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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Black" Episode 1

2017/10/15 | 1772 views | Permalink

Dramaland is no stranger to romances starting through the ice breaker of "I see dead people", but "Black" may surprise folks who have been hoping or worrying that this would be another "Goblin". I am not sure what its story will be or if it will include romance at all, but so far it involves death, bonding and a lot of vomit. Welcome to the dark, gritty yet surprisingly humorous world of "Black".

While I am generally a fan of meaty introductions, the premiere of "Black" is here to remind me why a slow start can sometimes be a good thing. A strong opening with a lot of information is great, but too much information is unfortunately very bad if not delivered well. Episode one bombards audiences with too many mysteries lacking proper context, character and relationship development as well as plot build up.

Soo-wan and Moo-gangHa-ram trying to use her powers for good

Take for example the perceived betrayal of our hero, Han Moo-gang (Song Seung-heon) by his girlfriend, Yoon Soo-wan (Lee El). This is a scene which should have happened later on, when it would have had impact. As it stands, the viewer is left clueless and with no reason to care. A woman we barely know gets worked up over her exposed identity as some girl we barely know who went through some things we know nothing about and hid it from the man we barely know.

The episode just piles on mysteries and forces its characters and us through processes which should have received better build up. To the drama's credit, they do explain a few of these sped-up developments. I never thought I would be glad to see the childhood sweethearts trope, but it is a necessary evil for explaining Moo-gang's openness to the idea of someone who can see the shadows of death. The good buddy chemistry between the characters helps this along.

Moo-gang being friendly to Ha-ramBlack rising

As much as I struggle to feel investment in the story and side characters, I do appreciate the drama's leading duo. Moo-gang is a complete mess hiding what is probably an even bigger mess and Kang Ha-ram's (Go Ara) powers have made her a person full of tangled emotions and thoughts. She is struggling and she feels out of control with no one helping her make sense of herself.

By the end of the episode, I care enough about these two and the help they can give each other and third parties that I want to watch more. The drama's rather blunt and often dark sense of humor is an unexpected and great addition to what I thought would be a show taking itself too seriously. "Black" is weird, but I will take weird over predictable any day.

"Black" is directed by Kim Hong-seon-I, written by Choi Ran-I and features Song Seung-heon, Go Ara, Lee El and Kim Dong-jun.

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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