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Devil / Mawang: Wave of Japanese Support

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I’m not keeping up with Devil/Mawang these days, but it still makes me glad to see quality programming still being appreciated, even if the drama isn’t winning its time slot.

“Japanese Fans Wish For Devil/Mawang’s Success with 10,000 Paper Cranes”
(日 팬들 ‘마왕’ 대박기원 종이학 1만개 갖고 한국 방문 밀물)

According to this article, Japanese fans are so looking forward to seeing Devil that they are sending 10,000 folded paper cranes in encouragement, wishing the kdrama success. They are also planning on visiting the filming location en masse on the 21st, in a city just outside of Seoul called Pyongtaek. They’ll come with the paper cranes as presents and gather at the set location at 2pm.

The series Resurrection (부활) was televised last year in Japan, and was recognized for its quality and earned Uhm Tae Woong popularity among Japanese fans. Upon learning of the upcoming Devil, which not only stars Uhm Tae Woong but is also directed and written by the same people who worked on Resurrection (dir. Park Chan Hong and writer Kim Ji Woo), Japanese fans have been eagerly anticipating the series. A fan expressed excitement at the thought of visiting the location and meeting the three stars, Uhm Tae Woong, Joo Ji Hoon, and Shin Min Ah, counting down the days to the sure-to-be-unforgettable event.

The location details, which had not been fully made public, were first publicly announced to media outlets on behalf of the Japanese fans, so they could come to the location on this day.

(I love reading about stuff like this — a give-and-take relationship between the production and the fans, which shows that the production realizes to whom they owe their successes, and the fans being grateful rather than entitled to the dramas they love. I’m also amazed, because no way in hell would American entities allow their fans anywhere this level of access — although probably for good reason, since there are so many crazies around, especially when we’re talking Hollywood. Still, I hear about things like Seven’s fan club sending lovely gestures like gift packages and food to the set of Goong S and I’m mystified that it’s actually safe to eat. I can’t be the only paranoid one! — especially not after the DBSK/Yunho poisoning incident by an anti-fan some months ago.)

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source: http://www.newsen.com/news_view.php?news_uid=129511&code=100100

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That is so cool, yeah living in America that would not ever happen...lots of crazy stalker fans who go overboard. Hopefully if I ever run into a celebrity that I love I can do something nice like that for them...a girl can dream!!!

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javabeans, this series is the one that replaced dalja's springs in kbs world. im currently watching it. do you think it's really worth it even if i usually like romance-comedy genre of kdramas?

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FuschiaPink -- Well, I don't know what your taste is and I don't want to tell anyone what to or what not to watch... But Devil IS a very well-made show, and if you take a look at the prior work of the production team, Resurrection -- which I admit I didn't catch but has received near-universal praise -- it's got a pretty high pedigree. So if you're enjoying it so far, I'd keep watching.

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Thanks for your opinion. =) Really appreciate it. Considering the your very nice summaries and reviews your opinion definitely counts when it comes to kdramas. Thanks again! I will definitely watch it next week.

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How cool! Also living in America I see your point- it'd never work in Hollywood. I used to thing fans in asian culture were too overtop (though you can sense obsessive-ness) but its really nice how they send gestures of support. Being a JJH supporter got me interested in Mawang, but the more I hear the greater my anticipation grows- can't wait till i can watch w/ Eng subs

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Well I've watched Mawang / The Devil to the end (unfortunately not all episodes had English subs).. But it's a very stylish well directed crime drama.. It doesn't fit the romance comedy genre but its something worth watching if you appreciate great work. Ju Ji Hoon acted very well (it's a role he was born to play) so did Uhm Tae Woong.. Even though I wasn't a big fan of JJH after Goong (found it overrated) this drama sure made a fan out of me..

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thats really good and teh yhevil series its really good, and i thought waht japanese fans do its worth it with this series coz this series its really different from teh other korean series and once again its really good. especially JJH and SMA i love they're chemistry.
javabeans do you have the devil ost coz, i really wanna have this ost. the soundtrack its really cool

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Hi R and Javabeans, i'm thinking of catching "the devil" but does it have a happy ending? sorry i just have this thing abt watching dramas that end tragically... thanks for sharing

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atsl, i haven't finished watching devil, but (highlight to see spoiler) no, it's not a happy ending.

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I'm amazed at the level of access they have too. I think the Asian entertainment community are a lot more in tune with the fans, and vice versa.....I mean, counting the incident with the girl from Goong and the DBSK incident, that's only two times I've heard about stalker-type things happening. But in America, it's like, "No way! Nuh uh." The only reason they've never gotten in trouble is that the security's so beefed up. But the Korean stars give their fans so much access it's a wonder nothing ever happens.
Then again, they seem to be a lot more organized. Really huge fan clubs, with the presidents having quite a bit of power. It's odd. ^^ Especially after I read the manhwa Chocolat, which tells about the relationship between a fan and a star.
I wish to watch it too, for JJH....but I'm a romantic comedy fan. I'm not sure I can do such a high crime drama.

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i just finished watching The Devil yesterday and it's awesome.

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I liked this series a lot. Not only that I praise JJH acting here as much as I loved him in Goong. In this series all actors played well. BTW, I like the girl in here. I think the series as a whole was done in good taste. I felt the romance and cried with the protagonists.

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@linda-palapala

Lets go retro. This is the only 2007 post I can find on Dramabeans.

I am up to episode 06 at the moment. As such, the following are just thoughts in progress as I thought it may be more interesting to discuss ideas as you know more about this drama than me.

OMG the skill level in Kdrama land has radically changed in 10 years.
I am still trying to get a read on it as it is no where near as integrated as we now have. I think the advance is a result of the smaller camera rigs, digital editing and skills cross over from Chungmuro.

So we have the 3 main characters
- Mephistopheles
- Faust
- Gretchen

The library location is Mephistopheles the scholar.

You are right....Verticals everywhere...
I am still trying to nail down the verticals...I think this is either the cage or an extension of each person as a book - fate already written.

CAMERA
The camera moves differently for each of them:
Oh-Soo - camera often moves backwards (often off kilter and even shaky hand held)
Seung-Ha - camera appears to move forwards and at angles (always on a dolly)
Hae-In - The overhead shots are interesting...particularly with her gift.

WARDROBE
The white on Hae-In stands out particularly against the 2 black males. This could be the innocent Gretchen. However, I suspect it is more; and it depends if this is the old-world damnation version or the Victorian redemption telling of the story. My hunch is they are playing Gretchen as an fallen angel.

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@linda-palapala

Continued from above....

I may have the characters incorrectly categorised and I am now uncertain of Hae-In. Is she:

* Mephistopheles = the scholar
* Lucifer = the light bearer
* Gretchen = the innocent

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I think she's Lucifer the light bearer, or perhaps Gretchen the innocent, or both. I found the last 10 episodes much more intriguing. I'm looking forward to your thoughts more because I know nothing except I loved it visually, the musical score, the revenge plot, the use of tarot cards. But I know very very little about the mythology. btw I just happened upon your post by accident. Thank goodness I just happened to click on beanies! Please keep your analysis coming, especially if you notice noir film techniques.

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At one point I thought Oh soo was Lucifer the light bearer because he was trying to bring past evils to light, but then I thought The Tempter because he would place temptation in the hands of those who were guilty but it was up to them whether or not to choose good or evil. I had read someone said Mawang shouldn't be translated as The Devil because that isn't quite an accurate translation of Mawang.
I am woefully ignorant of the mythology and I'd better do some research immediately.

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@linda-palapala

Thoughts that lead to her being Lucifer:
- Her powers see across the stories
- Her cards are being used by Mephistopheles
- Her red coat (this stood out immediately & was a strange choice for her white dress)
- Her overhead shots remove all verticals and now establish her as a different actor not controlled by the rules of the mortal world.
- She is the keeper of books which is different to the scholar.

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No edit, sorry! I meant to ask whether or not you think for 2007 it was well done for that time and technology.

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@linda-palapala

This drama is trying to do a lot in the confines of those insane shooting deadlines. There are a number of really great shots for that time. Some of the wide angle + dark images are where the show is strongest.

You can also see where they decided to save time to allow them to focus on the key shots. The detective office scenes are nearly alway shot with a wide depth of field (everything in focus), strong even light...This allows for simple editing and shooting setup.

You can also see where they have tried to do interesting things and the shot has a glitch and they kept it instead of re-shooting (time pressure)

Overall it has its hit and misses (I wish it had a bigger budget). It took a couple of episodes to get into the rhythm of 2007...but I like it now.

P.S. I am amazed at how different Shin Min-Ah looks just 1 year before Gumiho.

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For me it started out a rather ordinary murder mystery. But halfway thru the series, around ep 10 or 11 it really picked up the psychological aspects and builds to the end. I'm curious of how you interpret the last shot with Shin Minah.
I've only watched kdramas for a couple of years but Mawang was one of the first dramas I watched and was so impressed with the quality as opposed to American tv shows. I chose it because of 1) Ju ji hoon; 2) it was noir; 3) my favorite plot is the revenge plot. I loved the added and not overly done supernatural elements, the tarot card interpretations she gives and the mythology, which I never really understood but your comments have helped and Wikipedia helps! btw Mawang is listed as "The Lucifer" on Wikipedia.
I loved your comment about how her shots remove the vertical.

