Review – Woman of 9.9 Billion

Wow! It’s been a while since a drama completely sucked me in like this one did. After a few episodes that established the basic plot and main characters – it ramped up the speed and started ending each episode on cliffhangers – nail biting cliffhangers – and if that’s not enough to make you binge watch late into the night… I don’t know what is.

The premise of this show is simple. A battered wife who has nothing to live for stumbles upon a car crash… with 9.9 million dollars in cash in the trunk. Now, perhaps there are saints in this world who could walk away from such an enormous temptation… but I can’t think of even one living soul I know who could resist. Our miserable female lead is no saint – she takes the money. Every single cent of it.

What happens next is the show.

I don’t like to write detailed reviews about mystery shows. The less you know, the more fun you will have discovering the many – many, many, many – twists and turns of this show. The plot starts off taking you in the logical direction you expect – how will she get away with it? Whose money was it? What will she do with it? Where can she hide it? Who can she trust? But after it jumps through these basics within the first two or three episodes, it starts to do real heavy lifting. It starts to create this intricate web, connecting multiple characters, spinning back on itself, rewriting things, taking you in completely new and fresh directions before marching you back down into the thick of it. There’s a lot of people who are interested in that money…

9.9 Billion won is a lot. A lot, a lot. 9.9 Billion won is $9 million USD.  That’s Life changing money. Lottery money.

Money changes your perception of life. The having and not having. The corrupting influence of it. And at its heart, Woman of 9.9 Million is a morality tale. It’s like an elaborate and violent parable or Bible story. And yeah, it’s pretty violent.

The actors in this show all owned their characters. I understood them – the good, the bad, and all the gray shadow folks inbetween. This show took the time to develop everyone important, to give us moments that put spotlights on different people. Everyone was complex. Everyone had issues and hang ups and distinct personalities. No one was perfect, and no one was exactly who they first appeared to be.

The cinematography is gorgeous – the set designs were awesome (so many cool lamps everywhere!) – the music was perfection in every scene. There were very few flashbacks or wasted moments. You will NEVER look at a suitcase the same way again…

Now, I know right away that this drama is not going to be for everyone. The lead characters are all middle aged. I would not call this a romantic or melodramatic. Most of your standard Korean drama tropes are absent from this show entirely. Woman of 9.9 Million is a unique storyline and will definitely surprise you.

If you liked… Liar Game (another morality themed mystery thriller) or Signal, God’s Gift: 14 Days, and Stranger… or if you enjoyed the gangsters of Extracurricular, Heartless City, or My Beautiful Bride… then you are in luck! This one is for you. It was such a surprise – and such a wild ride! It was just… really, really good.

If you have Viki, go watch it now.

Woman of 9.9 Billion – Overall Rating 9.5/10 – There are no guarantees with people or money.

Review – The Gang Doctor / Young Pal

Review – Young Pal

What was this show, exactly?  A bit of a Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, a bit of a medical mystery, a bit of a mystery thriller and a bit of a mess.  The concept was interesting: a struggling young doctor takes side gigs patching up the mob to help pay off the debts he’s accrued keeping his dying sister alive.  So, an honorable guy doing dishonorable things – everyone’s favorite gray scale hero.  We have the cops tracking him down and his constant struggle to stay out of reach of the law, which was fun while it lasted (the first couple of episodes were very exciting).  On the other end of this, we have Sleeping Beauty, a corporate heiress who was severely injured in an automobile accident/suicide attempt and has been kept in a medically induced coma for years by her family.  First by her father, who kept her asleep so he wouldn’t have to deal with her, basically.  And then by her brother, who kept her asleep so he could take over the corporation.

Gangster doctor wakes up Sleeping Beauty… and we have some sibling showdowns, some elaborate backstabbing, and some corporate evil maneuvers as secrets are revealed, sickly sisters are tossed about for ransom, and attractive people with very little chemistry fall in love.

sleeping beauty

It was a decent show.  It felt a bit disorganized, as if the writers couldn’t agree on certain points.  Characters would disappear for long chunks of time then reappear randomly.  I felt there were quite a few tangents in the plotline.  And the whole thing could have been chopped down to 12 episodes easily.   The last four or five episodes in particular were boring and convoluted.

Personally, I kept thinking of The K2 while watching it – and how that show is superior.  They have a strangely similar vibe… with the fairy tale angle and the nasty family politics and the anti-hero thrown in the middle of it all.  They both also managed to make some fairly simplistic sets seem convincingly “futuristic” and high-tech.  But The K2 was thrilling, whereas this show just managed to be “okay.”  I recommend Super Wook instead (Review of The K2).

Overall Rating – 6.5/10.  Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.

Review – Last Scandal of My Life

Review – Last Scandal of My Life

I started this drama based solely on the romantic cover picture and the suggestive title.  Little did I know this would not be a suave romantic drama but instead end up a delightful romantic comedy.  Turns out it was exactly what I needed – a short, playful series about adults finding love (again) later in their lives.  It’s not the best rom-com I’ve seen, but it was certainly charming and had a lot of the elements I cherish in k-dramas.

Overall Rating:  8/10

Let’s hold hands and skip while we examine this feel-good drama…

SPOILERS FOLLOW

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