Shark (K-drama): thoughts
I think the only point I was a bit turned off by Shark was when Yi Soo finally found out the truth behind his father. His breakdown, or ‘heroic blue screen of death,’ was a bit over-the-top and funny. Other than that the series was, at least for me, quite a well-planned series. I can only compare the show to movies like The International and The Parallax View: similar to both those films, Shark doesn’t really have a happy ending. Realistically speaking, however, I think that’s what happens when one tries to take down a person in the highest echelons of society: one must wade in the muck, and at times get dirty, to drag that person down to justice. Without really breaking any laws (other than his initial spark with Jung Man Chul), he dived deep into the mud and yet never really strayed again toward murder until Chairman Jo was caught. He still couldn’t escape Jo’s power, however.
Do I think it’s a fitting conclusion for him? No, because Kim Nam-gil is a great actor and I could really empathize with Yi Soo’s search for balance and justice. Realistically speaking, however, he was going to be incarcerated for murder; he would have had to still die for the sake of Yi Hyeon if he was going to save her. I have much respect for the show because they used ‘autoimmune hepatitis’ as a disease entity. We had one small-group discussion regarding that disease, and no one in our class got it right. It’s a bitch of a disease because of its protean manifestations: when I speak of protean, I pertain to non-specific signs and symptoms that may be confused with diseases which are more obvious. These are examples such as fatigue and malaise. When it comes to the point of Yi Hyeon (and we’ve been introduced ever since the earlier episodes that it wasn’t really just starting), it may have been a progressive disease that led to cirrhosis. Complications of cirrhosis include coagulopathy, which means that clotting is impaired. I think Yi Hyeon’s encephalopathy was reflected by her persistent loss of consciousness in the car. I’m no gastroenterologist, but the show was pretty accurate with the disease they chose and its manifestations: in intractable cases of hepatitis, liver transplantation is the only answer.
It was undeniable that he was going to give his life up for the sake of his sibling; he was already willing to pay for what his father had done, but most of the affected people (even Yi Soo) had moved on from the past and essentially just sought justice.
I don’t find the non-love story between Yi Soo and Hae Woo to be tacky, essentially because as a rational man, Yi Soo never really took advantage of Hae Woo as regards to her emotions toward him. He loved her, and that was reciprocated, but he never even dared to have sex with her even though it was obvious that she wanted it despite the fact that she was married. He wanted her near him, but it never really got beyond his kisses and hugs. The status quo in the love triangle was essentially maintained: Joon Young loved Hae Woo even though he knew she still loved Yi Soo all those years. I doubt whether they’d still have a child after all that but only time will tell. She probably wouldn’t betray her love for Yi Soo again, though.
It’s not as complicated and as intelligent as Joseon X-Files, but it’s one of the better dramas I’ve seen. The foreshadowing was well-done, the intricate exchanges and the chess game between Chairman Jo and Yi Soo were properly thought of for the most part. There’s just a little bit missing, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed in it. I loved how Yi Soo tried to pay for the sins of his parents after he realizes he was deeper in the muck than he initially imagined, and made peace with the people his father victimized. I like it better than the brutality of Devil, and it certainly had more closure than that series, although of course I wished for the more hopeful light of Resurrection. I wasn’t disappointed with what I watched, though: in the end Yi Soo became someone I could really cheer on because he did it his way, and did the right thing.