I walk into Remember—War of the Son because I wanted to be wowed by Yoo Seung Ho. It is his comeback drama after the military service, so naturally, it is highly anticipated by viewers. The show was promising in context; the casts are solid as well. By rating, it also ranked number one for weeks, beating out its opponents of the same time slot on Wednesday and Thursday.
But is it really good? Can the rating be trusted?
Yoo Seung Ho, Park Min Young, Park Sung Woong, Namgoong Min, and everyone else did their best with what they are given, but in all honesty, this show is a huge failure. The show has all these talented actors and actresses, but none of them were given characters with depth. Yoo Seung Ho did have one memorable scene, which earn him praises from the media: the court fainting scene. It is true, he did good in it, but that was it. To be fair, his crying scenes looked good; he was really sad when his father died, but something isn’t right from the start—my emotions couldn’t feel his character’s emotions. Park Sung Woong was so badass in the beginning, and then he was just super duper dull after. Park Min Young had it worst, since she is supposed to be the female lead of the show, but in truth, her character presence is weak. She does not and is not given an opportunity to shine, unlike her role in Healer, which is very disappointing.
The romance between Jin Woo and In Ha?—it did not really happen like how it was expected in the beginning. The show spent too much time going in circles and wasting time. It is fine not developing the romance with one week left, but then it also sucks that the scriptwriter starts toying with the budding relationship. Like really, now he wants to tie them together when Jin Woo’s health is deteriorating? I could do without this conflict, not that I care much about at this point.
From day 1, the pace of the story-telling was slow. A lot of flashback between Seo Jin Woo (Yoo Seung Ho) and his dad, which isn’t necessary. We get it, show. He loves his dad. Who doesn’t (in a normal family)? The show wasn’t fantastic already; however, it was still watchable and entertaining initially. The story then went downhill pretty quick, especially after Seo Jin Woo won his court case against Lee In Ha (Park Min Young).
In earlier episodes, there were interesting parts, such as the tensions during the court hearings; and then there’s that attention catching villainous, crazy character Nam Gyu Man played magnificiently by Namgoong Min. Well, he was interesting or refreshing at first, but soon, he becomes boring and predictable. The whys will be elaborated below.
The most frustrating issue with this show is watching Seo Jin Woo repeatedly blew away his chance of indicting Nam Gyu Man. I take issue when the villains always win throughout the show. Most importantly, why is the show making the good guys look so dumb? Why would anyone in their right mind would wave the evidences in their enemy’s face, and inform them, “Hey, I have dirt on you. Let me give you a preview. Wait for me to do something about it.” Just why? If this happens once, then okay, it can be forgiven, but no, it happens at least 3 times! It keeps going in vicious cycle. Ugh.
So here’s a question: Is scriptwriter, Yoon Hyun Ho, by any chance doing drugs, and thus cannot tell the good from the bad? How on earth a character like Seo Jin Woo with so much room for character development, especially after going through such horrible experience, would turn out to become a stupid and arrogant young man 4 years later? It almost felt like he never grew up. When Jin Woo does get his revenge with the bad guys, those minions, it all happens too quick and too easy e.g. that Detective guy. It is a moment of WTF sometimes, because it is just not convincing.
This scriptwriter’s offense is grand—not only he failed in story-telling, but he completely messed up the characters. The main characters are boring; the supporting characters who used to have spunky or crazy personalities became dull in the latter episodes. The mystery behind Lawyer Park Dong Ho‘s (Park Sung Woong) father’s death and the accident planted earlier on isn’t very interesting or mysterious at all, since it is predictable who the real culprit is. It is just a matter of time to see how it gets unravel, and whether or not it will be shocking or boring, and no surprise—it was super boring. It is puzzling how Park Dong Ho is still alive when the bad guy already knows he is so-called secretly gathering evidences. The bad guy plans to have his men kill a witness, but he did not think taking Park Dong Ho’s life, to silence him forever? Seriously, the execution of this story is so laughable.
And then there is the character setup for Nam Gyu Man; god, he is annoying. He was interesting at first—because Namgoong Min puts in a marvelous performance, but then slowly it becomes frustrating, because he gets away with EVERYTHING. It is obvious he has anger issues, but his family does nothing to help him overcome it, or put a stop to it. He is a tyrant; a drug user; a rapist, and a murderer for crying out loud. It makes one wonder, “How is it possible that everyone willingly takes so much shit from him?” Yes he is filty rich and powerful, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to bow down to him. He is neither a Royal nor God. He (or his father) may be powerful and have connections, but really, their powers are overly exaggerated in this show that it is deemed unbelievable. Granted one can argue this is fictional, but the problem lies in: the story isn’t told in a convincing way.
As the show comes to an end, the good guys suddenly have all the upper hand, grew brains, whilst the baddies became senile, and fail to stop everything that they knew what the good guys plan to do all along. Prosecutor Tak’s betrayal was so predictable too, and I knew it all along that he was sent as a spy.
So the answer to the questions raised above is a big no. The high rating does not reflect the quality of the show. SBS got lucky again this time round, possibly because they score themselves Yoo Seung Ho, who is well-loved by ahjummas that control the remote controls in the household. But this is it. There is nothing special about this drama; it’s so dab dab hae that I am just glad it is over. And that, I feel excruciatingly sad for the actors. Le sigh.
In order not to end this review with so much negativity, let’s just concentrate on the smiles on these actors’ BTS photos.