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40somethingahjumma

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  1. Hi dear! Thank you so much for your kind words. I am still stunned at the reception of that blog post about the Winter Garden confession. It's beyond my expectations. It is the most popular one by far. Streets ahead. I hope the showrunners know how popular WG is... I think they do... because if they screw it up in the next 2 season, it would be to their detriment. @kiklaminHo Thank you for your insights. What you say is possible and I agree that office romances are hard to navigate especially considering the power dynamics. I do understand the complexities involved and what Jeong-won must have wrestled with. I certainly don't envy him... or the position he found himself in. How was he going to bring up the subject would have been at the forefront of his mind? But from his interaction with SHwa, it was clear that he was always planning to tell her.. at some point. He was deep in thought (the only one looking down) when SHyeong mentioned that he didn't want to waste anymore time and do only things he cared about. He also looked embarrassed when she confessed to him first. It was obvious when he stared down at the floor shamefacedly. What is striking too is that he didn't even tell her that he was staying at the hospital... much less that he was in love with her. He could have just told her that he was staying at Yulje and then strategically started the process of confessing by taking her out one meal at a time, easing himself into that position of being able to be clearer with his feelings. I don't want to let him off lightly. That's my point. While I'm sympathetic on some level to his predicament, it's not fair, IMO that Gyeo-ul does all the heavy lifting. It worked well that she spoke up first but I feel at some point in the future, he needs to take some initiative. I wonder... and a fanfic could deal with this quite well... if something were to happen to either of them... or her particularly, how would he feel? What sort of regrets would he have of missing the boat? Very kind of you dear. Thank you. I honestly don't need every moment explained but because of what we went through during the original run, the show needs to give Gyeo-ul all the reassurance possible that JWon is in this for the long haul. I naively believed that once we had the kiss from JWon that we were home free but apparently no. There are still elements in the HP viewership that's doubled down on their pairing because of the multi-season format. I don't need convincing that JWon likes her. I was onboard fairly early on just with the scenes we got. While I agree with @kiklaminHo's insights on why the show might have taken the route it did, there are potential problems that can arise based on the fact that Gyeo-ul made the first move. It is easy to see why she might have an insecurity attack down the track. Because she took the initiative, he has to work twice as hard to prove this is not just some crazy burst of compassion. Detractors are already saying this and while they're wrong about JWon's character, they're not wrong about how this could be interpreted by people who don't know better. If he had taken the initiative, hypothetically speaking, then she would have a much higher degree of certainty that he didn't respond to her the way he did out of some misguided obligation. We also have to acknowledge too that she's simple minded sort of lass. She didn't even understand that the lie about the weekend at Yangpyeong was a break in the pattern of his behaviour with women. She assumed that he lied because he didn't like her in that sort of way. As a writer I have to look at this from all different angles even the ones I don't agree with.
