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The King Loves, Episode 1 [DROPPED]

TL;DR: You should be impressed that I actually finished this episode.

I could have saved myself an hour’s annoyance if I had just bailed on the show when Won’s condescending sexism reared its ugly head, but I was willing to give him an episode to see if there was any hint of the start of a character arc. Unfortunately, the bulk of an episode was actually a flashback, and it turns out that present-day him is actually worse than little-kid him. Continue reading “The King Loves, Episode 1 [DROPPED]”

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Naked Fireman, Episode 4 [END]

TL;DR: Awww, that was cute. Good job, everyone.

It’s just so refreshing when a show doesn’t fail you in the finale. This episode kept its focus squarely on the two most important things: taking down the bad guy and getting Cheol-soo and Jin-ah together. Everything else—Seong-jin and Song-ja’s relationship, Kwang-ho’s cancer—all took a back seat. There were more important things to tackle, and the episode was all the better for it (while also giving us just enough to be content with its happy ending). Continue reading “Naked Fireman, Episode 4 [END]”

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Naked Fireman, Episode 3

TL;DR: Who said you were allowed to almost make me cry twice?

Look, two of my absolute favorite character-related things are loyalty and found family, and Naked Fireman just delivered both of those things to me when I was not expecting them. This episode had some of the best bromance and surrogate father scenes I’ve seen in ages, and I’m both astonished that it happened and upset that I don’t see this quality of relationships in shows that are four to five times as long as this one. Continue reading “Naked Fireman, Episode 3”

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Naked Fireman, Episode 2

TL;DR: Turns out there was enough time for a red-herring!

But first off, this show is doing a great job of convincing me that Cheol-soo and Jin-ah ought to be a thing. There’s no time for dilly-dallying about building a relationship when there are only four episodes, and the two of them got to have several charged moments in this hour. Continue reading “Naked Fireman, Episode 2”

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Naked Fireman, Episode 1

TL;DR: This drama special is definitely trying to live up to its name.

With two weeks to go until the next drama I want to watch, I decided now would be the perfect time to try tackling the drama specials and movies on my to-watch list. I decided to go for Naked Fireman first because I still giggle whenever I see its name. And honestly? The first episode is pretty damned good for what is essentially the awkward mating of a screwball comedy and a murder mystery. Not only did it make me laugh, but it also made me care about the mystery that needs to be solved. Continue reading “Naked Fireman, Episode 1”

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Seven Day Queen, Episode 5 [DROPPED]

TL;DR: We have a fundamental incompatibility in regards to what can and cannot be considered romantic.

I’m going to make this short and quick: wow, did I hate this episode. Enough that, coupled with the warning that even more forced kisses will be showing up later on, I am dropping the show immediately. Show, you only had one job: convince me that Chae-gyeong and Jinseong/Yeok/Nak-cheon were the romance for the ages and then tragically separate them. Instead, I spent this entire episode being bitter about all the emotional labor Chae-gyeong was preforming for Yeonsangun and then wanting to claw out Yeok’s eyes for the historical equivalent of sex-shaming Chae-gyeong and then force kissing (AKA SEXUALLY ASSAULTING) her as a punishment.

And the damned music director decided that would be the best moment to play one of the romantic songs. NOPE. Continue reading “Seven Day Queen, Episode 5 [DROPPED]”

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Closing – Four Hopes for Circle: Two Worlds Connected

Now that Circle is over, it’s time to revisit my four original hopes for the show and see just how the actual drama measured up.

Han Jung-yeon has a plot/character arc of her own. While we never actually got to the whole hey why did you come to earth in the first place mystery, I am happy to report that Jung-yeon was a character with agency and an active role in the story. She was one of my favorite characters, and I’m thrilled she held her own on screen with everyone else.

The show tackles the Smart/General Earth divide in a way that provides commentary on the real world. Not at all, actually. The closest they got was the responsibility lectures (and some of the villains still weaseled out of that), but that fell short of what I actually wanted. Nothing about privilege or class or just what sort of horrors a society will permit in exchange for security. I didn’t get my Omelas reference, either.

The future feels appropriately futurish. I’m going to have to give this one a no, too. We’ve seen the projection screens, black-and-white aesthetic, and transparent/glass stuff everywhere before–for the last fifteen or so years, at least. The cars looked like 2017 models, 97% of people in power were male, etc. Beyond the existence and implementation of the Stable Care System, very little thought was put into the rest of the world. What impact would a system that represses strong negative emotion actually look like? Why wasn’t there more crime (because, let’s face it, people can and do commit plenty of crimes without strong emotions being anywhere in the vicinity)? How did the Smart/Normal Earth populations view each other? None of it was thought out beyond the initial sketching out, which is a shame.

The mystery is a fearful, delightful ride. Solid job on this one, minus a few blips. Part one was definitely stronger in that regard than part two was, but I was still left screeching over many cliffhangers.

What did you think of Circle? How did it compare to your own hopes at the beginning of the show?

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 12 [END]

TL;DR: You know what? Good job, everyone. That was a fun ride.

Though I had some complaints about this show during its run, I’m glad I stuck with it because it was able to pull off a mostly satisfying ending. There are few things I love as much as heroes banding together to outsmart a villain and his vastly greater resources, so this final episode was a delight. Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 12 [END]”

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 11

TL;DR: I desperately want a reference to “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” now. Please give it to me in the final episode?

Woo-jin tried so hard in this episode and things did not turn out very well for him, which is fitting as we head into the finale. His character has consistently been in my top three through the entire show, so while I’m irritated by some of the things he did this episode, I’ve already forgiven him for basically all of it.

Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 11”

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Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 10

TL;DR: The future timeline remembered how close it was to the finale and got back on track.

But before we get to that, I just want to take a moment to appreciate all the lovely emotional moments that happened in part one. With Bum-gyun’s memory quickly fading, we were able to see three people’s perspectives on happiness, identity, and memory, and I liked that there weren’t any neat answers. Continue reading “Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 10”