KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: MASTER'S SUN
Huh, well that was an interesting episode! We seemed to make loads of headway in the romance department in episode 9, only to regress backwards again (waaaay backwards) at the end, though not in a wholly unbelievable way either which makes for some interesting conflict and drama.
Firstly let me just say that I really enjoyed this episode, and although this may not be my absolute favourite show airing right now I am still thoroughly enjoying Master's Sun.... my rather cranky review of episode 8 last week possibly having more to do with my own real life tiredness than an actual lack of a good episode.
Though I do still stand by most of my views (though maybe in a slightly less passionately angry way) , I also think that these were delved into a little further this week giving me more of a satisfaction about, for instance, Gong-shil's lack of reaction to Kang Woo's uncool confession.
Its funny because I felt Gong-shil acted a bit too much like a doormat during that situation, yet this week I felt she completely paid Kang Woo back for his nasty words, yet in a much more subtle and Gong-shil-style way. Which was actually pretty badass in a shy, softly spoken kind of way! Telling Kang Woo that she sees ghosts and that they are constantly all around him, and actually making him believe it, was a way more fun pay-back than I could have ever imagined giving him. Sure Kang Woo did ask her for the truth, and Gong-shil is only telling him exactly what he wanted to know, but she does so in such a scary voice, never lying when she confesses to seeing ghosts but also not holding back on any of the scary details that she knows will terrify him that I think she otherwise could have, if she wasn't finding it so fun to torture him a little.
But Gong-shil being Gong-shil she does then feel worried for Kang Woo after scaring the hell out of him because it does affect him so badly, and even if he has been cruel to her she is just such a caring person that she ends up feeling guilty.
I think she must have been stung by Kang Woo's words last episode but she still doesn't seem overly effected by them either, and I can only imagine that is because maybe it was a bit of a relief for her to hear them in a way, because although I am sure she enjoyed the attention he was paying her, her heart was obviously already with Joong-won anyway.
The ghost of the week was a weird one, starting off with a terribly sad story about a grieving husband unable to let go of his loving wife who supported him and helped with everything, a woman he cannot live or work without. And yet the atmosphere changes to one of ominous foreboding when this desperate man uses Gong-shil's body to give his wife new life, and he even tries to spirit her away to France so they can live together again.
Except surprisingly one of the main reasons this doesn't actually work is because the dead wife doesn't even seem to like him all that much, holding all sorts of unresolved anger issues towards him because of the fact that she was always his shadow who did everything for him whilst he got all the glory of his piano career. I actually got a bit upset hearing her cruel last words to her husband and I am still not sure if this is truly how she really felt about him or if she was forcing him with her words to wake up and realise what a terrible person he was becoming by even considering using another woman's body as a vessel like he was. Maybe she really did love him and was devoted to him but the only way she could think of to snap him out of his grieving stupor was to say these cruel words..... or maybe she really did just hate him. I just don't know.....
And that plotline lead to the main story arc of the episode, Joong-won's headlong fall into true love and his subsequent panic to close himself off again before it is all too late.
During the episode it is pretty clear that Joong-won is warring with himself internally against what is already too late to change, trying his best to convince himself that he is only keeping Gong-shil around because of money reasons and nothing more, when it is so obvious that this hasn't been true for a long time.
In the lead up to his business trip away to China, he keeps asking Gong-shil if she will be okay without him, only to visually deflate when she insists she will be fine, wanting so badly to hear something more from her. He even buys her an amulet to make her feel safe in his absence, but struggles with the action of actually giving it to her, seemingly aware that it represents slightly more to him than just a simple gift. When he does leave on his business trip he ends up leaving it with a ghost, hoping they will pass it along to Gong-shil for him, even then too afraid of what it will mean if he does it himself.
Except of course he doesn't quite make it onto the plane yet because he hears that Gong-shil has been taken over by the pianist's dead wife and he rushes back to save her. But what he finds is a ghost who is waiting for him, a woman ready to die and not really trying to stay forever anyway, instead she is curious if Joong-won wants to know what Gong-shil really feels about him. We see in a flashback that Gong-shil admitted to the dead woman that she likes Joong-won in a very real sense (something that is obvious to the viewer but that I still wasn't completely aware that she understood fully herself, but apparently she is totally on top of it).
