End thoughts on “Yong Pal” Episodes 10-18

I think I know what happened here. Yong Pal couldn’t do the final surgery on Yeo Jin because he had to do that surgery on Hyun Seok….you know, the one where the mean and petty part of HS’s  personality was surgically extracted, leaving room for the kind and thoughtful part to take over so he and No Ra can finally get together. Yeah, that’s it! I have to believe it–because nothing else makes any sort of logical sense. But hey, this is Drama-Land. The logic here is baffling on a good day!

This show was a roller coaster ride from start until Episode 16, when it seemed to abruptly slow down with the time skip. I was ready for almost anything at the end of this show. Everything else had been so wacky–why stop at Episode 16?  IMHO, Show shoulda gone for the ‘coming in hot’ ending, and kept the breathless pace up to the very end. Maybe the extension was to blame. Still, I can’t fault this show too much. Nice touch bringing Cynthia back for a cameo, and her Korean-American version of Yong Pal–well, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him! That’s a whole ‘nuther spin-off series, where they focus for more than just a couple of episodes on the medical treatment of gangsters, and running from the cops. I admit to being slightly disappointed there was not more emphasis on Yong Pal and the gangsters–although Doo Chul was a hoot from start to finish.

I have to add that the soundtrack was worthy of an “A” grade. From the Shostakovich-esque waltz (Track 16, CD 2) BGM to the rap song played as Do Joon dies in Chae Young’s arms (Track 2, CD1), it was perfect for this show. A show that defies being pigeonholed into one genre should have music that is equally diverse. If I could, I’d shake the hand of the music director and compliment him or her on a job well done. (You can download the OST here legally for free–just skip thru about 7 ads first.)

Could this show have a better ending? Yeah, of course. But I was fine with it. I’d put this on a Highly Recommended list of shows for 2015 in a heartbeat. I now understand why viewers go crazy over Joo Wan; I really didn’t like him in “Tomorrow’s Cantabile”, but he was great in this show and so was Kim Tae Hee. I’ve seen her before in “My Princess” as a indefatigably cheerful lead, but this was a much more nuanced performance from her as well. Until “Yoo Na’s street”, I had never found a show that put me to sleep faster than “My Princess”. Best non-drug cure for insomnia ever. Maybe it’s the soft voice of Song Seung Hyun that is responsible, along with a plot thinner than a Kleenex.

The side characters were fun; I think there could be another whole spin-off series with Sang Chul, the bodyguard/driver and TH’s sister. I would not be one bit surprised if this show generated more than a few FF’s–and not because the ending was frustrating, but because there’s a wealth of ways the story could keep going.  I will be watching to see if any interesting short FF stories pop up in the next few weeks or months.

Go and watch “Yong Pal”, grab some popcorn, and throw away any preconceived notions about the show. Sit back and be entertained…..and there might be a good lesson or two to think about later on.

P.S.–I know a lot of viewers were unhappy with the colorless, odorless poison that YJ was given in the water, and felt that was a ridiculous plot device. I saw a lot of comparisons to “iocaine”, the fictional poison from “The Princess Bride“. Just for the record, the chemical ethionine is a odorless, colorless and highly toxic poison. It does just what it did to YJ in the show–cause liver cancer. Yes, some things are so toxic that you can get cancer within 6 months, and it’s not only this chemical. I’ve seen dental patients who’ve used chewing tobacco for 6 months–and got mouth cancer that fast. So at least someone involved with Young Pal did their medical homework!

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