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One of the osts is "The Aroma of Light" and it usually plays when JJH and SMN are together.
back to the previous drama and how we bring our own interpretation and past into what we see. I have a friend who happens to be a sf author and he said once his book is published it's no longer his, but each reader brings his own experiences and fantasies and interprets his words differently. I had forgotten he said that. btw Netflix has made a tv series from his first book and it will air in Feb. I thought of you because this sf series is supposed to be visually stunning.

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I just read cliff notes on Goethe and character analysis of Mephistopheles and it really fits Seung ha. Amazing.

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@linda-palapala

OOOOOH! Thanks for that insight on the "The Aroma of Light" song with JJH and SMN.

I have put some new thoughts on the visuals in a new thread (#14) below to give more room for comments.

Your comments remind me of John Dewey's writing on aesthetics?

A major component of his thesis is that creation and experience are equal but opposite processes.

You may find it interesting. Dewey is not as popular as other writers these days. However, this is a particularly useful text.

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@linda-palapala

I am still working up to an overall take. However, below are some initial observations on the noir visuals

THE DETECTIVES’ OFFICE
This is an unusual space for a Noir. It starts as a space without shadow (There are no shades of grey here). As Oh-Soo’s past catches up with him, the room is slowly contaminated by shadow and he has shots where he is ½ and ½ (even though the other characters are still almost shadowless)

This is not the usual noir detective’s office as a refuge from the world. These detectives are in a fishbowl (windows on 3 sides of the room) yet without traces of the outside.

LIBRARY
The collection shelves are shot as a corridor with a blown out light at the end (symbolism????). In this location, we get scenes with asymmetrical balance of 2 characters separated by distance yet both in focus. The depth of field is tightly aligned to the length of the bookshelf corridor.

BLOCKING
Rather than blocking shots with light/dark typical of classic Noir, now the effect is by physical obstructions (walls, people and objects). This ramps up as we move through the episodes and characters become more ensnarled in their own past. Some scenes leave only a sliver of the face to both isolate them and exaggerate our attention.

I suspect they were trying to create a blocking effect with the split screens, but this does not appear as successful. (I need to wait to see if this has another meaning that has not been revealed yet)

CLOSEUPS
Close ups are ratcheting tighter each episode to compress the protagonists as the secrets threaten their normality.

The camera explores characters in detail before revealing them. Often starting with their extremities…only to track along their body before going to their focus of intention. Characters aren’t seen, they are analysed…we are not neutral; we are warily inspect them to judge.

INTERROGATION ROOM
The single central actuated light blocks all detail but the faces. We don’t see nervousness expressed on the body. Now we only focus on emotions through expressions. Not as we normally see them but accentuated by the up lighting. Contrary to convention, in this interrogation space, no one is dominant; instead the most comfortable are those who are at home in the dark.

TEA ROOM
This space’s central light has parallels to the INTERROGATION ROOM. However, it is circled by indirect colour lighting. Here, Hae-In’s light clothes and face are brought to life by this ring of colours so she controls the space. This effect is amplified by her shots being colour/emotion themed and she is clearly separated from the other characters by being framed with a different colour.

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So interesting! Thank you for your observations.
I did notice Seung ha's face most of the time was in half light, half shadow and wondered if that was symbolic.
I took the "noir" feel because so many things happened at night and Seung ha was always in darkness in his home, which shows my lack of education in this area!
I'm not sure if you mean you have finished the whole thing and are putting your thoughts together, or if you've gotten to a particular episode.
I love the question this drama explores, what is good and what is evil. And the complicated, conflicted nature of the two males. And how one tragedy impacted so many lives. There's one scene of Seung ha in the courtroom when he realizes he's trying to have a client declared innocent because it was an accident, the very thing Oh soo had just told Seung ha about his brother's death. Although from my pov when they showed a close up of the stabbing it surely looked like it was on purpose. But the look of doubt on Seung ha's face when he used that reasoning in court was very good.
On another site, someone mentioned the literary allusions: Dante, Anthony Browne's The Tunnel, People of the Lie. I've yet to explore these references.
"...As Oh-Soo’s past catches up with him, the room is slowly contaminated by shadow..." ooh, excellent.
...Now we only focus on emotions through expressions." Yes, and one reason I love kdramas.
...she is clearly separated from the other characters by being framed with a different colour. I didn't notice this at all.
But I must wait until you've given all your thought before I once again watch with different eyes.
My auto correct keeps wanting to change colour. Usually Brits use this spelling...?? Do you also say "whilst"?
My author friend I mentioned is British.

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@linda-palapala

Still only up to ep06. I needed to let it sink in so I could start to unpack both the underlying story and the visuals. (I probably should note my posts with where I am up to).

I have already notice, the crew appear to be pushing the form a little more as they get used to this style. Their blocking is getting tighter and more natural with the story. There is also a particularly fantastic image at the start of ep06. The camera tracks with Seung-Ha as he floats back amongst the filigree of black winter branches. Its when it stops that we get the full pay off. The camera looks up from almost ground level to reveal him against a spreading arc of branches looking like this is his true form...spreading these black gothic wings for the first time in the drama.

This show is interesting it didn't fall into the trap of Noir stopping at dark setting with high-contrast lighting. It is finding subtle ways to continue the style during the day/office scenes.

I agree, there are a number of visual/wardrobe references that may come from literary allusions. There just appear too many deliberate moments that stand out as different to the rest (e.g. The yellow room in episode one, the artwork behind Seung-Ha's office)

Let me know what you thought after watching the "Every Frame a Painting" video. For 3min long its amazing how much is in the visuals. (Actually "DRIVE" is this visually rich from start to finish.)

P.S. Yes to "whilst"
:D

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I went to Every Frame...but got caught up in how much info there is that I'm interested in and started watching musical themes and soundtracks. Now I want to watch all of the vids. I haven't watched the exact one you wanted me to watch yet though. Thanks so much for the reference.
But the beginning of ep 6 - wow! How did I miss that? And it's beautiful. I'm up to ep 19 and it just gets more and more interesting character wise and plot wise. Gah, I love this show.

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"...I am still trying to nail down the verticals...I think this is either the cage or an extension of each person as a book - fate already written. "
Oh, I just now got this. A conversation about fate already written is in the last couple of episodes at least.

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@linda-palapala

Character Visual update (I am currently up to episode 10).

Not only does the episode 6 start with the arresting sequence ending with Seung-Ha’s gothic skeletal wings. It then continues this visual device in the following scenes by stageing them so his forest wings and vertical stripes (pin-stripe suit, building) appear to ensnarl Oh-Soo. Shots are framed so Seung-Ha is an extension of the forest and in the background forest surrounds Oh-Soo. Here visually Oh-Soo has no escape from his past. It is such a nice visual device, I immediately thought it was reminiscent of Macbeth with Seung-Ha bringing the forest of Dunsinane (wrong story :D).

It delivers this fully in ep07 when we learn about Seung-Ha’s direct association of the tree with death. General scenes that have a foreboding element now use this branch motif.

Young-Chul is also starting to share the branching visual with Seung-Ha. It has reappeared at a number of his pivotal scenes: The phone box, in the park with Sora.

Originally I thought this might mean that Seung-Ha was pulling the strings. However, Seung-Ha actions make it now look like they may be associated. (I am concerned the use of the motif will be caught out by the change in seasons as the branches are already starting to show signs of buds).

Hae-In’s home has been interestingly out of place and the association of Seung-Ha with skeletal branches may have revealed the intent. Vertical lines totally dominate the exterior of Hae-In’s home. However, her interior is floral in an obvious contrast to the other visual elements of the drama – potentially this is to set a equal but opposite role to Seung-Ha (2 bladed sides to the sword).

The Episode 7/8 scene of Oh-Soo + Hae-In in the library is so interesting. Both characters are placed in a similar spatial construction in the collection. However, on Oh-Soo’s side, the subtle turning over of the books to physically extend out of the shelf and reveal their pages (rather than spines) give the feeling he is now trapped inside the books. Where as Hae-In is still a separate keeper of books.

Episode 8 and 9, shadows become far stronger and expressive. In these episodes, the actor groupings are starting to use asymmetrical balance with deep depth of field. However, both the visual of the drama and the immersiveness of the story are hampered by the traditional actor to camera dialog scenes. Although these latter scenes establish a strong blocking, it is not enough to dial up the emotional level and these scenes feel static.

Just a note. Have you notice that in Mawang, wardrobe and hair remain almost consistent. Not only in each shot, but characters have remained almost in the same wardrobe in all the episodes. This is totally different to where Kdrama is at now. EG. BTIOFL the hair and wardrobe changed to allow it be part of the visual language not only across episodes, but also within individual shots. This is a more...

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... Continued

....This is a more refined skill level and also requires significantly more stagecraft by actors in concert with the technical directors.

PLOT
The Episode 7 stabbing scene is now different. Here the act is deliberate; where as in Oh-Soo’s ep01 vision, it is accidental. We appear to have an increasing number of witnesses/players…are we dealing with different points of view and not the actual event?

