Upon further consideration I've decided that "Goblin" really is, in fact, mostly just a drama about the Goblin and the Grim Reaper sniping at each other pettily like an old married couple for the rest of eternity. If their eternal life is punishment for some awful misdeed, I would say it is working as intended. Neither the Goblin nor the Grim Reaper have any apparent reason for existing save for to meddle in each other's lives.
Eun-tak is less a character in her own right as much as she is a catalyst which increasingly serves to define the relationship between the Goblin and the Grim Reaper. The sense of mild jealousy whenever Eun-tak comes up in conversation is cute, because she really is just being used as a constant wedge for the Goblin and the Grim Reaper to pester each other. That Eun-tak herself is only dimly aware of her role in their antagonistic living dynamic only makes the situation all the weirder.
...Yes, I would have to admit I'm still not terribly enthralled with who Eun-tak is, since her character is a bit harder to grasp. Really, one of the best moments this episode was the psychic war between the Goblin and the Grim Reaper which just focused on how Eun-tak is not reacting appropriately to being rescued. Was that rescue overkill? Hard to say. There's only so many ways to stop a car, and besides, the rescue wasn't overkill so much as showing off for the sake of making a statement.
I think that's what the production team is doing here. There's less emphasis on making "Goblin" coherent so much as making it spectacular. As in, making it use a great deal of spectacle. Even goofy romantic moments involving the magic powers of themain characters are specifically contrived to look completely ludicrous in motion. Or take the entire sequence with the ring. Is it really the magic which makes these scenes stand out, or director Lee Eung-bok's stylistic flair?
Although really, as much wonder is aroused by the strange musical choices in this drama, which play out as if the production team has access to a large quantity of exotic musical instruments and is deciding which one to use for any given song at random. I'm still not sure if I particularly like "Goblin". I still have no idea what kind of story is being told here. But credit given where it's due- there's a lot of flair.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goblin" Episode 3"
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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Sound of Your Heart" (TV Version) Episode 1
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