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Angel’s Last Mission: Love: Episodes 1-2

I was so excited to dive into KBS’s new fantasy romance Angel’s Last Mission: Love. I had my reservations, for sure, but with a great cast, great director, and a swoon-inducing premise, how could I not raise my hopes? And thankfully, with one captivating premiere, this prickly ballerina and her guardian angel are keeping those hopes way high in the sky.

 
EPISODES 1-2 RECAP

On stage, in front of a beautiful backdrop, a group of ballet dancers perform the final scene of “Swan Lake.” The prima ballerina portraying Odette gives it her all, moving with elegance and passion.

This whole scene, however, is a dream. The ballerina is our heroine LEE YEON-SEO (Shin Hye-sun), and she whimpers in her sleep, warning her dream self to get away. But her dream self goes on with the show, alongside the dancer portraying Odile.

And that’s when a stage light from above shatters. We see the broken glass rain down on a wide-eyed Yeon-seo, and then we cut away to blood splattering on her tutu. Yeon-seo wakes up gasping, annoyed at the dream’s vibrant colors.

She heads over to the bathroom but trips over a stepping stool and falls to the ground. Realizing what’s happened, she screams at the top of her lungs, scaring the living daylights out of her mansion’s staff.

Yeon-seo gathers up the maids and orders each of them to wear a blindfold and trip over the stool, until one of them finally admits that they left it out.

An older man, who we’ll come to know as DRIVER JO (Jang Hyun-sung), comes in, asking what’s going on, but Yeon-seo isn’t finished. She stands up, white cane in hand, and coldly tells the maid that she’s fired.

Later, Yeon-seo and Jo are joined by the chief of staff, JUNG YOO-MI (Woo Hee-jin), there to deliver the mail. Chief Jung panics when she sees an invitation from the Fantasia Cultural Foundation, but Yeon-seo gets a hold of it.

Reading in braille, she learns that the foundation is holding a 20th anniversary party. And the fact that it takes place tomorrow seems to bother her.

Yeon-seo starts leaving the house with her guide dog, when Driver Jo gets a call from the hospital. Yeon-seo snatches the phone away and eagerly asks about her cornea donation. Her face falls when she hears (yet again) that they won’t be able to do the procedure. Frustrated, she tells the doctor to take her off the waitlist.

Driver Jo and Chief Jung sigh as they watch Yeon-seo walk away. We flash back to three years ago, after Yeon-seo’s accident occurred and she was still adjusting to her blindness. She’d fallen into a pit of depression, and she forbade everyone from mentioning ballet or Fantasia ever again.

Elsewhere, our hero and titular angel KIM DAN (L) sits atop a tall building, enjoying the view. “Goodbye, sky. Goodbye, world,” he says, looking serene. “Even if I’m not here, you should always be beautiful, okay?”

Dan stands, his arms spread out, before falling forward. He falls down, down, down until he sprouts wings and flies off into the city. He’s off to one of his missions, as inscribed on a leaf, to stop a truck driver from getting away with stolen dogs.

He messes with the driver (who can’t see him), levitating a lighter and scaring the driver into veering off the road. The dogs all escape, save for one still in its cage and badly hurt. Dan holds his hand over the poor pup and wishes it peace, thus sending it to Heaven.

Dan then teleports to a park to await his next mission. “Since it’s my last day,” he says up to the sky, “please assign something good!” Like clockwork, Dan hears the sound of a dog barking, followed by two skateboarders crashing into someone — Yeon-seo.

The skateboarders give Yeon-seo a hard time, cursing that blind people should stay at home. One of them grabs her arm, and Dan starts toward them, but it looks like Yeon-seo doesn’t need the help; she whips out her white cane and warns them to back off.

The boys continue grabbing at her, so she smacks them with her cane and uses her graceful dance moves to kick them down. (Ha! Nice!) She then sticks the cane in their faces and states that they’re lower than her dog for making derogatory statements. The boys run off, making Dan shake his head.

Since the scuffle scared Yeon-seo’s dog off, she heads out without him, unaware that she’s not completely alone. Dan follows her all the way to a bridge, where she finally lets herself cry.

Dan sadly notes that she died here before. We flash back to a time when Yeon-seo had gone up on the railing and danced along it, to the horror of a gathered crowd. She tried to assure herself that she could dance with her eyes closed, but one misstep made her question everything.

She looked up at the sky, her voice detached as she told her parents that she really couldn’t see. With one final leap, she was in the water, narrating, “They say a ballerina dies twice. The first time is when we give up dancing. The second is when we stop breathing. When I stopped dancing, darkness was all around me. Is there a point in waiting to die a second time? Instead, I wished to die two deaths at once.”

Seeing Yeon-seo’s heartache, Dan approaches her, close enough to have their lips touch. This gesture somehow makes her aware of his presence, and (I think) she hears him when he says that humans only die once.

Yeon-seo’s dog comes running back, just as it starts to rain. She rests on a park bench, Dan right beside her, and silently listens until the pouring stops.

Dan notices a leaf, his final mission, appear on a tree branch and reaches up, startling Yeon-seo… Thus startling Dan. Apparently she can still sense him, because she demands to know who’s sitting next to her.

When he doesn’t answer, she flashes her cane and makes him cry out. He realizes that she can actually hear him — like, clear as day — and freaks out. She tells him to leave her be, and he stubbornly answers that he doesn’t want to. He claims that this bench belongs to God, not her.

However, Yeon-seo doesn’t want to hear about God. She prayed so hard when her father died and when she lost her eyesight, but He never listened. Dan sighs that she sure reacts to trauma strangely, even dancing off a bridge.

Her eyes widen, and she grabs his jacket, asking how he knows that. At this point, Chief Jung appears and calls out to her, giving Dan his chance to bolt. Yeon-seo orders Jung to catch him, but there’s no one there. A confused Yeon-seo feels all around the bench, only to grab at nothing. All she finds is a handkerchief with a feather on it.

At Fantasia, Driver Jo meets with CHOI YOUNG-JA (Do Ji-won), Yeon-seo’s aunt and Fantasia’s current art director. Jo tells her that it’s cruel to have the foundation’s party on the anniversary of Yeon-seo’s parents’ deaths.

Furthermore, he finds it odd that Yeon-seo’s cornea donors always end up cancelling; it conveniently keeps Choi in her job position. Whatever’s going on, Jo plans to have a thorough police investigation, much to Choi’s discomfort.

And whataya know, in the very next scene, Choi has a secret meeting with Yeon-seo’s doctor. The doctor insists that he can’t lie anymore, but Choi tells him that he’s in too deep now.

That night, Dan waves his arms by a street, getting zero responses. He’s still invisible to other people, so he wonders why Yeon-seo was so responsive. Suddenly, a car screeches to a halt, having run over a cat. Dan looks on disapprovingly as the drivers merely switch seats and drive off.

Inside the car we have GEUM NINA (Kim Bomi) and GEUM LUNA (Gil Eun-hye), Director Choi’s daughters. Nina is crying, feeling awful for hitting the cat, but Luna tells her to suck it up. She continues that tragedy happens sometimes and that they deal with it later. Right now, she wants Nina to focus on her big performance tomorrow.

In some heavenly lair, Dan’s senior angel HOO (Kim In-kwon) lectures him for all his hijinks down on Earth. Dan starts to ask if humans can see them, making Hoo narrow his eyes.

“If you lay a finger on a human,” Hoo warns, “you’ll disappear. You’ll disappear like smoke and dust.” So Dan will have to be careful for the next 24 hours if he wants to leave Earth.

Dan is positive that he’ll be fine, but then he notices that his handkerchief is missing. Not good — he was given this handkerchief when he was appointed as a dispatched angel and it’s crucial that he keep it with him at all times.

Yeon-seo wakes up to a leg cramp, so Driver Jo comes in to ice it. He sees that she must’ve had a nightmare and sweetly says that he’s always on her side. But she wishes he’d stop acting as if he knows everything.

Jo thinks back to Yeon-seo’s younger years, when she’d be so excited to show him a dance trophy. He tells her now that he wishes she’d shine bright like she used to — just like an angel.