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After our discussion in the last drama about different povs I thought this as well - but it is the actual event remembered differently by each witness. I wonder whether or not Oh Soo has convinced himself it was accidental. His angst increases more and more.
I think the wardrobe begins to change gradually - let me know if you notice the same thing as I took it to mean symbolically how they were changing mentally. Are you saying the modern dramas wardrobe reflects a more refined skill level? I see wardrobe changes to reflect how much time has passed for one thing, i.e. that way I know it's the same day, etc. In Devil, with the focus on psychological, mental issues and with their roles being static, I thought the same wardrobe fit. Plus it's slower paced and there aren't many reasons to constantly change wardrobe. You're going to see a lawyer and a business man in a suit, the librarian in something informal and comfortable. Oh soo's jeans and shoes were always a little dirty and unkempt and he always seems a little disheveled which I thought reflected his disheveled mind.
I'm going to print out your latest comment and re watch those episodes!
As far as the actor to camera dialog being static, I wonder if you're also hearing the subtle musical cues if there are any in those scenes. I had to use earphones to pick up the low volume of the music, which added richness to those scenes. But I might be thinking of other scenes than you're speaking of. Will it be obvious if I re watch which ones you're talking about?

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@linda-palapala

At present I don't think there is a neutral account of the incident. Oh-Soo is tinged by both guilt and self preservation and this appears to be making his version of events change meaning.

It is also unclear if Hae-In is getting her readings the object or the person. Her original vision was from the ball (that belonged to one of Oh-Soo's friends).

The following comment on wardrobe is not to say Mawang should be doing a different wardrobe structure. This was just to discuss how different Kdrama has become in the intervening 10 years. Mawang is of its time and I am really appreciating it as its own show.

I also appreciate how challenging this drama was for the crew. It is so outside their normal production styles in what it is asking of the crew, particularly camera, focus puller & grip. There is a reason Kdrama always has couples walking really slowly...its so easy to keep focus.

At present, Mawang is using character based wardrobe similar to the way animation used to: dress a character in an outfit to match their personality - and animation always drew them in the same outfit...It was a basic way to build character recognition). However, this leaves it a very blunt and singular device in its story telling.

Compare that approach to BTLIOF, where outfits were still tied to character, only it was the style of clothes not a particular item. This allowed it to be able to have a character go from matching colour to contrasting colour at the exact moment when the scene put them at odds with the situation....just by having them reposition to go from showing their light shirt/dress to then all of a sudden show the dark colour of their coat.

This requires the wardrobe and director to preplan this move in parallel with the dialogue. Then have the actors hit those stage directions.

This is a different level of skill application from all involved and means that it increases the elements telling the story.

In a detective drama it is easy to have the characters change colour/form/texture...they are constantly going in and out side, so change of coat is a basic necessity. This would leave Seung-Ha the only one with an almost fixed wardrobe. I think that contrast of him not changing v the other characters changing would increase his otherworldliness. Its would then just be a matter of cropping closeups to let his white shirt lighten him when needed.

I need to pay more attention to the sound...but the story and visuals are making me work hard already....

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@linda-palapala

(...More comment above)

I can't believe you have almost finished re-watching it. WOW.

Apologies.It takes me a little while to absorb the episodes and then unpack what I have seen to organise my discussion points.

Shows around this era had such a good handle on the story pacing. (which I think many shows have lost...want to talk drama slumps).

At present, the core plot carries you along faster and faster...Then the drama cleverly just expands the story with the natural embedded consequences of the original story. Just by exploring the risks to all the bystanders (where their own current deceptions become part of their downfall).

Now we also have several antagonists.
- Seung-Ha
- Soon-Ki
- Young-Chub
- Father

I am also more unclear of the underlying metaphor for Hae-In:
* Mephistopheles = the scholar
* Lucifer = the light bearer
* Gretchen = the innocent

For Hae-In, I am still leaning to Lucifer. However, the reading depends on whether her detachment is characteristic of Mephistopheles or Lucifer.

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I have to think about much of what you've said before I comment on that, but first...
I have all day Sat-Mon to watch whatever. Tues-Fri I don't have that much time. Plus, once I get into the story I forget to analyze anything, I just get too wrapped up emotionally. This is why I watch dramas more than once.
I'm watching the beginning of the final episode and when Oh soo finds out the truth the theme "Don't Love Me" plays slowly with violins - it gave me goose bumps. I don't know if you notice but sometimes there's almost an inaudible bass rumble in the background, mostly with Seung ha, but just now it was with Oh soo's brother.
Multiple antagonists: another reason I like kdramas as they explore why someone is an antagonist, how some past event has shaped their lives. Again, American tv doesn't usually care about that. Is that a reflection on society?
Question: would you consider this a psychological thriller?
More thoughts after I cogitate...

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@linda-palapala

I have to watch just to enjoy first...the go back and stitch together what it means...then see how the show is trying to construct that story...

SO thats usually 2+ watchings.

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@linda-palapala

RE: "psychological thriller"

Unsure of the genre... It is interesting to have a detective solve the mystery of his own crime...

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Question: (had a thought) since everything that happens begins with that one fatal stabbing and we see how it's affected everyone's life (almost exponentially getting worse) and we explore all those antagonists and what made them tick, what about the initial stabbing by Oh soo the thug? Maybe it's my faulty memory, but I don't remember getting info on why he became a thug. We can speculate but it doesn't seem to cover his relationship with his dad or brother that made him such a teenage thug.
The last episode: Aargh I need to watch the last 10 minutes again. Not only was I interrupted which ruined it, but the subtitles are different on the two sites I watched, which changed the meaning.
And, the music for the last episode carried the emotional weight of the intensity - in my opinion so I'm waiting for your thoughts. But take your time!!

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@linda-palapala

RE: "psychological thriller"

Looking at all the elements, I suspect its a straight Gothic fiction.

I had to lookup the definitions for the different mysteries but none fit well. However, Gothic...it fits.

It has the correct allegories, visual metaphors and story construction.

I have to say, using Noir as a reimagining of Gothic is a great touch...Its such a thoughtful approach.

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@linda-palapala

Episode 11 was all sorts of interesting.

I noticed the sound much more this episode. I don’t know if that’s because of your comment or it was just different. The piece of music that was almost a Russian dirge for Seung-Ha was fantastic. (Particularly after Over the Rainbow) So…much…melancholy.

I haven’t notice the low base note (I will listen for it), but it doesn’t surprise me. It would be a great device for the character

The show as uses car mirrors to almost get a Claude glass effect on several scenes. It was uber good this episode with the shady dealings in the car.

I was so worried about the show losing its tree metaphor with the change of season. Instead, it just found new expression. The scene of Seung-Ha + Hae-In walking under the cherry blossoms was the mixing of their two hidden metaphors (dark branches and chintz florals).

The tarot cards moved from being a statement of fact to now being obscure for all involved. People who have them are obfuscating and Seung-Ha getting one throws motivations up in the air. Just after Seung-Ha receives the tower card, the camera deliberately goes to dutch angle and in the next scene his wardrobe changes and for the first time he matches Oh-Soo’s as he sits drinking.

Oh-Soo’s confession at the end is not as Seung-Ha attempted, in a church, but to Hae-In (interesting…). Here he expresses what has become evident for the several preceding episodes. His actions have unleased irrevocable forces on those around him, absolution for himself can’t remove the effects on others. He is now at the point where he realises he may not be who he wants to be… and to look into one own soul is a scary thing.

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Your latest comments didn't show up until I posted my latest one, so now back to thinking about all you've said (I am really enjoying your thoughts).

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Yes, my favorite shows get at least two or three watchings. I can only focus on one thing at a time (esp if I have to read subtitles), but also I only like character driven stories, not plot based stories. Don't like whodunnits because once you know whodunnit there's no use watching it again and that's no fun.

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@linda-palapala

Just posted some more comments above in thread #15

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I'll try your 3 step method of watching...
And I was going to ask you about the use of mirrors and what it means, so you've answered it.
It's a low bass rumble which only lasts a few seconds and I wonder if it means danger. I'm trying to find a soundtrack or at least who scored the music. No luck. Some of the music sounds baroque to me but I can't place if it's Vivaldi or just the score the composer composed specifically for this drama.
Someone mentioned the cards were color coded: red, danger; yellow and green? I didn't notice.

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@linda-palapala

...." Don't like whodunnits because
once you know whodunnit there's
no use watching it again and
that's no fun."....

That was the great thing about "BLACK". I know its not for everyone...However, that show trusted the audience and at times it was a wild ride.

We and the characters had to figure it out together and it wasn't until the last 2 episodes....BOOM.

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@linda-palapala

(repost from above)
RE: "psychological thriller"

Looking at all the elements, I suspect its a straight Gothic fiction.

I had to lookup the definitions for the different mysteries but none fit well. However, Gothic...it fits.

It has the correct allegories, visual metaphors and story construction.

I have to say, using Noir as a reimagining of Gothic is a great touch...Its such a thoughtful approach.

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@linda-palapala

So far the show doesn't establish the reason for his dark sided youth. It only hints at potentials.

However, I think this is a good thing for the story. Are you born good or bad is often raised.

The simplistic morals in a good-bad-good would undermine any redemption story...He was good all along....That would seem similar to the underlying meaning in "The Ugly Duckling"....It was always a swan.

Now we have the same questions Oh-Soo has.

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Is that the one with Song Seung hun? I didn't have access to it. Whodunnits are fine when they're character driven, like Stranger/Secret Forest. That was excellent writing.

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@linda-palapala

Yes, "BLACK" with Song Seung-Hun. His best role ever...(If you are going to watch...do not read spoilers)

FoS.
I have so much love for that show. Cast, Crew, Writing....So many great performances.

I know its personal taste..,but I am a little surprised that FoS has faired so poorly in the DB end of year vote.

