Drama Review: The Legend of the Blue Sea

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Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this show so much. It started off pretty slow, and the female lead was a little annoying with her slapstick humour. But things started heating up around the fourth episode.

This highly-anticipated drama starring Jun Ji-Hyun and Lee Min-Ho has all the makings of captivating romance that transcends time. Inspired by a classic Joseon legend about a fisherman who captured a mermaid, it tells the transcendent love story between the son of a Joseon noble family and a mermaid captured by a mercenary. Their fates draw parallel with their modern-day incarnations, a skilled con-man (Lee Min Ho) and a mermaid he rescued (Jun Ji Hyun), who try to prevent tragic history from repeating itself.

You guys, this drama has INCREDIBLE plotting! The way the writers interwove past and present-day narratives is FLAWLESS and ingenious ( I am totally applying what I learned from this show to my manuscript), and the pacing is perfect. It has moments of levity, slow-burn romance (okay, awkward insta-love at the beginning, but it got more believable as the show progressed), a GORGEOUS, haunting, dramatic soundtrack (see below) and stunning cinematography.

Honestly, from MOON LOVERS to THE LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA, these Korean dramas are spoiling me! Now I expect every show I watch to be this pretty and the soundtrack to sound this good too.

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The storytelling is expertly rendered as well:

  • There is always an undercurrent of conflict running through the story – the escaped convict out for the protagonist’s life, the mermaid’s inability to stay too long on land unless she finds her true love, the constant threat of the mermaid’s identity being exposed.
  • The folklore is rich (and well exploited), the world-building intricate, without overwhelming the story. All these come together perfectly to drive the story and central conflict.
  • Each character – be it main or supporting – has an integral role to play. To see their fates entwined with each other’s, to witness their transformation and trace their character arcs over the course of the story is SO satisfying.

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Also, how pretty is Jun Ji Hyun’s makeup (I want that pretty pink lipstick she’s wearing!!) and outfits in the show?! I did a more detailed analysis over at the fashion magazine, if you’re curious.

Did you watch The Legend of the Blue Sea? Let’s discuss plot and technique! (I feel like I should do up a plot breakdown and analysis to study what made this story work so well.) 

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