Haechi (2019)

Haechi-mp01
Profile
Drama: Haechi (해치)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 48
Release Date: February 11 – April 30, 2019
Runtime: Monday & Tuesday 22:00 (35 minutes each / 2 episodes per day)

Plot
This drama tells the journey of Lee Geum/Prince Yeoning from crown prince to king of Joseon.

Main Cast
Jung Il Woo – Prince Yeoning / Lee Geum
Go Ara – Yeo Ji
Kwon Yul – Park Mun Su
Park Hoon – Dalmoon

Review

Yes! Finally I got to watch a great historical drama! I have watched a few and I could never distinguish which dynasty and king the show is all about. This drama is all about King Yeongjo who reigned for 52 years as the 21st king of the Korean Joseon dynasty. He is supposed to be a great and compassionate king, and made various attempts to improve Joseon. This is a long drama with 24 episodes and the drama was written based on historical facts and events. I kept pausing the show because I got so interested in his life that I kept googling King Yeongjo and trying to identify which characters and events were real (Prince Milpung, Park Munsu, Lee Jin Hwa) vs fiction (Yeoji, Dalmoon).

Jung Il Woo did an terrific job portraying the titular role — from the prince with low self-esteem and not a lot of dreams, to the confident crown prince and eventually the decisive and caring king. Must have been tough to play such a great person – if the drama really showed King Yeongjo the way history has written him, I must say that King Yeongjo is truly impressive! a bit idealistic and almost unbelievable, but then the show only focused on his early days in the throne so he probably made bad decisions in his later years (I’m reading all sorts of stuff about his son’s murder).

Of course, Prince Yeoning would not have made it far had it not been for his great support system – from Park Munsu, Yeoji, Dalmoon to even Yun Hyeok, Jong dal, Abong, Cho Hong and his right hand man. I loved that he had a natural charm and leadership skill – no wonder people can’t help but follow him once he made the decision to take the crown. He is strategic and empathetic — he comes up with radical solutions and always finds the way to convince people to join him because he knows what makes them tick.

Kwon Yul as Park Munsu was also great. I’m used to see him playing bad scary guys that it was so nice to see him play a happy and upstanding man. At first I thought he was acting a bit excessive and overzealous but later on I realized that was what his character was supposed to be. a bumbling and honest guy who later matured to be an amazing and relentless Saheonbu. Even though he was the new joiner in the team, people later followed him and became the team leader. I also want to give a shout out to Han Jeong Suk – he was also an amazing guy – I wish he was alive to see all the changes that we dreamed of but his death was what triggered Yeoning and Munsu to fight back. Yun Hyeok, also was strong in his convictions – I kind of missed him when he was gone after he became the minister of personnel and even after he came back to Saheonbu, they didn’t give him enough material aside from joking with the lazy inspector.

Yeoji, on the other hand was disappointing. I think it’s largely due to Go Ara’s unfortunate injury that the team probably was forced to rewrite her role. She started off really badass as a female inspector. She was a fearless and brave fighter and I loved the funny interactions between her and Lee Geum. But after her injury, she disappeared for the next 6 episodes — crucial episodes for me and to be honest, I didn’t even remember that she was gone. When she eventually came back, her character and acting felt lifeless. Where was that brave girl who willingly goes on disguise to catch info and the bad guys? I understand she became a court maid to protect the King in her own way (which she did lots of times) but I was disappointed that her protecting was more on taking care of Yeoning when he is sad or worried. Is that what women are supposed to do? just be behind the back of men comforting them and not being able to shine on her own? (Don’t get me wrong, Yeoji did what she had to do and I know that famous saying that “behind every successful man is a woman” so maybe that’s what’s more important to her and being successful. I honestly didn’t mind their romance but I thought it was unnecessary – they could have been great friends (like Cho Hong) and I wouldn’t have cared.

Another great character is Dalmoon – the more I watch Park Hoon the more I get excited whenever I see him in a drama. he may have been bad in Memories of Alhambra but how I love his character. The only thing I didn’t like about him was his tragic love for Yunyeong. I thought he could do way better than her but it gives Dalmoon an emotional story and I felt bad (and happy) for him when he had to bury Yun Yeong. At least now he is free from their past.

Before I go to the bad guys, I want to first talk about the palace officials – Associate Initiate Cho, Lee Kwang Ja, Minister Min and Minister Jo. I really hated them at the start. I felt that they were so stuck up and traditional corrupt officials. They don’t even know Prince Yeoning and yet they just kept putting him down and telling him he is unqualified to be king. On what basis? Just because they are chief ministers and Yeoning was born from a lowborn mother? They haven’t even given him a chance. But knowing Prince Yeoning, he was able to gain the respect and support of these four senior officials just by being him. Lee Kwang Ja and Cho became the first two officials who sided with him and was with him till the end. Like wise, I almost cried for Yeoning when Min and Jo finally supported him — Jo’s smile and Min’s deep bow was so moving. I realized that they are not really that bad – they just did what they had to do because they thought they were protecting the country and in the end, they moved to Yeoning’s side.

