by xXabsintheXx, January 4, 2018

[This is my very first article, so I hope you guys will bear with me!]

Today I want to introduce to everyone the drama Money Flower. It just hit the halftime mark, so I thought it would be the right time to make more people curious. It seems a little underrated and doesn't get much recognition and attention. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this drama is one of the best currently airing ones (even though I know that everyone has their own taste).

As we all know summaries tend to give unimportant and unappealing information about a drama which is kind of sad because it makes us either miss a really good story or make us watch things, we would have avoided if we only knew more about them beforehand. The feeds are a big help sometimes, but if they are too silent about those matters, chances run low that we start something we don’t feel sure about at all.

Thus, let me give you a more detailed synopsis (which might contain small but needed spoilers) and maybe intrigues you to start Money Flower:

 [Kang Pil Joo (Jang Hyuk) is a top attorney and belongs to the Jang family. He is often called the family’s dog by outsiders because he takes care of everything related to the family no matter what kind of business it is. To make Jang Boo Cheon (Jang Seung Jo), one of chairman Jang Gook Hwan's (Lee Soon Jae) grandsons, win against his cousin Jang Yeo Cheon (Im Kang Sung) and take over the next chairman position, he creates a plan to make Boo Cheon fall in love with and make him marry Na Mo Hyun (Park Se Young) who is the daughter of congressman Na (Park Ji Il).]

This drama is a makjang/revenge drama thus birth secrets, hidden agendas, intrigues, lies, backstabbing and murders are a given. This drama is no exception when it comes to these tropes, but we start such stories because we want to watch exactly those things, right? It’s just a matter of the writing whether they will click with us or not.


I started Money Flower because I was curious about Jang Hyuk’s new drama, because I’m a fan of Park Se Young, because the poster looked nice and because of friends' recommendations. I remember that some people got turned off after the first episode and I can see why that happened. It starts right in the middle without much explanation and has a fast pace that makes you feel a little dizzy. There are no long introductions of the characters, but you get to see a lot of them in a short period of time.

I admit that I felt unsure about it at first, too, but I also think that one of the drama’s strong points is the acting. So, even though the first episode was hectic, it was already able to make me form a first opinion about every character (which changes many times throughout the show, but I’ll get to that later) and therefore made me interested enough to continue.

Another main force is the cinematography and music which I know is not to everyone’s liking either. But for me it works just fine, I even think that it’s supporting the story big time, making every scene twice as engaging – especially towards the end of every episode (if you’re watching the drama you know what I mean). They always end on a cliffhanger but in such a calm way that it’s even harder to endure a whole week until new episodes are out.

The third and most important pillar is the writing and execution. Believe it or not, but the more you watch, the more you get sucked in. It’s neat, it’s clean and so well woven that it’s hard to find plot-holes. Either that or I’m just too dumb to see them.

And since the script goes hand in hand with the acting like a cogwheel, it's essential to get to know a little more about its awesome, multi-layered characters as well (every role feels tailor-made for the cast what makes it such a joy to watch!).

Kang Pil Joo (Jang Hyuk)

If you have seen other dramas and/or movies with Jang Hyuk, be sure that you won’t recognize him in this one.

I admit that I didn’t like him the first time I got introduced to him in Fated to Love You which made me drop the drama in the middle of episode one. Shame on me, I know. I’ll have to get back on that one. Even though I was not fond of him, I still watched Voice. I enjoyed the drama more than I thought and it made me eventually respect him more as an actor. But I didn’t know what he was capable of until I started Money Flower. I swear he devoured this role in every possible way. Most of the time he looks the same but if you look closely you can discover subtle differences in his facial expressions that tell you exactly what he is feeling during every scene.

Kang Pil Joo is sleek, intelligent, cold, determined and ambitious and he certainly knows how to play people to his own advantage over a longer period. As every main character in a makjang, he has a tragic past that leads him on a path of revenge, making him infiltrate the tiger’s den with the ultimate goal of destroying his enemies until nothing is left of them. He is walking on thin ice on a daily basis which forces him to constantly prove his “loyalty” to his enemies. On the other hand, he made himself indispensable over the years what gained him a lot of trust and allows him to act out his own plans more freely. In the process, he has built some quite precarious relationships (one of them so disgusting that you want to cover your eyes and more).

So, while forging his latest plan, he realizes that his newest chess piece is actually a remnant of his past: Na Mo Hyun (Park Se Young). It’s not a story of a past first love. The feelings he once had for her are made of gratitude for something that happened a long time ago. He had forgotten about it, but the memories resurface, shove him into an inner conflict and make him hesitate for a short while. He eventually sticks to his plan though what will most certainly initiate an inevitable outcome - for others and himself.

