K-Drama

K-Drama Couch: Brilliant Writing Keeps Us Hook With “A Promise To The Gods” & “Memories Of The Alhambra”

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Nearing the last strides of the stories, the first batch of 2019 Korean Dramas has set an engaging tone to start the year right.

Continuously dominating numbers and online presences, the current roster of 2019 Korean Dramas has been parading a variety of stories with progressive plot and thrilling twists. Hence, it has provided a balanced following that can cover preferences of the fan bases.

The thrilling pursuits in Memories of the Alhambra, God’s Quiz Reboot and Children of Nobody have given us mini cardiac arrests on their impressive cliff-hangers.

In addition, the exaggerated yet addictive character movements in The Last Empress and Sky Castle made us roll our eyes with how dramatically crazy the plots can be. Still, we can’t help but watch them. Dark horse drama A Promise to the Gods continues to amaze with its steady storytelling.

On a lighter note, the beautiful romance stories in Encounter, Clean With Passion for Now and My Strange Hero are functioning correctly as a weekly treat for romantic story cravers.

Here’s our K-Drama weekly roundup from airing dramas covering December 31, 2018 to January 6, 2019.

K-Drama Couch Recap Links: Dec Wk1, Dec Wk2, Dec Wk3, Dec Wk4

My Strange Hero (Mon-Tue/SBS)

Now that at least Soo Jeong and Bok Soo have started to move on, it’s great to see Bok Soo so happy because he truly deserves it. I’m still not sold on Soo Jeong’s emotional hangups from the past. Because of what she overheard from Bok Soo and Se Ho’s conversation, she failed to clarify things with Bok Soo and generally dragged it on for 9 years. Soo Jeong herself easily got past it, saying she would have just told him off and not get upset if it had been Bok Soo who told their class about Soo Jeong’s living conditions.

Generally this week has been the cutest week so far!! I was smiling from ear to ear as I watched Bok Soo follow Soo Jeong around like a lost puppy. Good luck to Soo Jeong for trying to resist his charms!

Clean with Passion for Now (Mon-Tue/jTBC)

Clean With Passion For Now did not air this week.

Encounter (Wed-Thur/tvN)

Encounter

Jin Hyuk and Soo Hyun reconcile their relationship fears and start working together as a couple in the fifth week of Encounter.

Encounter Recaps: Ep 09 & Ep 10

The Last Empress (Wed-Thur/SBS)

The Last Empress

Woo Bin desperately tries to extract the details of where Yu Ra and Hyuk buried his mother. Princess Ari’s birth mother, who is also a ticking villain waiting to mark her presence in the story, gets insulted by the emperor when she tells about Sunny hitting Ari for looking down on a court lady.

Earning the ire of Queen Mother for proving her possible involvement to the death of the Emperor’s grandmother, Sunny is again placed on Queen Mother’s hot seat. Her live broadcast almost ruins her due to the Queen Mother’s evil ploy, but Emperor Hyuk rescues her on time.

Woo Bin rushes to the place where Yu Ra reveals his mom’s body remains. Grieving and crying, he is unaware that Yu Ra tailed him. The truth of why Sunny’s mother died reveals to be because on the day she was about to get a surgery, the blood to be used was given instead to Hyuk who met an accident.

I am surprised on all the crazy plot bends The Last Empress has been threading circling on the dysfunctional relationship of the Royal Family. I will be impressed if the writer gets through each week until the finale with all the bombs dropped incessantly every episode. Like each week, there is an unexpected reveal that complicates the already problem-laden narrative.

Constant shifting of connivance has been one of the key points of the series. Not knowing who are real allies and not, has stirred excitement to the audience who most likely, like me, are now tired on all the problems this family has been going through. *grin

With conflicts piling up and villains dominating the scene, I am curious how the tables will be overturned by Sunny and Woo Bin. Is Min Yu Ra on a secret mission? By whose order? How many more trump cards does Queen Mother have? Will we get a crazy than crazier ending?

Children of Nobody (Wed-Thu/MBC)

Children of Nobody

Images from MBC

A lot of things happened in the last episodes of Children of Nobody. Finally the drama unveiled Red Cry’s true identity and it is Eun Ho (VIXX’s N).

Further revelation shows that the head Director of Haneul Children Center abused Eun Ho when he was a little boy. He harbors a grudge but the old man scares him so he never fights back. The accidental meeting with Dr. Park leads to the creation of the secret chat room. From there, they sent invites to people who are victims of abuse. He believes that he is not a murderer as all he does is to free the children from their abusers.

Eun Ho tells Woo Kyung not to remember the girl in the green dress as it will only cause her misery. A memory fragment shows two young girls running around. The older girl is Woo Kyung and the other is the mysterious girl. She calls for the younger child, and viewers get to see that the girl in the green dress is her sister, who just regained consciousness.

There is still something mysterious going on surrounding Woo Kyung’s sister and stepmother as it is clear that her sister is harboring a grudge of her own towards the older woman.

Sky Castle (Fri-Sat/jTBC)

Sky Castle

(Images from jTBC)

*Note covers Week 6 and 7

Nearing the finale week, I am curious how the dysfunctional characters (well almost all of them) in Sky Castle get to have the proper redemption. You see, there are darkly drawn characters worthy to empathize with. So, I am having inconsistent fondness on this series since the conflict it has been traversing feels fostering negativity.

The approach to yield lessons for families to work on proper communication with their children for their bright future is there, but frosting it with taxing representation felt discouraging up to this point.

