A story of life and love that touches upon the oppression experienced by women and the impoverished. Ba Woo is a degenerate man who gambles, steals, fights and hides his real identity. To make money, he worked by doing Bossam; a customary remarriage procedure that took place during the Joseon period. At that time, a widow could not remarry, so a single man or a widower would kidnap the widow and marry her. Some of the kidnappings were agreed upon in advance, and others were by force. While performing a Bossam, Ba Woo mistakenly kidnaps Princess Hwa In, the daughter of King Gwanghae and the daughter-in-law of his enemy Lee Yi Cheom. For a secret political agreement, she married the older brother of a man she loved, but, on the day of her wedding, her husband died. She then became a widow... (Source: AsianWiki) Edit Translation
- Português (Brasil)
Where to Watch Bossam: Steal the Fate
Cast & Credits
Highly entertaining but also frustratingBossam: Steal the Fate managed to be one of those intensely polarizing dramas where many viewers laud the series as the greatest, most engaging thing ever to grace the small screen, while others condemn it as a terrible waste of time. This drama was able to achieve the highest viewership ratings (9.8%) of any drama in MBN history, and yet, if you read the reviews and comments on MDL, you will sense the opposite sentiment.
As for me, I liked this well-written, intelligent and enlightening show that showed me another aspect of Korea's historical culture. Bossam was a custom in the Joseon period, in which a single man himself or through a hired hand kidnaps a widow by wrapping her up in a blanket at night and then makes her his wife. During those days, it was a way of getting remarried and an opportunity to get a new life for the widow who was obliged to live alone after her husband's death. Based on this custom, the drama unfolds the uncliched love story between the leading couple as they experience conflicts between social classes and families and survive being in the center of political struggles and turmoil.
Why highly entertaining?
From the get-go with the opening scene illustrations, I found this drama to be quite unique. It is a historical drama accompanied by non-traditional touches like the selection of eclectic songs and background music. The music producers deserved credit for being prolific and delivering quality tracks. The OST or BGM that underscored each scene was truly fitting and had elevated it to the next level for me.
Furthermore, the cinematography and directing were also a big part of the show's appeal, as one can tell that a lot of thought was put into each scene to evoke the necessary emotion and feeling. Every episode was nicely shot and expressed. Even details like how the hanbok skirt formed in a perfect circle surrounding a sinking woman was impactful. The settings and landscapes were lovely, like works of art. Visually, it was a treat to watch this show. The costumes and makeup also stood out for me because the show did not go for an idol drama feel with overdone makeup or glaringly obvious colors. The actors looked normal, good-looking nonetheless but refreshingly ordinary.
Acting-wise, I am impressed. I have heard of Jung Il Woo's ability but this is my first drama of his and I am blown away. He clearly has the experience and acting chops to pull off a complex character like Ba Woo, born from nobility but grew up a street rat. Shown initially as a rogue who was obviously a little damaged, it was also quickly apparent that our male lead, the heroic outlaw, was a good and generous person at heart. Jung Il Woo's micro-expressions were on point, and there was an underwater scene where he executed the scene perfectly by just his expression alone. His visuals are not my usual preference, but in this show, in that persona, Il Woo just exuded manly sexiness.
Shin Hyun Soo's character, Lee Dae Yeop, got a lot of hate for being the clingy second male lead who could not move on. However, I had a soft spot for Dae Yeop, especially after finding out his back story and romance with the Princess as well as his background. His actions may have seemed rash and selfish at first, but he never wavered from his desire to protect and ensure the happiness of the only one he loved. I had high hopes for his character development, and he did not fail me up to the finale. My heart ached for him a lot, and Shin Hyun Soo was brilliant in portraying this lost soul. With his eyes alone, Hyun Soo showed the hopelessness and defeat that Dae Yeop must have felt, trapped with no way out between his family, duty, love, and his own desires.
Kwon Yu Ri, however, is the show's biggest hidden gem. Her acting as Soo Kyung/Princess Hwa In, a demure, well-bred but humble Princess who was also passionate, brave, and intelligent, left a firm impression. Knowing that she is a Girls' Generation member, I was not prepared for her wonderful performance. In a way, this drama was also about how the Princess chose her own happiness by freeing herself from the societal rules and obligations, and Kwon Yu Ri portrayed this character's growth well. I appreciate the female empowerment theme featured in this show, like when Ba Woo constantly praised and respected Soo Kyung's intelligence and strength.
