I have a confession to make: I actually have several confessions.
Shark left me with answers to the questions it gave me since throughout the run, but I still found the ending unsatisfactory to me. The ending was an open ending and until this day, I still feel that it hasn’t really ended. However, I wasn’t that attached to the drama though I managed to catch up with the episodes quite well. I know, it’s weird for me not to feel attached with the drama I’m watching but it must be because of the limited time I’m spending with the dramas and my mind keeps wandering off to the workload waiting for me. Anyhow, I’m still not satisfied with the ending but don’t worry, I’ve moved on already. It’s all thanks to another KBS2’s drama.
I started watching Mandate of Heaven right after I finished Shark and I was so slow in watching the episodes at first. I used to be able to finish several episodes in a day for a drama marathon but at that time, even 30 minutes would be so precious to be spent for watching drama. Then, the story picked up the pace and I gave in to my curiosity. It ended and I couldn’t believe that I finished watching the drama. Mandate of Heaven suffered low ratings during its run (I assume because of the low interest from audience for Wed-Thu dramas back then) but to me, it’s one enjoyable ride for a 20-episode sageuk. It reminded me of The Princess’ Man, probably because of the similar colour palette used throughout the drama and the presence of Song Jong-ho but I never compare it with The Princess’ Man, because Mandate of Heaven had its own strength, that is the decent writing. The conflicts were somehow believable and I enjoyed it although I actually read the recaps before. But watching the drama myself made it better.
The weak points were probably the main leads, Lee Dong-wook and Song Ji-hyo. Choi Won was supposed to be a man in his thirties but Lee Dong-wook’s playful attitude that he’s supposed to suppress under Won’s character sometimes surfaced and it looked awkward in a sageuk piece. Don’t get me wrong: I love the man, but maybe he’s not suitable for serious sageuk like this. Please make a modern drama comeback! Ji-hyo sometimes looked uncomfortable in her portrayal as Hong Da-in at first but she soon settled in. However, I loved (and still loving) the main couple because of their sweet chemistry. Add in the cute Rang (Kim Yoo-bin) and they’re one happy family.
Song Jong-ho and Kang Byul had the unexpected, decent chemistry. I assume it’s because of his character’s charisma and her character’s bumbling personality that made them a great pairing in the drama, sometimes overshadowing the main couple. I read the recaps and went all ‘Awwww’ing when it came to their scenes and it’s the same for watching their scenes, except that it’s hundred times better. Jung-hwan and Woo-young ended up together in the drama but in real life, they’re 14 years apart. Unbelievable.
I have to give a round of applause to Seulong because he showed improvement throughout the run of Mandate of Heaven. I adore him but I was sceptical of him acting in a sageuk. In fact, I had a hard time adjusting to his kingly (or crown princely) attitude at first because the last time I saw him acting was in Personal Taste as Lee Min-ho’s whiny assistant/junior. Sageuk is not an easy genre with the pronunciation and tone, so my worry had its ground. But I found myself and him adjusting to his Lee Ho and he did improve by the end, although not perfect. Another worth the mention is the Queen. Park Ji-young carried the aura of the ruthless queen without the need to scream all the time. She’s the villain I loved to hate!
And we come to my second confession, that is…I still miss So-baek. I vividly recall her way of speaking, even a month after finishing the drama. Not sure it’s because of Yoon Jin-yi or the character itself, but So-baek was like a loyal, innocent (and sometimes annoying) girl that you can’t help but to love her. Argh, I really, really like her and to be honest, I was sad when they made her lost the memory about Won and Rang. Too bad because I love her relationship with Rang and I was bummed to see her being so unaffected with Rang’s presence and Rang being unhappy with her missing memory. Anyway, she would find her closure with the adorable Kkeok-jeong (i.e. the guy with the worm hair) and they really suited each other.
Last but not least….I love Kim Jae-wook! Yes, I love him! I realize it now that the main reason I’m watching Who Are You is because of him. Lee Hyung-joon, why you’re doomed to die so early? WHY? sniff Because of him (and his sad face when he’s looking at Shi-on/reminiscing about their past), I want to see Shi-on die and leave with him to the afterlife. I am a ghost couple shipper!!
Wait, I have another one…I’m sad that Joong-ki is enlisting today, but I’m still in denial about it. Yes, I’m going to assume that he went into hiatus for almost two years (21 months to be exact) and he will come back with a drama then. Yeay.