Posted in kdrama

Scripting Your Destiny (2021)

Profile
Drama: Scripting Your Destiny (당신의 운명을 쓰고 있습니다)
Network: TVING
Episodes: 10
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Runtime: Friday 16:00
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
A diety of destiny falls in love with a human.

Main Cast
Ki Do Hoon – Shin Ha Yoon
Jeon So Nee – Go Chae Kyung
Park Sang Nam – Myung
Kim Woo Seok – Jung Bareum
Kal So Won – Sam Shin
So Hee Jung – Mi Soon

Review:
This is a short web drama (10 eps at 25mins each) so the story is fast paced. We don’t get the full setup of the characters or the god of diety rules but enough to understand the story. The plot is interesting, actually I feel like the material is good enough for a full fledged drama. However, because the story is so short, there is not much time for the viewers to really think of the main theme of the story or how it really translated in the execution of the story. I honestly wasn’t sure how I feel about the destiny written by god should be followed versus this is your life, you make your own choices (aka free will).

I mean, I love Hayoon and Chae Kyung. Somehow they’re destined to be with each other, that’s why they keep meeting so many times. But who wrote it so as Chae Kyung will be destined to be with Hayoon (was it Myung who was in-charge in writing Chae Kyung’s life)? But why would you do that knowing full well that Hayoon is a god and you can’t pair a god with a human because as soon as the god feels human emotions, he disappears? It’s just so cruel, not just to Hayoon but also to Chae Kyung who will have to suffer that same fate and most likely stay forever alone in her lifetime.

The ending wasn’t satisfying. *Spoilers ahead*

I thought it could have ended at ep 9 and I would be happy. Because that’s what we were made to understand. That as soon as Hayoon feels emotions, he will disappear, and dieties are only given 3 chances then they disappear forever. If that’s the case, what the heck happened in episode 10??? Hayoon is back with no memory of Chae Kyung, he is now Myung, leading the newbie dieties. He ends up meeting her again (Chae Kyung wished for it) it was weird, like we’re back to square 1. Are they going to repeat the cycle forever? See how awful that is? Hayoon even said I may not remember you but I hope she never forgets him! So selfish!!!

They also sometimes bend the rules of diety elimination to suit the story. There was one diety who disappeared as soon as he defended a human but it took some time for Hayoon to disappear. He even kissed Chaekyung, they hugged etc and he was able to say goodbye to her. Plus, why does Hayoon get to be back on earth as a diety while Myung disappears because he altered the will of life? And Sam shin went to school to meet with the cutie student, why is she still on earth?

Lastly, why do they have to make Chaekyung wear ugly curly hair?? It doesn’t even impact the story or her character other than make her look different from high school.

Rating: 8/10 (8.5 upto episode 9 minus 0.5 for the terrible ending)


Posted in movies

The Yin Yang Master: Dream of Eternity (2020)

Profile:
Movie: The Yin Yang Master: Dream of Eternity (晴雅集)
Release Date: Dec 25, 2020
Duration: 2 hr. 12 min.
Country: China

Plot:
Based on the novel Onmyoji, yin yang masters gather together to prevent a demonic serpent from escaping the royal court and taking over the country.

Main Cast:
Mark Chao – Qing Ming
Deng Lun – Boya
Ava Wang – Princess Zhang Ping
Wang Duo – He Shou Ye / Zhong Xing
Jessie Li – Long Ye

Review:
I watched both versions and I like this one better. Maybe because I watched this first or maybe because i like the emotional story more than the other one.

The visuals were amazing. Too amazing sometimes that it looks too unreal, then I realize I’m watching a fantasy movie so I should expect a lot of CGI.

I liked the friendship between Qingming and Boya. They started antagonistic with each other (well, more on Boya as the angry kid and Qingming as the cool one). I feel like Boya learned to mature because of Qing Ming while Qing Ming found a friend.

The mystery of the villain was predictable and even though I hated the Princess and Shouyue, i still cried for their sad fate. A little too long for the in the second half but it gave some emotional depth to the story. I loved the giant serpent and the fight scene between it and Qing Ming /Boya. It was huge, I didn’t know how Qing Ming can take down the serpent!

What I didn’t understand is the presence of the hair demon. She killed the old master and tried to kill Long Ye, for what? It later turns out she was against the Empress (so why was she helping her?) Or was it because the hair demon was under the control of Shouye so she is forced to kill? Whatever, but it was creepy.

