Sunday, June 24, 2012

Queen In-Hyun's Man: Final review


I know there was a lot of antagonism at the end, both with the last-minute plot twist and RL love confession. It made me delay the watching of both episodes 15-16, as I feared both the angst and the silly reveal. However, having just finished them, I have to say I remain highly satisfied with the series and its conclusion. Yes, there's some logic-suspension required, but since this is a time-travel series that requires a level of that anyways, I didn't feel my mind stretched beyond believability. In fact, I liked the ending, with its perfect turmoil and sweet resolution.


First, episodes 11-14 were just wow. We get a perfect dose of angst + cute in 11, followed by pure cute in 12, then angst again in 13 and absolute heart-stopping action in 14. I loved everything about this set of episodes, despite being wary of being drawn into angst-world after 12. Instead, it was a perfect mix of romance with plot, balanced with the continual beautiful directing and evocative soundtrack.

Episode 11-12 made me nervous from anticipating what's to come, whereas 13-14 felt like taking in a deep breath. It's exquisite to watch things fall out so wonderfully, with just the right amount of suspense and epic feel. I have to really clap for the composer of the heart-rending scores. Those gorgeous, period-appropriate instrumentals, were so fitting for this drama and added that extra touch to all the scenes. The modern music isn't bad either, and I can't wait for the OST to come out so I can get a hold of it. 


Finally, episodes 15-16. I loved them, and really thought they tied things together. The letter made me cry like no other and was such a perfect explanation of the first talisman. That, plus the whole tie-suicide scene was pure written genius, as was the directing in the next-to-each-other-but-not moment (so beautiful). 

I know plenty of people are hung-up on the cell-phone issue, but I'm willing to give the drama credit for it. I don't think the writer added this as a last minute resolution, because if you look back in the previous episodes, the matching cell phones were given a reasonably large focus. If anything, it was a directorial error whereby the director didn't realize just how big of a role it would play and thus toned down the phone scenes. I think the idea of love being the main factor leading to the transportation remains logically consistent with what we've seen to date, because both the talisman and phones were imbued with strong emotions and both thus gave Boong-do the chance to go back. 

Do I think the ending could've been better? Yes, if they'd saved a few minutes to really explain the logic behind the conclusion (which I do believe exists) the ending probably would have better satisfied everyone. However, some things are better off left a mystery. And really, I can't think of any way Boong-do could have gotten back to the future without stretching the imagination. I mean, the options were all pretty ridiculous, including:

1. Having a new talisman drawn (difficult since he already destroyed all relations with people in that previous era, and it'd feel like a cop-out) 
2. Building a time capsule
3. Having a natural disaster storm transport him (a la Secret Garden)


The only realistic way to end things would've been to leave him and Hee-Jin separated, but how depressing is that? I feel better not questioning and just knowing that our dear pair finally get their happy ending. Can I also add that I love the third interview scene with Soo-kyung? Boong-do's understated smile as he knows what'll happen, followed by him just directly giving her the answers was gold.

Of course, knowing that Ji Hyun Woo likes Yoo Inna in the real-world makes a huge difference in how I perceive their interactions. I knew two people couldn't seem this close without some real-life sparks! For example, take the episode 11 kiss. You can practically feel the disappointment rolling off him when she pulls back from it, and the passion when they get going again. I got the sense that he likes her more than she likes him, but of course who knows.

Overall, one of the best series I've watched, and I wish the real-world actors all the best in spite of the media attention and world judgement. 

3 comments:

  1. I love this series. Worth watching. The characters are great!

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  2. Just a comment for those viewers who didn’t like the phone plot device used to bring BD back.

    Quote from the drama’s narration – “A chance encounter that started with a gap in time… that meeting already ended a year ago. Our reunion now is not because of a mysterious talisman written by a monk, but because of a string of memories that belongs only to us both. Now begins our second encounter. Now, I am his lifesaver. The price to pay? All he has to do is stay forever by my side.” – GUYS, ITS THE MEMORIES. NOT THE PHONE OR TALISMAN.

    Please, don't give too much attention to the PHONE because it was not the PHONE per se, but the strings of EVENTS, DECISIONS and ELEMENTS, the CAUSE and EFFECT, the INTERTWINED-MEMORIES that BD and HJ shared and the ETERNAL-LOVE they have for each other that created the gap in time and triggered the time-leap transportation.

    A gap in time was created when their memories intertwined – both of them remembering each other at the same moment but in different times. Their memories of each other was channelled through the phone – creating a link between the past and present.

    The decision to die. The event of dying. The element of phone, letter, tie, talisman, car and rain. The interwoven memories. The eternal love. These are the cause. The gap in time. The link between past and present. The transcending of time and space. These are the effect. And the ultimate conclusion is the beginning of their everlasting reunion

    The common perception of some viewers that the phone-transportation is flawed and a deux ex machine is bereft of merit. People who perceived that way lack keen observation and do not know how to appreciate a great drama. Finally, I conclude that QIHM was very true to its tagline – a love that transcends time and space.

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    I would like to add, this is for those annoying people who think that the last episode is dumb because of the issue about the phone’s battery and signal.

    As to the phone’s battery. The phone didn’t work in Joseon. Boong Do couldn’t even turn it on. If you don’t use your phone or your phone is turned off, even if you leave it for a year, THERE WILL STILL BE BATTERY LIFE LEFT. Cause: Boong Do’s phone cannot turn on or work. Effect: There is full battery for when it starts working again!

    As to the phone’s signal. Their interwoven memories created a gap in time, linking the past and present, that’s why BD’s phone detected the signal.

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    THANK YOU FOR WRITING SUCH A GREAT POSITIVE REVIEW.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your analysis and thoughts on the show! This was probably my favorite drama last year, so I'm glad others enjoyed it fully as well.

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