Bad Guy, episodes 1-5

So far, the only thing that’s really keeping me invested in this drama is the acting from Kim Nam-gil and Kim Jae-wook. The story is been-there-done-that-and-better and I shrug constantly when Han Ga-in or Oh Yeon-soo are on screen.

(P.S. Already groaning at the fact that this is going to be 20 episodes long. By about episode 14, I’m going to start cursing excessively at illogical plot turns and ridiculous lapses in judgment.)

(P.P.S. Is it weird that I find all of the characters’ names really pretty? Tae-ra, Mo-nae, Jae-in, Gun-wook.)

Summary of episodes 1 to 5

THE CHARACTERS

  • Shim Gun-wook/Choi Tae-sung/Hong Tae-sung is our macho lead played by Kim Nam-gil. As a child, he was sent to the Hong family because his parents were told that there had been a switch-up and that he was really Hong Tae-sung, heir to Haeshin Group. Once he gets settled into the Hong family, however, the sheet gets yanked out from under him and he’s told that he’s not the real Hong Tae-sung, it’s someone else. Because of the confusion, when his biological parents come to claim him, they are met with an accident. Thus Gun-wook’s revenge.

  • Hong Tae-sung, played by Kim Jae-wook, happens to be that other Hong Tae-sung. He’s the only son in a family of three kids, and he’s hostile and benevolent. He looks to be one of those problem children who are angry and violent but only really because they just want some mommy and daddy love and/or approval.
  • Moon Jae-in is an art curator at the gallery within the Haeshin Group company. She gets dumped by a chaebol who ditches her for some chaebol-ess and wants to get back at him by finding a rich dude herself. You can tell where this is going.

  • Hong Tae-ra is the eldest daughter in the Hong family. She has a rod lodged firmly up her ass and is, generally speaking, a bitch. You get the vibe that she very easily finds others to be inferior to her, and those who are around her must be after her money. Yeah, I’m not sure why the writers thought she’d be a compelling character…?
  • Hong Mo-nae is the youngest child in the Hong family, and her connection to the story is that she is fascinated by Gun-wook when she first comes across him. She’s already engaged at that point (arranged marriage), but her attraction to Gun-wook easily overshadows her desire to get married to someone she doesn’t like.
  • THE SITUATION AND CONFLICT

    In a very, very flawed background set up of Gun-wook’s life, we see that after the Hong’s kick him out for being the “wrong” Tae-sung, his real parents die in a car accident caused by the rain + a dog that ran into the road.

    ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?????

    This is like watching some bad Mad TV skit that pokes fun at Korean dramas by coming up with the most dramatic and unnecessarily tragic ends to families in order to set up a revenge plot. This bit of writing is so laughable that it almost doesn’t hold any credibility at all as to why Gun-wook is so obsessed with the Hong’s. Yes, obviously the Hong’s throwing him out led to his parents’ trip over to pick him up, but their death was the result of bad weather and an unfortunate puppy. It was cold of the Hong family to cut ties so easily without second thought, but can they really be faulted for getting upset that their son is not really their son? When you can so easily play devil’s advocate for the supposedly “evil” side of the character spectrum, the main protagonist’s revenge journey loses a ton of momentum.

    And why is Gun-wook so obsessed with getting to Hong Tae-sung? Because the real one usurped the fake one? Again, he has no real connection to the death of Gun-wook’s parent’s! He, by the hands of fate, just happens to be the real son of the Hong family. Is that so wrong?? This makes so little sense!

    Anyway, to get back to the point — Gun-wook is after the Hong’s and wants to destroy them thoroughly by seamlessly diffusing into the family. He is aware of Mo-nae’s attraction to him, but he merely uses it as a way to make Mo-nae’s sister Tae-ra tick. He’s also aware that he could very easily unnerve Tae-ra and thus the truckload of sexual tension between the two.

    So to recap — he wants to emotionally screw with Mo-nae so that it irritates Tae-ra and he wants to emotionally screw Tae-ra by unnerving an otherwise steady, level-headed woman. (Note: Tae-ra is married and has a daughter.) And then he’ll go in for the kill with Tae-sung by becoming his confidante and….you know where this goes.