Rating: 8.5/10


Posted in kdrama

KAIROS (2020)

Profile
Drama: Kairos (카이로스)
Network: MBC
Episodes: 16
Release Date: October 26 – December 22, 2020
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 21:30

Plot
Kim Seojin lost his wife and child due to a kidnapping attempt. Han Aeri loses her mom in the hospital. A chance phone call between the two makes then realize that Han Aeri is living one month in the past. They strike a deal: Han Aeri will help Kim Seojin prevent the kidnapping in her timeline while he helps Han Aeri find her missing mother in the future. Will they be able to change the future by changing the past? Or are they doomed to meet the same fate?

Main Cast
Shin Seung Rok – Kim Seojin
Lee Se Young – Han Aeri
Ahn Bo Hyun – Seo Do Kyun
Nam Gyuri – Kang Hyun Chae
Shin Goo – Chairman Yu
Kang Seung Yoon – Im Geun Wook
Lee Joo Myoung – Park Soo Jung
Hwang Jung Min – Kwak Song Ja
Cho Dong In – Lee Tae Kyu
Ko Kyu Pil – Kim Jin Ho
Lim Chul Hyung – Park Ho Young

Review
This was one of the better and tightly written Kdrama about bending time! Every episode was tense and fast paced. I didn’t know what I was expecting at the end of each episode as they try to change the past which results to a new future. How many times did Han Aeri and Kim Seojin die or get arrested? LOL! I loved the idea that no matter how much they try to change or react to the current situation, it will still repeat until they address the main issue, which is who is trying to kill them and why?

One of the toughest thing to do in a time travel or time bending kind of drama is making sure the story and the rules remain consistent all through out the show and not changing the rules in the middle or at the last part to drive the resolution or actions of the characters. I’m happy to say that the time bending rules in Kairos were mostly consistent. If there were any plotholes, (i can’t think of any), these were trivial to the overall story. I appreciated that they put a date mark every time they switch the months so we don’t get confused, esp in the last 4 episodes when every day of both time lines were crucial and we kept switching from past to present. Sometimes i would forget what has happened because the past is being changed every other episode.

Terrific acting from everyone, esp Shin Seung Rok and Lee Se Young. Shin Seung Rok was amazing as the cold Kim Seojin (in August) slowly transitioning to the nicer Kim Seojin (in Sept). While Han Aeri’s raw emotions whenever she cries after losing her mom or finding out what happens to herself and Kim Seojin in the future was so gut wrenching to watch! I don’t know which is worse — Aeri who is in the past knowing people will die in the future if she doesn’t do anything in the present, or Seojin who is in the future knowing what happens to everyone and having the burden of telling everyone who dies or lives while desperately choosing which past action they need to change to make it right.

I thought we’ll see a better future if we changed the past. Do you regret getting a peek of the future after meeting me? – Han Aeri

In the past, present and future, I never expected to live my life without any pain. However, there won’t be any hope unless I face the truth. That’s one thing I do know. -Kim Seojin

Episode 29

There was a lot of trial and error because every time they change something in the present, it triggers another bad change in the future. That’s why I love the team work between the leads, plus Aeri’s friends, her mom and Kim Jinho because everyone is crucial to their success. They were only able to communicate once a day at 10:33pm for 1 minute, and it took a lot of effort for them to both investigate and share clues from both sides, all the while convincing their other selves to listen and cooperate.

I was frustrated with Aeri’s mom at the start. She was not talking and not telling Aeri what is really happening because she wants to “protect her daughter”. Keeping information from Aeri was the worst she could do given that it’s a life or death situation. Good thing she realized that later on.

The main bad guy is the Chairman, and I already made that guess early on because (1) old chairmans are always bad in kdramaland and (2) he was too nice to be true. He was so evil to intentionally kill people just for his company to flourish and to hide his crime. His answer to everything is: KILL THEM. Kill Kwak Song Ja, Kill Kim Jin Ho, Kill Kang Hyun Chae, Kill Han Aeri, Kill Kim Seojin. LOL. How did this guy become a CEO when he wasn’t that creative? It’s so creepy that he knows where everyone is at anytime of the day.

Explosive demolition is only for abandoned buildings like this that are vacant. How could you deliberately blow up a building that was full of people? – Kim Seojin

Everyone’s bound to die. I just helped them not die in vain. That building may have collapsed that day, but Yujung rose. Compared to the number of lives lost at Taejung Town that day, countless more have been able to make ends meet thanks to Yujung. And even more have found safety in the houses we’ve built. The moment I feed those people who accuse me of being immoral is when I become their savior. That’s the way of the world. – Chairman Yu Seo Il

Episode 30, confession scene October 15

I also hated Lee Tae Kyu from episode 1, his hunching walk, his smirk, his evil laugh was so annoying. And he was getting away with all his misdeeds with no one catching him and reporting him!!! Argh!!! His only redeeming scene is when Lee Tae Kyu told Seo Do Kyun that Kang Hyun Chae is playing him and he should drop her.

