Basketball Episode 5: Finally some Basketball....... maybe.
We open with Papa Ajussi announcing the engagement of Chi Ho and Shin Young. Which of course is a surprise for all three leads. Chi Ho looks troubled, San looks devastated and Shin Young looks blank???
Taking a break to look at the many facial expressions of our Ditzy Princess.
These were snagged from a variety of the more dramatic scenes in this episode. Notice the wide range of expressions that we have here. We have smile and ???????? what I call the Kristen Stewart blank expression. These are from scenes where her engagement that she did not know about is announced, when she is watching the love of her life being sad, when her fiancee is declaring his love. Seriously there is little to no change ever in the way she looks at people. Driving me CRAZY.
The First Half:
Finally we arrive to the big face off. The local team's coach just laughs and asks San if he really thinks he can stand up to Chi Ho who is in a whole different league then him. Instead of really answering he just tells the coach I'm starting and walks onto the court, leaving the coach just gaping. Seems San is in the zone ready to face Chi Ho. And Chi Ho....................... is totally distracted by the fact that Shin Young is staring at San. Why it is such a huge shock to him is beyond me. He knows she is dating him, has seen them kissing, and has been told by her that she has no interest in marrying him from the get go. Seriously? Why is the director trying to make this seem like such a big deal. I would like to point out that a good quarter of the basketball game we get scenes of Shin Young staring (in what I suppose is supposed to be a supportive expression) out at San. And another quarter of Chi Ho staring at Shin Young staring at San. The only one obviously focused on playing basketball is San, who only stares at the ball and occasionally Chi Ho which is appropriate since he is the flipping opponent. Not cool director. You finally let me have a good action scene complete with 80's style basketball hype music and then you keep breaking the mood with this. Lets just say that I am not the happiest viewer right now.
One thing I did find really interesting during the game was how we see Chi Ho becoming more and more selfish of a player the more he is shown up by San. Rather then see himself as part of a team, he becomes a one man show, hogging the ball, ignoring his team mates, and pretty much just being a jerk of a player. Where on the other hand San focuses on using his team to win. He pauses and accesses where all his players are and takes the role of leader effortlessly. Especially impressive if you realize he has never played with any of these men before.
Appreciate how the show brings snatches of history into the drama such as the half time show where a pro Japanese song is being sung. Also the selling of Japanese war bonds, as well as the closing of all Korean media outlets and the forced changing of their names. It is seamlessly done and gives you a sense of the times without hitting you over the head with it. Now if only the rest of the plot could be written as well.
The Second Half:
We start the second half of the game with the arrival of an obviously twit player rushing in late for the game. Turns out this is the boy who's parents had bribed the coach to take him over San back in the beginning of the drama. The boy is shocked to see San playing on the team and when asked by the other team mates where he knows him from, San quickly reply's that they are from the same home town.
Sigh................ I thought we were finally past the whole lying about who we were part. But I guess that Shin Young still thinks that San is a university student (although a poor one). The ex school mate starts to smirk and shouts, Hey everyone San has not even finished high school........ Which leads to San pushing the boy(I am sure he has a name but I will wait to see if it is worth learning) up against the wall and tells him that "if you came this far by stealing another person's position, just shut your mouth and stay still". That shuts up the kid ASAP since San does look a little scary at that moment.
OK San I forgive you again just because of your hotness level.
Director, if you are needed to stretch out the time with flashback filler this early in the drama then we are really in trouble. And if you are just doing this to try and let me know that he likes her, then again we are really in trouble. There is a time and place for flashbacks. Right when you are seconds from getting a ball thrown at your head is not one of them.
He comes back into the game even more pumped up and determined to win. We see that the score is tied 32 to 32 and in the last seconds he makes a buzzer basket. And the pro team wins.
I guess that he really needed to act like a neanderthal because he promptly goes over to Shin Young, grabs her by the hand, and dedicates the game to her. After which he drags her off the court followed by a hoard of reporters. Poor San can do nothing as he watches her leave.
Left alone sad with his basketball we see poor San after the game. But he is cheered up when Ahjussi secretary comes in and says that he passed the test and to come to work tomorrow. Elated that he is going to be on the team San beams ear to ear, only to brought down to earth when the secretary tells him to stop being associated with Shin Young since she is engaged.
