I seem to be taking in a lot of shows that have to do with death and the afterlife lately, between my review of Death Parade and this week’s K-Drama review, Master’s Sun I think I might have to take a break and focus on some other genres for a while. I’m all for supernatural stories and tales of ghosts but too much of a good thing can still be bad. It seems however, that I have found an answer to last week’s bleak outlook with Master’s Sun.
Here’s The Basic Gist
The show involves an unfortunate insomniac Tae Gong Sil, who has the ability to see spirits. Finding herself unwillingly popular with every spook in sight, Tae Gong Sil leads a reclusive, isolated life. Living in fear of every ghost that pops up and scares her she has a chance encounter with Joong Wong, a self-made millionaire and the owner of shopping mall conglomerate, Kingdom. Tae Gong Sil is immediately drawn to Joong Wong, who unknowingly possesses the ability to render Tae Gong Sil’s psychic abilities null when he touches her. Desperate for a respite from taking care of the unfinished business of wandering souls, and in need of a nap, Tae Gong Sil desperately clings to Joong Wong. He of (course) a skeptic in all things spiritual, being a pragmatic businessman thinks she’s crazy (and let’s face it, anyone needing a nap desperately generally is a little crazy). Through sheer force of will Tae Gong Sil invents opportunities to be near him (a girl needs her beauty sleep after all) which irritates and annoys Joong Wong until she solves a mystery involving one of his clients who is being troubled by a spirit. This sets the stage for the remainder of the show and the development of these two characters over the 17 episode show.
Because it’s a K-Drama as you can expect there is a love triangle (dare I say, double love triangle) and many opportunities for “Awww” moments. There are also moments you’ll cry your eyes out, because passed souls especially those with unfinished business can have terribly tragic business to finish. This show balances the light and dark very well, generally focusing on the satisfaction that comes from helping souls move on. Like My Love From The Star , Master’s Sun features an unusual heroine, one who is skittish, apprehensive, a little neurotic with a dash of crazy, while still remaining likable. Joong Wong, however, remains true to most K-Drama chaebol stereotypes, being cold, aloof, and a bit of a jerk. His personal history regarding some trauma from his teen years slowly draws him closer to Tae Gong Sil, being equal parts fascinated and aggravated by her. His devotion once hooked is, however, incredibly well done.
The Good Stuff
Character development is reasonably well. Both start out with flaws and those flaws are softened or worked through by the end of the show in a way that is noticeable for the viewer which is satisfying. I would say there is a section of the show towards the end where I felt that Tae Gong Sil slips too far the other way from being overly dependent to almost cold in the way Joong Wong was, but as all is rectified by show’s end no permanent harm was done to her as a character I felt (but hey if you disagree, give me a shout in the comments). The stories of the spirits that come into Tae Gong Sil’s life are interesting varied and do not get tiresome.
The Meh Stuff
There is one massive plot hole that bugged me regarding a pivotal moment in Master’s Sun, which I felt was the strangest way to move the plot forward but as it contains major spoilers I’ll skip it and just warn you that it’s there. I also feel like the resolution of the final status between Joong Wong and Tae Gong Sil took way too long. Perhaps it’s just because I’m impatient but it felt after a certain point they just needed to stretch it to make it to the very end of the show. That frustrated me a bit but at that point I was pretty heavily invested in finishing it.
The Stuff That Makes The Other Stuff Worth It
Perhaps what I liked most of this show is the very unexpected pro-life message that comes at the tail end of the show when a character finds out she is unexpectedly pregnant and unsure of what to do about it. Tae Gong Sil’s response is probably the simplest most beautiful statement about choosing life I’ve seen in a show yet:
“Even if you’ve made a difficult decision there is a chance things will get harder. Embracing someone with love doesn’t always guarantee happiness. The one thing I can guarantee is that if you choose love you’ll never feel lonely.”
And when you look at the show as a whole you see this pattern of Tae Gong Sil doing the difficult thing and choosing to help those who are suffering and in need of help moving on, often complicating and causing chaos in her life. Yet she values them, even though no one else can see them. So too when speaking about the unborn she is honest about the difficulties that are faced by mom’s who choose life, there are no guarantees, except that love can fill one’s life with purpose and meaning, so that you are never alone, even when life gets difficult.
For that sentiment alone I heartily recommend Master’s Sun. It is refreshing to see human life valued, pre-birth, during life, and even after death. You’ll love the show for so many reasons, but the value it places on life was the thing that did it for me.
It’s currently streaming on DramaFever and the Viki app.