The Fangirls decided that we were going to watch Memories of the Alhambra this weekend and report back. Was this drama worthy of all the hype? Does the OTP sizzle? What the heck is going on in Alhambra? Come join us and find out the answer to all these questions and more as we share our first impressions and unfiltered thoughts
Warning! There will be spoilers since you can’t really talk about the first two episodes without discussing some drama events/circumstances.
Oooh! A mystery
Karie the Maknae: I see two mysteries, actually — what happened to Chanyeol? And what in the HECK is going on with Hyun Bin at the end of episode 2? Is he addicted to the game? Is he trying to find Chanyeol? Is he going up against his corporate frenemy?
Kmuse: The second Chaneyeol disappeared (please don’t say he is already dead). I started freaking out over the EXO drama death curse. Why do so many EXO members die in their dramas? Let’s hope that this time it is just a fake video game death and he isn’t dead for reals.
Drama Geek: I love how these first two episodes started and ended with essentially a haggard looking guy in Chucks fighting for his life on a train. I pointed the Chucks out to my family and they just looked at me weird. No! You don’t get it. Leading men in kdramas very rarely wear that kind of foot attire and this character is not the type to do so either. With this drama it will be all about those little things we have to pay attention to in order to figure out what the heck is going on. I think Hyun Bin is not only in a fight to get out of the game, but also to save Chanyeol. That would be my guess.
Clkytta: I think he’s secretly David Tennant’s 10th Doctor. No, seriously, I think the game has gotten all too real. I think he and Chanyeol are trapped in the game and he’s wearing shoes he can run in. He looks really haggard and I think he’s been on the run for a while. I agree with Drama Geek, the tiny details are going to be the ones we connect together later to make it all make sense.
Wonderful use of exotic filming location
Karie the Maknae: Oh my goodness, Granada is GORGEOUS. I didn’t really care for Spanish architecture before — tile roofs and stucco just do NOT appeal to me — but the intricate detail and muted pastels of Granada are beautiful. I expect the rest of the drama to be just as beautiful.
Kmuse: I am the opposite. I am a huge fan of this type of Moorish inspired architecture. I especially loved how they brought the past of the city alive and layered with the present. So much pretty…and I am not talking about Hyun Bin this time around. (Clkytta: I’m a huge fan of this type of architecture too.)
Drama Geek: The use of the setting of Granada will be essential to this drama. The staircase in the hostel has already become a symbol, the square where he fought his first foe (for HOURS), and that restaurant where he kept using their bathroom. All landmarks that gave the story such deep layers. After this premiere week, I was tempted to book a flight to both Cuba and Granada.
Clkytta: Setting and symbolism are going to be huge with this drama. I love the location and the exotic feel. The setting is really working for the story because it’s gorgeous, and yet dangerous. I like the use of architecture and how 3D it all feels. It’s really making me wish I could visit Granada.
This is a video game I could learn to love!
Karie the Maknae: Watching Hyun Bin having to trek to the bathroom over and over and over to get his rusty sword — I laughed and LAUGHED. The video game details are great, and the humor with which the game’s players are treated is perfect. I love dry humor, and showing the players in-game, as well as the people who are NOT in-game and just see a crazy person waving their hands around, makes for some great humorous moments.
Kmuse: I am personally not a gamer. However, I have great respect for the gaming culture and loved how they brought us something new that could someday be a possibility. This is just the right mix of fantasy technology with a realistic storyline to have me hooked.
Drama Geek: There would be so much chaos if this game was real. People would also be super in shape. I was on the edge of my seat anytime he was in the game. It was exciting and pretty humorous. It’ll be interesting to see how Hyun Bin became that haggard man on the train.
Clkytta: A good game has many layers and when you add in an exotic location where they speak a different language, you up the intensity. We’ve watched other dramas with video game themes before, but they were not as dynamic as this. I was also on the edge of my seat and laughing at the spectators. Also, I love the use of the statues, it really makes you feel like the whole city is alive in the game.
Karie the Maknae: I do wonder where our main leads are headed. He’s old and TWICE divorced, she’s young and completely stressed out — this could be a legendary OTP or a drama without romance. From the way the story has gone so far, I’d be content with either outcome. I trust the writer so far. And Park Shin Hye and Hyun Bin seem comfortable together — she doesn’t seem to be tense around him. This bodes well.
Kmuse: I was a little shocked that our leading man has been married, not just once, but twice. Whenever I hear of a guy being divorced more than twice I remember watching a Dr. Phil episode where he gave the statics of the success rate of a third marriage. I believe it was something like 15% to 20 %. It’s hard to keep the stars in my eyes with our OTP when I realize the odds are stacked against them. Hopefully, the kdrama magic can help me suspend disbelief.
Drama Geek: My biggest concern is what role her character will play. Historically, this writer gives the female lead a pretty meaty role and she’s central to the action. I hope next week we’ll start to see more of that. Since her brother created the game, then I know she will be a part of that, but I just hope she’s not always sitting at home being a worry wart. Give that girl a rusty sword (or maybe a guitar?) and get her involved in finding her brother. As for the OTP, this writer always has romance and I don’t see this drama being any different. I think we’ll have to wait and see what kind of chemistry they have though.
Clkytta: Old? OLD! Hyun Bin is 36. That’s prime of life Karie, prime of life! He’s just unlucky at love. I think we will see a stronger showing from PSH’s character and I bet we get some romance. I wasn’t happy with her in the first episode with her sobbing breakdown, but after she blasted him later I think she’s got potential. I have a feeling she’s going to be the key to all of it and not just because she’s Chanyeol’s guardian. Anytime you have a plucky girl raising her brother and sister there’s an opportunity for there to be some kind of tragic secret why they were orphaned.
Karie the Maknae: I’m invested in this one, for sure. The writing is superb so far, and the mysteries are intriguing without being on-the-edge-of-your-seat overwhelming and tense. Hyun Bin and Park Shin Hye are both doing a great job in their roles so far–They’re characters I can root for, or I can root for their growth.
Kmuse: I am in love with the visuals, plot development, and the intricate directing so far. The leads are serviceable and I hope that they have romantic chemistry in the future (though, they have not really had much of it since they have minimal interaction in the first two episode.) I think this might be one of those stories that I am in it for the scriptwriter and director. Give me a good story and I will ignore a lot of the smaller issues in a drama.
Drama Geek: The drama has set the right tone and I’m totally invested in the mystery of this world. This writer is an expert at creating a unique idea and world, and for however long she can keep the intensity and mystery going, I’m on board. Hopefully, I don’t have to virtually fight off a gunman to keep riding.
Clkytta: I was out after the first episode, but the fangirls encouraged me to watch the second and I’m glad I did. I tend to shut down when the heroine gets all weepy and weak and I thought this was going to be one of those characters. I was pleasantly surprised by the second episode. The plot is a real draw for me, I just hope it doesn’t get bogged down. I love that his nemesis is his frenemy in the industry and they have a backstory that can really give this drama a lot to build on. I’m in for the wild and crazy ride ahead.
Until the next level, we remain–
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi