While You Were Sleeping 3&4

The drama continues with While You Were Sleeping episodes 3 and 4 (labeled as episode 2 on Viki. Why? I have no idea. *points to self* Maknae, remember?). Now we’re exploring the Cassandra effect in the lives of our two main characters and how they intersect, especially when one believes and one doesn’t. Wait, if you’re a Cassandra who doesn’t believe in your own prophecies, does that make you a Cassandra-inception? Hmmm . . . .

First, a little about me. *waves* Hi! I’m Karie the Maknae, the newest writer for Dramas with a Side of Kimchi. Mother of four, master’s degree in literature, and newcomer to the world of kdramas as of this year. I did NOT realize how much I would be exercising that master’s degree, but Korean storytelling, y’all. It’s amazing when it’s done well. I love it.

And While You Were Sleeping seems to be going well. The mythos of the dreams, the push and pull between Hong Joo and Jae Chan, the twisted machinations of Yu Beom and the people he associates with — they are keeping me HOOKED. Let’s dive in to these next two episodes, shall we?


The episode opens on the aftermath of the accident Jae Chan caused to save a man’s life. And he sacrificed his brand new car! Having never owned a brand new car, I appreciate the significance of his sacrifice. That had to HURT.


I have my concerns. Here’s Yu Beom watching his girlfriend hug another guy, someone he’s manipulated and dominated in the past, and I’m anticipating that his revenge will be both subtle and savage. This is getting heavy, y’all.

Proving a Point

Or it was. Then we cut to the ambulance ride shared by Jae Chan and Hong Joo and it gets awkward so fast. Hahahaha! Their little chat in the hospital about the dreams and their significance and where they come from and the fact that Jae Chan doesn’t really believe in them (he scoots closer to Hong Joo) BUT WHAT IF… That cracked me up. And the next day, when Hong Joo messes with Jae Chan’s head by going to all the stops he’s going to make on his way to work — I was laughing SO HARD. I love the balance between heavy and light this writer is achieving.

And then Jae Chan crushes Hong Joo by telling her that he’s *choosing* not to believe in her dreams. Oh man. Not cool.

Also, the musical selection has been excellent. Just sayin’.

Dramatic Backstory

BACK TO IT: Oh oh oh! It’s That Guy In That Thing! That’s what my husband and I call our favorite character actors. In this case, it’s Choi Won Young, playing Hong Joo’s dad in a seamless transition to her adolescence and the prediction about his death that she dreamed. Huh. If he’s been cast, there’s a possibility that his dad role is going to be more significant than this one episode. We’ll see.

Two Very Different Fathers

And then there is the time of transitions. We see Jae Chan’s younger brother get to that piano recital he mentioned in passing in the last set of episodes. Turns out that was pretty significant. He knows the pianist, played by Kim So Hyun (That Girl in That Thing!), a schoolmate. Turns out she has a deeper story — her dad is abusing her mom and getting away with it, thanks to Yu Beom’s manipulative lawyerly help. So we see that going on and flip seamlessly to the day Hong Joo’s dad died, watching the events go down and what Hong Joo did to try to change things. I think in her grief she missed out on the fact that her dad saved all those other people on the bus because he did end up believing her.

Being the Newbie Sucks

Sprinkled in among that (what, you expected a chronological recap? HECK NO. Keep up, reader. You can do it!) is a great sequence showing how Jae Chan is having a hard time fitting into the prosecutor’s office, due in large part to the twisted way Yu Beom has presented him. Dude, Yu Beom is such a SNAKE. He’s a fantastic antagonist and I hate him SO MUCH already. On the other hand, the scene where Jae Chan is sitting down to a meal with his fellow prosecutors and they pray for him made me laugh and laugh. This is in part to some very pointed prayers-disguised-as-sermons that I have heard in my own life.

Can’t Ignore the Dreams

ANYway. Poor humiliated, exhausted Jae Chan, who has been trying to work through his enormous caseload, falls asleep at his desk. He dreams of his little brother getting put in the back of a police car, being accused of a crime he says he didn’t commit (GEE, I WONDER IF YU BEOM IS INVOLVED). This is starting to feel like echoes of the dream Hong Joo recorded that morning, that Seung Won would kill someone because of his older brother. She decided to take Jae Chan’s advice to heart later in the day, though, and threw that dream note away . . .

. . . and then she digs it out of the garbage later. Good girl. You do what you know is right. It helps that Jae Chan remembers another part of his desk-dream — Hong Joo saying that this could all have been prevented if he had just believed her. (I wonder if Hong Joo and Cassandra mean the same thing in their respective languages.) And then there’s this transition to the previous timeline — Hong Joo is sobbing in an empty room at her father’s funeral, and has tossed away the ball she and her father used to play catch with. Young Jae Chan walks in, picks up the ball, and hands it to her. PAST CONNECTION. Ooo, I love these. Even though they always seem to take place at funerals.

United Front

So in the present day, Jae Chan goes to see Hong Joo just as she decides she needs to act on her note. They talk and Jae Chan unbends enough to actually ask her for help. There’s a cut to Seung Won preventing his classmate from buying antifreeze, and a cut to Jae Chan and Hong Joo staring at each other in consternated wonder as the pieces fall into place, and EXCELLENT dramatic music.

My Thoughts

I am so in love with the music from this show. Music can totally make or break a scene for me (I wanted to stab Love is the Moment from Heirs for the LONGEST time), and the music choices for this drama have been spot on so far. Here’s hoping it stays that way.

I am loving this. I’m a bit of a story snob and one of my biggest pet peeves is when a writer tells instead of shows. Even if it’s two characters talking, if one is dumping a ton of info into the conversation, IT’S STILL TELLING (I’m giving a total side-eye to Scholar Who Walks the Night. I could NOT get through the beginning episodes because of that exact problem). But this writer, Park Hye Ryun, is doing a fabulous job with the exposition, cleverly leading us through the backstory instead of opening the pot and dumping it on our heads, as it were. The cinematography is excellent, and  the character’s motivations are clear and focused, but we’re not beaten over the head with them. Did I mention I’m in love with this drama already? Because I am.

Til next time,

Karie the Maknae

Dramas With A Side of Kimchi




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