2 September 2013

MASTER'S SUN: EPISODE 7 & 8 REVIEW

KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: MASTER'S SUN



What a lovely episode! This must be the first time that the heart-string pulling ghost of the week plotline has actually sunk its hooks into me and given me the intense 'feels', as usually I find them to be a little too manipulative (as in not very conducive to the actual storyline and more about wringing tears) so they fall a bit flat for me.  But this week I was seriously touched, saddened and kind of horrified by the child abuse story. It was just so horrifyingly sad and made me just want to scoop up that poor little kid and take him home with me to show him some love. 

The episode starts off right where we left it last week, with Joong-won's face hovering about an inch away from Gong-shil's sleeping form. He stays there staring at her, then suddenly seems to realise what he is doing so jerks back and takes his hand away from hers, seeming a little shocked at his own actions. And then of course straight away the walls come back up and we get cold and unemotional Joong-won laying down some harsh ground rules with the awakened Gong-shil as they leave the store. Its like he has revealed too much of himself, even just privately with no one around to see, and suddenly Joong-won is all business again, being ultra clear with Gong-shil that she is not to come too close to him and that he is not interested in her even in the slightest beyond his 10 billion won.

But the words he says are all too revealing when Gong-shil reacts unhappily to his new rule of not talking to him. She says that because he is not afraid of ghosts she feels much better about everything when she can talk to him about her personal life as well and he curtly replies; 'That's right, I am not scared of ghosts. I m scared of  you, Gong-shil.'  
I think that line just sums it all right up, Joong-won is terrified of what Gong-shil is doing to him, how she is changing him and how easily he is beginning to open up to her against his will or better judgement. Remember, this is a man who was wounded very badly by his one and only other relationship in the past, so its not hard to imagine how very difficult it might be for him to realise he is beginning to have feelings for another person again after all those years of being guarded and shut down. 



It is all pretty dark and deep stuff but of course this is a comedy (except for the ghost of the week stuff...Sob!!) so Joong-won's emotional awakening and subsequent attempt to shut himself off again is all pretty damn hilarious. He is so ridiculously serious about his new rules that he doesn't even allow Gong-shil to ride in the car with them and just leaves her alone on the street. But of course as soon as he gets home with Secretary Kim (who is completely awesome and very clearly sees whats happening here) he immediately gets all antsy, wondering with annoyance if Gong-shil is having a wonderful time on her date. The thought completely aggravates him and before long he can't sleep, staring at his phone and waiting for a call from her asking for his help.

The date between Kang Woo and Gong-shil actually goes okay (tandem bicycle!), but it is also hampered by quite a lot of ghosts too, though Gong-shil handles it well enough and heads home. Though I must say I am not feeling much chemistry between these two anymore (not compared to Gong-shil and Joong-won anyway).
Later that night Gong-shil sits in her room not daring to call Joong-won even though she wants to, and that is the exact moment he finally calls her. Ha! It took him all of 4 hours to break his new boundary rules and call her! The faces on Joong-won during their conversation are absolutely hilarious as he gets all pleased and smug when he hears she wanted to talk to him and annoyed when it sounds like the date went well, only to become happy and satisfied when he hears that ghosts plagued the couple the entire time. And when the conversation ends he is immediately tired and calm enough to sleep. Oh, he is deluding himself right now if he thinks he doesn't care.



But that night stuff starts going wrong, and the youngest of the two sweetest neighbour boys ever gets sick. We see those creepy ghost kids all sitting around and whispering at the tiny kid, saying awful things like his mum won't come for him and that she does't care about him. Except that she does, rushing into the room in tears and whisking him off to the hospital, meaning the dolls power doesn't work on him.
Gong-shil tracks the issue to the source and takes the creepy doll away, right to Joong-won at the shopping mall who isn't very impressed at the way she just dumps it on him. (Slightly unrelated but I must point out that I loved Gong-shil's outfit this week!) He tells her angrily that rather than bringing him creepy dolls she should be asking him how he slept after their ordeal the day before and worrying about him, which surpasses Gong-shil as she was under the impression he didn't want them to be friendly at all? She immediately begins asking after his health, even offering him pills to help his nerves,  and the little pleased grin on Joong-won's face is just priceless. Except she then mentions Kang Woo and gets kicked out again. Man, Joong-won is just so petty and hilarious it is wonderful!

Gong-shil stores the doll in her storage room and then spends the rest of the day acting as Joong-won's secretary, as Secretary Kim is sick and she is the only other person aware of his reading issue and thus the perfect person to take over from him. I really enjoy how much Secretary Kim is on Gong-shil's side, always offering her hilarious encouragement and making comments about her to Joong-won. When Gong-shil tells Secretary Kim that Joong-won has offered her a Gong-shil Zone on his arm but thats it too small, he answers that she shouldn't worry because it will grow. Ha!

