I’m still taking a lovely, leisurely stroll through the world of The Return of Iljimae. Watching it again, not being breathlessly pushed on by the plot, is a lot of fun. More than I’d expected it to be.
(Spoilers for Return of Iljimae, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, and Level 7 Civil Servant ep. 10 below)
Now that I know what’s to come I get little unexpected moments of joy. Like when the shaman arrives at the head bad-guy’s house, I know it’s going to mean a hilarious amount of trouble for his secretary. So her arrival and his curiosity made me giggle.
Though there’s also deeper levels of pathos. One of the storylines that helps give The Return of Iljimae the patina of a classic tale is the tragic romance between Iljimae’s mom and the police detective (Baek-mae and Goo Ja-Myeong). I know how their story is going to end, so it makes their slow steps towards each other that much more painful.
Honestly, if their story wasn’t secondary, it would drive me crazy. It’s old school romance. So old school it resembles the sort of epic ballads I picture getting sung in Medieval courts. Or a bit more aptly, it echoes the opera Iljimae’s adoptive parents were listening to when he lived in China. Which boils down to: though their paths will cross, though their love is fated, it will never, never come to be. Let us all weep.
So as they creep a few centimeters closer:
Which kind of makes me feel like a creeper.
But! Since this is a secondary storyline I enjoy the pathos. Though, to be fair, our ill-fated lovers do get to share one night together.
Though of course that leaves another’s heart broken (and lays the groundwork for more tragedy to come).
(Seriously. The songs about those three would have had them all weeping into their tankards.)
In other news, the plunger has been waved, the prince’s naked body has been claimed, and ramyun has been enjoyed by all. In other words, we’ve finished Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. The husband enjoyed it, though he did say it skirted very close to too silly at times. I adored the rewatch — especially seeing the two side of Jung Ill-woo (much more than a pretty face — the boy can act). An in-depth review will come. But for now I’m really pleased with how well they carried through the mythic reversal of Hawnung and the bear-wife. Yes, the drama was full of silly — but you didn’t actually have to check your brain at the door. Which takes a lot of cleverness to pull off.
I’ve vowed to stop complaining about what Level 7 Civil Servant isn’t. Instead I’ll only say it still makes me laugh now and again. And I do enjoy the romance between Gil-ro and Seo-won. They finally kissed! And on a bed even! (Which is far more scandalous than I expected the show to go). It’s my least favorite of the dramas I’m live watching, but it’s still watchable.
And that’s my drama watching for this week! (Well, obviously I also watched That Winter the Wind Blows and Flower Boy Next Door. But they filled me with enough thoughts that they each got their own post.)