At long last, after several scheduling switches Bad Guy made its premiere on SBS this week, and got off to a promising start. I’ve been itching for something darker, more serious, and thriller-esque for a while now, because I’d been getting a little bogged down in romantic comedies. But there just aren’t as many thriller dramas as trendies, so this has been a long time coming. I wasn’t in LOVE with the premiere episode, but I did find myself intrigued by it, and am hoping that this proves to be a solid offering. I’ve been excited by the idea of Bad Guy ever since its preview came out, because it seemed dark, stylish, and mysterious. The first episode hits those notes and hints at more to come, if the writing can manage to steer clear of some contrivances.
SONG OF THE DAY
Bad Guy OST – “가시꽃” by Jung Yeob [ Download ]
Usually I start first episodes with an explanation of the characters, but in thrillers and mysteries where details are unfurled in pieces — and particularly when one key element of the drama is identity — it’s easier to just dive right into the plot:
EPISODE 1 RECAP
A woman stands on the rooftop of a tall building. She looks up at the sky peacefully, until a figure appears at the staircase and heads toward her. His body is shrouded in the dark but she recognizes him (and so do we — it’s series star Kim Nam-gil, although his face is not revealed to us), and immediately she is thrown into panic.
She drops something — a folded paper crane — and yells at him to stay away, backing up until she’s at the edge of the roof. In her anxiety, she presses herself against the rail, and her feet hover at the ledge — and then lose their balance. She slips through the gap and falls to the pavement, many feet below.
A car travels along a street a few blocks away, its driver trying to hold back her tears. This is MOON JAE-IN (Han Ga-in), who has just suffered a mighty indignity at the hands of her not-quite-ex-boyfriend’s mother. Jae-in is, by the snooty woman’s estimation, intelligent and accomplished (but born poor!), and therefore should have no trouble understanding that she does not suit her fancy, well-born son. Rich Mom has decided that her son has moved on, and so should Jae-in.
The mother hands over an envelope of money to sweeten the bitter aftertaste, telling her with false generosity not to worry about the expenditure — their company regularly donates large sums to needy causes. Thus she effectively reduces Jae-in’s existence — and place in her son’s life — to a pathetic charity case.
The memory of the degrading encounter prompts more tears to fall, and Jae-in’s vision is obscured by her crying. Thus she’s late to react when a pedestrian steps into the intersection — against the walk light, although I suppose that isn’t the point. She screeches to a stop, but not fast enough to avoid impact. The man hits her windshield and falls to the ground.
Alarmed, Jae-in gets out to check on the man and dials the emergency number.
Again, we’re only given glimpses of him but we can see that this is Kim Nam-gil — let’s call him by his character name now, SHIM GUN-WOOK — and we can make out little clues. For instance, even if we had not recognized his silhouette, he wears the same brown shoes of the man on the roof. And when he moves, Jae-in sees through a tear in his shirt that he has a scar running down his back.
As Jae-in connects with the emergency dispatcher, Gun-wook gets to his feet with some effort, still dazed from the impact. The sound of a scream nearby diverts Jae-in’s attention in the other direction, and when she turns back, Gun-wook is gone.
That rooftop woman’s body is discovered, and the area is cordoned off as a possible crime scene. The main investigator, at right, is paired up with the new guy (they have names, but for now I’ll call them Old Cop and New Cop), and New Cop is nonchalant about the whole thing. He wants to go for the easy answer — suicide — and wrap this up quickly.
Old Cop, however, finds the paper crane nearby, now stained with the victim’s blood. He sees little inconsistencies in the case and until he is satisfied, he cannnot declare this either a suicide or a murder. One lead is the woman’s boyfriend, and they look into his identity.
Jae-in arrives in a park where several couples are having wedding photos taken. Among them is her ex-boyfriend, who sees her and immediately pushes her away to talk in secret. How dare she come here and humiliate him this way?
Jae-in retorts that she called him dozens of times to spare him this humiliation, if only he’d bothered to actually respond. Touché. She’s full of righteous anger at the cowardly way he has dumped her, and tells him that she has no problem with a relationship ending — but what did she do to merit such debasing treatment? Was it such a crime to be born poor? Or to dare to dream of marrying him someday? She throws his mother’s money at him and says that she’s upset with herself for loving a man who turned out to be so pathetic. She congratulates his bride on her nuptials, then storms off.
