"Temptation" started with no lack of dramatics and speed. There was suicide, crippling debt, wandering eyes, illegitimate children, illness, chaebol heirs, a foreign vacation, and more - the necessities of every self-respecting melodrama - all packed into one hour. This set-up was quickly, efficiently done with very little spared for character development. It was incident after heavy-handed incident. Each character had a burden to shoulder and a sob story to share.
Choi Ji-woo as the no-nonsense business woman Yoo Se-young led the pack with her layered performance. She has instant chemistry with each character on screen, which will make the illicit romance to come scintillating indeed. I'm not as sure about the way the plot will play out with it's stereotypical setup, but at least the acting is stellar. kwon Sang-woo as faithful husband Cha Seok-hoon is endearing while his doting wife Na Hong-joo (Park Ha-sun) is pitiable. Everything is as it should be. It's hard to determine the outcome with how cookie cutter this first episode was.
Kang Min-woo (Lee Jung-jin) has a son by a first love that is already interesting because the child, Roy (Jo Hwi-joon), is the easiest to empathize with of all the characters as children tend to be. They are not as tainted by the horrible mistakes adults often are. Min-woo is a playboy who already has children and his character is supposed to be grounded by falling in love with Hong-joo. Hopefully, he will learn to settle down and respect the fact that he has a family.
The heart of this episode was the married couple who struggle together through debt. They are achingly sweet with each other while Se-young and Min-woo are not quite as happy with their relationships. Se-young is married to her work; Min-woo finds no real pleasure in his family. The contrasts between the three situations will be interesting to highlight and explore.
On a different note, this episode had some of the best English-language acting by non-native English speakers than I've seen in a long time. The lines were delivered fluidly and naturally by the actors, leads and supporting actors alike. It was quite refreshing after the plethora of dramas with stilted English-language acting.
Based upon this premier, I'm waiting to see what twists and turns "Temptation" will pull that will set it aside from the other dramas in this genre. Mostly that will entail the writers focusing on logical progression rather than what gets the largest emotional rise out of the audience. A happy balance of both would be best, of course, but logic is also sacrificed for "shock factor". Prove me wrong, "Temptation".
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Temptation" Episode 1"
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