DRAMA CLUB RECAP: The Night Watchman's Journal Episodes 23-24 (1/2)
The end has finally come, dear Night Watchman’s Journal drama club. It’s been a very long and very bumpy road, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Come join Unnichan and I as we say farewell to our team of Night Watchmen.
Watch episode 23 here:
Unnichan: It’s time to say our final goodbyes to The Night Watchman's Journal, and though most of us are by no means loathed to see it go, there were some interesting things about the drama for me. And whether drama truly paid off in those areas, at this point is irrelevant. For I greatly appreciated Moo Seok’s growth as a character from his resolution with his sister’s death to his addition to the Watchmen, down to being able to patch up his sullied relationship with Soo Ryun and going off to live his dream on the border. Most of all of course, I loved the connection the drama made between he and Sang Heon. Two men with brains and insight, using their determination of will and integrity to uphold justice and maintain their loyalties.
Ultimately, for me, Sang Heon became the physical embodiment of the journal. For he was the guide these kids needed to understand and decipher what dangers laid ahead, whom they were facing and what was required of them. In the end, he was able to walk away from the Watchman having accomplished his goals and lightening his burden, now free to live fully human.
However, Sang Heon wasn’t the only character unburdened, for Ki San took hold of his last chance at redemption. I’ve always said, Ki San was originally fairly sympathetic, given the circumstances of his childhood. That sympathy didn’t last long binding his personal choices, however, there was never a time that Kim Heung Soo squandered an opportunity to highlight Ki San’s vulnerability. Kim’s interpretation of Ki San’s isolation and loneliness, through the creation of a dual personality, was spot on. Ki San was riddled with guilt, anger and bitterness but powerless, weak and cowardly---all traits, Kim Heung Soo was able to portray through both sides of Ki San in different and entertaining ways.
Much like Kim Sung Oh’s Sadam, the character could come across hammy, but both performances were solid and consistent. Sadam, wasn’t necessarily nuanced written but he was the ultimate mastermind in this narrative and Kim Sung Oh created a creepily sadistic warlock capable of cunning crimes the world over. Who, in the beginning, he was my kind of villain; unwilling to get his hands dirty but unflinching in having his way in everything.
But if I am going to speak about acting, I can’t leave out the scene stealer of this story, little Rang Yi. She began as a quickly solved mystery but transcended into a small wonder, as Kang Ji Woo believably became the watchful and protective mother of a (future) King, full of wisdom and perseverance. With one look in her eyes, what was once and uncertain portrayal, blossomed into a memorable outing of a seasoned woman with a tragic past, bottled in the body of a child.
Overall, I’m not one to harp on happy endings for I don’t believe every story requires one and this one certainly did not, but thankfully, not everyone walked out into the sunset without a lesson learned.
Tiara: Anyoung to the Night Watchman’s Journal. I wish I could say I will miss you drama, but I’m actually not. This drama went beyond making me frustrated to the point I felt like I was watching the ending of Marry Him If You Dare on repeat. Mostly, the drama lied to us from the beginning. The original synopsis about a team of Night Watchmen working from 9pm to 5am protecting the street of Joseon was false. There was no secret King’s order, nor did the Night Watchman solve unexplainable cases involving the supernatural. There were such high expectation going into the drama for me, I truly thought the drama would give me a historical Supernatural drama in Joseon times. Boy was I wrong on the direction the drama took.
The drama is supposed to be about the journal of the Night Watchman. Much how Gu’s Family Book was supposed to be about finding said book for our hero to become human, this drama too went in another direction. There was something fun and endearing about Gu, I was able to accept the drama for forgetting the book. I can’t say the same for TNWJ about being entertaining and bring light hearted fun for me to forgive the lack of use of the journal.
Some of the other issues with the drama was how it continued to allow the villains of the drama to win all the fights. I felt like a Cleveland Brown’s fan having to see my team lose for most of the season. At least the Brown’s can win a handful of games during their season unlike the Night Watchmen. I do believe a new coach for that team needs to be hired or the writer. It makes the villain more malicious when he has to come up with a new plan to destroy the world when they stop his wick plan. Sadly, my team of Night Watchmen just kept losing I don’t understand how they made it to the World Series. Most’ve been bonus points for trying.
Sang Heon was a brightness in the tunnel of darkness. He had an interesting story of being about to get a second chance of living. He still had his foot in the realm of ghost with helping our young Night Watchmen, but he had to learn a hard lesson about being able to live. Moo Seok was a pain at the beginning of the drama as being a stick in the mud, but his character grew on me towards the second half of the drama. In many ways, Moo Seok mirrored Sang Heon. He too never got the chance to truly live how he wanted and as given the chance to do what he most desired at the end.
There was something compelling about Sadam which is all due to Kim Sung Oh. His execution was spot on as the creepy immoral warlock that no one but he could act. Kim Heung Soo did an amazing job of portraying a disturbed King who created a dual persona. He made this unbalanced King be sympathetic by being able to expose his insecurities. Jung II Woo is Jung II Woo. It’s my bias in me, but he was nonetheless gratifying to follow regardless of the limitations he was given.
If there could be do overs, this drama would be on the list to get a second chance. The possibilities TNWJ could’ve of done is endless. The route it chose was simply messy. Yet the rough road, the drama did give me an acceptable Happily Ever After ending. I was grateful to be able to send off these characters in a gratifying way.
In summary, if there is something strange in my neighborhood, I’ll stick to the Ghostbusters instead of calling for the Night Watchman.
Want more of the TNWJ Drama Club? Visit us at our previous posts and our individual blogs/twitters!
Unnichan: Check me out at withsubsplease.wordpress.com for all my previous Drama Club, Twitter and current postings.
Catch up on our past Drama Club posts!
Episode 23-24 [Part 1] [Part 2]