"Entertainers" came in at 6.6%, but the rating does not reflect the quality of this show, its premise, or the performances of the cast. If episode 1 was dead on in its pacing and emotional delivery, then episode 2 can only be described as blowing the first episode out of the water. The desperation of hitting rock bottom gives birth to hope, and that's what Seok-ho and Ha-neul feel about their potential partnership. They have a long way to go, but I'm so excited to see them get there.
Before we get to the plot or the characters, I have to say that a show about musicians deserves a stellar OST, and this one has it. The crooning balladeers are not overpowering as they sing the woes of our main characters. The fingerpicked guitar walks along with them as they suffer and contemplate their shattered lives. And shattered their lives are. Seok-ho and Ha-neul suffer the fallout of their situations. Seok-ho's ruthless pursuit of business is coming back to kick him in the butt, and this time he lets it. It is only after fifteen years in the business that he sees what his horrendous behavior has done to other people. As he said, it has come full circle and kicked him down just like he did to others. Ji-seong plays this stabbing realization so well. I'm seriously wondering who else could pull off the brazen bravado mixed with the bitter realization as well as he does.
Then we have Ha-neul, wrongly accused of sexual assault, but forever stained because of it. It seems like the girl who accused him did so in order to have some sort of entertainment career and that Joo-han, who betrayed Seok-ho, also had a hand in the sexual assault scandal. We will discover more as "Entertainers" progresses. The point of this is: Ha-neul has no where to go. He wants to care for his sister and give her everything; he wants to follow the only dream he has, music. HIs parents literally died chasing him away from music. It's a hard battle for him to fight. Kang Min-hyuk sure picked a difficult role, but he makes it seem easy. This talented, torn musician he plays requires so much depth, as does the music he sings. Musically, Kang has the chops and the ability to phrase in a way to twist not only his sister's heart, Seok-ho's heart, but ours as well.
In all of this emotional development, the most out-of-place aspects of the episode were the bits of regular drama fodder smashed into the flow: Seok-ho magically catching Green in his arms for a sizzling moment and a spark of jealousy in Min-joo. Or the product placement. Those things detracted from the journey. I hope this drama doesn't follow the norm. I did like the use of Ha-neul knowing Seok-ho from his childhoold, if only because Ha-neul used it to mess with Seok-ho's head. That was funny.
My favorite pairing thus far isn't the potential romantic one between Seok-ho and Green, but the brotherly relationship that is just aching to start between Seok-ho and Ha-neul, both walking similar paths, both beaten down, both at their wits' end. the same goes for the relationship between Ha-neul and Green. On the outside they fuss, but when one of them walks away, he or she always leaves the other with a token of caring: a snack for an empty belly, lotion for overworked hands. And in the end, despite her protestations, Green showed up to support her brother and that support gave him the courage to sing again. It's been a while since I've seen something this raw.
So please writer-nim, director-nim, don't pollute this goodness with drama tropes and predictability. Give me real growth. Real feelings. Rawness. Show me a Seok-ho who did wrong and has a really hard time making himself right. Show me a Ha-neul who has to fight a corrupt system. If romance happens, fine. But the real point of this first week of episodes is family, brotherhood, being there for the people in one's life before it's too late.
HanCinema viewers, did you feel the same way I did? Do you agree with the low ratings? Or did this episode absolutely grip you?
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Managing editor, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Entertainers" Episode 2"
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