K-Drama Review: “Abyss” Capitalizes On Great Cast But Struggles With Muddled Script
It was not easy, but eventually Cha Min and Se Yeon triumphed over the hurdles that life has thrown their way.
Abyss followed Cha Min and Se Yeon as they tried to catch a serial murderer and his accomplice, while reigniting their love for each other. Their journey to overcome these problems certainly solidified the strong bond they already shared. Faced with an adversary that seemed invincible, the couple found the help they needed with the friendship they forged and the people who finally listened to their conscience.
THEME: Fantasy, Crime, Romance
LENGTH: 16 episodes
BROADCAST DATE: 06 May 2019 – 25 June 2019
MAIN LEADS: Park Bo Young, Ahn Hyo Seop
HIGHLIGHTS: Great Acting, chemistry between main leads
DRAWBACK: Messy writing, Poorly Written characters
The ending is as expected, the main couple got the happy ending they fought hard for. The bad guys got the punishments they deserved, and all the characters got the closure they are due.
Great Cast and chemistry between leads
While the entire drama was cluttered and left with more questions than answers (especially regarding that marble), the cast made up for it.
Abyss, in terms of writing, may not be the greatest, but it has definitely one of the best ensemble of actors out there. Park Bo Young and Ahn Hyo Seop, as well as the entire cast, portrayed their characters well, with the material they were given.
There were times when I shook my head with most of Cha Min’s actions and decisions. But I let it go because it was how the writer wrote his character. I admired how smart Se Yeon was and insecure at the same time. Despite her (old) beautiful looks, there was a time she felt it was not enough to capture (old) Cha Min’s affections, so she brushed him off. But when the time came for her to reveal his feelings, she did it without much flare, but with utmost sincerity.
Lee Si Un, who played Park Dong Cheol, provided comic relief, as well as Song Sang Eun, who portrayed Lee Mi Do. There were moments in the drama that I specifically looked forward to the scenes where these two would be present. They went about their relationship in a unique way, but it was clear they love each other deeply.
Han So Hee, despite her character’s manipulative and erring ways, gave a stellar performance, which helped viewers empathized with Jang Hee Jin, instead of loathing her. Even Kwon Soo Hyun and Lee Sung Jae, both played the antagonists Seo Ji Wook and Oh Young Cheol respectively, gave their all out for a great performance.
The chemistry, not only with the main characters, but as well as the supporting ones, was evident. It made watching the drama bearable seeing how these actors interacted with each other.
Abyss had so much promise with its refreshing take on reincarnation. Most stories with this concept will have a narrative, with the reincarnated soul inhabiting someone with little or without their memories. Sometimes it will have the scenario where the soul comes back in a completely different form.
In this drama, the souls reincarnated to the reflection of the image they had within through the use of a marble. However, they lost this idea as the story progressed.
Jang Hee Jin came back looking exactly the same, missing only her eyebrows. I get that she was also a victim, but her soul must be tainted with all bad things she did. It was the same thing for Seo Ji Wook and Oh Yeong Cheol, well the latter got a lot older while the former had a burnt scar, but they were still the same.
There were a lot of plot holes, especially with the rules concerning the abyss. I really wanted the drama to provide the answers on how some of the characters remained the same while the others changed. But sadly, I did not get the answers.
Poorly Written Characters
While I understand that the villain must be the definition of evil, I wanted my antagonists not to be totally devoid of his humanity. Oh Young Cheol was definitely a bad person and he truly radiated the evil vibes. However, he did not manage to stir any emotions in me, and his motivation for his killing spree was actually weak. He just wanted to commit the perfect murder. The main villain was not that scary. I felt the same way with Seo Ji Wook, but then again, the actors did their amazing job to breathe life into their characters.
Though Cha Min was one of the characters that I could not relate to. I had a hard time understanding most of his decisions. Ahn Hyo Seop was great but not the character written for him.
Abyss was quite a let down despite the massive promotions it received. Perhaps it contributed a bit as all curiosity died down after all those video teasers the network released. Marketing is such a fickle thing, sometimes that kind of strategy worked, but in this drama’s case, it did not.
Was a it a total disaster? Definitely not, the cast made up for the things the drama lacked and overdid. Park Bo Young and Ahn Hyo Seop shared an amazing chemistry. Their bickering and the development of their relationship was believable. The supporting characters did great as well. But will it be part of my re-watch list? No, not anytime soon.
I like my drama and characters to have some mystery surrounding them. Little puzzle pieces that I can put together to create an entire story. At first glance, Abyss promised that. However, the premiere was a disaster as a lot of things went down. It was hard watching the first episode as I tried to catch up with the ongoing situations. The next episode was a relief, but as the drama progressed, the pieces I collected did not actually fit the picture and I had to start over again.
Like I said, there were enjoyable moments in this drama which you can bank on for a pleasant viewing experience. If you can overlook the loopholes and just appreciate the characters for their efforts, then perhaps this drama is right for you.
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