Hi everyone! Summer is here and the days have gotten longer which means I get more time to play 😉 I am a huge fan of Korean dramas or K-dramas as they are commonly known. Today I will be reviewing a K-drama that is currently airing on jTBC on Fridays and Saturdays. I decided to write this before it ended because I know people often wonder if a drama is worth the hype while it’s on air. So far, there are 10 episodes and it just gets better each week.
What’s it about
Do Bong Soon, played by Park Bo Young, is a young woman who is stands out from the crowd in more ways than one. The women in her family are blessed with Superman-level strength. It is a tightly guarded secret known only to her immediate family and her best friend. Being a below average student, she never attended college and moves from job to job always failing because of her super strength one way or another. She is finally hired as the bodyguard of the CEO of Ainsoft, a game development company, after he witnesses her extraordinary power by chance as she fights a bunch of thugs. She dreams of joining the strategy department of Ainsoft so her boss, Ahn Min Hyuk, promises to promote her if she catches the culprit who keeps threatening him and learns to control her strength. Ahn Min Hyuk, played by Park Hyung Sik, battles his own demons as he struggles to deal with his dysfunctional family and death threats by a masked stalker. Things take a turn for the worse when Do Bong Soon’s peaceful neighborhood suddenly faces a genius serial kidnapper and a sloppy murderer who keep slipping through the police’s clutches. In Gook Doo (Kim Ji Soo), Do Bong Soon’s school friend and crush, is part of the team in charge of this case and suspects both criminals are the same. A dangerous game begins as Do Bong Soon keeps coming across the kidnapper and he gets bolder with every success. She has her plate full trying to protect her boss, discovering whose threatening him, controlling her strength, hiding her power, fighting a gang that is out to restore its honor after she beat up its members, unraveling the mystery of the kidnapper, deciding how she should use her power for good, juggling her complicated relationship with her mother, achieving her career goals and understanding her growing feelings for her boss. There’s a lot happening all at once but the drama flows smoothly.
Meet the characters
Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young)
The great thing about Do Bong Soon is that she’s perfectly ordinary so you can relate to her but at the same time she is special so she inspires you. This is a simple yet beautiful character you cannot help but love. Having faced problems because of her strength growing up, she could never really concentrate on her studies and is always labeled a troublemaker by her mother. She is an admirable character with great morals and a depth that is surprising for someone most would call a loser. I think her biggest strength is not physical but her spirit that refuses to be defeated. Even after all her failures she holds onto her dream of being a game developer and wants to be appreciated for her brains not brawn. She knows she must hide her power but she doesn’t hesitate to help those in need. Her small stature makes her the target of ridicule by bullies quite often when she stands up for others but she holds back her strength until they cross her limits. Do Bong Soon is cute, funny, straightforward, smart, brave, warm-hearted, sweet and generous. She is no pushover despite her kindness and full of sass as she continues to call out Min Hyuk on his bullshit.
Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Sik)
I first saw Park Hyung Sik in Hwarang (K-drama) and later in Return of Superman (TV show). It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to be totally charmed by him and he’s easily the prettiest man alive. Don’t assume that his looks got him this far because he’s actually an impressive actor. I guess it’s easier to play a spoiled rich brat when you are swimming in dough but he really brings each unique character to life no matter how similar they appear. Min Hyuk is a self-made man since he left his home to start his own company, Ainsoft. He seems carefree because of the lifestyle he displays to others but he has a lot to deal with. His hard work and intelligence built his company and it’s obvious his employees love him. As Do Bong Soon discovers, he is a lonely sensitive guy who conceals his reality behind the vain laidback CEO image.
In Gook Doo (Kim Ji Soo)
Mr. Goody Two Shoes, In Gook Doo, is a tough cop who takes his job very seriously. His protective nature is evident especially with Do Bong Soon, whose feelings he’s clueless about yet cares for her deeply. He is hot tempered and acts rashly at times but he’s great at his job. He’s brave, fierce and willing to do whatever he takes to catch criminals. His passion for his job stems from his genuine care for others. That’s his biggest plus in my opinion. Although he has zero sense of humor and not the best boyfriend, Gook Doo, is a kind soul. You could call him a manly man but that isn’t always a good thing. He finds it hard to express his feelings for others and acts extremely territorial. He is stubborn and proud not to mention he has the worst timing ever.
There are several secondary characters that have their own importance in the drama. The most notable ones are Do Bong Soon’s mother, who constantly complains of her failures though she cares. Her father dotes on her but is always dominated by his wife so doesn’t do much about her mother’s behavior. She has a twin brother who is older than her and a doctor. Gook Doo’s girlfriend had a significant role so far and is expected to be more prominent in the future. Do Bong Soon’s bestie is exactly what you would want in a friend: loyal to the core. Min Hyuk’s problematic family consists of three half brothers, his step mother and his biological father. Do Bong Soon gains the loyalty of the local school gang that turns a new leaf at her advice. The thugs she beats up in the first episode are part of a gang we see quite often. They are a funny bunch and their leader has links to a few other characters. They are a minor threat as compared to the big bad serial kidnapper and murderer. He is definitely my favorite villain to date in K-dramas. He is scary, merciless, totally psycho, violent, super smart and highly unpredictable. We get to see him work and the victims quite often as she continues to terrorize the neighborhood. Kim Won Hae plays a double role both characters being leagues apart from each other in nature. He did an amazing job and I hope we see more of him in the coming episodes.
