Remember (aka Remember: War of the Son) Review
Remember is a 2015/2016 twenty episode Korean drama that tells the story of a son’s unstoppable drive to clear his father’s name for a murder his father did not commit. Unfortunately the son’s father was framed by a rich and powerful family to save their son, the real murderer. Bribery and betrayal are constants in the fight to clear his father’s name. Added to the mix is the father’s battle with Alzheimers and the disease’s tentacles to his son.
1. Compelling good versus evil leads. Good lead, Jin Woo, was the justice driven son who never gave up. Evil lead, Gyoo Man, was the justice avoiding rich murderer with “anger issues”. His father could and would bribe anyone to thwart bringing his son to justice.
2. The story line was straightforward but not without twists. There was team good – those seeking justice; team evil – those seeking to thwart justice; and everyone else – those that were pawns to be bought / bullied by team evil or risk doing the right thing by supporting team good.
3. Supporting characters contributed. The assistants, the lawyers, the gang boss, Gyoo Man’s father, the police detectives, etc. these characters weren’t just sideline components. They each had their moment to shine and matter.
1. The balance of good versus evil consistently leaned towards evil having the advantage. That makes it tough for the good characters to keep going and for viewers to believe that good could defeat evil. When things turned positive, evil was quickly defeated. I wanted to savor evil’s defeat, not have it over with in a third of an episode.
2. Depth of character was limited. The evil lead, Gyoo Man, was pure evil – nothing redeeming about him – and with limited nuance.
The Characters that Drove this Series:
1. Seo Jin Woo (Yoo Seung Ho), the son whose father is wrongly imprisoned for a crime rich heir Nam Gyoo Man committed. I watched this show for Yoo Seung Ho. I fell for him Warrior Baek Dong Soo, where his quiet but compelling evil but with good his in heart character Won, was the standout. His eyes and subtle portrayal drew you to him. I’d say the same for Remember. Jin Woo, was a more subtle character in the hands of Seung Ho. He was determined to continue the fight even when everyone, including his own body, seemed to betray him. Seung Ho’s eyes are compelling and you felt the soul of Jin Woo could not / would not waiver in obtaining justice for his father. I appreciated that there was more friendship with a light dose of romance between our leads. His memory issues would have made major romance particularly cruel.
2. Lee In A (Park Min Young), friend of Jin Woo and prosecutor who wants reverse the unfair conviction of Jin Woo’s father. Park Min Young did a fine job taking a more typical kdrama female character and shaping her into an empathetic lawyer who garnered trust from those afraid of the rich family’s retribution, and a staunch friend to Jin Woo. In A was willing to stand up to her mother’s disapproval and never wavered in standing by Jin Woo’s side to support him throughout his journey for justice. Unfortunately, In A was a support character even though this was the female lead role for the show. This show focused on and showcased the male characters. The female characters were in the support realm of the story line. She cared for him more than a friend, but the writer limited their romance which seemed wise considering his memory issues. I wasn’t fond of her walking behind him as the show ended. I prefer to think that she loved him but would still pursue a “real” romance in the future and not tie herself to him forever.
3. Park Dong Ho (Park Sung Woong), the lawyer that betrayed Jin Woo’s father in court leading to his wrongful conviction when rich heir Gyoo Man’s father offered the right incentive. This character was awesome in the initial third of the series. Then when team evil got their claws into him, the character was merely a shadow of his former self. When the character finally got out of the grasp of team evil I anticipated him asserting himself with the swagger and zest demonstrated when the character mattered. But no, he never returned to his former glory. A missed opportunity by the writer.
4. Nam Gyoo Man (Namgung Min), the rich heir, who was the real murderer but framed Jin Woo’s father. Spoiled, cold, with “anger issues” (he had a scary volcano temper), he believed wealth will get him out of any legal issue (for most of the series he was right). His father was also evil. He believed once you lost value to him, throwing you under the bus or losing your life wasn’t far behind.
The Characters that meant Nothing to this series:
1. Nam Yeo Kyung (Jung Hye Seong), rich heiress and sister of Gyoo Man. At first you though she’d make an impact, but the character disappeared for episodes at a time and when she resurfaced, her actions and ethics were limited.
Do I recommend this series?
If you like the classic struggle of rich evil versus “never give up” good, then this competent series would hit the mark for you. The male characters were the ones to watch throughout the series, the female characters were not true leads. If you are a fan of Seung Ho, you’ll enjoy his turn as the determined Jin Woo. If you are a fan of Min Young, her character was allowed to do more as the series progresses. Look to the series Healer to see the best character she’s ever portrayed.
The full OST has 18 tracks, including the 6 primary tracks released during the series and the 12 instrumental tracks. See drama wiki for details. My favorite is song is Cold by K.Will. The playlist of the 6 primary songs is embedded below or check it out via the link.
1. Cold K.Will
2. Can You Hear Me? Joo Young
3. Hate Bro
4. Don’t You Know? Jang Jae In
5. Winter Wind Han Byul
6. I Could Say I Love You Bobby Kim
7. Daddy and I Various Artists
8. Lamentation Various Artists
9. Rainy Scene Various Artists
10. Burning Brain Various Artists
11. Do You Remember Me Various Artists
12. Frozen Epica Various Artists
13. Fire Blue Various Artists
14. Nam Gyu Man Various Artists
15. Lost Memory Various Artists
16. Rolled Omelet Various Artists
17. Wail Various Artists
18. Last Set Various Artists