I’m a n00b when it comes to dramas, as you all know. So my devotion to Siwon comes from having seen him in She Was Pretty and some Super Junior MVs, but I had faith that he would shine in whatever role he took post military. Let’s talk about whether he lived up to my expectations, shall we?
I was hooked by the very first episode. Kang So Ra, playing Joon, does such an excellent job being a fiesty, convention-defying heroine. She keeps some vulnerability, especially when it comes to dealing with her mom and the death of her father, but overall, she stands her ground. I like it. I also like that she hasn’t really cried yet — I’m afraid my pleasant picture of her will be shattered by an ugly cry. Anyway. She’s a heroine I can get behind.
It was Gong Myung who took me by surprise. He was cold and domineering and sneered all the time in Bride of Habaek, but that’s all I know him from. At first, his Revolutionary Love character, Jae Hee, seems to be cold too, but when he looks at Joon, his eyes convey so much emotion that my heart about stops. From the moment I realized just how deeply he cares for Joon, I was hit HARD with the worst case of Second Lead Syndrome.
Siwon as Hyuk. Oh dear. This is where all my expectations crumbled and hit the ground. I was expecting the smart, sly clown from SWP. All I got was the clown. I get that Hyuk is supposed to be naive, but he was actually nearly unlikable in the beginning. I had to grit my teeth and endure for the first few episodes.
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.
You have been warned. There’s no turning back if you read beyond this point. Do NOT make me pull out my pirate GIFs.
First, the abuse that the CEO heaps on Hyuk and sometimes Jae Hee. It doesn’t stop. I don’t like it. It makes me flinch. HOWEVER, I am willing to recognize that there is a cultural difference here that I do not grasp. Also, no one in the show except for Hyuk’s older brother seems to approve of the abuse. It is not glorified. It is not made okay. It shows just how awful Hyuk’s father really is.
On the flip side, CEO Byun seems to be pushing Hyuk. He seems to want to be proud of him, which is NOT what I expect from an abuser. This is what keeps me going even as I’m flinching — why isn’t this following the typical abuse pattern? Where is it going to end up?
Also, as Joon encourages Hyuk to grow a spine, he’s growing in his character. This includes standing up to his father and not letting him abuse Jae Hee anymore. I want to see where this journey takes Hyuk, and if eventually he stops his father from hitting anyone at all.
And that’s it in a nutshell — finally, FINALLY Hyuk is experiencing some real character growth. It’s pushing him to do the things that only he can do as the CEO’s son, and he’s realizing the strength in that position. The encouragement and testing he’s receiving from Director Seol has been interesting too. I want to see where that goes.
There also seems to be a bit of character regression with Jae Hee, though. As Joon and Hyuk grow closer, he seems to be taking some steps down the slippery slope to cold-heartedness and putting his career above his personal relationships. But he’s conflicted about it and I see good story potential there.
Adding in Terminator Policeman and Drunk Stewardess Friend to the mix will also add some needed variety and levity. THAT has surprised me. Revolutionary Love has been billed as a light comedy, I thought, but we’re getting repeated physical abuse, near-suicides, and murder cover ups. (Maybe murder. Maybe just hit and run. Don’t know yet.) So these secondary, almost tertiary characters being added to lighten the story was not something I saw coming.
So, to sum up: Revolutionary Love is a heavier drama than I expected, and after a long, slow beginning, it’s finally finding its feet. I’m interested to see where it goes, because I detect some secondary stories and some story arcs that might make the beginning worth my time.
Sticking it out for you, my drama fans, I remain–
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi