What is amazing about this drama, after the first 10 episodes, I wanted to shoot the lead female, Baek Yaya and drop this drama like it was a hot potato! Little did I know that by episode 60, I was totally in love with this drama and had a better respect for Yaya. They say knowing is understanding but also a little pain brings forth common sense! That is what has transpired as you watch this drama. Writing that has been tightly woven and a revenge that at times hurts your heart but at the same time you understand. That is Apgujeong Midnight Sun in a nutshell!
Written by Im Sung Han (Princess Aurora, New Tales of Gisaeng, Assorted Gems, and Dear Heaven) and directed by Bae Han Chun and Choi Joon Bae
Kang Eun Tak as Jang Hwa Uhm
Hwa-um is a producer at a cable TV station. He is a responsible family man who has no interest in other women except for his wife. He lives a disciplined life caring about what other people think of him and he does not let his guard down often. However, when he is around with close friends, he can be very relaxed and speak freely about himself.
Park Ha Na as Baek Ya / Baek Sun Jong
After graduating from art school, she has been devoting herself to a career as an artist. Both of her parents have passed away when she was young and the only family she has left is her brother whom she is very attached to. She gets jealous of her sister-in-law, Hyo-gyung, whenever she sees her brother doing any household chores or just helping out Hyo-gyung. Baekya is a calculating person with a strong ego who has to have everything done her way and she will do whatever it takes to reach her goals.
Baek Ok Dam as Yook Sun Ji
Sun-ji is a well-mannered young lady but can be very aggressive when she pursues a guy she likes. She is a romantic person who thinks love is the most important thing in life. She became close friends with Baekya when she went to art school, and now works at the same studio. She is a sharp debater who never loses an argument but often loses the control of herself upon few drinks.
Song Won Geun as Jang Moo Uhm
Moo-um is an assistant producer at HBN, a cable TV station. He takes advantage of the weak while bending to the will of strong personalities. At home, he is a dutiful grandson to his grandmother and cracks jokes with her like an old friend. But around friends and coworkers, he acts like a spoiled and arrogant trust fund baby. He is afraid of his brother, Hwa-um, who is his boss at work, so he is more or less obedient to him.
credit: MBC Global
Rest of Cast
Kim Min Soo as Jo Na Dan
Lee Joo Hyun as Yook Sun Joong
Geum Dan Bi as Kim Hyo Kyung
Im Chae Moo as Jang Choo Jang
Park Hye Sook as Moon Jung Ae
Jung Hye Sun as Ok Dan Shil
Shim Hyung Tak as Baek Young Joon
Kim Young Ran as Oh Dal Ran
Hwang Jung Seo as Jo Ji Ah
Han Jin Hee as Jo Jang Hoon
Lee Bo Hee as Seo Eun Ha
Oh Ki Chan as Ban Suk
A family drama about four families based in the entertainment industry. It will revolve around work life at a TV network and young people who believe in destiny as whether a man and a woman become lovers or enemies depends on a fateful encounter.
**SPOILERS at a minimum**
It is not that often that a character can do a total 360 degree turn whereby you go from hating the air they breath to coming to liking them a lot more than before and definitely understand (but not necessarily condone) what they are doing in their pursuit for revenge. This basically sums up my feelings on Baek Ya or Yaya as she is affectionately called by all in the drama. I admit that in the beginning I despised this woman with a passion. I despised her for her treatment of her brother who loved her dearly; I despised her even more for her treatment and disdain for her sister in law, Hyo Kyung who I saw as a angel; a pregnant angel at that. I despised her for her jealousy of said sister in law that was so disturbing that I couldn’t see myself continuing this drama. I’m already suffering in silence with Stormy Woman, why continue suffering yet again with another daily?
However, it took the death of her brother, Young Joon, for Yaya to not only grow up but also change dramatically from a spoiled and selfish brat to a woman bent on revenge… and I must say, the writer is doing a HELL of a job on that front as of now. We started watching this drama full time in our free moments 2 weeks ago and 54 episodes later, I can report that this is turning out to be one damn good drama!
Make no mistake, Yaya is justified in her reasons for going after her birth mother, Seo Eun Ha who abandoned her children, let’s just forget about the husband (common law or not), she left her children! She left for a better life and began raising her husband’s children in such a loving manner that when you see it and realize her connection to Yaya, it will make sense why Yaya feels the way she does. Seo Eun Ha is technically responsible for her son’s death as the man was so devastated by his mother’s utter dismissal of his and Yaya’s existence, that he literally walked into a car resulting in his instant death. The fact that Yaya was privy to their conversation made it even more disgusting as you listen to this woman tell her son to “forget about her”, “act like they are strangers”; to a son that missed his mother dearly and knowing how much his sister missed because she never even knew her!
