Mental Coach Jegal (2022) poster
7.9
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,045 users
# of Watchers: 3,941
Reviews: 7 users
Ranked #2855
Popularity #3303
Watchers 1,045

A sports drama about a former national athlete who quits sports after causing a scandal and becomes a mental coach to help former professional athletes who have retired and current athletes who have fallen into a slump. Je Gal Gil is a former national Taekwondo athlete who is known for his hard work and dorky charms. After he causes an unprecedented accident in the athlete’s village, Je Gal Gil is permanently expelled and coined the unlucky Taekwondo prodigy. Once he overcomes his past trauma and regains his mental health, Je Gal Gil returns to the athlete’s village as a mental coach. Cha Ga Eul is a former world-class short track speed skating gold medalist who has fallen into a slump. With her pretty poker face, she’s known as the up-and-coming “Ice Princess,” but she faces the danger of fading out when she falls into a slump. Unable to confide in anyone, Cha Ga Eul begins to beat herself up until she meets mental coach Je Gal Gil. Gu Tae Man is the director of the Human Rights Center in the Korean Olympic Committee. The former Taekwondo Olympic gold medalist has a strong desire for power and is the reason Je Gal Gil’s life was transformed overnight. With the belief that anything can be covered as long as he is No. 1, Gu Tae Min does everything he can for the top position. Park Seung Ha is a part of the mental health support team in the athlete’s village. She is the perfect example of “a kind daughter who was raised well” but endures an unexpected hardship after meeting Je Gal Gil as her first patient. Park Seung Ha ends up leaving the hospital and applying to the athlete’s village instead where she surprisingly reunites with Je Gal Gil, this time as advisor partners. (Source: Naver; Soompi) Edit Translation

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Español
  • Português (Brasil)
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 16
  • Aired: Sep 12, 2022 - Nov 1, 2022
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday
  • Original Network: tvN
  • Duration: 1 hr. 10 min.
  • Score: 7.9 (scored by 1,045 users)
  • Ranked: #2855
  • Popularity: #3303
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

Where to Watch Mental Coach Jegal

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Reviews

Completed
Kate
18 people found this review helpful
Nov 1, 2022
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 9.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.5

“Even if you failed yesterday, even if you crumbled today, another tomorrow awaits us”

And we did crumble so many times watching this show - all the tears, all the frustration, all the healing after. This show is a long journey and even though at times exhausting, it’s so worth it.

What I really loved about Mental Coach Jegal was the complexity of the characters. The flaws were not just random setbacks - they all had a solid explanation and served as an amazing character development arc. I liked how the show kept reminding us that what we see is neither the beginning nor the end of their journey - they had their own struggles in the past, they have their own motivations for the future, and what we see is just the present self that keeps changing.

It’s like that for Je Gal Kil,Cha Ga Eul, Park Seung Ha, Lee Moo Gyul. There is more to these characters than we initially think. I honestly enjoyed the majority of them from the start, and even Goo Tae Man was impossible to hate.

That said, the character I found difficult to accept at first was Park Seung Ha. I honestly found her more unlikable than the bad guys themselves. It was too hard to ignore the lack of professionalism in her previous conduct in her professional life. The drama is magical though, and I started to appreciate her more and more as the story progressed, and her past actions, while not excused, were explained in a way that I could move on and see her for who she was - a flawed human being, like the rest of the characters.

I think that's the overall positive aspect of the drama - it's rich in different contexts and (both internal and external) factors that influence the characters, and the solution is not easy to find, since no one solution can solve all the problems.

Then we had the villains and antagonists - some better, some worse. I feel like the main villain was underwhelming in terms of the lack of depth. With all the characters being so complex, he just did not fit that picture. As if the last stroke of the brush in a masterpiece was done by a 5 year old child.

Then we have Oh Dal Sung - trash, the truest cockroach of kdramas. At some point I was not even frustrated or angry about his character, I was just tired. I wonder if there was any other way to deal with his story without hurting the overall quality of the plot and other characters’ arcs…

That said, for a show that is focused so much on the internal fights and struggles within the characters’ mentality and approach, the writers did quite a good job with presenting the villains that overall did match the plot and pacing. Although some were more of a plot device, not individual characters, I still found a certain value in the way they were written.

About writing - I don't think I've ever watched a drama where I really wanted to write the quotes down. I’m more of an “appreciating in the moment and moving forward” type of person, but here - the narrations and dialogues were so well written I just had to pause the scene many times and type down the words to share with others. They just hit all the right spots and were relatable on an indescribable level.

“??? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???'? ???? ??? ??? ?? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???'?. ???? ?????? ?????? ??? ?? ????, ??????? ??'? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ?? ??? ??? ????? ??????.”

