Different Dreams – First Impression

Story in a Nutshell

This drama was produced to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Movement in Korea. Our lead Kim Won-bong (Yoo Ji-tae) is an anarchist and the leader of a resistance guerilla Korean Heroic Corps, their main purpose is to assassinate Japanese officials in Korea in the bid for independece for their motherland. In other words, they were terrorists.

The female lead is a fictitious character, Lee Young-jin (Lee Yo Won), a Korean surgeon but raised by a Japanese family. For now, her surrogate parents seem like decent people, as we were told in a scene from her childhood, that her Japanese surrogate father referred to her as a Japanese Hina doll which should only stay inside the cabinet, away from the dangerous outside world.

We’re not told much about the other pair of leads as of now, Prosecutor Fukuda (Im Joo-hwan) and jazz singer Miki (Nam Gyu-ri). All we know are Fukuda seems interested in Young-jin and Miki is interested in Fukuda.

The first two episodes revolved around a certain spy codenamed Blue-bird or otherwise known as Esther (special appearance by Yoon Ji-hye), her attempted assassination of a Japanese general Nagumo, and her death due to Young-jin’s attempted interference. However that was actually a red herring and towards the end of Episode 4 (30min/episode) it was revealed Young-jin is the real Bluebird. We’re also introduced to Won-bong’s agenda and modus operandi, and the tensed meetings between him and Young-jin.

To Watch or Not

Between this and Nokdu Flower, I’m slightly more inclined to the latter, though that doesn’t mean this is uninteresting. It’s just that there are too much going on and I felt we’re not given a proper introduction but thrown deep into things. There is however, the ever charismatic Yoo Ji-tae to capture my attention and I think he’s a good casting choice as Kim Won-bong. I can literally feel his boiling anger towards the invaders and his one-mindedness at maintaining the ruthlessness of his guerilla team.

I was a bit annoyed at Young-jin and her forced (?) ignorance of the state of things happening around her and I believe it is her guilt towards to Esther that made her take up the role of a spy eventually, before the revelation. I’m not too sure what to make out of that, though I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise? Now that we know Young-jin is a spy, I’m more interested in how she evaded detection for the past two years.

As mentioned earlier, I enjoy Nokdu Flower more than this partly because 1) I’m never too much into Imperial Japan and their atrocities (too much for my weak heart) 2) frankly speaking the writing and editing of this drama is confusing. It is straightforward in Nokdu Flower as we have only two parties at odd but here, there’re multiple organizations from different countries but yet everyone speaks Korean. I understand it is for the sake of the Korean audience and logistically quite impossible to keep switching languages accordingly, but it makes things confusing especially when we have characters who’re probably Koreans but pretending to be Japanese (case in point, Matsuura).

I’m also quite confused as to how and why Won-bong is interested in Young-jin all of a sudden, and to what extent is Young-jin stringing Fukuda along. I hate to admit but as of now Show is not capturing my full attention despite the rich historical background it is built on and none of the characters are making me curious to know more about them. All these aside however, I will be continuing with this even if just for the sake of the cast.

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