This review may contain spoilersDepending on what kind of drama you want to watch, it can either be miss or hit. If you want a nice romance with plot, that for most part make sense, this one will make you happy. If you are big fan of sci fi and that's the reason you want to watch it: it might not meet your expectations. This drama definitely have more good, than bad aspects.
To the good ones:
> likable characters with realistic flaws. Majority of their motivations make sense and we can clearly put ourselves in their position. Some characters are better developed than others, but the focus on the important ones is rather the good thing. The fact we have so many characters that are in a gray area is refreshing. Many dramas would rather have a clear cut with good and bad guys.
> the romance itself. If you like fluff and cute stuff, this will be one of the nicest things you have seen. You can clearly see the chemistry between leads, there isn't any unnecessary love triangle. It's hard to describe the growth of emotions in therms of Nam Shin 3, but we can clearly see that in our human protagonist So Bong. How her relationship with NS3 develops and how slowly her feelings change. The acceptance she loved robot and not human was nicely presented.
> cinematography. Being a person who values the visuals of the dramas, I must say this one was extremely pleasing to watch. It was nicely shot .
> the emotional aspect: basically this drama is good at 'playing' with your emotions. In a good way. The pace is good and they don't randomly change from sad to funny scenes. Because the characters are gripping, you can easily empathize with them which makes the watching that much more enjoyable.
As for the things I didn't like or was not convince of:
> The villains. I truly loved what they did with Nam Gun Ho. The way he played people around him to be played at the end. That said, the true main bad guy of the drama disappointed me. His motivations did not make much sense. They tried to frame him as a heartless person but then introduced some scenes clearly showing that he is not as bad as portrayed and even he wants to protects people important to him. It wasn't consistent.
> the romance: while for a fluff part it was amazing, I believe they did not explore the robot-human relationship to the full potential. There are many questions that they kind of introduced but never delivered any answer. How will society react to that relationship? Will So Bong be happy with a robot that will might never truly love her back? Why they never talked about getting old and how will they work it out? What will happen to Nam Shin 3 after So Bong dies? Is So Bong going to be okay without any intimate relationship? The relationship was cute but the plot commentary about it could have been deeper.
> Real Nam Shin (SMALL SPOILERS) . How much I loved his character and how much I did not want the writers to give him quick last minute redemption arc . After all the bad deeds he did, we don't really see much change to his character. In stead of showing us aftermath of his decisions we get 'one year later' with him being fine and everyone accepting him. No true apology, no reflection on what his choices brought on people he claimed to care about. The writers were so fixated on giving us happy ending they did not stop for a second to think if it will make much sense taking into consideration the whole plot of the drama.
> Ending. IF for you getting happy ending is the most important part, you won't be disappointed. IF you rather have bitter sweet ending that would fit the plot and be consistent with characters, this might make you angry. The last ten minutes of the drama presents even more questions than all the preview episodes, and gives no answers. We don't know what happens with majority of side characters. Don't know what will happen to M-City. How the legal aspects of the plot were resolved? Why only few of bad people, and those who broke the law were punished for it? How is society dealing with the AI being a real thing? I can;t say more without massive spoilers. I just say the ending was a big plot hole.
> Unresolved moral and social issues: I would have no problem with drama not dealing with those deep problems IF they weren't introduced in it. But they were, so they should be explored more. When the robot is not just a robot? How human the robot must be? Is being conscious enough? Do you need to be able to feel emotions too? Another EXTREMELY interesting plot point that was not explored at all: is the creator responsible for everything their creation do? If said creation is self conscious can the creator control all aspects of its life? How far the free will can go? What is free will? The whole sci fi aspect of drama, instead of driving drama forward, was just a plot device to push the romance forward.
> ignoring characters traits when they are not necessary for the plot and forgiving characters without a reason: So Bong is a fighter, EXTREMELY good one. Former athlete, currently bodyguard. And it's all ignored later in drama. She does not fight, defend herself. The whole skill set is simply non existing. Reporter Jo is another character that has no place in the drama. She is suppose to be a fun friend of So Bong, but is she really? She kept getting everyone into trouble, manipulated them and using So Bong for her own profit. The fact that So Bong kept her as a friend till the end is irrational. I already stated my problems with real Nam Shin.
OVERALL if you are searching for romance driven drama with emotional baggage that is not oo heavy: go for it and you will LOVE it. If you want more of a sci fi: give it a try for few episodes, but don't have high expectations. This drama presents many amazing dilemmas but never explore any of them, and that was the biggest problem I had.
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This review may contain spoilersFinally, 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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