Two episodes in and I know I don’t want to marathon this drama in a hurry. I want to savor it slowly, like one drinking in the view from a mountain peak.
The cinematography blows me away. From the arid plains in Episode 1 to the verdant hills in Episode 2, I lose count of the number of times I’ve paused in mid-watch to sigh, “Show, you are breathtakingly beautiful.” Yet at no time do I feel that the beauty is there merely for display and for me to gawk at. The camera never lingers longer than necessary; the backdrops never distract.
Why an older drama like Emperor of the Sea? Isn’t that a 2004 production?
Guilt, first of all. That three-volume set sitting on the shelf and looking all forlorn whenever I walk past. How many years has it sat there?
And giddy anticipation. Because ever since I found this when I was looking for a suitable image for the Titans on our screen page, I’ve been antsy. Can’t wait to watch him!
So did he make an appearance in Episode 1?
He did. Even the lizards in my room squealed when he appeared. But you should see the lizards’ reaction and mine when Brad Pitt’s two lady loves, one current and one former, popped up on the screen.
C’mon, be serious.
I kid you not. At first I thought I was seeing things, but when they appeared one after another and then stood side by side (ready to scalp each other), every doubt dissolved and I about fell off my chair. Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. In a sageuk!
I have watched five episodes of Athena. I could have easily managed more, if my pesky work schedule hadn’t cut into my k-drama watching time. And I haven’t slit my wrists yet. How can this be, when I’m not a big fan of shoot-em-up so-called spy thrillers and couldn’t get past even one episode of Iris? I have discovered the key to enjoying Athena in all its glory, and the key is in grasping a paradigm-shifting truth about the show.
This show, you see, is not set on Planet Earth at all. But rather, on Planet Athena. Planet Athena may look a lot like Planet Earth, but do not be deceived. Beneath the surface, Planet Athena is light-years away from Planet Earth.
As a service to humankind, I’m issuing this Idiot’s Guide to Planet Athena. With this Guide, you too can navigate Planet Athena untroubled by puzzlement or headdesking.
Ten-year-old Lee Woo-jin prefers to be called Andrew; it’s the name that his mother gave to him when he was baptized as an infant.
But no one calls him Andrew now. Not his uncle and aunt, the latter spitting out “Woo-jin” as though it’s a dead roach that had somehow found its way into her mouth. The sheer disgust. Years later he will learn that “Woo-jin” is a marriage of two names: his father’s Soo-jin, and his father’s best friend, Myung-woo. Perhaps one day he will learn, too, that both men loved his mom. And that both men married her.
Here is Part 2 of our Favorite Female Roles poll. (Part 1 is here. Please check out the Favorite Male Roles poll as well: Parts 1 and 2.)
I really like this second part because it allows me to pay tribute to one of the brightest lights in the Korean film industry. She has left us (a fact that still brings me to tears), but in my heart she is always here, illuminating our days with her sweetness, her grace, her strength, and the immense power of her acting.