Two Weeks: a wise choice!

day14 photo day14_zps7ccf075e.jpgThe good news is, Two Weeks is awesome! The first two episodes had me on the edge of my seat and the time just flew by. The bad news is… Two Weeks is awesome! I’ve been totally spoiled by marathoning and I can tell the week-long wait between episodes is going to play havoc on my nerves.

Spoilers through episode 2 below…

Right off the bat I’m glad to say that the story structure and tone is different enough from Heartless City that I’ll not be making comparisons. (Erm… Other than right now.) I was a tiny bit worried, since they’re both dark, gritty, cops and robbers dramas. But they’re only related by the broadest of strokes. Heartless City was all shadows and uncertainty and slow-pulsing glamour. Whereas Two Weeks is tightly wound, brightly lit edginess. (One is an elegant bar at midnight: mood-lit and sexy, a husky-voiced singer breaking your heart with her song. gambler photo gambler_zps5455faa1.jpgThe other is the harsh light of day: sunlight picking out the vomit-stained carpet and the overflowing ashtrays and the rips in the fabric of the dirty pleather-lined booths.)

Our hero, Jang Tae-san, when we meet him, is a full on loser. A gambler — who regularly loses and is fine with being treated like the table’s fool. A prostitute — who protests but takes the money and pretty much drinks himself into compliance. And a pawn-shop manager (his respectable day-job) who drifts through his work with little to no ambition or interest.

(I call him a manager because it seems like he’s got a boss who can send him on errands. But he’s also called the owner so… I might be misunderstanding the whole gang hierarchy.) Suffice it to say, Tae-san is part of a gang and is in a weird position where he’s in a place of respect — he’s called “hyungnim” by most everyone around him — but he isn’t actually respected. Which he seems to both understand and just purely not care about.

And that’s where Lee Jun-ki pinged me. Because his character is definitely just drifting through life, disconnected and not caring. He’s given up and he knows it (and I know it — which could lead to my not caring about the character or his story), but it niggles. You can see that it niggles in the little twitches of humiliation that flicker across his face right before fool photo fool_zps8769a9e5.jpghe turns the humiliation into a joke that he uses to shake it off and let it go.

(The drama itself was incredibly smart by starting off with a music-video style prologue of the scene where Tae-san’s in the police van and a weeping woman driving a porsche passes him (in the slow-mo of important passing) and starts off a chain reaction that leads to the crash we’ve seen in all the pre-release stills and posters. So we watch Tae-san’s current languor knowing a crisis is just ’round the bend.)

And then we meet his ex. And it gets worse. She has a daughter, the daughter is dying, the daughter needs a bone-marrow donor, the daughter is his.  photo coldinhye_zps6fc2bc44.jpgHis ex, Seo In-hye, is very unhappy about letting him know the child exists and is very unhappy about having to ask him for anything. And he confirms her low expectations by asking incredulously (even a little angrily), “You had the child?”

And, wow. New low found. Especially when we get the flashback of a young Tae-san physically pushing a sobbing and protesting In-hye into the operating room (to, I assume, have an abortion). At this point I completely understood why In-hye cut off all contact with him, told her daughter that her birth father is dead, and wants as little interaction as possible with Tae-san. Heck, I applauded her decision. Breaking free of Tae-san seemed like the best and healthiest choice In-hye could have made — for her and her daughter.

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But if Tae-san has been sleep-walking through life, numb to the filth settling around him — this news, and new responsibility, begins to wake him up. He’s a match (of course) and a date is set for the operation to donate his bone-marrow in two weeks. (Hey! Just like the name of this cartoon!) And — crucially — he meets his daughter.

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Seo Soo-jin is an adorable little moppet, of course. But she’s got a maturity about her. For one, she’s somehow figured out that her birth-dad isn’t dead and has an old photo squirreled away of Tae-san and In-hye from their happier days. So when Tae-san peeks into the pediatric section of the hospital, she recognizes him, calls him dad promise photo promise_zpsdcfb3e64.jpg(which freaks him out completely and has him thinking she calls every man dad which piles on the guilt) and then gives him a tiny little bride-gorilla doll making him pinky promise to return it to her at a later date. (I think it’s her way of getting him to promise to see her again. She’s a clever one.)

