Showing posts with label Snowdrop (Kdrama) 4 || 4. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snowdrop (Kdrama) 4 || 4. Show all posts

01 February 2022

K Drama Review: Snowdrop (2021) 4 || 4

I was really looking forward to this drama. I love Jung Hae In. I've mentioned over and over again that he is probably number 1 in my list. I was curious about Jisoo too. She's probably my favorite Blackpink  (although I'm not a Blink). The controversies surrounding the show might have added to our anticipation. However, while the show started out promising, I felt that it lost its way towards the end. 


Snowdrop is set in 1987, around the time of a South Korean election. It tells the story of Eun Yeong Ro (Jisoo of The Producers), a college student at the Hosu Women's University who's also staying in the college dorm. In a group blind date, Yeong Ro meets and falls in love with Lim Soo Ho (Jung Hae In). Unknown to Yeong Ro, however, Soo Ho is a North Korean spy. Things get complicated when Soo Ho gets shot as he was being pursued by Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP) agents. He somehow ends up in Yeong Ro's dorm and Yeong Ro and her roommates help him hide in the dorm. After he has recovered, Soo Ho leaves the dorm. However, he ends up there again after being tailed by ANSP agents as he was retrieving some money and weapons nearby. As he runs out of options, Soo Ho takes the dormers as hostages. The story takes us through how Soo Ho and Yeong Ro try to make sense and get out of the difficult situation they're in. 

Jung Hae In as Lim Soo Ho

I've been very vocal in saying that acting-wise, Jung Hae In can do no wrong in my eyes. He can handle cute (One Spring Night, Something in the Rain, Reply 1988, and Tune in for Love) and fierce (D.P. and Prison Playbook). And I love how he gets the chance to show off both in this drama. Jung Hae In is just better than ever. 

I loved how Soo Ho is all masculine when he's trying to protect Yeong Ro and how he turns to someone sweet and gentle when he tries to reassure her. Jung Hae In's magic still lies in his eyes. He is absolutely terrifying with those seemingly harmless and innocent little expressions which are actually oozing with veiled threats. Yet those very same eyes appear very conflicted when something involving Yeong Ro comes up. You can feel his pain knowing that he wants to help her. 

Yes, I had some concerns about the hostage taking stuff. I'm sure in Yeong Ro's mind there was also some sort of disconnect between the Soo Ho who gave her his necklace so she'll be protected and the gun-toting Soo Ho who told her that she could die if she keeps being nosy. I can't think of a lot of reasons of how taking innocent people as hostages would be justified. 

However, since I really, really love Jung Hae In, I opted to gloss over those flaws in his character. And in any case, I find that Soo Ho has a saving grace. He is the epitome of a true leader. Yes, he is loyal to his country, but not to a fault. He can adjust as needed, especially when he has to protect his people. 

This is definitely another stellar performance from Jung Hae In. I just hope the story and the show were able to match the great output he delivered. 

Jisoo as Eun Yeong Ro

This is the first time we're watching Jisoo in a lead role. And I'm so glad that she was able to keep up with Jung Hae In. I love how unassuming Jisoo is. You wouldn't guess that she's a globally-known K pop star. 

Just like Jung Hae In, I appreciate the little expressions Jisoo uses to convey her emotions. How shy and awkward she usually is with Soo Ho, yet she can be tough to make it appear that things are under control. And Jisoo was so good in her dramatic scenes too especially when her brother (Song Geon Hee of Love Alarm and At Eighteen) died and when she was begging her dad (Heo Joon Ho of Escape from Mogadishu) to guarantee her friends' safety. 

I loved Yeong Ro's toughness and boldness. Like how she coddled Soo Ho. Or how she stood up against him like slapping him and hugging him to steal the detonator from his pocket. 

I hope Jisoo does more dramas in the future. She's a great actress who can match the skills of veterans like Jung Hae In. 

Soo Ho and Yeong Ro

Jisoo and Jung Hae In's chemistry is undeniable. They both look good and they look good together. They appear genuinely comfortable with each other. Yet you can also feel the tension in their confrontation scenes. 

I loved their cute moments together. Like that scene in the record store where Yeong Ro was so embarrassed to realize that Soo Ho heard her sing. Or those moments when she'd bring him food in the rooftop room. My favorite would probably be their coffee date at the attic when Yeong Ro told Soo Ho that the coffee can erase bad memories and where they shared their first kiss. I loved how tentative Yeong Ro felt. I can absolutely feel their pain knowing that their ending remains uncertain. 

