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Cain & Abel

I recently finished the Korean drama Cain & Abel, which starred one of my favorite actors, So Ji Sub. Initially, I think it was some time last year, when this series was first announced, I wasn't interested in the story at all. The original plot was about the rivalry between a gangster and his brother who is a detective (go figure!). Well, we've heard and seen (or at least, I have) about this kind of plotlines all the time - in music videos, story books, dramas, that it sounded a little cliche. Thus, the slight disinterest. Besides, I wasn't really into the original cast list (except for So Ji Sub who was the only main cast who remained after the production was put on hold indefinitely for reasons I wasn't really interested to find out, since I wasn't interested in the series anyway). In the end, I'm glad they changed the plotline. Instead of going for detective-gangster brothers rivalry, they showcase two talented brothers as surgeons, who of course, fall for the same woman (as expected) before another female lead comes in and completes the square.

The downside to that however, is the whole story becomes seemingly too much given the hospital backdrop, to the point when I sometimes thought, "Geez, this is getting ridiculous". There are loopholes or inconclusive points (or maybe i just missed them???) like who treated Ji Sub's injury when he was saved from the desert, where did his seemingly heart surgery scar came from etc etc. Anyway, the main plot is about two brothers (not blood-related. SJS was adopted but their close relationship was the envy of others) who love each other, but then one goes to kill the other for the sake of building a neurology center and getting the girl. Some episodes (especially the earlier ones) got very bloody, that has nothing to do with surgery - gunshots in a desert, gunshots in a jungle, get beaten in prison, and so on and so forth. If it's a gangster series, then it's more like it. To give it credit, the drama did show, in between those bloody scenes, some interesting surgical procedures that for someone like me, looked convincing enough. Throughout the series, there were never-ending murder attempts, and that what makes me think it was too much. How far people will go because of their greed and jealousy (and stupidity!). And that when you did a bad thing once, you just have to do another to cover it up, and then another, and another. So there's really no end to it unless you said to self that enough is enough and it's time to face the music and surrender. It was a drama with beautiful execution and great acting, but I would never have expected with a hospital background that such ugly politics and deeds are done by people who are supposedly saving lives, going behind the scenes of daily medical operations. It's paradoxical. To most of them, everything is about fame and money. Being the best is not about helping people, but about getting more recognition and more wealth. It's a sickening thought.

I do praise the leads though. Like I mentioned, the surgeries look really convincing. I think So Ji Sub and Shin Hyun Joon did a very good job. So Ji Sub's character is a doctor with a big heart. Always care for others, really fun person. What's good is that, he seems to play his character effortlessly. You don't see him being nice as forced or acting. It seems real. And Shin Hyun Joon is very charismatic. As for Han Ji min, though I found her accent a little annoying (but that's really in line with her character, so what can I say), she's awesome, as always. In some of her previous dramas, despite good acting, I did have a hard time with her overall make-up and appearance, like in Capital Scandal. In this series however, I was glad that she remained looking natural and pretty. Her character, Young Ji, was nicer to look at than the supposedly prettier counterpart, Kim Seo Yeon, played by Chae Jung Ahn. Han Ji Min is really petite and her standing beside the tall and well-built So Ji Sub is really a cute scene to behold. Instead of Han Ji Min being overshadowed by his huge physical presence, these two actually complement each other. They are such a cute couple. As for Chae Jung Ahn, again she played a typical sweet and ladylike character, which is suitable for her, but didn't excite me much. I don't usually find such character appealing in real life either, so it's not really her fault.

Overall, what makes me enjoy this series, despite the hard-to-comprehend major storyline (I just still can't believe things like this could happen in reality, since this is not a fantasy series like, let's say, A 1000 Years of Love), is the beautiful execution and awesome acting. Most scenes are nicely done and very professional (compare that with crappy Boys Before Flowers. Sigh!). The side characters/stories are fun to watch. The ending was satisfactory. I mean, I don't really go what-the-heck or bleh! by the end of it so it was okay I suppose. Also, the OST is beautiful. I was very happy that the English subtitle (thank you WITHS2!!!) comes with translations to the lyrics of the songs that were being played in the background, which add meanings and feelings to the scene.


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