First Impressions: Jealousy Incarnate, The K2 and On the Way to the Airport

Fall’s here, the rain’s back and time to bid summer adieu. As far as drama watching goes, yours truly is back to kdrama-watching after an experimental few months with Chinese and Taiwanese dramas.

This time I’m joining the masses devouring what’s currently airing, shows that are talk of the town and contenders making a push on the ratings game.

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[Minor Spoilers]

Jealousy Incarnate

I love Gong Hyo Jin. She’s a superb actress in my books and so far I’ve never been disappointed with her performances. Except for Producers, which didn’t mesh well with my drama tastebuds, many of her dramas made my favorites. So I didn’t need any persuading when Jealousy Incarnate aired. Just like that, I started watching. Jo Jung Suk as co-star is simply cherry on top of an already delicious cake. I loved him in Oh My Ghostess.

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But I gotta admit, I did not start out loving this show. Let’s just say, the breast touching moments just sort of weird me out. That a woman would grope a man’s breast in public and he just stands there allowing it to happen. Eww. Mind you, if this was a bedroom scene, it’s a completely different story but in broad daylight. Hmm. Let’s say if it was role reversal, a man doing that to a woman, we would all be screaming sexual assault. Never mind.. I’m digressing. But, show has slowly grown on me with each endearing episode. It is undeniably fresh and unpretentious. 

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Na Ri, the sweet tempered weather girl with a one sided crush for hotshot Reporter Lee Hwa Shin. Unrequited, she moves on and eventually falls in love at first sight with his best friend, Chaebol heir, Go Jung Won. Both men are charming in his own ways, decent and kind but one’s got the wealth and the other’s got the fame. Not a bad choice either way but which one gets Na Ri’s heart?

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The show is chock full of stellar actors playing characters with interesting stories to tell. I do have a difficult time connecting with Bbal Gang. I don’t get why everyone is super protective of an 18 year old girl. Understandably, she lost her dad, was raised in a dysfunctional household and her only uncle betrayed the family for the greater good but she’s no longer a five year old. I wish writer-nim’d give her some backbone. Time to grow up. The two moms are goofy but adorable; they hate each other’s guts but deep down both want what’s best for Bbal Gang. Their wacky three way love interest with the impotent Mr. Nice Guy, Kim Rak, is charming without being tacky.

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Ep 14 escalates the show from good to awesome delivering that tingling feeling of joy, love and ecstasy in one fulfilling hour. This breezy workplace romantic comedy is definitely a class of its own, finding a perfect middle ground between comedy and touchy feely melo. It has quirkiness, rofl-worthy moments (mud fight), best friends love triangle but one that values friendship and loyalty above all else while introducing a delicate subject to the audience, that breast cancer is not just a woman’s disease.

The K2

Action, action, action! Need I say more? Korean Mission Impossible or Matrix re-invented? The first few episodes feel like the show is trying to showcase Ji Chang Wook’s fighting skills rather than letting the plot drives the actions. Don’t get me wrong. I chuckled with the rest of Twitterverse with the shower fight sequence but it feels more like comic relief rather than story development. I don’t need more of Ji Chang Wook making his foes eat dirt or should I say soap-suds, I already know his character is king in the ring. Good thing he’s not just Rambo or Neo, he can actually act. His face lits up when it needs to be (Ramyun scene) and his heartfelt pain is plain for all to see (Rania’s death).

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Six episodes in, the pacing has been fairly good giving me the edge of the seat storytelling and compelling leads. Mind you, I’m talking about Ji Chang Wook and Song Yoon Ah. Song impressed me with her masterful performance as an upright political aide in Assembly. And she has up her game here as the callous, ambitious and murderous wife of presidential candidate Jang Se Joon. There is nothing upright about this character but Song’s delivery is nothing short of praiseworthy.

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The gem in this thriller is the amazing chemistry Song has with Ji Chang Wook. It is not the romantic kind but the high-tension exploration of relationship between two strong characters. Are they friends or foes, partners or antagonists? This compelling duo is the number one reason I’m tuned in. All other characters are a distant second for me. Unless Anna suddenly becomes front and center and Writer-nim develops this character, she’s not going to make it or break it for me. Given the promotional materials and teasers that have aired to date, I am hard pressed to think Writer-nim will deviate from the norm and the recluse in distress will end up with our hero. Which is just fine, but please do make her character earn it.