Yeon-seo pulls the covers over her head, giving Jo his cue to leave. From the window, Dan mutters that she’s awfully rude. He waits until it looks like she’s asleep and then sneaks over to retrieve his handkerchief.

The problem is, Yeon-seo’s got a tight hold on it and Dan can’t bring himself to grab it. He leaves with the biggest pout on his face.

The next day, Yeon-seo surprises the whole staff by dressing up for Fantasia’s party. Jo drives her over, with Dan kicking it in the back seat and whining about his handkerchief. And is it just me, or does it look like Yeon-seo still hears him?

They arrive at Fantasia, where Director Choi and her husband KIM KI-CHUN (Kim Seung-wook) greet Yeon-seo with insincere warmness. To Dan’s surprise, Yeon-seo actually maintains her patience.

Driver Jo won’t have any of it, though, and guides Yeon-seo inside. People immediately start gasping and whispering at the sight of her, so she insists on stopping by the bathroom alone.

But even there, she hears some of the dancers gossiping, wondering why Yeon-seo would come when she can’t even see the performance. Meanwhile, Nina is in the dressing room, in her Odette attire, pumping herself up.

The performance of “Swan Lake” begins, but Yeon-seo’s seat remains empty. She’s in an empty hallway, doing the same routine by memory.

Our two ballerinas dance in near-perfect sync, but at the end of the routine, it’s Nina who gets the big applause. Yeon-seo drops her arms, and a tear falls down her face. Meanwhile, Driver Jo goes down to the parking lot, looking for Yeon-seo, and passes a guy that looks reaaal sketchy.

Luckily, Jo finds Yeon-seo in time to make her speech at the after party. Everyone welcomes her with polite applause, interested to see what the ex-chairman’s daughter will say. There’s one mystery person in the back, hiding behind sunglasses, that looks especially intrigued.

Yeon-seo starts off by saying that today is not only the anniversary of Fantasia, but of her parents’ deaths.

“I’d given a lot of thought on how to celebrate,” she says dryly. “I considered showing up as a corpse by hanging myself in the bathroom. To be dramatic.” Now that the crowd is thoroughly uncomfortable, she continues that she knows everyone views her with pity.

She reminds them that Nina was nothing but an understudy — a shadow — and now look at her. With Yeon-seo gone, Nina was able to make a successful debut. She hopes that everyone remembers this “charming” story of Fantasia’s.

In the back, the mystery man removes his glasses and reveals himself to be JI KANG-WOO (Lee Dong-gun). He smirks as Yeon-seo wraps up her toast and downs her drink.

Afterwards, Director Choi confronts Yeon-seo, demanding to know what she has against them. (You mean apart from having a party the day her parents died?) “You smiled back then,” Yeon-seo seethes, catching Choi off guard.

We flash back to Yeon-seo in the hospital, her eyes wrapped in gauze. Choi had burst in crying, but when she went in for a hug, Yeon-seo felt her aunt smile against her shoulder.

Choi calls her crazy, and Driver Jo has to take Yeon-seo away before things get too heated. They head back to the car, and Yeon-seo turns back one last time, toward the steps. Dan sits there, beside a bouquet of flowers, smiling down at her.

He thinks back to Yeon-seo dancing in the hallway (aw, so she did have an audience). He’d retrieved his handkerchief but stayed to watch her, clapping at the very end.

Yeon-seo and Driver Jo take off, with Jo saying that he’ll make sure she gets back to her rightful place. She yells at him to stop saying things like that, making him screech the car to a halt.

He yells right back, telling her that it’s time she pull herself together. She doesn’t want to listen to him, though; it’s not like he’s her father. With that, Jo silently drives on.

As night falls, Jo reaches a curve in the road and realizes that the brakes aren’t working. He panics, remembering the man in the parking lot, and tells Yeon-seo to hold on tight. He tries his best to regain control of the car, but they’re going way too fast. The car flips in the air and lands on a bridge, rendering Jo unconscious.

Nearby, Dan is about to teleport to escape the sudden rain, when he hears Yeon-seo’s voice. He reaches the car, which is now dangling over the ledge, and finds Yeon-seo weakly calling for help. He sighs, figuring this is it for her, and sets his bouquet of flowers down. “Rest in peace,” he says before turning away.

“Who is that?” Yeon-seo’s words stop Dan cold.

He turns back as she starts crying and begging for him to help. He covers his ears, unable to believe this is happening, but her voice sounds so clear. In the distance, the heavenly bells ring (his cue to hurry up and zap out of there), so he tries to convince himself to ignore her.

But then he hears her thoughts: “I want to live. I’ve wanted to die every day, but I want to live now.” He grasps his head, a flurry of memories taking over — a young girl in the rain, and a young boy falling into water. At that moment, the boy’s thoughts were the same as Yeon-seo’s.

Dan is still grasping his head when the car finally slides over the ledge, sending Yeon-seo and Jo hurtling toward the water.

At the last second, time stops, and the car hovers in the air. Dan, in all his winged glory, comes flying down, until he’s at eye-level with Yeon-seo.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” he narrates forebodingly. “If only I hadn’t done that.”

  
COMMENTS

I am delightfully surprised. I was sure I would like this drama, but I didn’t think I would like it this much this fast. This is just the first episode, though, so I better not jump the gun. My main concern was (and still is) with the writer, who had been on my shit list since the disappointment that was Lucky Romance in 2016. That drama was the only thing on this writer’s resume, so it didn’t exactly sit well with me. However, since the drama had been an adaptation of a webtoon, I’m willing to accept that it’s not a proper representation of this writer’s work. I’m hoping she can turn things around with Angel’s Last Mission: Love — she certainly has all the right pieces.

Lee Yeon-seo already seems like a fascinating character, and Shin Hye-sun is playing her like a champ. I love her for her more fun and bubbly roles, and I think that side of her translates well to roles like this. Yeon-seo’s ballet accident may have left her cold as a freezer pop, but there’s still a bit of warmth to her that people like Driver Jo can obviously see. Unfortunately, a lot of that warmth must’ve faded once she had her entire career, and pretty much her entire life, snatched away. The ballet business is no joke, and it’s business that not everyone, including myself, can understand. At the same time, ballet is an art, and I think many of us can relate to an artist’s desperation for success.

The ballet themes reminded me a lot of the film Black Swan, and I’m sure that was no accident. I mean, naming the second female lead Nina? Yeah, I see you, Writer-nim. It’s interesting because the film deals a lot with doppelgangers, and I could easily see the drama going in a similar direction. Nina was always Yeon-seo’s understudy, waiting on the sidelines, and now it seems the tables have turned. With Nina’s official debut, it’s Yeon-seo who must stay on the sidelines. And while the girl does have impressive confidence in herself, that must hurt. Everything she loves is gone, and her own family, namely Director Choi, is making sure it stays that way.

We didn’t get to see Lee Dong-gun much at all, but I think that one scene — that one smirk — was all we needed to introduce his character. He sees that spark in Yeon-seo too, and I look forward to seeing what he plans to do with it. There’s no way to tell whether his plans could be positive or negative, and that both scares and excites me.

Finally, I have to discuss Mr. Angelface himself, L as Dan. Now, look, I’m an unabashed fan of L and his band Infinite (I’m that fangirl who belts out “The Chaser” in her car), but even I will admit that he has a bad track record with dramas. I always want him to be better, and I’m happy to say that here, as the mischievous angel… He’s better. He needs to tone it down with the flailing, but he makes Dan utterly adorable and charming. Dan is obviously new to this whole angel gig, having very little knowledge and having a little too much fun with his powers. And the final scene has me curious as to what originally brought him to angel bootcamp. Did he die recently? Does he not remember? What would happen if he were to remember? I can’t come up with any concrete theories yet, but I have a feeling this carefree angel is going to break my heart. Real bad.

