Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Night Watchman's Journal Episode 11 & 12 : Double Trouble


Why the Night Watchman’s Journal hasn’t been the drama I thought it was?
Synopsis vs Actual Drama
Expectations vs Reality
Yunho’s Acting abilities









If you’ve been sticking my dramaclub over on dramafever with Unnichan, then you know this drama has been very difficult to enjoy. The big reason I just can back the drama is due to the false plot we were fed before the drama started. Check out the thread over at soompi - The Night Watchman’s Journal thread for the synopsis.





Synopsis

"Do Ha (Go Sung Hee), Lee Rin (Jung Il Woo), Moo Seok (Jung Yun Ho) and Chul Joo are a team of Night Watchmen who work from 9pm to 5am every night protecting the people of Joseon under the king's secret orders, solving unexplainable cases that involves the realms of the supernatural."

Do Ha, Rin, nor Moo Seok are not a team let alone a team of Night Watchman working from 9pm to 5am every night protecting anyone. Nothing in the first sentence has anything to do with the drama except the character’s name and the Night Watchman.






“Under the King’s secret orders”   
Hmm are we speaking about the same King? Ki San may be King, but the only secret orders given was making Moo Seok be a undercover agent. He can’t tolerate his brother Rin and he hasn’t really said anything to Do Ha when she was in a scene with her. Nope, no King’s secret orders.




Solving unexplainable cases that involves the realms of the supernatural”
Again, this is a big fat not happening. There are no cases for them to solve each episode. Rin has spent most of the first half trying to keep ghosts away from him. Do Ha wants to find her long lost sister. Yep, I can totally understand how this is a case solving supernatural drama. *eyeroll*



Character descriptions -
"Lee Rin (Jung Il Woo) is a rogue royal prince who is used to masking his insecurities and the deep hurt in his heart with his wild and rebellious ways until an sudden incident gave him the ability to see supernatural beings. Armed with his new sense of sight and ability, he volunteers to be a part of a team of Night Watchmen who patrols the streets from night to dawn to protect the Joseon people from the evil ghosts and beings which hunts for innocent preys and redress the grievousness of those whom died wrongfully. Growing mentally and emotionally as he solves the cases he became involved in and witnessing of the hardships of the citizens, Lee Rin began to change his attitude towards life and faces his destiny with his new found courage."

Rin was not a rogue royal prince before he received his abilities to see ghosts. Instead, he was much beloved by his father. Rin didn’t get his abilities until after Sadam attacked the palace bring the ghost apocalypse. Heck, Rin was suppose to be Crown Prince until his dad went crazy possessed.




Armed with his new sense of sight and ability,”  

HAHAHA!!! No. Rin did not feel like this one bit. Actually, he told his brother the now King and got trounced by him for seeing ghosts.





he volunteers to be a part of a team of Night Watchmen who patrols the streets from night to dawn to protect the Joseon people from the evil ghosts and beings which hunts for innocent preys and redress the grievousness of those whom died wrongfully.”  

Okay, he has volunteered to be a part of the disbanded Night Watchman, but the team was all wrongfully killed 12 years ago. So no Night Watchman patrols any streets unless you count the dead ones. Nope, Rin doesn’t have any force to defeat evil ghosts despite asking Sang Heon to teach him/become a Night Watchman.





Growing mentally and emotionally as he solves the cases he became involved in and witnessing of the hardships of the citizens,”  

Solve what cases? He did solve who was blocking the medicines in the city being sold, but only that was human not supernatural. He has witnessed the citizens deal with hardships with the fire and smallpox ghost, only it isn't the reason he is fighting truthfully. He is fighting to stop Sadam. I don’t see Sadam being mentioned in any of these descriptions of the drama




“Lee Rin began to change his attitude towards life and faces his destiny with his new found courage.”

He changes his attitude all in part to Do Ha believing in him. He found somebody worth fighting for. Um, hello someone forgot to add the OTP in their description.




“Do Ha (Go Sung Hee) is the successor of the Ma Go tribe whom are the protectors of the Baek Do mountains' spirits energy for generations. She is a warm, kind-hearted girl who travels to Han Yang, the capital of Joseon searching  for the night watchmen who are destined to bear the fate of the Ma Go tribe. And though a twist of fate, she gets entangled in a triangular love relationship with the hot-blooded Lee Rin who is hot like fire and his bodyguard "Moo Seok" who is as cold as ice.”

I will give the drama a break for Do Ha being called the successor of the Ma Go tribe. When her sister went missing, Do Ha became the new shaman. Point for the descriptio





“She is a warm, kind-hearted girl who travels to Han Yang, the capital of Joseon searching  for the night watchmen“  


Not completely true. She travels to the capital looking for her sister the missing shaman that Sadam took. She was told as an after thought to look for the Night Watchman and she couldn’t recall it until 7 episodes later.


“who are destined to bear the fate of the Ma Go tribe.”  


