Seoul must have done something to me, to my head, I think I miss it too much to keep talking raving spazzing about the memories there. A week has passed and me my friends and I cannot get our experiences out of our head. We cannot stop T_____T It’s not much different a city from let’s say HK or Singapore, except it’s bigger more massive more crowded and condense, but there’s just a lil bit of me in there, not wanting to leave, somewhat rooted in the place. Perhaps it’s the K-dramas, the familiarity of what has followed me for almost 15 years, I felt at home. I felt I’d never left.
And when I said Seoul must have done something to my head, it did. I am now, actually very much out of my mind crackstatically addicted to a MAKJANG drama! Yes, I spelled it right, MAKJANG! The very combi of everything dramatic histrionic cliche and stereotype that you can ever find in a K-drama (you can name it this drama prob has it all) – SECRET.
And oh yes Secret is fascinating, it is. Caveat: Nothing about the plot is creatively new or fresh, it’s makjang, what can one expect from it? I bet a lot of people were turned off by the synopsis in the first place (when it came out), veering off right away, knowing how much of suspension of belief would be required to actually buy into something this far-fetched and unbelievable. Yes it is ridiculously impossible and unbelievable, and still very much so 6 episodes in. With MORE to come. This is the time to stop if you’re already rolling your eyes and banging your head on the wall LOL
But what works for me in this drama? Everything. Ze makjangness.
I don’t know if this qualifies as a good makjang or anything, I just know it taps into MY emotions like a prickly rose, as I ache feel horrible and terrible for all the characters for what they had and have to endure in here. It’s a drama I’m watching with my heart and not my brain. Never have I felt so overwhelmingly connected to all 4 main characters in a drama (who are not all saintly or nice) at the same time, all of them are poor tormented souls who have no firm grip of their lives, who have no control over what they want. And you don’t want to be in their shoes.
The notion of 2 unlikeliest people falling in love with each other – it’s out in the open so blatantly impossible. They both know it’s impossible, and though it’s not happening yet, it will somehow, it’s gonna be very interesting and intriguing to see how it will happen. There is a certain pull and appeal – to how blatant hatred and resentment can turn into something more affectionate and emotional, dangerous but fascinating. There’s a saying that hate and love are both separated and defined by a thin line, it’s easy to muddle and mix that you have no idea what you’re feeling for the other. The feeling is strong, but what is that?
I love love love the OTP’s entanglement and their dangerous connection with each other. It thrills me even more because a lot of things are out in the open for Min Hyuk (he knows about Do Hoon) but yet he can’t help but be obsessively affected. I’ve come to a conclusion and agreement with Se Yeon’s words to him, that he is not dwelling in sadness, but merely finding a reason to evade responsibility and guilt over Ji Hee’s death. It’s a very profound statement and I think Min Hyuk is very aware of it, that it’s true but he cannot let go. That’s why I find his obsession over Yoo Jung particularly interesting. I don’t think he has developed anything affectionate for her yet, be he is very aware and conscious about her being. All those years of stalking and controlling of her life, it’s sickening and it’s wrong, but somehow it works very well for me (such a sadistic person I am). It was and has been the only way for him to keep up with life, have a resolve and do something. In a way (a good one), she was the very motivation for him to pick up and not waste his life away. He’s our anti-hero, who has no qualms about using and crushing lives of others, but deep down inside, behind the facade of his, you sense a softness and vulnerability that noone has yet to touch (probably not even his beloved Ji Hee). Ji Sung is nailing the complexity well, and his eyes and gazes show how much he’s got in him. I think he’s far better doing roles like these, because he’s able to convey a complex mix of emotions in his eyes alone and I like when I am made to guess. And his chemistry with both leading ladies are fantastic, not the over-palpable kind but the slow brewing sexy kind. Darn lucky Lee Bo Young, what a hit couple they are, killing ppl everywhere this year!
