Kokdu: Season of Deity: Episodes 3-4
With the hospital corruption plot taking a much needed backseat this week, we learn more about our cursed god — namely what his 99 days on earth entail and how it impacts him psychologically. There’s still plenty of laughs to go around, though, because Kokdu is prepared to woo his way out of his curse even though his personality is a bit… lacking.
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP
Now that Kokdu has reason to believe Gye-jeol is the reincarnated version of Seol-hui, he tries to confirm his suspicions by first getting her to admit that she recognizes the ring, but she’s not willing to answer his questions. Still freshly incensed that he just got her fired, she’s itching for a fight and indifferent to his sudden interest in her.
Her angry words, however, trigger a memory from his past and practically confirm that she’s the woman he’s been searching for all these years. Not wanting to waste any time after centuries of agony and waiting, he immediately tries to go in for the curse-lifting kiss… annnnnd it goes about as well as we’d expect. She backs away, storms off, and leaves him hanging — and still cursed.
After receiving counsel from Gak Shin and Ok Shin — who are humorously quick to point out that Kokdu’s personality is a massive hindrance to his ability to court a lady — Kokdu realizes that he’s going to have to put in more effort to woo Gye-jeol if he hopes to ever lock lips with her. So to get back on her good side and set the groundwork for some romance, he must first rectify his most recent mistake.
Kokdu may be ancient, but when it comes to dating, he’s got the mindset of a true modern chaebol, thinking his money and looks are all he needs to seduce a woman. Cue: suspiciously perfect job advertisement for a doctor to run a small clinic and perform house calls. Oh, and the doctor must also be a woman in her thirties who graduated from a provincial medical school.
Totally not sus at all, but the alternative is for Gye-jeol to work for her cheating ex-boyfriend JUNG YI-DEUN (Lee Jung-joon), a golf pro in search of a private team doctor. And if the flashbacks of her breakup are any indication of Yi-deun’s personality, then I can’t blame Gye-jeol for wanting to check out the too-good-to-be-true job advertisement.
It comes as no surprise (to us) that Kokdu is waiting for Gye-jeol at the clinic, and — with a little convincing and assurance from Kokdu that the deal is legitimate — Gye-jeol signs the contract. But, of course, Kokdu has the magical ability to make additional clauses appear on the back page of the contract after she’s signed it, and the fine print stipulates that Gye-jeol must date Kokdu for a period of 90 days or else she owes him ten years worth of rent.
Amusingly, because Kokdu has no sense of modern-day inflation, he lowballs Gye-jeol, and Cheol is quick to help her calculate that ten years at Kokdu’s asking price is an absolute steal for her in the long run. Unfortunately, Gye-jeol doesn’t have the credit needed to secure a loan from a bank, so if she wants to pre-pay the ten years in rent and get out of the ridiculous loan she needs to find a private lender.
Not everything is light and fluffy this week, though, as we get more insight into Kokdu’s curse and abilities. For starters, we learn that the voices flood Kokdu’s mind every night at precisely 9:09, and the next time the clock chimes at the reckoning hour, Kokdu’s target is a man guilty of abusing and murdering his adoptive daughter. I know Kokdu is tormented by the voices that drive him to kill, but I’ve got to say, it was pretty satisfying to watch him serve up some divine justice against a very deserving individual.
Kokdu puts the bad guy on ice (literally) and is almost caught during his escape because his powers are on the fritz — thanks to his most recent encounter with Gye-jeol, who wished for every bone in his body to break. And because her wish is Kokdu’s command, that’s exactly what happened (again, literally). So instead of easily teleporting out of the hospital, Kokdu has to make his getaway in the ugly gold goblin-mobile because his bones (and his powers) are still recovering.
And if the car wasn’t flashy enough to draw everyone’s attention to it, Kokdu foolishly decides to intentionally rear end Cheol, who was still parked outside after interrogating the murderer. Cheol gives chase with his siren blaring, but Kokdu’s powers return in the nick of time, and he’s able to teleport from the scene — not that it matters, because Ok Shin’s precious one of a kind (and easily traceable) gold car is now in police custody.
Kokdu, however, is unconcerned that the car will lead the authorities to them, and with a freshly cleared head, Kokdu continues his romantic pursuit of Gye-jeol, who is in the process of acquiring a private loan from MOON MYUNG-JA (Lee Young-ran), a wealthy local ajumma. Gye-jeol is a magnet for shitty people, though, and with Kokdu’s suspicions nagging in her mind, Gye-jeol starts to wonder if the hallucinations Myung-ja’s husband is experiencing are a side-effect of — wait for it — poisoning.
Sure enough, after Kokdu says Myung-ja’s name four times, she’s put under a hypnotic spell and she spills all her secrets to Kokdu. Yes, she’s been giving her diabetic husband her asthma medication, but not because she’s trying to cause him harm. Supposedly, she thought she was protecting him by keeping him mentally unsound (and away from the gambling den), and by drama logic, this somehow makes her actions acceptable. Yeaaaaah, good intentions or not, shouldn’t Gye-jeol be duty bound as a doctor to report Myung-ja?
Meh! Who cares about that when we learn that Gye-jeol and Kokdu have yet another connection: her mother. That’s right, after Gye-jeol’s mother met her tragic demise in front of a young Gye-jeol, Kokdu was the one who escorted her to the afterlife, and their encounter was a memorable one.