Okay, Prince Milpung. where do I start? Argh!! I think he was a great villain at the start of the show all the way to around episode 16-17. I seriously could not understand him, he is a bit mad, killing everyone who got in his way. Was so angry at Yeoning for being lowborn. Assuming that the throne was robbed from him and he should be the king without even thinking if he actually is qualified to be one. Then around episode 15 or 16 they showed a little flashback of him getting abused by his own father. He was a bit stupid, how can he even be king. then he got captured, sent to exile and death. That should have been the end of his story. But nope. he escaped with Lee In Jwa’s help and got he more deranged. I couldn’t find any sympathy for him. The writer did a great job of giving him a great ending for drama’s sake, though how he was able to see a couple more sentences before he died was funny and I really just want him dead. I loved the final conversation between King and Milpung when King said, had you made these great decisions earlier on, maybe you could have been the king. So true.  Yeon Yeong is just like Milpung, she just won’t die!! Dalmoon even helped her escape!! and when she had the chance, she went and saved Milpung!! Argh! I seriously wanted to go hunt them both and kill them just to end my misery of seeing them on screen.

Wi Byung Ju was another character that was sickening. Instead of being the better person, he kept making excuses to justify why he went evil – okay I did feel bad for him because even though he was the top of his class and did everything well, he was never rewarded because he was a Namin. But like Munsu said, he didn’t have to turn bad, he could have persevered and sided with Yeongjo, then maybe he would still be alive and getting his well deserved promotion. Until the end, he was in denial and a coward.

Overall, I really loved this drama. I have been looking for a historical drama to binge watch and i’m glad I picked this up.

Rating: 8.5/10
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Black eps. 6-7

These two episodes were a bit boring. Episode 6 mainly featured Mansoo’s Halloween party as the backdrop for the episode. Lots of little things happened during the party, such as:

Cute costumes that they wore. Haram wore Fiona, who unknowingly, matched with Mansoo’s Shrek costume. In the first place, why would Mansoo asked to wear an ugly costume while he is the host of his own party is beyond me. He should fire his stylist. Though thr glow in thr dark makeup was cool (but not worth 2million).

On the other hand, Haram made Black look like Joe Black complete with suit with the peanut butter on hand. Harams jaw dropped when Black came to the party looking so handsome, but why would she be surprised. He looks so damn hot in his black suit every day!

We see Mansoo getting a little jealous of Black and Haram, furthet cementing his budding crush/attraction to the oblivious Haram. Haram, on the othrt hand, saw how Soo wan kissed Black at the balcony also felt jealous

Speaking of Soo wan, she resigned from the hospital and was on her way to thr airport when Assassin guy took Blacks phone and lured her to the party. She was able to stab assassin with a small knife and the assassin ran away.

Black teleported on top of the assassins car inside the tunnel and we see them fighting until assassin stabbed Black and threw him off the bridge.

Black survived and he teleported back to his home. However to his surprise, he can no longer get out of Moogang’s body. So looks like he is stuck inside Moogang for the time being.

I’m a little confused by this new rule. Before they said if moo gang double dies then he also dies inside his body. But looks like thats not the case, as he is merely stuck in that body forever. Or is it a way for him to be with Haram at the end since he will be the real Moogang?

Assassin kidnaps Soowan after “killing” Black.

Episode 7 featured mostly the story of Moo gang’s childhood best friend, Seungchul, who died in the collapse of the Time Mart 20 years ago, and his parents. I didnt like this storyline much. Turns out the Time Mart owner, Woo Byung sik, who everyone thought died in a car accident 20 years ago, merely faked his own death and escaprd to thr Philippines. He has a mistress and son living there.

Seungchul’s mom became a maid in the Philippines and when Byung sik found out, he had her pushed off a cliff and was hopsitalized in Seoul.

Seungchuls father tried to take his revenge by kidnapping Byungsiks son and blowing him up in front of a live audience but Byungsik is one step ahead as he had assassin guy switch dad’s wife and Byungsik’s son and the dad unknowingly killed his own wife.

Dad eventually died after and Byung sik tried to escape via a small boat (maybe going to china). But assassin guy, who Byung sik hired to help him, betrayed him and killed him. So much for escaping 20 years ago when he gets killed anyway .

The main takeaway from this story is that there are other people who has the butterfly watch. I am guessing its a secret society of something and now someone is trying to silence the members who are proving to be a liability.

Last piece of vital information is introduction of Leo. We saw him before in the first episode with Mansoo. This episode we find out that met with old Moogang and he is confused why Black doesnt remember him. He received a threatening letter, which Black thinks was sent by Loser (the guy he is chasing after). I dont like Leo, mostly because he is such a jerk and he sulks alot. Maybe we just need to see him in thr next episodes to unravel his story.

Black ep 5

Todays episode tackled two cases.

The first one is about a boy that Haram rescued in the previous episode. She foresaw his death by being buried alive by a person with bandaged hands. She goes to the boy’s house to spy on him and realized that the teacher is the would-be killer!

We later find out that he has a history of child porn, kidnapped the boy’s friend and the boy tried to rescue his friend.

Good thing Haram was able to stop the teacher, with the help of Black, who unintentionally showed his power.

