I’m currently suffering from MAJOR Can You Hear My Heart withdrawals. The drama which has managed to topple every single drama that I’ve seen in the last 5 years. I have one last episode to go, and I really really really do not want it to end, I seriously do not want to let go. Dong Joo, Maru, Woori, all of them. My eyes totally dried up swollen last night after finishing Ep 29, and I don’t even wanna think about what might happen when I finish it for good. Darn CYHMH, you have no idea what you’ve done to me.
However, as I make my way towards the grand ending of CYHMH, with the utmost-est dread, I come across Warrior Baek Dong Soo (WBDS). A drama which I think is likely to help ease and relieve my sadness that I won’t have CYHMH to look forward to anymore.
6 eps in and I’m doomed. Addicted again. (Like I have no other dramas to watch? I still have 7 other friggin dramas! And they’re all as good, if not addicting.)
I know a lot of people are more fascinated with and invested in Yoo Seung Ho’s Yeo Un right now. And I totally get it. First, it’s Yoo Seung Ho (I really dunno anyone who doesn’t like him). Second, who doesn’t love icy, melo-ish and silent-killer characters? And when you add romance into the picture, especially with a character so opposite (status-wise), you know you already want to ship them as the OTP.
I know I’m supposed to be team Yeo Un too, because I love YSH to bits (given). But the minute adult Dong Soo appeared on screen, I knew he was the one for me. I knew I was going to root for Dong Soo all the way. All my qualms and worries stalled, I decided to give Ji Chang Wook a chance. After all he did impress me in Sons of Sol Pharmacy.
I read a lot of initial impressions and reviews, and noticed a lot of them seemed to veer towards Yoo Seung Ho and his character Yeo Un. But 6 eps in, I surprisingly found myself the least invested and interested in his character. Icy cold assassin with a hidden vendetta that he doesn’t even understand (thanks to Cheon’s effective brainwashing), Yeo Un had all to convince me that he’s my type (I love dark characters). Sadly however, maybe some wire in my brain snapped, he and I just didn’t connect. Yoo Seung Ho is doing alright, and I commend him for taking up a role so vastly different from his personality. All he needs is that one moment, and I think I’ll be sold right away.
Dong Soo on the other hand gives me an absolute fit. Whenever he says or does something out of the blue, I roll into laughter. He’s so…so silly and stupid (sometimes) that I just find him fun and amusing to watch. The way he blurts out something random and follows it up with something even more random, gahhhh.. save me! While many may lament on his clumsiness and silliness, and hate how he acts so immature despite being an adult, I find those traits of his a delight and gleeful charm. An addition of light and color to the otherwise quiet and broody Yeo Un. Of course, I was expecting a more mature Dong Soo, given how determined and motivated he’d become after his training coach died before his eyes. But I’m glad they kept his mischievousness and liveliness. As all underdogs do, I’m sure we’ll see him grow up sooner or later, be the warrior Baek Dong Soo we wanna see. So why not enjoy all the silliness and fun now? ?:D
Ji Chang Wook is relatively new, in comparison to the rest (and to YSH even, boy has been acting since like what? 8?) and may not have solid acting chops yet. His acting limitations are pretty obvious, especially when it comes to melo or angst-y dramatic scenes. I remember watching Smile Dong Hae, and I cringed and cringed like no other during his intense and dramatic scenes. We’re not that far yet into WBDS, but I’m willing to give him a benefit of a doubt. I may be in the minority, but I really like his take on Dong Soo so far. The way he conveys Dong Soo’s extroverted-ness, with a mix of deftness and naivete, is just a joy to watch. Yes, there were/are some awkwardness and OTT-ness here and there, but really, isn’t that a given for such characters? They’re meant to be over, brash and loud. They’re meant to annoy us. And IMO, he’s doing his job. Not great, not mindblowing of course, but definitely on par.
WBDS has a very typical HGD or Iljimae-ish plot, but like a dear friend once said, everything has been done before, I have already come to terms with that. In fact, I sorta like how the drama combines several sub-plots together to form the bigger picture. Prince Sado’s so called conspiracy, the personal feud between Cheon and Kim Kwang Taek, the tri-romance (older and younger generation), Dong Soo’s revenge, Yeo Un’s issues (whatever they are)..etc They’re like convoluted and complicated on your face but yet so inter-connected that you can’t help but want more.
