Room No. 9 – First Impression

Story in a Nutshell

Jang Hwa-sa (Kim Hae Sook) is a death-row inmate for the past 34 years, and at her latest interview for parole she meets a young lawyer Eulji Hae-yi (Kim Hee Sun), who seems hellbent on preventing Hwa-sa from getting paroled. As it turns out, Hae-yi works at the best law firm in Korea which also is backed by Chairman Ki San (Lee Kyung-young), who ordered for Hwa-sa to stay behind the bars.

Hae-yi is cold, ambitious and doesn’t hesitate to manipulate others to get what she wants. She doesn’t care about offending others as long as she achieves her goals, earning herself a good number of enemies. Hwa-sa on the other hand, is well-liked by her jailmates and from flashbacks of her before landing in jail, she seems to be kind and possibly a tad naive. The last thing anyone would have expected is when the two women get their souls switched due to an enchanted (?) defibrillator.

To Watch or Not

I wasn’t expecting a supernatural element when I first read the news about Show, and I admit to groan internally when I saw an updated synopsis about 2 weeks before Show aired. Hence I went into the first episode feeling a little apprehensive, and I came to understand why the soul switch angle was included. I’m not too keen about it being a way of redemption for Hae-yi, but it certainly makes things interesting to watch Hwa-sa nagivate the world 34 years after being incarcerated.

The pacing is quick and the revelation of how all the characters are related doesn’t come as a surprise, since I was able to guess rather correctly after watching the first episode. As someone who constantly spoils herself by finding out ending of stories, I appreciate the course of getting to the end. And Show is precisely one that tracks how Hwa-sa gets her revenge against those who wronged her. Lastly, how often do we get to watch Kim Hae Sook in a drama where she’s NOT the matriarch of a family? She is fantastic (as usual) being both Hwa-sa and Hae-yi in Hwa-sa’s body. (At episode 4, I’m still having reservations about Hae-yi’s boyfriend Yoo-jin (Kim Young-kwang) not being Hwa-sa’s son.)

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