K-dramas have the best romance and this one particularly special though romance is not the main theme. I must say the romance here fits quite well with the thrill, action, mystery, comedy, etc. which is not an easy thing to do. We have a love triangle but there are other characters involved as well so there are many twists and turns.
Do Bong Soon has had a crush on Gook Doo since she first laid eyes on him but has never confessed her feelings to him. Gook Doo has no idea about this and thinks of her as only a childhood friend. Will that change? 😉 As she is put in increasingly dangerous situations, he is forced to face the truth about his feelings.
Min Hyuk’s feelings are a bit hard to pinpoint but it’s clear that he adores her even though he misses no chance to annoy her. His heart is attached to a faceless woman who saved his life years ago. Watching their friendship grow is a true delight. They butt heads all the time and diss each other but underneath all that bickering is genuine affection. Do Bong Soon maybe the bodyguard but Min Hyuk is very protective of her and he respects her feelings for Gook Doo, which won my heart. I love how Min Hyuk sees right through her when others might have disregarded her inner turmoil.
There is a third ship that deserves mention: Min Hyuk and Gook Doo. Everyone is under the impression that Min Hyuk is gay and hired a female bodyguard to keep his reputation intact. Of course, Min Hyuk enjoys making Do Bong Soon jealous by telling her how hot he finds Gook Doo.
There is a ridiculous amount of competition between these two men and their scenes together are always hilarious. I hope we see some bromance blossom between these two in future episodes. I think the change of heart many characters experience was very well done and makes the romance believable.
What stands out?
There’s a lot to love about his drama. The casting is on point, the acting is amazing, the action sequences are slick and often funny, characters you can relate to, stories you want to follow, relationships you root for, great storytelling, a villain you admire and fear simultaneously, terrific makeup and styling, meaningful themes, complex characters with gray areas, superb chemistry, total eye candy, thrilling scenes, intriguing mystery and much more.
What bothered me?
There are some things that had me wondering why? The first thing is how Do Bong Soon’s mother treats her. She keeps breaking down her self esteem, sets a bad example of a marriage for her kids, keeps comparing her to her twin brother and misuses her position all the while telling her daughter how she shouldn’t use her power or she would be stripped of them like she was in her youth. Despite the security measures in the neighborhood, the kidnappings occur so frequently. I confess I have little patience for friends that are ignorant of the feelings their friends have for them. Even Min Huyk tells Do Bong Soon that she’s very obvious about her crush but Gook Doo never suspected even though he dates women. I was dying of Second Lead Syndrome after Hwarang and this just pushed me further to root for Min Hyuk. K-dramas are notorious for torturing viewers with teasing romantic scenes which bother me and don’t. I just thought I’d point it out if you are not accustomed to slow burn torture.
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Do Bong Soon’s bestie became a target for the kidnapper but she saved her friend in time. He came back for her only once but then gave up.
No K-drama would be complete without a hit OST. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon does not disappoint. The songs are beautiful and have perfect placement to “shake your heart” (I’m sorry I just had to. I still don’t understand the correct meaning of this translation. Hopefully, learning some more Korean will help). You’re My Garden, performed by Jung Eun Ji of Apink, is a haunting melody that you want to sing along to and it fits the drama so well. Heartbeat is sweet romantic song made sweeter by the vocals of Shin Suran. It’s the ultimate BGM to play when you’re falling in love. How Would It Be by Standing Egg is a lovely composition that reflects the changing feelings of the characters towards possible romance. Kim Chung Ha, formerly of I.O.I, sung a cute number titled Pit-a-Pat that will surely put a smile on your face. MAMAMOO recorded a cool fast paced track, Double Trouble Couple, that pairs wonderfully with all the action sequences. The most fantastic news is that Park Hyung Sik, who debuted with ZE:A in 2010, is rumored to be recording a song for this drama too besides being the male lead.
My favorite scenes
I couldn’t let finish this review without sharing some of my favorite scenes in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon.
Are you watching Strong Woman Do Bong Soon or are you tempted to watch it?
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Do Bong Soon carrying Ahn Min Hyuk after he gets grazed by a metal pellet and acts all dramatic
Amusement part sort-of date where Do Bong Soon shows Min Hyuk how to have a great time on thrilling rides
The last scene so far is the most emotionally loaded and a relief for those who ship Min Hyuk with Bong Soon.
When Min Hyuk and Gook Do are too drunk to consider their sexual orientations.
The moment our hearts stopped beating when Min Hyuk took the hit for Bong Soon
(Credit: A koalas playground)
Disclaimer: None of these images or gifs belong to me. Full credit to the rightful owners