Today Jacqueline and I begin our, if not glorious, then hopefully at least better than The Village, trip into Signal. We both have been really, really excited about this drama and have been hoping so hard that it’s as good as we think it’s going to be. And if these first two episodes are any judge? We’re off to an awesome start.
Stephanie: I have one thing to say. I want to make out with this show SO HARD.
Jacqueline: I have TWO things to say; I wanna make out with this show and have its babies and grow old and die with it! Okay, so that’s three things. I suck at math, sue me. BUT CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT HOW THIS SHOW IS SO RICH WITH PLOT AND CHARACTER AND STORY THAT I CAN’T EVEN!?
Stephanie: You know what? I think this show is everything that The Village wanted to be and yet failed so horribly at. Immediately we have intriguing and compelling characters, the supernatural elements are just enough and the music is awesome yet creepy. Production of The Village Please Take Note. This is (potentially) how you do a drama.
Jacqueline: I am scared as shitting-kittens that this thing is gonna hurt my trusting fangirl heart by the end, but two hours invested and I’m already blown away with the characterization and pacing! Those are two BIIIIIIIG issues for me in dramas, yet this baby got me sucked in with a cool, tough heroine, and two males leads in which I am all of the interested! But can we TALK about how damn fun the time traveling shenanigans were!? Maybe it’s just me being ignorant, but I didn’t realize, and subsequently now love, that this drama isn’t just time-shifting to one past…but multiple!
Stephanie: LAUGH. First off, I spent the entire episode saying I fudging love this show, I fudging love this show—there may have even been a song or two inspired by my love for it. The time travel shenanigans are so well done! (And unfortunately, shows that I can not snuggle with the cat while watching as I looked away for a second, a second I say, and missed the whole plot point about them going further back into the past!) With that one twist it took what I thought this show was going to be about and twisted it on it’s ear—not to mention confusing the crap out of me. Wait, what? They are going back to 1989? How? Why? How is the guy from the present going to convince him? He’ll be a baby! But the turn about was pretty freaking brilliant.
Jacqueline: I was actually kind of poop-pants terrified the whole thing was gonna be about one case. I had it Sherlock Holmes-ed deduced that was gonna be the game plan, and I am SO glad I was wrong, because one case gets kinda dull after 20 hours, just sayin’. But these time travel elements have my damn heart dancing with endorphins. There are so many unanswered question, namely how is it that Mr. Past Officer not only KNEW he was going to have contact with Mr. Future Officer, but knew it to down to the specific year? Is this time era jumping going to happen again? Methinks so, since all our main characters are now reassigned to the same cold case unit. Are these cases gonna link back like dominoes to the ones Mr. Past Officer was connected to, and be subsequently solved? HOLY GOD, SO MANY HAPPY BRAIN-GASMS RIGHT NOW AHHH!
Stephanie: Although, with the “We don’t know when she died,” I know we have not seen the end of the kidnapped girl. In my brainspace I see them as using present and past to save her, then she doesn’t die, she grows up, marries the boy and they live happily un-emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives. With Babies. I do give the show a bit of a side eye with the bit about the detective knowing he was going to be going into the past, exactly when, and that he knew the other guy on the other end of the connection was going to have to help. I’m not sure why that makes it all a little less believable–because–you know, magical walkie talkies were already totes believable.
Jacqueline: That’s what I WANT to happen, but I feel like that case was our jumping off point. It’d be nice story-wise if we go back full circle, and conclude with her having been rescued so I can ship young police guy with that kid…wait, okay that sounds weird, but you get me. Also I’m SO with you in side-eyeing the all-knowing time-traveler element, because while I think that is cool and interesting, I got the same fears about that plot point as I did about The Village; is it gonna be another instance of great set-up, but shitty delivery? Is the big reveal about his magic walkie-talkie gonna be limp and weak and not cool? Hopefully not, because we’re already dealing with Corrupt Police Boss, and hey, I get it; you always gotta shove that linchpin token bad guy into the plot.
Stephanie: Oh, the lovefest gloves are coming of now? Good. As you know, (from my howling, complaining and general bitchery while watching of first two episodes) I was really, really irritated with the addition of the corrupt cop storyline. Or maybe he’s not corrupt but just a douche. Either way, this is such a common trope in Kdrama, the idea of cops buckling to the higher-ups, and those higher-ups covering up their own mis-deeds, that when it began—I was really irritated. (I guess this should have been expected the very minute we saw what’s his face in the past who became the police commissioner in the present. That guy is like the head tool, in all roles.) Everyone is cheering, laughing and jeering at them. Do they not realize that these people are dead in the cold cases? How about instead of mocking, you go out and do your own job and let them do theirs. This show is better than that old tired cliche.
