Damn. I think my drama addiction has reached an all new high thanks to Two Weeks, which is an impressive action thriller with nice touching moments weaved in between. I’ve already seen the first two episodes TWICE (I don’t mind watching again to make it thrice), and I’m already all excited and fidgety about the upcoming episodes.
I knew from the synopsis that our main protagonist Jang Tae San is not your typical good guy with a clean slate to begin with but I certainly didn’t expect him to be this bad. Not only is he a gangster and gambler, he’s also a male prostitute (which he does so somewhat reluctantly and refuses to admit that he’s one, but we all can see the facts for ourselves). Gangsters are not uncommon in dramas, but this is the first time I’m seeing a character who sleeps with women for money. I think this has the effect of making Jang Tae San even more of a lowlife than your usual gangster (for me at least). To make things worse, he even forced his girlfriend to go for an abortion. Kudos to Lee Junki for not holding anything back in his portrayal of this character. I’ve always liked dramas where our hero is more of an anti-hero with shades of grey and character flaws, because his road to redemption then becomes an enjoyable and satisfying watch. I’m interested to see how he redeems himself in these two weeks.
We are shown glimpses here and there that Jang Tae San is actually not a fool and, to quote him, capable of Thinking. So it makes me curious as to how he even became a gangster and why he let his life spiral downwards. I’m thinking there might be a back story to that scar of his that we were shown in the first episode. Also, one interesting detail that I’ve noticed is his love for Hong Kong films. He was shown watching an old Hong Kong gangster flick (“A Moment of Romance” starring Andy Lau) in the first episode, and he also uses a Cantonese song (theme song from the same movie sung by Hong Kong band Beyond) for his ringtone (LOL I must be really obsessed with this drama to even find out what he was watching). Tae San makes no mention about his choice of movies and ringtone, so it makes me wonder if these merely serve to tell us that he’s a fan of Hong Kong films. Interestingly, the cool gangster with sunglasses and trench coat we see in the film is a stark contrast to the down-and-out gangster that Jang Tae San is. Maybe Tae San himself also notices the difference and we both see how much a failure he is not just in life, but also as a gangster. Besides providing character detail, I think the director is probably trying to inject some sense of nostalgia for Hong Kong gangster flicks also. So thumbs up for character and artistic detail.
Besides the crash scenes, one of my favourite scenes is also the one where Jang Tae San meets his daughter in the hospital for the first time. I like how the both of them immediately recognised each other with just one look. Tae San’s fear, shame and reluctance to acknowledge his daughter is coupled with an innate love he has for her as a father. I was also surprised at how mature his daughter was despite her age, and it was really smart of her to “lend” him her toy monkey as an excuse for him to come back and see her again. Hey, when I was 8 years old, I was probably still watching Pokemon and didn’t have the same level of maturity as her, so I was really impressed with the way they chose to present the character of his daughter. It’s also both heart-warming and heart-wrenching to know that his daughter is probably the only person on the planet now who will unconditionally trust, love and accept him as both a father and a human, not trash.
It’s still not clear at this point as to who is the leading female in this series, though I won’t be surprised if this show decides to do away with one and just have Kim So Yeon and Park Ha Sun as supporting actresses. I’ve seen some comments by others about how the hospital scenes and Park Ha Sun were too boring but I don’t have any issues with them yet. On the contrary, I’d rather see less of Boss Moon and the congresswoman. At the moment, I find it a bit hard to follow whatever they are scheming. I hope they give us more explanation as to why the congresswoman is involved in such shady dealings and what exactly is the feud they have with Prosecutor Park Jae Kyung.
I’m also somewhat confused about the setting of this show. Are we in Seoul or Busan? The flashback to Tae San’s first encounter with his ex-girlfriend was set in Busan (and I know the cast did some filming in Busan), but what about the events unfolding now? The gangsters seem to be speaking dialect (Busan dialect I presume), but everyone else including Tae San speak the normal Korean spoken in Seoul. The house where the murder took place was reported to be at Yeongdeungpo, which is a district in Seoul. So does this mean that all our characters somehow migrated to Seoul 8 years later? I’m confused. But I’ll try not to let this affect my opinion of this show. Anyway, this week marks the start of the two-week countdown for our “hero” and I’m really looking forward to see how the events unfold. Hopefully the subsequent episodes will be as great. Please don’t fail me writer-nim!