KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: WHO ARE YOU (2013)
Wow this show is just progressing so damn well. There is an eeriness to the way its shot and a surreal atmosphere throughout that I really enjoy, and the music just sucks me into its little world, particularly the ‘ghost’ themes, and all this makes for a very pleasurable viewing experience.
On the topic of the story and plot itself, I am pretty sure I already fully understand the general direction that the drama is going to be taking and I am also pretty damn sure I already know who the big bad behind the dead boyfriend’s murder is (yep, this was confirmed in episode 6), but you know what? I don’t even care. I am more than happy to watch this show as it slowly works itself to where I can already guess it is headed, because to be honest when things are good it is all about the journey and not just the final result, and journey wise, this drama is really hitting it home for me.
Focusing more on the characters and the execution of the story rather than trying to make the plot too twisty, what we are left with is a really atmospheric look into loss and death, as well as an exploration into the two lead’s characters and motives, who they are and the connection they feel. I particularly love this slow buildup between Gun Woo and Shi On and I even find myself grateful for the fact that the romance hasn’t been thrown in our faces straight away, instead allowing time for a real base in friendship to grow between these two characters. I love that their relationship’s foundation is slowly being built on trust and dependability rather than just cute hijinks or straight up physical attraction.
And these two are going to need a pretty strong foundation if they are to manage this whole dead boyfriend thing and all the implications that brings along with it, which I can already tell as a storyline is going to be utterly heartbreaking and quite damaging for everyone involved.
Episode five was all about shedding some light onto Gun Woo’s history as well as a chance for our two leads to understand each other a little more.
We start with a drunken night out where Gun Woo is paying for the Lost & Found Team, clearly all just to further his own ulterior motive of getting Shi On drunk enough to slip up and confess her secret to him. Which, rather hilariously, actually works, except it kind of backfires onto Gun Woo because he gets way too drunk to hear it!
But to be honest I think the confession is more about Shi On being too tired carrying her burden alone and needing to trust someone else with her secret, than just being drunk. When she utters the now kind of ridiculous line 'I see dead people' it is actually a rather sombre and heavy moment as the pain of her burden and the sadness and isolation she feels because of it is evident in her eyes. I mean, the poor woman is strange enough just by being a coma and amnesia victim with the last 6 years of her life lost, let alone adding in some ghost seeing abilities to the mix to make her seem even more crazy, so it’s no wonder she approaches this situation very seriously and with true sadness in her demeanor.
With Gun Woo passed out though, she gets no response and so what follows instead is a hilarious string of scenes as Shi On drags Gun Woo back to his apartment, guessing his key code (his birthdate, phfft!) and ending with him being dumped onto his floor. But whilst in his apartment she touches something (aaah, interesting, I am seeing a pattern now) and soon she has a new ghost following her.
Now at first I am going to say I actually found this overly smiley Ahjussi with the red carnation to be quite creepy, his wide fixed grin and crazy eyes a little disturbing, but his presence is revealed to be much more quirky and less threatening than those of the previous ghosts (especially the doctor intern at the hospital in the first episode... shudder) and its clear pretty soon that this guy is a nice harmless ghost.
I won't go into all the details because you know, this isn't a recap, but basically this ghost turns out to be Gun Woo’s dad and the reason he looks a little crazy is because he, ahem.... is. Well that’s not very PC of me but he was in an accident which reverted him into a very childlike state, something which Gun Woo as a teenager did not handle very well. On his birthday he gets into a massive fight with his innocent father and although its true Gun Woo shouldn't have yelled so cruelly when it’s clear his dad can't understand what is wrong, I also think we can all relate to him being so hurt by the situation that he has lashed out in a thoughtless angry way. And boy has Gun Woo paid the price of his actions, because in the end this was the very last time he saw his father alive.
This experience has obviously stuck with Gun Woo through the years, causing him a lot of guilt and anguish, making him feel responsible for his dad’s death which is just so sad.
Because of the appearance of Gun Woo’s dad, Shi On is pushed into telling him the truth for real this time, but she is of course met with disbelief and ridicule, mainly because Gun Woo thinks it’s a cruel joke on her part to bring up his dead father at all. But when he is faced with the evidence on a tape his dad left for him he can’t keep denying that what she says is true.
There is this moment after he stops listening to his dad's voice where he looks up at Shi On and asks her whether she is just making it all up, because it’s all nonsense right? And the look on his face! It’s like he is saying the expected rational thing, but the look on his face tells otherwise, and reveals him so clearly. He wants so badly to believe her and to think his dad is okay and you can see this hope in his eyes. All he wants in that moment is to believe it is true, and that his dad is reaching out to him.
I actually don't think it’s so much what’s on the tape itself that affects Gun Woo, but the fact that after he listens he knows his father still exists in some form, that he is still thinking of him and loving him, and most of all that he never once felt any bad will towards his son for the harsh words Gun Woo expressed. And when he finally does accept the truth he just breaks down into tears as Shi On watches silently, clutching the tape to his chest.
What a beautiful and very sad scene. (P.s, it made me cry a little..... how embarrassing!)
Onto a new subject, I find it quite interesting that none of the ghosts can speak, but I must admit it I definitely like it as it certainly adds a sense of mystery and moodiness to the encounters that Shi On has with them. Gun Woo’s father being able to make noise by tapping against surfaces is also interesting and I wonder how the drama will expand on that with Kim Jae-wook’s character of Hyung-joon, or if he is just seriously going to be silent the entire time.
But boy does he do silent well, so I guess that would be okay as well. Sadness and grief just seems to exude from him in such a palpable way that you could never be unclear on how he is feeling, despite the lack of dialogue (It’s sad alright guys? He is feeling sad).
Hyung-joon’s new presence in the drama has really pushed everything along quite nicely, even Shi On’s secret enemy has started to come out of the woodwork now and made a bold move in trying to bury her in the woods (that is that what he was trying to do right? Ugh. ) and I am guessing this enemy wants to silence her before she can solve her own past mystery and regain her memories which will most likely implicate him.
I already guessed Gun Woo’s mate and mentor, Moon-shik, had something to do with this evil plot as I get the feeling maybe they did know each other before Shi On’s ‘accident’. However the fact that this has been revealed openly so early on in the series makes me unsure whether he is the only one behind it. On top of hiding the watch that would have become evidence, it was only after Gun Woo told Moon-shik he suspected Shi On of being an undercover agent that all the attempted kidnappings and photographs began, so either way he is definitely in on this plot but I wonder if it will be as simple as that. Maybe Moon-shik is indeed the culprit who shot and killed Hyung-joon or maybe he is just covering for someone else, or even is not as involved as we are being lead to believe. All we know for certain is that Hyung-joon definitely knew the person who shot him because not only was he utterly shocked as it happened, but he was already holding a gun on this culprit in the perfect position to shoot and yet he hesitated, giving the other man time to shoot first.
Hyung-joon’s reintroduction into the drama is quite interesting and his overall melancholy is working really well. Kim Jae-wook is doing so well with his character, expressing emotion without the use of words meaning his expressions are very powerful and you can see so much pain and hurt in his face that I almost wanted to cry. He is obviously wanting to help her solve the mystery but I also wonder if that’s all he will want?
Onto the topic of the main male lead, I really do adore Gun Woo and think he fits into this drama so incredibly well. I can also see that his very 'real' and loud presence is going to be a wonderful foil to mournful pale dead guy ghost who is going to be taking a step forward over the next few episodes. Gun Woo is this perfect mix of boyish blustering (somehow charming in its own way) masculine presence, physicality and capability making me believe he can actually handle his job and take responsibility for this heroine. He also has a great dose of genuine good guy sincerity and decentness at all the most important times and though he may spend half his time being whingey and trying to show off to his underlings, you also get a real sense that he can be relied on when it is needed. Episode 5 was a great look into understanding him a little more and I definitely liked what I saw.
Also Taecyeon's ears are totally amazing, are they not? I am so glad he has never had them pinned back even though I am a little surprised he hasn't considering Korea's penchant for celebrities 'fixing' themselves, but hey why fix what ain't broke. Those ears are indeed very large but they are also very endearing and cute too, an interesting mix on the rest of him which adds a bit of boyish charm.
Also, Gun woo is clearly going to fall for Shi On first, another development I quite enjoy. She is all over the place at the moment and what with the reappearance of this totally gorgeous and totally heartbreakingly sad man from her past I doubt she is going to be able to examine her feelings for Gun Woo anytime soon. Especially when she realises this ghost is in love with her.
And seriously how can Gun Woo not begin to fall for Shi On, she has this steely strength about her but yet she is still so vulnerable just because of her lack of memories and strange ability, and what man wouldn't be drawn to protect her and help her? On top of that the encounter with his father’s ghost and the reconciliation he has experienced because of it really is the most precious gift Gun Woo could ever receive, and its Shi On who gave it to him. So now that Gun Woo knows her secret he will only be drawn deeper in, being the only person she can fully trust to understand her and so basically its only a matter of time before he takes the plunge and also falls in love. And although I am sensing his road to happiness will be pretty rough and my heart may break for him, I also will quite enjoy watching him attempt to woo Shi On as well!.