LUCA HAS LANDED and no that is not a cute Italian boy. (That would be Vincenzo harhar.)
Mild spoilers ahead for LUCA 1-2 but you should go ahead and read it anyway only don’t say I didn’t warn you. You has been duly warned.
I decided not to overthink hitting play and here is what I got from opening week:
Daaaaaark. Much darker than I expect from tvN. Feels like an OCN show.
Lotta action, lotta violence. Served a bit disproportionately to plot movement HOWEVER not without purpose as got a pretty comprehensive picture of what Ji Oh (Kim Rae-won) can do—and what he can’t—and the consequences of using his powers. With a peek into his history, it sets the stakes very nicely. Whys and wherefores yet to come.
LOL how is Lee Da-hee’s character name “Haneul-ae Gureum”? “A cloud in the sky”? Hahahaha, now that is next level name-game. 🤣
I have never before seen a scruffy Kim Rae-won but scruffy suits him. It suits everyone.
He is also a human defibrillator?! 😱 Ngl, that is SO COOL !!!
Learned about the Cis-AB blood type! That is fancypants for how parents with blood types A and O respectively can have a child with an AB blood type, in the event of a rare genetic mutation specifically found in Korea and Japan (though a little googling says it has also occurred in Europeans, just very very less). And they say we don’t learn anything from dramas!
I was a scientist once. Though I like to think that once a scientist, always a scientist. A bit like being a King or Queen of Narnia (“Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen of Narnia”) except you don’t get excommunicated for lipstick. #JusticeForSusan #AslanLied #StillMad
Finding the human/not human question really interesting, not as a philosophical enquiry (that is more of a monster/not monster question—which is also interesting, but also well-trodden ground) but as a literal question of the the biological definition of “human” and the taxonomy of Ji Oh. Or rather, Z-0.
Speaking of science, let me tell you about TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI) AND WHY LEE DA-HEE SHOULD HAVE IT. Because LET ME TELL YOU!!!! With the number of head injuries she receives in a mere two episodes, I am shocked she remains upon this mortal coil, with her mental faculties entirely intact, no less!
Halfway through Episode 2, it suddenly occurred to me that this needed inventorying. For Science. And very scientifically, I have made a neat list.
Rather than cataloguing every blow she takes, however, I have only noted the instances where she receives direct impact to the head. Therefore, this list does not include: 1) blows that land on other parts of the body, 2) when her head hits something (ground/wall/logic) due to a blow taken in a different place, or 3) being choked or strangled.
Each impact is catalogued as a separate item, and given a severity rating out of 10, where 1 is “‘tis but a tap” and 10 is “I am definitely dead”.
Truck of doom/hit and run accident in which she technically died. Massive head trauma? (12/10)
Ji Oh’s Dragonball Z moment at the end, where she flipped over again and ended up somewhat under a car (again). Bleeding head wound, medically diagnosed (in hospital) with concussion. (8/10)
Childhood flashback: got hit by The Force aka Baby Ji Oh and smacked into a wooden pillar okay I checked again and we only see her hit a curtain. This time. I guess we can allow her to survive to adulthood. (5/10 because she still got struck by lightning)
Lift Elevator fight:
Smashed into elevator door (8/10)
Smacked into elevator wall (3/10—she took some of the impact of this one on an elbow—7/10 for the elbow though)
Smacked into elevator door again (4/10)
And again (4/10—this and the above are kind of a one-two)
Kim Sung-oh smashes her into a corner-wall (8.8/10)
One minute later: redhead smashes her onto train tracks and leaves her for dead in face of oncoming train (10/10 for leaving her for dead in face of oncoming train)
How. Is. She. Not. Dead.
Well I guess she is the fittest, therefore she is the surviviest.
Maybe it is because she is a cloud in the sky.
We recorded just released the February edition of What’s Up in Dramaland? and here is a spoiler: we are excited about Sisyphus. (Psst we may even consider covering it here in weekly reviews like we did with Stranger 2—tell us if you want it!!)
It was my turn to edit, and here are some pearls of podcasting wisdom, 3+ years on:
No matter how much I prepare, I am not prepared. Using the ol’ brain on the go is hard. 😭
Three hours days after recording, I finally know what I actually wanted to say.
Oh god this episode is full of random flubs:
First, Anisa is deadpan sure I introduced Sisyphus as JTBC’s 10th anniversary drama (I didn’t) 😂
Second, Paroma is 100% convinced that Kim Young-kwang was in Good Casting (he wasn’t) and cries gaslighting 😂😂
Third, we are laughing so much! Hooting and howling and generally being the silliest of geeses. 😂😂😂
We are excited about Sisyphus. Did I already say that? WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT SISYPHUS. WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT SISYPHUS!!!
Please be Rascally Jo Seung-woo this time, please.
But your clean-shaven face tells me you will be more Shi-moksome than Dong-chanish.
