KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: MASTER'S SUN
The Master’s Sun is chugging along quite nicely so far though it has occurred to me it is actually a very common romantic comedy plot in some ways, just with some added ghosts to give it a bit of a quirky flavour. For example, we have the hardworking poor nice girl along with the cold disconnected rich guy which is obviously a staple in dramaland, but I do think the mix of creepy and silly ghosts as well as Joong-won’s backstory mystery add a lot of freshness to these rather clichéd characters. So maybe it is not an entirely original idea, and I have basically come across these characters in different incarnations many times before, but it really doesn’t matter or bother me at all when I watch this drama just because the actors have so much chemistry and charm in their roles that I can’t help but adore them no matter what they do. And the fact that they are sleuthing into ghost mysteries just adds to the fun, because fun is exactly what this drama is for me, just an amusing and breezy ride with plenty of giggles to go around.
During Episode three I began to wonder if Gong-shil actually has any feelings for Joong-won at all outside of him being her ‘safe harbour’ away from ghosts, because her complete openness to the nice looking Kang-woo from Room 404 shows she is pretty happy to enjoy whatever male attention she can get, no matter from which direction it is coming. This isn’t a bad thing at all and I kind of like that she is so bashful and flirty with both men, and although her flirting is kind of terrible she is just so adorable I can understand why both guys are becoming quite interested in her. The only problem is of course that Kang-woo has some serious ulterior motives and I don’t want to see her get hurt by him which I suppose is the exact direction we are heading in.
Gong-shil doesn’t seem to be actively chasing Joong-won romantically, although she is pretty honest when she expresses her wish of staying next to him forever even if it’s not in a relationship exactly. I also like that because of her we are already seeing changes in Joong-won, a man who has been very clear that he never does anything for nothing, and yet he is beginning to do things for Gong-shil for no other reason than because he worries for her, and although he is still trying to pretend he is only helping her when it helps him too, I think fairly soon he will have to realise for himself that it is no longer exactly true.
I loved the scene where Gong-shil has been humiliated in the shopping centre as she tries to accuse the shop owner of having an affair. Normally we see everyone’s harsh words and jibes just rolling off Gong-shil’s shoulders with even Joong-won’s oft-times cruel words never even seeming to penetrate her thick skin or affect her even slightly (which I love), but this time it is different. Gong-shil is trying to do the right thing by attempting to save the ghost’s mother from being forever fooled by this horrible man, but it goes so badly that she is dragged outside into the shopping mall’s hallways where all the customers stare and point at her as a crazy woman. When she falls to the floor she is so humiliated and frustrated that this is all her life has become that Gong-shil can’t even bring herself to stand up again and instead she just stays there, tears beginning to spring into her eyes. I can’t imagine how painful it must be for her to always be treated like she is crazy, but because she is a decent person she can’t just let these things go and feels she must try and help the ghost get her last wish, not only because the ghost won’t leave her alone but also because it is the right thing to do. And this is something she expresses to Joong-won when he tells her he is the kind of man who won’t help anyone else without a reason. She is different from him and she can’t let these things go and just choose to ignore them like he has.
And that is what makes it extra special when Joong-won stands up for her in the shopping centre in front of everyone. By offering her his hand, he is actually empathising with her instead of just brushing her fears away for a change, and the fact that he is letting her have physical contact with him is something to note as well, because touching him makes Gong-shil feel safe, a fact that Joong-won is totally aware of and by this gesture he has actually, in that one moment only, offered to be her shield and protect her.
Sure, later on Joong-won says he was only doing it for himself because the shop owner was defecting to the Giant Mall across the street, but if that was the case he would never have offered Gong-shil his hand or let her touch him.
Another moment when he found his attitude changing towards her was when she appears in front of him terrified in the car park. At first Joong-won just tries to leave and ignore her, but in the end he can’t do it, going back to help her almost against his own better judgement. I am really liking these developments a lot and I must admit I would particularly enjoy it if Joong-won actually fell for Gong-shil first, maybe being forced to watch her bad flirting with Kang-woo for a little longer, just to serve him right for being such a big arsehat to her all this time.
