Melancholia (2021)

Profile:
Drama: Melancholia (멜랑꼴리아)
Network: tvN
Episodes: 16
Release Date: November 10 – December 30, 2021
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 22:30

Plot: A misunderstanding of the close relationship between a student and teacher led to a scandal that ruined the career of the teacher and the student dropping out of school. Four years later, both of them goes back to school to seek revenge and expose the corruption in school.

Main Cast:
Lim Soo Jung – Ji Yoon Su
Lee Do Hyun – Baek Seung Yoo
Jin Kyung – Noh Jung Ah
Jang Hyun Sung – Sung Min Jun
Shin Soo Yeon – Choi Si An
Choi Dae Hoon – Ryu Sung Jae
Woo Da Bi – Sung Yerin
Kim Ji Young – Kim Ji Na

Review:
I never liked math in school but this drama made math sound so beautiful and interesting. However, since I don’t understand all the theories and concepts (the formulas they were studying were too complicated!!!), the point of the mathematical metaphors about proving and errors went lost on me. Still, I loved the first 6 episodes when they were still in high school and we saw relationship, which at time, was purely student-teacher, blossomed. You can really feel how much they loved math. Seung Yoo had a traumatic childhood with scary father, and for the first time, there was an adult, his teacher who listened and encouraged him and made him want to love math again. On the other hand, Yoon Su is loved by her students. She is compassionate and makes learning fun and challenging. Of course, being young, it wasn’t a surprise that Seung Yoo fell for his impressive teacher. I thought going on a trip with a male student is wrong and Yoon Su put herself in scandalous situation, without thinking of the consequences or his fiance. When Yoon Su discovered a potential cheating during the midterm exams, the jealous female student together with her assemblyman father and the corrupt principal decided to expose Seung Yoo and Yoon Su’s relationship to bury the their own scandal.

Starting episode 7, the story moves to the present time (which is four years later). We learn that the school continues to be corrupt, with students still as spoiled and terrible as ever. Seung Yoo dropped out of school, studied hard and won a Lucifer prize, becoming a very famous mathematician, while Yoon Su hides behind a math clinic with very strict confidentiality clauses for its students. Turns out, both of them have been planning to seek their own revenge against the principal and expose the decades long corruption. Episodes 10 to 13 dragged with so many useless scenes, i wish they cut them and made the drama shorter.

Similar to 4 years ago, there is another brilliant student, Si-An, whom I loved. She may be an orphan but she grew up well, is smart, happy and is tough to stand against Jina and the bullies. I also liked Jina later on (she was a b*tch for most of the episodes) but she was actually nicer when she met Seung Yoo and Yoon Su. It was very had to like Yerin. Since high school until present, she always had this sour face and was too stubborn and to admit her mistake. Her scenes were also boring, she just kept “stalking” and making sad eyes to Seung Yoo and blaming other people for her life. Again, it was Seung Yoo and Yoon Su, who made her realize that she was being manipulated by the adults and it was time to stand up on her own.

This is the second time I saw Jin Kyung play the baddie and I love it. She is so elegant but that maniacal laugh is scary (but not Cheon Seo Jin level). I also found the feud between the sisters very interesting. They were both bad people – Jung Ah is supposedly worse that Yeon Woo, and yet I was rooting for Jung Ah to win over Yeon Woo.

I also loved Sung Jae. He made a mistake not being brave enough to defend Yoon Su during the scandal, but I’m glad he finally found the courage to be like Yoon Su and expose the corruption. I actually wished Sung Jae and Yoon Su got back in the end. I thought he was a nice guy.

The drama ends with another time jump (not sure how long) but Seung Yoo and Yoon Su meet again the same way they did years ago (through a math group chat). But this time, Yoon Su finally accepted Seung Yoo’s love and they kiss. I felt that the romance wasn’t needed in the story. They could have ended as best friends or teacher-mentor and it still would have been a great ending. But the romance wasn’t the main story.

Rating: 8/10

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