Have you listed to some of the OST...Song 1 reminds me of a mix of X-files, Twin Peaks and a cinema sound track.

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Wow, don't believe this - I was just browsing Netflix and Black showed up. Woah! Will start watching this weekend!
btw my author friend who's book was made into a Netflix series is Altered Carbon.

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Black : ep 1. The shoeprint on the back of his shirt was a nice touch.
I can tell this is going to be excellent.

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Re sound in ep 11 - the song with lyrics when Oh soo is overlooking the Han River at night is the OST "Don't Love Me". It's sung twice in ep 15. Do they subtitle the lyrics on the site you're watching? Because my site doesn't show English translation of lyrics. I have the lyrics written down if you don't have them. Let me know if you'd like them.

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@linda-palapala

My site doesn't give the translations to lyrics. But I did find them on line...

Thanks for the heads up.

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@linda-palapala

Just curious..Do you respond on the webpage ("Devil / Mawang: Wave of Japanese Support") or do registered DB members respond in a separate notification window?

I just refresh the webpage and search for your comments since your last posting....

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I usually refresh too, but it was only a couple of weeks ago that I discovered you get notifications from the top icons (the little bell). But sometimes refreshing the page is faster.

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@linda-palapala

Ep12. Lots to write on this episode as the drama is starting to come together. I Suspect later episodes wont generate as much analysis as they will be more about how the rules are applied not where I just start to see the rules as now.

The story is gathering pace. The plot is both opening up to reveal more of the antagonists. At the same time it squeezes the main actors tighter into their demise. It is now clear that all players are unable to take the way out Hae-In gives in episode 5 (where she both gives the whole story, and gives Oh-Soo the way out (which he rejects).

Oh-Soo continuously talks redemption, yet his actions remain personal, where he determines if the actions are suitable for it. I suspect the show is leading to the point where redemption requires the offering of self (weather it is taken or redeemed is for the other to decide).

The following is not to diminish the story or sound of the episode but to just cover how visuals are getting better as the drama progresses…I cant believe this was bottom of its time slot in its ratings. I suspect if the show was able to deliver its vision that it is able to do now (ep12) at the start…It may have not given up its early viewer interest

Ep 12 has lots visually to play with. This show is getting so good at its staging sequences (at or near the start)…I think this one was its best so far.

As Seung-Ha listens to the recording the apartment is in that over-the-top blue light. As we reach the moment where his past is outed, he cuts his finger to see his inner redness (is this his humanness or other), then as he contemplates the ramifications of the information he is instantly ambiguously haloed (or inspected) by the glare of the white spotlight…Once he recomposes himself, he then displays the darkness within his red reflection (nice repeated use of the red fridge).

Hae-In is starting to share visual associations with Seung-Ha. Before the end of the apartment scene, Seung-Ha returns to blue behind the branching wire screen. We later cut to Hae-In who now is in the same solid blue outside against the branching vegetation.

.....Continued below

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….Cont from above

COLOUR THEMATIC
As the show starts to build consistency, the colour visuals become more apparent:

YELLOW is now repeatedly Na-Hee (all the way back to ep1). The yellow Narcissus representing both the numbing effects of human desires leading to doom and the uncontrollable fixation on appearance/public perception. This was never going to end well.

RED: The direct actor with its danger

BLUE: The unseen actor (I am unsure of this reading) it is the key part Seung-Ha’s apartment. However, in this episode, Hae-In is for the first time in a block colour (blue) and associated with the gothic branching.

GREEN: Occurs when items are neutral or unclear/unresolved.

WHITE: The bringer of light. This is a dispassionate take of judgement. I assume this is why it is not only associated with Hae-In, but also the detectives office. It is interesting that the junior detective also is predominantly white as he is the only one to continuously call out Oh-Soo’s actions…and by extension the actions of the others who are acquiescing to his self-interest.

Thematic colours can be modified by the inclusion of other motif (the fathers restaurant scenes)

USE OF COLOURS: Now it is visible and the show is getting tighter with its construction…these are becoming noticeable everywhere:

*Suk Jin/ Soon-Ki apartment* It is clear the wallpaper was purposely selected. Its blue tight verticals are both colour/graphic themed – their stories are already tightly determined and neither is able to reveal it. Their apartment confrontation scenes in this episode apply a red side lighting, which you can see in Suk Jin’s glasses and Soon-Ki’s eyes. It’s all about to go very wrong for these two.

*Hae-In & Seung-Ha’s meeting at the record store* Their meeting is framed by both red and yellow. The camera had to work really hard to get that yellow in the front to not blow out to white as the other flowers (and may have been added in post-production). Hae-In is white with red accessories…Now I think her role is clearly the devil.

*Suk Jin/ Oh-Soo at the hotel* The beige hotel has been blown out/filtered to shift its colour towards yellow and exterior light are turned on to extend the yellowness. Notice when Oh-Soo is meeting with his father the exterior vegetation even appears yellow. Despite the plot of the car meeting, the risk to all is the threat of the hidden desire.

*The Tea Room* Hae-In is blue green/ Oh-Soo red.

*The Chase/Accident scene* is a clever framing of changing Blue and Red to match the changing plot moments. The addition of the branch shadows during the chase tell you everything you need to know….and it reveals in the next 2 minutes…All the players are there both in visuals and in person. I think a number of shots in this scene are allusions to “The Third Man”.

….Cont below

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All of this just from the colors. And you can tell what's going to happen from the use of color. Amazing.

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@linda-palapala

I would love to get your take on the Blue colour. I am still uncertain of that reading and discussing it may help...

"The unseen actor" is the best fit I can make at the moment.

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@linda-palapala

….Cont from above

WARDROBE
This episode, wardrobe begins to reveal its part in the colour theming (as you mentioned earlier). Its still blunt in its story telling but it is of its time.

SOUND
As we start to get to the climax of the episode we get this fantastic driving rythym which transitions to a slower ominous harpsichord piece. I fear the show is foreshadowing that the ending is the original damnation version not the Victorian redemption version of the tale

The low notes and strings for Seung-Ha are fantastic. Both triumphal and epic levels of melancholy.

ACTORS:
Joo Ji-Hoon – Wow, he is so able to pull of that intense/sly persona. This show relies on this. In another’s hands this role (and the show) would have been so much weaker. Of the 3 leads, he stands out.

Lee Sung-Min - Interesting to see him at the start of his acting career. Would you have pick that he would be come a lead actor?

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Another re watch tomorrow with this in hand to follow along.
Lee Sung min: Didn't realize he was in this until I looked up what else the writer did and saw she wrote Memory. The writer/director team also did one of my other fav dramas, Kimchee Family aka Fermentation Family.

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@linda-palapala

I liked Fermentation Family...there were some rocking visuals in that show.

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Also some beautiful kimchi...

Got to love food dramas :D

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Wow. All this from ep 12? Just, wow.

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@linda-palapala

Apologies for the length of notes on ep12. Normally I crop it down and try and build a coherent message about the visuals. However, there has been so much happening, and as this is mainly the 2 of us, I thought you may appreciate just seeing a little more on where the visual components are (with a little bit of drama meanings to ground them).

I am just putting thoughts together on ep13-16.

This drama is getting better each episode. It has also been so long since I have noticed an orchestral backing. At the moment Kdrama seems dominated by acoustic guitar and piano.

At present I think this is going to be one of those shows that doesn't pull back at the ending....I am OK with that and bracing myself.

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Please don't apologize, just keep the lengthy detailed analysis coming! This puts a whole new light on this drama for me. You're putting into words what I've felt emotionally but didn't know why.
Thoughts on blue? I'm not sure what the unseen actor is (and if it's on the youtube videos I still haven't had time to watch them.) I'm obviously not educated enough in film to know what the blue might mean so I can only give you my emotional reaction. If you mean the blue in Seung ha's apt, I loved the saturated rich blue color first of all. I assumed it was to give him a more isolated feeling. I'll keep thinking on it, but knowing what the unseen actor is might help.
The bluish grey in the apt I felt since grey is an ambiguous color, neither black nor white, I thought it might mean they're not yet committed to whatever decisions they're going to make and at this point morally ambiguous??
Ha, well I feel a bit out of my league in guessing.
I noticed the red frig, now his blood makes sense. I wonder now (since I know what happens) if this is the starting point where things start to go awry for Seung ho showing his humanity and vulnerability and the fact he can no long control fate.
I noticed the red reflected in the glasses. Wow. Thanks for mentioning that small detail.
Red is clearly danger. But I thought yellow was caution. She mentions yellow daffodils (on the tarot card) represent voices for the dead, and I'm unsure of your explanation for yellow. Also in ep 12 when SH takes the yellow envelopes to the police what does that mean?
More questions but I'll wait til I've watched more of ep 12.
Waiting for your complete thoughts on 13-16!

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What's confusing me about yellow is: for instance if you want a bright, cheerful and optimistic color to paint a room in your house, you choose yellow. But yellow can mean caution at a traffic light. So how is yellow used in film?
Queston: Many times faces are in half light, half shadow. What does this mean, if anything?
Is the blue in Seung ha's apt representing the dark tunnel he's in and when he stands at the window with the light shining thru, that he could choose to come out of the dark? Or does it mean something else entirely??

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Why does Hae in not only show sympathy to the characters but she also uses empathy to try and coax them into coming out of the dark tunnel.
She's now wearing darkish blue that almost matches Seung ho's apt color. Why?