Kang Pil Joo is the pivot who keeps the story running. He is an antihero you will root for, even though he’s sometimes testing your patience. Whenever his plans are in jeopardy, he’s on the verge of rushing to extremes. Right there you will find yourself at the edge of your seat because you desperately hope that he will not cross a boundary. 

{If you’re worried that he might be too clever for the drama, don’t be. Even he has to face some setbacks now and then which make him look as human as everyone else in this drama.}

Na Mo Hyun (Park Se Young)

The only other drama I remember Park Se Young in was The Equator Man where she played the younger version of one of the leads. Luckily, she impressed me enough to last a very long time in my memory. Her acting matches her character so well, that it’s a pleasure to watch her.

Na Mo Hyun is what you would call the innocent equivalent to all these tainted individuals that are lurking around her. She is positive, free-spirited and gives a damn about the riches of other people even though she herself is well-off thanks to her political engaged father. She believes in love and therefore will only marry someone who she has deep feelings for.

Because of her family connections she unknowingly gets entangled in Kang Pil Joo’s revenge game. In the beginning, her scenes brighten the otherwise dark atmosphere of the drama but as the story proceeds, she must face unexpected setbacks and hurtful truths. Even though her character is strong-willed, she eventually reaches a point that almost breaks her but doesn’t make her fold either. Instead, she becomes determined to uncover the truth behind everything without knowing what she’s getting herself into – and on a side note putting Kang Pil Joo between the devil and the deep blue sea.

[The role of Na Mo Hyun was originally cast with Han Chae Ah. Even though I liked her in Gaksital, I’m glad Park Se Young got the role in the end because her facial expressions have the necessary innocence for this drama.]

Jang Boo Cheon (Jang Seung Jo)

This is my very first encounter with Jang Seung Jo, so I can’t compare previous works. But so far, he’s doing a great job. His acting is convincing and on the same level as his colleagues.

Jang Boo Cheon is one of two grandsons of chairman Jang Gook Hwan. His father was the firstborn of the family but died when Boo Cheon was still a kid. Therefore, his grandfather and his mother put him in a constant power battle with his cousin Jang Yeo Cheon whose winner shall become the next chairman. Boo Cheon doesn’t have the comfort of free will. He gets drawn into this challenge without choice. It’s questionable whether his wish to become the next chairman is indeed his own desire or rather implicitly projected onto his mind.

He’s immature, doesn’t take his tasks seriously enough and avoids consequences at all costs – because he can and because he was brought up like that. The only one he has to explain himself to whenever he causes trouble is his grandfather – and it’s the cleverer choice to avoid those situations. But because he keeps getting into trouble, he is already declared a failure by his family (except for his mother).

I didn’t like him in the beginning because it seemed like he and his mother were only exploiting Kang Pil Joo’s expertise. But the more I saw him interact with Pil Joo the more he grew on me, even though it’s still hard for me to grab his true essence. He’s definitely not a saint but as the story proceeds, he has to face situations that make you sympathize with him. He grows with his tasks and he wants to take responsibility for his actions but he doesn’t know where to draw the line. His situation is messed up, there's no denying it. But it’s not his fault alone. His mother is constantly pushing him into a corner which in the end will probably result in an even bigger mess.

At first, it looked like he and Kang Pil Joo didn’t share more than a master-servant relationship. But the more I watched the clearer it became that those two have a very deep and complicated connection. Both are driven by their own agendas, Kang Pil Joo with his revenge plan, Jang Boo Cheon led by his mother’s desires. If you ask me if there is any bromance, I would say: Yes. Definitely. But it’s hidden quite well, covered by ill-fated circumstances. Neither of them would say it out loud, much less admit to it in their minds. Even though Kang Pil Joo sees Boo Cheon as just another tool to achieve his ambition, it’s undeniable that he also wishes to inflict as little harm as possible.

The loathsome ones

This drama has an impressive ensemble of evil and loathsome characters, so if you have a pillow next to you, be sure to take it into your hands since you might feel the urge to strangle something.

Jung Mal Ran (Lee Mi Sook)

Daughter-in-law of the chairman and widow. The only excuse she has to stay in the Jang family is the fact that she gave birth to a son and therefore contributed to the continuity of the Jang bloodline. But because this very son seems to be a failure, the chairman is constantly trying to kick her out – which means that she would lose all her properties and fortune. That’s why she clings to Kang Pil Joo who always has a plan up his sleeve and is able to maneuver them out of their predicaments whenever needed. She’s purely acting out of self-interest and if needed uses every available measure to scratch nuisances off her sight and secure her territory– every imaginable measure. And if her tools are not beneficial anymore, she will abandon them without second thought as long as it ensures a tight sleep in the end. 

