KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: MASTER'S SUN
My gosh, episode 5 is definitely my favourite so far and I feel like this drama has finally hit the ground running after sort of struggling to find its proper groove for the first four episodes. I am finally getting ultra excited about it instead of just enjoying it as a fun brainless ride.
We delve into a bit of a ghost of the week plotline again, this time involving the rich young and very dead grandson of a prospective Chinese business partner to Joong-won's mall, played by the flirty bass player from 'Shut Up Flower Boy' who is now sporting that most horrendous of all fashionable man haircuts, business around the bottom and all party on the top.
Like a big muffin.
( This is a little off topic but I might point out that Joong-won is also rocking this latest muffin-top style for his hair too, a fact that makes me incredibly sad. Why is it that the latest 'in' hairstyle in Korea is so uncool looking and everybody has it.... from Lee Min Ho to Lee Jong-seok, Kim Woobin to freaking every other Korean man ever except Seo In-guk. Stop it evil haircut.... you're ruining it.)
So anywaaay, the dead boy's grandmother is trying to organise a ghost wedding for him through a ghost matchmaker, a freaky looking medium who can clearly channel with ghosts but apparently not actually see or speak to them. The whole ghost wedding thing isn't going that well though until the Matchmaker happens to come across Gong-shil talking to a ghost and so attempts to pimp her out to the dead boy, locking her in a room with him and telling her to spend the night.
Gong-shil isn't keen on spending the night with any ghosts, but she is trying her best to gather information about the grandmothers business plans, a mission given to her by Joong-won who has stationed her as manager of his storage room as her new job, a position Gong-shil isn't exactly thrilled about. She agrees to take on this new case because of some serious bribery, Joong-won offering free use of his body if she goes and finds the information he wants (it sounds so dirty and the scene where he bribes her is freaking hilarious. Ha!).
But once Joong-won hears what the Matchmaker is planning he rushes over to the mansion to help Gong-shil (but not before some serious inner debate) and attempts to free her from the locked room. This Grandmother is very crafty however and gives him the choice of choosing the business deal or Gong-shil, to which Joong-won chooses..... the freaking business deal.
Jeez this leading man still has a long way to go!
It's all good though and Gong-shil is totally fine, leaving the room easily on her own accord (a fact that Joong-won makes sure everyone is completely aware of) and happily announces that she has been speaking with the ghost. Together she and Joong-won solve the mystery of why the ghost is still lingering, all coming down to, you guessed it, a first love.
And although for a moment or two everyone suspects he may have been in love with a man, it doesn't take them long to track down the milk delivery girl whom the ghost has been waiting for.
This scene is actually a little sad and because the boy was totally socially inept and awkward, we see that he of course spent all his time telling this girl he really liked that she was ugly and useless. He even uses it as a chatup line before he kissed her, and as she runs off she lashes right out at him in return, calling him as skinny as a girl and ugly too.
Of course once he has died the milk girl is left feeling guilty and hurt, and the ghost is left haunting his house and waiting for her to return, his last wish being to show her the green roses he grew for her. When she finally does see these roses, she whispered that he lied because they are not ugly at all, almost like a metaphor for herself as she realises of course he was also always lying when he said those harsh words to her, and they were not actually what he meant at all.
It goes to show, make sure you tell the people you care about clearly that you love them, because you don't ever want to be left regretting some stupid words said in thoughtless haste that you didn't even mean.
All the ghost of the week stuff is fun enough, but as always it is the relationships that I really enjoy in this show and this week we delve a little deeper into the mystery that is Kang Woo, a character who I can already tell is going to break my heart.
After Gong-shil has successfully helped the grandmother and (more importantly) secured the business deal for his shopping mall, Joong-won offers her a lift home, but is shocked when she declines it. She tells him there is someone who likes her at the apartment block and it is already causing problems that she can't explain to him clearly why she needs to work so closely with the CEO, and so she doesn't want to confuse things any further by arriving home late at night in the CEO's car.
This is very unexpected news for Joong-won and he, being the petty petty man that he is, makes her get out of the car immediately, refusing to even drive her at all closer to her home. Gong-shil isn't particularly fazed by this however, as she feels like everything is finally going well for once and she even grabs Joong-won's hand as she leaves the car, pressing it up to her face lovingly and saying that she can't waste an opportunity of being able to touch him for free even if there aren't any ghosts around, as just his presence makes her feel safe.