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As a high stake political drama and thriller, the rest of the villains and supporting casts are appropriately cast though I find it hard to believe an elite security firm like JSS would employ the likes of Mi Ran and Master Song.

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I can’t wait for Yoo Jin’s backstory to unfold. Is her ruthlessness grounded in her DNA or has life dealt her unfair justice? Is she on a path to revenge or is her ambition simply a quest for power and greed?

On the Way to the Airport

This one made my watch-list simply because the show is sponsored by AirAsia. Seeing the characters playing AirAsia flight attendants and pilots with location shoots in Malaysia, let’s just say, it makes me smile and automatically seals the deal for me. Any cultural references, big or small to my motherland never fails to perk up my interest in anything newsworthy, let alone in kdramas.

Well, bumbling motherland feels aside, the leads in this show are no slouch either. Lee Sang Yoon, Kim Ha Neul, Shin Sung Rok. These are as star studded as they come.

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Granted, I’m not one to shy away from adultery-themed shows. Not that I condone the adulterous acts but I can understand why marriages fall apart, husband and/or wife forget their vows and commit the unthinkable. Some, for myriad of reasons cannot walk away from a bad marriage but at the same time, cannot stop what the heart wants to feel.

On the Way to the Airport is one such show. This is one for the grown-ups. The subject matter is deep, it is dark and it is uncomfortable. Just like Soo Ah said in ep 5, “this is scary and sad.”

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On the surface, Choi Soo Ah and Seo Do Woo have decent marriages but underneath the serene calm, tinder is quietly building, stoking the fire for a hint of unease. Their spouses though “normal”, have questionable characteristics. Jin Suk has a history of being a player though up until ep 6, he’s been loyal and has spurned the advances of flight attendant Joo Hyun. But at home, he is a lazy bum and an irresponsible alpha male dishing directives where his daughter is concerned. And considering the little time he and Soo Ah have together as husband and wife, he chooses to spend his off shift time alone in his apartment and not with his wife. Can anyone blame Soo Ah if her heart is touched by Do Woo?

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Kim Hye Won, Do Woo’s wife gives us the thrill and mystic in an otherwise thoughtful but mundane story. At this point, we don’t know her history, her mental health and the reason why Do Woo married her. Did he really marry her for love or was she a skilled temptress that swayed a gentle man’s tender heart?

One part of me want both couples to stay faithful to their vows. I can take a gut-wrenching melo, heart-rending romantic tension and ultimately forbidden love but I’d rather see a road to redemption for the spouses. Yes, love hurts but let noble idiocy reign and please don’t cross the line! I don’t think I’m ready to accept a cheating Soo Ah and Do Woo.

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The preview for ep 7 hints at further development of Soo Ah and Do Woo’s relationship to dangerous places. I’m conflicted but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a well executed show, elegantly directed and beautifully acted, giving the viewers an aura of nostalgia, of what ifs and if onlys.

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23 thoughts on “First Impressions: Jealousy Incarnate, The K2 and On the Way to the Airport

  1. So I’m late again, but I did enjoy the finale week of JI and the characters had a pretty good send-off, minus a few niggles.

    Been remiss in asking, but how did the rest of Airport turn out for you? I only read recaps and it was like the mildest affair ever, so I may have missed nuances.

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    • The entire drama fell a bit flat for me after ep 14. But I did like how he came out with his illness but don’t get why he would throw away the anchor job. Those dance routines were fun to watch! Jo Jung Suk’s an awesome dancer!

      I dropped Airport and only read recaps like you did. Not sure why but I could not connect with the romance even though the acting was stellar. And Hye Won’s backstory was too lame. I’d expected more to the “secret” why she kept trying to keep her daughter away.