Aww, yeah. This is the send-off many a dumped woman has longed to deliver to an unworthy ex, and Jae-in earns my favor on this scornful diatribe alone.
Up in the sky, a man leaps from a plane and freefalls. It’s Gun-wook, and he’s clearly practiced at this, from the skillful way he guides his parachute over the water, aiming for a yacht landing.
Standing on the deck of the yacht is its young owner, HONG MO-NAE (Jung So-min). She looks up curiously as the skydiver heads for her boat and lands heavily on the deck.
Mo-nae’s curiosity morphs into admiration when Gun-wook removes his helmet and she sees just how cool and dashing he is. He talks to her casually and orders her to help him with the chute, asking whether she got his descent on film.
She doesn’t know what he’s talking about but it doesn’t dim her wonder, and Mo-nae isn’t the only one immediately smitten — so is her niece, little SO-DAM, who looks up at Gun-wook and calls him “Angel Ajusshi,” or “Mister Angel.”
Not so HONG TAE-RA, Mo-nae’s older sister and snooty rich bitch extraordinaire. Actually, I suppose I shouldn’t slag her too much in this scene because Tae-ra’s coolness is warranted — he DID just land on their yacht — but I hate her so (SO) much in this episode that I can’t help stringing along extra adjectives (haughty, hateful, shrewish) whenever she’s mentioned.
It turns out that Gun-wook landed on the wrong vessel, and his crew motors up in their own boat to claim him.
Jae-in is an art consultant and is currently freelancing for another hateful shrew, Madam Shin. Unsurprising that she should turn out to be Tae-ra’s mother. She’s got the same pinched attitude toward her inferiors as her older daughter, though much uglier hair. The chaebol family heads the Haeshin Group, and Madam Shin is opening a museum. As Jae-in is headed down to Jeju Island for a working trip, Madam Shin casually mentions that she should drop by Mo-nae’s birthday party.
Jae-in doesn’t consider it seriously until Madam Shin’s much-abused assistant whispers to her that the notorious HONG TAE-SUNG is supposedly going to show. Apparently his arrival from the States has Mommy Dearest on edge; Tae-sung (played by Coffee Prince‘s Kim Jae-wook, though we don’t see him yet) is actually a lovechild of President Hong, though now he’s Haeshin’s heir. The assistant/friend tells Jae-in she ought to seduce Tae-sung, marry him, and then flaunt that in her worthless ex’s face.
Although Jae-in dismisses it, the idea sticks in her mind. She decides to drop by Mo-nae’s party, which is no small commitment because it requires her to buy a gift, and what do you buy an heiress? The answer is a ridiculously expensive fountain pen, for which she must pay on an installment plan.
Arriving at the hotel on Jeju Island, Jae-in walks along the lavish grounds and crosses paths with another woman — literally — which sends both of them falling to the grass. As she gets back up, she finds herself in the thick of a gangster fight.
Gun-wook is being chased by several thugs, and sports a stab wound in his side. He fights off his pursuers and grabs Jae-in for cover, then holds a knife to her side and instructs her to be quiet. The men throw a suitcase at his head, which breaks them up, and he gets back up to engage again.
Jae-in reaches for her phone and dials the emergency number to ask for police assistance… which is when a loud voice yells, “CUT!” A director strides toward her angrily. What’s the actress doing, going off script like that?
It turns out that the woman she’d bumped into was the person Gun-wook was supposed to grab, and this is part of the action movie for which he is stuntman. The other woman hands her the box she dropped — Mo-nae’s present — not noticing that the pen has fallen out, which later gets picked up by Gun-wook.
The action director tries to convince Gun-wook to go topless for a scene in place of the actor. To the dismay of fans everywhere, Gun-wook firmly declines. The pressure him into agreeing, as he’s got the best physique, and one stuntman lifts his shirt to prove it. But that reveals the scar running down his back and they drop the subject, unsure if it’s a sore subject.
Jae-in sees Tae-ra arriving at the hotel and approaches enthusiastically. They’ve never met, but Jae-in recognizes her from photos and introduces herself as the consultant working with her mother, who suggested that she drop by for Mo-nae’s birthday.
Tae-ra is civil enough to skirt outright rudeness, but she has no interest in talking to Jae-in, who is not doing a very good job being supplicating. Or maybe she’s doing TOO good a job, and her eager-to-please behavior is transparent.
