I swear this was so not in the plans to be written – nope, not at all.
In fact, to be completely honest, ever since I’d caught the first two episodes of I Hear Your Voice approximately three weeks ago and continued to watch this show whenever I lucked out while watching TV, this is what I thought, “This show is so overrated.”
There, I said it. The drama-blogosphere tends to ride the bandwagon a lot lately, more so than ever before – suddenly it’s like One Drama To Rule Them All or something as everyone’s excitedly talking about that one or two in particular, leaving the rest of us normal folks (okay, me) fluctuating between feeling incredibly annoyed or left out. Apart from bad timing in Real Life, this was the other reason as to why I’d purposely stayed away from this show… until my accidental run-in with it weeks ago.
Very Loose First Impression-slash-Halftime Review
If you’d asked me last week what my first impression of the show is, it would be this: I like it for the most part, but I don’t love it.
In other words, I’m intrigued, but not completely sold. I like Soo Ha because he’s reminiscent of Lee Jong Suk‘s Go Nam Soon character in School 2013 – whom I loved dearly – and I especially loved the rapport and chemistry between him and leading lady, Lee Bo Young here but… I think Jang Hye Sung is annoying. There, I said it. Plus, the courtroom scenes are always so poorly presented, hardly unrealistic and way too unprofessional.
But I don’t know, call it intrigue, if nothing else – I kept watching. Now here I am, having just wrapped up episode 8 and well… Wow. I figured it’s a good time as any to write down my incredibly loose thoughts about the show, especially since there looks to be some kind of time jump once I continue watching episode 9 onward. I’m aware I’m not really bringing anything new to the scene with my thoughts and opinions about the show – this show is like this year’s Queen In Hyun’s Man, seriously, in terms of internet and drama-blogosphere buzz – but whatever; I feel like talking about this show and so I will.
I wouldn’t say I’ve hit a sudden epiphany or fell in love, rather that this one is quite a gem. This is what I think now, when I think of the show and whether or not to recommend to others to check it out – if you could leave some brain cells at the door upon entering and clutch your heart tightly, then you’ll be fine. In fact honestly, chances are you’ll easily and immediately fall in love with Wonder Boy, namely Lee Jong Suk‘s Park Soo Ha.
Very simply, things I like:
I like the way the show opened – the childhood portion is brisk, relevant and to the point. It immediately tells us the sort of character Jang Hye Sung is, the winsome mother-daughter relationship and most importantly, the conflict at heart with a certain evil person who’s seriously spine-tingling creepy named Min Joon Gook. Most importantly, by the end of the first episode we’re up-to-date and totally in on how this single incident inevitably ties Park Soo Ha and Hye Sung, ten years later – perhaps forever, too.
I like the rapport and chemistry between Lee Bo Young‘s Jang Hye Sung and Lee Jong Suk‘s Park Soo Ha. Before the show premiered I’d my share of skepticism about the casting. I love the dude and I’m impartial towards the actress, but I thought the age gap might’ve been a hindrance… Boy, I can’t be anymore mistaken about age when it comes to these two because their chemistry right now is off-the-charts, both intense and cute. It’s crazy adorable. Yes it’s an older woman-younger man relationship which I dig almost by default but to their credit, they play it so naturally as they learn to lean on each other as friends, family, almost-lovers and accomplices. Seriously, it’s way adorable.
The fact that they then started living together just makes the relationship all the more precious, especially in the beginning when she broke all his first love ideals – the crazy hair in the morning, the messy apartment, the disgruntled attitude towards her job and more. Yet, as each ideal barrier breaks one after another, he learns to see her as a person and best yet… falls for her even more, exactly because of the imperfections. It feels real, his love for her and even more real because at the core of it, it’s something weighty – the fact that she saved his life many years ago, leading to this almost-desperation to protect her at all costs because at least to him, he really has nothing to lose. It’s both romantic and endearing.
I quite like Yoon Sang Hyun‘s Cha Kwan Woo too, because he’s so geekily adorable who only ever means well. I’ve never really been one to fancy second leads (and jumping on this wagon late, I’ve the advantage of knowing he’s not the leading man) so it all worked out fine for me, but I will say that as a character, I find him to be endearing because right from the beginning he’s so full of sincerity and excitement. You know, the sort of person who looks at the glass as half-full at all times as opposed to half-empty? Yeah, he’s that sort, down to a tee.
Lee Bo Young‘s Jang Hye Sung is a mixed bag – I like her, but it’s an unlikely kind of liking. Let me try again… I like her because she feels real – flawed, bitchy and sometimes aggravating but real indeed. She’s got spunk and isn’t afraid to be sassy and straightforward, which I greatly appreciate. However, I don’t exactly fancy her or find myself immediately rooting for her because she gets on my nerves especially when it comes to her as a public defender – like cheating by using Soo Ha to win cases and then excitedly saying she’s a good one; say what? – which is why I’m still kind of 50/50 towards her right now.
I also really like the conflict at heart, from the way the story line is written out starting from the backstory to present-day because dude, that ‘I’ll Be There’ ring tone scene at the end of episode 4 positively sent shivers down my spine. This whole thriller/mystery angle they’ve got going on is really set up very believably; I’m sold by the risks and stakes, finding myself worried for Hye Sung’s safety and equally concerned about Soo Ha’s descent to potential murder, driven by revenge and desperation. Plus, above all, anchoring this conflict is Jung Woo In‘s brilliant portrayal of an extremely cunning, deceptive and evil murderer in Min Joon Gook. I’m invested to see how this particular story line ends.
As aforementioned, there’s only one thing I really dislike about the show and that’s anything pertaining to the courtroom cases, the judges and the prosecutors. They’re all so lamely and unprofessionally portrayed that I cringe in embarrassment and annoyance and I’m not even a lawyer or anything of that sort! It’s not downright terrible, but it’s hardly believable. These scenes get the points and messages across I get it, especially when it comes to enlightening Hye Sung in her journey to become a better person but ah damn, the cases are mostly mediocre and the train of thought too straightforward. Plus do prosecutors, judges and public defenders rub shoulders and mingle all the time in and out of court? Isn’t this some kind of breach of interest or something?
Episode 8 just hooked me in, legit. Where I was initially on-and-off about this show – I’d catch it when I can, but it never bothered me when I missed some scenes or an episode – I’ve to credit episode 7 for bringing my interest level up by magnitudes. I would say I’m primarily driven by the conflict – I really want justice to prevail and Min Joon Gook to be put away for good – but it’s also because Park Soo Ha is so incredibly endearing. The way he puts his heart on his sleeves when it comes to Hye Sung, openly gazes at her looking so doe-eyed and innocently in love, fiercely protective of her as he switches between cute to serious in the blink of an eye – ah, his bleeding heart gets me right where it matters most.
I’m liking the time jump (if that’s indeed it) as we start rather afresh in episode 9, following the emotional roller coaster ride of episodes 7 and 8. Stakes are totally upped though not without heartbreak and if anything, what I love most about Lee Bo Young is that she’s such a natural – those repeated breakdown scenes of hers throughout episode 8 were painful to watch but so incredibly heartfelt. She’s sassy and flawed, yes, but in her weaker moments she’s so vulnerable that my heart goes out to her.
Looking forward to continue on with episodes 9 and more, which means… I guess you can conclude that I think at this halfway point, I Hear Your Voice is indeed worthy of the buzz it’s been receiving!