  2. This is very disorienting... we're going from light to dark and then from dark to light. I personally prefer the darker tone. The blue in the sidebar is probably my favourite so far. Yes, it seems that Park Gun-ho is a Bible quoting former prison guard. I can't say I really approve of him taking matter into his own hands by meting out his brand of divine justice in prison. But there's no doubt he knows his Bible. And to his credit, he realised his wrongdoing and used his own life to pay the price of providing a lead for "good guys". There are three instances when the term "brood of vipers" are used in the gospels. The first is an invective by John the Baptist against the religious leaders of the day for their insincerity... or hypocrisy. They thought they were safe because of their religious veneer. Outwardly they did and said all the right things but inwardly they were as corrupt as anyone else. The second and third are used by Jesus also in relation to the religious leader who were hiding behind their religious credentials when their hearts were evil. If memory serves, it's the third instance that was quoted in the show last week. I imagine that Park Gun-ho was simply condemning the law and order system for its framing of Lee Dae-chul for murders he didn't commit while pretending that justice was actually served on that occasion. The police were complicit in a massive and ugly cover-up while playing lip service to upholding justice. He certainly wasn't wrong about the hypocrisy as exemplified by the chief of police and Team Leader Nam of Division 1. This week's verses that he quoted to Reporter Jin were from Hebrews 11. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Although it was pulled out of its context, I believe he meant to challenge her to take the first step in trusting him because... on some level she has no choice if she's going to pursue this and on some level since he's gone as far as he has, he will deliver on his end. Episode 3 was rather good, in my view. The show is finding its feet and I'm liking the fact that though there is corruption in the force, the organization as a whole isn't a lost cause. It seems more to be a case of good cops vs bad cops. I am heartened by the fact that Violent Crimes Team 2 are comprised of cops who actually have conscience or care about the truth. Sometimes I get a bit depressed by Kdrama crime shows when only one or two people care about justice and the rest are corrupt or cowardly. But here, we actually have a whole team of decent men. They mightn't be super sleuths but they have consciences. Looking the other way makes them extremely uncomfortable which is how it should be. What's also really unique is that they passively challenge their leadership as seen in the BBQ sequence. The reward and praise are hollow because it's unfinished business with the implication of something fishy in the offing. It's not that they know how deep the chief's sins go but they know enough to sense the game of political football being played. Even the newbie is not afraid to articulate the problematic nature of what they're being asked to do. It's not what he signed up to do. The OHJ and KDC partnership is turning out to be a meeting of minds. The two men find themselves to be on the same side at last. Both give the impression of disinterest while doing investigations on the side. No doubt OHJ doesn't need to be there... if financial security is a priority but he's obviously driven other concerns. And frankly, he's darn good at the job. He could be doing other things because he definitely has the brains but he chose policing for deeply personal reasons. He's a curious figure. His exchanges with Reporter Jin are telling. She seems to take the emotional route while he is conscientious about maintaining objectivity throughout the investigative process. He actively refuses to be manipulated by her. When she retorts angrily that he's blaming her for Park Gun-ho's death, he insists that the only person to blame for PGH's death is the killer. No one else is to blame. In fact, he also implies that catching the real killer is his only interest. He questions her motives because he can't be certain that they have the same goals. She's in search of a scoop but he's in search of a killer. Those aren't ultimately the same goals. She will do what she needs to service her goals but that doesn't mean their interests always intersect. Ultimately it could cause more harm than good. especially if they are competing for information. He's not wrong but they will have to work together eventually because this case is much much bigger than the three of them. Their ambitions, their ideals and egos don't mean a whole lot when what's happened so far portends a trail of bloodshed.
  3. As I said in my recent update to Confession is not Easy that even though many of us here were able to follow the WG dynamic quite readily, I am still of the opinion that Jeong-won owes Gyeo-ul some kind of explanation about how long he's liked her. For us we've been privy to specific moments and conversations so we have a better grasp of the bigger picture. But Gyeo-ul doesn't. Even with the confession at the end of Episode 12, Gyeo-ul still doesn't know that he went to the ER when she had her anaphylaxis emergency. At the very least she needs to know that he's liked her for a while otherwise this charge that he was just feeling sorry for her when he kissed her will hang over their heads... not necessarily by us... but by others. The show needs to be absolutely clear that JWon fell for Gyeo-ul at some point. Or at least that he became aware that he was in love with her by Episode 6 for instance. JWon should never allow GU to think that his response to her confession was merely an act of pity. For me that's the most important thing. He needs be straight with her on that. The fanfic writers have got that part right as far as I'm concerned. I am okay with cowardice as the reason for him not telling her for 3 weeks after he made up his mind to hang around. But he has to be completely upfront about the lying and the priesthood dilemma. She might not overthink things the way people in fandom have but it doesn't take much for some viewers to jump on the slightest thing and say that JWon is not 100% committed to her because he's withholding information etc etc. That's why I'm not a fan of the secret dating hypothesis. I don't think it's necessary. In fact, I'm almost certain that anyone who has anything to do with them already suspects that Jeong-won likes her. Marriage by the end of S2 could certainly seal the deal. That's certainly on my wishlist. As for why Bong Gwan-hyeong called Gyeo-ul to the ER to deal with the maggot scene, I've always thought he knew that she could be relied upon to do whatever it takes to get the job even if no one else would. Sure, he's not the best mentor money can buy but he knows her strengths. And at the time he would know her much better than JWon did.
