KOREAN DRAMA: MASTER'S SUN - Episode 1 & 2
Okay so right of the bat I will say that I have a lot of trouble not comparing this to the other Ghost Drama airing at the moment, 'Who Are You', which I am really really enjoying so far. These two dramas are so far removed from eachother in vibe and general tone though, that it is a little redundant to compare them but like I said, I just can't help it.
Where 'Who Are You' leans towards the dark mystery approach to its ghost storylines, keeping the overall feel of the ghost encounters a little surreal and otherworldly, Master's Sun seems to be aiming more for a quirky fun feel to its ghosts, still trying for some scares too but keeping the tone a little more silly with some crazy CGI and the cute heroine's far out reactions.
Whilst 'Who Are You' is sticking pretty closely to a weekly procedural drama (which I think works so well for its content), Master's Sun has a bit more freedom to move around due to its RomCom styling and comedic characters, and although it has a similar dark past storyline which will be central to the longtime plot arc, this is undeniably a romantic comedy drama, evident in the main attraction of the whole thing already clearly being our two lead characters of Gong-shil and Joong-won.
But before I begin on the characters, I just wanted to go into a little more depth on the ghosts and the rules of this world. I have read about a few people being quite annoyed by the fact that this show's heroine, Gong-shil, is still scared of ghosts even after seeing them for so long, as if she can't understand that all they want is for her to end their grievances and not actually cause her any harm. Personally I really like the fact that our heroine is quite disillusioned regarding granting these last requests. Her attitude (gained through experience) that the living don't listen to the dead anyway so whats the point of passing along their messages, has been learned the hard way and so who can forgive her from wanting to pretend that ghosts don't exist?
This of course makes her terrified of ever seeing a ghost at all, mainly because she doesn't want to help them, because not only do they look totally scary, but she also feels the whole process is pointless and a huge waste of her time. And lets face it, she seems to be right! Most of the time the living don't act the way Gong-shil expects when given the last information from the dead, generally ignoring all advice and just carrying on as they were.
Another issue I have read for fans watching the first two episodes is that there seems to be no rules or basis in (the show's) reality regarding the ghosts, which easily switch between 'scary' CGI faces and their normal sad ones at will, more as a ploy to propel the narrative than for any real established reason that exists within the universe the show is attempting to create.
Now I actually agreed with this gripe until I read some comments on Ms Koala's blog that explained this most adequately. It was suggested that when a ghost first appeared to Gong-shil she is actually seeing them in an almost fragmented ruined form of themselves, as if from spending so much time isolated and alone and obsessively focusing only on their last uncompleted wish, the ghost has almost been driven mad, resulting in the weird and terrifying faces of the originally quite threatening ghosts. As soon as they realise that Gong-shil can see them however, this seems to serve as an awakener, causing their fragmented selves to come back together again as someone acknowledges their existence, culminating in their disappearance when their final grievances have been solved.
I actually thought this was a pretty cool way to interpret this, and one I have accepted to be the truth in the case of these ghosts in this drama.
Now, personally, my main gripe with this show overall would actually be the ghost's storylines and backstories, which to be honest I find a little over-dramatic and staged, as if they exist only to try and wring tears and emotions out of us viewers, a contrivance I really dislike and which I am really pleased to say does not seem to be such a huge focus in 'Who Are You' (we still get ghost payoffs in that drama but they don't last for like 20 overlong minutes of just watching random unimportant characters having emotional breakthroughs! Ugh). I am finding the ghost's last requests to be the most boring part of 'Master's Sun' as I find it a little irrelevant to the actual main plot and groundwork of trying to introduce and build up likable characters. For instance why in the very first two episodes do we have to spend so much time with that dead bride and later those three evil schoolgirls? That time could have surely been put to much better use, for example, what the hell is going on with that shifty 'Room 404' guy? He is soooo totally more interesting than watching three bitchy schoolgirls get forgiven for bullying a girl to death when they totally didn't deserve such an easy out and should have definitely agonised over their wrong doing much longer (sorry I really hate bullying and don't feel like those girls learnt anything. They were only feeling guilty because they got caught), and that's not to mention that most cliched of all stories, a bride waiting until she reaches the alter to break her true love's heart and thus saving him from her terminal illness. What a Noble Sacrifice! Gross!
Storyline's like those two annoy me greatly as they have obviously and clumsily been created only to give the viewer an emotional reaction, but are in actual fact rather flat.
BUT.......... the interactions between the OTP of Gong-shil and Joong-won are just too good to be true and more than make up for any shortcomings the weekly ghost cases may be experiencing. This couple are fantastically watchable and I am already shipping them so hard I can't wait to keep watching this drama, because where the show lacks subtlety and charm with their ghosts, it has it in spades when it comes to our bickering couple.
Gong-shil is freaking adorable and I can't even deal with it! Her 'meow' was so cringeworthingly embarrassing (for her) and just so ridiculously cute for me (and also Kang Woo who was surely utterly charmed.... except he has a secret agenda so maybe wasn't? Eeek!).
I love the disdainful way Joong-won acts whenever he is forced into contact (yay for skinship!) with Gong-shil and I love how his bad attitude never once deters her from chasing him around for even a second. And even though Joong-won is acting like he isn't enjoying being chased, Gong-shil is still clearly his person to dislike and she is not to be shared with anyone else, no matter how annoying she may be, as evident by Joong-won's hilarious jealous reaction to Kang Woo's flirting. Ha! Joong-won blustering over there to break it up was one of the funniest things ever and if pretty Kang Woo is going to continue in his role of antagoniser then I am so on-board this ship!