So there is both an upside and a downside to scrutinizing shows. I love taking things apart, good and bad, looking at the pieces, and seeing how they fit with each other. For the show you love, it helps you see why it’s so well done, see why it deserves to be on your top shelf. For the show you hate or just irritates you, it helps you understand how it went wrong, just why it didn’t work. And sometimes with shows which may not have made much of an impression at first, looking at the pieces can make you appreciate it all the more.
Unfortunately, it can take a show you thought you liked and turn it into a real “What the?”moment. Alas, this is what happened with God’s Quiz 2: THE WRATH OF GOD.
I know. Total Shocker! Looking back, I honestly thought I only had issues with the last 5 minutes of the show. With my rewatch and scrutinizing, I now realize my discontent had been simmering for a while there.
What happened? I spent, what, 7 pages extolling the virtues of season one just two weeks ago, how could it have gone so wrong?
Same network? Check
Same director? Check
Same lead actors? Check
Same writer? Nope.
And I believe we found our culprit. This show has become a testament to writing skill. The care and the skill that went into season one just wasn’t here. In season one nothing really came out of nowhere. The twists were built into the framework of the story. The characters, events, and clues were tight and well crafted.
This season, little bits and pieces just kept niggling at me. Starting right with episode one. How much time has passed between the two seasons? We never find this out. It had to have been a while as Dr. Han’s settled working elsewhere, the drug to control the side-effects of the first drug is already being tested on him.
And just why did he leave? Simply explaining to us that he needed to ‘rest’ didn’t sit well and it certainly didn’t fit with the character. Yes, he essentially died in the last season. Yes, some pretty bad juju-magumbo happened to him, finding out part of his smarts were due to a disgruntled mad scientist. However, him being so burnt out he has to leave town and take a job elsewhere doesn’t jibe with the very last scene of the previous season. (If you need a reminder he was on that super cute first date with Detective Kang.) Was it just because they wanted him to have his grand entrance at the press conference? Granted, that was a pretty awesome scene. However, the set up was just clunky.
When I reviewed Season One I tried really hard to keep mention of Season Two out of it. I feel kind of bad not doing the same for Season Two. I can’t help but hold the two up to each other and compare. Season One was a standalone show. They could have ended right there and we, as viewers, would have been very happy. Season Two, especially as the show goes on, can’t be held up by own storytelling. As a viewer, we couldn’t have just watched Season Two and understood what was going on.
Now while we did lose a couple of the secondary characters, for the most part everyone who was important in season one came back. Especially my favorite, Dr. Han. While he wasn’t as awesome as he was in the previous season there was still enough spark left in him for me to enjoy. (Probably, because I wanted so much to enjoy him.) I just kept trying to remind myself of all the crap that he went through by the end of last season, of course he wouldn’t be exactly the same character as he was in the beginning. *poutyface*. Like I said though, there were still shades of the same know-it-all smart ass I loved before.
Side note. Raise your hand if you would really, really like to see Ryoo Keok-hwan without his shirt on? Umm… Just me? Okay. I can live with that. I don’t know why, but he is so fit, with his really muscle-y arms, he has got to be packing some awesome abs.
Aaaannnd back to relevance.
There were still some really cute moments between him and Detective Kang. They have the opportunity to just be the cutest couple ever. I’m glad the writer didn’t mess with that.
I liked Detective Kang more in this season I think. I liked her interactions with the Doctor and her investigative skills. While Dr. Han is the genius, she does bring something to the table. I do have to give the writer kudos for not going down the easy path of her doubting him when he was framed for the murders at the end. There was no point where she didn’t believe in him, no point where she even questioned a little bit. She did everything in her power, even if it would get her in trouble, to protect her man.
Which could possibly be why she’s not in Season 3. There has to be some sort of fall out for her breaking all the rules and helping him, whether he was guilty or not. How the show ended, who knows if Dr Han was ever totally cleared of the charges?
Slipping just a bit further into Season 3 pondering, I wonder if the guy who plays the new detective is the same guy who was the current detectives co-worker. I’m not sure what his name is, however, as another good point for the writer, I liked his character even more this season. He showed a sense of humor, had Detective Kang’s drive to find out the truth, and possibly enjoyed causing a little trouble. If this is the case and he is the main detective in Season 3, I guess I would be okay with it. Or I wouldn’t hate it as much as I originally thought. (Side note about me, I hate change.)
