If you’ve seen epic historical dramas before then it won’t come as a surprise that teenyboppers’ sageuk Hwarang finished with only single-digit ratings. Despite my discontent over the chemistry of that show’s main OTP, I managed to watch it til the end thanks to the engaging secondary arc about the Faceless King and the charisma of the actor portraying him. Park. Hyung. Sik.
He is great at playing the teen counterpart of the leads in the dramas, Sirius, and Nine: Nine Times Time Travel. His performance in the highly-rated The Heirs and the weekend series What Happens to my Family made me think that he’d do well as a supporting actor for now; but witnessing how he’s in full control of his character in Hwarang, it’s apparent that he’s grown so much into a bonafide actor who’s more than ready to lead a drama of his own. It’s only been three days since Hwarang ended and I’m glad that JTBC’s Strong Woman Do Bong Soon is here to satisfy my need for more Park Hyung Sik and his King complex.
The drama opens with Hyung Sik sitting at the back of the bus with a bouquet of flowers in his hand, his destination still unknown. All of a sudden, the driver loses control and the bus swerves from left to right. Exactly at the moment when it almost hits a mother and her child who are standing on the side of the road, the bus miraculously stops, and all of them survive, unscathed. Hyung Sik manages to take a peek outside and sees a petite young woman slowly walking away from the scene as if nothing happened. The wind blows and dramatically reveals the face hiding under her pink hoodie. It’s our heroine, Do Bong Soon.
Expectations are high since she’s played by none other than Nation’s little sister, Park Bo Young. A total opposite of her timid role in last year’s quirky supernatural TvN drama Oh My Ghost, Do Bong Soon is a confident woman who is aware of the limitations and repercussions of using her strength. Yet, she falls under the usual Candy-type of character who’s struggling to find a job that she ends up signing a contract with a chaebol.
Park Hyung Sik is Ahn Min Hyuk, CEO of a video game company called Ainsoft. This guy eats death threats for breakfast, no wonder he remains unperturbed even when he takes a call from his psycho stalker in the middle of the night. I miss his Hwarang mane of glory but in modern clothes, he still looks pretty. Min Hyuk is a Ji Dwi-ish character too – dashing, wealthy, and is used to living a life in constant danger. He exudes cool, happy-go-lucky vibes as he gets around his office in a hoverboard and he regards his dangerous situation as some sort of a game.
While currently in search for the perfect bodyguard, he witnesses Do Bong Soon’s extraordinary strength as she defends herself and a bus full of kindergartners against several gangsters. The incident leads to a report at the police station where we meet detective In Gook Do (Ji Soo), Do Bong Soon’s childhood friend whom she’s been crushing on for the longest time. The straight arrow cop is unaware of Do Bong Soon’s strength and her completely obvious feelings for him.
As Min Hyuk tries to catch his persistent hacker and death threat sender, a mysterious murder occurs at the small neighborhood where his newly-hired female bodyguard Do Bong Soon resides. In Gook Do is one of the officers who are tasked to investigate and find the culprit. How is this crime going to change our main characters’ lives?
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon premiered with 4% ratings which is considerably high for a cable network series. The first two episodes managed to introduce the characters and their relationships, the origin of our heroine’s immense physical strength, and a very odd inclusion of murder in an otherwise cheerful tone of the show. It’s a little worrisome that the drama goes from comic book romcom to seriously dark thriller really quick so I hope things won’t go awry as the story continues.
There’s nothing new about this series. The title itself is so generic. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon gives us a plucky heroine just like (Weightlifting Fairy) Kim Bok Joo and an adorable, eccentric young chaebol just like (Shopping King) Louis. Then we have a good-looking tsundere second lead to complete the love triangle. But dramas like these depend heavily on the performance of its leads and the chemistry of its characters. The actors give their own take on the familiar tropes we’ve seen before. With only two episodes in, the continuous rise in ratings proves right off the bat that Park Bo Young, Park Hyung Sik, and Ji Soo are all perfect for the part. And I can’t wait to see more of Hyung Sik’s hilarious pseudo gay antics.