[Review] SIGN

sign

What a great series.

It took me a while to finish this drama – I was 4 episodes shy! I don’t even remember what made me stop watching it – but better late than never. I needed to clear some disc space for a new drama and I came into an opportunity that I was able to access the last 4 episodes.

I really, really, liked this drama. The twists, the turns, and the suspense – it was all in there. It drove me crazy each time – making me wait until the next episode. I haven’t watched enough dramas through the years to know if what I was watching was normal cliché or not for its genre, but I wasn’t able to predict what was going to happen next correctly.

I do know that a lot of people were disappointed that they actually killed off a lead character. I am not. I am actually satisfied by the way this was played out, otherwise – it would turn into the rest of the dramas where everything is happily ever after in kdramaland –Da Kyung and Ji Hoon sitting in a tree….. There are two other characters that could’ve been a potential for Seo Yeon to murder for the last time. One would be Da Kyung – but in order for that to happen, they would have to make Seo Yeon appear to have a serious crush on Ji Hoon and saw Da Kyung as a threat – which it won’t tie in solving the original case. The other one would be Myung Han – because of guilt decided to come clean and protect NFS in a more legal approach – but they haven’t written a storyline that allowed him to show that he still has the moral decree of being a forensic expert. The only other way to solve the original case is for Ji Hoon to be written off. With his death, Da Kyung is ever more persistent to solve the case, this was the eye opener for Myung Han to finally say enough is enough – no more.

Part of me wished they wrote a somewhat of a Myung Han – Da Kyung – Ji Hoon love triangle. That would intensify the rivalry between them, wouldn’t it?

I could totally imagine where Myung Han gets his share of saving her or watching her from a distance, but his need for power gets in the way. I could see Myung Han ordering/authorizing evil deeds to cover up tracks, but makes it somehow that Da Kyung comes out unscathed, or happens to be there to rescue her but Ji Hoon keeps beating him to it, or he would be tending to Da Kyung’s scrapes while Ji Hoon is out. I could also imagine that when Ji Hoon went to the fish market to give Da Kyung’s badge back, which Myung Han is watching from the other side, also holding a badge he meant to give to Da Kyung personally but stopped in his tracks seeing Ji Hoon beat him to it. Or in the end, the video of Ji Hoon’s final moments, he asks Myung Han to keep a look out after her the same way he [Myung Han] has been doing all this time –like a public revelation that he knows they both like her but he has to make the sacrifice so he’s leaving her to his care. Although, I can see that adding the romantic arc in the drama will ultimately ruin the story as a whole, because then they’d be focusing mostly on the cliché’s rather than getting the case solved. Not to mention, I’m having a serious ajusshi crush on Jeon Gwang Ryeol – my imagination just can’t stop. Hehe

I liked how the last episode they made a reference to the first episode, where both Ji Hoon and Da Kyung are running to get into the autopsy room to get to the truth – the twist being Myung Han having re-grown a heart.  I appreciated that they had this one high profile case that took 20 episodes to solve, and wrote underlying cases/storylines that’s close to home.  Unlike CSI, NCIS or Law and Order -where each week is one case and it’s solved by the end of the hour, or if they do have an open ended case – it doesn’t get solved till like season 10.

All in all, the cast is well rounded, the script is written to a point that anyone can comprehend the terminologies used, the pacing, and the tone, all the ends are tied up before the finale – leaving one case to be solved.

Warrior Baek Dong Soo: Episode 2

We start off with the Crown Prince apologizing to Gwang Taek while wrapping his arm. Gwang Taek is met by his allies and Sa Mo in retailiation took the executioner’s father and ordered him to treat both Gwang Taek and the baby.

Back at the assassins guild, Mi advises the other leaders about Gwang Taek and both froze upon hearing it. Hong Dae meets with Cheon offers a reward for Gwang Taek’s head and the baby, but he refuses – maknae takes on the job instead.

Baby Dong Soo is being fitted with a bamboo suit in order to reform his still soft bones. Reminds me of the day that my grandma used to say that she has to wear a certain type of shoe to remain a size 5 shore size. So I guess, it makes sense that that’s how Dong Soo will be treated and eventually cured. Gwang Taek knowing he’s still a wanted man, decided to immediately leave and that he will take Dong Soo with him. Dae Po will return to his hometown to check on Cho Sang who has had a child recently himself and Sa Mo will stay behind and with that the brotherhood disbanded.

