"Missing 9" starts out with a bang, that is, the sound of an exploding plane engine. Episode one starts us off four months after the crash and it provides our witness, who claims total loss of her memories after the painful event. The episode then introduces us to the diverse cast of characters, their basic relationships and a little backstory before diving, quite literally, into the dire situation at hand.
If a group of conflicting personalities stuck together on a glorified rock is bad, a group of conflicting personalities with a shared traumatic past stuck together on a glorified rock is a dramatic field day. While I highly enjoy the episode's more comedic moments, the creators do not beat around the bush with their tone. Sin Jae-hyeon's (Yeon Je-wook) apparent suicide will only fan tensions between the agency's members on the island and it looks like an important part of the story in general.
Before getting to the darker parts, although the following is arguably much darker due to its proximity to real life, I absolutely enjoy the caustic humor in episode one. From the selfish fans only worried about their personal favorite idol to the neglecting government inconvenienced by the existence of a survivor and her inability to cooperate, the episode is teeming with social commentary on how we handle crises, from the most compassionate to the most soulless side of reality.
Humor also helps portray the entertainment industry and the specific agency in a relatively bad light, laying the foundation for future conflicts. On the character front, things are very promising and we are already getting many layered people. The rowdy diva, Seo Joon-oh (Jung Kyung-ho) is highly enjoyable, but seems to hide quite a sensitive core. Choi Tae-ho (Choi Tae-joon) has been described as a bad boy character, but he seems to care about their lost friend. These two look like the main instigators of conflict, but I look forward to discovering everyone.
Aside from the human drama side of things, we do have the mystery of what has happened, why and how. There are already suspicious characters who stand to profit from the agency's CEO and other potentially problematic members disappearing. While the storm looks severe, the ease with which the plane malfunctions is suspicious. Then again there are other unrealistic elements about the crash, so perhaps this is an issue of accuracy. The biggest mystery is, of course, the fate of everyone aside from Ra Bong-hee (Baek Jin-hee).
All in all, this is a very exciting episode with quite impressive production quality. It even features some bold creative decisions for Korean drama, such as the limited in color wardrobe to achieve a specific aesthetic. The background music is occasionally an issue and it ruins immersion, especially in the episode's earlier parts, but perhaps the music supervisor settles in soon enough. For now I am sold and I cannot wait for more.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing opinion pieces and database upkeep. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing 9" Episode 1"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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