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      • You mean Hwa-shin’s motor mouth? I think he never expected to get demoted to the kindergarten. It’s his damn pride and Na-ri frankly saved him for that one. And I wanted Hwa-shin’s mum to be more receptive to Na-ri, at least not attend the wedding still grumpy. The dance routines were fantastic though! And I loved Hwa-shin’s “I’ll always be curious about you”, so beautiful.

        Re Airport: You’re right about Hye-won’s backstory being lame, especially since the drama built her up to be rather malevolent. I also didn’t like how it resolved the Jin-suk issue, it was so bleh. From the start it basically gave the leads an easy out and I kept having the feeling that Do-woo was actually pushing Su-ah into a lot of things and she was reactive right to the end. I generally have no issues with “adultery” dramas, but how the whole thing was handled just felt off.

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  2. It’s really been the Jo Jung-seok from episode 14, and this week’s more of the same awesome stuff from him. Love the snow proposal, love Hwa-shin’s scenes with Na-ri, and also of Na-ri and Hwa-shin’s mum. I just hope Hwa-shin doesn’t do the stupid thing and go to Kenya for one year.

    Jung-won is still a waste of space and I don’t quite like how Chef’s asexuality was “cured”, if indeed it was.

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    • That dance routine at the end of ep 22 was epic! Loved how Hwa Shin came clean about his illness. His mom will love Na Ri especially now that she knows how much Na Ri has supported Hwa Shin through his ordeal. Looks like show is winding down and giving closure to everyone except for Sung Sook?

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      • It was epic! I love how the doc and nurse got in on the act too. Can’t wait for Hwa-shin’s mum and Na-ri to truly bond, they seem like they’ll be awesome together. Pity about Sung-sook, but it’d be nice if Pal-gang can admit she also wants her birth mum around rather than just sticking to her dad’s will.

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  3. So I’m late to last week’s episodes, but finally they’re good. I am so glad Na-ri made a choice and I like the work scenes very much. Hwa-shin at work is a beast and it is very, very attractive. I understand why he did what he did, and have no major issues with it. Also love Hwa-shin and Na-ri being adorable together, and man, that kiss was great.

    Jung-won… still an ass.

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    • Haha! I was waiting for your reaction this week. Yes, bad boy Hwa Shin is definitely more interesting. And finally Na Ri made her choice known though I can’t say I like the way she went about it.

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      • Yeah the waffling didn’t need four episodes. The drama could have finished a tidy 20 and not suffer. That said, I like that Na-ri was firm about discouraging Jung-won after she made clear her feelings.

        That adorable little jig by Hwa-shin at the rooftop had me in stitches! And the moms are back to being fun, so yay for that. I really like Lee Mi-sook in this, she’s so stylish and kick-ass. Then she shows her softer side when Ja-young gives her backhanded compliments and I’m like awwwwww.

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  4. So this is the week that I officially find Jung-won irritating and disgusting. He’s all surface work. That scene where he shoved a card in Na-ri’s face and told her to spend his money… wow, that was offensive. I’m so glad she threw his card in the trash. And seeing him so obviously delighting in the prospect of Hwa-shin failing at the cohabitation thing… sorry, this is not how one treats a long-time friend.

    I love Hwa-shin in these two episodes. I wish Na-ri could see how much she’s hurt him with her indecision. The fight and the glasses bit were so telling of where her affections lie, I wish she’d realise it too and come clean with her own feelings.

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    • Honestly, the trio is starting to get on my nerves. I don’t know how much longer I can keep watching the same act. Yah, what is that with the credit card thing? So immature, right? If Na Ri’s going to be swayed by money, then she’s not the girl you want to marry. Oh well. I prefer the moms and Chef storyline. So sweet that Ppal Gang is trying to pair up her mom with Chef as she’s going to live with stepmom. Not sure why dad would choose stepmom over biological mom. There are still 6 epis to go. Oh boy! After ep 14, it seems to go downhill for me.

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      • It’s cuz it’s obvious to us that Na-ri loves Hwa-shin, but going through the motions of sorting out her insecurities is taking a toll on the story since she’s not addressing the issue proper. Instead, she’s doing silly things like checking boxes and whatnot. I get that she wants to be sure what Hwa-shin feels for her is real, but c’mon, they’ve got the whole breast cancer experience! And much more things they’ve shared. Besides, she and Jung-won are so dull together and have zero chemistry.

