This article is not mine but… I like it so much. The source of the link is in the end of this article.
I think for anyone here to enjoy a traditional K-drama, it makes sense that you’re losing interest because this drama isn’t your typical series. Particularly more so if you’re not Korean and not at all invested in the North-South relations. But in my opinion, based on the first four episodes, this is the most well-written, well-acted, realistic (in terms of emotions, not necessarily plot) series I have seen since “Rebirth/Resurrection” (부활, circa 2005 with Uhm Taewoong and Han Jimin).
First, the black comedy. Now, when the director and writer mentioned that TK2H would be a black comedy, I had my doubts. I mean, it isn’t an easy genre to pull off – especially with the Korean audience who aren’t used to that particular kind of humor. And honestly, I didn’t really see the dark comedy aspects until the third and fourth episodes. There are hints of it in the third, but it really hits big in the fourth with the SNSD sequence in the lecture room. (Spoiler head if you haven’t watched episode 4) You have a room full of military officers pointing guns at each other, so tensely wound that one wrong move could start the second Korean War, with Eun Sikyung panicking in the security office and ready to turn on the sprinklers to save JUST Jae-ha’s life, and the scene becomes this realistic portrayal of the North-South Korean relations of the present — and suddenly you hear the SNSD ringtone. And just like that, the viewer lets out this nervous giggle because it’s hilarious (“we bring the boys out”) but LOOK AT ALL THE GUNS. That scene was pure genius. This series has my loyalty for that one scene alone. (And the bird was a beautiful touch.)
Second, this is not just a story about a South Korean prince marrying a North Korean agent. This is about South Korea and North Korea. I know, it sounds simple and obvious, but it’s actually not . Take the treadmill scene for example. You have a boy and girl bickering to no end until they finally decide to settle matters in the gym. You think it’s to develop the love-hate relationship of the OTP, and in the end, it seems like a strange parody of “Speed” (minus Keanu), and afterwards you might have thought, “Okay, why did they spend so much time on that scene? And what’s with the singing?” But the moment the two stepped onto the treadmills, they weren’t just Hang-ah and Jae-ha; they were North Korea and South Korea. My interpretation was that they were the representation of the precarious situation between North and South for the last sixty years. You have two halves of one peninsula stubbornly, bitterly fighting to best each other. They’re far from being on equal grounds; North Korea is struggling to keep up (Hang-ah’s hurt ankle). They’re fighting to see who can come out on top in the end, but in actuality, if one dies, the other does, too, as Jae-ha points out. It isn’t about self-preservation, for our characters or for their analogous counterparts; it’s about surviving together. (Side note for the songs: the first one “Apartment” (아파트) is about always being welcome in your lover’s home after you face the world; the second “Meeting” (만남) talks about the fateful connection between two people)
I could go on and on about why I love this series and the raw emotions it bares before the viewers (when Jae-ha shot the gun, it was the most unexpected, realistic reaction I’ve seen in a long time in Korean television), but my post is already long-winded enough so I’ll save that for another day.
Conclusion: full marks for TK2H, the love story between two countries that should be one.