Just Bananas About: Week of 1/25/16

It’s no secret that the reason why I gravitate towards tvN programming more than the other cable networks is because they’re good at creating these character driven stories. There are two dramas that I’m currently watching but even though, the tone and subject matter differ vastly, there is a lot of love about the characters and the slice of life stories that are depicted in it.

It’s no secret that I’ve been loving Cheese in the Trap but we’re finally getting some background on Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin) and Baek In Ho (Seo Kang Jun). For those who are not familiar with this drama yet, it follows the story of Hong Seol (Kim Go Eun). She’s just a normal girl who just wants to get through college life. She is intimidated when the popular senior at her school, Yoo Jung, shows interest in her. Baek In Ho meets Seol by chance and he soon learns that she’s close with Jung, an old friend that’s betrayed him.

I think what makes the drama so intriguing and what makes Jung such a curious choice for the hero is that I completely understand why Seol is so jumpy around Yoo Jung. As I’ve said it before, in part it could be the way Park Hae Jin plays the character. While he appears nice on the exterior, it seems that he always has an ulterior motive lurking underneath. It’s what Seol noticed in Jung at their first meeting but Jung mistook the glance to mean something else.

I’m guessing that I will come to like his character, or at least that’s what I’m hoping for, but as for now, it appears as if he’s got some dark demons in his closet. There’s something that I don’t trust about Jung in the way he treats the people around him. As for Seol, I almost understand why she doesn’t want to give in to him too quickly. He almost seems like a menacing loan shark. He gives and gives and gives but I don’t believe all that giving comes from the fact that he’s a generous person. I feel like he’ll cash all his gifts in at the same time and expect interest.

On the other hand, while Jung holds in his emotions and gives elaborate gifts, In Ho is the opposite. He seems to take what he can get from Seol. Sure, he takes and takes and takes but unlike Jung, he seems the type that will empty his pockets for the people that he loves. He gives his older sister, In Ha (Lee Sung Kyung), all the money he has knowing that she’s going to spend it on frivolous things. He may give Seol a hard time and be cold to her on the surface but behind-the-scenes, he can’t help but watch her back.

It’s going to be an interesting love triangle as Seol has more in common with In Ho than with Jung.

Adding to Seol’s mistrust of Jung, she’s found out that he may have used unsavory methods in order to help Seol out and that he may have been the reason why she took a break from school the previous year. I couldn’t understand why Seol had gone on hiatus and it appeared as if it wasn’t something she told any of her friends but in this week’s episode we learn that Seol had a stalker and that it was Jung that got the stalker to turn his attention to Seol. The fact that In Ho’s hands got hurt because of Jung is something that’s been weighing on Seol’s mind. It seems that he was a piano prodigy but because of his injury, he hasn’t been able to fulfill his dream and he blames Jung.

Kang Hyun Min – Such (Feat. 조현아 of 어반자카파) (Such (Feat. Jo Hyun Ah of Urban Zakapa)

강현민 – Such (Feat. 조현아 of 어반자카파)

However, I like that this week we got to see a different side of Jung and how he began to fall for Seol. For Jung, it appears that his home wasn’t filled with warm affection from his dad. He was always expected to get results. However, when all the other members of their department abandons them, she and Jung stay behind to get the job done. It’s a thankless job but the fact that she doesn’t need the thanks surprises him. She also takes care of him because he’s and her unconditional kindness touches him. I hope that’s something that rubs off of him because he comes across like a strange boy that never got the opportunity to grow up. Whether that will be enough to make Jung grow on us, I can’t say for sure but I’m still very much intrigued.

_____________________________________________________

Signal is a new drama that started this week. It’s about a young profiler, Park Hae Young (Lee Je Hoon), who works with Detective Cha Soo Hyun (Kim Hye Soo) to solve old, unsolved cases. Hae Young also finds an old walkie-talkie which connects him to Detective Lee Jae Han (Jo Jin Woong) who seems to know about the cases. However, Jae Han is a detective from the past. The drama reminds me of the movie, Frequency.

The first two episodes of the drama had me on the edge of my seat. Hae Young becomes a profiler after being the last person to see his classmate, Kim Yun Jung, alive before she is kidnapped. He remembers that the kidnapper is a woman and yet, the detectives at the time are fixed on catching a man.

Although, Hae Young has gone to the police many times to gives his account of what happened, no one seems to want to take a statement from a young kid.  As time passes, Hae Young tries again and again to get someone to listen to him.  As Hae Young grows up, Kim Yun Jung’s mom never moves from the front of the police station with signs begging someone to help find her child’s murderer.

Following up a lead at a mental hospital, Jae Han discovers a body there but he is ambushed by someone, only to never be found again. Just before he disappears, he relays the location to Hae Young. Hae Young follows up the lead in the present day and discovers a skeleton right where Jae Han says he found the body.

This gives the cops a new lead to solve Kim Yun Jung’s kidnapping and murder case. The male suspect that everyone suspected is the skeleton at the bottom of the well so that means he was framed for the murder.

The killer had been waiting for statute of limitations to run out and despite the goose chase, the cops are able to catch her before she gets away. However, with the time clock running out, they either need her to confess or get crucial evidence to book her.

Unfortunately, she’s too savvy to make a confession and the tests come in too late so the detectives are disappointed when they think that she’s gotten away with it.

In the last moment, forensic evidence reveals that the time of death for the framed male suspect was after Kim Yun Jung’s time of death. It gives them enough time to make the lab report count. While they are able to catch the woman on the 2nd murder, they admit to the girl’s mother the heartbreaking reality of the system: they are not able to charge the murderer for her daughter’s death. And yet, they’ve done all they can to make the murderer pay for what they’ve done, even if it’s not for the murder that’s the most heart wrenching.

The news media outlet crucifies the police for taking so long to solve a little girl’s murder. The police chief decides to demote the detectives in charge and Hae Young and Soo Hyun are teamed up. The next unsolved murder is the famous case of the serial killer and rapist. This case is probably based on the real-life Hwaseong serial murder case of the late 80’s.

As they were fellow colleagues, Soo Hyun had a history with Jae Han. It’s clear that something happened to sour their relationship in the end but before then she was a lowly hoobae to Jae Han. She still keeps in touch with Jae Han’s father but it’s not clear to what extent their relationship was like.

However, Soo Hyun remembers that this serial murder case was one of the cases that Jae Han investigated when he was only a beat cop. She doesn’t really learn much from Jae Han’s father but Hae Young and Jae Han are able to communicate with each other again through the walkie-talkie. This is a number of years before the Kim Yun Jung kidnapping case. Being from the future, Hae Young gives some key details about where the 8th victim was found and Jae Han ends up on the scene at the right time. I’m assuming his presence there means that he saved the girl but the police timeline of the deaths seems to change on the board right before Hae Young’s eyes.

What’s interesting is that we, along with Hae Young, are learning what the rules are in the connection between the past and the present. I’m guessing that because Hae Young revealed to Jae Han the location of the 8th victim, she was able to survive. However, Hae Young and Jae Han have still not learned that they are from different times. Also, it appears that Soo Hyun is unaware that anything has changed in her notes.

I want to find out if we’ll ever get to the bottom of this case and if that will possibly change the unfortunate fate of Jae Han’s disappearance. It’s too early to say where this show will lead us but so far, I’ve been hooked on the thrill of the chase and how the present and past timeline are playing with us.

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