[2017] Year In Review

***At the time of this update: I’m reviewing the shows based on memory of how I felt, so you will notice that some of them will not have detailed reviews.***

105, tv dramas, and 22 webcasts premieried, I was only able to watch a handful [11], some made an impact in my daily life [like I didn’t sleep], some I dropped along the way.

GOBLIN

Though there were supernatural, fantasy, and fusion dramas that aired in Kdramaland over the course of time, Goblin is unique in its own way. To be able to connect the past, present, and future through the memories of our Goblin and Grim Reaper in 20 episodes is a feat made possible by this show. From the cinematography, special effects, script, soundtrack, directing, and acting, this show had everything going in the right direction to near perfection. This should’ve been a made a movie.

In the end, however, we were divided because of how the show did/didn’t end. The other half was disappointed that Eun Tak had to be reincarnated, the other [including me] were accepting of the fact that her life has to come full circle. I guess you can call it an open ending for our titular hero who waited another lifetime for his bride to come back to him.

Other than that, the ending didn’t change the fact that Goblin is one of the most popular kdrama of 2016-2017. This drama shot up to the top of my all time favorite show. You definitely missed out on an AWESOME show if you didn’t watch this one. The entire world was swept up with the Goblin Syndrome with every other brand promoting their products within the show. If you didn’t even hear about this show, I don’t know which tunnel you’re living in from. I suggest you stop reading my post, and start watching this now.

Ahjumma stars: 5

Voice

Well, this was an unexpected show. I know it’s a crime thriller since it’s an OCN offering, and this genre is purely their bread and butter. It was mentioned during the finale that this show was written in hopes to aid in getting faster response times to emergency calls that citizens make, so I watched this thinking it’ll be a weekly show of rescuing people on time because one gifted officer can hear things we can’t, while a detective needs to be on a team that will redeem his past behaviors on the field. What I didn’t expect is how psychologically thrilling this show was for me. For a weekly dose of emergency rescues, and one major storyline, the show got me hooked. The writer was smart to end the show with a call, and a cliffhanger. The writer is even smart knowing that it can only last for so many episodes. Sometimes I wonder about the writers and the producers of this show thoug…. what went on their minds as to how they collaborated into making the crimes as close to real as possible.

If there’s one major flaw that I could think of, it would be the script. As I read the subtitles on certain scenes in three different versions, I asked myself each time what was the writer thinking? It doesn’t fit the scene at times, but it’s there and I start to wonder if it’s in the editing that it was flawed. As would any dramas, there were characters that were underutilized after they made their 15 minutes of fame and made it in the Golden Time team. Then again, there are really so much an emergency operator can do aside from taking those calls. Their characters required them to be sitting down, and watch their leader finish the call with a confirmed rescue. Another thing they can do though is go to Subway and share a sandwich.

In the end, the mystery was solved, and citizens were saved by our city heroes. The criminal got the karma he deserved since justice wasn’t really given.

Ahjumma stars: 3

Missing 9

The premise of the show was intriguing enough to pique my interest. Unfortunately, what started out as a potentially great mystery/action show, lost me midway through the series. There was a certain part of the show that was dragged into what seemed like an eternity of the same pattern [Bong Hee always a step behind from Tae Ho], and made me lose hope that she will ever come out of her ordeal unscathed. Eventually, I came back with a different mindset, and finished the series. I didn’t realize it until the end as to why the show changed their focus from their time on the island to the lengths a corporation/politician will go to cover up a major crime.

It dawned on me in late March/early April, that they didn’t write/produce the show for entertainment purposes. There were similarities between the show and this calamity that lead me to believe, that this show was written to mirror the Sewol tragedy. It’s intent is to let us know what’s really been going on and why we still don’t have answers.

Just an FYI, this is my own “conspiracy theory”. The show had 9 people missing, Sewol has 9 bodies unrecovered. The show focused more on the corruption between CEO’s and politicians instead of uncovering the truth regardless of who will fall, which is a whole lot like what happened after this event. Of course, I won’t be able to confirm this hunch, but because I’m on the outside looking in, I think the premise of the show is what got a green light to be produced, it was written long enough to get some viewers interested, and veered its course and became more of an awareness/expose of what’s going on in reality.