Cheon was waiting for Gwang Taek and warns him that he is not the one to assassinate him but there are many more ahead of him. The ever anxious maknae and his posse meets him but he was saved by a dark knight

Dae Po sees Cho Sang being beaten by a group and pays his debt and shares a drink. Cho Sang who is an expert in astrology is claiming that his son has a killer star destiny. Cho Sang comes home wallowing in his drink thinking that his child does not need to be in this world because of his destiny and attempts to take his life, taking his wife’s life instead by accident, and this time he aims for the baby…

At a lake, Gwang Taek’s rescuer was the woman in the guild that was playing the gagayeum. She wonders if the baby will look at him as innocently when he grows up or will he look at her with hate. Gwang Taek asks her to come with him. She asks if she really can, and he answers with a kiss – well more than that.  She decides to leave thinking that she has no right to this kind of happiness. Gwang Taek was awake, but lets her go. Good.

Gwang Taek spider senses woke him up. He leaves Dong Soo by the rocks while he comes up with a plan of attack. I really love how the music changes to let me know that the fight is on. Maknae and the gang is on the chase – after a while Maknae hears that his men are one by one being attacked finally figuring out that it’s a trap.

Meanwhile, a hungry wolfis passing by and hears Dong Soo crying, luckily a hunter was able to shoo the wolf away

Back to Gwang Taek, maknae resorts to insult and orders Gwang Taek to come out and he does. Maknae again admits defeat. It cracks me up how he whines for his life. The ever soft hearted Gwang Taek lets him go and maknae scrams like a scaredy cat.

Gwang Taek comes back to the stream and sees that Dong Su is gone. He has spent the rest of the day looking for him in the village. The hunter brought him back to Sa Mo. He took responsibility for Dong Soo.

Seasons passed and we’re in China. Gwang Taek is homeless – he wakes up to the sound of coins being donated, he looks up and sees a monk who later on takes him to their temple/school.

Dong Soo who’s now 12 years old accepts a challenge to jump off a cliff onto the lake in order to be acknowledged by his peers. Dong Soo jumps but because he has no control of his body, he can’t swim  – the kids not expecting him to jump, they ran off to Sa Mo who finds him face down on the water.

We now meet Yeo Un. Who is secretly practicing with his sword. Cho San beat him up as punishment for breaking the rule that he’s not allowed to practice with a sword. I don’t think he will stop practicing anytime soon.

Back at home, Dong Soo releases his pent up emotions – wished that he was never born and he gets a slap from Uncle Sa Mo. Good thing there’s no social services back in the day! Sa Mo later on hugs him to comfort Dong Soo and promises him that he will not watch Dong Soo die like his father.

Yeah…Yeo Un is still practicing his sword skills and overhears how his father killed his own mother. After Cho San admits it, Yeo Un struck him with his sword stick and walks away leaving a bleeding  Cho San. Cheon sees Yeo Un and stops him to ask his name, the proud kid just goes on as if on a mission. We find that the mission is to pick a fight and when the leader compared him to his murderer father, he beats the leader, one of the boys was able to stike him in the head, but he fends them all off. He’s so mad that he stabbed his hand, but was stopped by Cheon who bandages his hand and brings him home.
He then gave Yeo Un a choice he can go home or follow him. Ye Un looks at his bandaged hand and decided to follow him. A new assassin is born.

Dong Soo still rebelling not wanting eat. Little did he know that he will meet his first case of one sided puppy love and he’s the object of affection – Jin Ju Dong Su meets Hwang Jin Ju her father has made a business deal and they were to stay no other than their house. Sa Mo finalizes the business deal with the other villagers.

Jin Ju is showing off her skills that she can climb a tree, while we see a weaker Dong Soo still refusing help from her.

 

…to be continued

Warrior Baek Dong Soo: Episode 1

Like all saeguks we start with a history lesson. Prince Sado wanted to reclaim land that was lost, therefore the Norons plotted to frame him – and eliminate those that are working loyally for him. The king has decided that Baek Go Sang is to be beheaded and his family hanged.

ROUND 1! Riding on the mountain range is Kim Gwang Taek – The greatest swordsman waiting for him is Cheon the top assassin. Cheon asked for a few minutes of Gwang Taek’s time, and let the fight begin! Meanwhile Go Sang is walking his death march, his allies can only watch. The crown prince is trying to convince the king that it’s not a revolution but the king does not want to hear it. Lady Park is in labor- gosh of all times to be in labor.