Episode 4 really brought Kang-woo's underhanded behaviour to the forefront and we now know he is working for his dad. Does his interest in Gong-shil run a little deeper than just duty though or is hitting on her really part of the plan? I think he is actually rather intrigued by her and that he most likely is feeling sincere attraction towards her, but whether he will use those feelings in a sincere way or to further his own agenda is still yet to be seen. Its pretty clear that Kang-woo's main target is Joong-won in whatever scheme is unfolding and it is obviously centred around the dead girl Hee-joo, but what I don't know is if it has something to do with the kidnappers themselves or if its some sort of revenge for that girls death, concocted by her surviving family. There isn't much information about this yet although it is clear that Hee-joo was definitely involved in the kidnap plot herself, though her affection for the young Joong-won does appear to have been genuine. Which makes it fairly understandable that Joong-won has turned into such a cold and cut-off individual, only interested in money and definitely not someone concerned with feelings or human emotions.
And that makes it even more fun that Gong-shil is affecting him so much and causing these changes in him. Suddenly, as much as he complains about her and tells her he dislikes her, he is constantly worrying about her and aware of her.
Also, Joong-won has finally discovered a use for our heroine, a legitimate excuse to keep her near him that suits them both, though at this early stage he is still convinced it is all strictly business. I don't think this is entirely the case already, as evident by the fact that they seemed to be having a rather fun time together at the Charity Function as Gong-shil helps him by pointing out the unseen baggage that some of the other guests have brought with them, an exchange witnessed by a rather jealous looking Kang-woo. The security Chief's focus on Gong-shil might just be about gathering information but it was certainly a tinge of jealousy evident on his face.
The ghost of the week stuff was actually pretty fun for me this episode and not overly laden with emotional melodrama, rather it was a creepy and interesting spirit obsessed with prettiness who didn't even get vanquished at the end, which was a little different to normal. Gong-shil helped her frenemy get rid of the spirit but seemed to be okay with the ghost just moving on to someone else afterwards, so maybe this ghost doesn't have a particularly easily solvable last grievance and is instead just a rotten spirit to the core. Whatever it was, it created some amusing scenes and I found that overall episode 4 was probably my favourite so far. Another reason for this would be the final few scenes between Gong-shil and Joong-won which I think was one of the first times we have truly seen them falter and lose their cool.
When Gong-shil tries to comfort Joong-won by telling him that his dead first love wants him to forgive himself, she couldn't know that it is the very last thing he would ever want to hear, and also that he immediately knows her to be lying considering it was actually his dead love who was involved in the kidnapping. Joong-won completely loses his calm facade and screams at Gong-shil to get the hell out and never come back, his incredible anger obviously stemming from hurt. Gong-shil is shocked by his outburst and begins to cry as she leaves, explaining she only wanted to help him because she feels so grateful to him. Usually we see his and everyone else's cruel jibes just flow off her like water, but this time she is deeply affected by his words, seeming to understand that she has said something really terrible.
Joong-won is a character who never really shows much emotion beyond disdain and his extreme outburst here is the most emotional we have ever before seen him, and maybe he is not feeling anything good right now but I still believe it is better to feel anger than nothing at all, which is how he seems to have been living his life previously, burying everything deep inside. Gong-shil is causing him to face his own inner feelings and she is bringing everything up to the surface, not just his anger but also him caring about things, something I get the impression he hasn't really done for a long time.
And that is why even after this terrible damaging exchange, Joong-won still can't ignore the fact that Gong-shil might be in trouble and his first thoughts upon hearing of a nearby accident that has caused massive loss of life is to rush off and find her. And protect her. He is beginning to care about something other than himself and it is all because of Gong-shil.