Epiphanies can happen while editing, like this: Anisa: “It happens over two different timelines…“ Paroma: “…and Park Shin-hye has to stop the Apocalypse from taking place.“ Me, now, belatedly: SO YOU MEAN TO SAY IT IS LIKE CIRCLE MEETS DARK?!
There is nothing about that that is not gimme gimme gimme except the part where both shows really, really hurt you.
BUT IF IT HAS TO HURT, LET IT HURT LIKE THIS.
Meanwhile, 18 Again finally came to Netflix, and Netflix subtitles’ crimes against language continue:
Apparently River Where the Moon Rises is Time’s most anticipated K-drama of 2021. I didn’t know Time anticipated K-dramas.
I thought it was a typo and meant to say “Times”, as in, the upcoming drama later this month. Huh.
Also, this is hard to qualify when writing, but that ‘huh’ is the Jess huh, that means ‘huh, interesting’, not the scoffy one.
Run On is still a WIP (Watch In Progress). The show finished this week and I am but on Episode 9. I think I like it more as a collection of vignettes than as a cohesive whole.
Do you ever feel like if you told people exactly what you love in a drama/character and why, you would have ended up telling them too much about your inner self?
Something Im Shi-wan said in Episode 4 made his character snap into focus for me. In that line, I understood what he was made of, and began to see his character’s actions through a completely different lens. It’s what anchors his character for me, this simple truth that is at the heart of him.
At the start of the show, I kept having the feeling that he was not all there. As in, he wasn’t fully present. So where is the rest of him? I kept wondering.
Surprised to learn how little people liked Sooyoung’s Seo Dan-ah early on. She was my #1 favourite character before I connected with any of the others. Isn’t she delightful? She’s all unapologetic and contrary and knows her mind, except when she doesn’t and absolutely also does not want to.
I’m still a little bit hmm on the central relationship, but I LOVE Young-hwa (Kang Tae-oh) with Seon-gyum, and the way Dan-ah always looks at Mi-joo (Shin Se-kyung) like she is just delicious is so lolarious and !!! I love the way the show does its incipient friendships with a bright, bewitching fizz that feels more than a little intoxicating at times. (Tell me if you have had a friendship like that!)
It’s not that I’m not invested in the Mi-joo—Seon-gyum relationship. It just feels so hard and like they are not even able to speak to each other in the same “language”. And I’m frustrated by the dynamic of Mi-joo who knows what she wants from Seon-gyum but won’t tell him, and he can’t figure it out fast enough for her. Broadly, it feels like how neurotypical people want autistic people to magically know how to human like they aren’t wired in a totally different way. It’s like being expected to ace an exam without ever having an opportunity to take the class or even read the textbook.
So as much as I enjoy their apparently frank conversations about deep life things, I don’t often feel like they’re really bridging their specific gap. Like, they talk plenty, but communicate little. The gaps between them—of understanding, of expectation—persist, and the tension between their intellectualising vs. emotionalising approaches remains unresolved.
Plus I am afraid the wacky weird oddball-ness of the show will be overtaken by relationship angst. Just like the fizz in this micro-review of mine has been overtaken by existential angst. Whoops 😅
Patience, brain. It’s only Episodey 9.
Forest of Secrets withdrawal now joined by God’s Gift—14 Days withdrawal. Remember back when outgoing dramas used to herald in the incoming ones by having the trailer of the new show play at the end of the episode in the last few weeks? I had totally forgotten that God’s Gift was followed by Doctor Stranger. And these teasers sure make the show look ATTRACTIVE.
I’m thinking of (re)watching it.
I actually watched it up to 11 or 12 back then and I don’t remember why I didn’t finish. Maybe because everyone trashed it. I mean, it was no God’s Gift but it had a certain soapy appeal. Maybe I was annoyed at the Jin Se-yeon loveline, when Lee Jong-seok had far more chemistry, interesting plottery, and screentime with Kang Sora? Also I totally forgot that Park Hae-jin was in it too! And by now, I wonder if the myth of its badness has overtaken the reality.
I’m curious about how it ended. No, I’m curious about how I would have ultimately liked/disliked the show considering I never actually hated it. But am I curious enough to put 16 hours into it?
Okay I checked my notes, and all I’ve got is: “LJS fingernails”
I presume the “LJS” part refers to Lee Jong-seok. But what about his fingernails, O Saya of K-drama Past?!?
I hate this song. How dare you, Yoo Seung-ho. HOW VERY DARE YOU.
Next time: I may regale you with my NOT AT ALL DULL adventures in Rewatch-Land, Baek Jin-hee’s waist, and how Lee Tae-hwan is the saddest little peanut. But only if you say you want it, otherwise I will sleep instead of paw through my million screencaps to make this dang post look perfect in a way only I care about.
Okay that’s enough. Back to the drama-cave, all of you.