But Joong-won cuts the woman off, he doesn't want to hear it because he is not yet ready to face what it will mean if Gong-shil does love him and what it will change. And when the ghost asks him what he feels he says he will just show her instead and he grabs Gong-shil in for a kiss, the spirit leaving her body the moment his mouth connects with hers.
This moment is sweet but also sad, because in hindsight I can see it was a kind of goodbye. Joong-won pours everything he is feeling into this one kiss, because really he knows that he is about to shut himself off to her and close himself down again, too terrified of changing and letting someone in, too scared of what will happen if he loves again. This is the only time he will ever reveal himself to Gong-shil fully regarding what he feels for her and it is only something he can do because he knows she will never remember it. This is actually so sad for him and reminds me just how damaged by Hee-joo he truly was.
When Joong-won brings his new fiancé back from China, sure it is a cliche storyline used in so many dramas, but I can also see exactly why he has done this. Because getting married to this girl and living with her for the rest of his life demands so much less from him than Gong-shil would. He will never love this girl, he will never open himself up to her or treat her as an equal and she will never cause him to want to be a better person and change into the best version of himself he can be. She is safe and stagnant, and Joong-won has chosen her for exactly that reason. Because he is scared.
Ha! So I just finished episode 10 and the marriage is a total business deal cop out! Gosh Joong-won is even more screwed up then I thought and he has no idea what to do with his burgeoning feelings for Gong-shil at all. On one hand he is trying to push her away by pretending he is getting married, using the situation to keep her beside him but without all the complications or the responsibilities that their slightly more romantic relationship has begun taking on, whilst on the other hand he is still hanging out for her to feel jealous and wanting to hear her say she likes him, even using the knowledge of her caring for him as something to smugly tease her about, which is actually pretty uncool. In fact most of everything he is doing this episode is pretty uncool, only because he doesn't know what he wants and he seems to be spending the time torturing Gong-shil about it rather then trying to figure it out himself.
Actually not much happens this episode at all, except that Kang Woo has renewed his interest in Gong-shil and begins spending time with her again as a friend (she has no idea is feelings were ever genuine) which drives Joong-won absolutely crazy. Also, this episode reveals is a little more of the Hee-joo mystery (though not much at that) and we see that someone who looks exactly like Hee-joo (are you serious? A twin sister?) has been running around the world after Joong-won for years and is now living next door to him in Korea too. And the ghost of Hee-joo (or Hee-joo's sister ?) is following this mysterious girl around. Which is both weird and interesting...
The ghost of the week was pretty non-eventful too so really all this episode was about is the endless, but fun to watch, push and pull between Gong-shil and Joong-won as they finally sort themselves out (well, sort of) so I find I don't have much to write really... until the very end of course.
So Yi-ryung is trying to embarrass Gong-shil because she is jealous of Kang Woo's interest in her (and basically she has absolutely nothing else to do! Sometimes I adore her because she is fun and interesting but when she sinks into cliched second female lead territory I find her a bit too stale of a character to care much for her evil plotting). This involves a dinner with friends that Gong-shil hasn't seen since school when she was still popular, and Yi-ryung presses her to talk about her failed relationship with Joong-won, relishing it when Gong-shil says that she hung onto him even though he is marrying someone else.
Except that then Joong-won himself turns up, telling everyone that he has cancelled his wedding because of Gong-shil and that she better take responsibility, which may sound like a romantic confession to her school mates but sounds more like a complaint about when he broke the 'ghost of the week' vase earlier in the episode to Gong-shil.
Basically, once again, Joong-won is just messing with Gong-shil's head. I don't think he means to be so difficult, he has so many problems and walls around him that it is so hard for him to let himself go and be honest with himself, let alone Gong-shil, but finally Joong-won takes the plunge. He tells Gong-shil that he thinks he is in love with her, a statement which is followed by stunned silence.
Actually I thought this confession was kind of hilarious, because Joong-won comes across as so stressed and angry about it, all like' so what the hell are you going to do about this', like he is all pissed off at her for putting him in this situation where he is actually feeling something and he expects her to solve it, which is kind of hilarious!