In a nutshell: One of the more clever, bizarre and fun dramas of the year, and one that should have been epic. Its basic plot is corporate-shennanigans and the rise of a humble salaryman. But it’s also a loose retelling of the founding of the Han dynasty in ancient China. And a skewering of some beloved k-drama cliches. And then there’s the chicken. This was a fun, fun watch. However, it got a little too plot-driven towards the end, sacrificing character-depth for mystery-solving. And the band I hoped would get together never really did. Which was disappointing. But, I still enjoyed the ride.
I… feel like I should have more to say: The drama was gorgeously shot. There’s an awesome scene in the first episode where a fight at the golf-club gets the epic-historical-battle treatment, including slow-mo’s and orchestral music. And the main actors brought their A-game, with Jung Ryu-won a particular stand-out. I was used to seeing her playing frail young things, but here she’s spoiled and fierce with a mouth so foul it gives gangsters pause.
I wouldn’t say the drama did anything really wrong. It just… kind of… fizzled there at the end. It became almost a procedural with the characters going static and the puzzle-solving taking center-stage. Which, with such unique characters following such a refreshingly original path, was a bit of a let down. I was glad I watched, but it didn’t change my world like I’d expected it to. (To be honest, a large part of my disappointment was the band that never came to be. I love teams that form against all odds and personalities, and to see such a beast on the horizon but never quite getting it was a pretty severe let down. So your milage may vary.)