  4. What's so great about Seo Ye-ji's performance in my opinion is the layers she brings to the character while making all the elements feel seamless in various scenes. Ko Mun-yeong is a bundle of contradictions and SYJ makes every aspect of her acting count in all those moments. While I wouldn't condone every single one of KMY's actions, how I feel about that doesn't really matter because her story is gradually unfolding. On the surface KMY is an irreconcilable force of nature and yet she's also a precocious child on some level that's dipping her toes into the water, living with mere mortals. She's coming down from her elevated position as represented by the castle and mixing with "ordinary folk". The highlight for me in these recent episodes is seeing her moving into a gradual level of awareness and sensitivity to Gang-tae. Whatever self-interest motivated her to drag him into her dysfunctional, cynical vision of life, she doesn't remain untouched by his kindness. When he gives her the Mang-tae doll, she might start off cantankerously complaining about the look of it but she is not so devoid of feelings that she can't appreciate the thought that went into the making of the doll , the giving of it and the priceless nature of what it represents. For me MY is someone to be pitied more than anything because despite her intellect, her wealth and her beauty, she doesn't even know how to enjoy the ordinary things of life and appreciate them for what they are. These are things we all take for granted. The ability to enjoy family, friends and even to name or perceive "love" when it looms large. Sure she's attracted to what the Moon brothers have but she can't name it because she's never seen it up close and personal. Sure, it's possibly legitimate on some level to interpret Beauty and the Beast as an exemplar of Stockholm Syndrome. It might be a viable analysis of the human condition. But that has no lasting currency or immediate relevance for those of us who lead ordinary lives in search of meaning. The cynical psychoanalytical perspective allows no room for us to move. It's just a power dynamic of victim vs perpetrator. However, the more sanguine vision of Beauty and the Beast calls us all to be better human beings whether we are Beauty or the Beast. If we position ourselves as Beauty, it means we can potentially be a force for good. If we see ourselves as the Beast, then we are capable of change... of being better than what we are. In this view the underlying optimism might be simplistic but it is more rousing. What's positive about that interpretation is that is reminds us that despite everything that's thrown at us we are ultimately agents of our lives. Ju-Ri imagines that Gang-Tae likes Mun-Yeong because he somehow has a thing for bad girls. And that might seem plausible to some who don't know the entire story or who find their dynamic inexplicable. It isn't as if he hasn't attempted to resist the pull. But to me it speaks well of him that he can see beyond the "beast" facade and see a little lost and frightened girl beneath it. Of course he has the opportunities and the skills to go beyond the surface level interaction. He can also acknowledge that he has been wrong and has the capacity to apologise, to learn. At the end of the day it is still a K drama and we are still led to think that fate is at work here bringing them together first as children. He was incapable at that point of understanding the nuances of her situation and he had his own baggage to deal with. However, even if they are fated to be together, it doesn't preclude them from being agents. I find their dynamic unusually powerful for a romance because of how it affects everyone around them. Initially I had the impression that they were largely thrown about by circumstances but there's something unique about putting two kindred spirits together who are increasingly aware that they are far stronger together. There's a sense of danger and unpredictability. I'm sure it's been terrifying for Gang-tae but now that he's crossed 2 major thresholds, he's embracing it with pure joy. Already we can see the people around them are very uncomfortable about what this means for them. Although Jae-su is a good and loyal friend, one gets the feeling that there's something a little bit unhealthy about how he's tethered himself entirely to the brothers. His comfort zone is being shaken up. It's obvious too that Sang-tae is sensing that something's afoot with MY and GT. That will become more of a bone of contention as the show progresses. Brother vs Lover. It doesn't need to be a protracted issue but it has to be acknowledged on some level. Not to mention Ju-ri and Manager Lee. But that's part of everyone's growth. Because of the shifting dynamics, they too are forced to explore other avenues and other relationships