Jacqueline: I see signs of this show potentially dipping its foot into the cliche pool, but I doubt we’ll be drowning in the deep end of overused tropes. Granted, it’s early yet, and the whole thing could derail face first into a Dramaland hellscape, but I’m cool with the drama not being perfect. Even if the writing does go batcrap for a while, we’ve got some pretty damn great characters to pull us through. So long as the writer gives us those small character moments interlaced with the spectacular timeline shifting (cue ALL of my love for that Marty McFly dead-body-photo-disappearing shtick here!) then I’ll settle for an occasional flaw here and there. I KNOW Big Bad Police Dude is gonna come back into play, because of his whole “Yeah, the Cold Cases Team won’t be able to solve anything and a few months the public will stop caring.” Turns out those spunky officers are gonna solve some cases, and he’s gonna have his anus pucker in anger, I can just see it coming.
Stephanie: I was really irritated for a while, but the show won me back over and I was full on in love with it again. That scene when he confronts the lady cop (should we make an attempt at all this time to learn people’s names?) about her just giving up the case and explaining his connection with the missing girl. Ooooh and when she talked about the families of cold cases–I just realized–SHE MEANT HERSELF!!! Her missing possible boyfriend! See? Another twist. And he has something going on in his background too. I can see why they had to do it, make it them against everyone, so the cold case team could be made up so, for now, I am forgiving them. Can I say how much I love how they are blending the present, the past and then the past past?
Jacqueline: EXACTLY! I’m thinking Mr. Future Officer’s brother got a jail sentence for killing his parents…? There was that scary bloody flashback of his, and then the brother getting locked up, so who knows what’s what. They are doing a damn fine job seamlessly tying together the past and the future. That’s hella rad, considering these are characters that have largely never met AND we the viewer are dealing with two very divergent timelines. I am so damn pumped to see how the once-dead-now-not-dead victim is going to affect the future timeline and its case. THAT’S GONNA BE TOTES FUN, HOMIE! That’s right. I said homie. MY FANGIRL HEART IS JUST EXCITED YO.
Stephanie: You can so tell that this is written by the same people who did Ghost. I remember being blown away the first time I ever watched that drama. The unexpected twists and turns? Edge of your seat pacing? Varied and interesting side characters? And, this show has the possibility to be even better. We already have a much better lead actress, and I’m loving her storyline and how strong and no-nonsense she is. I don’t think their relationship is as straightforward as you’d think. There was a reason she was getting transferred in the past. I think they were together but they weren’t together together. But she’s certainly, 15 years later, still feeling his loss. (And even more awesome.)
Jacqueline: SO MUCH YES! My theory? He knows about his timeline, or knew about something related to the future and that’s why in episode one he was all, “Um, let me solve this case, then I’ll get back with ya about those heart-eyes you’re shooting my way.” It’s obvious he knows something, while she’s as in the dark as ever. It’s gonna be pretty darn tootin’ fun to see those two interact on the walkie-talkie, ‘cause you just know that scene is on the horizon.
Stephanie: He remembers because his future is already his past? Dun. DUn. DUN! I’m not sure if that’s it because…science? But there is something there. Was the girl he was stocking in the past her? I didn’t think they were that far apart in ages. Side note. It took me a while, but I was playing the “where have I seen the profiler before?” It was right there for a good part of the episodes, but it finally hit me the gay movie short—Just Friends! Which is weird because I was JUST wondering with Cherry Cordial about what happened to him as we saw the other guy in Marriage Not Dating. Honestly, it endears me to the show even more.
Jacqueline: Bless all those words, and bless your memory, chick. Because seriously, his acting skills are on freakin’ point so far (which makes me happy because he was rockin’ it in Just Friends.) I am really impressed with how everyone has delivered such fantastic-ass performances. Now I’m fighting the urge to jump on MyDramaList to see what else I’ve seen these peeps in, because SO MUCH GOOD.
