If you’re thinking of watching My Beautiful Bride soon or some other time in the future, please don’t read any further. If you’re looking for a review of the show, this is not a good one. If you’re wondering whether you should check out the drama or not, I’d say go for it, especially if you’re a fan of action dramas and slick series from OCN. Coming from the writer of Heartless City Yoo Sung-yeol, the series, while raking in lower ratings compared to the cable shows nowadays, have lots of things to offer to those who are willing to join the fun. Although we still have a little over four months’ left until this year ends, it’s not too much of an exaggeration for me to say that My Beautiful Bride is one of the best drama offerings for 2015.
(This post will be a bit spoilery. Don’t say I didn’t warn you beforehand!)
This is a story of a man who wagered his everything for his love. At one glance, he could be regarded as a fool in love, but one could see how much of his love, courage, and determination it took for him to be the man he was most of the time in the show: running after the unseen, trying to find his beautiful bride. Starring Kim Mu-yeol as Kim Do-hyung; Go Sung-hee as Yoon Joo-young; Lee Si-young as Cha Yoon-mi; and a bevy of well-known supporting actors, the drama will offer a peek into a world not too different from the reality.
At one glance, Do-hyung was just a normal guy earning his pay working in a bank, thus the nickname Mr. Banker (or 은행원 아저씨) used to describe him throughout the series. To be exact, normal is not really a suitable adjective to be used to describe him, because he was an eccentric guy with a stone-cold expression that was close to a robot’s. But then, there’s a warm and affectionate side to this seemingly unapproachable guy; the side he would show to the love of his life, Joo-young. They were so in love and lived together for quite some time before Do-hyung decided to make her his beautiful bride. Yeah, that was his exact proposal line to Joo-young (thus the title), “Will you be my beautiful bride?”
However, there was something Joo-young wished to hide from Do-hyung despite knowing how much he loved her; her dark and murky past, known only to her and the people from her past. Still, there’s limit to anyone’s emotions and actions, and soon, Do-hyung started to figure out that there was something bugging Joo-young’s mind although she tried to make it unnoticeable. Although she initially hesitated to accept his proposal, she finally made up her mind and accepted it, but she suddenly disappeared from their house one day.
Left without a clue on Joo-young’s disappearance except aside from their engagement ring she left behind, Do-hyung embarked on a journey to find her, only to find himself against the people from Joo-young’s past, including a female detective named Cha Yoon-mi. The fate which bound Yoon-mi and Joo-young was an almost forgotten one, but it was through the detective that Do-hyung realized that his opponents might be stronger, and possibly undefeatable compared to his one-man power. That didn’t stop him from finding any possible way to locate Joo-young, but the long journey slowly opened the dark ages of Joo-young’s life; the one that she wanted to hide from him.
Do-hyung soon found himself embroiled in a conflict between the underworld bosses, which would bring him one step closer to Joo-young. He slowly learned of the existence of the Shadows and people from Joo-young’s past; from her friends to her enemies who couldn’t wait to see her disappear from this world. Joo-young’s disappearance brought back the memories of the past to Yoon-mi, and she too, joined in the search for Joo-young. Moreover, it was because of the Shadows, an organization which she thought had ended with the arrest of the leader, Song Hak-soo (Lee Jae-yong). Little did she know that she had still got a long way to go if she wanted to get rid of them, whose main lines of business were illegal moneylenders and human trafficking, through the shady loan shark.
The couple’s love story, the action, the conflicts, and the hunt somehow worked together effortlessly thanks to the team of directors spearheaded by Kim Chul-gyu, whose last work was Emergency Couple and other notable past works of him included Hwang Jin-yi and Daemul. Touted as ‘emotional action’ drama, it certainly lived up to its marketed genre, being the one and only show of such genre. Kim Mu-yeol was the star of this drama, playing Do-hyung almost effortlessly yet with so much effort put in both emotional and action scenes. Mr. Banker won’t be the same without him, and he deserves all the praises for hard work. Who would have thought that the robotic Mr. Banker would turn into an emotional fighting machine everyone would root for?
To be honest, I did not plan to watch it, but the reactions of my Twitter buddies told me that I should check this one out and boy, do I appreciate everyone who made me watch it without spoiling it at all. The drama relied on narratives and flashbacks to push the plot forward, but the past did not feel jarred when coupled with the present. I have to give credit to the director for such a wonderful craft, but I am not forgetting the excellent script because without a gripping story, even the most skilled director cannot make it work into an engaging watch.
After 15 episodes full of jaw-dropping revelations and nail-biting cliffhangers, My Beautiful Bride ended last Sunday, wrapping up its 16-episode run as initially planned. After witnessing Do-hyung’s quest throughout the series, I am sure everyone would be wishing for his happiness, and on a side note, that justice will prevail in the end. But the ending, which was a happy one at one glance, was tinged with sadness; a bitter lesson but close to reality. The path Do-hyung walked on, while initially meant for the sake of finding Joo-young, came to be the path he decided to fight the evil around him, and it was worth anticipating if he would be able to win against the dark side.
It is a well-known fact and the drama reminds us that the dark side won’t be completely wiped out as long as there are remnants of the previous ones; there will be someone who will pick up the legacy left behind by the fallen and the captured ones. There will always be the next Joo-youngs, the next Do-hyungs, the next President Kang, the next Director Seo, and the next Manager Park. The evil cycle will be continued, unless humans disappeared from this world. I think it was interesting that both Do-hyung and Joo-young were offered to have a taste of the power that would enable them to conquer all, but they had to pay a huge price for the power, that was crossing over to the dark side.
In my opinion, they won in love and also against the temptation of the power, but they couldn’t defeat the dark side. There is darkness where the light does not reach, and together, they make the world. The drama shows that going against the world is something impossible to begin with, and the pretty end product does not mean that the process leading to the result was a beautiful one. You gain some, but you will have to lose some.
I’m still under the effect of the finale: slightly dreamy with a headache, and I will totally miss all the supporting actors: the heartless Director Seo Jin-ki (Ryu Seung-soo); the unfazed Detective Park Hyung-sik (Park Hae-joon); the upgraded heartless President Kang (Son Jong-hak); the amusing Manager Park Tae-gyu (Jo Han-chul); the gorgeous Son Hae-jung (Lee El); the elegant Lee Jin-sook (Lee Seung-yeon); the menacing sidekicks ‘Glove’ Jo Su-nam (Park In-bae) and Secretary Kim (Choi Byung-moo); and not to forget the other Mr. Banker aka lunch guy, Shim Han-joo (Kim Sung-hoon). Each of them had a distinctive style, aura, and even manner of speech which makes them memorable.
And the OST is just…perfect. The song choice is excellent and it would heighten the mood of the scenes in which the OST are placed. They’re perfect for a casual listen too, even if you’re not a fan of drama OST!
Days and Moons (Elsa Kopf)
Eclipse (Patrick Joseph)
My Beautiful Bride is still an underrated drama in my opinion so I hope that more people will come to discover this series. For those who haven’t watched it but reached this point of the post, please give it a try and see if you like it! Will you do that? If you have watched it, how do you find the drama?
Bonus: two kids fooling around in the bank..
(Stills credit to OCNblog)