Review – Who Are You (2013)

Review – Who Are You (2013)

So simple.  So small.  So satisfying.  This drama knows its place in the middle, making itself the “just right” cozy bed for Goldie Locks.  It’s a compact little cupcake of a mystery-romance with a low-calorie supernatural sugar coating.  It’s not enough to make a meal of.  It’s just a tasty little treat.

Like a paper back romance you take to the beach with the full intention of leaving it behind in the hotel – you’ll enjoy this drama if you don’t have high expectations.

Overall Rating – 7.5/10

SPOILERS FOLLOW

This drama revolves around a cop, So E Hyun, who wakes up after a six year coma to discover she can see the dead.  Well, not too many… just about a hand full.  Mainly, she can see her ex-boyfriend who was killed the night she disappeared into coma-land.  It takes her about half the show to remember him, though.

While she’s recuperating, she’s sent to lead the small team in the police departments Lost & Found unit.  That’s right… basically she guards a storage room.

With her is our male lead, TaecYeon, who’s also shuffled to the dead letter office to pay for some misconduct in the crime squad.  He’s a feisty little lanky thing with cute big ears and a goofy smile.  You can’t help but like the guy.

The other two employees of the Lost & Found are two young policemen just starting their service.  They’re adorable as the responsibility-shirking upstarts who serve only as comic relief.

Oh, and a dash of side-romance.  One of our young policemen finds himself falling for the local shamen gal who is played by none other than the gloriously plucky Kim Ye Won.

Memory loss cop lady will attempt to piece together the mystery behind the night of her coma-inducing accident while the baddies will attempt to stop her.  While this is happening the young goofy policeman will fall for her, her dead ex-boyfriend will serenely stalk her, and everything will eventually wrap itself up nicely in a bow.

And that’s it.  No more and no less.

Though this drama is set in a city, it is so insular that it feels as if it were shot on a back lot.  There are hardly any scenes involving… other humans, dead or otherwise.  The non-population is very similar to Master’s Sun, which also involved an “I see dead people!” gal.  There’s not a lot of traffic, not a lot of people walking or shopping in the background, not a lot of noise.  Just the small cast, moving in and out of the scenes as if they are ghosts themselves, haunting a previously life-filled world.  This doesn’t detract from the show, however.  In fact it works in its favor.  You don’t get distracted by pesky reality.  There are no other female cops to compare our lead female too, for example, which is a very wise move as our female lead is kinda a sucky cop.  Actually, she’s a terrible cop.  She leaves her cell phone everywhere.  She follows known murderers into isolated areas without bothering to tell anyone or have back up ready.  She lets her emotions rule her, even if that overrules the law (she shot a child molester in the first few episodes… just popped his ass.  Not that he didn’t have it coming, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t standard police procedure).  She’s not good at fighting.  She’s not a great shot.  She’s not even very good at solving crimes.  Thankfully she has the dead to help her out.

As the cast is very small, you grow very familiar with them quickly.  There’s the four cops in the Lost & Found.  You’ll get so used to seeing their small office and the dark storage room you almost feel as if you are an employee yourself… haunting the show, perhaps.  There’s a few more familiar faces that are supervisors.  And there’s the always pleasant if not slightly strange Kim Chang-Wan who not only gets to play his usual friendly self but enjoys a small detour into the land of crooked cop and bad guy.

Making him the bad guy seemed too awkward for even the writers, who quickly loop-holed him out of his crimes and gave him a redeeming ending.

The suspense is very light, as you never really fear for the heroine or the hero.  This isn’t Heartless City, after all.  You know instinctively that nothing bad will happy to the puppy cop and his blank-faced love.  So E-Hyun wasn’t given a lot to work with in this role.  She didn’t really have to act scared of the ghosts.  She didn’t have to be a badass cop or even a love-sick female.  She just had to act vague and confused.  So, well done casting directors.  This was the right actress for this role.

Overall, it was just a compare-and-contrast story between her current love interest and her old love interest.  As stupidly simple as this sounds, it was relaxing and enjoyable for me.  The living boyfriend was charming.  I liked watching him talk to himself in the mirror.  I liked all his silly gestures and lip biting and second-guessing himself as he woos his mysterious pretty boss.  He definitely seemed younger than her – both in age and maturity level – but I still didn’t get that distinctive “Noona-Romance” after taste that so many romances involving age differences leave behind.  They were a cute couple and I liked watching them come together.

I also liked her dead boyfriend.

They looked like a more traditional couple, in many ways.

A traditional supermodel couple.  They both looked really beautiful all the time, enjoying perfect lighting and the confidence of a “natural look” that only comes out of two hour hair and makeup sessions (and good DNA).  Kim Jae Wook is simply stunning… and we all know he can cry (rewatch Bad Guy).  In this drama, he got to be more reserved… as in many of the scenes he didn’t speak.  He just stared longingly after his living love.  All the backflashes that revealed their past relationship were like pretty music video scenes.  And Kim Jae Wook finally got to show off his pearly whites.  He’s smiling and giddy with love… well, he was when he was alive, at least.  Our lead actress also looks best when smiling – playing a happy character seems most natural for her.  Definitely brightened her otherwise dim bulb.

It’s not complicated.  It’s just an indulgent treat.  Unlike most mediocre romances, I actually watched every episode of this short 16 episode series.  The pacing was just fast enough to keep me interested and just slow enough to keep me comfortable.  Recommended for viewing after either a very silly romance or a very serious romance.  It will taste better if you’ve just gorged on a more filling drama before.

 

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