But, first things first — Dan will have to mend Yeon-seo’s heart. I dig this kind of opposites-attract romance, having the sweet teddy bear get through the ice princess’ barriers, but love isn’t the only thing needed here. Yeon-seo has been talking about dying for the past three years, and I’m sure she’ll continue talking about it even after this near-death experience. At least now we know that some part of her still wants to live. If she just focuses on that, perhaps she could be on her way to finding happiness again. It would take a lot of opening up, and something tells me that Yeon-seo doesn’t like to be vulnerable. We all want Dan to restore Yeon-seo’s faith in love — I mean, that’s what I’m here for — but I hope he also restores her faith in humanity. Judging by her hard look on life and by the couple’s first interaction, it won’t be easy. In fact, it could be Dan’s toughest mission yet.

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So I also surprisingly live it, not withstanding I rolled my eyes to Korea and back at the childhood connection that was hinted at. Come on kdramas, even angels though. That being said L isn't terrible, he isn't good, but he is serviceable. Shin Hye Sun is perfection though. Her anger, snobbery, entitlement, and rudeness all intermingled with vulnerability is what I live for in an actress.

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I’m so glad to see this show is receiving the love ❤️ it so richly deserves. Haha, my keyboard also keeps wanting to write “live” for “love” and I’m always having to correct it but in this show both words apply. I can so relate to Yeon Seo’s loss of faith and despair at losing the life she knew due to health reasons/loss of a physical ability. Shin Hye Sun is insanely talented that she can show toughness & vulnerability at the same time. That scene of her crying while watching an old video of Mr. Jo had me crying as well. It’s amazing how though her words and tone were angry, you felt how deeply in pain she was over his loss and how much he did mean to her despite how mean she was to him - actually you can feel her regret for being so mean to him. This show has me addicted from the acting to well done special effects to the great chemistry between Hye Sun & L already.

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Lol @live. The first is love, but the second is live. Also I agree with everything you said.

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@kafiyah-bello and @sunny70
Thinking about the childhood connection, maybe that together with Dan's giving Yeon Seo a share in his breath on the bridge (the 'almost kiss') accounts for how he could hear her so clearly in his mind even from afar, and how she could sense him and hear him when she was not focused on anything else.

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I saw Lee Dong Gun so I am here reading the recap instead of watching. I don't know I just don't like him. I'll go back to watching it later. First impressions - it's okay, Hye sun can play any role so am not worried about her. Now L is okay but can't seem to finish any of his dramas except when he's only in a cameo role, hehe. He seems bubbly here and yeah, definitely looks like an angel so yea, why not?! He might be mediocre in acting but he must be really popular somehow coz he's got more dramas than his other counterparts.

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there was a same like drama that was going to star Jang Nara, wonder if they connected as the JN one just disappeared and she did the Last Emp instead.

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“I’d given a lot of thought on how to celebrate,” she says dryly. “I considered showing up as a corpse by hanging myself in the bathroom. To be dramatic.”

Well, damn. Might give this a watch then.

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SHS’s character is wonderfully drawn, all cutting edges, with the best lines.

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I love that she’s a rare kdrama tough female character who says exactly what she thinks. The scene when the aunt goes after her after that infamous toast was when I fell in love with her character (not when she’s being mean to nice people of course) and she turns the table on her and says, “What did you expect having the foundation’s anniversary celebration be on the same day as my parents ‘s death?” Then evil aunt claims victimhood & familial ties some more and Yeon Seo was like cut the crap, I know you smiled when you found out I became blind. How many times have we all bewailed at a kdrama female lead who let herself be bullied or slapped and didn’t even attempt to fight back? I love that YS will cut you down verbally or physically if you try to bully her. I can’t wait for when she can also stop taking her anger out at God toward innocent people. I hope they don’t ruin the best part about her character and she loses her spiciness when it is called for toward the bad guys.

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* I mean rare female LEAD character

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That speech was a classic

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L is hilarious! So nice to see him cut loose after his very straight and sincere role in Ms. Hammurabi. I think the scene with the dogs was supposed to show us how soft-hearted he was, because his mission was actually to put the dying dog out of its misery, but instead he messed with the driver/thief and managed to release all the stolen dogs. (And then got in trouble with his sunbae for doing that.) I guess that was foreshadowing the climactic moment of this episode, when he couldn't walk away from that cry for help.

Shin Hye Sun is playing the bitter ex-ballerina perfectly, but if her performance wasn't balanced by L's angel, it would be really hard to take.

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@lindag latebloomer,
I'm enjoying L's portrayal, too. He did a lovely job portraying the earnest young judge in the excellent MS. HAMMURABI. Now I'm glad to see him in a lighthearted role that should help balance out NOKDU FLOWER.

I read Dan's liberation of all the dogs as being indicative of his excess compassion. Now I'm wondering what else he's done to get himself in the heavenly doghouse.

I agree with you about Shin Hye-sun's portrayal of embittered martinet Yeon-seo. I would run away screaming if it weren't offset by Driver Jo's calm, steadfast devotion and L's freakouts over being detected by a -- gasp! -- mortal. All I can say is that SHS has bad luck again when it comes to aunts, just like in THIRTY BUT SEVENTEEN. ;-)

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To me Dan's freak out at being detected by a mortal is an important clue. Yes, he has probably done other things to 'get himself into the heavenly doghouse'. And so Providence has partially removed his angelic cloaking (Star Trek reference) to initially make him detectable by someone who needs him. And now he has really stepped in it- and has definitely crossed the line and has even missed his 'departure flight' as well.

So now he will be 'punished' and has to make up for his "mistake".

I have a hypothesis here, we will see how this turns out:

God not only does not disapprove of what Dan has done but instead has decided that Dan is a much more talented angel than He first thought. Instead of just functioning as a Grim Reaper Dan is capable of much more. In fact, it may be that Dan was assigned to the crash precisely because he might make this very "mistake"- and as an answer to Yeon-seo's prayers. It may be that God was listening to her prayers after all.

This show thus has some promise of being much deeper than a typical rom-com, including delving into many of the same issues as Goblin. We shall have to see what happens as the story unfolds.

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@oldawyer OldLawyer,

ROFLMAO at your extended canine metaphor. I like your hypothesis about Dan's true mission and calling. As they say, "God acts in mysterious ways." Not to mention "Be careful what you pray for. You might get it."

I think that Dan's paraphrase of Corinthians is another clue. Compassion, which he has in abundance, is a facet of love. (See my reply to @growingbeautifully in thread #12.)

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@oldawyer @pakalanapikake @lindag
I'm hoping for a deeper show with some profound ideas on death and living life to the full.

With show dropping hints of a Roman Catholic background for this story, I am anticipating that although Dan's predicament is styled as a 'punishment' for going beyond his instructions, it might actually be an indirect reward for his compassion, from a loving God. We know from the synopsis that he'll be 'human' enough to fall in love ... And humans are said to be higher than the angels, so what kind of punishment is that?

I like the idea that God was listening to Yeon Seo's prayers. The earlier 'almost kiss' of Dan (or God) had made it possible for Dan to hear her even from a distance, and seemingly vice versa since in the car, she could sense and hear him.

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Forgot to say that as a change from the Goblin or The Guest way of thinking of the afterlife, death, reincarnation, ... this is a refreshing view of death (in peace), life and being fully alive. 😃

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@growingbeautifully,

I, too, am hoping for more than just a happy rom-com. Who knows, there might even be bona fide redemption for the apparent evildoers. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake
Redemption arcs are always a win with me!!!

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Growing Beautifully, you captured my meaning perfectly: Dan's 'punishment' is indeed no punishment at all, but rather a reward for his compassion.

The view of death, re-incarnation, etc. in Goblin was definitely from a non-Christian oriental (primarily Buddhist) standpoint. Here the viewpoint is apparently Roman Catholic. This is a God who can and does intervene- but it would also include acknowledgment that God has to be very careful about how and when to do so, so as not to throw His creation into total disorder.

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The fact that someone messed with the brakes, causing the fatal car acccident at the end of this episode, raises questions about the other accidents -- how did Dan die? Was it an accident? Was the falling spotlight an accident (not likely) or just a way to get Yeon-seo out of the foundation and off the stage? And what about her parents' early deaths? Also accidents? Or just made to look that way?