When the crisis hits — dead woman, murder weapon in his hand, everything arranged perfectly to make him seem the murderer — the little doll becomes a symbol for him, a totem almost — that pushes him to not just take what life is handing him, but actually fight back. goal photo goal_zps2aa297d1.jpgI suspect Tae-san’s waking up for the sake of his daughter will be the driving theme of his character’s growth.

Tae-san struck me, in the beginning, as a bit of an idiot. But I’ve begun to suspect he’s not stupid — might even be clever — and has just forced himself to not think to better numb himself to his circumstances. I’m very eager to see what Tae-san is like when he’s fully operational.

And that’s just Tae-san. The villains he’s up against seem gratifyingly challenging. Not so much his gang-boss. He’s cunning but emotional and that leads to mistakes. (The murder was a huge, emotionally driven, mistake.) notsosweet photo notsosweet_zps8f4e0da0.jpgBut his partner is dangerously intelligent. On the surface she’s a humble, hard-working, salt of the earth type politician. Underneath she’s an ice-cold… drug dealer? I think? Anyway, she’s an underworld boss pulling in all kinds of dirty money. And she didn’t achieve all that, and keep it so secret, by being stupid. She’s the villain to watch out for.

Then there’s the Prosecutor, Park Jae-kyung, — all earnest doggedness — who’s been secretly building a dossier on the two bad-guys. It was her informant, Mi-sook, who got murdered. It was her sobbing (over Mi-sook’s death) while driving her porsche that caused the traffic accident that set Tae-san free. And I strongly suspect it will be her who early hooks up with Tae-san to put the pieces together and take the bad-guys down.

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Yes, her shirt is stained. No, she don’t care.

The cops, lead by In-hye’s fiancé, Seung-woo, were frustratingly certain of Tae-san’s guilt. Not that I fully blame them. They don’t know they’re in a conspiracy story and the evidence was pretty clearcut. But Jae-kyung has a bigger picture — so I have high expectations of her sliding the pieces into proper place.

(And while I’m on this tangent: it was a police scene that created the biggest story-wobble, in my nitpicking opinion. misook photo misook_zps414a3a4d.jpgThere was a bit where the rookie cop gets nauseous over Mi-sook’s body and it’s played for laughs complete with funny music. I think the music was a touch too far. We knew Mi-sook, and I liked her, so her body wasn’t impersonal. I get that the police have a certain amount of gallows-humor and the bit felt real character-wise. But it wasn’t a time for easy viewer-laughter so the musical nudge felt pushy and a bit tasteless.)

So we have a sleep-walking loser who finally has reason to wakeup and fight. We have a highly motivated Prosecutor who is on his side — though neither of them know it. We have a smart but possibly rigid cop who might refuse to see the truth until it’s too late (jury’s still out on that one). And we have an intelligent, cold villain who will not be easy meat. Basically, the game is afoot and it promises to be a doozy.

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16 thoughts on “Two Weeks: a wise choice!

  1. I loved it!! still need to see ep 2..

    It’s fast paced and so many things happened in ep 1….but not rushed…..Lee Jun Ki is great….the setup is full of suspense…tension and heart….

    • It’s amazing, and impressive, and very, very confidence building that they’re able to pack so much in (characters introduced, backstories hinted at, plot lines laid out) and not be confusing or slow or “pause for giant exposition”.

      If they got this much this right I’m hoping it means they know where they’re going. And that’s a key, I think, to good drama. 🙂

  2. It’s so funny that you mentioned Heartless City because I’m ready to marry it and make babies. I’m so completely seduced by it that I was like, come on, there’s gotta be an undercover agent here somewhere, and bingo, Mi Sook. Speaking of her death, I thought it ironic that the knife was censored but the blood is everywhere! It’s the bloodiest murder I’ve seen yet in a drama!

    • Wait — did you mean Two Weeks? Or have you started watching Heartless City, because if so — yay! I eagerly await your opinions on it. 😀

      The knife thing is both (a) such a hilarious example of how specifically worded censorship laws don’t do what they think they’re doing (protecting people from shockingly violent images, I assume; which the blood spray kind of nullifies) and (b) a really good nudge for directors to get creative in showing the violence without showing the blade.