But with all revenges, there are the guilty as well as the innocent that are affected and therein lies the problem; the innocent in the form of Na Dan, an absolutely wonderful and sweet man who has the unfortunate luck of being her mother’s step son and Yaya’s object of revenge.
In using Na Dan, that seems to be the biggest problem that we have. The more we get to see and hear from Na Dan, the more we really have regret for him. Even though Yaya has nothing but respect for him, she doesn’t love him and is basically using him in her revenge. Yeah, not cool, not cool at all. It really puts a slight damper in some of the enjoyment of Yaya’s revenge. Please writer-Im, leave him blissfully ignorant of what is going on…
Also rare to a drama is when you care less about who is the perceived OTP and more for the secondary relationship, as it builds, of other characters. Case in point is Sun Joong (affectionately referred to as artist bro) and Hyo Kyung (SIL). Hyo Kyung deserves some happiness at this point. Widowed at an early age and while pregnant was devastating enough but also right now, her son, Junso, is not in her care at the moment because of a decision that Yaya made which at first I felt was harsh but later when Yaya changed her way of thinking from Hyo Kyung being torn away from her son as a permanent arrangement to a temporary one, allowing Hyo Kyung to get back on her feet, I felt better and my feeling for Yaya definitely changed at that moment. It is with wonder that as we watch the slow (and obvious) attraction that both Sun Joong and Hyo Kyung have for each other, it is also nice that Yaya has also hopes for them too. However, no relationship in K-dramas comes easy and the future conflicts will definitively come from Sun Joong’s mother and bratty sister,Sun Ji.
The writer has effectively channeled those thoughts into our head with a scene here and there especially with a big concern that Sun Joong/Sun Ji’s mother has with Hyo Kyung staying in the artist loft where Sun Joong works and Hyo Kyung now works as his assistant. As we can expect, there will be a lot of private moments between these two in the future and I’m looking forward to it.
The obvious or perceived second OTP is none other than Sun Ji (Yaya’s friend) and Moo Uhm (Yaya’s friend/brother). Sadly, while I don’t dislike either of these characters (yet), I really have very little interest in these two. It is an obvious pairing and they probably will have the least amount of backlash as he is a second son. She’s bratty and he can be a card at times but most of the time he is very likable. I imagine, well maybe, in a few episodes their love relationship will begin and maybe then I might garner some interest but right now, I care less.
So, I’m sure you are wondering “Who is the main OTP?” As I stated before, Yaya is about to get married to poor, sweet Na Dan and you’d have to be blind, crippled and crazy not to realize by now how much Hwa Uhm is in love with Yaya and she actually reciprocates but she is also an optimist as she never thought his family would go along with a relationship between them! So I give it to her for being smart! So, this brings us back to how will this two get together? Has the writer changed her mind with only two weeks left to the marriage date? Writer Im is now notorious for killing off her actors. One down, is there another in sight?
Unfortunately, Writer-Im has a hard road to climb on getting me interested in these after the wonderful scenes with Na Dan with Yaya. I find their interactions to be dry as dirt and very uninteresting. The two together have had some very nice scenes mostly when one was drunk and the other was hiding. This doesn’t bode well for the future for me caring about them.
One Last Thing
I applaud Writer-Im for showing us two older couples in great relationships! Both families, Jo’s and Jang’s are very strong and loving couples. It is so rare to see so much cuddling and real life interaction between married couples. It always makes me happy because it truly is a rarity in K-dramas. Most parents are so stoic and straight lace. From these couples (especially the Jo’s), you will see some wonderful and pretty funny scenes (I won’t spoil those, sorry).
Final Verdict: Should You Watch?
Good question. If you are a lover of the daily dramas, I’d say yes. Up to episode 70, I can truthfully say that this has been a very solid drama. Unfortunately, the latest news is that this drama has been extended from 120-149 episodes (mercy!)! I don’t believe I would have enjoyed this drama as much if I wasn’t watching it with English subs. I believe the subbing enhances the watching and there has been some pretty poignant conversations that without the English subs would have been lost to us non-Korean speaking viewers. So, is Writer-Im putting together a good drama as a mea culpa for that mess that was called “Princess Aurora“? I think so. As I said, it has been solid and there has been some great (and too long) scenes in some of the turning point episodes but it has been well worth the 35 plus hours spent watching it (So far…).
Where to watch
The only game in town is on ondemandkorea.com; no where else. They are consistently remaining 2 weeks behind on subs but the videos are available within an hour of broadcast. If this website isn’t available in your country, there are some very good and detailed recaps on soompi as well as many sites carrying the raw videos. Check it out!