One thing I didn’t care for (in terms of evolving an established character), was Doctor Jang and his decent into bad guy territory. Or what the show, at the end, wanted us to think was bad guy territory. He joined up with the bad pharmaceutical company in order to make the drug to work cure for the initial drug which infected Dr. Han. He loves Dr. Han, treats him like his own kid, so his initial actions are totally understandable.
This show just makes me want to rant. Rant. Rant. Rant. And nit-pick. I feel like it would turn into the SNL sketch REALLY?!? Maybe I’d call it, COME ON. Or SERIOUSLY?!? As ranting can be fun, join me for a little while.
You’re big bad is a pharmaceutical company? Really? A pharmaceutical company backed by the government? What does the pharmaceutical company want from this drug? To make super smart people? To be able to control people? However, if your aim is just to control people, you seem to be doing pretty well with just the implanted microchips. Why do you need both? And I’m guessing mind controlled people are easier to handle than the super smart.
It was like they had a big bad just to have a big bad and really didn’t think the rest out. I’m sorry. Last season the Big Bad was Thanatos. Well done. By the end of the show we knew exactly who he was, why he was doing what he was doing, and could almost agree with him. That makes your protagonist believable and in the end more scary.
With scary pharmaceutical company and their scary leader, it was just ominous because the story told us it should be ominous. Most of the time I spent wondering why the heck they were doing what they were doing and hoping the story would stop giving so much time to them.
Why did Dr. Jang bring Thanatos (I’ve got to stop calling him this, I should really go looking for his name) back to life? He was dead. He was a bad guy. Leave there! It wasn’t even like, Ha Yoon (found it) suddenly started breathing again and Dr. Jang kept him alive. Nope, he was dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. And the Dr. used extraordinary measures to bring him back. WHY? At this point he didn’t know about evil pharmaceutical company. He didn’t know evil pharmaceutical company would want to use this guy as a guinea pig. All Dr. Jang knew was that this guy almost killed his almost son.
It doesn’t make sense.
Maybe if, in the last season, we’d had a glimpse of the evil pharmaceutical company approaching him, saying they may be able to help Dr. Han that it would explain his actions. But since we didn’t see that, it’s officially left up in the air. A huge plot point is left dangling for us. Hrm.
Don’t get me wrong. As I mentioned in my review for Season One. I really liked the character of Ha Yoon . I liked the whole storyline, and thought the actor did a great job. When they did that slow moving shot to him before revealing he was still alive and a prisoner of the evil pharmaceutical company, I was truly shocked.
I loved, loved, loved the fact we got to see him being awful doing awful things again. How COOL was it when he called the evil head of the company and gave him his options.
Choose one Brian. One, You die without pain. Two, there is some pain, but you solve somethings and then you die. Three, you live forever… in great pain. I personally recommend number one. It’s clean and no grudges.
And then when he carried them out. There really are no words for how much I love this good/bad guy. However, I am displeased with how they dispatched him in the end. Come on. Being shot by the assassin? Shocking yes, but he was a cooler character than that. He deserved a better ending. Yes, he needed to die, (apparently I’m a bloodthirsty minx today) however, a surprise attack?
Although it was a shock that the assassin was actually there to protect Dr. Han.
Then there was the whole storyline with the old girlfriend of Dr. Han’s who just happened to become test subject for the evil pharmaceutical company? Hmm… convenient. Why didn’t Dr. Han tell everyone that he knew who the mystery dead woman was? There was no reason for him at that point to keep it a secret. He didn’t know about evil pharmaceutical company. He didn’t know she had been a test subject. He didn’t know that the government was about to come for her body. At that point all he knew was there was a dead woman, a woman he once dated, dead from apparent natural causes in front of him.
As a matter of fact, there was no real reason to have her be a part of the show in the first place. And it doesn’t fit anyway. They met at med-school? Or when he was an intern? He was a genius. It’s part of his character background that he went through school really early. They wouldn’t have been even remotely the same age. Did the writer just forget this fact?
