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SKY Castle korean drama review
SKY Castle
79 people found this review helpful
by Pingukkie
Feb 2, 2019
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 7
SKY Castle korean drama review
Overall 10
Story 10.0
Acting/Cast 10.0
Music 10.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review will not contain any spoilers, but it will be a long, emotional one--and at some points, very personal. You can skip to the end for a tl;dr summary of the review if you do not wish to read everything.


If I could name a drama equivalent to The Handmaiden, it would be SKY Castle.

SKY Castle is a satirical drama that criticizes practices from corrupt business hierarchy to extreme parenting environments. The drama has impeccable directing, story is full of plot twists, comedy is subtle and melds well, and the cliffhangers are absolutely wild. The drama tends to often be dramatized, especially as it is a satirical work, but the underlying themes are never truly lost.

SKY Castle focuses on a person's wellbeing above all else, be it education, money, or job position. Yes, the aforementioned are important, but at what cost? Certainly not at the expense of giving up all of one's happiness or opportunity for happiness. This drama hits extra close to home and really resonates with people who relate with any of the characters' upbringings, which is fairly common amongst Asian households with views along the conservative side of the spectrum.


As someone that grew up in an environment frighteningly similar to some of the children in the drama, these issues are very real. Some elements of the drama are definitely exaggerated, but parenting ideals are unfortunately very accurate. When I was growing up, anything not perfect was considered failure. Got a B on an exam? Unacceptable. Got an A, but it wasn't 100%? Not good enough. Actually getting perfect? No compliment, only expected to upkeep the results. It wasn't uncommon for me to experience physical abuse for disobeying anything or not achieving expectations. This type of harsh environment is displayed in SKY Castle, and it really unveils how damaging it is to a family.

Abuse shouldn't be a tolerated, period. The drama displays the issues that can arise through punishment especially, as opposed to positive reinforcement . The cycle of punishment can create a rift between a parent and child that gradually expands and expands, eventually leading igniting hatred. So many parents also project their ambitions and dreams onto their children saying it's for the best, never asking or caring what their children want. In some cases, everything works out fine; in others, the child adapts a similar perspective as the parents, and the abusive cycle repeats. In many cases, this absolutely destroys children's relationships with their parents. Often times I thought about suicide, running away from home--these options seemed better than the torture that was presented by my parents. These are serious issues that potentially tread on life and death, and it's very well highlighted within the drama.

At times it wasn't even the studying that was the most draining part of my childhood, but the fact that I felt unloved, only there to satisfy my parents' desires. Endlessly I was told to become a doctor, a lawyer, or insert whatever high paying prestigious occupation. Who cares about what I want, right? Children aren't and shouldn't be a parent's opportunity at a second chance towards their dream; they are their own people, and should be respected as so. Here's a quote that really resonated with me in the drama:
"Who cares if they acknowledge you or not? I just want to be happy."

I was also constantly compared to other children, told how I was inferior to them. "These children can do this and that; why aren't you able to?" This competitive mindset is dangerous; often parents will disregard their children's wellbeing for the sole sake of pushing them towards the absolute limit to be better everyone around them. And...for what purpose? To satisfy the parents' eligibility for bragging rights. Of all things, they push and push and push their children...for bragging rights. Does it matter that your child is smarter or more successful than other children if they're in complete agony?

My relationship with my parents to this day is completely broken. I don't tell them any of my worries and fears, what I'm doing, how I'm doing, because it's unimportant to them if I'm not 'successful' to their standards. Can you imagine being so afraid to tell your parents--who should supposedly be closest to you--anything because you will be disregarded, not acknowledged, and shamed? The characters in SKY Castle can. It's a shame that the people you should be able to lean on are the ones you're afraid of most.

"The greater your suffering, the greater your enlightenment."
This is another quote that I feel can be attributed greatly to SKY Castle on the whole. Often times it's not until you lose everything that you see all that you took for granted. With what this drama presents, hopefully people become more aware of their situations to where such tragedies needn't occur.
At the same time, the drama doesn't fail to also showcase that not everyone is capable of change. Some people, despite losing everything refuse to acknowledge to mistakes and change for the better; they are too blinded by their ego and necessity to be right. That's an unfortunate reality.

With everything previously said, I want to iterate that education is of course vital; this drama definitely isn't making a statement that education isn't needed. It's the balance of a good education with one's wellbeing. Of course, SKY Castle also attributes this not only to education, but jobs, money, titles, and backgrounds as well.

I'm really glad that SKY Castle addresses so all of these issues, and sheds light on how damaging these practices are. Having personally experienced the harsher end of this type of parenting, I don't expect my parents nor many others to change, but small steps in bringing awareness I hope at least has some degree of an impact. This is a very meaningful drama, and I hope everyone that watches it can at least gain something from watching it.


Moving on towards the characters, cast, and acting--everyone did an absolutely phenomenal job.

This drama built and developed characters astoundingly well. Aside one certain character, I could sympathize or empathize with every character on at least some significant level. Even towards characters that I viewed in poor light, I could sympathize with. Despite me not agreeing to so many actions from various people, I could not help but admire the lengths they would go to, especially out of love. It is apparent that many of these characters aren't inherently bad people; you can see that their conscience is slowly eaten away by guilt. They are just widely driven by greed and love for their children, that their perspective is clouded in misjudgment. I couldn't hate them as people for those reasons, only their actions. I believe that is great execution of character depth and development. I've not seen a more convincing performance than from SKY Castle's cast; they were exceptional.

What allowed SKY Castle to be so successful in creating tension and shifting moods ever so flawlessly was its exquisite incorporation of music. The music complemented the brilliant directing and production of the drama. The flow of the drama was never inconsistent. Pure comedic relief scenes were few, but meshed with the drama very well through its music. Ha Jin's "We All Lie" creates a very intense atmosphere, in combination with the cliffhangers, leave you craving for more every episode.


SKY Castle gradually garnered a massive audience as the drama progressed through its satirical portrayal of malpractices, corruption, extreme controversial conservative parenting, neglect, and more. Brilliant directing and production, engaging plot, convincing acting with a powerfully befitting soundtrack to boot. This drama is very well worth your time, further compounded if you can even slightly relate to any of the issues it brings up.

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