Back to the show, now that I think about it this way, it made sense why the script is all over the place. There were characters featured during the teasers, and trailers, but were not even useful in the show. There were revelations within the characters that I wish would’ve been told in the beginning. All in all, the idea behind the show is there, but the execution was wrong, and it left me wanting more answers than I had when the show started.

Ahjumma stars: 2.5

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

This was a truly enjoyable and loveable show. It’s been a while that I enjoyed a rom-com like this. It’ll probably be a while before another rom-com can beat these standards. Ahn Min Hyuk and Do Bong Soon are the very definition of #couplegoals. Everything was natural about this show when it comes to this two. Yes, the show is scripted, and the directors most likely advised our actors how skinships would be portrayed. But how it was scripted, directed, and acted out is what was natural to begin with. I like rom-coms without the awkwardness that it comes with. Park Hyung Sik, and Park Bo Young nailed their character portrayals. Because of them, and their natural expressions, the characters are believable. It sure pulled me along with their journey. I cried with them, I was terrified with them, I was glad I was part of their happy ever after. I would actually need to remind myself that this is just a show.

There were times that scenes tend to get a little bit too serious, but it comes with it. With the help of the supporting characters, those scenes are soon replaced with hilarity once again. There are some plots that weren’t neatly wrapped up at the end, but I’m probably the only one wondering about them, so I looked the other way and looked at the pretty, and the funny hijinks the show offered. Overall, this show delivered. From the history of how Bong Soon’s strength has been passed down in generations, to how she and Min Hyuk met, the issues/challenges surrounding them that solidified their relationship, they even gave us a wedding ceremony and babies.

Ahjumma stars: 5

 

Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People

This is one of those dramas that I watched diligently up to episode 14 of the series, then let weeks go by almost forgetting the show. If it wasn’t for Dramabean’s recaps, I probably wouldn’t have been inclined to watch the rest. Their writing made me want to feel what they’re watching, and thankfully, I did finish the entire show and appreciated it. Mind you, there was a point in this series that I just want to give it up – it’s not perfect, and sometimes it feels like it’s the same story, different episode. I’m glad I stuck it out even with a little break in between. I feel bad that I ended up not posting my final review for the show, but here it is….

Historical accuracies [or lack thereof?] aside, I really did like this show. Despite the deaths, and the repetitiveness of some plot lines, I usually feel empty when a saeguk ends because there is never a happy ending, or there’s a bittersweet ending. This show is different in a way where our heroes got a chance to change the world, one person at a time, and still lead a happy life. That’s a gem to me to see our heroes win and get to live out the rest of their days.

This ensemble could not have been cast together any better than this. From the portrayal of Amogae, Yeonsangun, Nok So, our quirky “Justice League”, Ga Ryung, and Mori. This cast makes up for whatever writing/creative holes that was left open, so I won’t go in detail on that. Everyone probably is amazed at Honey Lee and Kim Ji Suk’s performances, as I am too. For me though, there are two characters that got to me, and I cried when one had to die: Amogae,  and Mori. Kudos to Kim Sam Joong, and Kim Jung Hyun for their amazing performances!

Ahjumma stars: 4

 

Chicago Typerwriter

This was a really good show. I love me some supernatural fantasy dramas that actually work. From the writing, acting, soundtrack, and to the special effects, this show was it for me. I felt that I was in this drama too.

Ahjumma stars: 5

Man To Man

The show started off to a good start for me, but it fizzled when they started to focus on the romantic side of the story.

Ahjumma stars: 3

Suspicious Partner

This was a filler drama for me. I’ve skipped episodes here and there. I still yet have to watch a really good law drama – sadly, I’m not getting any younger. Overall, it was a good show – entertaining to get me to come watch the episodes of the week when I’m home trying not to get depressed. I probably would’ve like it more if I had watched the show diligently.

Ahjumma stars: 3

Strongest Deliveryman

Well, that was a good drama. A little bit of angst, violence, comedy, romance made this work. I like a good ensemble drama where your hero is a group – not just one person. Yes, it took a leadership of one, but it takes more than that to capture the heart of the people. I appreciated the fact that heiresses, and chaebols are willing to sacrifice their life’s inheritance for the sake of life. What I love the most, is the hope that there is still some people out there who’s not in it to profit by himself, but to share the wealth with good friends – family.

Ahjumma stars: 5

Save Me

I was anticipating this show soooo much, but I ended up dropping this after episode 2 due to personal reasons. Who knows, I  might watch this when I can in 2018.

Ahjumma stars: N/A

Because This Is My First Life

Beautiful. If this show taught me anything, it’s that humans are complex beings, but love isn’t. I am glad I decided to watch this show.

Ahjumma stars: 5

Black

My last Kdrama of 2017. I really, really loved this show despite the many questions I still have unanswered, or that ending. I guess Joon was really that in love with Ha Ram that he went and foregone the justice he deserved in order to give the life he wanted Ha Ram to have. If that is not true love, I don’t know what that is. Not the ending I wanted, but I understand where the writers were going with this.

Ahjumma stars: 4

 

 

 

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Man to Man: 6

This episode mostly focused on Do Ha’s relationships, especially with her dad and Seol Woo. I for one, have not fully connected to Do Ha’s character. Her character just isn’t relatable to me. Although she has notable quotes, her character hasn’t tugged my heartstrings yet. She hasn’t done anything heroic or suspicious to get me interested. But, regardless, this was her highlight episode.

I suppose it’s okay to take a little break from the action and suspense while the baddies figure out how to be – well, baddies. I’m a little disappointed that six episodes in, they’re still not showing might and brute force. They’re just having brooding moments and meetings. There’s not much for Seol Woo to do as a ghost agent, if there’s no group to have action scenes with. Then again, I can’t have action scenes all the time, can I?

I already know her genuine relationship that she shares with Un Gwang, so it’s nice to see her outside her comfort zone and watch her react to her dad being back in her life, and Seol Woo creeping up in her heart – at the same time. So far, Do Ha’s handling it okay. She had the courage to actually tell him how she feels, and she let Seol Woo in on her family history.

I’m still weary about Myung Suk. Although he seems to have the right mindset, he could still play on the wrong side of the court just to get some quick cash. That is what I’m worried about. I’d hate to see the day where Seol Woo has to choose between him and Do Ha. I do hope that Myung Suk’s character is written as a good guy who just makes bad choices. If so, the Seol Woo can fix or avoid those mistakes.

Seol Woo has entered uncharted territories. Although he doesn’t know it yet, he’s already smitten with Do Ha. He thinks this is part of his plan, well – he’s wrong. I’ll admit it, I’m curious as to how this will affect Seol Woo in the next episodes. Will he reveal his true feelings? What are those feelings? It can’t be love this soon in the series though.

Chicago Typewriter: 12

Now that I know Soo Hyun didn’t kill Hwi Young, I’m only left with one person…. Shin Yul.  The question is how did he die, and who killed him? I can’t see Hwi Young pulling the trigger on his best friend. Young Min is a possibility, but if we look at the present timeline, he’s rival is Se Ju. So, it’s not reflective of their past. That leaves soo Hyun….the question is why?

I swear, those past snippets! I knew since the beginning that there’s more to the flashbacks we were given. Who would’ve thought that a scene that made us think that Soo Hyun did kill Hwi Young was a confession scene all along? Gosh, I’m really impressed with the writing on this show. I guess it’s safe to say that a mirror in this show is that both Hwi Young in the past and Se Ju in the present both professed their feelings towards their counterparts, albeit, in a different way. It is squeal inducing nonetheless. I’m pretty sure that, after Hwi Young’s confession, that was it for that couple. Their relationship ended before it started. Hence, the reincarnation of themselves. At least, in the present time, Jeon Seol and Se Ju finally moved a step forward in regard to their relationship, and we know there’s a future there. Se Ju wasn’t lying when he said that he’s doing a service for his country with that kiss. It’s about time these two affirmed their feelings for each other.

Today is definitely Jin Oh’s episode. If you haven’t felt bad for him since he appeared in this show, and you have not felt bad at all after watching this episode until the end, you are one heartless person. Since the beginning, I knew I was rooting for his character. I knew that he will not get the girl. It was worse when I found out that he’s a ghost and realized he will never get the girl. It was episode that did me in.

Even though this episode started in heartbreak for Jin Oh after witnessing Se Ju and Jeon Seol’s kiss. It was when Jeon Seol was introduced to him even he’s invisible to her. The fact that Jeon Seol is there, and he froze to say her name, that was heart wrenching. When she was finally able to see him, well I was crying puddles.. It’s a major plus that Se Ju acknowledges him as a friend. Seeing him with his two favorite people of all time with him in the same room. Oh how happy I was for him! Then – they leave me with a cliffhanger – showing how he died. Well, that was a real shocker. Whatever impact factor the writing, and directing team wanted me to feel, I felt. I was in shock, in awe of how it just ended like that.

It still didn’t answer any questions though – who killed him, and why. I guess that’s for the next episode.

Until then,

   

Man to Man: 5

I didn’t see any character development as far as their interactions with each other. Un Gwang has always been fond of Seol Woo since his rescue on episode 2/3. I will admit that I was touched at his recollection of CEO Ji when he was starting out as an actor. So, I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t take long for him to CEO Ji back into the family. Do Ha is still undecided towards Seol Woo [until she kissed him], and Seol Woo is still dedicated to his mission. The baddies are still baddies with no intention of turning new leaves. Our agents well, there’s really nothing to develop when you’re supposed to be in a covert mission, although I appreciate that they find time for romance on the side. So – there’s not much to explore.

I got to see some action that I wanted. I will ignore the few lapses of logic with the mini action sequence that was offered today. Am I seriously the only one who wanted this show to be a true action drama? This would be so good if it focused on the action, with a side of romance, and the comedy is in the romance. I can do without the promised bromance.

As far as the romance goes, I am not convinced that both characters have gained true feelings for each other.  Sure, Seol Woo started to notice her during his Russia mission, but I don’t think that he’s on the level of “true love” yet. He’s still an android when it comes to romance, doing everything by the book. because he’s still in the mindset that this is a side mission, to his original mission. Do Ha too, she spent many years being on Un Gwang’s side. She can’t simply just like the first person to show affection. What about all those years she spent with Un Gwang? I think this would work more if Seol Woo has a competition for Do Ha’s heart to begin with. If Un Gwang was written as a second lead and showers he same affection to Do Ha, I think this would bring out Seol Woo’s feelings – but not on the 4th episode. You know what would be funny, if Seol Woo’s lair has a bookshelf of books dedicated to Romance, or self-help books on how to get the girl.  Needless to say, I was unaffected by their kiss last episode, and this episode.

Okay, I like Park Hae Jin as an actor. I’ve only watched him in Cheese In The Trap before this show. I hate to say this, but I can’t connect with him when he’s trying to be funny. I know, I know, I’ve stereotyped him playing serious roles, and this could be a break off of that mold – but – it’s not working for me. Maybe that’s probably why I am not convinced that Seol Woo really had feelings for Do Ha when he first kissed her, and again when Do Ha kissed him.

This is why I can’t connect with the bromance part of this show. I know the script calls for a funny scene, but I don’t feel it when they portray it. Believe me, I’m all for bromance scenes since BOF days, but this show is not cutting it for me.  I think the show can still pull off the comedic side of things if Seol Woo’s character isn’t written in. If need me, Seol Woo’s comedic antics could surface as he’s trying to woo Do Ha and falters But for Seol Woo to emulate facial expressions that are meant to be funny – it’s not.

We still have two more wood carvings to find, and I ‘m sure more sub plots will come out of the woodwork. The story will progress a little bit further. At this point, we’ve established on who’s on the good and evil side of things. So, it’s natural for a tiny stepback to lay more groundwork for the next arc. Mission: Romance.

Man To Man: 4


I said last time that if Do Ha’s dad shows up again and says something vague, it means that Do Ha’s character is more than Seol Woo’s love interest. Well, he showed up in this episode, and asked if she still has the “gift” he gave her. Pretty good to have written a future mission for Seol Woo, and Do Ha will be his target, I would say. This will complicate things a tad bit for Seol Woo, and I can’t wait. As far as her dad’s character goes, I’m sure he’ll help in complicating things for everyone involved. Not a matter of if, but when.


It looks like Seol Woo will have time to fall in love because our baddies are busy playing double cross, It looks like they each have a role as a “team”, but each member has a different goal. Seung Jae’s goal is to get his father’s dirty money, and he is looking more like ghost money to Assemblyman Baek.  Assemblyman Baek seems to be a mastermind playing puppet, and we have an actual ghost agent who hasn’t done any of the dirty work yet. Meaning, they’re nowhere in this show, which is not good if we have a secret agent that lives for a mission.


I feel bad for Do Ha who’s confused at Seol Woo’s advances, then gets let down in a shocking way. That’s a big eye opener for a woman who’s been told somewhat of the truth. I feel for her though, a lot has happened to her since she met Seol Woo, dealing with Un Gwang’s accident, and her dad showing up all at the same time.


I know it’s Seol Woo’s tactic in order to accomplish his mission. He is still the same using logic and assessing every situation and reacts according to that. Seol Woo “wooing” Do Ha wasn’t part of his plan to begin with. In fact, I didn’t see that he tried to charm her at all. In the end, he must’ve been “What the heck, my mission is over anyway, so yeah let’s just tell her what she doesn’t want to hear, not thinking it’ll backfire. I think this is where he’ll reach a realization that he’s never experienced this before, and that’s where the “comedic” turn of events will ensue. I just think he went a little bit farther than what a car explosion. Maybe it’s just me, but I did see a pang of guilt when he was walking away compared to the woman he left behind in the first episode.


The show is stepping up on the action/suspense aspect, which I’m not going to get into detail. The action is there, but I want more. I think I’m going to keep saying this in every post. They spoiled me in episode 2, and I want to see more action scenes like that. They’ve been setting up the loveline between Seol Woo, and Do Ha. As far as the romance goes, I don’t see any chemistry suggesting that they’ve developed mutual feelings for each other outside the professional realm yet, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Seol Woo was a teeny tiny bit attracted to Do Ha in the last episode, but kept it at bay because he’s on a mission.

Chicago Typewriter: 10

Secrets are not always taken to the grave. Sometimes, they transcend in time and reveals itself right when things are going good. If the last episode is about Se Ju learning from his past life, this episode is about Jeon Seol having to deal with the consequences. As a bonus, someone else knows Tae Min’s secret.

Well, I’ve been asking who else in the present is connected in the past, and I got my answer. We’ve know our trio are the heroes, and we’ve had plenty of time to get to know them in both timelines. So, it’s time to introduce a couple of villains: Jeon Seol’ mom, and Tae Min.

I’m a little disappointed about the reveal of Jeon Seol’ mom’s connection with her Soo Hyun. I was kind of hoping that Jeon Seol would remember her first, and that trauma carried on in this life. Makes for a better strained mother-daughter relationship. Deeply strained, but healable. Instead what I got is a coward mom who had memories of her past life with Soo Hyun, and didn’t even remotely try to correct that in this lifetime with Jeon Seol. I think she’s still stringing Jeon Seol along because she’s a dutiful daughter who all she ever wanted was a mother. I’m not even questioning the validity of her villainess, no mother abandons her child and can still call herself a hero.

Then there’s Tae Min. I don’t have much to say because I’m still waiting for this pot to boil over. I’m waiting for that one trigger for him to lose it. I thought it was his student [which may or may not play a role in future episodes], but when he saw Jin Oh, I think that might be his snapping point. I’m a little worried though. This can go either way. One, he can use Jin Oh as a source of Se Ju’s downfall. He can run to mommy and say Se Ju really has a ghostwriter, and there goes Se Ju’s career. Two, Tae Min will snap, remember his past and cause more harm to Se Ju, and Jeon Seol – and Jin Oh won’t be able to do anything about it.

Jin Oh keeps breaking my heart. You guys all heard that he can’t be too far away, and be away for a long period of time from his typewriter. Lines like that are always ominous. It means that when Se Ju, and/or Jeon Seol is in trouble in the hands of let’s say, Tae Min, he won’t be able to do anything about it.

Se Ju is remembering more of his past life. I am still not convinced that he’s really attracted to Jeon Seol. I think those are his feelings for Soo Hyun that he’s subconscious and his instinct is following through. Their dates, it’s like he’s making up for the past that he[Hwi Young] couldn’t tell her [Jeon Seol] his feelings for her, and now he can. Why else would he encourage Jeon Seol to remember him? I do think part of him is attached to Jeon Seol because she did rescue him at the cabin, and has been somewhat a pillar when he was facing controversies, and the fact that there really is no other women vying for his affection. So yes, he genuinely cares for her, is it love? Yes but from Hwi Young to Soo Hyun through Se Ju to Jeon Seol. Wow – this is more tragic than Romeo and Juliet.

