When Pyo In Sook was a child, her parents abandoned her with her grandmother who raised her. Her life has never been easy or comfortable. She now works at a public bathhouse scrubbing customer's bodies. Her defense mechanism is to not express her feelings to other people. One day, a doctor tells her she has a terminal illness and will die soon. Even coming face-to-face with her own mortality, In Sook remains emotionless. She begins receiving care at a hospice and meets two women with lives very different from her own: Seong Mi Do, a social media influencer, and Kang Se Yeon, an ordinary housewife who feels lonely and taken for granted. One rainy day, In Sook meets Min Woo Cheon, a contract killer who works at a private detective office. Woo Cheon's cool exterior masks a deep sadness. Each of the three women decides to end the life of one person who has done them wrong before they die, but in becoming friends, their anger begins to subside. When In Sook and Woo Cheon develop feelings for each other, though, she begins to rethink her plans. (Source: VIKI, AsianWiki) Edit Translation
Where to Watch The One and Only
Cast & Credits
"You're not dead until you die"; an ode to death and demise."The fear of death follows from the fear of life. Someone who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." The quote from Mark Twin might be too philosophical for some but it is equally meaningful. This also reminds me a quote from Harry Potter that says that death is like an adventure for the well-organised mind. On that context, death only ends a life, not the relationships, so knowing that you're gonna die soon is more hurtful when you think about the ones who'll be left behind.
Every single day of life is moving forward towards your death and the drama beautifully brings out the essence of one's life, no matter they're on the verge of death or have a long to live. Death might be an enemy for the living but embracing it with grace when there's a call for you to bid goodbye, is considered an act of wise, thereby making their lives meaningful.
Produced by KeyEast and broadcasted on JTBC, "The One and Only" is written by Moon Jung Min and directed by Oh Hyun Jong. The production had to halt filming thrice because of staff members testing covid19 positive at different times, but they could wrap up well despite the delay.
"The One and Only" is a story about a woman in her late twenties getting admitted to a hospice for receiving care after being diagnosed with a terminal illnesses, having only few months to live. There, she shares the room with two other, with contrasting natures. Their lives get entangled with a contract serial killer who ends up falling for the first woman and the story is all about the investigative murder case, the individual lives of the three women and at their days at the hospice as they await death.
Pyo In Sook (Ahn Eun Ji) who has been brought up by her grandma, works as a scrubber and is mostly expressionless. At a young age she turns terminally ill and chooses to stay at a hospice. There she meets Kang Se Yeon (Kang Se Won), an ordinary housewife who has never lived for herself and Sung Mi Do (JOY), a social media influencer, deprived of love and a lonely young girl. All three on an usual day encounter Min Woo Chan (Kim Kyung Nam), a hitman, following which these 4 people get intertwined with a mysterious serial killing incident. All these people delivered amazing performances in their respective roles.
Yook Sung Ja (Go Doo Shim) and Pyo Kang Sun (Jang Hyun Sung) are experienced actors who played In Sook's Grandma and Father respectively. The Regional Investigation Unit comprises of team leader Hwang Ma Jin (Lee Bo Ryun), lieutenant Cho Shi Young (Do Sang Woo) and Detective Oh Jin Gyu (Jang In Sub). Gu Ji Pyo (Han Gyu Won) played Mido's boyfriend and LE group's hier.
Other familiar faces are So Hee Jung, Sung Byung Suk, Han Kyu Won, Ahn Chang Hwan, Choi Young Woo, Lee So Mi, Yoon Bora, Lee Hang Na and Joo In Young. The 2 child actress Seo Yoon Woo and Kim Soo Hyung were good too.
About plot development... I've mixed feelings about this and this is the only thing to complain about this drama. The overall story reminded me about "You are my Spring" and "When the Camellia Blooms"; obviously the vibes are different but the overall story felt similar: a feel good romance with plenty of slice of life elements accompanied with a murder mystery plot. Well, the difference is that this drama indulges a coherent investigative plot, unlike the other two where there were lots of other things; the entire script works around one single murder leading to others. Personally, I loved the progression for most of the parts (1-11th); the introductory episodes were perfectly impressive, though it might take some time to get acquainted to the mood. The furtherance was nice.
The life at hospice of people awaiting death was a beautifully emotional journey. It also includes scenes of Insook halmieone and her povs as a family to someone who is fighting death, and I would give a plus point for that. About the investigation plot, it started off really really good but somewhere around 10th, they started dragging it which became plainly visible from the 11th episode. The murder mystery thingy didn't have any pothole but it could have been wrapped up very easily way before than the finale. And the rest of the drama could have been about the hospice and other beautiful elements that made the drama unique (just saying if the case was that they thought the script will have nothing interesting left bcs everything other than that were better, i loved them). It was stretched till the finale week to an extent and I can't ignore it.
Despite all that, I ended up loving the ending sequence. The drama wasn't supposed to be realistic to being with even though it's a slice of life genre for most of its parts, but there were few things I didn't like or thought could've been better not done. The ending was full of life, agony, misery and sadness; I found myself crying and choking multiple times. Even so the script ran out of substance, making the script draggy for a while, it was a matter of relief getting back to track in the finale week. The intended messages were perfectly delivered.