Dr Han, being the character he was, would have been just as interested in digging into the SDC and evil pharmaceutical company if they’d just used the Ha Yoon character again.
My biggest pet peeve? The church. Or the use of the church as being the ultimate big bad. Especially since at the very, very end it wasn’t actually the church but a higher-up church guy who wanted to create a new God. Um. Wait. What the what?
Are you freaking kidding me? How is creating a race of super smart (and/or brain computer chip controlled) people creating a new God? I DON’T GET IT. And the fact that this plot twist was almost completely hidden until the end irritates me. The only hint we got, whatsoever, was the fact that the assassin dangled a rosary whenever he was stalking Dr. Han.
Come on. You can’t just pull a plot twist like that out of thin air and expect me not to be cranky. However, I did like Dr. Han’s speech about God in response to crazy higher-up church guy’s “I’m looking for a new God,” rational. I bet if cops had a nickel for every time they heard a perp spouting the old “looking for a new God” excuse, I’d bet they’d have… NO NICKELS.
And Dr. Han’s big idea to stop all the Big Bads from coming after him or continuing their pursuit of the get-smart drug? AGH. He’s just going to cut out one side of his brain. Yep. He’s going to have brain surgery to remove 1/2 of his brain. Oh yeah, I’m sure that will stop everything. Umm… Did you forget that Thanatos thought everything would end if you guys died at the end of season one? Well, look how well that worked out. There was already a big network of new bad guys he didn’t know about for YEARS testing on this drug. Do you really think a brain surgery is going to stop anyone? My guess is no.
I can only think that the writer wanted to end on a bang. And in the process has ruined one of the best characters in Kdrama. Thanks Writer. You Suck.
Whew. Rant over.
While I thought that the show spent too much time on the over-arcing storyline, I did enjoy the few case of the week they managed to fit in.
I also have to give the writer credit for the suspense of the last few episodes. As much as I now dislike where they took the story, the first time I watched it, the suspense was almost unbearable. There were several times where I was literally yelling at my television. It was very exciting
The shooting style was very similar to the original series. Which I did like. One downside is they seemed to get more money for effects. Bad side, you say? Eh. The drama makers went for a higher tech set. The giant touch computer screen? While cool, seemed just to be cool for cool sake.
And one thing I couldn’t stop thinking about whenever I saw it was the board in Dr. Han’s room. Yep, he had one last season, however, this one is HUGE. Like 1.5X the height of Dr. Han and yet the board was always written on from top to bottom. What the? How did he write his notes at the top? You never see a stepstool and having a board you have to use a stepstool to use doesn’t seem that practical.
I know this is probably a super dumb point, however, whenever I see him working at that giant board I keep thinking it. Which means I’m being taken out of the story. Which from a storytelling standpoint, is bad.
I will tell you something which stuck with me, in a good way, was the theme of the show. Now the season is called WRATH OF GOD. But that’s not really what the season is about. In essence, carrying on with the monster theme of last season, when a monster is made, who is the real monster, the creation or the creator? Ha Yoon does terrible things, he kills lots of people. We learned though, the only reason he does these things is that as a kid, his father injected him with a drug to make him smarter. The drugs backfired and turned him into a psychotic killer. Is the monster the crazy killer or is the monster the father who hated his autistic son?
Or in the case of the dead person of the week stories, there were the 3 geniuses who thought it was okay to blow off steam by beating the crap out of homeless people. Those kids came from somewhere and that somewhere set up an environment where they were taught they could get away with anything, that they were better than everyone else because their IQ’s were in the .01%. Keeping that in mind, who’s the monster?
It really made me think. And I guess if I get anything out of a show, a bit of self-reflection isn’t so bad.
So, would I recommend this Season? I’m not sure if this question has ever been so hard before. I loved the characters and I loved the world, so I guess I’m happy for any amount of time I’m able to spend there. However, that ending. I just don’t know. Will I watch this again? No. Simple enough. Will I watch Season Three? I don’t know. Probably? It’s written by the writer of Season One which gives me some hope, but I don’t know. As I’ve said before, I don’t see how Dr. Han can still be the awesome character I love with only half his brain. I won’t have any respect for the writer if he just writes it off and pretends everything is the same with Dr. Han, however, I don’t want to see him change.