k-dramas reviews

K-Drama: ‘Hwayugi’ Finale Thoughts


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The Hong Sisters magical drama, Hwayugi, wrapped this past weekend. If you’ve been as obsessed and in love with Cha Seung Won and Lee Seung Gi as I have been, then you’ll miss the bull and the monkey’s interactions.

That said, I wanted to talk a bit about the finale and just some general thoughts on the drama while it’s fresh in my mind. There will be lots of spoilers, so please don’t keep reading if you haven’t finished watching.

Hwayugi was brilliant in the first half. I expected no less from the Hong Sisters and was feeling confident that this would end as strongly as it began. I was thankful for giving a good drama a chance as I was on the fence. Yes, it’s the Hong Sisters. Yes, It’s Lee Seung Gi. And yes, I absolutely loved the last time they worked together on My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho.

But along the way, the tightly woven story slowly started to unravel in Hwayugi. The doomsday scenario was one of the biggest disappointments overall. I was expecting some pretty epic scenes, but when the dragon was finally conjured and emerged, I wish it had stayed in the water, never to see the light of day. The CGI was absolutely terrible and laughable right there. Up until that point, I didn’t mind some of the less-than-impressive CGI, but that killed it for me. There’s bad and then there’s that CGI dragon. Yikes.

For a drama on such a large scale as this, the special fx team really dropped the ball. Not only that, but the characters and Patriarch from Heaven have been preaching about the doomsday scenario all drama long and it’s literally resolved in minutes. All season long for a “big bad” that’s taken down in minutes? Talk about a major letdown.

Oh and Sun Mi dies for absolutely no other reason. She didn’t even need to become the vessel to kill the dragon because Oh Gong took care of the dragon instead.

What an anti climatic ending. Why, drama, why? You were doing so good there for a while.

On top of that, Sun Mi dies for real. But, she’s brought back for a lousy day to help Oh Gong retrieve his memory. Precious screen time is wasted on flashbacks. What a crap shoot. I’m so angry right now because this drama had so many things going for it and then it fell apart and I don’t understand why. The Hong Sisters definitely let me down here and I generally trust their writing and have faith in their abilities. (I haven’t watched Big, so I’m not going to draw comparisons.)

Here’s a recap of what happened in the last two episodes:

  1. The world-destructing dragon is defeated in an impressive matter of minutes. Guess the Heavens overestimated the dragon because he dies rather quickly at Oh Gong’s hands. Well, if it was that easy, what was all the fuss about?!
  2. Ma Wang learns that the peddler’s grandson is his son. Oh, and Princess Iron Fan has been reincarnated as a flower.
  3. Ah Sa Nyeo is still in rotting Buja’s body. With Sam Jang being dead, there’s nothing to stop the rot. ASN begs PK to please burn her. Buja has been dead since ASN took her over. Ouch. Poor PK who was hoping Buja was still somewhere in there. (Still angry about this as well as Buja was awesome and so what the actress who played her. They totally wasted a good character by having her taken over by Ah Sa Nyeo. And, pitifully, Buja has zero resolution for her character. She just dies again and that’s it.)
  4. Han Joo inherits Hanbit Real Estate. He’s not exactly the most capable guy, so I’m curious how he will keep the business afloat. I don’t know how he would possibly “exorcise” problem properties as he’s a giant scared-y cat, can’t see ghosts, and just randomly waves Sun Mi’s yellow umbrella like he knows what he’s doing.
  5. The prince is dead, but Alice is alive. I always thought the prince was a strange, unnecessary character the story. We have a full cast without him, but I guess he was just meant to serve as a plot device to save PK. That’s all I got on that one.
  6. Oh Gong gets his memories back with the help of Sun Mi. We waste an enormous amount of time with flashbacks that don’t add anything to the story. What a poorly-executed use of the amnesia plotline. It wasted an entire episode that could have been used to wrap up stuff that actually mattered.
  7. Well, Winter General isn’t dead. However, his sister, the Summer Fairy, is dead and he’s seen taking over her bar as it’s a place she treasured.
  8. After the pitiful one day she’s granted by the Heavens, Sun Mi dies and returns to the underworld. On a bright note, she learns that Oh Gong has truly loved her, of his own volition, for quite a long time.
  9. The ending is weird with Oh Gong driving off into the distance, looking for his Sun Mi. This left me with questions. Did she return to the underworld? Was she reincarnated and Oh Gong has a tip and is looking for her? There’s a big difference between an ambiguous ending and a confusing ending.

I hope to do a proper review eventually, but I’m feeling a bit miffed by how Hwayugi ended. I’m mostly confused. If you’ve followed my blog, you’ll know that I’m not really a hard person to please. I like most dramas I watch, and if I don’t like it or something about it, it’s more about the genre and acting than the actual story. But the story here failed me completely. Maybe my expectations were through the roof, but it’s pretty telling when I want to skip a review completely.

So, what did anyone else think? I haven’t read any reviews, so I don’t know what the general consensus is here. I will say that I was expecting better from the Hong Sisters. I mean, yeah, I can understand why they chose to end it the way that they did. I can’t understand why they wasted the last, precious episode on such a weak amnesia arc. Maybe if this had happened episodes earlier and the writers tied up the loose ends, I would have been satisfied.

Please vote in the poll below and please share your thoughts. Overall, I did enjoy watching this drama. It just fell apart in the latter half and made a huge, unresolved mess. The characters were memorable, and I had so much fun watching every week. I just wanted to point out that it wasn’t a completely bad experience for me. It was the execution that failed and muddled an otherwise great drama.

 

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