While the mothers of Sky Castle are starting to bond genuinely, the focal family has been on slow burning tension, with Seo Jin finding out that her husband had a child (Hye Na) with his first love. Knowing her half-sister likes the boy who likes her, Hye Na threads on a dangerous path of rebellion.

Against a cunning woman like Seo Jin, it looks awkward. And while her role takes a heroine-quasi-villain picture, I am rooting for her to be accepted in the family to warm up all the painstaking moments she had to go through in her life.

Family problems hit the four featured Sky Castle families big time, which all of them are related to the children’s struggle to meet the expectations of their parents in their studies.

The showdown with Coach Kim is expected to escalate down to the last stretch of the series, which honestly bothers me. Frankly speaking, I would rather get a safe happy ending, but based on the narrative’s exaggerated mood, something crazy and bad might erupt, according to my K-drama 6th sense.

Memories Of The Alhambra (Sat-Sun/tvN)

Memories of the Alhambra

(Screencapture from tvN)

Each episode of Memories of the Alhambra since premiere week is a thrilling ride. After receiving sporadic blows owing to the crazy world he lives in, Jin Woo (Hyun Bin) finally decides to stop his selfless sacrifice, ultimately giving the villain a dose of his dangerous fictional reality. Together with Hee Joo (Park Shin Hye), the two embark to accomplish an impossible goal in the riveting last two weeks of finding Se Joo.

Memories of the Alhambra Recaps: Ep11 & Ep12

A Promise to the Gods (Sat/MBC)

A Promise to the Gods

Images from MBC

A Promise To The Gods has revealed a couple of secrets.

First, Hyeon Woo’s younger brother tells Na Kyung about the bruises. She also sees a spot of blood on Hyeon Woo’s shirt that strengthens her suspicion of him having a relapse.

Second revelation happens when the two brothers fight over a compass. Hyeon Woo’s grandfather gives him a compass he treasured all his life. When the younger brother sees it in his possession, he cries and calls Hyeon Woo a liar, because he believes his grandfather would not give the item to Hyeon Woo. He moves his grandmother to tears after confessing about his guilt over the “death” of his younger brother. She tells Hyeon Woo not to feel guilty because his brother is not dead, and he is living with them since his birth.

*Mid Series Thoughts

I have never really thought I would enjoy watching A Promise to the Gods so much. From the first episode up to the latest, the drama never fails to intrigue and tug at your emotions. Apart from the conflicts, the actors are all believable, and none has gone out of their characters so far. As a viewer, it is not hard to grasp what motivates each character to do the things they do.

Na Kyung, despite all her schemes, is showing a little bit of her softer side. When she found out about Hyeon Woo’s condition, she handed out the note which Ji Young wrote to the house cook. She is certainly affectionate to her son, even though she did not give birth to him.

Ji Young’s husband Min Ho seemed too good to be true yet he is someone familiar. I’m having major second-lead syndrome as the character is so selfless. He is ready to accept Ji Young’s second son and treats him like his own. It was believable considering his treatment of Hyeon Woo. Even though at first, he was against the idea of Ji Young bearing Jae Wook’s child, he threw all his reservations and ill-feelings just to save Hyeon Woo. I felt that there are no wasted characters in this drama as all are perfectly essential and necessary in the narrative’s development.

We have already reached the halfway mark of this great series, and it seems like it has no intention of slowing down. Now that some of the secrets are out, there are still a few more to be revealed. It is interesting to witness how the characters will react and be affected. I am also curious to know the events that will lead us back to that courtroom scene in the first episode.

Priest (Sat-Sun/OCN)

Priest

Images from OCN Facebook Page

I am quite baffled with the latest episodes of Priest. I am torn between being happy and confused by the events that took place. It is one long dream, and luckily Father Oh woke up to warn the rest of 634 Regia of their future if they don’t defeat the demon.

I did not expect that twist, which made me more intrigued, but at the same time, it leaves a few questions. I know that the drama mentioned the demon creates a world similar to a person’s reality with a few distorted truths. He or she needs to find out which one is out of sequence to get out of that false reality. Oh Soo Min was able to figure out what was wrong, but which events are true and which are not?

Now I wonder if Dr. Ham Eun Ho will recall the memories which Oh Soo Min gained in that long dream sequence. Also, the drama gets back to that time when Sister Hae Min is set to visit Korea. Will the events shown to Soo Min happen when he arrives? Or is it just an elaborate scheme by the evil entity to toy with Father Oh? Will 634 Regia be able to take down this evil entity? Or will Father Moon have to sacrifice his life for real in order to defeat it? I guess we shall soon find out in next week’s episodes.

God’s Quiz Reboot (Wed-Thu/OCN)

I couldn’t help but rooted for Dr. Jo in this week’s episodes. She is loved by the entire team and her internal struggle throughout the show was tough to watch because she really suffered. Now she is even in the hospital, and if not for Dr Han, we would have lost our beloved Dr Jo.

As we near the end, things are starting to escalate further, and I honestly can’t wait to see Dr Han and Sang Pil face each other.

Fates and Furies (Saturdays/SBS)

The chemistry between the two leads is positively sizzling up to this point. I can totally feel how much In Joon has fallen in love with Hae Ra. I become so invested in this drama that I am dreading him to find out about the deceit of Hae Ra.

The cast is really pulling off their roles well, particularly Lee Min Jung and Joo Sang Wook.


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