So cute, this show.

Park Hyung-sik and Park Bo-young will go down memory lane as another compatible on-screen OTP. Who knew Park Hyung-sik can be so adorable as a smart talking, (sometimes) pain-in-the-ass chaebol who turns into a puddle whenever his girlfriend coos at him? Hopefully there will be more chances for the two to work together in future. In the NEAR future though, good news for Singaporean readers: they are coming to SG pretty soon.

Back to Strong: on the whole, it is a show that pulls its weight in the comedic department. Besides the squeal-worthy interaction between our OTP, the “lesser villains” in Strong (i.e. Boss Tak et. al. and Bong-soonie’s little fanclub) serve as time-outs within the narrative. Their roles are similar to the clown acts in a circus, which are interspersed between the more death defying circus stunts. In other words, they are air pockets, allowing the audience to catch their breaths (or in Strong’s case, for me to go on a quick toilet break) in between Bride Kidnapper’s creepiness and the diabetes inducing sweetness of the OTP.

From the early onset, Boss Tak’s team is never meant to be a threat. Juz look at how they all end up mummified after a short altercation with Bong-soon. So when Strong reveals that they are the goons who are stalking Min-hyuk, the alternative darker vein in the narrative poofs into nothingness. Min-hyuk’s Stalker is introduced to us as early as ep1, and s/he initially appeared as threatening as Bride Kidnapper, especially when Stalker turns to knifing people and shooting at Min-hyuk with pellets. Stalker is eliminated easily within the first half of Strong, with Min-hyuk’s half-brother (the mastermind) stepping back in defeat, and Boss Tak promising his service to Min-hyuk to make up for harassing him. In another kdrama, the contest for the Company’s Head Honcho usually ends up bloodier. But in Strong’s case, it has another fish to fry.

And that would be Bride Kidnapper, who ends up being THE villain in Strong. I find Kim Jang-hyun to be a more “perfect” psycho criminal than Voice’s Mo Tae-gu. Simply cos he is a textbook classic – he chooses his prey randomly, systematically stalking them before attacking, he is generally an “unknown John-Doe” (not like Tae-gu, who came to represent a corrupt system, instead of a lone attacker), and he is deviously smart. While the Mo Corporation bribes their way into the police + legal systems to keep Tae-gu off the hook, Jang-hyun really uses his brain to keep ahead of the police. It took Kook-do ALL of 13eps to realize their station is bugged, and why Jang-hyun risks exposing himself by volunteering as a “witness”. And then Kook-do’s team members don’t even GET what he is miming initially, until he spells it out and they haphazardly buzz around trying to look for a cam/ recorder. (tsk tsk)

However, no matter how creepy Bride Kidnapper’s scenes are, Strong never fully scares off its audience. Jang-hyun hasn’t gone down to the really grotesque acts such as killing, maiming or otherwise (think OCN), and halfway through his Bluebeard Operation, he kinda lost track and ends up going after Kook-do, Min-hyuk and Bong-soon on his private vendetta. Which leads to his downfall, since he loses his cool and forgets how formidable his pint-sized opponent is.

The final showdown between Bong-soon + team and Jang-hyun is pretty satisfying, and it rounds up what Strong sets out to do – turning the conventional “weaker sex” role on its head (re: previous posts). Instead of the usual hero strut, we have a heroine strut, with Petite Badass Bong-soon leading her two (very tall) partners off screen.

A pretty fitting way to end a story that is all about women, and how strong they are despite the discriminations they face.

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