Mo-nae and So-dam spot Gun-wook heading into the hotel and eagerly go off in search of him. However, they end up following the wrong guy — the actor for whom he is doubling (hence the similarity in looks). So-dam spots Gun-wook off in the distance and leaves her aunt to follow him, and when Mo-nae looks around, the little girl is nowhere to be found. She calls Tae-ra, who is immediately sent into a panic and orders a search.
Catching a glimpse of So-dam in the elevator, Mo-nae follows it upstairs.
Gun-wook arrives on the rooftop and finally asks how long the girl’s going to keep following him. She calls him Angel Ajusshi, asking if his “wings” have dried off after dropping into the water, meaning his parachute. Gun-wook talks to her affectionately and plays along with her Angel questions.
When she asks him to fly for her, he humors her by standing on the ledge with his arms outstretched, which is the pose he’s in when Mo-nae finds them.
So-dam declares that the Angel Ajusshi is going to fly for her, and then — omo! — gives him a push. Mo-nae screams as Gun-wook falls off the ledge.
Thankfully, he had barely managed to grab onto the rails and grasps Mo-nae’s hand. She pulls him back onto the roof to safety, falling to the ground with the effort. So-dam, not registering the danger of what just transpired, asks why he can’t fly.
Instead of being angry, Gun-wook ruffles the girl’s hair and answers that his wings must still be wet. He’s about to help Mo-nae to her feet when a man rushes up and shoves him against the railing, hand pressed to his throat. He’s the family’s driver, and had been looking for the missing girl with Tae-ra when they’d heard Mo-nae scream. Naturally they assumed the worst. Not knowing this, Gun-wook swiftly counters and shoves the man away.
Operating on her own misconception, Tae-ra stalks up and slaps him in the face, breaking the skin with her jewelry. She orders her driver to call the police, jumping to the conclusion that Gun-wook lured the girl here to make ransom demands or otherwise leverage her safety for money.
Mo-nae speaks up in his defense, but Overbearing Sister refuses to listen. She accuses Gun-wook of following them here from the bay, as though he orchestrated the run-in from the start.
I wouldn’t say Gun-wook doesn’t care at all about her false accusations, but he doesn’t let them ripple his calm, and in fact steps closer. This makes Tae-ra even more skittish, particularly when he raises a hand… and slowly reaches toward her chest… where he plucks off a stray hair. She slaps him again. There’s a lot of antagonism here, but the air fairly crackles with tension. Which makes me suspect that it’ll turn into sexual tension soon enough.
Mo-nae forcibly drags Tae-ra away, saying that he almost died because of So-dam. She orders the driver not to call the police, and apologizes to Gun-wook.
One gets the sense that Tae-ra has a habit of disregarding her kid sister, because she doesn’t believe Mo-nae until So-dam speaks up, proud of finding the Angel Ajusshi first and following him up to the roof. Mo-nae tells her sister she was out of line to accuse him of following the family when he’s clearly here to shoot a movie. Just because they’re rich doesn’t mean she has to eye everyone suspiciously, assuming they’re after money.
Some people ARE thinking mostly of money, though, and Jae-in entertains her friend’s suggestion to snag Tae-sung. She runs the idea by her sister WON-IN (Shim Eun-kyung, who apparently put off her big move to America to shoot this role). While not an outright delinquent, it looks like Won-in has a habit of breaking school rules, like ditching class to go buy snacks. She also scoffs at her sister’s question, finding it insane.
Won-in doesn’t think her sister’s capable of it, and to be honest, I don’t think she is, either — Jae-in’s not a smooth liar and she’s not very practiced in this manipulation game. We see this firsthand when she visits Mo-nae and tries to angle for an invite to the birthday party. (Mo-nae treats her with friendliness, but they’re not exactly friends. I’m going to guess that perhaps Jae-in was her tutor. Mo-nae’s probably not old enough for them to have been schoolmates; she’s on her way to college now, which makes her around 20.)
When Mo-nae opens her present, a prop knife falls out. Jae-in realizes that it must have gotten switched during her run-in on the movie set and starts to apologize, but Mo-nae finds the blade fascinating — it’s one of those fake ones where the false blade slides into the handle.
Jae-in starts to ask about the party and the people who will be present. Mo-nae confirms that Tae-sung will be there, but warns Jae-in not to speak of him to her mother or sister. It’s a sore topic. When Tae-ra drops by, Mo-nae asks to include Jae-in in the party tomorrow night. Tae-ra says no in her coolly polite way, saying it’s only a family gathering. Hiding her disappointment, Jae-in says it’s fine.