As Joong-won's secretary for the day, Gong-shil sees a different side to her CEO, realising that he has a hell of a lot of responsibilities and major pressures at work that maybe she never thought about before. She stares at him with such an expression of adoration that it is clear she is now maybe having other feelings for him, rather than just being glad to have a safe hideout which I think is all she really considered him earlier.
During a huge serious meeting which seems quite daunting for Gong-shil, she ends up seeing a scary ghost, trying her best not to freak out and ruin the meeting for Joong-won. But the CEO notices her discomfort and in the sweetest gesture ever he slowly walks towards her, not caring that everyone is staring, and places his hand on her shoulder. I love how in tune he is becoming with her, so that he always notices when she is scared and in trouble. Its quite lovely.
The rest of the day passes with the two together, and Joong-won is acting so strange, half the time he is sweet and considerate, like in the board room meeting, and the rest if the time he is stand-offish and pissy, telling her not to get too close to him. And then he turns around and completely confuses the matter by standing with his arms around her as he shows her his sacred golden telescope. He is clearly on his very last legs in denying what he is feeling, hanging on with his fingernails and not quite able to keep up the facade for much longer.


Of course the doll is immediately taken from the office by a small kiddie with some big scary issues due to his horrible abusive mum (oh my gosh I just want to steal him away and shower him with kisses even though he does have spock hair) and the kid brings the doll home to his house. When Gong-shil finds it is missing she checks the security footage and has a mini freak out about needing to go straight away to help. Joong-won isn't interested in getting involved, seriously letting her down with his disinterested words, which is when Kang Woo steps up and comes through for her. Of course he doesn't fully understand her situation (which possibly makes it even nicer because he just thinks she is freaking out because she lost her doll) and he even retrieves the address of the abusive mother and the bag the kid lost, saying he will come with her after work.  But while she waits, Gong-shil sees the kids notebook which is filled with horrifying drawings of his abuse, and so when Kang Woo comes back she is gone.

Joong-won also heads to her office to find her and he sees the kid's terrifying drawings, immediately rushing off to find Gong-shil. She has slipped into the abusive woman's apartment and rescued this poor child who has been bashed up and locked in a cupboard. She has a bad run in with the mother but still manages to escape with the almost unconscious kid only to run into Joong-won. It is clear she is worried he will make her turn around and return the kid but instead he helps her carry him and they rush to the hospital together. The state of the little boy is so upsetting and I was so horrified by this whole storyline although it definitely hits the spot emotionally. Joong-won says he will pay for the kid's medical bills and social service (how sad there is nowhere else or this poor kid to go but into the system.... boo hoo) and Secretary Kim swoops in to save the day and convict the mother for her evil doings. Yay for the awesomeness of Secretary Kim.
But Joong-won and Gong-shil end up in jail together (she did break and enter) though they are soon set free by Secretary Kim, a furious Joong-won scaring Gong-shil into thinking he is done with her. Except he has actually finally admitted to himself that everything has changed and there is no going back.

As Joong-won watches (adoringly I might add), Gong-shil speaks to the doll, now understanding its purpose, as a last companion to lost and abandoned children as they die, a way to ease their lonlieness and neglect in their final moments before they pass away from whatever cruel affliction their broken households have created for them (left alone in the snow, bashed and neglected, starved and alone). These children's deaths just upset me so much, and so I was very teary when the ghost kids, now looking healthy and happy, appear before Gong-shil as she thanks them for trying to help the spock hair kid. Its like this one bit of kindness and love that she expresses to them frees them from the binds that keep them on earth, their lives up until that point clearly saturated in only cruelty and never any empathy or caring. It is just so heartbreaking and overwhelming.
Joong-won watches Gong-shil as she watches the kids disappear and the expression on his face shows just how much he has come to care for her. He basically tells her right hen and there that he has given up fighting her and that he is with her now.

Kang Woo meanwhile had earlier hidden a doll in Gong-shil's office for her, a symbol of his new and honest feelings for her, and in the process of hiding it he had ignored some interesting looking files in her desk, but now having witnessed Gong-shil and Joong-won's exchange outside the jail (where Joong-won fusses over Gong-shil's head wound in such a lovely caring way) Kang Woo seems to have second thoughts (wow he didn't try very hard at all) and goes back to check out the files, finding photographs of the jewellery Joong-won lost as well as a picture of Hee-joo.
Mmmh, so he is going to go straight ahead and be deceitful now with no conscious? Boo!


Episode 8 for me was a little redundant unfortunately, and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as episode 7 or last week's episodes which I thought all captured the nice and breezy popcorn type fluff drama that this should be. This episode tried to deal more closely with Gong-shil's feelings as she begins to fall in love, but I actually found my mind wandering a little during the story arc, as I felt there was actually some seriously missed opportunities regarding character arcs that could have had dramatic and relationship building potential, and this kind of threw me out.

For instance, when Kang Woo decides that, even though he does clearly like her to some extent, he no longer wants to try and date Gong-shil, and so he tells her he lied to her and that him liking her was a Big Misunderstanding. He also says that the only reason he went along with it and went on dates with her is because he felt sorry for her. (Or some words to that purpose.)
This is such a hardcore uncool thing to say which is obviously so incredibly embarrassing and mortifying for Gong-shil...... except it isn't.