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@linda-palapala

RE: YELLOW
In this exercise, we are trying to work back from the finished drama to unpack the ideas the creators have used to construct their work and embed meaning. (I often find the visuals can be a more literal take on the drama events as most viewers are not fully aware of this aspect and only react emotionally to them).

All we can do is work with the rules the creators set.

Its important to remember, we are not being absolutist, films that do strictly apply the visual rules become incredibly abstract…”Hero”, “The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover”. All we can do is look for the clues and use our judgement and its context to see if it conforms to the reading. Some elements will be easier than others. Eg. back lighting (its always applied so it wont be a random colour). Items applied in post-production or filters applied to camera. Eg. When a shot is colour shifted to emphasize a particular colour

……………………………
Excuse this tangent paragraph…
Cultural readings are not universal.…There was a conceptual project to sign radioactive waste for 10,000 years (which is nothing compared to the 250,000yr danger). Key learnings were that cultural constructs were not fixed + 10,000yr is longer than any human culture or language so we have no history of retaining artefacts/meanings at that scale… There is no singular cultural reading and meanings change over time.
……………………………

….Cont below

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@linda-palapala

….Cont from above

The reading of yellow associated with doomed desire and public perception was constructed from the following patterns.
Ep01 the yellow room just befor Na-Hee meets Suk Jin for their tryst that we see. This is such an intense yellow it has been deliberately blown out to emphasise it - there are scenes where the hotel is not this yellow. As I mentioned it up above, this intensity of colour was an obvious signpost. Following this, Suk Jin (the character with a dangerous lust) is shown against the yellow in the split screen with Oh-Soo as they discuss Soon-Ki.

Hae-In (the devil) and Seung-Ha (Mephistopheles) actually call the flower by the name “Narcissus”

Yellow is a major colour in Na-Hee’s home and shots with Na-Hee are typically framed by yellow. There is the great scene in ep14 at the restaurant:
- It starts with Na-Hee and her husband Hee-Soo against the reddish walls of the restaurant.
- Soon-Ki enters through the intense yellow opening.
- As he and Na-Hee reposition, Na-Hee is then against the yellow.
- The scene ends with the 2 men against the red either side of the yellow opening Na-Hee has just left through. At the end of the scene the lighting has dropped to diminish the intensity of the yellow as if it is just an echo of the troubled desire that has departed.

THE YELLOW envelope (with red Tower card) to Seung-Ha could be about his need for social appearance (he is not who he says he is) rather than the amorous component of narcissism. Particularly as reporter Joon Pyo (who sent the card) has discovered his identity. However, immediately after receiving the envelope, he then goes to have lunch with Hae-In (who his relationship with has been defined by yellow red at their first meeting)

Desire is a particularly human trait and the discussion about the daffodil representing the voices of the dead do not undermine the drama’s dominant use of the yellow for doomed desire and acceptance. I think Soon-Ki gives yellow flowers to his sister for both meanings…his need for social appearance and for the voices of the dead.

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This is so fascinating. Now I totally understand what yellow represents and wish I had a video of the exact scenes you're mentioning. I might go back just to find the scenes.
btw, do you there's any significance to the fact that her mom is deaf and his sister is blind?

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I concur, there appears to be something in the deaf mother and blind sister...but I have not been able to pin it down....

For a while, i have been thinking Have-In's mother may be a representation of God in the Faust tale.
- Her character is so clean and neutrally caring
- The verdant decorations the home
- She prepared the food of judgement
- Her relation to the church
- It almost fits their relationship

.....I am still not convinced of that reading...

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@linda-palapala

Its quite difficult to discuss visuals in text..Video would be way easier.

P.S. More comments above and below (I forgot to tag them)

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@linda-palapala

RE: Blue.

OOOOH. The tunnel reference is great; I think that adds so much.

……………….

BLUE = The unseen actor.

Fear not, this is not a technical term; it’s just me making my best interpretation of how the colour is used for character motivations (we’re both doing an estimated guess). What I was trying to say in this term was: these are characters plotting events but others are unable to see their role.

Seung-Ha is the clearest for this with his duality of hidden/seen. He is both seen as a player (lawyer) but is unseen as Mephistopheles.
• When he is weaving his manipulations, typically this is associated with blue.
• When he is direct and known in his manipulations he is in red,
• When he is the living dead and he is constructing an appearance there is yellow.

The blue-lit house where he enacts the manipulations is very similar to the tunnel he is unable to leave. The tunnel metaphor naturally infers…if he is totally surrounded….it must also be a place where others cannot see him. (The tunnel reference would also explain the ceiling detail)

There are times when Hae-In is in blue that others cannot see her role as the devil.

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@linda-palapala

Below are just some of my thoughts on points you raise in your posts above. You may see them differently, let me know.

SHADOW
Shadow is usually ramped up when conflict or threat is higher. The half-light, half-shadow is typically a metaphor for the immersion in darkness. However there are variations to the half shadow.
- If one eye is hidden, this is a particularly sinister characterization.
- If the contast is high (chiaroscuro) then the intensity of the forboding/risk increases.

BLINDS
The shots of characters at the blinds I inferred as their unwillingness to step back from the fate already written.

…”Even though God has
predetermined fate…but
people can change the
destiny”…

These characters are not just trapped but determined to stay that way (look at their expressions…not fear or resignation…all of them are defiant). In Seung-Ha's case, he is clearly not leaving his tunnel. He is now in the “Das Unheimliche” were darkness is a place of freedom (things can not be defined and they are free from others definitions).

LEAVING THE TUNNEL
Har-In is the dispassionate version of the Lucifer = the light bearer (i.e. this is not the mischief making devil…just the necessary inverse of God who judges actions). The drama indicates that eye-for-an-eye justice is a never-ending cycle of damnation. This Lucifer is not interested in perpetual darkness. She is abiding by the same rule and is encouraging people to amend fates—probably not their own, those will be judged at the time—but those of new victims.

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I'm writing this down...
eye-for-an-eye justice a never ending cycle of damnation. Yes, at least I've noticed in dramaland that revenge as personal justice never ends well, but revenge thru the justice system does end well, (and he gets the girl) even if one or the other has some jail time (Mask, Whisper).
Amending fate of the new victims, ah, yes.

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@linda-palapala

One of the things I appreciate in this drama is that not only does it call out injustice, it recognises that vengeance has unintended consequences and only creates new victims.

Do you know if there was a particularly egregious South Korean scandal at that time involving a powerful figure?

The show does not shy away from an idea that when the powerful tilt the scales, the disenfranchised have limited options to reweight the scales - and then take the consequences.

An asymmetrical justice that necessitates vengeance as the only means of redress is a never-ending cycle of revenge and destruction for everyone (you can so see the impending train wreck for Oh-Soo's circle). Hence the social compact (for an equitable justice) we all make and particularly the powerful must remember to work with.

I think thats what I like about this show...Vengeance won't right the world...it the social compact that is our only real hope.

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Ahem, you said it better than I possibly could.
"An asymmetrical justice that necessitates vengeance as the only means of redress is a never-ending cycle of revenge and destruction for everyone (you can so see the impending train wreck for Oh-So). Oh, yeah.

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@linda-palapala

EP13
This is an episode all about character transitions towards their final forms.

CEILINGS:
I really like the use of ceilings in this show. It uses them for 2 key readings:
- Incidental analytical plot points –bright white light – typically strip fluro.
- When characters are struggling – complex ceiling forms (Suk Jin often has this)

GROUPINGS.
The show has finally started to move away from straight to camera simple groupings of two. This facilitates more nuanced interactions between the characters and is able to show tensions and alliances.

From the very opening, the drama is gaining confidence. I think the street and tunnel scenes are homage to “THE THIRD MAN”. (now that is a great film)

THE BLUE STREET.
Oh-Soo stands as a silhouette at the apex of a bend, the “hidden actors” remain unseen. Although he is chasing a suspect, everything in the scene put him as the subject of inspection. The long shadow, the sharp edge of darkness…here he is exposed and the unseen actor toys with him. When the camera turns to see his face, he is caught in a confusion of form.

THE RED TUNNEL
Seung-Ha’s tunnel is not dark…it’s lit with rage. Its uniformity and gritty simplicity almost makes it more terrifying. There are no crevices to hide in, no escaping the endless depth and its dinginess is weeping at the surface, lit by red.

GREAT OPENING.

….Cont below

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….Cont from above

The following is just a list of thoughts to assist if you are going to watch again. This is a hard episode to give a concise pithy take as so many characters are in transition. Each is using visual cues slightly differently to explore that transition.

I hope you don’t mind a little extra detail but it saves me having to try and rework it into an elegant post.

THE DOCK SCENE. Waiting for Joon-Pyo the car is bathed in blue light. Not only are events being manipulated by Young-Chul and Seung-Ha, now the hired gangster Gyeon Jong-Chul is not all he seems and is now an unknown actor to Suk-Jin. On the hill, the young detective in white is still the only one to call out Oh-Soo. The scene changes with the white headlights of Oh-Soo’s car as he reveals the details of the reporter’s death.

Oh-Soo remains oblivious to what his past has meant to others. Not only does he dismiss his friend, he doesn’t even respect him as a detective. Here there is more call for trust of Suk Jin than for Oh-Soo’s stabbing yet now he is acting with a clear conflict of interests through the power of the law…his self-deception is solely self-interested.

