Bad Guy – Episode 1-2: First Impressions

Happy family? I think not.

I have to say, I was pretty darn excited for this drama.

It had mystery, action, Kim Jae Wook, Kim Nam Gil, and a whole lotta bad-ass. Who couldn’t be excited for this? (Unless you just don’t like these kinds of melodramas.) And I’ve been watching a lot of light-hearted romantic comedies that I’d like to find a good drama that feeds to my dark side.

Bad Guy isn’t bad, but it’s pacing is off. Or something about it is off. It should be weird though, since we don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle just yet. But it’s coming out in such a way that I am losing interest even though I want to know what happens.

I think I’ll analyze by characters, since the plot definitely has holes that need to be filled.

Kim Nam Gil‘s Shin Gun Wook is a tortured soul. A manipulative loner. A sexy bad ass stunt man. Everything he does is as calculated and careful as the stunts he performs. He was the original “Hong Tae Sung” until a DNA test proved that he wasn’t. He was then kicked out of the rich Hong household. However, his adoptive parents were killed in a car crash while on their way to pick him up, and his puppy ran across the street and was run over by another car. All three tragedies in one night. And he didn’t even want to go to the Hong household.

What drives me nuts is the line that Mr. Hong said when he threw Gun Wook out: “How dare you lie to me! Who said you were Hong Tae Sung?”

Uhm – hello? Look at the mirror why don’t you. Or look at your wife. Or your “competent” assistant who conducted the search for you. The kid never said he was Hong Tae Sung – you all did. All he said was that his name was Tae Sung (which seems to be Gun Wook’s original name until I guess he got adopted again after the triple-tragedy). It’s not fair to blame everything on the kid – especially since he was brought to your household out of coercion, and you bribed him to behave.

So it’s no surprise that Gun Wook wants his revenge. While it may be argued that his motives are ridiculously weak – because the Hong family didn’t directly cause his parents’ or his puppy’s deaths – I think it falls in line with most k-drama fare. What I think is going to happen is that Gun Wook found out that he really was Hong Tae Sung. The DNA test was fabricated and he was thrown out (reason: unknown). Because he is the rightful heir and the family refuses to acknowledge him, that’s his motive for wanting revenge against the family. It’s weird because this “Tae Sung” is supposedly the mother’s illegitimate son from an affair. Granted she may not know how he looks like if she gave him away right away (and she looks wicked enough that she wouldn’t have cared much about him) and that is why they have a DNA test. However, it’s weird that they seem to place such emphasis on finding this younger son, that Mr. Hong is going out of his way to find this “Tae Sung” and seems to want him more than his wife does.

There’s also an older brother in this family, but he’s been MIA for the past two episodes. So hrm…

Now onto Kim Jae Wook – he’s the spoiled, bratty, rebellious Hong Tae Sung. He doesn’t like his family, and they merely tolerate him. They know he’s going to have to be the heir to the company (again – what is the deal with the older brother then?). Kim is brilliant in his role here because he’s really shedding his pretty-boy image. He’s not the quite Sun Ki from Coffee Prince, nor is he the effeminate pastry chef of Antique. He does well as a snotty chaebol – which I realized actually takes skill, and isn’t as easy as being bossy (see: Yoon Eun Hye in My Fair Lady). But his best scene ever is when he cries at the chalk outline of his dead girlfriend. His face contorts into an expression of such agony, and he just lets a tear fall as he winces with pain. He even leans against the security guard, who looks like he doesn’t understand why a random tenant is crying in the middle of the street.

So props to him.

There’s also this thing where he tells Madame Hong about his real, biological mother. He may be saying it to irk Madame Hong and the family, but it also makes me wonder: does he know the truth? Does he know that he’s really not Tae Sung and yet was forced into this situation? And who else knows? The mother may know that she has a fake Tae Sung in her hands (and why would she want that?), but what about the father?

Here’s a big question: Why all the hullabaloo in finding Hong Tae Sung?! What is at stake for the father if he doesn’t find the real one? What is at stake for the mother if the real one is found? And is everyone who they say they are?!

Oh Yeon Su should be the leading lady. Eyeliner is used to great effect on her, because it makes her look like a ferocious *itch. She is a bit snobbish because she is the oldest daughter of the rich family, but she has enough elegance and grace to know when she has to be respectful to guests. Her character, Tae Ra, immediately dislikes Gun Wook. There are plenty of speculations as to how she may know Gun Wook, and she supposedly falls in love with him. I’d love it if Gun Wook manipulated her to fall in love with him. I think she definitely feels a spark with him (their eyes have so much chemistry!) but I wonder if she also feels like she knows him from before – because, you know, he did live with you for a bit and was your younger brother.

In her acting debut as Hong Mo Ne (the youngest daughter), Jung So Min is doing quite a fair job. She looks unsettlingly like Yoon Eun Hye at times, and her face looks bored all the time. However, she does a very good job in playing the jaded daughter who hates all her privileges, and yet keeps acting privileged.

Han Ga In… this is the first drama I’m watching with her in it. She’s pretty…and she’s pretty. Her character is quite not as fleshed out as the others. She appears quite two-dimensional, because we know that she is smart but poor and has enough pride that she can’t stand the indignities that chaebol families would put upon her. And yet she wants to seduce Hong Tae Sung/Gun Wook (she’s operating on a mistaken identity here), who is a chaebol son. Unless she’s interacting with someone, her scenes are pretty pointless and draggy. Her attempts at meeting Tae Sung are slowly developed, while everything else goes by at the speed of a bullet. Her storyline is the one that is making the pacing go weird.

I don’t care whether she figures out how Tae Sung’s dead ex-girlfriend is connected to Gun Wook, and I don’t care if she figures out any meaning to the paper cranes Gun Wook likes leaving behind. I just don’t care. That’s why I feel like fast forwarding through her scenes.

If there is anything that this writer should do more of, it’s to put in more scenes of Gun Wook interacting with:

1) Tae Ra

2) Mo Ne

3) Tae Sung

Gun Wook – Tae Ra sizzles with chemistry. Gun Wook – Mo Ne is full of mystery (because we know he’s playing her and it’s just how is that going to develop). And Gun Wook – Tae Sung is just full of animosity. (Hey – I managed to rhyme!)

Maybe I’ll continue watching this – but it’s probably one where I’m going to watch it out of feeling like I should finish it, rather than because I want to watch it every time Wednesday-Thursday rolls around. What I definitely like about it is the filming style – the camera never really stops moving when it’s focused on these relationships, and it makes the whole experience more dynamic and more “full of electricity” than anything.

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