She just nods like she understands him, a little embarrassed (but mostly in a cutsey way) but not really all that effected at all by this confession. I can see that this is supposed to be because, as Kang Woo himself pointed out, her feelings are actually falling onto a different person anyway but I still felt Gong-shil's reaction was severely lacking emotion or any real understanding of how cruel he had been.  Maybe this lack of reaction is just because her own feelings are already so confused but still, what Kang Woo did was lie to her out of pity (or so he says)!  And maybe Gong-shil's sense of self-worth is already so skewed from her past broken friendships and relationships that she expects to be treated this way, but I still couldn't help but feel like her lack of reaction was out of place, lacking the heart and depth this storyline should have received.
I mean, why was I watching all those endless hours of Gong-shil and Kang Woo flirting if their whole entire storyline was just going to fizzle away into nothing without even any payoff or dramatic emotional awareness.
Maybe I am overreacting and this is just not that big of a deal but I still did feel it was a bit of let down.



The next gripe I have about this episode (sorry!) was the way Gong-shil and Joong-won's relationship is sailing along so easily. After the whole Kang Woo betrayal thing, I really thought the poolside misunderstanding between Gong-shil and Joong-won (she thinks he is making a huge romantic gesture towards her but in reality he is manipulating her into facing her greatest fear without her consent) would also have a bit more emotional payoff as I felt it was building up this charged tension by making Gong-shil believe some perfect fairytale event was happening to her only to again fizzle out into nothing. I honestly thought because of her finding out earlier that Kang Woo was only with her out of pity, she would then be incredibly hurt by Joong-won using her to free his pool of spirits, a scheme he dressed up as a grand romantic gesture. True, I am sure he didn't mean to be cruel or misleading at all (and we can see that his heart is already turning towards Gong-shil anyway) but it was still utterly thoughtless of him.

But then when Gong-shil realises she was being foolish and misreading the situation, she again just shrugs off the embarrassment and isn't even slightly pissed at Joong-won for getting her to the pool under false pretences! All he has to say to her for complete forgiveness is that he felt a bit bad making her face her worst fear and she is completely happy and pacified again.

The ghost of the week was obviously a reflection of Gong-shil herself, feeling like she is living in a dream that cannot last, ending with her telling herself to wake up and not expect anything anymore (obviously spurned on by her own disappointment about the 'pool' incident) but I still felt like the whole ghost storyline was a little irrelevant and maybe it would have been better to dive right into the main story arc mystery earlier instead.  I guess it was an attempt to give our main couple a bit more time together and solidify their relationship but again I don't think it was really needed.

And of course now Kang Woo has been outed for spying, but surprisingly everyone seems all good about that as well? Isn't Joong-won going to fire his lying deceitful arse?
And also Joong-won is going to China because he believes that Gong-shil doesn't care about him, and she says its fine he goes away because she believes he doesn't care about her, but in actual fact they both care about each eachother?  Ugh.... my very least liked Kdrama relationship misunderstanding, where nothing is standing in the way of true love except the couple themselves.


I really hope they introduce some real stakes for Gong-shil and Joong-won, like some real danger and a real reason for separation, just as the creepy Shaman Matchmaker hinted at a few episodes ago.

All I can say is that I hope this overall mystery is good, because although this drama floats by easily just on the hilarious and cute bickering chemistry between our two leads, without a little bit of emotional depth and heart to the story as well, it can still fall flat on its face.

On a random side note, I feel this is the very first time I have ever seen Bikini Babes flashing some skin in a Kdrama before? Normally everyone is very modestly clothed while swimming (I am totally thinking about Jan Di in 'Boys over Flowers' right now, I am pretty sure she never wore a bikini?) so that was pretty interesting. I had kind of gotten used to not seeing that much skin so it was almost a bit of a shock to me, although really it was totally tame compared to a hell of a lot of Western TV.
That is all, just a random side note for no reason.

And lastly, I will also mention that I am ultra tired today when I watched and then wrote about this episode so it is definitely possible that is why I seem so impatient with the episode today, thus it may be a good idea to take this review with a grain of salt because maybe I am just too sleep deprived to be typing, and if so I do apologise!




2 comments:

  1. Oh my I thought ep 8 was the best so far, wholly because their relationship managed to avert the predictable arguments and conflicts i.e. the poolside episode. I was jumping for joy at how painlessly that was wrapped up, but part of me also wanted her to be mad at him for being such a dick. But my sheer joy at the male lead actually being sheepish and apologetic won out! Their chemistry is off the charts, which is what is sweeping me off my feet!

    Hope you had a good holiday :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Ddee! I did have a lovely holiday but I wrote this on my first day back to work so perhaps wasn't in the best mood which may have created this negative reaction!
    I actually went over to your blog after I posted this (I was saving your post until after I had finished watching) and it really gave me a different perspective on it in that I can see what you meant about their lack of conflict kind of being refreshing because they are acting like mature adults which is quite nice!
    I actually meant to write you massive comment about that but I got totally sidetracked :-)

    I am actually quite looking forward to next weeks episodes just to see if I change my mind now I am feeling a bit fresher!! :-)

    ReplyDelete