SEUNG-HA SCENES. Seung-Ha throws the recording into the Han River lit by yellow reflections (the appearance version of Narcissus)

Notice the shot of Seung-Ha in the forest parallels the form of the artwork behind him in the office. The shot of the phone call with Hae-In (once she has dreamt Seung-Ha’s true past) the entire shot is white and yellow including her shirt.

At the hospital the camera deliberately lingers on the blue bow of Seung-Ha’s flowers as the reporter lies dying (or is already dead). Caught by all the unseen players Mephistopheles has marshalled.

THE COURTROOM SCENE. Entering the domed ceiling room through the small square aperture (I am unsure if this room is meant to be another homage to the tunnel). Here the show recognises that eye-for-an-eye justice is not a singular event…it unleashes new cycles of vendettas.

YOUNG-CHUL SCENE. Here where Young-Chul calls out Oh-Soo self-deception, it starts with Young-Chul backed by the branching motif, and finishes with him entering his grey monolith office…that is one fantastic cave simulacra. I hadn't picked the darkness of Young-Chul cave before.

….Cont below

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Courtroom: ...unleashes new cycles of vendettas.. Yes.
Young Chul calls out Oh Soo's self deception. Yes.
So fascinating.

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….Cont from above

THE RESTAURANT SCENE with Soon-Ki and Na-Hee, tinged slightly with yellow…the payoff is when we get the shot with 1 Soon-Ki and 2 Na-Hee. Here her duplicitous nature is visualised and the reflection allows for a halo of yellow against the reflected double. This ends with the fight scene where Suk Jin anger is set against all ceiling – awkward angles and patterns.

THE FINAL DINNER SCENE. This is the first time I recall seeing Seung-Ha’s scene so white. The dinner table, chairs, plates and now in just a white shirt as Hae-In’s (in blue) dinner invitation as brought up his supressed truth. As we watch him attempt to purge this reminder Hae-In’s house has been filmed to show the fence and shift the colour towards white (normally it appears a neutral/light greenish hue).

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I hadn't focused on the fact that Na hee has a duplicitous nature, very good.
Back to watch the final dinner scene and the use of white.
Hae-in in blue: Is this an instance of your above point about blue as the unseen actor where their motivations are hidden?

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Yes. Its a cleverly hidden one that pays of at the end.
BLUE: Unseen actor
WHITE: Dispassionate judgement

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@linda-palapala

Now that I think we have similar positions on the visual structures, I’ll limit comments to where aspects are interesting regarding the story. (The visual components continue in other scenes but it’s probably unnecessary to discuss them in any detail)

THE OFFERS OF REDEMPTION
Ep14 starts with a pivotal moment where Seung-Ha rejects the offer for an out of his torment. His tears more painful as you know inside he is looking at a battle between his vengeance and his soul…He forgoes his soul for the pain of the loss of is family. As he takes his coat, the background shifts to red… His future is cast and the music returns to his dirge theme. (Great use of the yellow car) the scene finishes with him walking towards the world with both of them in asymmetrical balance with separate spotlights and both in focus.

Seung-Ha’s offer for redemption is followed by the scene where Seung-Ha in his probing of Oh-Soo, now seems to be offering Oh-Soo a way out. The result is the same. Oh-Soo won’t countenance offering of himself…instead saying only he and Tae-Hyeon know the truth of the stabbing. (This scene reinforces that we probably have never had a reliable telling of the incident). Seung-Ha’s expression at the end says it all. Whatever qualms he had about completing his task are now gone.

Interestingly the gods have not closed off the chance to change fates. Hae-In’s mother again offers Seung-Ha a path for redemption with the simple act of giving food (delivered in a yellow bag…nice touch). As he pushes her away both the offer and her interrogation of his past the shadows subtly get more contrasting and the green sign fills the background.

Hee-Soo appears to be offering Suk Jin a moment for redemption in their office conversation. However, it is couched in a threat and it is unclear if he wants him to take it or is forcing him to reject it.

Seung-Ha’s sister’s journey is completed from green to white. As she interrogates him in her room she is now white and the window is cast by a white glare. Again, she standing in the light appears to be offering a way out of his tunnel (moment for redemption) yet Seung-Ha is fixed. He chooses to stay in the shadows. These offers are never not absolute and although rejected, she continues to have faith in this person The offer remains there and she give some comfort that someone would be waiting if he chooses to leave his tunnel.

….Cont below

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@linda-palapala

….Cont from above

POWER CORRUPTS
I have already covered the restaurant scene with Na-Hee and her husband Hee-Soo above in the discussion of yellow. Hee-Soo shows his true form. For much of the drama he has been under the surface but shown as neutral to the events. Now it is clear, despite his fathers desire to keep him a clean skin, he intends to use all his powers.

In the bar with Oh-Soo, we again see how power has used the system to clean itself. Oh-Soo has no issue with using his position to background his family. His police duties and his family matters are merged. Love ABBA’s “take a chance on me” film clip playing as the blue background in the bar just after Oh-Soo and his brother talk about lost opportunities then discussing . Hee-Soo’s wife.

At the end of the episode, again Oh-Soo chooses to take the path that suits him entering Dae Pil’s apartment. This scene is shot almost as if he is choosing to enter Seung-Ha’s tunnel…He quickly learns this is not a place for him without consequences.

A VISUAL MOMENT
There is a really nice visual moment when the congressman is in the car covering his tracks. For most of the scene the car is reflecting complex forest and we see the dark seat. He actually pauses to wait for the moment so that when he says, “Tea-Seong is the only person he thinks would be doing this”, the car leaves the trees to then reflect clear white…. great setup)

EP14 FINAL THOUGHT
Characters are now staking out their final positions. No one in this tale is stepping back from the brink despite others best efforts to call them back. All is now set for the impending train wreck.

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@linda-palapala

EP15
This episode pushes everyone to the edge and characters are now precariously placed. No one is able to see the full story, but everyone is exposed to risk.

In his subconscious, Oh-Soo’s version of the stabbing is more troubling. Its as if here his self-delusions removed. Later we see that he has never been able to submit himself before those he hurt. He only decries for absolution from others with the key proviso that his life has been affected.

As Oh-Soo’s actions have contaminated the station, the detectives’ room is shot so the colour shifts to green and shadow is far more evident. The lead detective is almost never shown as neutral. He is a facilitator of Oh-Soo who he knows is rogue and out of control and yet apologizes for admonishing him. He is no more than one of Oh-Soo’s gang when he was young…covering for him and giving him the show of force in numbers to enabling him to wreak his havoc on others. (Hence his blue outfit) It is not until his hand is forced that he becomes the bearer of dispassionate judgment that he shifts to white.

Oh-Soo enters the tunnel via Young-Chul’s office to declare that he will follow then to hell. However, his conversation betrays that he still sees the impacts of his actions as predominantly singular limited to the event…never acknowledging the sequential ramifications. I suspect this is why his apology to Young-Chul was unable to sway him.

Once Oh-Soo learns of the facts around Tae Sung and builds to the realisation of Seung-Ha’s identity, he is now sporting a yellow shirt…(I think this is a first for his character wardrobe)

….Cont below

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@linda-palapala

….Cont from above

HAE-IN
Hae-In in yellow (actually most of the Sora scene features touches of yellow) is an interesting moment. Many would have taken the yellow as a reference to love or desire (given the conversation about misunderstanding of Hae-In being his girlfriend). The show doesn’t use yellow for that kind of desire; instead, this entire event is about his identity and the returning of the Narcissus to the forest…(returning his identity to the trees with his family). I think Hae-In is communicating to him that she knows his truth but is unable to say it for fear of what it might unleash. The sequence where she is inside/he outside is a symbol of Lucifer – the bearer if light and means Mephistopheles - “not-light-loving”

CONGRESSMAN
The father has gone from aloof manipulator and is realizing how he is being drawn into events. In the phone scene he is now so visually ordinary…gone is his usual dominance…paralleled by the gangster who is off kilter as he realised he is about to do the work he has already been paid for. Its not until Congressman learns of Seung-Ha’s role that we return to a dominant visual structure tinged with red

HEE-SOO
The Hee-Soo/ Na-Hee restaurant scene is full of danger. The couple placed against red with a slither of white to escape. Hee-Soo is in all verticals. Once Na-Hee answers the phone from her lover, her shadow changes to half light/half dark. Instantly the camera frames a yellow halo between the couple.

Back in the office, Hee-Soo looking at the photo of the tryst that has just occurred, his office is tinged with rising tide of yellow. He has now been brought in to the manipulations…not as a consequence of Oh-Soo’s actions but as an independent actor. Once we see the red envelope, it is now clear power about to bear its wrath. There is no telling who will be left standing from this group

FINAL THOUGHTS
The episode ends with Mephistopheles unleashing choices as Oh-Soo makes the connection. It is now clear Seung-Ha is not worried about being found out—he may even be expecting it.

If this is the damnation version of Faust, the trouble for the powerful now is that they play the long game beyond single events. They are not used to someone who is reweighting the scales and only playing to get to their single goal. No one is immune as this episode shows that all the players from the original event are being ensnared…including the father.

Will anyone blink….not likely going on the visual story so far.

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So good I don't even know what to say...or maybe...

