TL;DR: This isn’t the second coming of God’s Gift. I’m not sure if that’s entirely a good thing. But hey, we’ve got a dash of Liar Game and a pinch of Heavy Rain thrown in, so that’s fun.
It’s practically impossible for me to talk about Wanted without drawing comparisons to God’s Gift, but I’m going to keep that as limited as I can. The central premise to both is essentially the same: mothers desperate to save their children and who will do anything to save them. God’s Gift had a mystical element thrown in, allowing the audience to see the “bad end” before hurling our two protagonists back in time two weeks to solve the mystery and avert disaster. In Wanted, we’ve got a touch of the kdrama adaptation of Liar Game, what with the reality show angle, and the Heavy Rain element just showed up with the clues and the tasks.
(Will Hye-in be given increasingly dangerous tasks? I really hope so. I’m not saying I need to watch her hack off one of her own fingers, but… >.>)
Right now one of the things that I think that God’s Gift did better was providing me with an emotional attachment to the characters. Wanted has my attention intellectually, but it hasn’t grabbed my heart yet. In that way, it is also like the Liar Game kdrama, which I enjoyed largely for the intellectual exercise. I’m hoping that as Wanted continues, the main characters (and kidnapped son) will be granted more depth and I’ll actually care about them, not just their roles in the story.
That said, I am enjoying the—I’m not sure I’d call it understated, actually, since Jung-ho frequently is about two seconds from chewing scenery—tension among the main cast members. We’ve been granted just enough in these first two episodes to hint at some serious shit in the background, from business corruption to birth secrets to a rocky marriage to a weird…something between Hye-in and Dong-wook. (I’m ruling Dong-wook out as the baby daddy and Jung-ho as the kidnapping mastermind, for the record. Anyone want to bet against me?) Aside from a few outbursts, all of our main quartet seem to keep their emotions and thoughts on tight leashes—and so do many side characters.
I’m not entirely sure if this is the best way to go (see my earlier complaint about my lack of emotional attachments thus far), but it does provide us with interesting character beats, like Hye-in essentially ninjaing herself onto a talk show in order to break the news about her son and then theatrically faint or Dong-wook being a relentless bastard about basically every aspect of this reality show or Jung-ho weighing the pros and cons of airing Wanted when it’s his stepson’s life at stake or Woo-shin secretly and nonchalantly recording the delivery service guy in order to get footage. These people can be cold and calculating, and that delights me.
Seung-in so far is the only main character who doesn’t fit this coldblooded professional mold, though that doesn’t keep him from being exceptionally observant and good at his job. He doesn’t quite fit the hotblooded, loose cannon cop, either, which I’m grateful for. (I’d prefer cops who don’t get their evidence thrown out because of breaking laws re: searches, interrogations, human rights, etc.) Now that his kidnapping case has gotten tangled up with the kidnapping of Hye-in’s son, I’m excited to have him on the job (and maybe as Hye-in’s on-screen partner in the reality show? that would please me greatly).
I am cautiously optimistic about this drama. There are some odd choices in the directing that I’m not sold on, and Hye-in just does not do well when she’s up against motorcycles, but hey, I got two ladies in addition to Hye-in on the broadcast team, so I’m very happy for the moment. I’ll definitely give it another week to see if it continues to impress me.
By the Numbers
- Long takes: 2
- Fakeouts: 2
- Creepy stalker room: 1
- Slow-mo, swirly camera moments: 5
- Bechdel Test: 1 episode passed