The show that was the hype back late last year has finally come to an end. Hands up if you stuck around solely because of Song Jae Rim, like I did. Age of Feelings was epic – from a grand scale of intensity to hilariously bad. That’s all I can come up with describing Show after the infamous head writer switch.
I can’t compare to other dramas set in the same period, such as Basketball, since I never watched that disastrous drama, and it’s not exactly of the same genre as Gaksital despite being set in the late 1930s. I can only say at the very least, Age of Feeling fulfilled what it set out to be; the story of how a poor lad from Korea became the legendary fist fighter. That’s all. All the machination and execution of the drama gets very much clunky after the writer switch, and I bemoan what Age of Feelings could have been if all the bad mojo didn’t happen. I suppose we can’t deny the absurdity of the plot in the second half is a result of the controversies that surround Show, and it’s really a shame that Show became the sacrificial lamb.
The biggest problem with Show is, without a doubt the haphazard writing and plotpoints amnesia, which are slotted in whenever the writers recall of them suddenly. The villains are also very much one dimensional it’s like a child’s play. Before the writer switch, the villains appear more complex, though the Ilgookhwe rules are changed at every whim of the patriarch Denkai (Kim Gab Soo), but those are forgiveable if we’re cool with suspension of disbelief. As Show enters the second half, which coincides with the writer switch, we get a new set of villains that behave even more illogically than Denkai (not to mention he has the worse cackle ever). From here on, brain is not required to comprehend the actions of Leader Seol (Choi Il Hwa), because the more viewers try to figure him out, the worse our headaches become.
Many times Leader Seol’s sidekick, Wang Baek San (Jung Ho Bin) voices his very valid concerns, only to be shot down by irratic Leader Seol, and I just hear myself saying aloud, “If he agrees, Show just ends here.” The absurdity of Leader Seol’s character exists just because Show cannot proceed if otherwise. This is a very good example of lazy writing. the only merit I can find is the consistency in Jung Tae’s character (Kim Hyun Joong); always rash and eager to use his fists. That’s perhaps why he is the legendary fist fighter Show promotes. I find some of the side characters more well written than the main characters, namely Dokku (Uhm Tae Gu) the king of betrayals.
I guess Show was too ambitious for having way too many characters that were billed as important, but fell waywards as the new writer came on board (and the new writer is known for bad writing). These characters end up only serving to propel the plot forward, and character development was never seen. We only had our Dream Team for that few fleeting scenes before writer decides that Jung Jae Hwa (Kim Sung Oh)has to fight Jung Tae for some obscure reason which will result in Jae Hwa’s exit. Also, suddenly Mo Il Hwa’s (Song Jae Rim) martial arts has degraded so much so that it was all in an attempt to make Jung Tae look even better.
Towards the end of Show I simply LOLed at the inconsistent writings, as well as the ridiculous antics of Leader Seol. Initially I was guessing at a kill-off-Kaya (Im Soo Hyang) ending, but as Show progressed, and also the real life circumstances of Jin Se Yeon taking up Doctor Stranger project, killing off
Mok Dan Ok Ryun is inevitable. It was such a been-there-done-that plot that I can’t help but roll my eyes at it.
The issue of Jung Tae’s dead/missing sister was resolved so callously I can’t even. When Jung Tae first reached Shanghai and saved a girl from some leering Japanese bullies, I was so certain that is the sister, but boy, am I wrong. It would have been a more meaningful scene because it resonates to Jung Tae’s lifelong mission back in Shineuiju saving youngsters, rather than it’s just another trigger to fight samurais, just because he’s fought some before and managed to survive.
The take home lesson from Age of Feelings is if one wants to be a legendary fist fighter like Jung Tae, you’re most likely cursed with a lonely life because you’re a curse to everyone you love. That’s why people say it’s lonely at the top.