A revenge melodrama that went out of its way to be both light and laid-back at times. It’s a drama of its own style with a pretty amazing cast, but if you decide to skip and not bother with this one, you’re not missing out on much.
Hey everyone! I may finally be back, at least for the next couple of weeks! My first practicum is done and dusted, and I can finally focus purely on my blog as well as my part-time job. This particular review has been long overdue (I had started writing this even before my practicum started) and I’ve finally FINALLY gotten the chance to post it. To be honest, I came across this drama by accident simply because…some cuts on Instagram were total eye candy :3 (Lee Jin Wook you~)
So, without further ado, let’s get on with this review 😉
Name: Goodbye Mr Black (굿바이 미스터 블랙)
Genre: Romance, Melodrama
Number of Episodes: 20
Note: Marathoned the first 12, then followed till the end.
Based on the manhwa of the same name (which drew inspiration from Alexandre Dumas’ novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”), is a story that explores themes such as betrayal, revenge and of course romance. Cha Ji Won (Lee Jin Wook) is a UDT officer of the Navy Special Operations Force. He is very optimistic and has a certain charm, but becomes betrayed by his best friend, and then denounced as a traitor. After encountering numerous life and death situations, Cha Ji Won enters into a fake marriage with Swan (Moon Chae Won) to mask his identity. With Swan by his side, along with a bunch of other sidekicks, Ji Won seeks revenge, as well as his faith in humanity.the help of Swan along with some pretty loyal friends/sidekicks, Ji Won seeks revenge with a new identity, as well as regains his faith in humanity.
So…this drama definitely started off with a bang (pun unintended there). The plot was definitely moving, along with the hardcore action and not to mention that great chemistry between our main characters of the drama. Indeed, Ji Won and Ma Ri’s relationship did throw me off initially since I knew that Ji Won will eventually end up with someone else, however I bought their relationship quite easily enough.
Khaya’s introduction to the drama was definitely a surprise. After not reading around about what was to happen in the drama, it was indeed a great surprise to see and realise that she was a Korean stranded in Thailand who couldn’t speak read or write despite her being there for years, growing up with no one to rely on but a scammer and herself. However, I gradually started to respect her greatly. For someone who had been abandoned and left to fend for herself for years, it’s surprising that nothing worse came about.
Seeing Ji Won with his father definitely tugged at my heartstrings, since it was quite predictable as to what would happen to him. Painting him as a caring understanding father really made me think of mine, and made me really feel for Ji Won as a character. The drama definitely played on the family aspect quite well. All in all, it was a very well start to the drama although as many have mentioned in regards to this drama…it does start to slack off around halfway.
1. Our sweet Black and Swan
Definitely the biggest drive for me to continue watching this drama was that I did indeed buy our Black Swan. Yes, many will complain that their love sourced from nothing, and that it was quite unbelievable to the point where it lacked sense. However, I actually bought it that way. Throughout their time together in Thailand, they developed a bond which extended further from just simple companionship. What the drama didn’t show was that a large amount of time was spent with them being by each other’s side, acting as much like a couple as the next could.
She has saved his life while he has saved hers multiple times as well. Her purpose in life was finally found after meeting Black, which is why she agreed to return to Korea and become a reporter. Their relationship had extended beyond just being friends for a very long time; love doesn’t always go as planned. They truly have made many memories together, and despite Ji Won and Ma Ri’s relationship at the beginning, she did indeed betray him despite him telling her specifically to wait for his return. For that, I feel that there is no excuse. I mean, Swan was unconditionally loving him this entire time despite her knowing that Ji Won didn’t love her back. For all those reasons, I personally feel that their love is in a sense, justified.
Regardless though of how their relationship came about, it is truly their acting that shines through. Once both admit their feelings for each other, their moments together are truly sweet and heart-warming to watch. Sure it ain’t sizzling hot like some OTP out there, but it wasn’t too bad. I swear, every time they get all lovey-dovey, my smile just shot up. Their smiles are truly addictive to watch, and eventually you do appreciate the sweetness in between all of the melo crap they both have to deal with.
2. How Black still remains to be somewhat human, despite the events which in many other cases, would be considered traumatic
You would think that a guy, like Black, after all the things that he’s been through (in the world of K-dramas at least), he would have probably already found a way to have given up on life and found a ditch to live in while avoiding the world and its problems. But surprisingly for this drama, Black takes all of these shots like a man (…okay the pun might have been intentional this time round) He is just so resilient and is able to continue to fight, one day at a time. Not only that, you can clearly see that his character remains like himself throughout the drama. He is still just as cheeky, cheesy and optimistic as we knew him from the very beginning.