    Jae-in gets caught in the middle of everything because of her position as a worker within the family, and her slight interest in wooing Hong Tae-sung because she figures that him being rich is a good way to pay back her rich ex who was a douche to her.

    However, because she mistakenly believed Gun-wook to be Tae-sung, she shimmies up to the wrong person, and thus it all starts. When the real Tae-sung learns of Jae-in’s presence (through all our convoluted crossed paths, of course), he takes interest in her, just as Gun-wook begins to take interest in her.

    MY VERDICT

    I realized that I repeatedly commented in this post saying different variations of, “You know where this goes, right?” And that’s basically my feeling towards this drama — that you know everything because you’ve seen it all before, and you should know what to expect. Now, I’m hoping that my expectations are surpassed because I want to like this drama.

    Like I said before, the only thing compelling me at this point are fantastic acting from Kim Nam-gil and Kim Jae-wook. I really had reservations about Kim Jae-wook because I wasn’t crazy about him in “Coffee Prince” and he was meh in “Antique,” but what a surprise! What a great surprise. He has absolutely no problem with playing a dramatic role and handles it extremely well. I also never found him attractive before — even though he is definitely a good looking guy — but this role makes him attractive. He’s not really mysterious like Gun-wook is, but he’s not that hated spoiled, rich boy either. He’s smart and self-aware, and I suspect there’s more to his mother’s apathy towards him than meets the eye, since we’re in only in ep 5, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he may not be the real Hong Tae-sung that the Hong’s have been looking for either.

    Kim Nam-gil’s acting goes without saying — he’s great. Period. The only problem I have is with his character, because like I stated early, I don’t find his motives believable enough to care about his plight. Sure I want him to get what he lost through losing his parents, but I can’t completely side with him either, because the writing of his background story was pretty shitty.

    Another huge problem I have is the believability of Moon Jae-in’s attraction to Gun-wook and vice versa. She gets close to him under the premises that he’s a rich boy she can use (even though I doubt she intended to be malicious about using him), but she finds out rather quickly that Gun-wook isn’t that Tae-sung, so I don’t really understand where her attraction to him came from.

    Furthermore, when Jae-in tells Gun-wook that they probably wouldn’t meet again after they sat down for drinks, it seemed like she knew what she did wrong in pursuing him, felt foolish about being called out on, and then resolved to end that thread. I’m not saying that she can’t be attracted to him again afterward, but she gets so overly excited when seeing him in Japan that it feels like there’s a disconnect in the message she’s sending out. This is a small thing, but these little discontinuities are really preventing me from sitting comfortably in my seat when I watch these episodes.

    And I don’t even know why I bother rooting for the supporting male leads anymore, because the main girl will never, ever, ever give him the time of day once she feels attraction to the male lead. Apparently, as a woman in Korea, the notion of being attracted to more than one person — even if it’s purely superficial — does not exist. The notion that you can be disloyal in your personal attractions — even though you don’t know jack shit about the first guy enough to feel the need to be loyal to him — it’s just not possible for you. This boggles my mind so much and it’s not just something I’ve noticed in K-dramas, but the culture of loyalty is downright overwhelming in a lot of aspects of Korean culture. (I’m pretty sure it’s frowned upon — if not straight-up disallowed — to be part of more than one idol group’s fanclub. That’s fucking ridiculous.)

    • http://me.astromantic.org f

      ae-sung, his real parents die in a car accident caused by the rain + a dog that ran into the road
      I AM HOWLING RIGHT NOW. HOWLING.

      Like…

      I can’t even. I just can’t. This is the most hilarious plot line I have ever seen in my life.

    • http://watchprettylittleliarsepisodes.com Carryn Little

      Cheers, good blog.

    • rose85t

      the drama actually pretty good! KNG is pretty hot and so is the male lead…. but everyone in this drama has issues. the only person i didn’t like is mo nae.