While Gun-wook dozes on the rooftop, he’s assailed by a flood of disturbing memories. They don’t mean much to us now, but depict an unhappy childhood — we see a rich boy, an accident that led to his back scar, a DNA test, and a boy crying out plaintively to be let inside. And also, curiously, a nametag that reads “Hong Tae-sung.”
He jerks awake, and is soon joined by the movie’s star actress, CHOI HYE-JOO (played by Ha Joo-hee, whom you may remember as the hilarious bimbo from Soulmate). Hye-joo has taken note of the mysterious stuntman, and although her words are pretty innocuous, we can see that she’s angling after him.
The conversation is cut short by her stylist, DA-RIM, who trips and falls on the clothing she carries. That earns her a slap and a harsh scolding — out of Gun-wook’s presence, of course. Hye-joo can be a mean bitch when provoked, and spews spite at her clumsy stylist.
While reading over his script, Gun-wook rips a page out and fashions an origami crane out of it, which flies off the railing and flutters down to the ground below. Jae-in picks it up and looks up, where she sees Gun-wook walking away.
Meanwhile, back in Seoul the other crane is being examined by Old Cop, who wonders what it means. He scolds New Cop for playing games on the job and sends him off to check on the whereabouts of the victim’s boyfriend.
Mo-nae goes out to dinner with her fiancé, EOM SE-JOONG. They’re on friendly terms, but it’s an arranged relationship and Mo-nae wonders why he wants to marry her. Shouldn’t marriage require stronger attachment?
Just then, she’s distracted by the arrival of Gun-wook at the bar. When he gets up to go to the bathroom, she hurriedly excuses herself and follows. Boldly, she presents herself before him in the men’s room to apologize for earlier. He tells her it’s fine, adding that “It’s not something for you to feel sorry for” (implying that Tae-ra should).
A man enters the bathroom — Se-joong — which sends the two of them to a bathroom stall to hide. I’ll admit, it’s pretty hot, as far as forced hiding scenarios go. For a moment it seems as though they might kiss, and Gun-wook tilts his mouth down ever so slightly toward her… but then Se-joong exits, which is their cue to leave as well.
Before she goes, Mo-nae asks for his name, and immediately drops the stuffy-sounding “ajusshi” to call him “Gun-wook oppa.” She tells him her name, so he won’t have to call her “Miss” anymore.
Making this world just a bit smaller, we see that Se-joong and Hye-joo are dating. Not seriously, but enough for her to grope his thigh suggestively while she drives. That proves enough of a distraction that she reacts late when a motorcycle darts out into the intersection. The vehicles have a minor collision, which sends Hye-joo diving for cover — she’s a star, and this will look bad for her.
Se-joong steps up to take charge, getting out to deal with the motorist while Hye-joo hides behind the steering wheel. As coincidence would have it — of course! — the biker is Gun-wook.
Se-joong shoves money at him to buy his silence, and for a moment it looks like Gun-wook is going to throw it back in his face. Despite her cowering, Gun-wook recognizes Hye-joo in the driver’s seat, though he doesn’t comment. He takes the note — somewhere close to $10,000, it appears — and allows the couple to drive off in relief.
That night, Gun-wook sits on the dock and plays with a lighter, flicking it on, off, on, off. He takes the banknote and holds it up to the flame, as though to burn it — feeling the indignity of being bought off by a rich bastard — but pulls it away before it catches fire. The screen fades before we see what he ultimately decides to do, though I’m going to speculate that he didn’t burn it. He’s got bigger fish to fry, and that small gesture isn’t going to right the wrong burning in his memory. But more on that later.
(Also: I laughed to see him playing with a lighter while he had a lollipop stick in his mouth rather than the obvious cigarette. It must be their way of invoking the cigarette imagery without actually showing him smoking.)
The next day, Jae-in comes to the film set to ask about her lost pen, wondering if anyone saw it. The director calls out the question to his crew, and it captures Gun-wook’s notice, but he doesn’t speak up. He heads to the hangar to gear up for the skydiving shoot.
He’s immediately suspicious when he sees Da-rim hurriedly walking away from a parachute. He doesn’t see her messing with the knife and cutting one of the cords, but he’s sharp and knows what she’s up to. Coolly, he points to the cords on the parachute and indicates that she cut the wrong one — if she really wanted someone to die, she should cut the others.