rather than assume that what has been will always be. In the minds of his friends and the people at OK facility, KMY is the indefinable anomaly. Trouble seems to follow her. But when I observe what happens when she's around, I don't see that she sets out to be a troublemaker. More often than not, she exposes (directly or indirectly) existing problems. I don't think she means to or that she really cares about helping people but her bad manners and unorthodox way of dealing with people often bring things to a head. I find that fascinating. It gives the show a surreal quality. The "witch" who by her sheer presence ensures results. Sure, we don't want every nursing aide beating up on DV perpetrators at a medical facility as a matter of habit but for Gang-tae it was yet another decisive moment. I don't think he regrets it in the slightest. Not just because he was defending his woman but he was "untethering" himself in a different way to how MY "untethered" herself through cutting her own hair. But like The Cheerful Dog, neither could have done it... without some external encouragement or support. I doubt that A-reum and Jung-tae's in-house romance is any kind of big secret from anyone with eyes in that facility. Whatever the rules are, it's clear that their romance gave A-reum strength to resist her violent ex. It's also clear that A-reum is not so idealistic about Beauty and the Beast to think that she is able to change the man she was once married to. Therein lies an important lesson of life... there are some people that we just can't help or are in no position to help them. Not everyone can change or wants to. Wisdom is needed to work out what's what.
  5. I really think that Toby Lee is the main attraction of this. His acting was on point from start to finish. I agree with the choppy editing but that seems to be a problem because the show was "required" to reduce the episode number. When Xiao Song went to se Ran Yan after a year, he was being a rather naughty boy. He was undoubtedly disobeying a royal command. It was the culmination of a pattern that the emperor himself noticed and that's why he separated them. XS had already been going against orders prior to this because of RY so it wasn't out of character and not out of the realm of possibility. As far as RY being repeatedly accused of various crimes, it was part of the plot of the conspirators to put XS in a situation where he would have to do things he shouldn't because of her. It was never about her or him... as the show itself states. It was always about the emperor and a bid to bring him down. But with XS around, the job was twice as hard. Despite its flaws, I still think this was a far superior show to the likes of My Roommate is a Detective and The Sleuth of the Ming Dynasty.
  6. That's an interesting thought. He could have been pretending when he realised that Jian Bu-zhi At the end of the day, what he remembered about Shenji Valley and what he realised at that cliff top is lost to jiang hu for now. What's interesting too about all the untimely deaths of the survivors is that rather than just hiding some dark secret, it is also about protecting the legacy of Jian Jin-huan who was by all accounts a really great man and raise a champion in his stead. It's an act of atonement. Go here for my analysis of the "puppet" motif. It's full of spoilers.
  7. In Chief Li's case, (2nd Li Master) I think he was wondering why Jian Bu-zhi's face felt cold. At least that's what he said. By then Jian had already been poisoned by the bugs and the Cold Palm technique. If you're interested in what else I think about the show, you might want to take a look at my blog.
  8. An update for Confession is not Easy... if you're interested. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13616298/6/Confession-is-not-Easy
  9. I don't think he was pretending to be the chief of the Beggar Clan as such. I think he was also the chief of the Beggar Clan as well as the chief of Yan Mountain. He is someone who gets around. According to Jian Buzhi, Bai Caozhe is someone who has multiple identities. The show doesn't say more than that but my opinion is that he takes on these identities to ensure the stability of jiang hu. To maintain some kind of balance of power so that no one group becomes too ambitious or too powerful. Because he's not a villain, it's basically his way of keeping various groups or factions in check. My understanding is that he came away from the Wang Hua and Jian Jin-huan fight 8 years earlier feeling really guilty that he didn't act courageously on that occasion in effect letting a good man die. His guilt and shame led him to become more proactive about keeping the peace in the martial arts community. Compared to the other 3, he wanted to atone for their sin of not dealing with Wang Hua as they had promised JJH.
  10. Finally another cop show from Kdramaland this year to sink one's teeth into. This time round its primary focus on the travesty of corruption in the organization and a devastating miscarriage of justice. These first two set-up episodes seemed to be patterned after the manner of a Grisham thriller. It's a well-worn track for K dramaland to tread. But the approach might be what's novel. The show parachutes the viewer right in the thick of things without much explanation leaving us to pick things up for ourselves in a fascinating exercise in show and tell. We are left with substantial clues and breadcrumbs to understand who's who in the hierarchy of things. Like in every structure there are a myriad of reasons why people are where they are, following on from that... why they do what they do. The camera is our primary guide as we survey the landscape of what is the good, bad and the ugly. In the case of Lee Dae-chul, a death row inmate, it became evident by the middle of the second episode (at least) that someone was looking to seek a stay of execution or redress the wrongs of that case in a public, almost spectacular fashion. Although not explicitly editorialized as such, the wrongful arrest and conviction of this one man is symptomatic of bigger problems not just within the police force but of the society at large. One such consequence is that his daughter, Eun-hye has been left to fend for herself while others get to enjoy the fruits of their misdeeds. Not only does the future of an innocent man get destroyed, his daughter's life is in shambles. Furthermore when the doings of the perpetrators are exposed, this will rock not just the organization but the nation as a whole. The people's already shaky confidence in their law and order system will crumble further still. The case of Lee Dae-chul was also an opportunistic grab for power while others like Detective Kang have had to work his way up the hard way missing out on promotion opportunities. Initially we were given to believe that he was a dubious cop but the fact that he was left out of the early machinations suggests that he was someone that the conspirators did not think they could rely on to be discreet. It also seemed to me that despite all the bluster in the early part of Episode 1, Kang Do-chang is clearly not incompetent or unconscientious. I don't doubt that he has learnt that competence and diligence has led him nowhere in his career. He has possibly come to the realisation that rocking the boat has not helped in the advancement of his career. Lee Eun-hye's so-called "missing persons" case brought to light the agendas at play in her father's conviction. No doubt many careers were built on it. A simple single parent low income family used by larger forces for their own ends is an ugly blight on a seemingly well-oiled machinery. There's also a suggestion that the Fourth Estate have been complicit in all of this when their primary role should be about keeping the powers-that-be accountable to the electorate. I've liked Jang Seung Jo since Money Flower. He is a fine actor who seems to be operating largely on the fringes. His Oh Ji-hyuk is certainly the brains in that outfit. While everyone was groping around trying to work out Park Gun-ho's motives for turning himself in, he already had an inkling that they were on a wild goose chase and did his due diligence. A slowish but ultimately promising start to what I hope will be a police procedural with legs.
  11. It is a shame that a show like this has gone under the radar because unlike a lot of similar products that have fallen off the Cdrama assembly line, this is actually one of the better ones. For some reason the C dramas that have caught my attention tend to be spearheaded by lesser known actors. This one is dominated by young newbies but they hold their own in the acting stakes. It's heartening to see wuxia making some kind of comeback with quality products like this one. This had everything in it and it did almost everything really well. It's one of the rare ones which I enjoy from start to finish and I may revisit this on a rainy day. It wasn't hard to binge watch this one in two days because the detective plots were fun and moderately challenging even for a seasoned campaigner like myself. I certainly didn't struggle with this the way I struggled with Sleuth of Ming Dynasty or My Room Mate is a Detective. Despite hearing that it was a show that moved slowly I didn't find it so nor was I ever frustrated by fillery content. Ancient Detective despite the name, is very much a wuxia story. It is deeply concerned with jiang hu morality, code of honour, values and heroism. Solving crimes and staying alive is what the protagonist does but the show follows the wuxia template in rather inventive ways. For instance the titular character of this jiang hu story doesn't have any martial arts ability and instead relies on his smarts to solve problems and get out of predicaments with the help of his pugilist offsiders. Moreover he has been poisoned twice so the clock is ticking for him as he moves from place to find the answer to the mystery behind his amnesia. This is one that I highly recommend especially for those who love a good detective story.