" Later we see that he has never been able to submit himself before those he hurt. He only decries for absolution from others with the key proviso that his life has been affected." I never really focused on this particular aspect before, but you are so obviously correct. "... he still sees the impacts of his actions as predominantly singular limited to the event…never acknowledging the sequential ramifications. I suspect this is why his apology to Young-Chul was unable to sway him." Ah, again, I hadn't realized he was focused singularly on the event and didn't acknowledge the ramifications. But perhaps later he begins to realize...?

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@linda-palapala

This drama has so much crammed in. Once you see the language the creators have used it's such a treat...More than that... it is getting better and visually tighter with each episode.

I'm just finishing ep16 notes now and
I could not imagine this being a 16 episode drama. There is still so much story to be resolved.

Where did this writing skill go. It seems so rare nowadays to get towards the end of a drama and still have the story rocketing along and not full of random events just to fill up time or extract cheep emotional reactions.

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Hmm, I'm looking forward to your opinion on whether or not some random events happen to fill up time or extract cheap emotional reaction in the last few episodes...

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@linda-palapala

Oh..No.. Don't say that.....Now I am a little nervious .

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@linda-palapala

I wasn't expecting an episode where all the major players were actively and repeatedly offered a means towards redemption.

I was expecting the show to just let the tragedy play out with only small moments of what if to tug at the heart strings.

Instead, this is a gripping morality play where it is not our original mistakes but our hubris after the fact that results in our eventual demise.

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After all, you know how 99.9% of kdramas are and rarely end with as good quality as they begin.
IMO, this drama should be used in film school for analysis.

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Let me know if you see a scene with a moment of what if to tug at the heartstrings.

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@linda-palapala

Ep16

The drama’s final act begins…both Soon-Ki and Suk Jin receive tarot cards. Once again, the police allow our rogue detective who is not on the case to contaminate evidence for his own purposes…with the obvious risks this has for all involved.

Soon-Ki and Suk Jin are now both playing the options in their head and every word they utter drives a wedge further between them. The scene is full of tilted camera and awkward angles. The entire visual world of the apartment is unsettled and their suspicious instincts are coming to the fore as these two seek means for self-preservation. Once Oh-Soo arrives, the scene normalizes but there is still no balance. Instead the room is all grids and verticals.

The scene with gangster is repeating how Mephistopheles doesn’t make people bad, he only seeks out those whose souls have already wandered. Visually Seung-Ha is framed so the bridge’s red skeletal structure replaces the usual gothic branching motif (unfortunately, it gives this visual up for tighter focus on the faces which is less powerful). This seen appears unimportant, yet it is a visual precursor to the beating and it shows the full power of Seung-Ha to control players. (Even the congressman does not wield this power over our gangster)

Shifting back to Hee-Soo’s office, we see its colour slightly shifted towards yellow hues as these 2 are manipulating for position regarding the secret affair. As the pressure builds on Suk Jin, the camera zoom also brings a longer lens so as to visually compress him between the 2 grids (horizontal blinds and vertical wallpaper) as these 2 planes are visually pulled in on to him from both front and back, the shallow depth of field makes us see the immense pressure he is under. It is hear that you realize how awkward a fit his soul is for the congressman’s world. (I wonder what secret has forced him to inherit his father’s position)

….Cont below

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@linda-palapala

….Cont from above

DAMNATION
In the church, (which has the same vaulted ceiling form as the court room), Seung-Ha is backed by red, So-Hoo by yellow and still wearing his yellow shirt. Our characters’ are visually pushing the intensity of inner turmoil with shadows half dark/ half light. Here Seung-Ha (for a moment framed in blue) calls out So-Hoo for his self-interest in seeking forgiveness, yet judging others. We end with our two antagonists in half shadow against blue….yet with 2 very different emotions. Here Seung-Ha ends with all the visual power (both self control and the overriding dominance of the unseen actor) and Oh-Soo’s rage at both Mephistopheles and his own self-delusion only makes him weaker.

Oh-Soo has failed to realize that Seung-Ha is not seeking to judge. Seung-Ha knows he is damned…he has chosen that path. The final shot reveals the intent of the scene. Here it is an exact visual parallel of the earlier courthouse scene—a central square opening looking into the vaulted timber ceiling—with Seung-Ha in the position of the accused, the crucifixion where the judges sit. That says it all.

If in any doubt on the damnation intent of the story…it is removed with the defiant image of Seung-Ha at the edge of his tunnel (apartment) after replenishing his anger from his memories of the past….THIS SHOW IS GOING TO GO ALL THE WAY!

….Cont below

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@linda-palapala

….Cont from above

NARCISSUS – DOOMED DESIRE
As the pressure is building on the 2 roommates, Suk Jin and Soon-Ki occupy 2 distinctly separate visual spaces that make the apartment feel claustrophobic, (both spaces filled with tight verticals). Again, red side lighting has returned to their scene (visible in the reflections of the glasses and eyes). As Suk Jin leaves, Soon-Ki utterance that this is the end would not disappoint Seung-Ha who is rhetorically wondering if these wayward souls will turn back.

However, Oh-Soo receives a call from Dae-Pil against the blue glass background. The unseen actors are at play, leading Oh-Soo on a goose chase that leaves his friends exposed. Now all the actors are playing self-interest (even though Hae-In gave Oh-Soo the warning of how to react).

The blue light of our unseen actors dominates the beating...I was surprised and relieved Suk Jin chose to spare his friend and in fact realized the risk to both of them (he knows the Congressman’s power). It was the return of Hee-Soo that revealed to Soon-Ki the true face of the Congressman’s family he had never seen before. Our unseen actors are now layers deep as Hee-Soo inserts himself as a willing participant—nee—designer of death.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The ending sequence of Seung-Ha our Mephistopheles surveying his plan and then walking out of the shadows is beautifully construction of angles and objects in space. All the characters are now ensnared in the death as they have failed to realize the risk of their actions when watched by a manipulator who is only playing for their downfall.

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Originally I had thought Seung ha was "the Tempter" since he set up situations but it was up to the individual to choose which path to take. In fact he verbally gives them a choice. So originally I thought "The Devil" was Seung ha as The Tempter. But I guess the correct translation is The Lucifer. Eh, I need to look up Mephistopheles again. Do I remember correctly that Seung ha even says humans never disappoint or something to that effect?

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@linda-palapala

I would still see Seung-Ha as the tempter...Its peoples choice if they take the temptation.

His role is to tempt the fallen. Lucifer is only the dispassionate judgement.

The drama clearly set this version of Faust as: can people chose to amend their fate...

The most telling image for this and potentially how the ending episodes will play out is the Church shot that is the parallel of the courtroom...

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His role is to tempt the fallen. Ah, it makes more sense now.

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@linda-palapala

Just curious if you have re-watched any episodes again after our discussions. (thanks to normal life, time for dramas is always limited)

I am intersted to know if you are seeing the visual language or if you see a different one emerging.

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I haven't had time to completely re watch the episodes, only parts, but your observations have opened my eyes so to speak to the visual language and it's as beautiful as the music. Especially in this drama. (That is, until I once again get caught up in the words and forget to notice anything else).
However, I still doubt myself to have the ability to take these qualities and apply them to other dramas. The modern dramas coming out seem so busy to me visually. City streets, many people all wearing different costumes, lots of material stuff around just confuses me. Plus I tend to over analyze and think every little iota is important (or maybe it is?).
I would like to print out this whole conversation - is there a simple way?

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@linda-palapala

We are all just making our best guess. Its never intended to weaken the appreciation of the drama...
...if it gets to that negative point, you should just ignore it...or if you become too curious its amazing what a little bit of practice with others will do to kick start your ability.

I am sure there are even other Beanies who are interested but don't discuss dramas in that way because the recap threads are so plot/romance dominated. The visual posts I started to post actually had some interesting responses. Also, nothing like a little recap bombing as we did for BTLIOF....For me those extended conversations were epic and so much appreciated.

Printing...not sure... You can select all the text and copy/place it into a word document. Then you can print at any size text you want. Just a heads up...I think we are at about 13,000 words to episode 16--so it will never be short. (which looking at it now I think we are basically recapping the entire drama).

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You should get credit for doing the recap.
I think maybe this drama didn't do well in the ratings because it wasn't romance oriented. Just a guess.

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I don't think this fits a DB recap format...

:D

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I never cared for just a recap - I've seen the show, so instead give me a review and analysis.

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P.S.

You can see how much I was struggling to nail this show down at the beginning...I really only picked up major themes from the Faust story in the early episodes.

It wasn't until I followed your point on colour theming and the show implemented the changing wardrobe around ep 12 that a reading really all fell into place..Your tunnel point was also crucial to get the full meaning of the blue.

I.e. The process is always incremental + we all rely on others insight to solve the riddle.

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@linda-palapala

...."Plus I tend to...think every
little iota is important
(or maybe it is?)"...

You will probably find if you are registering it...it is important. These points are probably the embryonic core of your own visual reading (yes there can be more than one)

I would love to see your take on an episode through the music. I am sure you hear way more than I could.

(it would only need to be brief...
I know I go over the top on
writing but I am trying to convey
enough of the key moments for
you to explore in your own time)

We could then cross compare music and visual takes..