Stephanie: Now that I think about it? I do have one more issue with the show and it’s so, so little. I think it was a miss-step for them to have, in the first episode, made the couple he had exposed Ji Sung and Park Bo Young. It makes you call into question the timeline of the show as they were indeed a couple and did actually get married and just had a baby. So yes, it was a fun in joke, however, with a drama where the timeline is so important to the plot of the drama, unless that is going to come into play later (like this series actually takes place like 2 years ago) interesting or not, they should have either chosen a newer celebrity couple (with how fast Dispatch is digging them up, there are plenty to choose from) or just make up a fake one. Otherwise it takes you out of the drama, and not really in a good way.
Jacqueline: *Shrugs* Honestly I have no opinion either way, because I don’t keep up with celebrity news, Korean or otherwise, so for all I knew it was a made-up couple. That said, I can see where that could bother, even though personally it was a non-issue. Overall, I keep going back and forth between having the highest of hopes for this show, and wanting to hold my judgement until the jury deliberates for a bit longer. Either way, I fully anticipate this drama having lots of satisfying moments, way more than our previous viewing extravaganza had. Hesitantly excited fangirl is hesitantly excited!
Stephanie: In no way is that a me being down on the show, as, I think I mentioned I love this show so hard I want to make out with it. I would totally let this show get to third base. However, objectivity is important sometimes. Sometimes. To get back on the awesome train. Not only is this drama written by a writer with a great track record, the director directed the also visually beautiful drama, Sungkyungkwan Scandal, not to mention the completely excellent Misaeng. Yep. All over fangasm.
Jacqueline: You know, sometimes I guess it’s my ignorance is beneficial because those drama credentials are a total surprise to my ass. Which is a pleasant shock, because my viewing experience went from, “Oh yay this drama isn’t sucking…OH DAYUM this drama REALLY ain’t sucking!”…And now I know why!
Stephanie: Ignorance is one thing, and I’ll forgive you for that 😉 but it’s pretty common knowledge and the production used it for a reason, to either short hand it, which would be terrible of them, or it will come back for some other reason, which would be awesome! It’s too soon to tell.
Dear Lord. Please, let this show not fall off the tracks, please let it continue to be as awesome as it has been and awesome as it promises to be!
Jacqueline: See, I actually make the claim that, in this instance, ignorance is better, common knowledge or not. I say that, but only because of the way I choose to view my media. It’s the same reason why I don’t follow actors or keep up with directors and scriptwriter, because doing so takes me out the show. I want to be completely immersed in what I’m experiencing.
Stephanie: Which usually I completely understand, I’ve had many a show ruined from stuff I’ve known on the background because I know about people in the cast (Queen In Hyun’s Man, Playful Kiss, anything with Park Shi Hoo) I really dislike having outside knowledge, anything that would take me out of the drama. So this is absolutely no reflection on you at all (hug hug kiss kiss) but the drama production itself, because THEY knew that lots of people know that couple and used it anyway (be it for potential further plot or for sloppy writing).
Jacqueline: Exactly. My main point was that I feel like meta humor is becoming a crutch for dramas, and while it almost always flies under my radar, I still find it be a lazy reach for a cheap punchline. I get why writers do it, because for some people it adds a realistic layer to a show’s universe, while for others it’s a distraction.
Stephanie: Boom shakalaka! Exactly. Now let’s both say something awesome about the show to close. I hate the fact I have to wait for more episodes! I wish it were all over right now so I can binge watch it all in one night forsaking showers and sleep, so that I can know all it’s secrets.
Jacqueline: You realize that I hate you now, right? Like, actively-wanna-shank-you-with-a-spork-level hate? WHY YOU GOTTA DRAG ME INTO A LIVE-WATCH FOR, HOMIE!? I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS, YOU ASS-TARD!
Like Jacqueline? Check out her
Fangirl Musings (YouTube)
Diehard Fangirl (Tumblr)
So far I must say it’s the best new show of 2016. And I’m really really REALLY hoping that it won’t derail around midpoint or something. Loved how intense it was, but that it also had some moments of levity. I laughed out loud when he slapped himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming after that first transmission. Or when he climbed across the wall to the mental hospital mumbling that he just wants to prove to himself he wasn’t crazy.
Elena, I DIDN’T EVEN CATCH THAT!!!! The meta humor of him breaking into a mental hospital with the musing he wasn’t crazy. Thank you SO much for pointing that out, because now I’m dying laughing all over again! Why that went sailing past my head, I don’t know.