        I wish Pal-gang would just live with the two moms or neither of them. Following dad’s words is one thing, but she’s got to see what both women are like and can surely decide for herself. I think dad chose Ja-young cuz she is probably more of a nurturing sort (like how she mentored Na-ri for a bit), while Sung-sook is tough as nails but hasn’t really shown a softer, motherly side.

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        • Just finished ep 18. Not sure what to make of it. Romantically, Na-ri definitely has it for Hwa-shin but except for trying to get her to sleep with him, he’s not doing anything to endear himself to her. He’s the typical boyfriend that a girl goes crazy for during the “honeymoon” stage until the romance is over. Don’t think he’s a husband material. Jung-won is comfortable but the sparks’ not there. If only one could combine the desirable traits of both men into one! As far as a romance goes, I’m liking the Hye-won angle! I like a woman that knows her mind 😀

          As for the moms, why, why are they back to fighting again? I like it when they got along famously. This show keeps throwing me into loops. If that’s how it wants to be unpredictable, it’s certainly achieve that!

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  5. Oh yay, another drama post! I’m also watching Jealousy Incarnate and really liking Jo Jung-seok’s range. Episode 14 was so Hwa-shin’s episode! I love how he coached Na-ri for the audition and that kiss was smokin’ hot. I wasn’t sold on the first four episodes and only read recaps, but slowly started being interested in bits and pieces from episode 5.

    Only reading recaps for Airport since I don’t like the actors for the husbands, though I have no issues with adultery dramas. I think the drama is trying a bit too hard to make the spouses unlikable in order to smooth the progression of Su-ah and Do-woo’s relationship.

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    • Jealousy Incarnate is one of those shows that keeps improving and ups its ante rather doing the opposite. Yes, the coaching scene and that kiss, wow, how are they going to top that with 10 more epis to go? Haha! Heartaches for Mr. Cool? More mud fights? 😀

      As for Airport, you’re right. So far the spouses have technically not done anything despicable to deserve to be cheated on but ep 6’s hinting on exposing some of these flaws. Arghhh! Not liking where this is headed but I’ll give PD-nim a chance to drive home a compelling story and keep me in it 😀

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      • Have you watched this week’s episodes of Jealousy Incarnate? They were bordering on ridiculous, especially with that petty grudge fight and Hwa-shin stripping down to his boxers, lol. I’m glad the drama didn’t go into full-blown angst, and still managed to serve up some fun and light moments. I like that the two moms have turned into besties. And I still think Na-ri gets her best scenes with Hwa-shin – that kiss!, their talk in the aftermath, her trying to distract him from going to the hospital, and actually turning up there to support him. Jung-won? Bah.

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        • Hi Junny! Great timing. Just finished ep 15 and 16. Couldn’t agree with you more. Quite a letdown after the sensational audition/declaration/kiss sequence in ep 14. Yah, that fight was more than silly. I guess it is timeless…even the best of men become boys over a woman. At least it stopped short of a Trojan War. lol! The redeeming part for me is Jung Won finding out about Hwa Shin illness. You think he will step out now? Yes, the moms’ great! Loved Mr. Chef. Still one true gentleman despite getting spurned 😀

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          • I think I’d prefer it if Jung-won never found out about the breast cancer. After what he did in episode 15, he doesn’t deserve to know. I don’t want the illness to become some sort of pity factor for either of them to back off – if one of them does, it should be because he realised he wasn’t the right man to give Na-ri happiness. At this point, I’m thinking Go Kyung-pyo is miscast and the writing is not really doing his character much of a favour. And if Na-ri continues acting like this, I’d rather Hwa-shin end up with Hye-won.

            Chef is pretty cool (except when he was supporting Jung-won, ha).

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          • You’ve got a point there. Na Ri should come clean. She can’t love both men equally. Given the best friend, loyalty trumps all premise, I’d think if Na Ri declares her love for one over the other, the other would back out gracefully. Oh well… it’s rom com for a reason 😀

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