  12. I've heard only good things about it. But yeah, you will need to change the date on the title line. It's quite funny too.
  13. Finally I'm here. Yeah, I really like it already. Surprisingly nothing in this show annoys me. A nice combo of classic whodunit and jiang hu happenings.
  14. Whoah... this is different. I could get used to this. I've been mesmerized by how the show magically frames the leads at the end of each episode. Not just a reminder that their fates are bound up with each other but that this is a fairytale in search of a princely hero. But this most recent one was especially striking. It was undoubtedly my favourite because it showed progress in the monomyth. Intriguingly it took a nightmare for the leads to break down another barrier. After watching it for the umpteenth time, the Sleeping Beauty-Snow White combo gave me all kinds of feels. I did love how it was first played like a horror moment. A levitating malevolent spirit haunting the sleeping princess who had stepped into the forbidden room in her dream... as it turns out. MY, the sleeping princess is not in fear for herself but for her prince... her champion... her "safety pin", as she calls him. The malevolent spirit is no outsider or uncontrollable force of nature but the spirit of MY's own apparently deceased mother who purports to be keeping her safe from the evils of the outside world but in actual fact imprisoned her and left her ill-equipped to deal with the realities of the outside world. Hence the ASPD. She is symbolic of the anti-social because she was fashioned to be literally anti-social. Like the Sleeping Beauty of old who was poorly prepared to deal with the tragedies and evils of life. Hidden away in the forest from the world. Overprotective parents who mollycoddle their only child purportedly for their own good... smothering them , allowing them no freedom to become the people they are meant to be and to render them incapable of functioning in the big bad world out there. In this Sleeping Beauty moment, the reluctant champion crosses into the threshold of his own volition to temporary dispel the malevolent spirit that haunts the princess. The enchantress it turns out is a damsel in distress. He has finally embraced (literally) the call to arms, the call to the biggest adventure/ challenge of his life. It wasn't a leap into the dark but the final step from the moment he walked past the gate and into the cursed castle. Little by little from wanting to save his brother from the dubious enchantress, seeking the advice of his Sage figure: Ju-ri's mother, entering her territory, pushing back the darkness incrementally... he firmly positions himself as her champion and protector when he tells Manager Lee that he is not budging. He vociferously refuses to. Gradually the penny drops for GT that there are all kinds of malevolent forces that surround MY. His words to Manager Lee are fighting words. A realization and a declaration of war. Putting himself between MY and Manager Lee because the latter is one of those demons that needs fending off... a parasite that's been feeding on her. (A reminder to me of the Journey to the West ) Of course the reality is that the adventure has only just become. There will be other trials and obstacles. I thought it was telling that GT said that his dream, as it were, was to travel with no particular destination in mind. Walking into the cursed castle, I imagine is the start. The tale of Sleeping Beauty at least recontextualized here confirms what I've suspected for a while that this show has deep concerns about parenting and parents. The long-term effects are profound. For good or for ill It isn't just Kwon Gi-do, MY and GT. It just occurred to me too about The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares... where were his parents. On hindsight they are noticeably absent from the story. He had to go to a witch to get his treatment and support. Unless the implication is that the witch is the mother. I'm no expert and maybe it's because I'm reminded of DH Lawrence's Sons and Lovers but both TBWFON and Zombie Kid seem to have eerie Oedipal resonances. I'd also include GT and his mother into the mix. It can't be a coincidence either that the delusional ajumma who was featured in the last episode is a mother who can't let go. So far it seems to me that the only person in main cast that had a functional upbringing would be Ju-ri.