Of all the souls Kokdu escorted, Gye-jeol’s mother was the only one to see his pain and comfort him. To reward her for her kindness, he granted her wish, and like every other self-sacrificing K-drama mother, she only thought of her daughter. Her wish: if Kokdu ever met Gye-jeol — whether it be during Gye-jeol’s life or in the afterlife — he is to cater to her every whim. Well, that certainly explains some things.
After remembering the promise he made to her mother, Kokdu no longer believes that Gye-jeol is his destined curse-breaker, which means he’s sooooo done with being her suitor. The timing couldn’t be worse, though, because now Gye-jeol is interested in him, and while he would love nothing more than to put some space between them, she decides that they should try being “some” together.
Because Gye-jeol has the ability to magically boss Kokdu around, he becomes the most (unwillingly) attentive suitor imaginable — reluctantly watching her clinic when she needs to run errands and becoming her nurse when she makes house calls because it’s what she commands. Desperate to put some space between them, Kokdu blackmails Gak Shin into being Gye-jeol’s nurse, and even though she intentionally tries to bomb the interview, Gak Shin gets partnered up with Gye-jeol. Meanwhile, Kokdu gets some much needed bro time with Ok Shin. (Can we all just stop and pause to appreciate how amazing Cha Chung-hwa looks in a miniskirt? How can I have legs like hers when I’m in my 40s?)
Try as he might, though, he can’t avoid Gye-jeol for long, and when she’s summoned to confirm the identity of the man who mysteriously disappeared after she hit him with her car, Kokdu is forced to tag along. At the police station, she’s surprised that Yi-deun is claiming to be the victim. Well, he’s obviously lying, so why is he telling the police that she hit him with her car? And why is it that when Gye-jeol recognizes PARK CHOONG-SEONG, the real victim, on a poster at the police station, everyone says he died a month ago?
Something fishy is certainly going on, and guess what? It all ties back to Chairman Kim, whose company is trying to release a new revolutionary arthritis medication. It’s unclear if there’s something wrong with the medication (probably), but we do learn that Choong-seong is a whistleblower in hiding. Too bad Gye-jeol and Kokdu called an ambulance before Yi-deun explained that Choong-seong, who’s in dire need of a surgery after his run-in with the hood of Gye-jeol’s car, cannot go to a hospital and be identified.
When the ambulance arrives on the scene, Kokdu pretends to be the patient in need, but while he’s at the hospital being checked over, the clock strikes 9:09pm. Kokdu is driven insane by the voices, and Gye-jeol, assuming he’s having some sort of mental health crisis, tries to calm him down. She gets too close, and Kokdu grabs her by the neck.
Even though she’s in pain, Gye-jeol covers his ears with her hands and commands that he only listen to her voice. Immediately, the cacophony in Kokdu’s head subsides, and Kokdu discovers that there is a silver lining to the annoying promise he made to Gye-jeol’s mother. And so begins Kokdu’s new nightly routine of visiting Gye-jeol just to hear her magical command, which has the unintended side effect of making him look like a super attentive boyfriend. (LOL at the My Neighbor Totoro shoutout.)
Gak Shin, however, is annoyed over Kokdu’s renewed desire to keep Gye-jeol around. Not only is there a bit of jealousy going on (she totally has a crush on Kokdu), but the longer Gye-jeol sticks around, the longer Kokdu is going to force Gak Shin to be Gye-jeol’s unwilling nurse.
The God of Rumors decides to drive a wedge between the two and manufactures a scenario in which Kokdu stands Gye-jeol up on their scheduled picnic date. Gak Shin’s timing couldn’t be more unfortunate, though, because Chairman Kim’s most trusted henchman, JOONG-SHIK (Kim Young-woong), found the business card Gye-jeol dropped while caring for Choong-seong.
Chairman Kim instructs Joong-shik to silence her, so while Gye-jeol is waiting for Kokdu to show up on the date he wasn’t aware he was supposed to be on, Joong-shik pushes her over the lighthouse railing. As she falls into the ocean, she calls for Kokdu to help her, and because her wish is his command, he hears her plea for help and pops over to save her.
After fishing Gye-jeol out of the ocean, he cradles her in his arms, showing genuine concern for her wellbeing, but when she opens her eyes and looks at him, she calls him Oh-hyun. All doubts that she is the woman he’s been looking for are gone, but when she leans in and kisses him, it’s unclear if her actions have broken his curse.
Although parts of this plot have moved at a breakneck speed, my guess is that the kiss doesn’t count because it was some form of Seol-hui doing the smooching, and the curse stipulates that Gye-jeol must fall in love with Kokdu — the godly cantankerous being that Oh-hyun has become. Now that he’s confirmed Gye-jeol is the woman he’s been seeking, though, I’m eager to see the resulting shenanigans that are bound to escalate now that he’s back to wooing her for reasons other than her noise canceling abilities.
Overall, I found this week’s episodes immensely more enjoyable that last week’s, but I do think this drama is still searching for its identity. Outside of the main fantasy romance plot, which is both humorous and surprisingly touching at times, the story doesn’t quite seem to know what genre it wants to be. It’s a weird amalgamation of a medical drama and a murder mystery — with an unexpected side of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha.
I’m used to K-dramas throwing everything and the kitchen sink into their plots, so I really shouldn’t be surprised at all the genre bending, but this story really is it’s strongest when it’s focused on our OTP. Then again, I could also watch an hour of just Kim Jung-hyun making goofy faces and be completely satisfied and entertained, so I might be too biased to comment on what direction the plot should take.
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