Big picture wise, Mental Coach Jegal addresses many important issues, both specific to the sport related environment, but also the things everyone can experience in their lives. I am amazed how they managed to make it all logical and have a significant impact on the plot and the characters. Without going into any details, the various traumas and issues the characters had to face, different ways they all dealt with them, whenever victims have any responsibility in what happened to them and how they should or should not handle the aftermath, the lack of support, inadequate support, shame, psychological issues - there are so many themes and topics it’s impossible to write them all down. And I honestly feel like the majority of them were dealt with proper respect and maturity from the writers.

To the acting. Jung Woo is a master of chemistry. He truly made a perfect team with each and every character. There was not one interaction he had that felt boring or flat. He could talk to a tree and I would find it the most entertaining thing ever. Him and Kwon Yool are a duo I will miss for weeks. The way he found a perfect balance between the comedy and seriousness, how Jegal was both eccentric and relatable. I am truly amazed.

I expected a phenomenal performance from Lee Yoo Mi and it is what I’ve got. I started the show because of her and I was not disappointed. She perfectly embodied the idea of someone being both vulnerable and strong.

All the rest of the cast did an incredible job. I cannot think of one performance or scene that was lacking in any aspect.

The production had a similar effect on me as the writing - I could not stop myself from screenshotting. I especially liked the use of the wide shots - they often looked like beautiful paintings.

All that said, the drama was not perfect, even if at times it felt like it is. Few things that could have been improved and can be seen as flaws.

First of all, Je Gal was introduced as a famous mental coach and writer. He was not a nobody, he was like a celebrity. But his fame was downplayed and non-existent after just a few episodes. I feel like him having rather high social status would be an issue for the plot to unfold the way it did, so that fact was just… ignored and removed from the equation.

Rather poorly done transition between the leading genres/plots. At first the show was more or less a sports slice of life with comedy. At some point it changed into a political drama with comedy, and that transition was not done smoothly. You can literally tell which episode is the turning point and it’s a clear cut deal. I did not mind where the plot went, it made sense. I was bothered with how it was executed.

Not utilizing enough “No gold medal” club. I feel like they either should have been even more in the background, or more prominent. They were neither the supporting characters, nor just a filler background - somewhere in the middle that I could not get attached enough to truly care about, but also not insignificant to just accept whatever happens to them. Since I loved each and every character in that group, I did wish we had seen more of them, especially in the middle part of the show.

Some questionable relationship developments I could do without. While they made sense character wise, I also felt like they were not truly needed plot wise. I could understand why they happened, but I also asked myself - did it have to happen?

To sum it up - it was not a perfect show, but for me it was close to perfection. By the end, I was so attached to the characters I honestly feared the day the show would end. I was not ready to say goodbyes.

I think a great show is not a perfect show, since these don’t exist, but one that makes you ignore/forget the flaws. They seem so insignificant compared to all the positive aspects, you just don’t mind them. Mental Coach Jegal did it for me. And I’m known for complaining about the most minor details ever. Mental Coach Jegal had some convenient solutions by the end, but I can’t bring myself to lower the rating, even if some aspects were not perfect in my book.

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Completed
PickyPrincess11
8 people found this review helpful
Nov 5, 2022
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 5.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

Could Be Better Without Romance

Going in to this drama, I thought it was fresh and entertaining. It was a good opportunity for viewers to realize what athletes are experiencing as they navigate into their career—their struggles, pain, dreams, problems and hopes. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this drama, esp. when they introduced the No Medal Club.

I also like listening and watching the mentoring scenes and advices given between the counselors-counselee. It would greatly benefit even the viewers since it tackles our mental health and how deal with our own pains and traumas.

However, when the dynamics began to shift and the female lead expressed her romantic interest and kissed her mental coach, I cannot lie to myself. I am not comfortable with it, esp, when all throughout the show Coach Jegal kept saying that Ga Eul was never a girl as far as he can see, and just a “kid.” I trusted those words, only to get betrayed in the end. There was a sense of betrayal for the viewers since boundaries was always laid, only to break them down on the last five minutes of the finale.

Not only it was unethical for the profession, I was hoping the writers had something on their sleeves and tackled transference/countertransference in a mature, pro way. Only to get disappointed from this point on.

The male and female lead have more chemistry as friends (older brother) /father figure than lovers. It surely left a bad taste in the mouth as they met together at the end wanting to try “love”. That was the deal breaker for me in giving this show a good rating. It was successful for giving me discomfort than healing as it ends. The drama can stand on its own without the romance.

I hoped they’d just ended it a deep platonic friendship, which could be done beautifully. It is entirely possible as it was done in “My Mister” by IU and Lee Sun Kyun.

Overall, I won’t recommend it to my friends. Neither this drama is even worthy of a rewatch.

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Details

  • Drama: Mental Coach Jegal
  • Country: South Korea
  • Episodes: 16
  • Aired: Sep 12, 2022 - Nov 1, 2022
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday
  • Original Network: tvN
  • Duration: 1 hr. 10 min.
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

Statistics

  • Score: 7.9 (scored by 1,045 users)
  • Ranked: #2855
  • Popularity: #3303
  • Watchers: 3,941

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