The Master’s Sun: Korean Drama Review

The-Master’s-Sun-Poster5I didn’t originally plan on watching The Master’s Sun but because it was being shown on local TV every night and I kept catching glances of episodes, I was drawn to the plot and the easy chemistry of its two lead stars Jo Ji Sub and Gyo Hyo Jin, in a story that could best be described as the Korean version of Ghost Whisperer.

Fifteen years after a traumatic kidnapping incident which involved Kingdom Mall President Joo Joong Won (Jo Ji Sub) and his first love Cha Hee Joo (Han Bo Reum) where the latter died, Joong Won is still carrying the scars of the tragedy. As a result, he has become cold and calculating, relying on logic rather than emotions in his dealings with business partners and with family. When he accidentally meets Tae Gong Shil (Gyo Hyo Jin), a woman who has reluctantly acquired the ability to see ghosts after her own accident, the two immediately share a connection reinforced by the discovery that Joong Won can send away the spirits scaring Gong Shil with a single touch, a fact that Gong Shil finds herself desperately clinging to in order to avoid seeing the ghosts who follow her around everywhere she goes. After much discussion, the two finally agree on helping each other out — Joong Won in being Gong Shil’s protective shield against the spirits and Gong Shil in becoming Joong Won’s supernatural radar in getting his ex-girlfriend to confess where the ransom for his kidnapping is hidden.

The plot of The Master’s Sun is very interesting, although it abides by the damsel in distress formula found in most Korean dramas. At first, there is not much to draw younger audiences into the show because the stars are more mature and admittedly not of the K-pop variety. I for one, know So Ji Sub to be an excellent dramatic actor. I saw him before in two dramas (Memories of Bali and I’s sorry, I Love You) which were both heavy dramas and very hard to watch because they were both so tragic. On the other hand, I only watched one other Gyo Hyo Jin starrer which was Let’s go to School Sang Doo opposite Rain and she too, was performing in a very advanced dramatic level. I never saw any of these stars take on roles in light dramedies, not until Master’s Sun anyways and I must say that I was completely blown away by these two.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD. I love seeing these two together. Period.
CUTENESS OVERLOAD. I love seeing these two together. Period.

So Ji Sub has an easy charm about him and a way to personalize the character, using gestures and facial expressions that makes his character pop out of the screen. I know that he’s a great actor but he was a revelation for me in this series. He didn’t cry a lot but he was able to convey his emotions just as well with sort of a controlled grace. Gyo Hyo Jin, on the other hand, has a natural balance in her performance, shifting from comedy to drama in an instant fluidly. The chemistry between these two is explosive, and the evolution of their characters was done so gradually that viewers will feel a ready acceptance as their relationship unfolds. There are also strong and likeable supporting characters — Seo In Gook as Kang Woo, Gong Shil’s self appointed protector and Kim Yoo Ri as Tae Yi Ryung, Gong Shil’s former classmate turned celebrity superstar. Choi Jung Woo as Secretary Kim also played a key part in the series and became the source of some of Jong Won’s vulnerability.

There were a lot of episodic plotlines that served to establish the relationship of Joong Won and Gong Shil, with one main arc that ties the story together. There were a lot of emotional episodes, which were really moving because it dealt with death and different people’s way of dealing with losing the ones that they love. But always in the middle of it all is the progressing storyline of Joong Won and Gong Sil.

My favorite scenes were actually the ones where Joong Won finally caved in and admitted his feelings for Gong Shil, and then asking her to take responsibility for what happens. My favorite episode, however, must be the episode with the dancing dog Pil Seung and his distraught master because I love animals and that episode was a turning point in the two leads’ romance.

All in all, I enjoyed every episode of The Master’s Sun — yes, even those where Joong Won was a jerk. I liked the ending very much. Its good to see So Ji Sub survive and be happy instead of die or get his heart broken. I’m looking forward to more roles for these two in these types of series.