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@lindag Latebloomer ah I love the idea of a conspiracy and that Dan will inadvertently help to do more than help Yeon Seo find love.

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@lindag @pakalanapikake
Rewatching ... It's interesting that Driver Jo says to Yeon Seo, that she was such a bright child. "No matter what anyone says and even if you deny it, you are like an angel. I want to see you shine brightly like you did then." - Yeon Seo is angry, distrustful and feeling sorry for herself, and in a state of denying that she wants to live, wanting to leave her life and die. But she used to be like an angel herself, full of life.

We see Dan, a true angel, (who used to be a child who did not want to die, as seen from his trying to grasp the rocks to keep from entering the water) and who is full of life now, but waiting to leave his life as angel on eart,h to gain his heavenly life.

Dan's task is really to transform YS to be more like himself in disposition, and to become an 'angel' again.

On re-watching how the car had to travel that long, winding road on slopes, it becomes obvious that the invitation to the Foundation and the messing with the brake fluid must be the work of our resident baddie aunt or a member of her family. It was the prefect road in which the failure of the brakes would lead to a serious accident.

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Part 1 of 2

@growingbeautifully, @lindag latebloomer, @oldawyer OldLawyer,

Listening to Max Richter's "On the Nature of Daylight," "Luminous," "Embers," "Meeting Again," and other pieces as I ponder angelic radiance.

Yeon-seo has been depressed for years and years, and has withdrawn into darkness. For all her lashing out at others, she is also harboring anger towards herself. Survivor's guilt, perhaps? Anger turned inward manifests as depression, and feeds upon itself. It has eclipsed the joy that she radiated as a child. Driver Jo encouraged her to cease hiding her light under a bushel and to return to her previous state of child-like joy.

I think it is symbolic that, on one level, it was a shattered spotlight that doused Yeon-seo's inner radiance. – It also just struck me that she was blinded by glass raining down from above – not shattering on impact with the floor and ricocheting up into her face. The lamp was broken before it started falling – or was it? I think this is a clue. While I suspect that someone caused the light to fall, I don't know that for sure. It could have been a freak accident.

I felt like screaming at Yeon-seo to get her butt in gear and run for safety instead of just sitting there waiting to be hit by something. It was like watching someone in the crosswalk paying no attention to Truck Of Doom bearing down on them. I expect that there is a lot more to that scene that will eventually be revealed through a series of flashbacks.

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 2

Apropos of the drowning boy, I am reminded of the River Jordan, baptism, and the restoration of Original Godliness. More on that below.

In Yeon-seo's case, Dan's task isn't so much to transform her as to help her remember her own true divine nature, and to consciously re-member it (make it part of her being once again). Because of humans’ free will, he can only invite and encourage her to undertake this task of spiritually healing herself with the grace of God. It is up to her to take the first step. No one can do it for her, and it can be neither forced, nor imposed from without.

But Dan can inspire her and lead by example. He emits a spark of the Divine that resides in all God's children, including the ones who do evil. He embodies joy and optimism, and I can feel it when I watch him. That is why I'm happy with L's portrayal.

We don’t yet know the circumstances of Dan’s demise as a child. I’m willing to bet that thereby hangs a tale – one that feels akin to that of Jang Hyuk’s protagonist in MONEY FLOWER. I have an inkling that the angel’s final assignment is intended to heal him as much as his client. Did he forget something when he died that he has to consciously remember before he can move on? I bet that’s the case, or part of it.

It just occurred to me that Dan's earthly life ended when he was a child. So why does he now look like a young man? I have a feeling that angels are capable of consciously projecting physical appearance to avoid terrifying mortals, but have a default that is apropos for their current tour of duty. As they become more skilled, like his supervisor, they can vary their appearance to best suit the human with whom they are dealing. It makes sense that he would be about the same age as his client. It wouldn’t do for him to be a 7-year-old because Yeon-seo would take him even less seriously than she does now. But if he were too much older, she would give him the same guff she did Driver Jo – who truly cared for her in loco parentis.

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You've been thinking about this a lot. I hope the drama holds up to deep thoughts and doesn't disappoint us. I wonder if the writer put a lot of thought into the nature of angels, or if to her Dan is just another human in angel's garb.

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Thank you, your thoughts echo a lot of mine- I just hope that I am not expecting too much from this show. Still, I would think that they would not have cast such a great actress unless they are brining their "A" game to this drama.

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@lindag latebloomer
May 26, 2019 at 1:58 PM

I've been thinking about this stuff for most of my life, and I'm well past the half-century mark. ANGEL'S LAST MISSION just happened to pop up now and remind me of it. ;-)

I, too, hope Show builds and maintains a philosophical dramaverse that fosters thoughtful spiritual discussion on human nature, good and evil, etc. Probably the best one I've encountered to date is the one in ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE.

Frankly, I'm confused as to whether Dan is actually an angel, a discarnate human, or something else. (If he died as an unbaptized child, Dan would have ended up in limbo, but that's all I can tell you.) My understanding is that angels and humans are two different classes of divinely-created beings. One does not turn into the other, any more than an animal becomes a human. They have their own reasons for being and spheres of activity. I recall learning in parochial school that each human soul is assigned a guardian angel for the duration of its lifetime. Angels have their own hierarchy, with powerful archangels such as Michael at the top.

I get the impression that Writer-nim isn't too concerned about a strict interpretation of the nature of cherubim and seraphim. I guess we won't find out how many angels can dance ballet on the head of a pin. ;-)

On the other hand, when I heard that Dan has 100 days to accomplish his assignment, I sensed that he's a uniquely Korean angel with an ecumenical dash of Buddhism or Mugyo. But don't quote me. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake, another spiritual issue in this drama is YS's argument with Dan on the park bench. She doesn't need God because he has never granted her what she asked for in prayer. (There were scenes with the same idea in Biscuit Teacher Star Candy, which I watched recently.) This actually seems like a pagan idea to me -- I'm not going to worship you if you don't deliver for me, I have other choices. Whereas in a Christian worldview, there are no other choices. You can believe or not believe, but there are no other gods.

If God only exists to grant human wishes, doesn't that make him a servant/slave to human desires? Not a Christian concept.

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@lindag latebloomer,

If Dan really is an angel, he's an immortal being, so he wouldn't have died. Or is he really a Reaper in drag? According to BLACK and ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE, suicides are doomed to serve as reapers. I hope we get some clarification on the metaphysics. ;-)

I'm on the same wavelength as you re: the falling spotlight, Driver Jo's tampered brakes, Yeon-seo's parents' demise, etc. It's a little too neat for me, so I'm hoping for some good twists and creative misdirection. ;-)

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Mm, I think we were supposed to understand that he was the boy who was drowning, and now he's a junior angel in training, trying to prove himself so he can join the ranks in heaven.

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@lindag latebloomer,

Thanks. I was trying to understand what was going on in that scene.

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@lindag latebloomer,
Dang! It just occurred to me that if Dan had indeed been a child who drowned, then his twice saving Yeon-seo from falling off a bridge and into a river gets mighty interesting. By any chance did he drown while trying to rescue someone??

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Now that you frame it that way and there's an obvious childhood connection, I wouldn't be surprised if he died keeping her from falling in. Maybe that's another factor in her bitterness. I guess we'll find out....

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Suicides were also the origin of Reapers in GOBLIN. The worldview in all of those shows is a combination of traditional Korean religion and Buddhism.

But this show comes from a more Judeo-Christian standpoint. There is a non-biblical idea that sometimes children who die are transformed into angels. That seems to be the case here.

More to the point- Christian tradition is that there is in fact an Angel of Death- in fact an Archangel, named Azrael. He is NOT a figure of fear but rather of Divine Mercy. What we see Dan doing in the first episode is the work that Azrael does- bringing comfort and peace to the dying. Compassion is the very essence of such an angel. To be assigned to do such work would be not a punishment (as we see in GOBLIN) but rather a recognition of merit- God has literally place his trust in the angel who does such work.

A big part of this story will not only be what happens to our Beautiful Ballerina. It is also- what happens to Dan? If he succeeds in his final mission does he finally return to heaven- or does he get to stay? And if he stays- in what capacity?