Speaking of Seo Do Kyun, I both hated and pitied him. He made the wrong choices because of his obsessive love for a selfish woman. I didn’t feel bad when he died, Lee Tae Kyu and Kim Seojin both told him he will die and he should stay away from Hyun Chae but he loved her too much. I didn’t like how his death became “hero” like because he definitely did not act like one the entire show. He was sabotaging Aeri and Seojin at every turn. Honestly, i thought he will be the bad guy who will become good in the end. But somehow he became an unnecessary nuisance in the latter part of the show. It felt like he and Hyun chae has a separate story on the side that didn’t necessarily jibe with the main story (more on this later). Which i thought was unfortunate and disappointing. I didn’t like him, but I kept on hoping his ending will be to let go of Hyun Chae and start anew. Because he deserved a better woman.

What would you do if you could foresee the future, and the ending wasn’t what you wanted? Would that make a difference? Don’t you regret your decision? – Seo Do Kyun

I don’t. – Kang Hyun Chae

Episode 30

As for Kang Hyun Chae – where do I start? She was equally evil b*tch. I have to say, the whole premise of the kidnapping was very misleading, since Hyun Chae and Do Kyun’s plan was actually not related to the main story after all! I also think that Hyun Chae’s story with her father was unnecessary. Hyun Chae was so bad, I’m not sure if anyone pitied her when she was being harrassed or killed by her dad. Yes, she was beaten up by her father, but she still tried to burn their house down at 7 years old, used a guy’s love for her for more than 10 years to manipulate him, married a guy for his money and privilege, tried to kidnap her own daughter, hired someone to kill her husband, and tried to blackmail Chairman Yu (something that was way over her head). Whew! Truly rotten. I’m surprised she survived instead of Do Kyun. On one hand, I thought she deserved to die after all that she did, but on the other hand, maybe living but losing everything she has is even worse than death.

It was all because of my greed. You see I was only there in the university to drop out. As I was getting sick and tired of living with a poor guy, that’s when you came into my life. You looked like a savior who’d help me retrieve everything that I had lost. I tried so hard not to lose anything. But I lost everything that was dear to me. – Kang Hyun Chae

You have no right to pity yourself. People who are in worse, no, not everyone who’s in the same situation as you would make the same choices. You ruined yourself. Now take responsibility. – Kim Seojin

Episode 32, prison visit scene

Overall, the ending was satisfying because they were able to neatly wrap all the characters’ stories. I loved that Han Aeri and Kim Seojin’s family became one happy family. Kim Seojin has always been alone since his father died. So it’s nice to see him and his daughter have a mother like figure of Song Ja, and good friends like Aeri, Soojung and Gun Wook. Both Aeri and Seojin also learned to cherish their present and the appreciate the people around them. Still laughing at Gun wok becoming rich because Kim Seojin gave him the lottery numbers (haha). At least they won’t have to worry about money anymore. and I’m sure Kim Seojin will be generous to them.

What would you wish for if you were to make contact with the future again? – Kim Seojin

I’m done with that kind of wishful thinking. I learned that turning back time isn’t the key that solves all. I now know that changing the past has its consequences. – Han Aeri

I’ve lived my life only going forward. Doing so, had me take for granted those precious in my life. – Kim Seojin

Then we both have no need to know what the future holds. – Han Aeri

I don’t know what awaits me in the future, but I’m no longer afraid of what’s to come. – Kim Seojin

For the last few months, I spent my days only waiting for the time to tell 10:33 pm. So I wished that I can cherish every minute of the day now. – Han Aeri

Episode 32, campsite scene

Rating: 9/10 (Story is 9.5, but minus 0.5 because I didn’t like how Dokyun and Hyunchae’s story ended)

Posted in kdrama

Alice (2020)

Profile:
Drama: Alice (앨리스)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: August 28 – October 24, 2020
Runtime: Friday & Saturday 22:00-23:10

Plot
Park Sun Young is a time traveller from 2050 who decided to stay in the past to give birth to her child. Years later, she was mysteriously killed and the child (Jin Gyeom) eventually grew up to be a cop. Fast forward to 2020, Jin Gyeom continues to search for clues on the night of his mother’s murder and meets a professor who looks just like his mom. Together, they try to solve his mother’s murder and fight against the time travellers who wants to stop them.

Main Cast
Kim Hee Sun – Park Sun Young / Yoon Tae Yi
Joo Won – Jin Gyeom
Kwak Si Yang – Min Hyuk

Review:
Warning: The last 30 minutes ruined the entire show for me 😭

The first half was so interesting and intriguing. I loved the twists at every last scene. But story got so confusing esp episode 14 that i had to stop watching coz it was a big WTH just happened? The final reveal of who the Teacher was unexpected and i loved the main conflict of killing the son or the mother. It’s like chicken and egg dilemma. Wished they explored this earlier rather than giving out all the information in the last 2 episodes! I dont know if Park Sun Young is selfish or selfless. I really liked her more than Yoon Tae Yi who is supposed to be a professor but doesn’t have a lot of common sense.