      That the knife was long enough to make her back bleed — that was a disturbing image right there. (The whole scene was pretty durn disturbing.)

      • Yes, am watching HC, and right now, it’s kinda annoying me a little, it’s left me behind while its running in circles. Speaking of similarities, Lee Jun Ki’s hair stylist in Two Weeks must be the same person who did Lughead Cop’s in HC! BAD. PERM. ;P. Oh that murder scene was so brutal…and so good in all the right ways, for the show I mean. Now that I have some distance, Two Weeks is really the superior show to Master’s Sun in every way, at the moment

        • There must be a deep existential meaning behind the bad hair… an expression of their despair perhaps? A way to show the world how deeply they’ve ceased to care? “I can do nothing about my basic beauty, but I can express my angst via the medium of bad perm. The world will weep as I weep.” 😉

          I’m sad you’re not enjoying HC as much. But it definitely got a little merry-go-roundy at a point (musical chairs with Scale’s house — to be cryptic and non-spoilery ;)) but I was so invested in who was going to come out on top I kind of didn’t care. Probably because I was scared about who was going to be where when the music stopped.

  3. Woot! I’m so glad that this is getting positive reactions everywhere I look! I’ve been looking forward to this one! Not enough to join the live-watch bandwagon, but it’s shot up the priority list, that’s for sure! 😀

    • I think (hope! hope! hope!) it’s one that’ll make a really cool marathon. I’m anticipating some grueling cliffhangers in my future — when I’ll be envying your patience. 😉

      • Patience is easy.. I just fill up all my available drama hours with shows that I’ve been wanting to watch and are now all available. When there’s no more available time or bandwidth, it’s easy to wait till current shows finish airing ;D Enjoy the live watch – sounds like fun times ahead of ya!! ^^

  4. That’s what I thought as well. I loved the first two epis, they were better than I expected actually. I’m already fully onborad this ride and rooting for Tae San to succeed. 🙂 The setup and characters are interesting. I love an intelligent Big Bad. Hopefully Two Weeks will keep this trajectory till the end.

    Your thoughts on Tae San pretty much mirror mine. I think he is quite smart but has never used his ingelligence in any constructive way, probably because he feels totally worthless. When you hear continuously, from early on that you are trash, you tend to start believing it. Now he can’t afford to avoid harnessing everything he’s got anymore, it’s do or die.

    Seung Woo is far too sure about the state of some things and has a sort of limiting view on people that can prove a big fallacy. He is a good candidate of someone who is in danger of turning to the dark side. I bet he’ll be hunting Tae San even after he finds out TS was at the hospital when Mi Sook was killed. Jelousy will rear it’s ugly head and cloud his judgement. Seung Woo feels like that type of a man. Is his father mixed up with the counsilwoman’s business or just as fooled by her as everyone else?

    I haven’t seen enough of Prosecutor Park to form proper opinion on her but I think she and Tae San would be quite a formidable duo if they’d combine their efforts. Interesting to see how it pans out.

    • It was interesting to me that Tae-san already seemed unhappy with his career path during that beach scene when he first met In-hye. (His discomfort at people identifying him as a thug.) I’m really eager to find out what he’d maybe begun to dream about before his boss made him the go-to-jail-for-me offer he couldn’t refuse.

      And Council-woman Jo looks like she’s going to be deliciously difficult to stymie. Which will definitely make for some fun conflict down the road (I hope!).

      Prosecutor Park had me with her stained shirt. 🙂 And also her full on tears over Mi-sook.

      Seung-woo… I’m waiting and seeing. He’s awesome with the two Seo’s, but they laid some interesting seeds with his “some people are just bad” comment. I’ll definitely be interested to see where he ends up heading and how his father ties in. (I wonder what his dad thinks of him wooing a lady with a baby?)

      But I love how much we’ve already got and how much we’re able to anticipate and how much I’m suddenly dying to know… Good signs all. 🙂

  5. Ooh, I like the comparison: midnight bar with a husky singer vs sunlit, vomit stained seedy club with overflowing ashtrays. 🙂
    But that was only during the set-up phase. Now that he’s on the run, it’s a more meal-of-the-day problem solving game — with one crying session thrown in. Hee!

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