Yes, I'm shipping Jisoo and Jung Hae In too. I feel like they'd be good for each other even in real life. :)

Great Supporting Cast

The show's strength lies in its amazing actors. Everyone, including those dormers who probably did not have speaking lines, were perfect. 

Yoo In Na (Guardian and You are the Best) was perfect as the vicious and crafty North Korean spy Dr. Kang Cheong Ya. I loved how she had government official Nam Tae Il (Park Sung Woong of Crash Landing on You) wrapped around her fingers. I loved Cheong Ya's back story with Soo Ho and that reassured me that she would always pull through for him. Yoo In Na was at her best in the serious and angry scenes but not so much in the dramatic ones, which were fortunately very few. 

Jang Seung Jo was a revelation here for me. I didn't like him that much in Encounter. But he was great as the ANSP agent Lee Gang Mu. I loved his toughness despite all the torture he's been subjected to. He was also great in his confrontation and fight scenes with Soo Ho. To me, he was like Soo Ho's South Korean counterpart. Yes, he was also loyal to his country, but not blindly. When he realized that his superiors had ulterior motives, he knew he had to rise above them and he had to remain loyal to the citizens he vowed to protect. 

Jung Yoo Jin was also another favorite. We already loved her in Romance is a Bonus Book, Something in the Rain, and Tune in for Love. Yet she still managed to surprise us even more here. I super loved how feisty she was. She was totally fearless, especially when it involved Gang Mu. 

I loved Ms. Pi (Yoon Se Ah)!!! I've seen Yoon Se Ah before in 3 Meals a Day but I totally did not recognize her as Ms. Pi until Oppa pointed it out. Such great transformation! Ms. Pi was so feisty especially in that torture scene. And I loved how she remained true to her obligation to protect the students, even if it went against what the ANSP asked her to do. 

I also loved Yeong Ro's roomies. They were all perfect and great companions for Yeong Ro - the glamorous Hye Ryeong (Jung Shin Hye), the baby of the group Seol Hui (Choi Hee Jin), and the activist Jeong Min (Kim Mi Soo, may she rest in peace). Even the annoying Bun Ok (Kim Hye Yoon of Record of Youth and Guardian) was perfect for her role. 

Man Dong (Kim Jong Soo of Samjin Company English Class, Extreme Job, 1987: When the Day Comes, Vagabond, and the Producers), the dorm's maintenance guy who appeared harmless, actually turned out to be a very interesting character. Who would have thought that the weakling was actually a North Korean spy. 

I also loved Soo Ho's comrades - the loyal Eung Chul (Jang In Sub of Suits and What Happens to My Family) and the hotheaded Gyeok Chan (Kim Min Kyu). Kim Min Kyu really surprised me here. I didn't know that the guy who mostly showcased his dimples in Nevertheless and So I Married the Anti-Fan can act all angry and badass. I loved his little romance with Bun Ok too. 

Yes, there were some characters who were not that lovely - like Nam Tae Il, Mr. Ahn (Lee Hwa Ryong of 1987: When the Day Comes and Something in the Rain), and their wives - because they tended to be over the top. But I admit that even these guys that I didn't really adore had their good moments too. 


As I mentioned earlier, the show started out promising. The opening credits and song were great. I also loved the filter they used because it really transported me back to 1987. Every shot felt like it was well thought out. Even the supposedly abandoned and shabby attic looked artistic and picturesque. 

I loved how the hostage taking storyline started out really intense and how it became an important turning point for the drama. However, as it dragged on, I felt that it tended to be exhausting at times. It was a vicious cycle of the government promising something to Soo Ho's group, which they'd believe, but then the government would end up deceiving them over and over again. 

But I appreciated the show's effort in making things a bit more interesting. Like the layers and layers of moles they had inside the dorm - Ms. Pi, Dr. Kang, and Man Dong. I also loved Soo Ho and Gang Mu's little bromance which developed when they both found their common ground and goal - to protect and save the students. 

