Shi Hoo’s story.
I didn’t see this coming. If there are fans left of this show, it is mostly due to the intrigue with Shi Hoo’s character. His story is the only compelling mystery left. And surprisingly, Lee Jong Hyun is coming through with his acting. The writer has given his character much more depth than the two main leads. And thankfully he has done it justice.
When the casting was first announced, many fans were wondering if Yeo Jin Gu would have to carry the show given the relative inexperience of his two co-stars. Eight episodes in, most of us are cheering and rooting for Shi Hoo.
His character is a complex and conflicted one. Is he human, or is he vampire? He was clearly vampire in the present day, and during the first few Joseon episodes he was undoubtedly human, a nobility from a family of scholars. He does not fit his family’s ideal mold of a scholar, preferring martial arts to the books. Jae Min, his best friend at Sungkyunkwan is his complete opposite. Hailed from a family of warriors, Jae Min cannot stand the sight of blood and prefers books to swords.
This is where the fascination begins. Shi Hoo’s journey from human to vampire is the main draw. Episode 8 finally gave us some answers. And now I want to know how the two realities will reconcile in the future world. Since he appeared to have died in the present world, what will the writer do to revive his character in the future world? PDnim and Writernim better amaze us since Shi Hoo is the only saving grace left in this show.
This show is a head scratcher for many reasons as mentioned in my earlier post. It was so fast paced in the first three episodes and viewers were left to wonder why. But the expectation was set. When the Joseon era began, the tone was a complete opposite. The built up to the reveal in episode 8 was slow paced and methodical. Personally, I actually preferred these episodes. There is a method in this madness, creating the backdrop and setting the stage for many curious questions in the present day. The war between human and vampires.
How did it start? Who started it? Why did Jae Min have so much hate towards the vampires? Why is there underlying tension between Shi Hoo and Jae Min? Why is Shi Hoo so willing to die? The answers are beginning to unravel.
However, the big disappointment in Orange Marmalade thus far is Jae Min and Ma Ri’s character development. Though this is a classic star crossed love story, their struggles and romance did not really make me care. It feels very selfish, very immature and one dimensional. On the other hand, Shi Hoo’s love for Ma Ri is the opposite; it is noble, introspective and respectful. Knowing that Jae Min also loves Ma Ri, his only priority is to protect her rather than expose her and put her life and her family’s lives in danger. It is restraint but also tragic.
After two episodes I was over the moon, after four episodes I was ready to throw in the towel, the next four episodes were an exercise of patience. If Shi Hoo wasn’t such an interesting character I would have wrapped it up in a nice tidy bow and declared, ‘I’m done!’
But Lee Jong Hyun gave me hope. I want to see Shi Hoo survive this maddening show and emerge the hero. Dare I hope? Is there a happy ending here?