That, again, would be no. Not the reason she went looking for the Night Watchman. They have no bearing on the Ma Go tribe’s destiny. In fact, it was the King 12 years ago who went to the Ma Go tribe to see about a flower to heal a prince. This is the sole reason the tribe is ever mentioned. Haven’t see the tribe since the first 3 episodes.



“And though a twist of fate, she gets entangled in a triangular love relationship with the hot-blooded Lee Rin who is hot like fire and his bodyguard "Moo Seok" who is as cold as ice.”


It could’ve been a triangular love between Rin and Moo Seok, but I reckon Rin has pretty much made it clear she belongs to him. I mean the guy went back into a burning building for her. Moo Seok may look at Do Ha as friendly and nice, but that's approximately as far as this relationship is going.





“Moo Seok (Jung Yun Ho) is a bodyguard who serves the rogue prince, Lee Rin. He grew up under the strictest education and martial arts training to become the best swordsman in Joseon. He is a man of few words but women are drawn to him despite his coldness towards them. His icy heart began to thaw with the chance encounter of Do Ha but falling for her means that he has to compete for her hand against Prince Lee Rin whom he is currently serving.”


“Moo Seok (Jung Yun Ho) is a bodyguard who serves the rogue prince, Lee Rin.” 


Does it, count it took a few episodes until he became the bodyguard of the prince? Fine, I will give the drama half a point for getting it mostly right, but not completely right.



“He grew up under the strictest education and martial arts training to become the best swordsman in Joseon.” 


 Fine it gets a full point. Is Moo Seok the only character it will get mostly right?


“He is a man of few words but women are drawn to him despite his coldness towards them.”  

Yes, he is a man of few words being the straight guy, but I don’t see a bunch of women all over him. One young woman hit on him in the 3 or 4 episodes, but none more since then. I would give maybe a half point for being generally right.



“His icy heart began to thaw with the chance encounter of Do Ha but falling for her means that he has to compete for her hand against Prince Lee Rin whom he is currently serving.” 


 Really, there is not competing for Do Ha’s hand. As I stated above, this three way love thing isn’t going to happen. Heck, the one thing I have to give the drama credit is no second male lead crushing over the female lead. On a side note, nothing in his description says anything about being loyal to the King nor being a spy.




“Park Soo Ryun (Seo Ye Ji) is the daughter of court officer, Park Soo Jong and despite her sweet and harmless appearance as a virtuous girl, she actually harbors strong desires and pride to become the wife of Prince Lee Rin. Therefore she sees Do Ha as a thorn in her flesh who is obstructing from getting what her heart desires.”






Okay, Soo Ryun’s description is pretty much right on. She hasn’t yet seen Do Ha as a threat, but once she finds out Rin has feelings for Do Ha all bets are off. I can picture her turning, but I’m not sure where Soo Ryun’s head might be after being in prison. For her sake, I hope she doesn’t turn into a jealous girl over a boy not returning her feelings. I want more from the second evil lead than the norm.



I do want to take time and talk about Yunho. Foremost, I have nothing against TVXQ or Yunho. I really like the group, new and old. Hello Balloons is my favorite song MV ever. With that being said, this is my first drama with Yunho. I know fans will love him because of who he is and that is fine. Be fans and love him no matter what he does, but understand others may not concur with those opinions. I for one don’t think his acting is good. It isn’t horrible, but it isn’t something he should obtain an award for.



Now, I’ve discovedred he has been criticized about his acting chops or lack of them in his past dramas. I can’t say his acting has gotten adept better as this is the first time I’ve seen his acting. His role is the straight guy without facial expressions, but in a scene with his dying sister, I didn’t feel much from him as an actor. I wasn’t drawn into the moment. As I remark in my reviews on DF, this could be bad writing or his acting. Frankly, I believe it is a bit of both. Yunho gives the same facial expression in every scene. 




Being a straight character doesn’t mean you can’t act. Watch Jung ll Woo in Iljimae. He plays a straight character who can express how he feels in a glance or look. He can be in the background of a scene as a woman and be important. A blank look just doesn’t give me any connection to the character. 



My expectations going into the drama was a playboy prince who becomes a Night Watchman to hunt down ghosts. Think Iljimae meets Ghost Hunters/Supernatural sadly the drama isn’t as cool as that. Instead, the heroes stand around a lot while Sadam continues to rise his powers to unleash his dragon spirit to the heavens. Mostly because nothing has happened. It's a really dull game of tennis and golf put together. 



The drama drags its narration to the point I’m not certain if it can breathe new life in the second half. 12 episodes have already come and pass. With 8 episodes left, I think I’m going to have to lower my expectations to understand the drama isn’t going to flush out the narration let alone make some story progress. I feel like my hopes of any ghost hunting isn’t going to occur. However if the drama does finally get to the hunting of ghosts, the hunting will last but an episode or two at most before it goes back to nothing significant happening again. If it takes until the 4 episodes to finally propel the plot, I really might throw something.