It took me a while to finally finish this series, and I’m completely taken aback by the complexity of it all. The entire drama screams women empowerment, and though it’s not perfect, it definitely raised some important points.
The drama’s main suspense was the guessing game on Han Ji-yong’s (Lee Hyun-wook) real killer. Among the prime suspects were three of the most powerful women in his life – his wife Seo Hi-soo (Lee Bo-young), his sister-in-law Jung Seo-hyun (Kim Seo-hyung), and the mother of his child Lee Hye-jin (Ok Ja-yeon). Of course, the killer got revealed in the end (it’s Maid Joo Min-su (Park Sung-yeon)), but honestly, it’s the least bit of detail that I cared about in the entire drama. I was more engrossed in the character developments of Seo-hyun and Hi-soo. They were deservingly the pillars that saved the drama from crumbling altogether.
The unexpected twist in the premiere week about Seo-hyun’s gender identity is enough to get me hooked. It was comforting to see her come out of her shell slowly – through the help of her loved ones. The detained elephant artwork perfectly captured her inner feelings. She realized that there was no barrier at all, and she can just walk freely in the outside world. Seo-hyun’s journey of finally accepting herself is the major triumph of the show.
Of course, Seo-hyun’s orientation doesn’t have to do with her capability to lead the Hyowon empire. Her strength as a compassionate but firm leader makes her the perfect fit for chairmanship. I’m glad that the drama chose to go that route without any other complications. It’s rare for dramas with the influential elite to simply let an “outsider” or not part of the bloodline lead the conglomerate. But since everyone could never argue Seo-hyun’s ability to stir Hyowon into success, it felt right to let her take the lead.
Next is Hi-soo – the drama’s motherly figure. Lee Bo-young is such a natural! I feel like I’m watching her real daily life (minus the psycho husband fiasco) unfold before me. She looks very expensive! Her relationship with her son Ha-joon is the drama’s heart. She left her glamorous life in front of the camera to raise Ha-joon as a normal kid. I know nothing is normal in this entire drama because of the excessive wealth display, but let’s be more lenient here, fellow salary workers.
I also liked that Hi-soo never tolerated Ji-yong no matter how much she loved him. The truth about Ha-joon’s real mom was revealed early on in the series, giving everyone ample screen time to process and react accordingly. Of course, we all knew that Ji-yong went to the villain route while Hi-soo became the star in her own right. She, Seo-hyun, and Hye-jin teamed up to bring Ji-yong down and secure Ha-joon’s bright future.
When Hye-jin entered her life as a Ha-joon’s tutor, I thought the drama would take the adultery route – and I’m glad it didn’t. Hye-jin was an average mom who left her sickly baby in the care of his father. It’s actually pretty heroic. It’s just sad that she had to disguise herself to be near her son. Also, Ok Ja-yeon’s acting was really impressive in Mine! She was able to show her acting prowess alongside Lee Bo-young and Kim Seo-hyung!
The other characters were a bit meh, to be honest. They’re just there to add color and occasional humor to the show, but it can go well without them. If there’s one thing I’m disappointed was the side story of Han Soo-hyuk (Cha Hak-yeon) and Kim Yu-yeon (Jung Yi-seo). I would have wanted a you-and-me-against-the-world portrayal from them, but all we got is a very soft objection from Soo-hyuk’s family in the first half of the series. Oh well, I guess they are not the focus of the story, so they were not given their deserved screen time. The nosy ahjummas of the bible study group even got more exposure than these love birds!
Lastly, Mother Emma (Ye Soo-jung) – the drama ended without anything significant added to her character. I thought she was a chaebol or something at the start because of her Hermes bag, but apparently, she’s just a former gisaeng who worked with Ji-yong’s mom in her youth. That’s it. Nothing fancy.