WBDS is no doubt about Dong Soo and his growth and journey, but I’m also particularly fond of the minute focus on Prince Sado’s treacherous journey to find the plan detailing the Northern Expedition of 100 years (mind me, I really have no sound knowledge of true history or the original manga, thnks momosan for translations). I’m not sure if it’s Oh Man Seok‘s wonderful acting or the character itself, I just find everything about Prince Sado…alluringly sad and bitter. His dilemma as the Crown Prince in wanting to free the country of control by the Qing (please correct me if I’m wrong) pains me to bits. His inner yearning calls for empathy. He just leaves me heavy-hearted and dejected. (Someone please give him a puppy hug!)
Kim Kwang Taek and Cheon, the most fascinating characters in the drama, with the most fascinating relationship ever. Jeon Gwang Ryeol and Choi Min Soo play out their characters with intensity and conviction so overwhelming that my eyes are always transfixed on them whenever they’re on screen. They devote themselves to opposing powers, antagonism fueled by their love for the same woman, and yet they have a very unique bond, tied together by a hidden and mutual respect they have for each other. Cheon, who gives me the goosebumps whenever he appears on his horse, with his body slanted to the side, with his sheepish yet piercing glares, gets to me. He’s icy, introverted and nonchalant about the world about him (well except for Ji I guess) but I feel there’s more to that side of him. He’s a villain I want to understand more of, a villain I cannot hate.
Funnily though, I actually root for him and Ji more than KKT-Ji. Their interactions together do not go far, less words than necessary, but their silent aura alone is capable of burning my screen. KKT is definitely the love of Ji’s life, and I know that Cheon is unlikely to get her in the end. But as long as I get my share of moments like the end of Ep 6, I’m all good.
Bromance in dramas are always a delectable feat. Especially when it involves 2 characters of personalities so different from each other. Example? You need not go far. Cha Dong Joo and Jang Joon Ha in CYHMH, one of the most complex yet endearing bromance I’ve seen in my so many years of K-drama watching. So far Dong Soo and Yeo Un have yet to have their specific bonding moment (please give us more!), but we know that their friendship is no less genuine and real. Yeo Un treats Dong Soo with sheer caution and guard but has an overly soft spot for him. Dong Soo hates losing to Yeo Un but is well aware that his friend is way beyond him and accepts him for who he is. Yeo Un is the coolant to the force of fire that is of Dong Soo, they balance and compliment each other well. It’s somewhat sweet and endearing. But yet bitter in the sense that they will eventually have to face each other off when the truth comes out.
Bromance is one thing, it wouldn’t be Korean drama bromance without the romance factor. We need both guys to fall in love with the same girl for the rivalry to kick in. Yoo Jin Sun, the young, prim and proper lady, bearer to one of the most sought after object in the drama – the plan of the Northern Expedition of 100 years. And also my least favourite character out of the bunch. Cold and unaffected, calm and expressionless. Boring in other words if I may say. Either the character doesn’t do anything for me, or the actress is not doing a very good job. Either way and anyway, she doesn’t pique my interest and I care less about how she’ll fare with Dong Soo. I can buy her with Yeo Un because they’re sorta similar – they don’t smile? And they have their own hidden agendas? As long as she stays away from Dong Soo (or rather, Dong Soo stays away from her), I’m a happy girl.
I guess by now you’d have known, Dong Soo and Jin Joo FTW for me! I love how vivacious and boisterous Jin Joo is, and how she’s a character of her own. A commonplace in Korean dramas, but hey, better than dull and emotionless right? When feisty cookie meets her childhood crush (well she’s met him already but doesn’t know it’s him), she’s gonna freak out. And they’re gonna start bickering all their way until they fall in love with each other. And me? I’m going to be a happy shipper of course. ^^ But I know for Dong-Joo (Dong Soo – Jin Joo) to happen, he’d first have to get over Ji Sun. Then face the fact that she’s the daughter of the enemy. Yummmmm, the angst.
So that goes, I’m now officially part of the WBDS-dom. A lil bit too early to judge of its quality and production values, but so far direction is okay passable, acting decent all across the board, and OST is nice. Nothing is overly or glaringly sticking out right now, and important thing, I’m addicted!
Just the perfect drama to move on from CYHMH.
Now, just give me Dong Soo and Kim Kwang Taek’s meeting already!