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Archive for November, 2018

As is my habit these days, I came to the party late. The Forest of Secrets party. I can see why the show was a hit. I gobbled up the last episodes compulsively, swept up in its drama. But you know what? I very nearly gave up at Episode Two.

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Right off the bat, the show set its tone meter at “dramatic” and just never let up. The super-portentous soundtrack. The sheer seriousness of it all. I felt pounded.

Also, the horrible (Netflix) English subtitles. At times, I simply lost the plot and I could not quite tell whether it was because the plot was over-convoluted, or because the subtitles were so awful. The subs pained me particularly greatly as I used to burn weekends editing fansubs with loving obsession.

But eventually I came round to it all. At some point I reconciled myself to The Relentlessness. Also, I was really enjoying the cast. I have not watched Jo Seung Woo since his amazing Marathon many years ago – where has he been hiding since? – so I was mesmerised by his off-the-charts charisma (also, it appears that playing Hedwig is some kind of K-actor catnip, I can’t seem to resist actors who play Hedwig). I was also shocked that Bae Doo Na could actually act (I’ve only seen her in a fluff romcom role, co-starring with the execrable Park Shi Hoo).

I like that the show ventured a little into the moral grey areas, rather than sticking squarely to the black-or-white. I didn’t like so much that some plot points were rather improbable and don’t bear thinking about too much, but that applies to a lot of television so I’m willing to give it a free pass. Anyways, I appreciated the cracking pace, plot twists, and general excitement. On the whole, the show is Thumbs Up.

One quibble. Because no review of mine is complete without a quibble. And it’s a brain science quibble. Surely emotions are far too complex to be located in one part of the brain which can simply be removed. And even if this were possible, then the result would not be low-EQ Hwang Shi Mok who feels exasperation (that’s an emotion), anger (that’s an emotion), and regret (likewise), and keeps offending people by failing at pleasantries. Rather, surely someone who is super smart and lacking any emotional impulse would be good at faking well enough to maintain good superficial workplace relations? Anyhow, I quibble. We shouldn’t look to television for our science, much less brain science.

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(I know this is a rather short review. But life is too short for long reviews!)

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