CURRENTLY WATCHING: SNOWDROP
Hello everyone! In this article I would like to write a few words about the newest JTBC Korean drama – Snowdrop, casting an amazing romance actor, Jung Hae In, and a very talented singer, Kim Ji Soo from Blackpink, as main leads.
WARNING: this article contains a few spoilers from episodes 1-5, although I gave my all not to spoil too much.
Title: Snowdrop (설강화)
Network: JTBC, Disney+
Airing dates: December 18 – February 5
Screenwriter: Yoo Hyun Mi
Director: Jo Hyun Taek
Genres: Romance, Drama, Melodrama, Political, Historical Fiction
Tags: Love At First Sight, Dormitory, 1980s, Agent, Student, Raised Abroad, Hiding, Impulsive Female Lead, College Dorms, Hot-tempered Female Lead
In this article I would like to take a look at the meaning of the word “snowdrop”, as it made me really interested when I looked it up while preparing for this article:
“Snowdrop flowers hold deep meaning. Usually, as a spring flower, it is seen as a symbol of rebirth and the ability to overcome challenges in life. … Traditionally, white has been seen as a symbol of innocence, purity, and rebirth.”
As we can see, only the meaning of the title can give us a glimpse on the content of the drama, and what the plot might be about – rebirth, change of life, character development maybe?
With this thought, let’s move on to the plot of this drama.
JUNG HAE IN as Im Soo Ho
Im Soo Ho is a North Korean spy pretending to be a student in South Korea. He is supposed to complete his mission and come back to his country, but he faced some unexpected events which led him to things he probably would never have thought about.
KIM JI SOO as Eun Young Ro
Young Ro is a freshman in a Korean university, and lives in room 207 with three other girls. She is polite, friendly and really caring about people around her.
There are also other amazing actors such as Jang Seung Jo, Yoo In Na, Kim Hye Yoon, Yoon Se Ah, Jung Yoo Jin, Heo Joon Ho and Park Sung Woong – all of them playing very important roles which make this drama complete.
Snowdrop tells us a story about a young student living in a girls-only dormitory with very strict rules. One day, she meets a male student and falls in love with him at the first sight. Then, she finds him wounded and decides to help him hide. However, he turns out to be someone else.
At first, it might sound as a typical romance drama – it did for me. I was expecting cute scenes only, some lovely teenage-love but dangerous and forbidden. However, after watching episodes 3-5 I got something different. It is still a romance, but it shows some terrific scenes.
While writing this article, only 5 episodes were aired, and if I’m being honest, I have no idea where they are going with the plot. It totally keeps me at the edge of my seat, and I’m so curious what’s going to happen, but it also scares me because of the historical aspect (for more see below).
The whole drama has its own original aesthetic. If you liked dramas such as Youth of May or When My Love Blooms, this drama is for you!
There’s also an amazing OST sung by Kim Hee Won and Sung Si Kyung which makes you feel this 80s vibe.
In every episode there’s something new and interesting. It makes you feel warm, happy, sad and terrified – all in one episode. It’s like a roller-coaster and you never know what’s going to happen with the plot.
The acting is phenomenal. I was expecting such acting from Jung Hae In, but Kim Ji Soo totally surprised me. I didn’t know she can portray her emotions in such a way. I totally fell in love with her acting in the first 5 minutes of the first episode.
CONTROVERSY IN SOUTH KOREA
Snowdrop takes place in a year 1987 which is a very important time for Koreans. In short, Snowdrop is set against the backdrop of the 1987 Democracy Movement, which was a mass protest movement with the purpose of forcing the then-current authoritarian government in South Korea to hold fair elections. As a result of mass protests, democratic elections were held in December 1987, which would later lead to the end of authoritarian rule in South Korea and the establishment of democratic rule in the Sixth Republic of Korea.
Snowdrop faced very negative opinions and comments from Korean citizens, saying this drama distorts historical facts and glamorizes a main character who is a spy and shows a NSA agents in good light.
If you want to read more about this topic, there’s already a discussion about the controversy containing some important articles: HERE – credits.
I am not a Korean, so I would not like to comment a lot about this whole controversy and writing petitions to cancel the drama. However, I would like to point out some things from my perspective in the section below, containing spoilers from all 5 episodes (READ CAREFULLY).
With 5 episodes aired, I can easily eliminate some accusations of this drama because they seem to have no basis.
– This drama “glamorizes a main character who is a spy”
Does it really? We already learned Im Soo Ho is a caring man, with his sister whom he really loves and wants to meet her back at his home. He came to SK with a mission, he grew up with very strict rules, and he has orders which he can’t really disobey because he will face instant death. And we really DO NOT KNOW what will happen in next episodes, so I can’t really judge him.
– “Shows a NSA agent in good light”
Again, does it? Yeah, he wants to catch a NK spy, but he tortures innocent people and doesn’t obey orders, he’s unpredictable. And again, I have no idea what they are going to show us about Lee Kang Moo’s character in upcoming episodes, but for now, I wouldn’t really say he’s shown in a “good light”.
– Comparing the situation to Nazis during WWII
We can’t really throw everyone into the same pot. There are movies showing Nazis in a good light – they were people, they had families, they had changes of heart and became good people. So for now, I don’t really understand saying this drama excuses NSA agent’s actions. NSA agents did torture and kill innocent people saying they were NK spies, and that’s a historical fact, we can’t deny it. But from my perspective (and after watching these 5 episodes), I can’t say this drama wants to excuse them.
– Saying there wasn’t any NK spy during 1987 Democracy Movement
We can’t really say we are a 100% sure about it. However, Snowdrop is a fictional drama, someone thought it might’ve been possible and came up with this plot idea. And it’s interesting to watch, no one said it’s the truth, a fact.
Please take note that my comment is written only after watching 5 episodes. I do not know what they are going to do with the plot after. I don’t want to accuse Koreans or anything, because South Korea is their country, not mine, and they can do whatever they want. The only thing I can say is that I’m a bit sad they didn’t wait with the accusations and the whole controversy to see what they are going to do with the plot. But it is their history, not mine. The events in 1987 are still fresh for Koreans, and they have all rights to criticize it.
I’m also trying to be positive about the plot because of the whole cast. If we look at the cast of Snowdrop, it is pretty impressive. I have my entire faith in Jung Hae In who never disappointed me in choosing a drama, and Heo Joon Ho who, in my opinion, is a very amazing actor. They wouldn’t choose this drama if it had a negative effect on them – that’s what I believe in.
I hope you liked this article and I didn’t write anything bad. I tried to be extra careful as I know this is a sensitive topic for many people.
Are you watching Snowdrop? If you do, let me know in the comments if you like it, if not, let me know if you’re going to watch it!
Happy New Year 2022!
Edited by: Tine (1st editor)