Da-rim struggles to break free of his grasp, and in so doing slashes his hand with her knife. Her eyes widen in shock to see the blood dripping, but she fires back petulantly that he doesn’t know what a horrible bitch Hye-joo is! She tramples all over people, slaps them, and curses them. Da-rim screams that she wishes Hye-joo would die.
Gun-wook yells at her to pull herself together. And this is why I think he kept the money:
Gun-wook: “Would Choi Hye-joo’s death change your life? If Choi Hye-joo died, another Choi Hye-joo would come along to trample over you. Would you kill her every time, like you’re trying now? Killing is easy — want me to show you how easy it is to kill a person? You know what’s harder than killing someone? Stepping on Choi Hye-joo as you rise above her. And making sure nobody ever steps on you again.”
Goddamn, he’s sexy.
Now for the jump. While prepping, Gun-wook gives Hye-joo a last tip — a jumper can mistake the water for the sky and get flipped around, resulting in an accident. But if she keeps her head, she’ll be fine. Before they jump, he adjusts the frequency on his walkie-talkie (after radioing to his team below), and also adjusts Hye-joo’s.
They dive. It’s exhilarating, and everything goes smoothly. Gun-wook takes the moment to ask about her companion last night. Their walkie-talkies enable them to talk to each other and the changed frequency keeps the exchange private — while also getting picked up by a third one below, on Mo-nae’s yacht. Curious, she listens in on the conversation, finding it all very amusing.
Gun-wook asks what their relationship is. Hye-joo answers that it’s not a big deal — they’re just dating briefly and he’s actually engaged. Gun-wook says he knows the guy — it’s Eom Se-joong, right?
He has engineered this specifically so Mo-nae would find out about her cheating fiancé, and she hears the name just as Se-joon presents her with a birthday necklace. He tells her, “I love you,” and moves in for a kiss… and she vomits on him, feeling ill.
Now for the chute pull. The two divers separate and pull their ripcords. Gun-wook’s deploys correctly, but Hye-joo’s fails to open fully and she continues to free-fall, screaming in panic. Gun-wook yells at her to get a grip — she has a reserve — but she’s so scared that she can’t do anything but scream.
Thinking fast, Gun-wook releases himself from his chute and dives for Hye-joo. He cuts her free of the failed chute and deploys her backup, then spins off in another direction. Below, everyone looks up in horror, screaming at Gun-wook, who continues to fall. As warned, the spinning makes him confuse sea for sky, and he tries to focus and straighten himself. He manages to release his chute, but because he continues to flip in the air, it doesn’t slow him down as quickly as it should and he crashes into the water.
Back in Seoul, the two cops finally locate the whereabouts of the victim’s boyfriend: He’s in Jeju.
Gun-wook’s team fishes him out of the water, all the while his memories are unleashed again. This time we get to see some of the flashes we’d caught earlier, only now they have some context.
And curiously, in his memory, his name is Tae-sung, not Gun-wook.
As a young boy, he had lived a very happy — if poor — life with his mother and adopted father, who was deaf. They couldn’t afford a hearing aid, but his doting father assured him that he didn’t need one. Young Gun-wook had promised to buy him one anyway.
Then came the day that his heartbroken parents had to tell him that he was actually the son of a very rich man who would take him in to live as his rightful son. Gun-wook/Tae-sung had protested, but was dragged off screaming for his parents with only his dog for company.
His new parents, President Hong and Madam Shin, had told him that he was home now, but he had refused to speak, which frustrated his stepmother. She made the (false?) promise that if he was a good boy, they’d make sure his parents became rich and came to get him.
So young Gun-wook/Tae-sang had spoken — but before he would bring himself to call President Hong his father, he had struck a deal with Madam Shin. He forced himself to say the word “Dad,” and Madam Shin told her husband that their son had asked for a hearing aid.
Thinking back now, Gun-wook tears up at the memory.
Meanwhile, at the museum, Jae-in finds another crane on the ground, which she retrieves. The printing resembles a page out of a script, and she unravels the crane to find handwritten notes on the paper — the names of the Haeshin group family members.
So what does this mean? Is Gun-wook really Hong Tae-sung? He had been brought into the family as the new brother — does this make Tae-ra and Mo-nae his sisters?
