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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mad Dog" Episode 2

2017/10/13 | Permalink

Nothing makes me feel more sadistic as a viewer than that sigh of relief upon seeing characters suffer. As cruel as the reaction would be in real life, fiction needs that raw humanity in order to be interesting and eventually cathartic for what is essentially a detached spectator. "Mad Dog" was off to a shaky start, but I really like what I see this time around.

Episode two packs the punch that episode one should have. Teasing with action and style before going into the meatier bits is not uncommon, but the tease needs to be engaging. Episode one sadly delivers too little to write home about in terms of emotional investment and I can see how many would simply drop the series at that point. Audiences have a lot of options and that is why introductions must stand out.

Chairman Cha destroying Kang-woo's resignationKang-woo being led to his family's remains

Those who did stick around get a treat, however and this is what matters in the long run. The episode is well-paced, informative and emotionally engaging. We get much needed backstory, but I appreciate the fact that not everything is laid bare. For example, we know how our mad dogs were related at the time, but we do not yet know how they met. We know Chairman Cha Joon-gyoo (Jung Bo-suk) is a highly suspicious gangster-like figure, but not how our Choi Kang-woo (Yoo Ji-tae) became involved with him.

Most importantly, we have a much needed personal connection with what seems like the big picture and main plot of the series. An episodic format exploring different cases of deadly fraud would work just fine, but Korean drama does love its grand connections and "Mad Dog" is full of them. One could argue that it is full to the point of being cheesy and contrived, but most of these connections are sought out by the characters, rather than being cases of random chance.

Kang-woo and Soon-jeong in jailMin-joon revealing his identity to Kang-woo

What I am most curious about aside from the character connections, however, is the future of those connections. Kim Min-joon's (Woo Do-hwan) purpose for joining the team and revealing his identity is no mystery, but unless the series has been misleading in its portrayal of the crash, his brother was very much guilty. What will happen between our two heroes when the truth comes out is a thought which is admittedly very enticing.

"Mad Dog" is still not off the hook for not delivering its own hook earlier, but I am quite interested in the series now. It has the makings of a good story carried by potentially nuanced characters and if it can deliver on its promising set up without becoming too keen on its cheesier elements, we might have a fine revenge drama on our hands.

"Mad Dog" is directed by Hwang Ee-kyeong, written by Kim Soo-jin-V and features Yoo Ji-tae, Woo Do-hwan, Ryu Hwa-young, Kim Hye-sung and Jo Jae-yun.

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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