It is actually quite adorable of her and I love how upfront she is being abut everything. I do think Joong-won has always believed her to be hitting on him all those times when she declared she will stick to his side always, and it would be hard not to with all this skinship she has been initiating.
But this also means he is a kind of taken aback to find out she never meant anything particularly romantic by her actions, and that Gong-shil is in fact actually crushing on another man and not Joong-won himself as I think he initially believed. I also think that this annoys him quite a bit although he would never really admit it of course.
As Gong-shil walks home some thugs start dragging her away but of course the dashing and handsome (soooo handsome) Kang Woo turns up and saves her. It turns out it was all just a misunderstanding however and the freaky looking Matchmaker lady just wants to have a word with her.
Now this conversation was so totally awesome that I have written it out down below and it is clearly hinting at a rather darker storyline to come, an idea that I am so absolutely loving, because although sad ghosts are okay, scary ones are just sooo much better.
Matchmaker: 'You are shining very brightly. That is why the dwellers of the dark seek you.'
Gong-shil: 'You see a light coming from me?'
Matchmaker: 'They may complain and ask for favours, but you must be on your guard. Some of the ghosts are quietly waiting for an opportunity. They will try to use you, to try to find a chance to come back.
The dark swallows the brightness in the end, and the dead swallows the living in the end.
Be careful not to be swallowed up.'
And then the creepy woman just walks off, leaving Gong-shil staring after her.
I love this conversation, and as it happens we see in flashes that Hee-joo is waiting, watching Joong-won (as he examines the hand that Gong-shil pressed against her face earlier...awww) and lingering unseen in his house, and also that the youngest of the two sweet boys who live in Gong-shil's apartment has encountered a terrifying doll and its ghostly children companions.
I also adore the conversation that Kang Woo shares with Gong-shil outside her apartment. It seems to me that this is the first real thing he has said the whole time he has known her, and from his guilty expression and honest words you can tell how much she is affecting him, making him want to be genuine and sincere when he is with her.
The boy is falling in love.
It starts when Kang-woo begins again to press Gong-shil for information about her new job next to the CEO and she just dives right in, stripping back any pretence in order to be honest with him, her straightforwardness and lack of game playing is so refreshing and Kang Woo hardly knows what to do or where to look, the guilt coming off him being both tangible and raw.
Kang Woo: 'Your not giving me details as usual.'
Gong-shil: 'Do you like me for real?
Is that why you keep wanting to get to know me?
The reason why I can't talk about myself well is because I am really happy that somebody likes me. Because I am afraid that if he knows, he'll run away.
You're wondering what's so great about this girl that she's scaring you like that, right? Is she perhaps a north Korean spy? Is she a criminal? Is she originally a man? You have all kinds of thoughts, right?
But, whatever you're thinking, you'll be even more surprised.
I have warned you. Don't come any closer.
....thank you for today.'
Kang-woo: 'Don't thank me. Because that makes me feel sorry. You're not the only one with secrets. I may have something that I am not telling you about. After listening to your warning, I do get a little scared... that I might disappoint you.'
It is such a nice scene, and really endears Kang Woo to me, even so much as to be momentarily sorry he isn't the male lead in this drama. Also he doesn't have Muffin hair like Joong-won which is a pretty attractive quality in a man as far as I am concerned.
After this exchange Gong-shil feels pretty depressed, and the next day at work she tells Joong-won all about it, much to my delight and his absolute horror. I think it is ultra good for Joong-won to be forced into acknowledging his own burgeoning feelings for Gong-shil by seeing Kang Woo moving in on his girl, because otherwise I suspect he would just continue stringing Gong-shil along forever, content for her to be at his side where he can say nasty things to her whenever he feels like it with no thought of her ever leaving him or wanting more. In other words he would continue with a completely responsibility and commitment free relationship if he could, which would suit his own closed up and cold nature due to the wounds inflicted in his past, but seeing Gong-shil liking someone else is forcing him to realise that it is not something that would work.
When Gong-shil tells Joong-won that it is over with Kang Woo because she is too afraid to ever tell him about her secret, Joong-won seems a bit relieved and when he leaves the office he tells his secretary that today they will take Gong-shil with them in the car, a sure sign that he is starting to see her in a new light and not only as a special tool to be used to better his own position.
But as Joong-won walks outside, he sees Kang Woo speaking to Gong-shil, the two smiling shyly at each other. Immediately Gong-shil tells Joong-won in her thrilled open and honest way that Kang Woo has told her to have courage and she wants to give their relationship a try.