But no, we’re not in THAT drama. Not much time had passed before young Gun-wook was thrown out of the house. He’d sobbed for them to let him inside, not understanding why they changed their minds about wanting him, but they’d turned a deaf ear. Now the DNA test makes sense, because there was another little boy in those memories, and tests must have shown that Gun-wook was not Hong’s son. He’d been cast out — and been thrown onto glass, which gave him the scar — while his dead dog had been left out in the rain.
In his moments in the water in half-consciousness, Gun-wook sees these memories flash before his eyes one more time. The dialogue spoken by his character in the script — which Jae-in reads and Gun-wook recalls in his memory — echo the situation now:
Gun-wook: “In the night, my entire body is in darkness. I don’t know where the heavens are, or where the ground is. Is the light from fire, or from the stars? I can’t tell. Where is it I’m going? Is it heaven? Or is it hell?”
Generally speaking, I liked Bad Guy. I was hoping it would be good, and I wasn’t disappointed in the directing, acting, ambiance, or tone. I’m intrigued by the premise — it seems set up for a revenge upon the Haeshin Group — and there are mysteries on top of that, like the woman who dies in the first scene. But while I’m definitely in for at least another few episodes, I’m not 100% sold on this drama yet, because there are a few things that give me pause.
The story itself is something we’ve seen before — another chaebol, another takeover/revenge plot, another switched identity mystery — so I consider the premise serviceable, not novel. The directing and pacing, however, manage to wring out suspense from the setup anyway, and I find myself invested enough to want to know what the deal is with the two Tae-sungs.
A few story points seem pretty contrived, such as Jae-in’s decision to go for Tae-sung. I was trying to think up explanations that support this, and I came up with one or two (like her dumping providing the impetus to get a rich husband to spite her ex), but ultimately I didn’t find them convincing. If she had mercenary tendencies from the start, I’d find her decision more credible. But she threw her ex’s mother’s money back in his face, only to turn around ten minutes later to begin Operation Gold-Digging. If she’d accepted the money at the start, albeit grudgingly, I might have believed her decision — imagine her taking that check to buy Mo-nae’s present. That would be more fitting, wouldn’t it? So in the end I don’t really buy her decision, but as it is one of the pillars of her story arc, I figure I can just express my disappointment here, then move on and accept it as fact.
Then there’s the matter of Gun-wook getting hit by TWO drivers. Man, they’re just adding fodder for the Asian woman driver stereotype, aren’t they? The first time I’ll buy. If they show that he planned the second encounter — which is possible, if he’s planning his own scheme — I’m back onboard. But if they were just two coincidental collisions, this is another example of something I’ll just dislike and move on from.
Acting-wise, there has been a lot of talk about two of the leading ladies: (1) How much Han Ga-in has improved, and (2) newcomer Jung So-min‘s impressive portrayal of Mo-nae. Han Ga-in is the surprise, and I was glad to revise my prior opinion of her (pretty but blank), although I still think she could do better getting into the emotional side of her character. But it’s a marked step up from her previous dramas — perhaps she’s been hard at work training over the three years since she last acted.
I personally find Kim Nam-gil and Oh Yeon-soo much stronger — and their brief moments are loaded in chemistry — but they were expected to be amazing. In particular, Kim Nam-gil is so charismatic that he commands your attention. This is the first role where I feel like he gets to be his real broody and serious self, which may be a total misconception on my part but also speaks to how naturally he has stepped into this part and inhabited Gun-wook. He’s a mysterious person, but you don’t feel that the mystery comes purely from the plot (which is what I felt they did to Park Shi-hoo in Prosecutor Princess) — it comes seeping out of his very essence, too.
There are several ways in which Bad Guy reminds me of 2008’s La Dolce Vita, and not just because Oh Yeon-soo is in both. Or because a possible rooftop suicide starts both series. But to my relief, I like this one better (even though I know La Dolce Vita has a fierce fanbase and was well-regarded as a suspenseful dark thriller). Maybe I’m in the just mood for the genre now and wasn’t then? Maybe the warm summer sun appeals to me more than the winter snow? Maybe Bad Guy doesn’t seem quite as pretentious to me as La Dolce Vita? Plus, despite the fact that this is a drama with a dark side, it doesn’t seem quite as cold and hard as the other.
In any case, I’m eager to wrap this up so I can move on to Episode 2.