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by Kate

3 days ago
16 of 16 episodes seen
Overall 9.5
Story 10.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers
Finally, after having this drama on-hold for 2 years, I finished it. I do not regret waiting so long, before picking it up again. I might have rate it lower if I was watching it as it was airing, being swayed by other people opinions and reflection. Now, with a clean heart and head, I can be as true to myself as possible.

Cult is not exactly the most commonly used theme for dramas, since it's hard to present in a realistic way, staying true to complexity of how those organizations work and the mentality of people being involved. This drama did fairly good job at it. Till the almost end of the drama we weren't 100% if the cult leader truly believes all this, or is it just an act, since there were hints of both of those cases throughout the drama. That being said, it was unnecessary to introduce the "corrupt politician" into the mix. Next to a such a fresh idea of a victims of a cult, giving us overused story of power hungry older guy doing anything he can to win, was a mistake. Especially since the drama would be just as interesting without it.

The drama tries to sell us a story of 3 young heros: Sang Mi, Dong Cheol and Sang Hwan, and for me, they failed. They told us Sang Mi is the heart, Dong Cheol - the muscles and Sang Hwan the brain of the group, but it was Dong Cheol that came up with majority of the plan, he was smart enough to know not to involve the cops and believe in Sang Hwan's dad, since everyone was corrupt. Sang Mi was smart enough to fool everyone involved in the cult and survived there for years. There was no brain in Sang Hwan up until ep 14th/15th. A bit too late if you ask me. There was truly nothing going on for him as a character and I was never invested in him and his journey emotionally. He was there to show up at times and solve plot problem that might be hard to explain otherwise. As I was finishing the drama, I finally knew, why I disliked Sang Hwan so much: because writers and producers tried to TELL us he is the hero of the story next to Sang Mi, but they did not SHOW it at all. He kept making the same mistakes, never learning from any of them. All the consequences never hit him directly, but hurt people around him. Don't know if it was producers, writers or Taecyeon's mis-delivery, but I never felt that he is truly sorry for all he did and the production tried to put him in the same "I am a victim here" group as Dong Cheol and Sang Mi, which was ridiculous. His mistake put his best friend in jail and an innocent girl in a cult for years, and I felt like everyone forgave him like it was not a big deal. At times I even felt like there was nothing to forgive him for, like what he did was just a mistake that could happen to anyone. I don't believe that there can be nonredeemable characters (especially after watching Nokdu Flower) and they could have make Sang Hwan work, but they did not even try. All the mistakes were just forgotten.
One of the more interesting characters to watch was Apostle Kang. There were moments when we could slowly see her breaking out of that "salvation" mindset and seeing how things truly are in Goosuwon, making us question and wonder how will her character develop and which side will she be standing on at the end. I appreciate that she stayed true to her believes, no matter how twisted they were. It just shows the true power of manipulation and brainwashing that had happened in the cult.

Except Taecyeon, all the cast did amazing job. I must say, I might be biased. I never liked Taecyeon acting, not once have I though he did amazing job with the role given to him. I just don't feel any deep emotions and those nuances in facial expressions that distinguish amazing actors from just actors. Being place between such a strong cast, it just showed that he still lacks in some areas of the delivery.
On the bright side tho, Jung Hae Kyun and Yoon Yoo Sun did amazing job, easily overshadowing the rest cast with their acting. Everyone truly hated Joo Ho and felt pity towards Bo Eun. Many people think acting "crazy" is an easy thing to do since you just have to do random stuff, but it's hard... really hard to make it believable. The random stuff are not really random, they have their own reasons to do them, do stuff that no one else seems to understand. You need to understand the reasoning behind the unreasonable actions to be able to portray them in your character.

Really good drama. The frustration that keeps raising during the watch makes the ending even better. Even the comical death of Jung Ki was a good choice, and if all the actions leading to it were not as serious and heavy, I might say they overkill him. OCN knows how to deliver, and we should be thankful.
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