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Thanks, @oldawyer OldLawyer, for the information on Archangel Azrael as a kind of midwife assisting the soul out of the physical body, and the idea that deceased children on occasion become angels. Very interesting. Now Dan's death makes more sense to me.

In observing Dan's compassionate behavior, I couldn't help but see a connection with the bodhisattva Kwan Yin (Gwan-eum or Gwanse-eum in Korean; Kannon in Japanese) aka the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion aka Avalokiteshvara.

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Christianity and Buddhism have many places where they have parallel ideas or characters. Quan yin (her Chinese name), The Goddess of Mercy has a much wider range of activity than Azrael - but of course the Roman Catholic Church supplies a host of saints to grant mercy in other parts of life. Still I think that you are right in thinking that there are parallels.

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L still lacks nuance but his character is likable and shin hye sun is killing it as usual, so no big complaints. I was cautious about this one, but I like it so far.

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Yeah, nuance was the word I was looking for.

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@sparks121 @hades
Its not just nuance. Its like L is in a totally different drama.

He has to have something to reach SHS's character and to this point his portrayal is so flat its not even in the same ballpark. At the moment even the dog Fang in "Thirty But Seventeen" gave more for SHS to work with.

I always want the best for L and there are glimmers of hope as in ep04 as I think the director is starting to cut and shoot to work around it and as he spends more screen time with SHS her strength is allowing him to be lighter.

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Yeah, I didn't know how to describe it any more than that, it's just still lacking at this point. I just like shin hye sun and the general premise seems cool, haha.

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@sparks121
For me the big worry is this drama doesn't know where the key of its story is. At present, it has thrown in everything...and the kitchen sink.

It feels like this drama could suffer death by 1000 tropes.

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I agree, I enjoyed the first two episodes but there's such a gap between the acting level of the leads I find it distracting. It reminds me of the complaints in SHS's other show Stranger/Forest of Secrets where it was a top notch ensemble but there were complaints that Lee-Joon hyuk(?) seemed to be playing a cartoon character (although I enjoyed that). By the way that was the first time I saw SHS and I thought she was good but not great, but then I saw her in Five Children and thought she was fantastic at comedy and then I saw her in 30 But 17 and thought she had great range. In this show, she's even more intense, so she's impressing me more and more with each show!

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I remember her role in Five Children. Even though she was a somewhat secondary character after a while people were at least as invested in what would happen with the 'Golfer Couple' as they were in the central characters. I actually thought that her range was under-utilized in 30 but 17- but she was still great.

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Yeah I had trouble sitting through all of Five Children, ended up fast forwarding or rewinding to the golfer couple parts (Sung Hoon is another who at first I thought was just OK but now I've seen him in a couple of roles where I thought he was hilarious). I realize now I've seen her in other shows where I didn't really remember her, like Legend of the Blue Sea and She Was Pretty, but I kind of lost interest in those shows somewhere in the middle, too.

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L's character in this gives me J-dorama comedy vibes in the sense that's it's very dramatic bordering on over-acting for the sake of comedic effect. Fortunately, his character is cutesy funny and not obnoxiously over-the-top funny so it comes across as likable rather than annoying. I've never really had a problem with the dramatic acting of j-comedies, but I can see how someone who's not into that kind of humor might not like L's performance in this so much, especially since Shin Hye Sun's character is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum- serious and reserved.

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Maybe the 'over-acting' is intentional- as a way of contrasting the two characters.

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Could be. In retrospect, my comment comes across as very critical which is not what I intended. I think the director's intention really is for the character to be very dramatically comedic and not necessarily that L's acting is unwittingly over-done.

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He needs to tone it down with the flailing, but he makes Dan utterly adorable and charming.

Absolutely. I think Dan allows him some wiggle room, but he just needs to find that balance which is hard to do for a character like this. That said, I love him here. I love the contrast between his character and Yeon-seo.

Ok, so I think I love Shin Hye-sun. She is a fantastic actress. I'm a bit disappointed that she got her sight back. I wanted to see a blind character navigate life a bit more. It made for a very compelling story at the beginning.

Anyways, I looking forward to see how the story will unfold. We all know there will be heartbreak in the end, but I think it will be an interesting ride.

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I'm disappointed about her regaining her sight too, although I doubted they would keep her blind the whole way through. There are so few leading characters with disabilities in media, particularly ones that are portrayed respectfully and as whole people. It would be nice to see a scenario where disability isn't portrayed as just a life-ruiner...oh well.

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Forgot to address this as a part of my own comment so I will address it here as a reply to you, @ash27

THIS IRKS ME TO NO END ERMERGERD!!!! The “not properly addressing disability in dramas” thing, I mean, and this is me speaking as a person born with a disability 🙄🙄🙄 Up to a certain point, it’s a LARGE part due to culture, because East Asian culture is “conservative” and is and always will be concerned with pride, face, and keeping up with appearances so anything that puts a downer to that is considered—as you put it— “a life-ruined”, yup 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ Stigma of the disabled in East Asian depiction and is much more profound because it’s very blunt and in-your-face but it’s not to say that it doesn’t happen here where I live, too, here in North America, a westernized place, it’s just more subtle than East Asia, the discrimination of the disabled 🤷🏻‍♀️ Because, at the least, we still receive subsidies and “help” from “social programs funded by the government” 🤔🤔 And because it’s ‘from the government’ it appears that stigma is less, but what the government doesn’t help—and can’t help with, frankly— is the PERSONA, one-on-one attacks we disabled people receive on a day-to-day basis

Oh well.

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Agreed! I think "the cure" robs us of not only the struggle we face throughout our lives living with a disability but coming to terms with it.

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It occurs to me that, in drama, most characters with some kind of condition or disability recover from it at the end. In That Winter, and the movie Always, the heroine regains her sight. In Beauty Inside, the hero is able to recognise faces again. In Master's Sun, the hero becomes able to read again. And so on! The only examples I can thinking of that do otherwise are Page Turner and Dazzling.
The stigma must still be enormous - writers are happy to muddle with the kind of dramatic situations that may arise due to one's disability, but too scared to keep them that way. Perhaps admitting that disabilities exist and actually live with people from day to day is too difficult for Korean drama, which has always been so sugar-coated.

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I both love and appreciate your post. It's absolutely ridiculous how may dramas find a "cure" at the end and how that relates to stigma.

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I made a mistake, at least according to the drama. I should have said visually impaired character, and not blind character. The distinction being that the latter is a derogatory term for someone who has lost their sight due to congenital or acquired reasons.

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Yeah, I don't think Yeon-seo was a pleasant person before the accident. Rich, able to star in Swan Lake at her family company, never told no. This accident just exasperated her personality and now depression is in the mix.

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Agreed. I love Shin Hye Sun's portrayal of Yeon-seo, but the entitlement and privilege jumps out. I don't know how that ballet company is any good if the only choices for the main starring role are Yeon Seo and Nina, both lucky enough to be born into the family. What about all the other hopefuls that join the company? 😑 It's an aside to the main plot of course, but one that bothered me rather deeply.

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N-E-P-O-T-I-S-M. ;-)

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Nailed it. :D

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Hehe I have more to say on this but it pertains to the next episode so I'm waiting for the next episode's recap.

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I could be wrong, but, unless Yeon Seo's parents are revealed to be ballet dancers, I think Fantasia Foundation was actually created as Yeon Seo's personal ballet troupe from the get-go so it actually would be a given that she'd be the star of every show. Ballet companies have extremely strict hierarchies that center around the prestige of the prima ballerina. They aren't ballet schools trying to train people to be professional dancers that hold open auditions for roles, which is why it's so cut-throat. You have to be the best of the best just to get accepted into the troupe to be the prima's back-up dancer and then you have compete with the other members so that you can be appointed the prima's understudy and then take-over when she eventually retires/gets too injured. I don't think Yeon Seo's long-standing status as prima is unusual considering the troupe was founded with her as the focus, but Nina being the understudy is definitely a form of nepotism.