Cue the crushing of Joong-won's heart.....
Also, I totally forgot to mention that thing also was a thing that happened this episode!!
Ha! It was ridiculously awesome!
Episode 6's Ghost of the Week is a euthanised Military dog, and Joong-won and Gong-shil get to spend some quality time together as they slowly work to solve this mystery, a plot device I will always love.
It starts with a dog sighting in the mall, interrupting Gong-shil's dinner date with friends and also her new crush Kang Woo. After his encouraging words last episode and the candy he gave her, she is attempting to find the right time to come clean with him about her ability, taking advice from Joong-won whose suggestion of bringing up the subject of ghosts first to get an idea of Kang Wooo's reaction is actually a pretty good idea. (And also a nice gesture for Joong-won to help her with this at all, when he is clearly feeling a few pangs of jealousy. Not that he has exactly realised yet that it is what he is feeling.) But when the topic of ghosts does arise among the friends, Kang Woo reacts in the worst possible way, screaming at everyone to stop saying such useless things and that he hates people who say they see ghosts most of all.
Huh, bummer. Not quite the result Gong-shil was hoping for.
This definitely puts a spanner in the works and makes the possibility of them having a real honest relationship that bit more unlikely.
But when Kang Woo storms off to the bathroom to get away from everyone he has a massive freak out when his own reflection scares him in the mirror. So wait, he is just terrified of ghosts and not actually a sceptic? Heh!
At the shopping centre, everyone is searching for the mysterious dog until they realise that the intruder is a man, apparently a deserter from the Army and there was never a dog present at all. But Kang Woo overhears Gong-shil telling Joong-won that there definitely was a dog which gets his interest piqued and he confronts her, being way too pushy and nosy for my liking as he grills her on what she is hiding from him. (Pfft he has no right to be grumpy at her for hiding stuff!) Gong-shil manages to explain her earlier words and reveals the object she was hiding was actually the candy he gave her which has been crushed into two, almost as a symbol of their relationship which seems to have been broken before it even begun. Gong-shil says she is sorry she can't reveal herself to him and walks away.
When Gong-shil tells Joong-won about Kang Woo's rather unfavourable reaction to ghosts in general, this actually elicits a rather pleased looking smile from the CEO, which is both petty and hilarious. I am liking their easy comraderie established over the last few episodes, in which they are beginning to act like long time friends, comfortable and easy around each other, with Gong-shil speaking her mind and sharing her thoughts with Joong-won honestly and openly all the time. Although Joong-won still tells her to get lost and acts like he doesn't enjoy her constant company, sometimes his guard does fall and he acts naturally with her and without pretence, as if he just somtimes forgets that he's meant to be acting with disdain and dislike towards her.
Kang Woo has also being sharing some encounters with the hilarious but meddling second female lead Yi-ryung whom I actually really enjoy as a character. She seems like the kind of second female lead whose manipulative personality and sneaky revenge schemes will only ever backfire on herself, making her loads of fun to watch and (hopefully) essentially harmless. She and Kang Woo have entered into a deal where she will try and steal Joong-won away from Gong-shil, and also feed any information she finds to Kang Woo f he helps her, which I might mention is so totally uncool of him.
But the problem with this is that Yi-ryung is also totally falling for Kang Woo, even though he is only ever mean and uninterested in her, save for a few inappropriately swoony moments where he seems to be messing with her mind in my opinion.
He is a piece of work this Kang Woo. Last episode I was totally beginning to ship him with Gong-shil when he was showing a little honesty, but now I am thinking he is just underhanded and totally untrustworthy and is in no way good enough for her.
As a thank you for saving her (cue swoon 'bodyguard' moment as he carries her away), Yi-ryung offers Kang Woo two tickets to a musical, clearly hoping that he will ask her to go with him. Which of course he doesn't. He runs straight off to Gong-shil and asks her out on a date to see the show that night which she happily accepts. They have made up after their last few awkward encounters, with Kang Woo apologising for his over the top reaction to the Ghost thing in another quiet and seemingly honest conversation this couple share. He also admits that he is actually rather scared by the thought of spirits due to past Military trauma and that because he saw many people die and had so many nightmares he even had to receive counselling, and this is why the idea of ghosts around him really frightens him. That kind of makes me like him again..... being all honest and showing his vulnerability.. awww. But also, what a lying jerk!