The government officials' wives were not really my favorites. Although I understand that they were there to help the story move, even if they appeared more like decorations most of the time. They appeared even wimpier when compared to the strong women characters the show had - Yeong Ro, Ms. Pi, Bun Ok, etc. I actually loved the strong women storylines, especially when viewed vis-a-vis the weakling guys (Ahn, Nam, and Hye Ryeong's boyfriends (Ahn Dong Goo of The Silent Sea and Our Beloved Summer and Heo Nam Joon)). 

There were moments when the show tended to be quite confusing with all the betrayal that was happening. You just didn't know who to trust. At one point, even Yeong Ro's father betrayed his own daughter. 

I saw the show's attempt in painting the dictatorship as a government that was only after the officials' personal interests and not the country's. But I also understand where all the oppositions to the show were coming from. I felt that the condemnation of the evil deeds that happened during that time was lacking. Yes, there were attempts to paint the ANSP as bad guys like when the dormers voiced out how their families were affected by the false accusations/frame-ups the ANSP was known for. However, I felt that some of these scenes were contrived. They didn't feel natural at all. You'd then get the feeling that these stories were included to sort of appease those who were offended. 

But whatever the show lacked in other aspects, I loved how it always gave us intense scenes like the part where Bun Ok threatened to shoot Ms. Pi or when Yeong Ro stood in between her dad and Soo Ho. 

My main issue with the show would probably be how some scenes did not seem realistic at all. Oppa and I were perplexed with how the North Korean guys were patient when they're supposed to be ruthless after their hardcore training. They were especially patient with Gang Mu despite his repeated attempts to escape. We also wondered why they could not tie him up tightly so he won't be able to move. And why did they put him in a separate room where no one can watch him 24/7. Were they making it easier for him to escape? It also didn't make sense that the other hostages were free to roam around like Bun Ok and Man Dong's son (Kim Jeong Hoon). 

It's unfortunate that the show was not able to sustain its strong start. I felt that things went downhill especially towards the end. It was absurd that the officials' wives were allowed to interfere in the deliberations on how to proceed with the hostage situation. They were all acting like kids, as if the situation at hand was not serious enough. 

Inside the dorm, people also appeared relaxed despite the urgency of the situation. They knew they could be blown up or attacked anytime. Yet, Soo Ho and Yeong Ro had time to go to the rooftop. Ms. Pi and Bun Ok had the luxury of having tea as they talked about Ms. Pi's connection to Bun Ok's sister. 

And the security around the dorm was not as tight as it should have been. Soo Ho and Man Dong's groups were able to come and go freely with vehicles. If things were that easy, why didn't they escape right from the start? The same goes for Han Na's escape with the students and Gang Mu's escape with Ms. Pi's group. 

Another thing that didn't make sense was when Tae Il was trying to get the password for the bank account from Soo Ho. He wanted the troops to hold their fire. But he had to walk all the way to the rooftop to deliver the order himself. Could he not have done that through radio? Soo Ho might have survived if Tae Il didn't take too long to get there. 

The show released the last 2 episodes on the same day. So you have to watch around 3 hours of content. Sure, you can watch the two episodes on different days. But if you're invested in the show and you want to know what happened, you would of course watch it in one go. And honestly, I felt that it was too heavy for me. Could they not have released the shows on 2 separate days doing a Friday to Sunday run like it did in episodes 3-5? 

In the end, I could not help but feel that the ending was not well thought out. Instead of wasting the earlier episodes with all the in-fighting and dragging with the hostage situation where not much was happening, I think it would have been better if the show devoted the final episode as some sort of debrief - telling us about what happened to the people who survived like the dormers, if Dr. Kang fulfilled her promise to Soo Ho that she will save their comrades' families, etc. 

I felt that the show was not able to maximize its strong start, Jisoo and Jung Hae In's great chemistry, and the great talents of the cast. It was also unable to maximize its platform in presenting a more accurate depiction of the historical stuff when it tried but mostly failed to be funny. The show could definitely improve its story and storytelling more. 

I was quite disappointed with the ending that I no longer felt that sympathetic with Soo Ho and Yeong Ro. Although I loved the tragic scene where Soo Ho's comrades were killed and Soo Ho's goodbye scene with Dr. Kang. 

Having said all of that, if you love Jung Hae In and Jisoo, this show might still be worth watching. :)

And I loved the song in the show's opening credits, Friend by Kim Hee Won. 

Oppa says...4.

Noona says...4.