The first episode of director Hwang In-hyeok's and writer Jeong Hyeon-min's Assembly is labored and slow, but is, nonetheless, still interesting. It suffers some for the heavy political setup, but that ponderous plot material is offset by the experienced and grounded cast.
We open with crooked politicians and businessmen battling powerless laborers whose plight is a vehicle for power more than it is a vehicle for change . That dichotomy is what inspires the focal intrigue: the little people want a voice and they're going to get it even if an awkward, stubborn welder like Jin Sang-pil (Jung Jae-young) has to be its source. "Assembly" meanders through its introductions and attempts to cover as much ground as it can. There are always many players in political dramas who are introduced with little blurbs about their name, job, and status. While useful, there are so many introductions that they blaze by. Repeated appearances of characters are the viewers' saving grace.
The premise is focused on two fictional parties: one that is pro-Blue House policy, and one that is opposed. The Blue House is the equivalent of the United States' White House: the seat of the executive branch and the career home of the president of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. There is a rush to appoint nominees for the National Assembly as was outlined in the preview material of the drama. It's mosty just a rush that I'm guessing will be sorted out as the drama trucks along.
There are some excellent human moments and will keep this drama from getting too lofty. Ok Taecyeon plays the estranged son of a laid off welder who has a goal to see his father treated well and his behavior reflects the difficulties he's had as the son of a badly blue collar worker. Political adviser Choi In-kyeong (Song Yoon-ah) struggles to maintain her independence and prove her political mettle in a man's world. The workers have to overcome the stigma that blue collar work is lesser than any other.
I'm trusting time to work out the kinks and give "Assembly" some clarity.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Assembly" Episode 1"
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