With the addition of seasoned actors like Shin Dong Mi, Song Sun Mi, Seo Beom Shik, Yoon Joo Man, Kim Tae Woo, Lee Jae Yong, and Lee Joon Hyuk, you have a cast that was able to deliver the story effectively. The child actor, Ko Dong Ha, who played Cha Dol, has potential as well.
I love that the characters were shades of gray. We had the antagonists who felt justified in their actions, people on both sides helping each other for justice and principles, and there were the protagonists who made bad decisions, said and did things they did not mean in the heat of the moment. The show scored points with dynamic characters who struggled with their actions, who were not always clear if they were doing the right thing or what the right thing even was.
To me, the show's strongest point is the way it executed the plot. I liked how the drama encouraged and engaged the viewers' imagination. It was my imagination that filled in and enriched what the show's visuals or soundtrack both concealed and alluded to at the same time. At least, I prefer to think that what was left out was not a mere lack but instead a conscious artistic act of intentional omission and suggestion. Coupled with somewhat predictable plot twists but, when revealed, were simply shocking in terms of magnitude and nature, the result was a story that kept me engaged from start to finish, with each episode leaving me eager for the next one.
Even though I appreciated the moments of omission and suggestion, the conspicuous use of them for the romance between Ba Woo and Soo Kyung left me wanting for more. The chemistry between those two was palpable, and I wanted to see more than hugs. Ideally, I would have preferred more tantalizing or passionate scenes, but if not those, then at least some other obvious display of affections that provide the anticipation and build-up that one usually seeks in a show with a romance tag. That said, I did find the scenes between the leads incredibly romantic, especially with the setting, music, and dialogue. There was a dignified and pure way about how their love for each other was shown, and I did believe that they truly loved each other. I also like the phrase they used for each other "saranghae yeon-mohada (연모하다)" which means to love and long for someone. Seeing them together left a good feeling and I was satisfied with how they ended.
With the romance underplayed during the second half, the show somewhat got derailed by the heavier focus on the palace and court politics. The villain, Lee Yi Cheom, constantly got on my nerves with his audacity and arrogance, but really, this was a good thing because it showed how terrific the writing was. I was glued to the screen, on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen to the OTP and the other good guys. Had I not wanted more romance and pleasant "slice of life" episodes featuring the main couple, I would have appreciated the political shenanigans even more.
I would rewatch this drama since there were many nuances and subtlety that I may have missed the first time. I also enjoyed the story and characters enough to watch them another time, although I am unsure if I want to feel Dae Yeop's pain again.
I do recommend that you try this drama out and see for yourself. Thematically for me, Bossam: Steal the Fate is a show that encapsulates life in many aspects and topics. It touches upon self-identity and personal growth, love (romantic and familial), respect and loyalty (to self, family, country, and principles), politics, societal obligations and problems, the balance of power and inequality, friendship, and more.
For posterity, I have enclosed the link to the soundtrack list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bossam:_Steal_the_Fate#Original_soundtrack
Unmyeong (Fate) is a strange thing."BOSSAM: STEAL THE FATE" overally is not something very good but it's moderately average and worth a one time watch. But Bossam indeed is a different kind of Sageuk (historical Kdrama) and let me first time tell why you should watch it.
1. The drama's basic plot is totally new. Bossam being an old Korean tradition could be something new for the natives but it's undoubtedly unknown to the huge number of int'l audiences.
2. The first of the drama basically is a romcom-story happening in the premise of a historical period. Royalty, Nobility and system, everything is related but politics and diplomacy have minimum involvement.
3. Be it joyous or melancholic, this drama has many warm poetic moments unlike other historicals which are full of tragedy with lots of angst.
4. Whatever amount of diplomacy has been shown in the script, it is very very skillfull. And it's like there's lot more diplomatic progression than wars and fights or stunts.
5. Jung Il Woo goes shirtless in the 1st episode itself showing his bulky transformation :p (not a spoiler at all) and that's quite a sight to witness. Also, he runs a lot in this drama.