At the start of the episode, it was mentioned that black cannot help save lives or he could be meddling in human’s affairs. In the end, while he helped catch the teacher, we still see thatthe boy will still die (thr shadows are still following the kid and looks like it’s the boy’s father who will kill him).

The other case that took the other half of this episode was the case of the frozen girl and the old captain. Turns out what happened to soo wan, the frozen friend, Moo gangs past, Royeol chairman and Haram’s dad”s friend are all connected, as i have predicted earlier. This time we see a flashback when the Royeol chairman was caught with a minor girl much to the dismay of the police chief, who was thr chairmans friend.

I’m guessing he did not do anything to stop him then as his job was in jeopardy and maybe fearing he might suddenly squeal now, he was killed (by the same killer in thr previous episodes)

I like how this episode slowed down to actually focus on a few cases and close some of the storylines. With 2 cases down and more connections coming up, maybe we can move forward to the real meat of the show, which i feel is the Moo Gang case and what happened in the past.

I am getting annoyed with the killer..he seems to be everywhere and anywhere and no one has really identified him, but it also shows that the main antagonist is mostly just one person. I’m assuming its the Royeol insurance brother that is ordering all the murders. The question is why. Is it just to clean his father’s mess? Or is he somehow personally involved in all these cases?

The whole grim reaper thing and their sets of rules are still confusing, and doesnt really make sense right now, given as we still dont see any threat to Black’s existence in the human world. The romance between Haram and Black which is the second meaty part of show is also slowly bearing fruit, though i can see that Black is slowly more receptive to Haram. I hope the the grim reaper rules dont go overboard like how W’s rules (that Lee Jong suk drama that started so well) completely got messed up in the end.

Black eps. 2-4

A lot of answers to our initial questions were revealed in the next 3 episodes.

We found out a little bit more about the grim reaper life – a person who commits suicide becomes a grim reaper, whose job is to collect the souls of the dead.. And they are actually the shadows that Haram sees. We are also introduced to 2 of 444’s buddies.. 007 who is an old guy and the rapper who looks alot like tablo (i didnt catch his number).

We also found out why 444 had to possess Moo gang’s body – to look for the loser who went in hiding. The loser is coincidentally that guy who committed suicide at the bridge.

The next few episodes also took us through how 444 is trying to adjust in Moo gang’s body (quite hilariously) and to the confusion of the people around him. He is bolder, braver, smarter, colder, but i am loving this new Moo gang vs the old one.

With 444 possessing Moo gang, he is now also being hunted by the death squad, which so far has not shown up and remains unthreatening.

Haram is still abit of clueless and doing nothing much except sulk, think of her first love Joon, getting to the new Moo gang, arguing with her estranged mom and work on trying to find out more about her father’s death after she meets cutie guy who seems to be very helpful is finding the spider tattooed guy. I would love to see her be more active and using her unusual gift to help solve crimes.

On the other hand, we get a bit of a background on cute guy.. Turns out hes the bastard son of the former owner of Royeol Insurance. Who is now run by his coldhearted half brother. Seems like the dad had some shady dealings as allided by the brothet who is trying to clean up the mess that his dad made.. Im guessing this has to do with the old Chunso insurance, which may also be connected to Haram’s father’s death. For now im happy just seeing Harama and cute guy together. I think they are more suited together.. They look like theyre of the same age and have the same lost lonely puppy look. Im also looking forward for cute guy to dig up something on his brothet, redeem himself and save Royeol insurance. Im just worried he will fall in love with Haram.

Im still confused with the story of Moo gang and Soo wan. Soo wan is hiding something. Maybe related to a gang. We finally see whats on the tape that she was hiding. Too bad moo gang didnt wait long enough to watch it as it sure is going to be interesting and vital to his survival.

In the mean time, aside from the murder in episode 1, we get to see 2 more murders, one is of director of hope mental hospital where the murderer is missing. The othet is theat lady who Haram predicted in thr first episode will freeze to death, and who happens to be Soo wan’s friend) and may be connected to what Moo gang is trying to investigate. Im not sure if the 2 murders are connected. Or if theyre also connected to Harams fathers death. Coz we are now looking for a guy with a hook scar, misisng middle finger and spider tattooed hand.

So far black hasn’t really cared much about Moo gang’s body and his relationship with other people. But when he ound out that someone is trying to kill Moo gang, he will have to continue Moo gang’s investigation before he gets killed. As a rule of the grim reaper, if Moo gang dies while Black is inside Moo gangs body, he will also die since then Moo gang will have died twice.

So far im loving the show but theres too many stories unfolding at thr same time that os is getting hard to follow.. Esp that almost everyone is connected with one another. With every scene and new character we get more queations than answers. But of course after 4 episodes the show is still trying build up thr suspense and the slow revelations. I wouldnt be surprised of thr entire thing is connected to one bigger case.

I am surprised that song seung huns acting in this show. Very different from his usual acting and shows different range of emotions. I cant say the same for Ara though. I think she should be given more material so she can step up and do better.

I would love to see more case working skills from the detectives so they can prove themselves.

The inevitable storyline is the romance between Black and Haram.. Im not yet sure how i feel about it but lets see how it goes.