Although Joong-won and Gong-shil have the collar of the dead dog, Joong-won doesn't want to go after the burglar in case its too dangerous which rather warms Gong-shil's heart as she was sure he wouldn't care about her safety at all. But that night Joong-won experiences a totally weirdo dream, the dead ghost dog turning up along with some dancing ladies to sing a Wonder Girls song at him. Ha! Not being very impressed that he now has a ghost invading his dreams, he immediately tells Gong-shil that they must solve this problem and not ignore it like he originally wanted to do.
The two embark on a mission to find the soldier, along the way enjoying some quality time together which is very cute to watch.
I particularly liked the scene in the coffee shop where he tells Gong-shil that he absolutely doesn't trust her, to which she answers happily that he is following her and a dead dog that he can't even see and if that isn't trust than what is? Joong-won just stares after her looking mildly surprised before seeming to concede to himself that she has a point. Looking kind of resigned to the fact that she is right, (and not unhappy about it at all), he follows her out of the shop.
When they finally find the location where the deserter is hiding, Joong-won gets a call about the identity of the soldier and he realises that the young man has a gun. He tells Gong-shil that they absolutely can't go into the shop to confront him as they might get shot. He tells her to ignore the dog and live like a normal woman, to get ready for her date with Kang Woo and forget this ever happened. He even offers her his hand saying he will help her to ignore them, but of course Gong-shil can't do it. She backs away and runs into the shop, leaving an angry Joong-won yelling after her.
And then Joong-won hears a gunshot from the building and rushes inside in an absolute panic calling Gong-shil's name in terror. She is of course totally fine having been pulled outside by security guards before she even got near the soldier, who in fact had no intention of hurting anyone and was trying to take his own life. The soldier's story is once again a very sad one, a lonely young man who was being bullied in the military and had no friends, his only companion being the german shepherd dog he was working with. Because apparently everyone in this part of the army are huge douches with no empathy whatsoever they order the soldier to euthanise his own dog (!?) when they say it has no use anymore, and so the poor boy is basically forced to kill his only friend. Oh gosh, so horrible.
But before he can take his own life, Joong-won turns up and absolutely handles the whole situation with such a cool and calm manner under pressure (and at freaking gunpoint) that you can't help but be impressed. He pretends he can see the dead dog and hands the young man the collar, telling him the dog is still looking out for him. And when the police turn up to lead the soldier away, Joong-won does the most impressive thing ever when he tells the young man he will have a job waiting for him at the shopping mall when he gets out the long as he doesn't cause any more trouble. That just warms my heart and is such a huge step forward in Joong-won becoming a functional human being with feelings! And as Gong-shil points out, this dead dog is so smart, not only saving his friend from death but even giving him a reason to live and a chance of happiness in the future. I am so impressed!
Meanwhile we see that Kang Woo is at the theatre waiting for Gong-shil to turn up when he gets a mysterious phone call. He answers and says to the person on the other end that although he will continue to watch and report on all of Joong-won's affairs, he will no longer be reporting on Gong-shil. He explains into the phone that he doesn't want to lie to her anymore .....and of course Yi-ryung totally overhears and confronts him. This isn't going to be good for him at all!
Back at the shop, Joong-won and Gong-shil are waiting for the police and photographers to leave before they exit, and are hanging out on a couch upstairs alone. They have become so comfortable in each others company now and I am really liking that their romance is starting with a strong foundation in friendship first. It is the kind of beginning that Joong-won does need as he has a lot of emotional baggage that kind of needs to be dealt with before he can be a good partner to anyone. As they wait, Gong-shil asks him to sign a release form about not suing the store for damages but of course Joong-won can't read it, leading him to finally confess his secret (or 'weakness' as he calls it). She listens and says she wishes she could be a safe harbour to him and cure his affliction by her touch in the same way that he can do for her. It is such a sweet moment, Joong-won exposing himself in a way he has never done before, allowing his vulnerability to show through, ending with Gong-shil reading the form to him, always too fast or too slow which seems to be on purpose to aggravate him. I love her!
The episode ends with Gong-shil sleeping soundly on the couch next to Joong-won as he watches her intently, finally reaching over to place his hand on hers as he tests out her offer of being his safe harbour. And then he leans his face in close to hers....
I am sure it is a feint and nothing will come from this move next episode but it was still a lovely quiet moment nonetheless which really revealed a little more of Joong-won's sensitve side and how, slowly but steadily Gong-shil is becoming someone that matters to him, someone trustworthy whom he can rely on.