Sometimes I need a good melodrama in my life. Granted, I often end up watching bad melodramas far more often than I watch good ones, but I think this may change with the newest melo inked into my drama watching schedule. Two Weeks, the new Lee Joon Ki drama, premiered this past Wednesday and definitely has my melodrama hopes up. Two Weeks airs on Wednesday and Thursday nights on MBC and will run for 16 episodes.
Two Weeks is the story of Jang Tae San (Lee Joon Ki), a small time gangster that has lived his life in a useless style (the usual k-drama gangster anti-hero repertoire: sleeping with women for money and indulging in all around seediness). All of that changes when he discovers that he has a daughter (played adorably by Lee Chae Mi), born of a relationship he ended eight years ago. Unfortunately he only learns of his daughter when his ex-girlfriend Seo In Hye (Park Ha Sun) pays him a visit to ask a favor- get a blood test. Why a blood test? Well, the daughter that Tae San never knew of has leukemia and is dying. She desperately needs a bone marrow transplant and her last hope is her biological father.
If that is not uplifting enough of a beginning, things go from heartbreaking to just plain gut wrenching as we move into episode 2. Tae San’s life as a gangster has him associating with a bevy of unsavory characters, the shadiest of all being the crime boss Moon Il Seok (Jo Min Ki). Tae San has gone to prison twice in the past as a favor for Boss Moon, taking the fall for crimes that the head gangster committed.
As episode 2 progresses we learn that Boss Moon is caught up in a smuggling operation with a big name politician (and let’s just say Ms. Politician plus Boss Moon makes for a duo of despicable intentions and actions). Due to their scheming, someone ends up dead, and Boss Moon pins the crime on his old patsy Tae San. If that is not bad enough (prison again for the innocent guy- come on!) Tae San learns that he can donate bone marrow and save his daughter, if only he can beat the murder charges and reveal the truth. He has two weeks to clear everything up- his daughter’s pre surgery preparations include zapping out her bone marrow, if he cannot donate in time then she will die. Thankfully our (anti) hero gets a lucky break, literally. With time working against him Tae San must work to save his daughter’s, as well as his own, life.
Two Weeks has me excited for a few of reasons: yes, the ramble begins now. Cheers!
The plot is extremely tightly woven and well-paced. This is not the type of show (at least so far) that will leave you feeling frustrated or strung along. The twisty-turny storyline is populated by interesting characters and shocking occurrences without becoming an overload of information or sub-plots. The conflict is well executed, and I am interested.
Sometimes I find suspenseful melos make me want to tear my hair out and curse while kicking my garbage can; mostly because they throw logic and sense out the window in favor of the shocking scene and the convenient subplot. So far TW has given zero hint of unintelligible suspense. This show is building a strong foundation that makes our character’s actions seem logical given their experience. Such a foundation is what makes the desperate and dark actions of our characters have meaning beyond the initial shock factor- and I see a whole lot of meaning accumulating in Two Weeks thus far.
Tae San, our anti-hero, is an interesting character. I have watched many a melodrama male lead play the useless d-bag (here’s to you Kang Maru, even if I loved you) which makes my brain shout that I should be sick of this type of character. I mean, it is an overused character trope. So when I see something that is repetitive in terms of concept, I expect to sigh heavily and flip back to watching Running Man. When I see an overused concept and like it I know that I have just watched a slightly different take on the trope that has me interested like it was a brand new idea. Tae San is a lot like antiheroes of past, but he is a little different too. Yes, other bad guys have recognized their past misdeeds, yes other bad guys’ live useless lives and then repent. But Tae San seems so genuine, and so guarded given his past, that I cannot help but want to really believe in him. Maybe it was his interactions with his daughter, and his actions in the face of his most recent framing that made me like this character in only two episodes. I know one thing, I feel like grabbing some poster board and making a big ole “Tae San Fighting (but stop being a d-bag and really repent)” sign. Because, yes, I believe in this character, but he still acted like a d-bag. How he acknowledges and acts on his past is what will really shape this character for me.
Time will tell if Two Weeks will keep up the deliriously watchable pace it set in episodes one and two, but I really am rooting for this show to keep up the thrilling consistency. I would urge you to give this drama a chance, because I really need someone to make “Two Weeks fighting” signs with. I have crayon and colored pencils in my Lisa Frank pencil case…come on…you know you want to draw bubble letters! Cheers!
Random Note: After typing “Lisa Frank pencil case” I realized: (a) if you search Lisa Frank in google images you will see images of people that have Lisa Frank tattoos. Wow. I thought I was weird. (b) I gave away my approximate age with this statement. ‘Cause, you know, I grew up when Lisa Frank was daebak. (c) I think I am going to order a Lisa Frank pencil case on ebay.