At the same time we see Shin Young screaming at Chi Ho for being such a bad person and to embarrass the man she loves by his actions. I feel really bad at this point for Chi Ho who looks like someone shot his favorite hunting dog. He starts to scream back in defense, "did you ever think of me when you were writing those lies. On how I would feel being told of our engagement in front of strangers. I am just paying you back for what you did to me". Of course logic does not stop our ditzy heroine and she just prances away slamming the door as he looks on.
Later that night it is decision time for two of our leads. San stands outside her door. His basketball jersey clutched in his hands. You can tell he is trying to decide between the game (and all it represents for his future) and the girl. Shin Young is also trying to decide the best way to let San know that she is not engaged. Her companion promptly yells at her that she is to do nothing. If she cries off the engagement everyone is going to think she is a fox out to seduce and use poor Chi Ho. That they are already talking about how she is going above her station in marriage. And once again common sense does not phase our princess as she declares that her reputation can be ruined. What is it when she loves another.
What follows is a pretty funny scene with the companion trying to sneak past Secretary Ahjussi to deliver a letter to San. But it seems secretary Ahjussi is not so easily deceived and nixes their plans before the front door. This forces Shin Young to go to great lengths to get rid of her bodyguard. She decides to go on a date with her "fiancee". Her fiancee (poor schmuck) wakes up the next morning all ready to go talk with Shin Young and confess that he does have feelings for her. But when he opens the door he finds her on the other side plus her bodyguard.
All but one player, Lee Hong Gi (the boy from San's high school) is late as usually and encounters Shin Young as she is leaving. She promptly gives her letter to him to pass on to San, because obviously he can be trusted with a very personal letter between her and her secret lover (rolling my eyes again). And being the total tool that he is, mocks San as he waves the letter around. But San just grabs the letter casually knocking Hong Gi to the floor. And upon reading the news that she is not actually engaged, he yells at his coach that he needs to take care of something and runs out of the gym. I love how he just takes control of his surroundings regardless of where he might be. When he was with the Bookie Ahjussi everyone had started treating him as the leader and we are seeing it again with his new basketball team.
Encouraged by her love letter San goes racing to her house ready to make up? Is it really making up when they never technically broke up? Where he is upset to see Shin Young being dropped off by Chi Ho. Empowered by the knowledge that they are not engaged, San also decides to become a neanderthal, grabs Shin Young by the wrist and drags her from the car.
Enraged Chi Ho burst out of the car after them screaming that he was sincere in all his dealings. And that he has no intention of breaking of the engagement since he sincerely likes her. And time halts for all of the leads as this bombshell explodes. Well except for Shin Young since we don't know what she is thinking since her facial expression, YET AGAIN, refuses to change.
Yes the picture below is the exact moment when she has been dragged out of a car by her boyfriend and then told by her fiancee that he wants to marry her no matter what. You think it would elicit a flicker in her eyes. A slight opening of the mouth in shock.... Nope nada, nothing, a great big zilch.
Dear show. Why are you letting me down so much. With such a talented lead actor you could do so much. He totally drags me into all of his scenes and makes me want to continue watching. But then you add bad writing and sloppy camera work into the scenes and you lose me. The street basketball games were so engaging. I was brought into the games instantly and my heart started pumping. But then get to the actual basketball game between the two leading men and we see shaky camera work so so action and a whole lot of Shin Young who is just sitting on the sidelines. Now is not the time to try and make me care about the romance of any of the cast. I want to see guys playing basketball and doing masculine manly things. Not mooning over a girl or flashing back to scenes that really had nothing to do with what was currently going on.
I am truly sad since I had such great hopes for this drama. But it has gone from epic to eh.... super fast. I foresee a lot of pushing myself to watch future episodes and I am really sad that there is still 18 more episodes to go. Should have been smarter and picked an easier 16 episode drama for my first time. However. as bad as things get in this drama at least I will still get to stare at Kang San. Who happens to be a very very pretty silver lining to this black cloud of a drama.
Join me later in this week for more pretty Kang San when I review episode 6.