The problem with Nina is that if we're to assume that Yeon Seo has been prima for 20 years, then Nina has likely also been her understudy since they were 6 years old, meaning Nina's never had an opportunity to become an experienced dancer that can stand on her own. As Yeon Seo said in her speech, Nina was just her shadow, literally her only purpose in the troupe was to be groomed to steal Yeon Seo's spotlight one day instead of growing as a dancer on her own and earning her own spotlight. I'm sure Nina has a lot of complexes about this that are going to come to light now that she is in a position of rivalry with Yeon Seo. I'm quite sure we're in for a lot of dark psychological pain for Nina's trajectory in this show.

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Oh thanks for this hobakky. So ballet culture in general explains this set up.

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I agree but at the same time being a principal dancer for a company is not something that just gets handed to you. Her hard work, commitment and uncompromising perfection is what got her that position. Now all of that has nowhere to go. She has to be a hard working, committed and uncompromising perfectionist with absolutely nothing to do.

I felt her portrayal of that and her characterisation was completely spot on.

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So what chaebol heir/heiress in kdrama land starts out as anything other than less than pleasant? Her character is right in the groove for that archetype, I think. Played very nicely by SHS. It will be interesting to see how the creative team shapes her character’s arc.

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I would at first agree- if the Foundation were only 10 years ole. But it isn't- it is twenty years old. Yeon-seo was only a child when the Foundation was created. Someone else was Prima Ballerina before her- for a considerable period of time..

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Interesting!

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This series is suddenly beyond my reach. Viki has changed its access privileges and has shut a large percentage of its users out of services that they had paid for. I was halfway through watching a series a few weeks ago when suddenly my access to it was cut off. I'm not a happy camper.

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I was really excited for this one, and it didn't disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed the premier. I liked the tone--it struck a nice balance of light and dark. And Shin Hye Sun is great in this role.

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So, which male chaebol heir in kdrama land has more cutting edges than SHS’s character (or better lines)? And who in kdrama land is more of a candy than an angel kicked out of angel-dom trying win/teach a chaebol heiress love?

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Good point- We have seen female Chaebol's before but Dan would almost be an extreme male version of Candy.

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So, any really early guesses at the motivation of JI KANG-WOO (Lee Dong-gun)?

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Not sure what his motivation is, but I have early guesses about his future -- either Dan will bow out of the picture, leaving Yeon-seo with JKW, or JKW will end up with Ni-na, even though he seems to despise her now.

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Thanks for your recap, @SailorJumun! I greatly enjoyed the first installment of ANGEL'S LAST MISSION: LOVE. I'm wondering just what kind of angel Dan is supposed to be. He's not a guardian angel, as those are detailed to accompany a single soul throughout its earthly incarnation. If anything, he's more like the little boy who was a reaper of pets in DEAD LIKE ME. For now, I'll just consider him the Grin Reaper because of the goofy smile that has taken up residence on my face. ;-)

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Grin Reaper, yes! I just kept laughing. I'm sorry other people think his performance was flat or lacking nuance. I enjoyed it so much.

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@pakalanapikake and @lindag
I'm glad I'm not the only one grinning with this show and L. I liked him here too and had no problem with his flailing. I think I was laughing along at his antics.

@pakalanapikake I was thinking of you when I heard the music of Nutcracker Suite and heard lines of Scripture read (Ep 2). Glad to know that you're watching this show.

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@growingbeautifully,
Oh, goody! L is charming in this. I need more charming in my life, and am glad be in good company. ;-)

Aw, shucks. You really have my number. I thought I heard a famous bit of the New Testament. Sure enough, @54:00 in episode 2, Dan paraphrases the opening of the First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 1-3:

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+13&version=NIV

It cracks me up, because Dan is uniquely qualified to speak both Angelese and Human. LOL!

Dan is a breath of fresh air. He brings to mind a quote from G. K. Chesterton:

“Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.”

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😂 Taking all things lightly, Dan certainly does! In his new predicament, he'll be growing up to be a tad more serious, but of course, I don't want him to lose his happy naivete and general 'gauche-ness'. 😜

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Chesterton quote - what a lovely reference!

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@hebang FlyingTool,

I'm so glad you enjoyed the Chesterton quote. Here's the reference:

https://www.chesterton.org/angels-fly/

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Chesterton's "Father Brown" mysteries (along with Sherlock Holmes). ;-)

One of his short stories that I recall: "The Hammer of God"
https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/chesterton/gk/c52fb/chapter9.html

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That first scene got me thinking about Black Swan immediately. Man, I had shivers.

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Same here. I thought his portrayal of the carefree, childlike and mischievous angel was done so well.

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I didn't have very high expectations from this due to the tragedy of the heroine's life but I like it much more than I expected so far. Yeon Seo is likeable despite her rudeness. L is doing great with the angel. First his face is perfect for a mischievous angel. But more than that the faces he was making when he realized she can feel and hear him cracked me up. I wonder what is the rule for that because after that first time she didn’t seem to feel/hear him anymore. Was that related to that kiss? Seemed to me he solidified from her perspective after that. His interactions with Yeon Seo were hilarious.

Looks like even the first accident is the aunt’s doing. I’m not sure yet whether the rest of her family is also complicit or not.

The secretary should have been suspicious of the accident given what he knows of the danger they are in (even if he didn’t I would be if I saw someone tampering with my car). May he rest in peace, I will miss him. Also not all doctors in Korea can be corrupt. If you are suspicious of this one move on to another.

I am guessing in that last flashback Dan was the little boy and Yeon Seo was the girl. A Kdrama wouldn’t feel complete without the requisite childhood connection. Argh.

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@sailorjumun Thank you for the recap!!! It’s been ~10 months since my last Kdrama and possibly even longer since reading a recap on Dramabeans, but I’m glad to be back in the recap game with “Angel’s Last Mission: Love” 🤗🤗
A couple of things:
1. Did not know about/must’ve missed it somewhere in the promos that Yeon Seo would be a BLIND character until literally THIS MORNING 🤣🤣🤣
2. Completely forgot that Lee Dong Gun is Mr. Second Lead, once again, but not complaining... There needs to be something to erase “Where Stars Land” from my mind. I like him in more gentle roles (sometimes it’s more like “suffer in silence” roles more lol) a la “Lovers In Paris” or “Stained Glass”, but he does so p, SO well with borderline psychopath roles a la “Seven Day Queen” and creates such depth with such characters... Can decipher which way he will go with this one yet 🤔🤔
3. More than seeing the ice being chipped away from the cold, cold heart of our heroine, I’m more excited about the backstory of our resident angel, Dan, as well as all the rules & regulations of Heaven and Angelship. I get super excited when there’s a drama that incorporates some sort of mythology or fantasy in an otherwise “normal” setting in a drama and it excites me to find out the quirks and the functions of the fantasy world created in a drama. Dramas with their own fantasy elements & mythology that come to mind are “Vampire Prosecutor”, “Scholar Who Walks the Night”, ‘MLFTS’, “Master’s Sun”, “Arang and the Magistrate”— but there’s so many more 😊😊
4. WHY THE “WE MET WHEN WE WERE CHILDREN (and before I died [?] and became an angel & and when you almost died)” TROPE... 왜!?!?!!?

I’m excited to see what comes next and can’t wait for the next recap!!! 🥰🥰🥰

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"where Stars land" was a real disappointment- but it was not Lee Dong Gun's fault. Blame bad writing.

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Oh, I’m not saying it’s his fault or any of the actors’/actresses’ faults, it was definitely bad writing & editing... Same situation for “Tempted” starring Wo Do Hwan, Joy, Moon Ga Young, and Kim Amin Jae— the cast rocked it (well, with the exception of Joy), but the writing was so bad

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Thanks @sailorjumun
Very positive vibes emanate from this show. The set up and the premise are already clear and the folks who are going to matter have all been accounted for.

It's got many of the ingredients that I look forward to in a show ... flawed characters who need healing and who have people by their side to grow with them, a good-hearted dork who's not annoying and who's going to make a good difference, nice music and ballet and a female lead with a strong character.