Yoo Jung is much more typical that we think, but I love her character’s strength and resolve to move on amidst all that she has had to endure. She may be viewed as the damsel who needs rescue all the time, but what she had to go thru, it’s devastating and brutally unimaginable her acts and reactions they are pretty reasonable and realistic to me. So very makjang yeah right. Her sacrificial ways, it’s saintly and foolish, but admirable in the context of the drama – not because she was forced or co-erced or tricked to doing all those things, but she did out of genuine love. Believe it or not, yes, we have a Saint Yoo Jung here – who will do anything and everything for the one she loves. Hwang Jung Eum is doing a good job, considering the exhaustion of tears she’s had to toil over in this drama. I’m actually surprised that she still manages to make me feel for her, despite her long-time take on such characters. People might not like how she appears a bit botoxy and stiffy, but she works wonders for me because even though she’s done it, she kills her emotions all the same. I am sold and I totally buy her pain. I don’t know whether YJ’ll really move on from Do Hoon for good, he’s been in her life for as long as she can remember, she made him who he is today (Mr. Prosecutor). But it’s her relationship with Min Hyuk which I dig so much, their dynamics make for sumptuous delicious makjang-fest but I dig it so much. It’s again the notion of falling for someone impossible, the person whom you owe your life to, the person whom you should hate for having made your life so miserable (Min Hyuk was the cause of her misery 100%). It’s dangerously alluring, somewhat sickening, and so complicated, can both of them accept what cannot be and defy all odds? I’m all for it!
Do Hoon is the most interesting character so far, not just because he’s all broody, but there are so many layers to him that make him a difficult character to grasp. I think he genuinely treasures Yoo Jung and truly feels sorry for what he’s made out of her. Although it’s not something I condone, it’s wrong I know, but we all know Min Hyuk had a play in it as well. The intrigue and pull of his character is that he isn’t carved out to be someone nice or entirely evil, there are greyish layers to him that make him likeable and despicable at the same time. I feel sorry for him because of his inability to do something he wants out of his own, and is always subject to control that he cannot escape from (his superior and Min Hyuk). Bae Soo Bin does a wonderful job (in fact the best) in making this character distinct from the rest. He taps into those minute details of emotions perfectly and he runs away with them. It’s hard to hate him, just look at his eyes, I just cannot.
Se Yeon on the other hand, toughie with so much to offer but cannot reach out to Min Hyuk. Funny how Lee Da Hee managed to score 2 watchable dramas (IMO) both with Ji Sung and Lee Bo Young (for IHYV). I don’t think there’s much going on with her acting in both dramas (pretty much the same), but I like how her character’s crafted here. She’s strong willed and capable and does not bow down like a weakling. She acknowledges that life cannot be the way she wants but tries to cope as much as she could. I often feel bad that she has to deal with a hard to grasp Min Hyuk, not knowing where he’s going, but still hangs on for the feelings she has harbored towards him for so long. I’m also not very sure what writer wants to do with her and Do Hoon (there’s just something in the way he looks at her, thanks to gorgeous Bae Soo Bin gazing!) that makes me wish for something to spark off between them (okay I admit I also want it to happen because I love the main OTP too much though nothing has happened yet lol).
It’s all makjang alright, it makes for good raving and ranting! But the one good thing I can say, that every actor in this drama are very in sync with their characters and their dynamics with each other. It can be Ji Sung with HJE or LDH or BSB with both ladies, they all have very comfortable and easy chemistry with each other. The guys are especially killing it with their intense gazes, and the girls are doing their parts fine, responding with the right amount of intensity. This drama is predictable in its course of direction, but the alluring thing – you don’t know what to expect from its execution. It may not be a subtle drama at all means, but if the theme of mutual understanding and redemption can be tapped on right here, I ask for no more.
I hope my 6-ep rave doesn’t jinx this drama because it always goes downhill whenever I start liking one. I’m genuinely addicted and drawn to the premise of this drama and I can only hope writer nim milks whatever’s worth out of it. I am already imagining Min Hyuk and Yoo Jung making out, please control me pervy MIND! Damn!
credits: Pictures as tagged / krdrama.com