MAN TO MAN -- EPISODE 4
Seol Woo steals the wood carving from Chairman Victor, with the help of a drone and an EMP set off by Petrov, the man he rescued from prison in Budapest. He evades capture (just barely) by pretending to make out with Do Ha as the guards catch up to him. Mi Eun meets with Mr. Ji, the CEO of Chewing Entertainment. She tells him he needs to stick with Woon Gwang, so if he leaves, Mr. Ji needs to do so also. Seol Woo and his partner make plans for him to disappear so he can go after the 2nd carving. Meanwhile, the Black Ops agent is given orders from Lawmaker Baek to do what he has to get the carving. At her home, Do Ha agonizes to her friend about Seol Woo and her feelings for him. But our agent can't really stop thinking about her either. Seol Woo preps his clean break -- he splits up with Do Ha, then is informed that he needs to maintain his cover. So Seol Woo corners her outside the restaurant and takes her in a deep kiss...
I like the comedic elements in this so far. It's not laugh out loud funny, but they're more subtle...a series of unfortunate events. Considering the writer was one of the lead writers of 'Descendants of the Sun,' they should be more prominent. I'd like to see more of a bromance between Seol Woo and Woon Gwang. That was supposed to be the main point of the series, but their relationship is far more serious than that. I'd like them to get closer so we can get some awesome witty banter going.
As comical as Woon Gwang was in the beginning, he turns into a fairly decent guy. This is highlighted more and more with each episode. I like how his strategy meetings are informal, and after the briefing, they sit down and eat and/or drink, pretty much at the same table they're sitting around in the first place. They do refer their tight-knit group as a family, and I like that his entourage isn't a bunch of yes-men (or women). They try to be, but I know that Do Ha and Seol Woo aren't likely to keep their opinions to themselves. Seol Woo gets drawn in reluctantly, but that's part of the fun.
This gets more and more Bond every episode. Fully one-third of this installment was devoted to stealing the carving. I really enjoy the thriller aspects of this drama. They did a great job of keeping the tension high, and the alternation between stealth and short bursts of action is fantastic. Watching Seol Woo in action is great. They did a great job of turning him into an action star, and the direction and cinematography are the cherry on top of the whipped cream.
Do Ha is becoming more and more the love interest of Seol Woo. It does fall a little bit into the standard romance subplot: if a woman interacts with a man more than three times, she falls in love with him. The great thing is that though Seol Woo is trying hard to be unavailable, he ends up having feelings for her too. I like how you can't quite tell what he's doing with her from one moment to the next, and I like how he tells her "you were the only thing I could see." It works on several levels: 1) it sounds like a confession, which may well be his true feelings; 2) it keeps her interested in him, which helps his cover; and 3) it is technically true, though a better explanation would have been "the first thing I saw was you." That line is a great example of the top flight writing here.
Mi Eun is a bit of a cipher. It's obvious she wants to keep tabs on Woon Gwang, but I'm not entirely sure why. The marriage thing seems awfully forced, and I would love to know exactly what her deal is with Deputy NIS Director Jang. I'm guessing it's to get at the carvings which could tip the election if the information got out. But I don't know what she gets out of all this. I'm assuming that we'll get the full scoop as we go on.
The more I watch, the more I'm entertained. I've been fully sucked in, and now I really want to tag along as he obtains the carvings and navigates the minefield his cover has become. And his relationship with Do Ha is becoming a lot of fun. While it was a tad awkward in the beginning, I'm committed to the long haul.