Howdy, drama fans! Karie the Maknae here, happy to join Kmuse, Drama Geek, and Kdrama Jen as we recap the new police kdrama Live. I have a hard time scaling down my recaps to the parts that stood out to me, especially in a drama like this, where every detail seems to have meaning. So buckle up, drama fans, because here come the Maknae’s thoughts on Live, episode 2!
A short bio: I’m the maknae because I only joined the kdrama fandom about a year and a half ago (we won’t talk about how old I am. ANYWAY). I have a couple of degrees in literature, and I find the good kdramas fascinating in their structure and pacing and portrayal of the human condition. Live definitely has some promise in that direction. When I’m not avidly watching kdramas in a vain effort to catch up to my kdrama-watching seniors, I’m a mom to four kids and a professional paper shuffler (trust me, my job sounds WAY more interesting that way).
We open on our main characters as they are being sent to resist protesters. They can’t react, just form a line. Non-violent reaction is something I’m down with, but I wonder how well it’s going to go for them, especially since Sang Soo has a temper on him.
The action moves to the precinct where Ahn Jung Mi works. There are a few familiar faces around the breakroom table–Sung Dong Il (Prison Playbook), Jang Hyun Sung (police commissioner in Signal)…the uniform must be comfy.
Jung Mi hands responsibility for a disciplinary decision off to her junior, who handles it as diplomatically as he can — lets his friend take his vacation, then turn himself in to Internal Affairs for excessive force or whatever. Seems reasonable to me, as it should satisfy people on both sides of the issue. We’ll see….
Elsewhere, Oh Yang Chon is helping his mentor track down a suspect in that one last case that he never could solve. Not winning points with his wife…or the victim’s family. It seems to be worth it for the mentor’s joy when they finally catch the guy, though. I understand what the phrase “a face wreathed in smiles” means now.
Yang Chon gets a call: Ahn Jung Mi’s parents are in the hospital. When we see them, they’re sharing a room with his mom. His dad takes Jung Mi to dinner, and she announces her plan to divorce Yang Chon. Apparently she is just DONE with him, and has been for a while. At home, we see that the kids are whiny brats and the house is a mess.
Jung Oh and Sang Soo ruminate on handling protests while grabbing a quick bite to eat on the bus. This almost seems like hazing, making them handle the protests.
Oh Yang Chon and his mentor are driving home. Yang Chon buys himself a beer and coffee for his mentor, but his mentor won’t let him drink it since they’re still on duty. They spot a drunk man walking into the ocean. Yang Chon saves him, but his mentor drowns trying to save Yang Chon, who didn’t really need it. It’s a senseless death with major repercussions, and Yang Chon gets disciplined for it. I found it to be a little bit predictable–of COURSE the mentor was going to die after closing his last case. Our Yang Chon must need motivation for something.
Jung Mi’s parents die too. Deaths all around. In the meantime, our resilient pre-rookie duo handle a student protest, and we get an up-close look at how much they don’t want to, even as they do their duty.
Back to Yang Chon: The funeral for Jung Mi’s parents and his mentor are across the hall from each other. Yang Chon has to get dragged back to his in-laws’ funeral. He learns the hard way that he’s being thrown under the bus for the mentor’s death and punches the chief of police. I applaud him for standing up for himself . . . sort of, but worry for him too. That’s not gonna end well.
The rookies celebrate the end to the protest/hazing, and there’s eating and dancing (OH MY GOSH KWANG SOO) and fireworks. Swap war wound stories, share popsicles, celebrate being alive, essentially. Sang Soo and Jung Oh know they’re going to the same station, but this isn’t a tender moment leading up to some romance. Just two people realizing they’re going to be colleagues.
Ah, orientation: Tell them all the things really fast and expect them to remember. The friend of the disciplined officer at beginning is being called a traitor for his disciplinary call. Lee Shi Eon (Soo Bong from W, Sung Jae in Reply 1997) is a senior officer there, and is being a lazy butt, supposedly (there’s something about him that makes me think there’s more to it). And training begins. I’m grateful for my very blurry vision. I was able to conveniently clean my glasses during that part so I didn’t have to see the rather realistic vomit all over squad cars as the rookies cleaned them out. SOOOOO many reasons not to be a police officer.
Cut to Ahn Jung Mi in the family home. Kids are quiet, the apartment is clean, she’s calmly stocking the fridge and making tea. She’s on bereavement leave, maybe? Anyway, Yang Chon enters and she tells him she wants a divorce. He’s obviously blindsided and angrily eats rice off the rice spatula thingie. I don’t know why that made me laugh, but it did.
Back to the precinct. Kwang Soo and the rookies (that sounds like a potential band name, doesn’t it?) are in the breakroom, complaining about wanting to do REAL police work. The senior officers stare at them with a “you did NOT just say that” look. The rookies are confused, and then an “all hands on deck” call comes over the intercom. The senior officers scold the rookies for making it happen as they all rush to attend to the situation.
For the gentle watchers among us: Netflix is up to its usual excessive swearing thing, adding in f-bombs for . . . local color, I guess? I don’t find them necessary. Anyway, if offensive language bothers you, then I would recommend giving this one a pass. This is not a light-hearted drama about some feisty, happy-go-lucky rookies gaining experience. As Kmuse said in the last recap, it’s full of dramatic realism, with all that entails.
I’m finding Kwang Soo to be astonishingly good. He’s got great nuanced expressions and relates well to the people around him. Jung Yoo Mi reminds me a little too much of Kristen Stewart, but she’s not so wooden, so I’m not complaining. The story that really has me hooked right now is the reason Ahn Jung Mi wants to leave Oh Yang Chon. That’s the mystery I want to understand. I’m enjoying the rest of the characters well enough to see how the story slowly unfolds, and very much wonder where we’re going to be at the end of all this.
Until the next patrol, drama fans!
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi