Badass Ninja Becomes a Real Girl
I needed those first ten minutes with Seo-hae this week, wandering the streets of her post apocalyptic world, scavenging coins from corpses and humming to BTS’s Spring Day, with her trusty pink machine gun and daisies sewn on to her backpack.
These small touches of her personality are finally building up a frame for who she is. We’ve been watching Tae-sul in his element this entire time, whereas all we had of Seo-hae was her impressive fighting skills and ability to leave every question asked unanswered.
Finally, she became a person to me in that CGI hellscape.
See, I can root for this cute ninja from the future, with her unapologetic love for the pretty, the fluffy, and the deadly.
Now, I’m joining this party late, so let me say just one thing about Episode 2. I will never get over the director’s choice to have Seo-hae ask for Sun’s clothing right off his back, down to his jeans, with no attempt to even joke about how a cupboard full of other, cleaner clothes was just standing there behind the boy.
Okay. That’s out of my system, so let’s move on to other odd choices by PD-nim that were evident in this week’s episodes, especially episode 4.
He made the bad guys extremely considerate in two very consistent ways: a) they never manage to hit their targets, and b) they always give our heroes long minutes after they’re cornered to let them think of a way out.
The time they give our heroes to recover their wits is also a lot more when Tae-sul is the one thinking of a solution. He even gets time to explain what he’s doing and demonstrate his genius in detail.
Also, as an interesting bonus, if Tae-sul is the one aiming a flying bottle from behind a counter at oncoming gunmen, all three projectiles will hit their target at bullseye.
Han Tae-sul Adapts
Unlike Saya, I totally bought Tae-sul’s evaporated wits in the face of guns. Think about everything the man has shown competence in and then think about bullets flying at him while he calls after his dead brother on the stage.
With the plummeting airplane, Tae-sul had some measure of control. It was a mechanical problem which he could solve by executing a series of correctly timed actions. Ducking bullets and jumping off building is entirely outside his ways of thinking.
Or it was, until he spent three days being repeatedly kidnapped and escaping multiple armed encounters thanks to Seo-hae’s ability to think on her feet or punch someone in the face.
So, eventually, Tae-sul figured out that he needed to believe what he was hearing and roll with the new rules of the world. Once that happened, he got a lot better at looking at their problems and suggesting solutions again.
My one concern in this is that, in drama terms, Tae-sul’s growing competence might come at the expense of Seo-hae’s skillset. I really hope she doesn’t turn into a damsel any more often than this episode made her be.
Raising the Stakes
This drama has a problem. It is based on a major loophole that can be McGyvered by any genius CEO inventor to undo the death of important characters. And so there goes any sense of dread or finality in the story.
Right now what is working well for the story is how little we know. But once we start getting some answers, and the mystery of why Seo-hae came back and how Tae-sul can stop the apocalypse starts to become clearer, it will lose that one tense thread that’s keeping us hooked.
For now, I thought the introduction and end of new character, Jung Hyun-gi (Go Yoon), was quite impactful. Initially introduced as just a time traveller who’d come back home on the day his mother passed away to see her one last time, Hyun-gi suddenly became a character who knew Tae-sul and Seo-hae from the future, and clearly some bad stuff went down between them.
I want to meet more characters like him and unravel more of the mystery surrounding our heroes.
But I’m also afraid of the show telling us too much too early, and then losing me completely by the second half.
“You aren’t my type”
Park Shin-hye and Jo Seung-woo don’t have sizzling romantic chemistry. They have the camaraderie of two kids caught in a mad adventure forced to stick together to survive.
And I think this works. It works really well.
From their bickering to their recklessness, they are an oddly well-matched pair. And because I can see the trust building between them, I’m quite happy to wait and see how they eventually end up at the altar together.