Title: 하녀들 / Maids
Also Known as: Servants / House Maids
Genre: Historical, Romance
Broadcast network: jTBC
Where to watch: Dramafever
Broadcast period: Dec, 2014 to Feb 2015
DramaFever synopsis: “Three women learn what love means as they try to navigate through the class system and survive.” What drew me in was the "maids" storyline, the ascension up the social ladder and sudden descent. Unfortunately, if, like me, you came for that, you will ultimately be disappointed.
the three rs
REVIEW (Character, Plot):
*MILD SPOILERS (episode 2 upwards) HERE ON OUT.
Ga Hee (the Gisaeng): A brilliant strategist who, throughout the show, played all sides to her advantage. She is one of the three women spoken of in the synopsis yet (in continuing this show's inability/unwillingness to abandon a sinking love triangle) she was relegated--until the last episode--into a piece to be thrown back and forth in the background. I wished we'd seen more of her.
Dan Ji: I think she was also one of the three. Her story is more consistent and we see as she changed from a naive girl into a (slightly more) responsible young woman. Heck, if this show was just Dan Ji, the remaining servants, and their antics, I wouldn't mind.
Which brings me to...
3) In Yub (AKA doll/rag), her noble idiocy, lack of agency, and the shoe-in love triangle (encompassing the two male leads, Eun Ki and Moo Myung).
In Yub: Of the three, her story closely resembles the synopsis the most (Ga Hee's love for Moo Myung went no where). Unfortunately (something that's becoming my go-to for this show) she went no where. Okay, she went everywhere, but she ended back where she was. There was no progress. She was a floundering doll dragged wherever her male love interest felt would "protect" her. A stalemate that kept getting staler until it becomes a formula: In Yub (or someone else) does something; she gets captured/threatened; Moo Myung or Eun Ki saves her. Rinse, repeat and kick me off this ride. After the surrogate storyline, any suspense that she might be in mortal danger was gone. Especially after episode 14. Also, isn't it convenient how she just overhears every important conversation that is pertinent to the ongoing situation? Episode 19, I'm looking at you.
The main love triangle had no chemistry and it was painful to watch In Yub dragged back and forth without any consideration for her as a person with agency. Seriously, “Give her to me?” What is she, a doll? It's not love when both love interest fail to ask her what SHE wants or even think about it.
Eun Ki was an idiot. I felt for him until he decided his “love” was more precious than In Yub staying under the radar from her owner (the surrogate storyline--episode 8, 9, and 10--fueled by his stupidity). Everything after that was unnecessary filler. We. Get. It. Just...grow up and move along.
Nothing to say for Moo Myung except can someone please get that rat off his head? Also, your face is not concrete, move it.
The decayed cherry on the problematic pie, though, was the one year skip at the end. That development was what I wanted to watch. How they got from point A to B. Why was it condensed to a mere four minutes? What does it say about a show when its major character developments happen off-screen?
Conclusion: This show suffered from a waste of potential, leading to a banal second half which nearly obliterated the brilliance of the first half. A passionless love triangle and repetitive storyline contributed to its decline.
4 for the first half, 1 for the later half.
Result: a warm reception.
Depends. The great cinematography, actors and the story line of the first half nearly makes up for the dastardly ending.