ROUND 2! Sa Mo is waiting inside Go Sang’s house, Dae Po holds on to a branch with blades. Oh the action and the gore! Dae Po rushed through the crowd to rescue Go Sang and Sa Mo uses his cutlery skills as they were both single handedly fighting the guards off. Dae Po is the more unsuccessful one and alongside Go Sang they were about to meet the blade.

Gwang Taek commandingly comes in. What no round 3? The guards take a step back with just one glare from him. He presents an immunity talisman, given to him by the king personally. The commissioner made it clear that if Go Sang is spared, the Crown Prince is the next target.  Go Sang spoke up and said that he will not ask his life to be spared but to save Dae Po instead.  Gwang Taek agreed and had his final talk with Go Sang, Gwang Taek promised to watch after Go Sang’s unborn child, and with a heavy heart he leaves, and he hears the crowd react to Go Sang’s execution and Dae Po’s screams – the Crown Prince raging rampantly in his room.

Mi arrives at Go Sang’s house and meets Sa Mo, but Gwang Taek comes right on cue and advises to head inside and take care of Lady Park Lady Park who didn’t have the baby yet.

ROUND 3 started outside….with Gwang Taek making a line of fire – literally!

Gwang Taek: Anyone who crosses this line will be sent to the other world.

Assassin: I think I’m curious about the other world all of a sudden

Okay apparently, Sa Mo isn’t’ only skilled with kitchen cutlery, he’s powerful enough to knock a wall down for the ladies to escape. Outside, all of the other assassins are down and very injured, leaving maknae all the more desperate to cross the line of fire. I just love how he gets in and Gwang Taek just sends him back out – and Gwang Taek cuts of the opponents thumb and pushes him back out the line, the maknae admitting defeat.

The brothers bury Go Sang and the Crown Prince arrives also mourning for the loss of his teacher. But, Go Sang’s death doesn’t end things there. Guards are now searching for Lady Park and her baby – arresting all the pregnant women and taking all the newborns ala Moses style minus the killing of the babies – Sa Mo gets wind of the information and tells Gwang Taek. Lady Park overhears and does what she can for her delivery to be delayed.

The guards made their way to their village. One of them came face to face with Lady Park but didn’t recognize her until he saw the wanted sign. The guards quickly came back to a waiting Dae Po and Sa Mo who’s trying to figure out how to handle this. Another fight please? No – there was the neighborhood uprising and all the guards were forced to leave.

Finally, after 10 months of being pregnant, she gave birth to her child – the uncles are proud but were not surprised to see him deformed after finding out what Lady Park did to prolong the delivery. Both Gwang Taek and Sa Mo witnessed Lady Park’s passing while all the guards and the Commissioner waits outside arrests them all– But not without a fight – okay a mini fight!  It was just a tactic because Gwang Taek orders Sa Mo to go back to take care of Lady Park’s body while he takes responsibility for hiding the rebels.

Execution day. Gwang Taek is to be hanged and baby Dong Soo is to be boiled alive. The Crown Prince arrives and passes a royal order that Gwang Taek be pardoned. Flashback:  Crown Prince had to make a choice between saving him or the baby to the king. Only then that Gwang Taek realizes it and convinced both the Prince and the commissioner that he’ll sacrifice his arm to save the baby.

Comment:

It’s a dream come true when your favorite actor portrays a character in your preferred genre. I always liked saeguks. The Great King Sejong being my first one. I even endured 36 painful episodes of Ja Myung Go. As for Jeon Gwang Ryul,  I didn’t think I’d be this attracted to an actor, but his onscreen presence is just captivating me for some reason, I first saw him in Swallow the Sun, then in Sign [still to be recapped] – I wasn’t planning on watching this drama until I realized that he was in it. Here I am recapping a drama many weeks late.

Warrior Baek Dong Soo drama has me sold when the first fighting sequence was within the first 5 minutes of the first episode. I want more of the action sequence. I do worry though how the main leads [although they are eye candy for me] will pick up from here fighting sequence wise.

I still have to make out if Gwang Taek and Cheon  were originally friends that turned out to be on enemy sides and they look forward to dueling each other, or it’s because of their profession that they duel a lot that they kept each other alive long enough because they ended up enjoying their fights.

It’s only the first episode so I’m sure more characters are to be introduced. I like the pacing so far, so I’m not worried that it will be another JMG at this point. But I do wonder how it will stand up to other saeguks.