Friday, April 12, 2013
Nine: Nine Times Time Travel ep 1 [Dramatic Friday Review]
Hey lookie there. Do you see what I see? Oh yeah, Dongsaeng is back with another drama to review! Either you are excited or cringing or nonplussed. Personally of course I am hoping for the former rather than the latter two. I kept hearing lot of buzz about this drama so decided that I just had to start it. And since I was starting it, I figured I might as well review it along the way too.
Originally I had chosen to let this one slide by without giving it much attention. After all, it is another time travel show. And, for those that have been with us for the past year, it's no big secret that I'm not necessarily crazy about the time travel shows, though you wouldn't know it considering that this is my fourth one I'm reviewing. Four! What ever have I gotten myself into here? Time travel shows tend to make my brain hurt and they can be difficult to review due to their complexity. But, buzz is buzz and I can't let one that is getting such rave reviews slip by me. I gotta be in on the action. Besides, one of our readers was brave enough to request it, so I suppose I can be brave enough to take on the challenge. Fighting!
I've been playing around with my format in an attempt to simplify my reviews both for my sake, but especially for your sake. Last time around in my Flower Boy Next Door reviews, I introduced my Dongsaeng's Drama Dozen. This time, in keeping with the title of the actual drama, I'm going to try to scale that back from 12 to a mere 9. 9 points/thoughts/whathaveyou on each episode. Should be fun, especially as we start to get deeper in, to try to sum it all up in just 9 points, but I'm excited to give it a shot. So, without further ado, I introduce to you, for the first time ever, Dongsaeng's Nine's Nine.
We open with a man wandering high up in the Himalayas. He's alone. He's not doing so well. He collapses and in his hand is an incense stick which he unsuccessfully tries to light.
2. It's the Brain Pain Coach Kline
(sorry, can never resist an Adam Sandler Waterboy quote opportunity)
Next we have a man on an airplane. This is our story's hero, Park Sun Woo (played by Lee Jin Wook), news anchorman. He's suffering from a really bad headache while flying to Nepal that we originally assume is altitude sickness. But this is a drama. Do you really think it's merely altitude sickness? Where's the fun in that?
3. A New Drama Record is Set!!!
Now, even if I hadn't heard a lot of positive buzz about this show ahead of time, this is the moment that would have sealed the deal for me anyway. A drama first (at least for me). In the first 4.5 minutes we get a kiss. And not just a lame drama kiss. Oh no. We get a real-for-real, toe-curling, lip-smacking, tongue-and-all kiss. The moment our hero approaches our heroine, Joo Min Young (played by Jo Yoon Hee) who has shown up to pick him up from the airport, he lays a big old kiss on her, totally and completely taking her, and us, by surprise. And as if that wasn't good and shocking enough, by the 5 minutes mark we get a marriage proposal. Within 30 seconds from that, we have an engagement. Wha??? So not drama-like, but I likey. I likey a lot. Now, granted, in all fairness, the engagement doesn't survive the car ride. Joo Min Young is still in shock at first, but then it all starts to settle in and she starts asking questions. The biggest hangup about the whole thing is the time limit he has placed on it. He wants to only be married for 6 months and not register the marriage. Huh? What kind of proposal is that? Needless to say, it ends with a lover's tiff instead of a happily ever after. Still, though, arguably the very best first 5 minutes of any drama.
4. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
Park Sun Woo tells Min Young that he is in Nepal for two reasons. The first, to propose (check), the second is of a more personal nature, which he chooses to not divulge. But he immediately drives to the local police station before anything else. Why is he there? Well, turns out that our popsicle man in the opening scene is his older brother and sadly, did not make it off the mountain. Sun Woo has to identify his brother's belongings in order to confirm that the body is that of his hyung. :( During this exchange, we are to note that the brother died while holding this mysterious incense stick in his hand.
5. It's All in the Past
Flashback time. We go back to last year. Sun Woo's brother has unexpectedly shown up. We get the idea that the brothers are no longer very close and that there is something from the past that broke their family apart. Jung Woo (the brother) is acting oddly and speaking of the past and about "going back", back to the time when they were all happy. He is meeting Sun Woo in order to get a big wad of cash from him for this mysterious plan of his. While Sun Woo is getting a cup of coffee for his brother and himself, Jung Woo disappears with the cash. And we are to assume that that is the last time he ever saw his brother.
6. What is He Smoking?
That night, while laying in bed, Sun Woo picks up his brother's incense stick and lighter and lights the incense. He wakes to find himself temporarily on the ground in a snowstorm. On the mountain perhaps? It is short lived, however, and soon he is back in his hotel room, but still wearing snow and ice on himself. Oh yes, you guessed it. Or the synopsis told you, there's magic in them thar sticks. This should be fun!
7. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
Let's touch back on the relationship between our hero and heroine. Insert another flashback. This one only goes back a few months. They work together. She is into him. She asks him out. Then, when he is less-than-receptive to the idea, she tries to soften the deal by offering to only date him short term, first saying 6 months and then, when he doesn't bite with that lure, commuting his sentence to a mere 3 months. Ahhh...so maybe this is why he did the same with his proposal? If these two were to define their relationship on Facebook, I think they'd have to go with "It's Complicated". They're obviously close-ish enough as friends. They're very comfortable with each other as demonstrated often enough in this first episode. But romantically, how do they each feel towards each other?
8. Face Off
After taking care of his business in Nepal, Sun Woo is back in Korea and back on the job as anchorman. He is doing a live interview with this doctor guy. There's apparently a connection there - the doctor and Sun Woo's family go back a ways. Everything is fine and professional, the doctor receiving acolades for his involvement in stem-cell research. And then Sun Woo goes rogue. He goes off-script and starts lobbing all sorts of accusations at the doctor. It gets ugly. Everyone is freaking out and the "good" doctor is miffed and speechless. And rightfully so, since he's apparently behind some pretty rotten stuff, including the death of Sun Woo's father and paralyzing of his mother.
9. There's a Whole Lotta Baggage We're Just Beginning to Unpack
After the interview, Sun Woo faces off with his boss. When the boss informs him that his stunt has earned him 6 months suspension, Sun Woo responds with his letter of resignation. And we finally start to put the pieces together, at least as far as his odd time table with respect to his "marriage" proposal. He has a brain tumor. The doctors have given him 6 months to a year to live. Oh. He's dying. And he wants to protect Min Young as best he can from the heartbreak that is sure to come. Holy smokes. This just got interesting!
So, are you hooked yet? I know I am. I can't wait to see how this one continues to unfold. There is a lot of promise in this drama and I am excited to begin this journey with you. I'm going to go ahead and finish this up now so that I can go watch, and then chat about, episode 2! See you then!