Ugh, what a week to watch dramas. This was the week of finale’s as not one, not two, not three, but four shows bid us farethewell this week. I would love to say that their finales left me fulfilled on a new level…but no. On a bright note, Thanksgiving is coming up in the US, so I will stuff my disappointment with turkey!
Below is our weekly review of the dramas that we are watching which is inspired from The Kthree’s Weekly watchlist and is a way to stay up to date on the dramas we’re liking, loving, and leaving. We watch lots of stories over here, mostly Korean dramas, but we also dip into western shows, so we will cover both. Let’s get into it!
Caution: Spoilers are rampant, tread cautiously!
Vagabond (Finale wtf?)
Okay, let’s go on and just start off with Vagabond because it is the show of the moment. Honestly, everything was fine until we got to that ending that was not even an ending. It was like they stopped a sentence in the middle of it. The ending was literally just Dalgun not shooting Haeri and then Haeri driving off without knowing that it was Dalgun who was about to shoot her.
But the worst of all is that they insinuated that Hae-ri became a high class prostitute and worked for Jessica, the woman she hated, and Dalgun became a killer for hire and worked for Black Sun which is controlled by Edward, the man he hated.
So they both basically became the persons they hated, Edward got away with it all, and we got no closure on anything related to this “1st season”. Shoot, they made it seem as if Han-ki (the Civil affairs Minister) and Director Min got away with everything they did as well.
Everyone is blaming Netflix, but I honestly think they should turn some (all?) of that blame to the writer and producer of Vagabond. Netflix is notorious for not stepping in and changing the script or anything. They literally just let the creator do whatever they want to do. It is absolute freedom. Writers and directors love them, but it also means that if your show messes up, that is on you.
In fact, I don’t even think Netflix bought Vagabond until it was completely done already. That is how it was with Arthdal Chronicles and Memories of Alhambra as well. They just bought streaming rights. So, it is literally Arthdal Chronicles and Memories of Alhambra and Vagabond’s writers and directors faults for having shows that have wtf ending tacked on.
Netflix Originals that they dropped on Netflix to binge all at once are Kingdom, Love Alarm, and My First First Love. No one complains about those shows and they have legit second seasons.
So anyway, my final thought is that Vagabond was a fun yet serious show that turned into a farcical hilarious ride that sprung into nonsense and ended in, huh? If there is a season 2 than I will be there! Though I don’t really think there will be one considering how expensive season 1 was.
Watch on: Netflix
When the Camellia Blooms (Finale)
This drama had moments of magic but it was a pile of depressing slog to get to them. I was in such a miserable funk after episode 19 (37-38) that I really just didn’t want to continue Korean dramas let alone finish this show. It was a serious funk that literally took hours to get out of (with the help of a movie called Dolemite that is amazing!)
The ending was nice and whatever but I really couldn’t enjoy it because I was basically conditioned by that point to expect the worst and basically got the worst the entire show. I mean, how heavy handed can you get?
Just for one example. Dong-baek was not only abandoned, she was only supposed to be abandoned for one year, but when her mother came back to get her the foster home had already adopted her to a rich family, but when her mother went to the rich family years later, she found out that that family abandoned her as well (but that is the summary, they managed to tack on a lot more turmoil and misery to that mini storyline).
So this drama is definitely not a recommend. Don’t be fooled by the fun opening and the 23% ratings. But the ratings make me think that more dramas are headed in this way. However, if this is the way of Korean dramas, then I will probably be watching less and less Korean dramas.
If you want to watch a show that gets the the mix of brevity and misery right, then watch Fleabag, IT IS SO GOOD.
Watch on: Netflix
Extraordinary You (Finale)
Yet another show that turned to misery in the second half and just piled it on. I must say that this misery for misery sake in Korean dramas is a new trope that I really don’t like. It used to be that the misery came in the two episode where the couple separated and then came back together. But now it is basically 8 episodes of it.
Although the opening was so much fun, this show basically took a hard left to painsville when we stayed in the sageuk storyline and watched Dano die in basically two different worlds. On top of that, they stopped doing all the fun things that made this show great, which was trying to change their future and not settling on fate already being written.
I mentioned on twitter that I would have loved an ending where they showed the writer saying, “These characters keep wanting to do what they want to do” and leaving the book unfinished so that the characters can literally write their own story.
But instead they moved to another book and another storyline in college which makes me think that this circle will continue and is miserable for the characters that remember all their past lives and loves. My take home was that is was better to not have consciousness which I don’t think is what the writer wanted?
So, not a recommend due to the ending that just left me feeling sad for these characters that are stuck in this really sucky fate.