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Decided to start ep 17 since that's about where you are. Yellows, blues and reds, very noticeable now!
You're mentioning Oh soo's never realizing the ramifications of his past action have added so much depth to what he says and does. Now I'm wondering if in this episode he finally realizes (I don't remember much of 17-20 as I went thru them too fast).
Question for you: at the end of the finale, do you think it's redemption or not?
I'm afraid to comment on the music right now except that there are obviously recurring themes. One thing that puzzles me is why I love the music so much even though some of it doesn't really seem to fit the scene and I haven't figured out why yet, because it's still very effective emotionally. I wonder if the use of the harpsichord adds to the Baroque feel and some of the music sounds like Vivaldi, but I'm not sure. And seems like there is some music that is not a theme and only heard once, but I can't be sure at this point.
This drama causes me to think so much I find myself losing some scenes because I've been pondering the scene before.
Back to ep 17...

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About 17.30 into ep 17, Suk jin gets out of his white car in the garage and starts to walk away. There's that low bass rumble, then the gang guy appears. Do you hear it?
At what point did Hae in not only see the past but started seeing future events?

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omg - Oh soo "confessing" to Dae Pil (?). It's still all about him - "I regret", "I want to live" .

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@linda-palapala

WOW. I love those music insights....I am so curious about the moments you identify as clashing. Given the drama is dominated by which actor is able to control and who is off kilter...I think there is a huge potential of the music to viscerally reinforce our angst.

When I was writing up, my partner who was doing something else, noted how amazing the drama sounded. There are times this show is lush and it is a pleasure to just listen to.

The harpsichord is such a great way to bridge Noir visual and Gothic story...its particularly effective when its used at changes of pace in scenes as it gives that distorted wow/flutter effect.

As you noted, I have had huge issues with Oh-Soo pleas of forgiveness that are so self-centred and when you listen to the actual sentiments are really only demands on others. At present, they appear to be a continuation of his privilege that lead to the incident and its coverup in the first place.

I think the only hope for this show not to end in damnation for everyone is if Oh-Soo can find away to realise the breath of the wrong (compounded by the actions of his circle) and truely offer himself without expectation. Not looking good so far.

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It's difficult to stop momentum, so even if they'd want to change their fate, is it even possible?
This is how my mind works, and if you think it's strange, that's okay:
I see a grid with a vertical and horizontal axis, vertical being place and horizontal being time. There's a single line and then 12 years ago at a certain point in time the stabbing occurs, which launches an alternate line, an alternate reality. There are now two lines but what we're watching is the alternate reality (line) that began at that point. To me, that's what the lyrics to "Don't Love Me" represent. "There is another world under the same sky, on the same earth, the world that can't see my heart in pain." "Go like the wind back to the time before we love each other." "I have to look for something, lost dreams and truth."

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Music: there's one theme that is a walz tempo, and I cannot figure out what the significance is. I remember in Nice Guy/Innocent Man one theme was a tango and I took it to mean it was the passionate dance between the three leads.
Tugs at heartstrings: There is one instance that's there to tug at your heartstrings and it works very well, nicely done. One nice moment for Seung ha's sad life.

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@linda-palapala

OK...you are great at this...I love that idea about the parallel (based on the music and grids), as this is a redemption/damnation tale it infers there was/is always a possible alternate....The "WHAT IF" timeline.

It is this that makes us wish the flashback scenes of the 16 year old and his family would just start playing for real.

The question is are we on the alternate reality or the actual reality and the act of contrition enables people to step back on to that alternate timeline. One that doesn't end in a never-ending cycle of vengeance.

I think the only way to make a judgement is to see the concept fleshed out with clues through each episode.

However, I lean toward we are currently on the damnation timeline but the gods would welcome us rewriting our fates to take life for others back to the redemption timeline. (those courtroom scenes are just so ominous)

Let me know your thoughts.

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@linda-palapala

Just some random thoughts to prod the conversation on Waltz:

The only thing I could offer on the musicality of waltz is that its origins are thought to go back to about 1600. This show has tended to bring medieval and gothic components through for the retelling of Faust.

However, the Waltz as a dance may have some cool similarities. This dance requires immense but subtle control and every action causes an equal reaction.

This is a dance of control/manipulation of your partner and the lead should appear almost invisible.

P.S. The Waltz is hard to do well..it was nearly always the worst dance style on SYTYCD.

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This alternate reality was explored really well in Nine: Nine Time Travels. More later...

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I like your take on Music in Drama, because at times I over analys drama take on music too... Though I lack acknoledge on classic music, I just think it fits with the scene and/or support the character emotionally. I would like you to watch My Beautiful Bride or KBS drama special Waltzing dance alone. Man, I rewatch those two drama just because I overanalys every single scene with the music and their use of lightening.

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I loved My Beautiful Bride! After this discussion on Devil, I really want to go back and watch my favorite dramas with new eyes.

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@linda Palapala, my beautiful bride background music is one of the best for me. It makes the drama have more personality and identity. So glad you already watched it!

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Our discussion made the "most commented" section. Ha.

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I actually surprise article from 2007 got rise LOL. would like to rewatch Devil and analysis every single scene

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Tom has really made this drama so much more well, dramatic and good, no fantastic. Can hardly wait to hear what he thinks of the ending, esp when we know most dramas sort of lose it the last couple of episodes.

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The last scene between Oh Seung Ha and Oh Soo is one the best scene fill with their own inner struggle and emotion what Oh Seung Ha has turn out to be. Is that past even what tickle and waking up the worst side of someone else? Do you think you take apart on it?

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@missjb

So unexpected and nice to see a new tag. Its fantastic to have another music mind to add to the discussion.

Just a heads up...I haven't seen the end yet and I am trying to comment as I go to keep my thoughts live to episodes (rather than retrospective). I really don't want to spoil the ending as I have so enjoyed the ride.

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Yes, please don't comment on the ending just yet! We're enjoying the ride with no spoilers. Thanks!

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@tom. Is it my comment spoiler?no i don't mean to spoiled the whole ending. Please forgive me if i already spoiled the whole ending feel to you .

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@missjb

I stopped reading as soon as it started to look a bit spoiler.

I just thought it polite to mention now so I don't feel scared to read your posts.

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Please re watch ep 17 and comment with us! Glad you joined in.

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@missjb

Just a heads up...I have posted the visual analysis of episode 17.

If you are interested, I would suggest you read the post covering COLOUR THEMATIC that is in Thread#17.

My notes refer a lot to the colour of a scene and I usually don't restate the meaning of the colour as it gets too repetitive.

Basically you are looking for the meaning of
- WHITE
- BLUE
- RED
- GREEN
- YELLOW

I apologise up front for the length...this episode was choker block full. (I actually had to cut down 1/2 of the visual notes).

Its in plot thematic so just jump to bits you are interested in or your have watched and remember.

Love to here your thoughts.

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@linda-palapala

Well thats going to throw people for a loop... :D

I am writing up 17 at present. This episode feels like the first time in a drama that I have been enjoying so much, I hit a disconnect between western and South Korean story telling.

In this episode, the best visual details are really subtle as the drama sidelines some of its momentum to make way for that very South Korean angst. (its a shame because some of them are fantastic and I wish the show had made more of them)

Originally on the first watch, I was thinking it may be a short write up for once, but instead to do the details justice….its not short.

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"However, the Waltz as a dance may have some cool similarities. This dance requires immense but subtle control and every action causes an equal reaction.
This is a dance of control/manipulation of your partner and the lead should appear almost invisible."
Yes, this one.

"However, I lean toward we are currently on the damnation timeline but the gods would welcome us rewriting our fates to take life for others back to the redemption timeline. (those courtroom scenes are just so ominous)"
Yes, you are quite astute. Why do you think the courtroom scenes are so ominous?

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@linda-palapala

2 main reasons:

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Because the camera deliberatly lingers so we can see the same coldness that drives Seung-Ha in the eyes of the new unintended victims. I think this is a deliberate parallel particularly as we are given both the flashbacks of Tae-Sung, and his modern day conterparts in these new teens.

2
The church scene recreation of the courtroom. This drama world explicitly sees the cycle of vengence as damnation for all involved.

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Because the camera deliberatly lingers so we can see the same coldness that drives Seung-Ha in the eyes of the new unintended victims. I think this is a deliberate parallel particularly as we are given both the flashbacks of Tae-Sung, and his modern day counterparts in these new teens.
I'm not too sure what you mean by "these new teens".
Do you mean some people in the visitors' section of the courtroom? I don't remember exactly this scene - wish I knew the exact time it plays in the episode to see what you're referring to.

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@linda-palapala

RE:....."I'm not too sure what you mean by "these new teens”.....

I was referring to the the children of the new victims in Seung-Ha’s plot. I think I referred to the scenes in the ep13 post above.

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@linda-palapala

RE:
..."At what point did Have in
not only see the past but
started seeing future events?"...

I am just writing this up...I was so surprised at how important this small moment was...

It will be interesting to see what you think.

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@linda-palapala

Its up....in the Ep17 thread post titled..

"HAE-IN = LUCIFER"

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@linda-palapala

I just went to check it out....Whats more freaky is we are the most commented thread in the "most commented" section...

I didn't think this would register.. I thought the DB formula limited it by time. Particularly as our huge extended BTIOFL discussion dropped off for new recaps with way less.

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Just dropping by to say congrats for making it to the most commented on Dramabeans this week! LOL. From 13 comments to 100++ : now that’s an achievement!

I think the most commented section is using per week format. During those extended BTIOFL comment bomb, the thread stays there for a while as well before new recaps took over. Anyhow, you guys really bomb this thread this week 😂. I wish i could join the discussion but not sure if I could add up more to my plate right now.

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@alert

Hope you are well...

Its been fun visiting an old Kdrama with new eyes.

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