July 17, 2013
I finished the final episode of Damo last night. It was late, and silent. I sat long by the open window, listening to the fog and weltzschmerz.
Eventually, I sighed, gathered myself back to the mundane, and went to bed.
Deep impressions to the maum are not so easily shaken, however. In my dream, a love long lost to me in waking life was lost again, to death. Or was it to uncertainty?
I asked an acquaintance for news, but he had none.
If we meet again, I said, and I don’t ask, tell me nothing.
July 13, 2013
Episode 13 of Damo opens with a still unconscious Jang Sung Baek being tended by a doctor. Soo Myung, the Magistrate, and another conspirator look on. The doctor tells them he will recover, and leaves. The Magistrate tries to dismiss Soo Myung, but she refuses to go. The other man wonders whether it was worth risking so many lives to save one man. Soo Myung breaks in to pronounce that Jang Sung Baek is the heart of the people. The Magistrate tells her to shut up and do as she’s told.
Boss Jang wakes up. Dark veins are showing in his face. The Magistrate tells him how close to death he came, and asks him how he could let that damo use such a powerful poison on him. Jang Sung Baek suppresses a smile. MORE…
May 3, 2013
I came across an episode of the 2010 comedy drama, Secret Agent Miss Oh (국가가 부른다 – aka “My Country Calls”), which KBS America is re-running in a mid-day weekday spot. I took an immediate shine to Lee Soo Kyung as the spunky heroine, who reminds me a little of Arang in the early episodes of Arang and the Magistrate.
So far, Secret Agent Miss Oh is very female-centered. Although Officer/Agent Oh’s ethics could use some improvement, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she won’t be too despunkified as the series progresses. Now marathoning Episode 4 (of 16) on Hulu. Watch with me, and we’ll compare notes next week.
I ran across the 2009 Korean film My Girlfriend is an Agent on Netflix last week, which is in a similar vein. I’ll probably review it along with Secret Agent Miss Oh when I finish the series.
My Girlfriend is an Agent was also known as 7th Level Civil Servant (a literal translation of the Korean title, 7급 공무원). A drama series by that name based on the film (but with different stars) was released by KBS earlier this year.
I haven’t forgotten Damo. In fact, that’s why I’m fortifying myself with female law enforcers in a lighter role, as I approach the final episode. An unhappy ending is foreshadowed in the first 5 minutes of the first episode of Damo. Not that I knew who any of those people were then, but I do now, so I’m setting out the tissues and comfort tea.
March 19, 2013
Episode 12 of Damo opens in the mountain forest. It’s daylight, and soldiers are nodding off all over the camp. Hwangbo announces that he’s taking over the search and starts to rouse them, but the local commander demands that he allow the soldiers some rest after searching all night. Hwangbo starts to argue, but Officer Lee intervenes and takes him aside for a private talk. He agrees with the local commander, and accuses Hwangbo of being obsessed with Chae Ohk, not Jang Sung Baek, and running his men into the ground because of it. Officer Baek, looking on, is shocked at Officer Lee’s audacity. Hwangbo doesn’t deny obsession, but insists it’s all about Jang Sung Baek.
Hwangbo has just questioned whether Officer Lee has enough faith in Hwangbo to serve under him when MORE…
February 1, 2013
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to Episode 11 of Damo. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like what comes next, so I’ve been dragging my feet.
The episode opens with the former thief instructing his borrowed troops to masquerade as a rebel band, under the supervision of Jang Sung Baek’s younger sister (so much truer than he and the damo know!). They scare villagers and bully travelers to establish their false identities.
Meanwhile, Chief Joh’s investigation is at a standstill, since his suspects are too high in the court hierarchy to touch. When he receives the letter Chae Ohk faked for the police chief who lent them the soldiers, he knows right away who to blame, and what they are up to. If they can capture the rebel leader, that will move the investigation forward. Chief Joh sends Hwangbo after Chae Ohk.
At a rebel meeting, a captain crows with delight over their successful misdirection of the forces that are hunting them. Then he reports that another band claims to be led by Boss Jang’s younger sister. Jang abruptly leaves the meeting. MORE…
January 3, 2013
As Damo Episode 10 opens, Hwangbo (Lee Seo Jin) and the old monk rush into Chae Ohk’s room. She is gasping, and falls over when Hwangbo touches her arm. Then her eyes open. Hwangbo smiles, the monk says a prayer and Hwangbo walks out into the grounds to drink from a fountain. There is a sudden sprinkle of spring rain. In this moment, all is well. If Hwangbo’s smile momentarily dims now and then when he thinks of his job, it soon returns. Chae Ohk (Ha Ji Won) will live.
December 24, 2012
The damo (Ha Ji Won) does not, of course, give up her plan of seeing the King to plead Hwangbo’s case. But first she writes Hwangbo a letter, telling him how much he has meant to her, and how much she regrets her baffling inability to kill Boss Jang, even to save Hwangbo’s life. Then, it’s off to the palace.
After a lot of swooping, slinking, swimming, and close calls, Chae Ohk finds the King. His guards pounce on her, and she is severely wounded. Her battered body is dumped at his feet. He is amazed that such a low ranking woman has gone to such lengths to meet him. The damo manages to gasp out the story of a conspiracy against the throne, insisting that Chief Joh and Hwangbo are innocent, and demanding their release.
November 29, 2012
In Episode 8 of Damo, we learn that the general has left a suicide note, swearing his loyalty to the King. The King is upset, and berates Chief Joh and Hwangbo. MORE…
November 4, 2012
Episode 7 of Damo opens with a recap, preparing us for an eventful episode. As you will recall, Episode 6 closed with Boss Jang (Kim Min Joon) racing into a crowd of soldiers armed with guns to rescue the wounded Chae Ohk (Ha Ji Won).
SPOILER ALERT: Stop here if you haven’t watched yet.
October 24, 2012
Episode 6 of Damo is packed tight with the back story of Boss Jang (Kim Min Joon), as well as developments in Hwangbo’s (Lee Seo Jin) status. Watch it carefully or watch it twice to make sure you catch all the details.
Stop here if you haven’t watched yet.