Nice Guy isn’t a wow great mind-blowing drama, it’s got makjang, it’s got LKH’s pattern melodrama, it’s got caricature like characters, and it’s got some silly warts, and some things that require you stretch your belief by a thousand hundred miles. It’s nowhere near the perfect LKH melodrama I’d been expecting, and it’s not going there.
But its got something that none of her past dramas had – an exquisite director who knows what he’s doing (and is doing an awesome directing job). And a male lead that I’m disgusted with. A confused screwed up male lead who is on the verge and brink of destruction, a male lead who doesn’t even know what he’s up to playing with people’s lives. A male lead whom I’m starting to resent! And I don’t normally resent or hate the male leads in mah K-dramas, no matter what they do, no matter how dark sick twisted or irredeemable they are. There is always something that I can fall back on, to justify their actions, their intentions. I could empathise and I can understand. But in here, I don’t know, I kinda want to see him burn for what he’s doing to Eun Gi. I don’t know what’s gotten in Song Joong Ki, what he’s eaten (to make him so damn good when he’s already so good), because he has freaking managed to make me grow seeds of hatred towards Maru. In one episode alone.
The first scene in Ep 6 which nearly sent shivers down my spine. Maru staring at a hopeless and lost Eun Gi, knowing very well that she’s falling fast and falling blind, being so aware of how his so called revenge plot is affecting the once prickly and formidable personality. The scene is executed brilliantly, showing the once equal Maru and EG (at least in terms of character and personality) tipped to the very side, in the most pathetic way. Maru who stands tall above everyone, looks at a desperately hopeless one. With eyes so cold and unaffecting, with a gaze so empty and unfeeling. One who could command the attention of many (even her father) is now just a ploy and tool to another, a tool of deceit and manipulation. Eun Gi ah, what has love done to you?
Maru is a difficult character to like, to explain in words, and let alone, to be acted out. He somewhat reminds me of Maru in CYHMH, but with more complex shades of grey and a darker tone. He’s not evil, nor is he malicious. He doesn’t go around trying to steer trouble, cause havoc or nor does he make it a point to ruin peoples’ lives (his life is more than ruined enough by Jae Hee, can’t get worse than that). He loves his sister, he loves his buddy Jae Gil, and would never hurt a fly. But what he’s doing to Eun Gi, it’s sick and it’s horrible. It’s downright twisted. I don’t think he even knows what he’s aiming at exactly (though Jae Hee’s part of it), it’s as if he’s walking the path of getting back at Jae Hee unplanned and unthought of at all, not knowing or realising the extent of his ignorance and how his tactless-ness is affecting the people around him. It doesn’t get to you immediately (I did like Maru in the first few eps), but the more you see Maru sink into his obsession with Jae Hee, the more you sense the coldness in his character, and the more you start to fear this man. You never know when he will pounce, and when he does, you may never have a chance of escape.
SJK killed it in the first scene, those cold empty eyes, they made me bones shiver. But the bar scene with Jae Hee, no other scene takes the cake. THIS. And this of all. The sheer intensity of that scene alone, my hair raised o_0. How did SJK become THIS good? The way he expressed the delight and enjoyment in making Jae Hee jealous, at the expense of another girl who loves and expressed that love to him at that very moment, scary shit. Scary shit. This man, if not played by SJK, I would have sworn and cursed him to the gallows. It’s pure utter disgust. No one can forgive that! Bad Guy had a similar plot and all, IJUKSA, pretty much the same too, but Kim Nam Gil or Rain never gave me as much freaks as SJK did.
I initially thought I couldn’t buy the plot of Eun Gi falling so hard and fast for Maru, and have her switch from a bitchy cold sass to a girl sweetly blinded by love. But I did, and surprisingly I could understand and relate to the whole process. A person so closed off and covered up in her own world, touched by another who breaks into her comfort zone all of a sudden. I somehow thought it connected well. I think EG thought she saw herself in Maru, in that he could relate to her and she could relate to him as well. He doesn’t abide or give in easily, so does she, and he doesn’t shy away or hide his words, so does she. And, he’s man with SJK’s face, come on, who wouldn’t be touched or affected? I’m being realistic here lol.
So the more I feel for EG, the moment I step into her shoes, my disgust towards Maru evolves faster. If Eun Gi ain’t a troubled or unstable character herself, I wouldn’t bother too much. If Eun Gi didn’t have a father who constantly belittled her and a step-mother who happened to be Jae Hee, I wouldn’t care less. But with all this burdened baggage behind her, she has to cope with Maru who would eventually come to destroy her everything in life, her family, her genuine trust in people. How could I like this character anymore? One who destroys without knowing what he’s aiming at. Someone who loves him.
What’s so amazing about SJK is that he’s really really good in using his eyes to convey vulnerability and frailty. It’s a fine line, between conveying emotions so layered and complex without uttering a single word and just looking good with tears in your eyes. A lot of actors manage do the latter, they always manage to tear out our guts and eye glands by crying their heart out, make us empathise with them with tears filling their eyes. But SJK aims higher, and does it so damn well. He doesn’t need to cry or have tears linger in his eyes, I feel him. The wall of reality that’s breaking inside him, that he’s actually hurting and crushing a human being with his own hands.
This scene in particular, it’s sickening and sad at the same time. Maru’s clearly giving EG a chance to escape, but we all know it sounds all different to EG. The worse thing is that Maru never really realises up until this point that he’s giving this woman so much and yet is taking the same amount away at the same time. It’s painful to see EG fall so blindsided and one sidedly, it’s even more painful to see Maru be so well aware and conscious of everything and not be remorsed with guilt at all (not yet to me at least). At least, we get some sort of retribution at the very end of the episode, but that said, I don’t think it’s going to make me get back to liking Maru anymore.
Unless a miracle happens, he forgets Jae Hee and leaves everyone alone for good, it’s gonna be an uphill task.
Love oh love, boy you can be destructive.
Maybe Eun Gi, you could consider going to Jun Ha (or cutiepie Sang Yeob) instead?