The past is a different story now that a little bit more light has been shed in their past life. There’s definitely an unspoken love, and passion between Se Ju and Jeon Seol. It wouldn’t be wise for the leader of the resistance to break his own secret agent rule. So as much as he wanted to say “Yeah, I saved you, and I grew to love you”, he can’t. The contrast in this episode is Soo Hyun, and Shin Yul’s bike ride to Jeon Seol, and Se Ju’s bike ride in the present. I want more their 1930s loveline please.

****STOP READING HERE UNLESS YOU WANT MY THOUGHTS ON WHAT COULD HAPPEN IN THE NEXT EPISODES*****

I normally end my episodes without watching the previews, because I don’t want my questions answered before my post gets published. But,the last scene really got to me especially the part where Jeon Seol’s moms’ words are getting in her head. I had to know what happens next. Well, this is why I don’t watch previews.

Based on what I saw, I’m more convinced now that she killed Shin Yul- but, by accident. Her target could’ve been Hwi Young, but Shin Yul took the bullet for the mission. Would make sense because Se Ju is their leader, when their leader fall, the mission fails.

Jeon Seol is going to mirror Se Ju’s attempt at a farewell. She’s going to have one last date with him then ghost him. I mean, I’m expecting a separation, that’s inevitable in a kdrama. I just think that she’s stronger than her guilt, which is really not even hers but an extension of her past.

   

Chicago Typewriter: 9

Who else cried in this episode? Well, I’m sad for Jin Oh who knew that there’s nothing he can do in this lifetime to win Jeon Seol’s heart. That, and that a lot has changed since his death, that what he once knew then doesn’t exist now. But he’s wrong. There’s something that exist now: his dream of freeing Joseon to what Korea is now. Sadly, he can’t really experience it as a live human being, but being able to see the change should be consolation enough, if that was his unfinished business. It got to me when he put his arms around Jeon Seol, I was yelling see him, feel him, something!!!! What made it worse? When he didn’t even show up in the photo, not even as an orb, mist, or a glow.

There’s very little time to dislike any characters in this episode since Tae Min’s mom got burned when her plan to bring Se Ju burst into a humiliating flame. Tae Min’s dad failed to get Tae Min to his copycat crime. Tae Min looked ever determined to stay afloat. At this point, this family will go down together, either Tae Min loses what’s left of his sanity first, then mom loses it, or dad just throws everything out in the open. Either way, I cannot wait. I still have to see thought if any of these family members is part of Se Ju’s life in the past.

Se Ju had a transformation in this episode. He’s more accepting of Jeon Seol and Jin Oh. Dare I say he softened up a bit. It was touching that he finally offered Jin Oh a meal, and found a friend even though he’s in denial about it. He’s not resisting to Jin Oh’s presence and persistence like when they first met. I think as he’s re-writing his novel from 80 years ago, he’s realizing that he’s living this lifetime similar to Hwi Young and wants to change that. Although he hasn’t said it out loud. His intentions are clear though especially when it comes to Jeon Seol.

We finally meet Jeon Seol’s mom even though it’s only through Jeon Seol’s recollections. And, wow! Who knew that she’s connected to her past life. This was a new revelation through Jin Oh’s recollection as well. I sm always iffy about new characters entering shows past its halfway mark, but I welcome this one because, there’s still so much more to know about what happened in the 1930s. There’s still a lot more webs to untangle, and cords to connect to this present timeline. I wonder if Jeon Seol hasn’t recollected much of her memories that she failed to recognize her mother in her past visions. I wonder if her mom knows of her past life too. Gosh, this just opened up more doors to the past that we needed to connect the trio together.

We’re getting more information from the events of the past. That’s been something I wanted to do with the little snippets they provide us each episode. Se Ju was the leader of the resistance. Everyone else probably figured that out, but I didn’t. I thought that it was Shin Yul. I guess it makes sense that it’s Se Ju because he’s clever enough to pass coded messages through his “third rate” novels. Which brings me to the question, why did Soo Hyun delay him when Hwi Young fell off his bike? I had a bad feeling about it.

OMG if that was not the most passionate kiss I’ve watched in 2017. That was intense even if for a minute. Yes, Hwi Young delivered for his country if not the world.