STORY & SCREENWRITING:
Bossam is set up in the premise of Joseon era and is based on a age old traditional custom. Bossam basically is the forceful abduction of a widowed woman by wrapping them inside a sack and marrying them off with a man. Even though it has politics and diplomacy, as it should've since it's a sageuk, it has equal amount of warm slow-burn romance story and basic storyline involves cohabitation and mutualism. It's about how Bossam-ing a widowed woman by secret local peddlers changes the fate and lives of all the people involved as well as influences the entire system of a nation. The plot line development is very nice till the 8th episode with a vibe of uniqueness but after that a major revelation took place which changed the entire drama and made it a typical historical Kdrama where certain influential Minister is after the King's dethronement to get hold of the power. And after 10-11 episodes things become repetitive like someone plotting treason, scheming to kill another, preparing to defeat another in courtroom, rescuing someone in need, getting caught, etc etc... All these things happened back ti back in an alternative manner hence became boring and uninteresting to a certain level. They should rather have made it a 16 episode drama without dragging the story by writing the same thing over and over again.
DIRECTION & SCREENPLAY:
Well, it is the same as I described the story writing above. The screen-editing, organization of scenes and sound editing were pretty good till the major climax of 8th episode but after that the director could not do much given the script turned typical. It ain't that bad till the end though it could have been a lot better. So I would say the entire 2nd half is still finely bearable.
CAST & ACTING:
The casting for the respective characters is actually good. Jung Il Woo and Kwon Yu Ri picked a good script and justified their characters pretty much good. Other supporting characters were nice too but the problem is with the drama characters developed by the writer. The Female Lead showed a character development to a certain extent tbh but Jung Il Woo's character went downhill with a major revelation about his past. I expected a stronger him after the twist but the character instead lost it's essence. Shin Hyun Soo's character is very very annoying; he plays an important role in all the tragedy and helps the leads many a times, however he ruins many a thing in the 1st half of the story for his stubbornness and stupid desires. The little kid Ko Dong Ha who played Jung Il Woo's son did great in whatever he was given but after first half that pretty nice character didn't have many scenes and finally became lost towards the end. The supporting roles by Shin Dong Mi and Lee Joon Hyuk were pretty funny and compatible who made us laugh at many instances. Kim Tae Woo as the King has a complicated character. He gets charged up most of the times screaming and throwing things. Lee Jae Yong as the main antagonist played his character very very well and his acting his highly commendable.
To be very honest, there are plenty of OSTs and all of them are very good. Most of them depict either warmness or melancholy which were produced given the storyline. Even though the story becomes typical after the 1st half, the sound editing and OST organization is good. Special mention to the OSTs titled "Love Song", "Song of Destiny",
"Along the Trail", "Collar" and "Song of Bau". I loved especially "Song of Bau" which has a touch of traditional Korean music and it's so heart touching. "Angular Stone" is a track which is melodious and catchy one. Notably, in most of these songs traditional Korean musical instruments have been used.
There is no significant work of cinematography in the drama but the camera works is beautiful at places where they intended to capture hearts with the scene's warmness.
ENDING: It is rushed. I had a hunch from the ending of 18th episode that the last 2 episodes will be rushed in order to bring the drama to an end it did happen for which I wasn't surprised at all. I am okay with how the drama ended because at least that is reasonable but again I hope they would have ended it at 16th without dragging.
To be honest, I expected them to keep the storyline and screenplay as it is for the first half of the drama where they lived a common life staying in small houses, dealing with poverty and facing the odds together and. Even the kid's to part should be have been seen more. I would have loved to see the entire drama as a modern day story happening in a historical period with least politics, that'd have been a unique thing in the group of sageuk. So I am a bit disappointed to be honest.
So Overally, the drama is not bad rather I would say it's moderately average for which I give 7/10 hence indicating that it's worth giving a one time watch. I feel they dragged the ending to some extent for which many things became repetitive but in the end they had rush IDK why. They had the potential to do better but so be it since it's a over anyways. I started it because of the high ratings that I saw in articles saying it is MBN's highest rated Kdrama in their 10 years of history. Historical dramas getting immense recognition from Knetz is actually a big deal and It indeed is the best among all the MBN dramas tbh but it could have been better. You should try watching first 6-7 episodes and decide for yourself actually.
P. S. I will simp for the first half of the show.