K-Drama Review: “Sketch” Touches On The Importance Of Making Our Choices
Making us re-think our actions as they can influence a person’s future – is the gist of jTBC’s crime drama Sketch.
Sketch is about a highly analytical detective who suffers a grave loss, and a female police officer who has the ability to see three days into the future. As their lives intertwine, they realize everything happens not because it’s supposed to, but rather on account of someone’s revenge.
Theme: Action, Fantasy, Police Procedural
Length: 16 Episodes (Fridays and Saturdays 23:00)
Broadcast Date: 25 May 2018 to 14 July 2018
Main Leads: Jung Ji Hoon (Rain), Lee Sun Bin, Lee Dong Gun, Lee Seung Joo
Highlights: Characters, Fantasy/Supernatural Aspect and ‘Guessing Game’
Sore Point: Insufficient backstory
The theme of Sketch revolves around the power of precognition and how it can be utilized to alter someone’s life. It delves into how far a person is willing to go to effect changes on a perceived future. The characters’ connection to each other and how it unravels, make this action-fantasy drama binge-worthy.
One of this drama’s strengths is its outstanding cast. All actors were able to showcase the different sides of their characters that you can’t help but root for some of them.
Kang Dong Soo is a detective, who has a penchant for disobeying rules and likes to wander on his own. He is not the typical kind of police guy; the likes who runs with his fist and mouth first then worry about the consequences later. He tends to think and analyze things before jumping to action.
His analytic skill helps him do his job effectively. When he eventually joins the team, he uses the same skill to figure out the meaning of the sketches. Like any other human being, Kang Dong Soo is sometimes ruled by his emotions. Rain did a great job in making Kang Dong Soo a believable character.
Kim Do Jin is a man who just gathered his courage to expose a wrongdoing in the military and comes home to a murdered wife. He becomes the bad guy and gets his hands bloodied to avenge his wife’s death, only to find out that events are premeditated to happen.
Although I opposed his means, I understood where he was coming from. He lost his humanity as with the more people he killed, justifying it with the thought it was to prevent future crimes. He gained it back the moment he refused to give Prosecutor Yoo the satisfaction of seeing his vision come true.
I loved Lee Dong Gun’s execution of Kim Do Jin. I saw how the character changed from being a loving husband to a damaged man. Although tagged as one of the story’s villains, he’s not the kind you will hate, but the one you sympathize with.
The Yoo siblings share the same gift (or curse); the sister goes into a trance as she sketches her visions while the brother has more control over his.
Since that fateful day her friend (Captain Moon’s daughter) died, Yoo Shi Hyun vowed to prevent her visions from coming true. She gave it her all to the point of recklessness as she disregarded her safety on most occasions.
Lee Sun Bin gave out a solid performance. You can feel her character’s desire to preempt her visions and save lives.
Her brother Yoo Shi Joon (played by Lee Seung Joo) orchestrated the events that pulled these characters together. He was angry and wanted revenge for the death of his parents. His anger and determination to find the Elder won and took over her love for his sister.
The secondary and supporting characters added more layers to the already complex dynamics of its leads.
Power of Clairvoyance and Surprise Revelations
The drama explored Yoo Shi Hyun’s precognitive ability and the sketches that resulted from her visions. It’s interesting to note that her drawings offered only bits and pieces – sort of a puzzle that still needed solving. She might have seen what was about to happen, but she and the rest of the team needed to figure out the reason and had no idea how things would unfold.
As the characters exerted all effort to thwart the curses brought about by the sketches, they took the audience with them. When they tried to figure out the person responsible, the viewers would dig making inferences of their own.
Just like me when I thought I already figured out who Mr. X was, but the reveal proved me wrong. The only thing I guessed right was that the Elder was not an all-powerful individual but a group of people with bad intentions.
Weak villain backstory
The premise was good and as a whole this drama did not disappoint. The only thing I found lacking was the main antagonist’s backstory. Yoo Shi Joon’s character was first introduced as one of the good guys when he was actually a villain. Yes, there was a scene where we saw his time in a psychiatric facility and that his main goal was to destroy the Elder, but I was not “feeling” him.
I had a hard time understanding his hardships dealing with his ability and how he came up with the idea of using it to flush out the Elder. Was there a scene, even during flashback to his younger years, which showed him with neither his parents nor his sister? I don’t recall any; hence, his motivation to avenge his parents’ deaths seemed weak.
Maybe I was just nitpicking but it would have been nice to see a young Yoo Shi Joon having a nice moment with his parents and sibling. I could have an emotional investment had I witnessed just that kind of an interaction. I was not even sorry when it was revealed his power was weakening.
Life, how we make of it, boils down to our choices. It is up to us whether we select based on our emotions or logic. Both are essential in our decision-making process, but more often than not our emotional responses have the tendency to aggravate situations.
When emotions take over, as humans, our judgments become clouded to the point we see no reason but only our own. Yoo Shi Joon, blinded by anger and thirst for vengeance, took advantage of his ability to influence events that affected all of the characters’ lives. He chose not to prevent the death of Do Jin’s wife so he could control him.
Yoo Shi Hyun, haunted by the demise of her parents and friend, opted to give her all to stop the realization of her visions at the expense of her safety.
Kim Do Jin did all that was asked of him without questions because he was unable to deal with his pain. He became Yoo Shi Joon’s personal assassin, thus losing his humanity.
Internal Affairs Chief Jang Tae Joon, still disturbed by his sister’s death, stayed loyal to Yoo Shi Joon and followed him blindly. His loyalty was repaid with his life.
Thinking logically does not guarantee better results, and most of the times, our logical choices are the most painful.
Kang Dong Soo was not able to grieve properly. He focused on solving the sketches to prevent more deaths. He suppressed his emotions, and it was made clear it’s hurting him.
After overcoming the shock of finding out his brother was the true mastermind, Yoo Shi Hyun tried to put some sense into him. The confrontation scene was extremely emotional and her pain was palpable. She witnessed how his strong and capable brother slowly broke apart, losing his grip to reality and what really mattered.
Do Jin eventually realized he was just being used. He decided to spoil Yoo Shi Joon’s plan, but got killed as a result.
All our actions have corresponding consequences. The result may be what we hope for, or sometimes, we ended up having the opposite. The drama is not without flaws but it reiterates how our actions affect those around us.
The things we have done and experienced in the past may have influenced the way we are now. However, it is what we do in the present that will provide us a glimpse of our future. Sketch reminded us of that.