The time travel rules kept changing to suit the story when it didn’t make sense. I already gave the show a pass on a lot of things. My main issue here is that the show keeps insisting that the people in each dimension may be the same but are different. How can that be when it’s just the say person, you just went back in time to your own self? So whatever you do while you time travel should affect yourself. Plus, what’s the point to going back to time travel if the person is not really you? I think they were pushing this theory to justify that Jin Gyeom fell in love with Profession Tae Yi who is not his mom because she’s from a different dimension. I mean, c’mon! Tae Yi and Sun Young are the same person and have the same DNA!

The unnecessary romantic vibes between Jin Gyeom and Taeyi grossed me out for most part of the show but i kept on watching hoping there is a valid resolution to this. And up until episode 14 i thought the show finally put a stop at it. Had i known this was where the show was really going i would have stopped watching earlier on. Too bad because I really liked the interaction between Tae Yi and Jin Gyeom when they are being non-romantic.

Further to the stupid theory, in the latter episodes, Jin Gyeom and Tae Yi met their own selves and when they went back to 2020, suddenly the memories from their different dimensions are merging and now they’re saying they are actually the same person! LOL! Really couldn’t handle that weird logic.

Probably the main highlight and only reason I continued to watch the drama is because of Minhyuk 🥰🥰🥰 He shined in every scene. I was already expecting that he will make this “big” sacrifice to show Jin Gyeom that he could have been a good father to him had he known. I think his character’s story could have been meatier. Can i propose a prequel of Minhyuk’s and Sun Young’s love story? Or maybe create another dimension where they survived and lived happily ever after? (Without Jin Gyeom haha)

Overall, I would have given this an 8 despite the flaws but the ending made zero sense. Spoiler: if all time travellers reset then why is Jin Gyeom alive and why Jin Gyeom and Tae Yi were able to retain their memories?

Please check out my instagram (www.instagram.com/kdramadreaming) for more episodes thoughts on Alice. You can use hashtag #kddalice for faster search.

Rating: 7.5/10


Posted in kdrama

Train (2020)

Profile:
Drama: Train (트레인)
Network: OCN
Episodes: 12
Release Date: July 11 – August 16, 2020
Runtime: Sat. & Sun. 22:30

Plot:
A detective tries to catch a serial killer who was dumping bodies inside a luggage at the Mukyeong Train Station. The same killer kills his love, and he ends up in a parallel universe, where the people are the same but the circumstances are different. Will he be able to solve the crime or will he get stuck in the other universe?

Main Cast:
Yoon Si Yoon – Seo Dowon
Kyung Soo Jin – Seo Kyung

Review:
Really intense, tightly written drama. Great acting from everyone, especially Yoon Si Yoon and Choi Seung Yoon. Very unpredictable story, it kept me guessing not only about the killer, but what will happen next and how it will end. Just when I thought I know who the killer is, the drama surprises us with one big twist after another. And another. I’ve never been so happy being so wrong and looking forward to the next episode with my mouth hanging open from disbelief and amazement.

I think I had an idea who might be the killer (because there were only a few characters to choose from, but what I didn’t know was why that person was killing. When they revealed the killer, it was so twisted and sick i wanted to steal Seokyung’s gun and just end the killer’s misery. The conversation between the killer and Dowon was shocking. I had the same expression of “no it cant be you’re kidding!” on Dowon’s face.

I really loved Yoon Si Yoon as the triple Seo Do Won, i mean man, sometimes i had to stop and remember that this was one person acting as 3 versions of the same character. That was how good and convincing he was! I wished more people had a chance to watch this drama and see Yoon Si Yoon, who has always been underrated but better skilled actor compared to his peers.

That one scene where Dowon told Seo Kyung that “There hasn’t been a single moment that I haven’t loved you” was like the most swoon worthy time travelling confession I’ve ever heard in my kdrama watching life! So simple yet so sincere. Beats even Lee Minho in The King Eternal Monarch!!

Due to the shorter episodes, there were several questions that were left unanswered, esp on how you can cross boundaries, but it didn’t deter me from enjoying the story because this drama didn’t focus on how you cross worlds. From the start it was all about the characters and how the consequences of their actions can change their world. The ending was left to our imagination, which i liked because it gave me hope that somewhere Dowon and Seokyung found each other again but felt like it was “too nice” of an ending from a very grim drama. I would have been have happy with them going back to their own worlds and treating it like a dream.

Rating: 9/10