After sitting through half of Who Are You and being sorely disappointed at a great concept with poor execution, I was happy that Master’s Sun was able to incorporate the supernatural into a decent romantic storyline.
Written by the Hong Sisters, Master’s Sun actually has four romantic couples, so let’s start with the main one.
Joo Joong-won (So Ji-sub) is the owner of a giant shopping mall. He’s obsessed with increasing his wealth at the expense of his competitors, and could’ve become a very unlikeable character, but Ji-sub does a great job of playing this caricature lightly and walking the thin line between goofy and adorable.
One fateful night, he runs into Tae Gong-shil (Gong Hyo-jin), a sleep-deprived lady who has the ability to see ghosts and has spent the last few years helping them solve their afterlife issues. She clings to Joong-won because his prickly nature makes these creepy ghosts disappear and allows Gong-shil a chance at a normal life.
Joong-won sees Gong-shil as inferior and all kinds of weird, but her supernatural powers help his business, so he keeps her around like a pet, the “master’s sun.”
This makes Tae Yi-ryung (Kim Yoo-ri) livid with jealousy as she is the shopping mall’s official model and Gong-shil’s high school nemesis. Yi-ryung finds herself falling in love with the shopping mall’s security guard, Kang Woo, but of course goes crazy with even more envy when Kang Woo falls instead for Gong-shil.
I’m sure you can figure out who ends up with who in the end.
Gong-shil’s sister has a cute flirtatious run with another security guard, played by the hilarious Lee Jae Won. He’s a minor character, but so committed to playing the comic relief you can’t help but watch every scene he’s in.
Joong Won’s aunt is played by Kim Mi-kyung, in a much more glamorous role than her maid character in The Heirs. She’s a hot cougar with a younger, bumbling husband. I liked how the writers really developed this relationship and showed how an older couple could succeed and still be sexy.
As Gong-shil draws Joong-won deeper into her supernatural world they encounter several creepy spirits. Loved the variety of fx effects used for the ghosts.
Joong Won’s greed eventually gives way to compassion and to the surprise of everyone around him, he becomes a decent human being and starts using his wealth to help the needy. The episode where they rescue a child from an abusive home was both compelling and heart wrenching.
There are plenty of emotional highs and tear-wrenching lows in this series. Plus a mysterious ghost that’s tied to Joong-won’s traumatic childhood. The series does tend to drag with flashback overload and inconsequential dialogue, so there were times when I stopped watching, but I committed myself to finishing the series so I could find out exactly how Cha Jee-hoo was involved in Joong-won’s kidnapping.
This girl (Han Bo-Reum) really knows how to work her expressive doe eyes.
Additionally, Hwang Sun Hee does a delightful 180 from her sweet-natured vet character in City Hunter, to the dark and manipulative “Hanna”. Usually the female antagonists in k-dramas grate on my nerves, but the “other women” played their parts well. Deliciously evil.
Best reason to watch this series? These kids!!!! So earnest. Wise kids trapped in a a world where the adults have all gone berserk.
Pros: Several episodes which bring to light serious issues that aren’t normally tackled in kdrama – child abuse, transgenderism, and excessive vanity to name a few. All of the actors gave compelling performances (with the exception of Seo In-Juk. He never seemed that attached to either female lead).
I love horror movies, so I was also delighted by the various ghosts and their creepy subplots.
The OST is rich and filled with stirring love songs.
Cons: I really wanted to give this series a higher grade, but there were too many episodes that dragged. The finale was also overly sentimental and chock full of gag-worthy romantic gestures between our leading couple.
Many of the fashion choices left me scratching my head. They were interesting … but didn’t make our leading man any more desirable.
And what was with this nightgown? Appeared in several episodes.