In most cases (especially in the Kdrama world), someone who has experienced what Black has experienced would just give up and run away from all of this mess, as both a changed and traumatised person. However in Black’s case, not only does he refuse to run away, but he instead faces it all as a newly resolved person who is determined and to be honest, stronger than ever. He never loses that unique charm of his, and still is capable of being the person we grew accustomed to at the beginning of the drama. Not many writings of these dramas do that, which is something that I grew to appreciate from this drama.
In the end, there are people out there who are resilient and can bounce back from any challenge, regardless as to how big or small. For me, Ji-Won/Black’s character development was one of the main keys to this drama, and the drama overall displayed how strong we humans are at facing new conflicts and being able to stand up to it, and fight back. In my opinion, that shows a more realistic reflection on who we are as people, and can really allow the audience to relate too. It also shows that Black, as well as many others in the drama, are indeed human who have flaws but are not afraid to admit to it, and turn it around so that it does not harm both themselves and others. For that, I really do appreciate the writing of this drama, as it is indeed a new take on the atypical revenge melodramas out there.
3. How despising and convincing our villains are
This may not come off as a positive at first, but I guess this point is more of giving credit to the actors who took on these villainous roles and truly made these characters come to life. In the end, this drama was able to display the gradual decline of a person due to unfortunate events and decisions which may or may not have been their choice. In particular, the person who comes to mind for me is Kim Kang-Woo’s character, Min Sun Jae. Min Sun Jae was a perfect reflection of how one who is obsessed with his ideals and ‘dreams’ can eventually become a poison and take everything away from him bit by bit. Regardless as to how poorly he treats everyone, he is still a character that is capable of evoking sympathy from us in the audience, which is truly hard to believe that times. For Sun Jae, he would always paint himself as the victim, twisting stories ever so slightly in order to allow others to pity him, and perhaps how he keeps his mind at ease, thinking that he has done ‘nothing wrong’. Despite how much I despised him as a person for doing all that he did to Black and his family, I still felt sad about his situations and the unfortunate situations which, at times, wasn’t his fault entirely. However, two wrongs never make a right, and still objectively, he is someone who needs a helping hand.
Jun Gook-Hwan as Baek Eun-Do on the other hand is a whole different story. He was just a man with a twisted mind and a black heart. His acting was amazing, and how he was able to capture the true mindset of this twisted man is unbelievable. I truly did despise him greatly, and I honestly feel like my image of him in my mind is not going to go away that easily regardless of what drama he proceeds to act in next (which I’ve realised is now gonna be Doctors for the next couple of weeks =.=). All in all, both of our villains were great at their roles, and I can’t wait to watch them in future projects.
The unexplained plot holes that indeed…remained as plot holes all due to a letdown from both the directing and writing
*Sigh* Of course, the inevitable plot holes. There were definitely some parts of this part of this drama where many questions were left unanswered, and some moments that were just left hanging. At times I just overlooked it, but at others I was extremely bothered by them, and pondered over them for a period of time that probably seemed silly. For example, was it really necessary to plan for 5 years for this revenge? 5 years, really?? I couldn’t really add up in my head how so little had changed since 5 years; I had assumed 2-3 years initially before the time lapse reveal. Along with that, there were plenty more which I did wonder, but won’t reveal in order to keep this spoiler free as much as possible (eg. that ending with Swan *cough cough* how the hell did that even happen *cough cough*)
The directing as well the writing was indeed quite a letdown for this drama, especially since we had such an amazing cast on board. It’s such a shame in terms of the directing, as I had hoped that not much was revealed so soon, and that that suspense could have been sustained a little longer. As with the writing, we didn’t get to venture right into the heads of these characters, which would have been quite nice at times since some of these people run their brains distinctively different from ours. In the end, that middle section was quite lacking in comparison to the beginning and end. However, since I adored the cast, I have willingly overlooked these bits and pieces.
All in all, this drama was a really refreshing revenge drama that gave us a protagonist that still remains mostly human and a heroine who reminded him of what mattered. Although I would say that this drama ain’t that re-watch worthy, I wouldn’t say that I had regretted following the paths of our Black and Swan. In the end, it was what it said it would be: a revenge melodrama that explored how someone, despite their misfortunes and mishaps, can still survive to see another day, and still retain bits of themselves that definitively make them human.
Borrowing the rating system from the lovely goddesses of Kdrama reviews themselves Javabeans and Girlfriday, I would rate “Goodbye Mr Black” as:
How much I liked it: 7.5/10
How good was it objectively: 6.5/10
Again, thank you all for sticking around for this much delayed review, and thank you all so so much for the support. I can’t believe that I have been away so long, to the point where there is over 900 of you out there who have decided to follow me O.O How…and why?! I’ve been just as dead as the dead could probably get LOL! *Clears throat* Regardless, I thank each and every one of you out there for the continuous support; this blog wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for your support. Love you all, I’ve missed you heaps, and you will hear from me very very soon! Have a wonderful day!
❤ Hyunnie ^^~