Title: Penthouse / The Penthouse: War in Life
Main Cast: Eugene, Kim So-yeon, Lee Ji-ah
Writer: Kim Sun-ok (The Last Empress, Temptation of Wife)
PD: Kim Min-kyung (The Last Empress, Return)
Timeslot: Monday and Tuesday / 22:00
Genre: Suspense, Melodrama, Makjang
Set in an extremely luxurious 100-story apartment called Hera Palace, three powerful women live their lives surrounded by a thirst for revenge and wealth.
Major Trope: Whodunit; Eat the rich; Underdog
Grumpy’s First Impression:
My very raw and legit first impression was that it’s crazy. It’s super toxic. It’s not for everyone. These three things literally summed up the first two episodes of this highly anticipated, powerhouse drama. I don’t know how else would I describe it but everyone is definitely out of their damn minds.
The first scene of drama sealed me in for sure. Someone falling for who-knows-how-high and poetically landing at the angel statue full of blood? Wow. Of course, it’s one of the main plot points of the drama. Who the hell killed the poor girl and how did she end up there. And then we backtrack to a few weeks before the incident. We get to know the main characters aka the possible suspects:
Main bitch Cheon Seo-jin (Kim So-yeon), is a very in-demand classical music teacher who is wed to chief surgeon Ha Yoon-cheol (Yoon Jong-hoon). She’s my favorite character, as of now. She appears to be the drama’s evil queen, and all the rich mothers line up for her services. She and Oh Yoon-hee (Eugene) used to compete against each other during high school and a very unfortunate (and bloody) incident resulted to Yoon-hee’s change in career path.
On the other hand, old money Shim Su-ryeon (Lee Ji-ah) and real estate magnate Joo Dan-tae (Uhm Ki-joon) are a picture-perfect couple from the outside, but in their household lies a deep secret. They are known to be parents of twins Seok-hoon (Kim Young-dae) and Seok-kyung (Han Ji-hyun), two brats who are consistently on top of their class because of their dad’s mere influence.
Lastly, we also got to know the female lead Yoon-hee and her daughter Bae Ro-na (Kim Hyun-soo). They’re poor and she’s a single mom – a perfect recipe for a melodrama. They’re supposed to climb up the ladder of power and penetrate the world of the rich through hard work and perseverance, but I’m quite not sure about that.
Remember the girl falling to her death from the penthouse? She is Min Seol-ah (Joo So-min). I didn’t find her to be the innocent type, though, because she knows her cards even from the start. She disguised as a college girl to work part-time as a math tutor for the rich kids of Hera Palace. I don’t know what to feel about her character because from the very start, we all know she’s going to die a very dramatic death. She knew about Chairman Joo cheating on his wife with Seo-jin. She was bullied by Seok-hoon, Seok-kyung, and the rest of the Hera kids. And because of her, I’ll keep watching this series. I want to know who killed her, or if she really jumped to her own death.
There are so many cast of characters in this drama and it’s really hard to keep up at first as the drama is around 90 minutes long for the first two episodes. One thing that’s really very obvious for me was the similarity of the plot to that of “SKY Castle.” The main difference, though, was that the kids here are forced into classical music, and not in the field of medicine. Everyone in Penthouse is either a good singer or a manipulative person, or both.
Just a few important notes before I end this very uncomfy first impression:
This drama is not for the faint-hearted. It’s oozing with trigger worthy scenes – suicide/murder, depression, physical abuse, violence, adultery, graft, and bullying. I wonder what’s the reaction of South Korea’s rich people in this drama? Are they really that evil?
It’s also interesting that the building is named after Hera, the Queen of the Gods and the wife and sister of Zeus. Everyone knows Hera as the goddess of marriage, but let’s not forget that she’s also famous for being cruel and spiteful towards the other women and children of Zeus.