Oh Hyun Jong PD is quite experienced having some hugely acclaimed dramas im his resume and it was reflected in this drama as well. The pacing of the drama, in my opinion, was very apt; the drama is basically slice of life genre and warm pure romance and hence needed the pacing to be slow and steady. The screenplay management and execution is up to par. The cinematography with the pale hue and yellow pallettes were very beautiful.
Moon Jung Min PDnim is quite a rookie and has had 2 qualitatively flop scripts before this drama but I see a great jump in her skills here which made me satisfied. I can't say it's something great but judging from her previous dramas, she's improved more than expected. The screenwriting is incorporated with many essence of life, death and struggle for survival, making it very meaningful. The mystery thriller plot which is equally emphasized had a very good basic outline though the execution of it went a lil draggy, but I think it was not that bad, in fact manageable. The character dynamics are well painted with some potential of improvement for few like Min Woo Chan and Ko Ji Pyo, which I think could have been better. The narrative and messages the story wanted to deliver has been accomplished, totally!
Composed by Lee Joon Suk, the OST album has total 4 number of tracks all aptly suiting the mood and vibes of the drama. There was no need of extensive background editing, neither with OSTs nor with different scores; it was a wise choice. "STAY" by SLAY & Avin is my most favorite among all which is about possibilities in life. "Happy Ending" by Yangpa is a song with beautifully written lyrics about cessation of pain and beginning afresh. "The One and Only" by msftz and "Your Name" by JOY (ReVe) are other 2 tracks.
The pacing felt perfect to me given the narrative and method of storytelling. The flux of conversations and shift in moods were aesthetically pretty. The way the characters were learning to love what they were becoming, was a pleasurable treat. It wasn't exaggerated at least.
There are numerous povs (about 10?) to look forward to. Although the story mostly revolves around the major characters as usual, the writer has tried to subsume perspectives of seemingly minor characters at parts of the story, thereby helping the viewers to relate on a larger range and understand their feelings in a deeper sense.
The trio friendship of Insook, Seyeon and Mido is another thing to anticipate about in the drama. They came from different backgrounds and had difference in their mindsets, yet the way they blended with each other and consolidated their friendship on a robust base, was an overwhelming watch.
The long conversations were my most favourite thing about this drama and let me tell you, you'd encounter that quite a lot in here. The simple yet very important topics discussed were heartening enough to jerk tears. The way the characters express their emotions was wholesomely gratifying.
The bucketful romance is surely satisfying if not something very new and has some cliché tropes. I am sure warm pure romance is not everyone's cup of tea but I wish people become fond of it. In Sook and Woo Chan as couples were both adorable and fierce; their chemistry was up to par though not very extensively portrayed, and I think it was intentional and also feel it was of appropriate amount.
Final Remarks... "The One and Only" is a drama of unique mood. It's hugely a story for those who are admirer of quiddity lf life, slow pacing, long conversations and warm romance. I absolutely loved it but given that I can't ignore the technical aspects I would have to reflect the shortcomings in my ratings too. I would definitely recommend you to give it a try.
Great acting meets somewhat weak writingThis show had a fantastic start. As I begun watching it I was certain it would be one of my favorites of the year, a certainty that slowly waned over time. Now it's solidified as a wonderful drama, I will probably never revisit again. The first half was really strong, but it was after the 10 episode mark, (when one of the supporting actors, who in my opinion shined brighter then all the others, left the show) when the writing became repetitive and boring. It was however rescued by a powerful ending that left me in tears.
The premise of the drama was what drew me to it. I was led to believe it was about terminally ill patiens who goes on a killing spree to rid the world of evil before they die. This is not quite what we got. Am I disappointed? Only slightly.
I personally love moral dilemmas, and watching dramas that make you question what's right and wrong. This one wasn't as morally grey as I'd hoped, but the wonderful acting and heartwarming story more than made up for it.
The strongest point this drama has going for it, is the representation of female friendship. It delivers it with lots of tears and laughter. The women of this drama carried it on their back since the beginning. Their ride or die friendship more than made up for some of the boring parts of this drama. I loved how with Seyeon and Mido's help, Insook found the will to live for the first time in her life. Not just survive. Too bad it happened on her death-bed.
If you are like me, and hate dramas where the police are bumbling idiot, leaving the main characters to deal with everything, then you won't be disappointed with this drama. The police are intelligent (aside from a select few), and work hard to sove the case. They were in my opinion a delight to watch (especially you Cho Shiyoung, I fucking love you). The sad trade-off is that the main characters lack a bit in the brains department. I blame Insook's brain-cancer. It messed a bit with her critical thinking skills.
The acting was what in my opinion made this show worth watching. Everyone was believable in their role, to the point I cried when they cried, and laughed when they laughed.
But I would like to finish of by giving special appreciation to Do Sangwoo who played Detective Cho Shiyoung. This is the first drama I've seen him in, and I've truly found another actor to look out for. For many of the episodes I found his scenes to be the most interesting, and I was sad to see him go a little more than halfway through.
All in all, a good enough drama that I'll recommend to everyone who likes this genre.