Episode 4: Bromance or Romance?
So due to a nasty flu bug that I caught last week this is going to be a smaller review then usual. I am kind of sad because we are finally starting to find all of the characters footings and bursting forth with some good character development. And I love nothing better then combining hot angsty guys and character development. So I decided to take a note from Dongsaeng's book and pick my four favorite moments of the show.
#1 A Bromance is Born
Its finally here. What I have been waiting for since the show began. San and Chi Ho meet!!!!!!! Until now they have mostly just spied on each other when they are hanging out with Shin Young. But finally the have a face off. Or more of a mini face off since they just glance heatedly at each other as the pass by.
Look at that gaze, sparks crackling between them, their hotness overflowing from the screen.
I think that in this show it is going to be more important that the two men have chemistry then any future romantic entanglements that might occur. Luckily our two leads have it and then some. And it just happens that this episode is full of those wonderful "fated" meetings between San and Chi Ho. From the above passing each other at the magazines office to later when Chi Ho is in the slums searching for his favorite street urchin and comes across a "street game" in which our main hero is totally owning.
After the game Chi Ho stays to confront San and derides him for playing street games since Basketball is a Gentleman's Sport and more or less implies that San is a loser. And San fires right back in his hot headed way, that at least he is not a Japanese Dog (referring to Shin Young's article) which in turn manages to piss off Chi Ho. From the start these two just know how to dig at each other's weak spots.
#2 An Alliance is Broken:
San has a beautiful heart to heart with his mother about where he wants his life to go. He assures her that if she just trusts him one more time he will not disappoint her.
I always love the scenes between these two. The cinematography is always so eye catching and they both do a good job of portraying love and worry for each other. Especially in this episode it was a quiet moment of contemplation in an sea of action.
And in the next scene we see what he meant by "fixing" things in his life. He is in mid game with the underground bookies and instead of losing the game like usual, he kicks the other teams booties. He makes shot after shot becoming more and more determined with every passing minute. He reflects on the lies he told and the horrible things he did when he fell in with the bookies and his resolve is set.
But upon learning that Ahjussi Bookie had scammed money from Shin Young (supposedly to pay for San's sick mother), San totally loses it and attacked him demanding the money back.
Ahjussi Bookie does not even really fight back just yelling at him that they were the same using her for her money. Poor San just keeps yelling that they are nothing alike and is devastated when he looks over his shoulder and learned that Chi Ho had heard everything.
This is the last straw for San and he takes his emotional growth into overdrive and becomes the hero we all knew him to be. He goes to the head Japanese offices and informs them about the illegal gambling games and who the head bookies were. This results in a raid and (mix of awesome and just kind of funny ) fight between San and Evil Bookie Ahjussi who is trying to escape with his money. Upon being dragged away he vows revenge upon San.
#3 Shin Young grows up a little.
Oh Shin Young, what are we going to do with you. I am personally just going to ignore all of her actions in the first half of this episode since she annoyed me.
Seriously, why would you slap a perfectly good hottie after he kisses you? And then go on to say that you did not think he was that type of man. And then go and moon over him just to rebuff him again the next day. Girl you are some special kind of stupid. Look at this face! Would any sane girl slap him????????
Okay rant over..... And we are finally starting to see glimmers of hope for her character's development. (And by development I mean a sincere kind which I actually feel emotionally involved in. Her past humanitarian and feminist attempts have just fallen flat with me as a viewer.). We see that her father is indeed planning on marrying her off to Chi Ho. Seems he comes from a very well connected family and Chi Ho's father is actually impressed that Shin Young stood up for what she believed by writing the pamphlet about his son. So in Korean culture that means it is time to set up the awkward blind dates.
Neither is overly thrilled about the situation and both declare to each other that they have no intention on actually getting married. Although I do notice that Chi Ho does not sound as sincere as our heroine does.
But where does this put our poor hero? He is in fact continuing his quest of regaining his role as super honest hottie hero. He goes to the magazine (in his regular poor clothes) and confronts Shin Young. He lets her know that this is who he really is and that he does not have money and is more or less considered street scum. And that she should break up with him and find a descent man more fitting with her station. And I give her total props here, she does not even blink at his clothes, and just tells him that "they are not breaking up because you are poor, we are breaking up because you are a fool." This moves him and they have a moment on the roof of the magazine where they stare at the stars and hug.
AWWWWWWWW, show just when I was writing you off as a crappy romance you suck me back in with a cute moment. Crossing my fingers that it stays with the sweet and tries to leave the angst to the relationship between the two men.
#4 An Epic Rivalry
I was wondering how they were going to get San and Chi Ho to face off on the Basketball court. Especially since this is one of the main concepts of the drama, which so far has been a tad bit lacking. And finally we are getting the first glimmer of our future basketball team.
Lucky for our Hero he has a huge benefactor in the form of our ditzy princess, who is more then happy to help along her boyfriends basketball career. It just so happens that her dads company is hosting a basketball game between his own team and that of Chi Ho's National Team. And of course her dad's team needs a star attraction player. She introduces Chi Ho to her dad's secretary and begs that he give San a chance to show how good he is. Secretary Ahjussi of course complies and the next thing we know it is game day. San is adorable and fired up to prove himself not only to Shin Young, but to the coach who had previously passed him by, and those who had looked down on him.
As the Chi Ho and San realize that they will be playing each other, our princess's father gets up to welcome everyone to the game. He also decides that this is the right time to let the world know that his daughter will be marrying Min Chi Ho. This of course shocks all three of our young leads and adds that extra bit of tension as they get ready to start the game.
Up to this point I have been enjoying the drama (with the exception of some ditzy princess moments) but have never really felt like is was grounded. I could see where the writers wanted to take us with the characters but the execution was just slightly off. This was not the case with episode 4. The development of all the characters was fast paced and each scene felt like it had a specific purpose to it. The relationship between both San and Chi Ho and San and the Bookie Ahjussi were flawless and I really felt anxious while watching them.
I love that San has finally found himself, and not only did he decide to change his life back to its original track, but he did not shirk away from confessing his sins to the police and Shin Young. I would have been slightly annoyed if we had to go further with him trying to live a second life. He is to straightforward of a man to be ok with the deception for long. And he always is the most engaging as a character when he is determined to do right come hell or high water.
Chi ho on the other hand, has to be a lot more careful when he stands up for his beliefs. Not only does he have a lot more to lose, but he is driven by a very exact father who he wants to impress. (I am wondering if his father is not as committed to the Japanese take over as he appears). But underneath all of his stress he also tries his hardest to live his life honorably and as a true Korean.
Shin Young is my only actor that I am not a fan of. She has some truly good moments written for her but I think the actress is just not talented enough to pull of such a complex roll. Her facial expressions dont seem to be able to go beyond pretty. Even when the script calls for her to be shocked or tearful, we just get a version of pretty constipated. And this is why I have such a hard time really getting behind her actions. That said, the character had some great moments in this episode where she had to come to grips with the consequences of her actions. Also I love that she actually practiced what she preached by not judging San on his clothes and station in life. Do I think it is realistic, no, but with her I will take what I can get.
I cant wait to start episode 5 and see what happens in the game between our two hottie heroes. I hope it is as epic as I am expecting. Till then, have a wonderful week filled with kdramas.