[Review] Missing Nine – 미씽나인

RELOCATING HUMANITY

Legend Entertainment’s staff members and artist board a private plane to perform at an overseas.  The plane ends up crashing and nine of its passengers are stranded on a deserted island.  The passengers include Seo Joon Oh (Jung Kyung Ho), Ra Bong Hee (Baek Jin Hee), Jung Ki Joon (Oh Jung Se), Choi Tae Ho (Choi Tae Joon), Ha Ji Ah (Lee Sun Bin), Lee Yul (EXO’s Park Chan Yeol), Yoon So Hee (Ryu Won), Tae Ho Hang (Tae Hang Ho) and Legend Entertainment’s President Hwang Jae Gook (Kim Sang Ho).

Four months later, Bong Hee finds herself washed ashore in China with no memory of how she got there or what occurred on the island between the crash and her rescue.  A special investigative committee is commissioned to find out what happened to her fellow passengers and whether anyone else has survived but it is unclear if the committee has ulterior motives for looking into the crash.

Upon reading the premise for this drama, it immediately evoked thoughts (and emotions) about ABC’s Lost. As a diehard fan of the Lost series, I was engrossed in the mystery of that island and the people who inhabited it and so I was one of the many who was dismayed when the series finale rolled around.

One of the main failures of Lost, at least in my mind, was that there was a lot of setup surrounding the mythology of the series and each character’s purpose that absorbed viewers into the series so much so that it couldn’t live up to the viewer’s expectations for the conclusion.  As I began to feel similar vibes about this drama, I was optimistic that a limited approach in the form a miniseries would bring about a compelling story with relatable characters and intriguing twists.  Really, that’s all I ask from most of the dramas that I watch.  While not on the same financial scale as Lost, Missing Nine doesn’t hold back on the CG effects and the Hollywood action scale of the story.  The airplane crash is just as terrifying and action sequences are just as thrilling.  However, I liked the simple, straightforward plot while the relationships between the characters had a complicated history.

Punch – 나의 외로움이 널 부를 때 (Original Sound Track Ver.) (When My Lonliness Calls to You (Original Sound Track Ver.))

펀치 (Punch) – 나의 외로움이 널 부를 때 (Original Sound Track Ver.)

Bong Hee’s memory loss serves an effective storytelling device as she details the events for the committee and for the viewers just as she is unraveling the details in her mind.  It’s also important to note the use of the flashforward/flashback storytelling device as we begin to understand the relationships and most importantly, the friction in those relationships in the drama.

As much as this drama is about those fraught relationships, this ensemble cast performs beautifully in not only highlighting that tension but weighing it against much of the lighter moments in the drama.  More on that later because I will be remiss if I don’t mention Choi Tae Joon’s chilling performance.  Even though he’s young, he’s an incredibly dynamic actor who can switch between comedy and drama seamlessly.  Something that I have felt even in his earlier roles, such as Padam Padam.  I like that he’s not afraid to take on dark roles and that his talent makes us forget how old he is because he can take on a variety of roles.

While most of Choi Tae Joon’s scenes were dark, I was surprised to find that the drama as a whole wasn’t dark.  There are many scenes featuring Joon Oh and Bong Hee that were comical and light that it almost looked as if the dark and light scenes were two different dramas but the levity brought a sense of symmetry.  Humanity isn’t always dark or light and Jung Kyung Ho and Baek Jin Hee does an excellent job in tempering their deliveries so that it doesn’t seem so out of character from episode to episode.  In fact, when the drama gets very dark, I found relief in the light scenes as a way of diffusing the overbearing weight of heavy emotions and the situation our characters faced.

The conclusion also takes a “light” tone approach and the drama’s outcome may make viewers question the plausibility of the storyline.  I had questioned it as well but then remembered that the major theme of the drama is about human condition and how human nature deals with a traumatic event.  Call me a sentimentalist but I don’t see anything wrong in Joon Oh and Tae Oh’s mistrust and resentment being mended with compassion and forgiveness.  It’s the progression of that relationship that I find plausible and satisfying.  In this jaded era of uncertainty in the world, it doesn’t hurt to believe that compassion and forgiveness benefits all of humanity.

Rating

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