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Forest (2020) Closing Comments
Although this show ended far better than it started, I don't know if this is something I would recommend unabashedly to any who cares about my opinion. True that it doesn't reach the same level of absurdity as Dr Stranger, to harken back to another PHJ outing that was a hot bubbling mess, but that's a comparison of the low hanging fruit variety. When one considers how decent- v. good his last 3 dramas were... Bad Guys, Cheese in the Trap and Man to Man... this is quite disappointing.
On paper somebody thought this would work. Certainly it has elements of a good drama. The cast is good. The cinematography is quite superb as many have pointed out and I too have a love for tree photography but good ideas alone don't make for a decent drama. Needless to say a good script matters. If nothing else this drama proves that it absolutely matters. If for no other reason than to provide a sense of cohesion and consistency.
Looking at the last 6 episodes I can't help but think that this is the show they really wanted to make... the man-made environmental disaster caused by Big Business and a psychopathic chaebol heir. All the other extraneous baggage about the rescue service, the childhood trauma, PTSD in high risk occupations, even the romancing ... all of that was largely filler to help pad the drama all the way to the end. Each of these elements could have been interesting subjects for their own drama but in the way it was pieced together here, it made the storytelling tonally inconsistent. I'm happy to watch a revenge plot unfold but at least do it with decisiveness.
In reality the show wanted to make mysteries out of things that really weren't real mysteries. For seasoned drama watchers, it was reasonably obvious where things were headed. It took a number of well-used tropes which isn't a sin in and of itself but it did nothing interesting with them. It's clear that KSH was meant to be glue that brought all the disparate elements together but had instead the unfortunate effect of turning him into a dissociative personality. The part of the show I really liked and was woefully underdeveloped was the rescue service. In the end it was relegated to the sidelines when at the start it was seen to be the biggest impediment to KSH getting that resort built. My opinion is that they should have approached this beginning with the rescue service. It should have been the glue. If they were going to spend a ton of money on hiring helicopters and doing aerial shots, this is where the show should have anchored its moral and emotional compass.
I never go into a drama wanting to dislike it. Even when I hear mixed reactions about a drama, I always keep an open mind. Sometimes I even find myself disagreeing with the majority opinion. In this instance I felt frustrated with this drama more often than not because it was always clear to me that somewhere in this hodge podge of ideas was a good drama waiting to be made.