Watch on: On Demand Korea
Melting Me Softly (Final)
Things happened, they made no sense, it ended.
Watch on: Viki
The Tale of Nokdu (episodes 14-15 or 27-28)
The Tale of Nokdu is probably the only show that had midpoint misery tacked on where the storyline was so strong that I continued to love it. Though I think a big part of that is because this writer is not heavy handed. She does not milk the misery, she continues to move the storyline and plot forward in unique ways, which I love.
My only complaint is that episode 15 felt like a new writer stepped in. Though big things were happening with the coup, it felt boring somehow? Almost more like a stage play than a TV show? Though that is probably due to the live format catching up with the cast and crew.
I am still looking forward to the finale next week, hopefully it is a good one! Though with how things are trending…
Watch on: Viki
VIP (episodes 4 – 6)
I have no complaints about this show. In fact, we moved to live recapping VIP this week! It is our second live recap of the day on Monday’s and Tuesday’s, though we will move it to our #1 recap once The Tale of Nokdu wraps this coming week!
I love all the twists and turns of this drama and all the additional information trickled in that makes me rethink everything! The ending of episode 6 really had me second guessing how I thought this show would go. And I love that!
Watch on: On Demand Korea
The Mandalorian (episodes 2 and 3)
I am really starting to get into this show! The first two episodes were fun though nothing to write home about, but episode 3 saw the turn that took our anti-hero hunter into hunted land which is so much more interesting. Plus there are jet packs, neat looking aliens, cool gadgets, and the code of the Mandalorian that I really want to find out more about. I wish they released it all together so I could binge it. But I heard that they are actually being experimental with this drama and bringing in different directors (and writers?) to bring it to life. That is something I can definitely get behind. In fact, I might turn this show into a standalone recap and review!
Watch on: Disney Plus
Dolemite Is My Name (Film)
HILARIOUS. So ah-mazing! The movie that took me out of my When the Camellia Blooms misery and sent it into straight glorious uproarious laughter. Dolemite is My Name is Eddie Murphy’s return to movies and tells the true story of Dolemite movies that were huge in African-American communities right along with Foxy Brown and other Blaxploitation films. I remember watching them when I was a kid and laughing at all the satire that wasn’t really satire, it was just fun.
Dolemite is also considered one of the fathers of rap back when rap was fun and playful and delightful and got a laugh out of you. His signature rhyming style and hilarious tall tale jokes were taking right off the streets of Black America, polished, and turned into comic gold.
I really loved watching his rise from failed comic to successful comic to singer to movie star. But he had a ton of stuggles along the way that he had to overcome. But I’m not talking about miserable struggles. it is real struggles. for instance, when he tried to get his record played on the radio, no one would play it because it was too R rated to play. I mean, his jokes were super crude even for todays market. But they were f-u-n-n-y!
So he had to try and sell the records out of his trunk and at work in order to get it to the people. That led to a record label finding him because they heard this record that was being played by every Black hipster in LA.
Y’all, there is a lot more. This movie is so hilarious, so uplifting, so wonderfully Eddie Murphy, that I think anyone that watches it will love it. So, definitely check it out if you want a laugh and you want to be inspired to do what you want to do in life and make it successful. Plus, it is chock full of stars from Chris Rock to Keegan-Michael Key to Snoop Dog to Mike Epps to even Wesley Snipes.
One reviewer said that this movie is filthy and affectionate and I completely agree! So good and so worth the watch.
Watch on: Netflix
And those are the stories we watched this week! So much disappointment in my Korean viewing this week with really only The Tale of Nokdu and VIP keeping me invested. What is happening to Korean shows this year, y’all?
The US shows did not disappoint and gave me a positive recharge for the week. I love it when shows do that! So, since these US shows are hitting all the right spots, I am definitely going to start recapping and reviewing them in order to gain balance in my drama watching week.
If you know of any great western shows to check out, then let me know! I am all ears. Also, watch Dolemite, it is great!
- Weekly Review: The Tale of Nokdu, VIP, Extraordinary You, Tune in for Love, and more
- Weekly Review: VIP premiere, Parasite, Extraordinary You, and more
- Weekly Review: Catch The Ghost premiere, Extraordinary You loveliness, The Tale of Nokdu, and more
- Weekly Review: Strangers From Hell Finale, Extraordinary You, Vagabond, The Tale of Nokdu, and more
- Weekly Review: The Tale of Nokdu, Extraordinary You, Vagabond, and more
- Weekly Review: Melting Me Softly premiere, The Tale of Nokdu premiere, My Country, and more
- Weekly Review: Arthdal Chronicles, Flower Crew Agency, When the Camellia Blooms, and more