I want to see Yeon Seo really get taught the lessons that Dan has been assigned to teach. I want to see her learn that she is lovable and that there are those around her who are not there only for her money, but because they too like Driver Jo, want her to shine. Basically she needs to really love herself in the right way. I'm looking forward to all next episodes! 😊

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I agree that it will be good to see her heal from her anger and pain. However I wonder if she was like this before her accident, or was she so prickly before that?
Either way, she is in need of healing and learning to love and live again. Let's hope this show delivers on that premise.

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She was probably prickly to some extent even before- remember that she is an orphan and already felt very isolated.

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I disagree - somehow I think that she has memories of her parents and especially when they passed.
Something tells me that her angst and anger come from losing her parents, but more importantly how she identifies herself - as a dancer only.
Now the task for her is to discover herself as a human being.
And then she will be kind and understanding to her staff -and they will all come to love her. Once they get over the shock of her change in personality of course.

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@stpauligurl @oldawyer While I feel we need a bit more backstory to see how Yeon Seo was before her parents' death to be sure, I agree that she needs to discover herself as a human person even without the ballet, and to know that she can shine without being on stage.

I am looking forward to the time when she shocks her staff by being nice. 😆

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@growingbeautifully

I am looking forward to the time when she shocks her staff by being nice. 😆

This reminds me of Kang Min Ho in Falling For Innocence. He shocked his workers when he became nice after his heart transplant. It was funny 🤣

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The warm and funny angel against the cold heiress looks like funny moments to anticipate :)

For the rest, I'm not really concerned by the story of the Fondation or her parents...

And why Koreans think that every couple need to meet when they were child? It's really not the best trope in Kdrama ...

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This plot episode sold me! To be honest, I had zero expectation on this drama because I didn’t really plan on watching it, but somehow I went on without actually watching its trailer, so I had no idea the plot of this drama.

Here are the reasons that make me sold:
1. Ahjussi Jo’s love and patience towards Yeon Seo. 😇
2. Dan “kisses” Yeon Seo to let her know his presence. ☺️
3. I want to see how Yeon Seo fights back her selfish aunt.
4. Yeon Seo remembers the steps of Black Swan and dances alone with Dan watching her. 🥰
5. Yeon Seo’s speech is gold! 🥂
6. I’m curious of Lee Dong Gun’s character in this drama! What is his true intention?

Hopefully this drama will stay great until the end!

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I thought he was "kissing" her to share some kind of healing -- it looked like light swept over her face, and then she turned away from the railing and her dark thoughts.

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@hannahmustafa @lindag @pakalanapikake
About the ethereal 'kiss' - Yeon Seo was thinking about the time she had jumped from the bridge and Dan knew that she'd 'died' there once. I thought as he leaned forward into her space, while her face was turned to the sun, he exhaled as if to give her his breath (the light around where he breathed out changed colour).

His words were "You fool. Humans die when they stop breathing." (Was she holding her breath?) She was once again having thoughts on dying, but he stepped up to give her the breath of life. It was like he was sharing his breath with her to counteract her predilection for death.

@sailorjumun is probably right, that after taking in his breath, she became aware of him, but only sporadically.
What do you think?

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Yes, and I thought it was a lovely scene.

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Breath of life -- I like it.

I don't think they've been quite consistent with the rules for his character -- supposedly he can't touch humans or he'll go up in smoke, and he's not supposed to interfere with human destiny, but he more or less did both in this scene. I'm glad he did, but I wish that they would be consistent.

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@lindag I was expecting him to go poof too! However, I've a feeling that Archangel Sunbae Hu gives his warnings in terms to scare our immature (childlike?) Dan into being cautious. Although Hu said he'd disappear in a puff, it was more likely that his angel qualities might disappear, but that a lesson would need to be taught or learnt in the process or losing and/or regaining them or not regaining them.

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I am on the fence on this drama, but will keep on watching as I like SHS and L.

Generally, too many tropes ...spoilt rich girl with servants falling at her feet, evil relatives, LDG absolutely rude entrance ...

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I'm rather scared by how much I love this so far. Something about the overall tone just hit the mark immediately, though I'm not really surprised by that given that it's the Healer/Seven Day Queen PD. I've been iffy on the writer but this is their first original work, with a much more assured jumping off point already. It was a really powerful opening week, with just the right mix of humor and heart.

I absolutely love Shin Hye-sun, but for some odd reason, I just didn't get pulled into 30 but 17, so I'm pretty excited that I'm so invested in this from the get-go. L is also delightful here, if a bit uneven at times. His overall delivery as Dan is funny and charming. I'm adoring the dynamic between the leads already and can't wait for more.

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I think that the reason "30 but 17" may have slightly disappointed was the way the show was written- it did not really use the full range of Shin Hye-sun's talents, although it was still a good and successful show. Here the writer and PD seem to be using her talents to the full. I for one was blown away.

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I think it is impressive how shin hye sun manage to portray vulnerability despite her having this icy personality. There is not often we she this type of female character, so always welcome diversity to how woman is portrayed in drama. Also I think Dan give a nice balance and some light to the darkness. Gonna be interesting to see how he is gonna influence her to become a better person and overcome her trauma. Also gonna be interesting to see how is interaction with this people gonna change him.

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Oh I am so glad DB is recapping this show. I thought I'd check out the first episode - because well it IS Shin Hye Sun who is just amazing in everything. But I hadn't seen L in anything else and he is just adorable as a sincere, hapless, and sweet loving angel.

One thing that surprised me in the recap is that I didn't notice (during the show) that the first time on the bridge when Driver Jo slammed on the brakes, they worked. So does it take a while for the brakes to fail like they did?
Anyway - I like the special effects and those wings!

Count me in on enjoying this show - for the time being. Lucky Romance started out so cute and ended not so cute. We can only hope the writer has learned a thing or two since 2016.

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The brakes were cut in such a way that the brake fluid only gradually seeped out. Had the fluid all drained at once Driver Jo would have noticed the spreading mess and never have even started up the car- or if it drained away with being seen the result would simply have been a minor fender bender in the parking garage.

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Thank you - I thought afterwards that maybe that is how it happens when brakes are messed with.

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Apart from SHS's articulate facial expressions that almost made me cry (I'm not the type that easily sheds tears), what really amazed me was the relatives' immense ability to piss me off. I've seen countless evil antagonists and relatives, but that aunt was just sooooo infuriating I wanted to pull my hair out. lol

So happy for L (Myungsoo for Inspirits), definitely the gap between acting skills is still huge but he definitely looks and feels more natural here, I don't feel awkward watching him anymore hahaha I believe the overboard acting was intentional, the director could've easily asked him to tone down. I felt that showing his character to be "shallow" shows how so much there is to his character, it's as if the only identity he can hold on to is being an Angel, and nothing more. It made me think if his past was erased or something so severe happened for him to purposely set aside that portion of himself. But I hope everyone agrees that that face is perfect for an Angel XD

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I loved Episode 1 😍 way way way more than I thought I would. Shin Hye Sun stole my heart in the second half with that gorgeous dress and headpiece she had on as she performed for herself in that little corner of the concert hall. It made Yeon Seo tear up how much she longed ballet. Such a beautiful moment. And when they added that bit that all this time she was being watched by an angel who looked very impressed by the talent she was gifted of.

I’m with the majority here on L’s acting. I mean he wasn’t bad, but Hye Sun was so stunning in this episode that L’s acting really paled in comparison. But! I loved him in that scene where he was watching Yeon Seo perform. And Those dimples are very very hard to ignore! They make this angel so extra adorable!

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Wow. This is going to be good. Really, really good. I know this after watching just the first two episodes.

There are four actresses that I simply adore- and Shin Hye-sun is one of them. Anyone who watched these first two episodes would see why. Her acting is superb- we really feel and understand her character- and will never forget her.

It was a special treat to see her dressed so beautifully. She is a very beautiful woman but in her previous roles she has usually been dressed in a way that hides it. I thank the designers and director for not making that mistake this time.

I think that this show will be a real treat and cannot wait for the next episode to get subtitled. Another reason why I should learn Korean.

