"The Legend of the Blue Sea" isn't an overly complex story. Unlike "My Love from the Star" it is a a little light on deeper plot development. The action moves forward as does the romance, but this drama seems more about light enjoyment (despite heavy subject matter) than serious plot exploration. There is nothing wrong with such a drama. In fact, it's welcome, especially when Jun Ji-hyun and her penchant for comedy are involved.
That said, Jun Ji-hyun and her spot on comedic acting can't save a lack of clean direction. The action of the plot seems tied with bringing her together with Joon-jae via the mechanism of fate, but otherwise it seems contrived. Plot is secondary to their serendipitous relationship. For example, the involvement of Ma Dae-yeong (Sung Dong-il) in past and present is only introduced to create problems between the mermaid/human couple. He lacks any true motivation, especially in the present. Perhaps I am wrong, but he is currently under orders and unable to control a literally murderous temper. While Sung Dong-il is always masterful, it isn't enough.
On the bright side, Jun Ji-hyun's "My Sassy Girl" co-star Cha Tae-hyun made a funny and adorable cameo as a swindler who gets out-swindled by Lee Min-ho. It was quite wonderful seeing the Jeon/Cha pairing together on screen again.
Another question that arises this episode after no further explanation is why the mermaid, (recently named Shim Cheon-yi), seeks out Joon-jae without explanation after erasing his memory and promising to stay away. The flashbacks aren't quiet clear. Neither is the fate of her life on land (or in the water.) The past attempted to explain the dire consequences of harming her human legs, but we can't take that to be true quite yet. Joon-jae, perhaps due to his hypnotic abilities, is starting to remember flashes of his time with Cheon-yi despite her magical mermaid memory banishing kiss. He also remembers time with his mother, who disappeared, and times with his step-mother who disliked him and made him miserable. Is that why he isn't currently with his chaebol father and half-brother? Why must the show bring in crazy family drama. It couldn't have enough without relying on family antics, especially since we have mermaids, reincarnation, and fate in the mix.
Lastly, Si-ah is quite dull as a second lead. She is comprised of mechanizations and jealousy. This is all we've seen of her. I beg of the production team to flesh her out into someone we can like, hate, and/or pity. What we do get from her is some lovely immaturity from Cheon-yi that manifests in her awkward mermaid fashion. This immaturity is welcome because we've seen more depth in the mermaid.
Although the weak spots of the drama are showing themselves, it is still wickedly entertaining. Not all dramas are meant to be think pieces. Sometimes we just have to turn off our brains and watch.
Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
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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] "The Legend of the Blue Sea" Episode 4"
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