or not, I guess), the show had no overt loveline, but SO MANY FEELINGS. And that, as always, is what I want from a show. Yes, to be hooked; yes, to think (a bit), but above all, to care about the people in it. The Memorist team were so lovable as to make you teary about them, but nothing is better than seeing a bunch of teddybears crying over each other.
Speed: 1.0 and not a second faster or you’ll miss things.
When the Weather is Fine [13-16]
I took a break from this show when it looked like Bo-young was going to hurt herself to make Eun-seob save her and I was SO OVER HER. But actually, I quite appreciated where they went with her whole arc after that. What she tells Hae-won about a friendship needing some knocks stuck in my head a long time. I somewhat agree with it, but there’s a difference between a few knocks and wholesale betrayal. And if we’re conflating the two, well, I don’t think that what she said quite applies to what happened between her and Hae-won. It’s like the difference between cracking a plate and smashing it. And after smashing it, whether you try to pick up the pieces or leave them to lie there and pretend nothing happened.
That second part is Bo-young: she had wanted forgiveness without repenting, and Hae-won wouldn’t give her it. But the moment she apologised sincerely, the forgiveness came anyway. I liked the idea of being able to outgrow old betrayals and make peace with the past, and that’s what I choose to take away from their story. Not a renewed or repaired friendship, but just a reconciliation over what happened, and that it was truly bad, but finally allowing each other to move on from it.
I can’t quite make sense of Aunt Myung-yeo’s ending, though. Why did she have to leave forever? Why was that not absolutely tragic? I didn’t sign up for a tragic ending, especially not for the person who’s been living the most tragic life. I’m also confused about what exactly the messaging is about what happened to Hae-won’s dad, aka Violent Wife-beater. Arguments for staying with an abusive spouse aside, I just don’t see how you make a murder victim out of a person who in every way brought his end upon himself. He had already assaulted his wife, and was well on his way to doing serious, potentially fatal, injury to both of them when Myung-yeo (literally) put her foot down. If those aren’t mitigating, non-murderous, self-defensive circumstances even on a bad day, then what on earth is? It’s like those cases where the bare facts overtake the clear truths, and it ends up utterly antithetical to all common sense.
I also feel like we went out of our way to distort the “final” truth so that Hae-won didn’t have to challenge her world-view, and that doesn’t work for me. It just doesn’t make sense and it lacks the honesty which she so values. Confronted with the previously-unknown truth about her senior family members, I would expect the point then to be her reconciling the reality of what she knew of who exactly her father was, against the reality of her mother’s and aunt’s experiences. That’s a crisis that was HERS to have, and it should have been the culmination of her arc. Instead, we got that weird turnaround situation where Aunt has to be Jesus for everyone and…no. Just no. That’s messed up.
I have really loved Hae-won as a no-nonsense, straightforward heroine with her own problems, but I feel like endgame-Hae-won is not the person I was rooting for. Why does she get to decide everyone’s fates? Why does she get to just come and go in Eun-seob’s life? Why is he okay with that? Why is she more special than everyone else, when that’s the opposite of what this show’s been telling us all along?
It’s hard to put my feelings about how Weather ended into the right words. It’s like when you’re deliciously enjoying your biryani, but it’s nearly finished and that makes you sad, and then you suddenly bite down on an elaichi (cardamom pod) and it puts a horrible end on a wonderful meal. There is so much I loved about this show, but the ending, especially for the three women, wasn’t it. I even didn’t like Hwi’s ending.
BUT: I absolutely adored Jang-woo (Lee Jae-wook) and his awkward romance with Eun-shil, and his defence of happiness in living an unremarkable life was very moving. That there is a better hero than anyone else in the show. I also loved how the book-club family really acted like a family towards each other (see: fixing up Grandpa’s house and welcoming him home) and their cross-generational ties that felt like something precious and lost. The world of this drama was really lovely, and it feels like a place that carries on laughing and living even when we’re not looking.
Speed: I upped it to 1.2 – 1.3 and refuse to apologise. Hae-won should apologise for making me do it.
365: Repeat the Year [13-24]
I thought this show was amazing at the start, but somehow I didn’t really feel the ending. Or I didn’t get it? I’ve been a bit sick and I realised that all the things that didn’t make sense to me happened in that fortnight XD So maybe this actually ended better than I thought (everyone else seems to love it), and there was something wrong with my brain. OR I hated who the villain was so much, and the show exceeded my acceptable evil-smirk quota.
BUT, final words: Lee Joon-hyuk is underrated and those last twentyish minutes were perfect. I greedily would have taken just one more episode for dessert fortification, but alas, one cannot have everything one wants.
Speed: 1.0 — Don’t rush a good meal.