As far as L, who plays the male lead (the titular angel)- I do not think we have really seen enough of him. He seems to have held his own but so far it is Shin Hye-sun who is carrying this show. I hope that his character will be developed a little more because without that the show will lack depth. I trust that the writers will show us much more in the next episode. I believe that they will and that is why I have such confidence that this show will be very good indeed.

L is primarily a K-pop star. He has tried drama before but not been a smashing success. From what I can see this role may suit him very well. I certainly hope he has success in it.

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I am convinced Shin Hye-sun will win an award for her performance in this drama after watching the first two episodes... And I absolutely love her makeup in this show too! Both her and Lee Dong-gun adds so much depth into the show with their screen presence and amazing acting...

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@oldawyer I'm very confident as well that this show is a keeper. It has all the right ingredients in the right quantities, which are being stirred in at the right times. There may be not that much that's new and lots that we can predict in the normal run of kdramas, but like you, I'm hoping there's a comment here about a loving God who intervenes up to a point, while giving space for each individual to make their own choices.

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Would be wonderful indeed for this drama (or a meaning part of the kdrama industry) developed more depth like you discuss!

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Love the first episode.
Shin Hye Sun acting is so good, I think that she can play all the characters so easily...

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@Doro

Your only mentioning SHS is a huge flashing warning signal for me. (To me) SHS always shines best in dramas with ensemble casts.

I don't know if it's that she shines when her acting has some heft to respond to - or the other major story threads downplays her flaws. Either way...she has chosen good projects that work for her.

I am worried with this one. It feels like everyone is in a different drama.

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awww omg this is so good!!!!! lol

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Is this really based On a webtoon? What's the name of that webtoon?

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I love this show!
I like the premise but I'm also surprise how fast I love this show.
Surely, Shin Hye-sun never disappointed me

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this reminds me a of a mills and boon i read way, waaayyyyyyyyy back about a ballerina who injurs herself in a car accident and a ballet director (is that what you call them) who bullies her into dancing and falling in love with him. even after all these years i ship them so hard! now i dont know who to ship - the angel or the ballet guy. i'm so confused!
thank you for the recap - i'm definitely going to start watching this!

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There are already some insightful critiques on the plot and wonderful praise of Shin Hye-sun’s acting, so I’ll just say this. I am in love with that dress.

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@growingbeautifully, @lindag latebloomer, @oldawyer OldLawyer,

Part 1 of 2

I’ve rewatched episodes 1-2. Now I understand why Yeon-seo has done martial arts: to cultivate her ability to tune in to the ch'i of her surroundings. That's how she is able to defend herself against the two ruffians on the jogging path – and also how she has maintained her physical conditioning for the past three years since losing her eyesight. Perhaps she was doing martial arts even before that. That same cultivation enables her to sense Dan's presence.

@19:10, Dan argues with Yeon-seo on the park bench as she rudely tries to evict him, after first shocking him by replying to his words, which she can hear, along with sensing his presence. He replies, "Whatever binds you here, will continue to bind you up above." Aha. A New Testament reference.

Binding and loosing [forbidding and permitting] crop up in two passages in the Gospel of Matthew. In Matthew 16: 18-19, I've added the preceding verse for context: Jesus delegates authority to Peter. I take this to indicate that, as an angel, Dan has been authorized to act on earth – but sometimes he lets his compassion get the better of him. This merciful foible may not be the transgression warranting dissolution that it appears at first blush.

18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” [superscripts for notes deleted]

https://biblehub.com/esv/matthew/16.htm

A second mention of binding and loosing crops up in Matthew 18:18, with nearly identical wording. You can scroll up and down using the following link for references in my comments below.

15“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. [superscripts for notes deleted]

https://biblehub.com/esv/matthew/18.htm

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 2

But what's even more interesting is the context of the surrounding passages, as they are a clue to God's motives for Dan's mission to rekindle love in Yeon-seo's heart. I backtracked to the Parable of the Lost Sheep, verses 10-14. God wants the ballerina back, and has dispatched a kind-hearted angel.

The next section, verses 15-20, deals with correcting a sinner by repeatedly bringing his/her attention to the error, first in private, and then in front of witnesses. We see this play out when Dan challenges Yeon-seo's browbeating of her staff after she slips on the fallen blossoms. He stands up for the maids and gets in her face for her illegal bullying. Her hypercritical attitude towards her inferiors – which is just about everyone – makes her as unlovable as she is unloving.

And then there's the later Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, verses 21-35. I have a feeling that this refers to another aspect of Dan’s task of rehabilitating Yeon-seo’s heartlessness. Note that the first servant had racked up 10,000 talents in debt – each talent being equivalent to about 20 years' wages for a laborer! – which his boss wrote off without hesitation. Said servant then sent his fellow servant and debtor to prison because he could not repay the equivalent of 100 days' wages on the spot. When the big boss heard about it, he was furious, and rescinded his forgiveness of the first servant's humongous debt.

Aha! Dan has 100 days to accomplish his mission. Is this a biblical reference for that specific length of time? LOL! I had assumed it was in keeping with the Korean predilection for 100-day celebrations of babies' births, dating relationships, etc.

I suspect that we'll find out that there's a whole lot that needs to be forgiven by Yeon-seo – and maybe by Dan and others, too. I cannot abide it when baddies are given a "get out of jail scot-free" card. This time, if someone has committed criminal offenses, please, Show: render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's – and send the offenders to the slammer. Forgive the sinner, but hold them accountable, and make them experience the consequences of their actions. In a just dramaverse (MS. HAMMURABI), Judge Im Ba-reun would throw the book at them. ;-)

-30-

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I love your posts here- I too caught that reference to binding on earth- it served to underscore the fact that this time we are seeing a story told from a Christian standpoint.

You are right that Yeon-seo will need to forgive if she is to live life to the fullest. The idea behind forgiveness is not to issue get out of jail free cards for a serious crime but rather to lift the burden of anger and resentment from the shoulders of the one sinned against while at the same time allowing the sinner to experience grace and also move forward to a better life. But Christians have always understood that punishment is sometimes needed to preserve justice and the order of society. The balance between forgiveness and the need for correction and punishment is one of the standing questions that have always faced Christians of all denominations. Your reference to rendering unto Caesar and to Ms. Hammurabi is apt: The one thing that Christianity agrees on is that the decision should be place in the hands of a neutral decisionmaker, like a judge.

So I can see no reason why this show should not have the evildoer's punished, especially since it is now clear that they are guilty of murder. Forgiveness and punishment are not mutually incompatible.

By the way, I wonder why that show chose to refer to her as "Ms. Hammurabi". Hammurabi was not a judge- he was a king.

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@oldawyer OldLawyer,

Thank you so much. I was tickled when I caught the biblical phrasing the second time around. Yes, it does underscore the show's Christian point of view. It also sets Dan's tone. As does his terrified cringing in anticipation of a lightning bold headed for the other bench sitter after her outburst against the Deity. LOL!

One of my Kdrama pet peeves is baddies getting away with murder, especially offenders of the wealthy-with-friends-in-high-places variety. It drives me up the wall. That's why I'm hoping that the baddies will be held to account by the temporal authorities and made to pay for their crimes. That's what triggered the render unto Caesar comment.

As for forgiveness, it's really a gift that one gives oneself. Harboring anger, hatred, and resentment toward another harms the target of those emotions far less than the person holding the grudge, who gets eaten alive in the process. Forgiveness could even be considered a form of self-love. Charity begins at home, and so does love. If you cannot love yourself, how can you truly love anyone else? Forgiveness is a good place to start.

Re: MS. HAMMURABI -- I figured the show got its title from the Code of Hammurabi that was enacted during that king's reign. Having forgotten nearly everything from world history class in high school, I was surprised to read that the Code included presumption of innocence.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Hammurabi#Laws_of_Hammurabi's_Code

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Can you please tell me which webtoon adaptation is this drama from! And Thanks for the recap, always loved your works💘💘

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Pls How can I download dramas?

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I'm a few episodes in and I'm really liking this drama! Though I'm worried about the premise and that our cute angel and talented ballerina may not end up together in the end... what can I say, I'm a sucker for happy, if cliche, endings. BUT I am thoroughly enjoying it so far

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