She might seem pitiful sometimes, cornered, lonely, her situation even seems comprehensible… But don’t get fooled. She’s one of the most despicable persons I’ve seen. And Lee Mi Sook is doing a great job at making me hate her with passion. But she also has endurance, I give her that. The drama doesn't let her rest one second and makes her stay on guard all times.

Jang Gook Hwan (Lee Soon Jae)

The root of everything evil in this drama. If it wasn’t for him, all the other characters wouldn’t have to go through all that misery. With his greed and his extreme behavior whenever someone tries to take away his fortune (no matter how small the amount), he is manipulating everyone around him on a high level. He punishes everyone who dares to go against him, even if that includes his own family – though blood-relation might lessen the penalization. If there is one good thing about him, it's most probably that he is fair (in some weird way) within his family.

There's not much to tell about his acting. Lee Soon Jae is a veteran actor who knows what he's doing. He delivers what is needed without fail - whether that means he has to become spiteful and evil or loving and caring.

               Jang Yeo Cheon (Im Kang Sung)
       and Jang Seon Man (Sun Woo Jae Duk)

Jang Yeo Cheon and his father Seon Man are pretty much the default relatives you can find in every chaebol family. Their only purpose is to make things more difficult for our main protagonists. They are part of the ongoing power struggle among the family members and of course, always try to interrupt Kang Pil Joo’s plans (since they think he is the main force behind Jung Mal Ran). I’m glad they don’t always have the upper hand and can’t foresee every step their enemies are taking. This contributes a lot to the enjoyment and helps maintain a balanced push and pull between the characters.

There’s nothing worth mentioning about them, but I still want to appreciate Im Kang Sung’s acting a little. I almost wanted to write that even though he’s so young, he is doing a really good job with his role because he is able to breathe air into such a stereotype kind of character.

But I just saw that he is already 36… Look at that face! How can he be older than me...!

Well, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to degrade his acting now. He’s without doubt doing a superb job. His outer appearance is kind of advantageous even because it’s misleading others. He looks young and naïve, always following his father. But he certainly has his own opinion about things and how to accomplish them. Even though he’s calling for uninvited consequences along the way. He might be as cunning as a fox but he's also hot-headed and inexperienced.

Yoon Seo Won (Han So Hee)

She comes across insignificant the first time you see her. But you’ll be surprised how far her relevance is eventually reaching. Her existence helps drawing and developing more edges to another vital character.

I never found her annoying and although she might not be the nicest person, I wouldn’t mark her as evil as some other people. You can even find yourself sympathizing with her in certain situations. Circumstances force her to take action, but her tactics and decisions are rather self-destructive than helping because she doesn’t get the whole picture (and sometimes is stupid enough to ignore any advice that is in her best interest) but well… Not everyone can be as clever as Kang Pil Joo, right?

There are so many more characters to mention because they make this show even more enjoyable. For example, the staff who is working at the Jang mansion. The female attendant and the female chef. I love their short conversations in the kitchen because they lighten the atmosphere a little and make everything look a bit more normal.

Han Eun Shim (Lee Hang Na) is this nice lady wearing a hanbok in the right picture. Even though the reason why she is staying with the chairman is as shallow and selfish as everyone else’s, her attitude is actually kind of… funny because you just can’t take her seriously. Yet she fits in like everyone else in this drama and brings along a cheerful touch. I enjoy her scenes a lot.

The secretaries, that mysterious friend of Kang Pil Joo, Jang Boo Cheon’s sister who doesn’t have much screen-time which makes me even more curious about her involvement (if there even is one). Or Na Mo Hyun’s family. So many characters who contribute to the plot and make this story complete.

Even though there is still so much left to say about this engaging drama, I will stop here. I hope I did justice to this outstanding gem which became quite dear to me over the last few weeks.

Money Flower certainly deserves a chance if you haven't already started it. The script, the cast, the directing, the execution will reach you. The concept definitely pays off and is worth the effort.

And because he is too good to not be shared in this…♥


Of course he can also smile.
It's rare but there are some moments like that as well. It's up to you to discover them :p

If you came to this point without falling asleep, thank you so much for enduring this long ass text!
I’m certainly not as funny as other writers, but I hope you still enjoyed reading it.

With this in mind, are you watching Money Flower, too?
What are your thoughts? If you’re not watching it, did I get you interested?

Get yourself in trouble and get caught. Now!

romance mystery thriller crime revenge makjang jang hyuk money park se young secrets

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