Coupang Play’s “Bait” Part 1/ “Decoy: Part 1” wrapped up its run recently and since I’ve seen the drama, this calls for a review!
I think I am not the only one who was specifically excited to see Jang Geun Suk back on screen. No lie, I am surprised about his career trajectory as it seemed he wouldn’t particularly take this route and take his sweet time in-between projects, and then I recall he’s been in controversy so… I forgot that completely, still, I think its sad because he’s more talented than most would assume.
Note: this will be a spoiler-free review of the said episodes in the title. This is a subjective review.
Lastly, here we are and its a very compelling story that makes for a good comeback project.
The screenwriter behind this drama is named Kim Jin-Wook, who apparently co-wrote the OCN 2018 drama “Mistress,” most of you likely don’t recall or have heard of it but it starred the famous actress Han Ga In.
I can’t find any other project to his name so I am assuming this is his first leading writing project. I’d say he’s done a great job thus far, especially considering how he’s technically a rookie.
I don’t know whom idea it was to have such extensive flashbacks added to the plot, its a bit dicey meaning you can possibly ruin the drama’s continuity with it but this time, it works wonders. You can tell the screenwriter put a lot of effort into making sure the scenes that intertwine in both timelines provide enough curiosity to tease the audience rather than frustrate them.
The script is tightly written and wastes no time getting into the meat of the story. We meet our protagonist who seems to have hidden pain and our antagonist who got scammed so bad he became one of the worst scammers there is. It talks about pyramid schemes and how people’s lives can be ruined by it and how this pain can extend to family members and hinder a person’s ability to move on.
I will not be spoiling the story more than that, but I loved the focus it put on how devious it can get and how the pyramid schemes get repackaged and sold to the newer generation. I also liked how some small events and bad happenings to one character can largely affect about hundreds to thousands of others a couple of years from when it happened.
The story itself is a bit typical, in the sense that for a crime-thriller its what you’d expect. We have a hardened detective who is always breaking the rules to capture criminals, who joined the force because of personal trauma too. Its very expected in that regard.
Regardless of what I’d consider a typical plot for the most part, the way the script is written is still Splendid in my opinion.
where I have some minor critique would be the characters, specifically Jang Geun Suk’s character who I felt was very bland for the most part. He shows some hints of personality so to say but its more so not about him but more about the scam itself.
Its not outwardly terrible to the point its distracting in any way, but I am guessing they’re keeping his character arc and growth reserved for the 2nd part. I felt he was more of a buffer rather than the main focus of the story.
This might be annoying for some whom might have wanted to see a bit more of the character from Jang Geun Suk’s first comeback in 5 years.
Lee Elijah’s character feels more fleshed out and the most fleshed out one is by far Heo Sung-Tae’s character. I just loved the writing for this one. We all love a villain who is written well.
Despite what I’d call a typical scammer villain character, the portrayal by Heo Sung-Tae makes the character No Sang-Cheon feel special.
Jang Geun Suk was nice here, he did well. I like how they added the beard to his look and gave him a scruffy look overall to present his character properly. I love how his looks aren’t brought up at all in this drama either. However, I’d say the character lacks that spark, I don’t know why that is the case, yet. It could be the actor or the screenwriter or the director but I can’t give you a conclusive opinion on this point because I have not seen part 2 yet.
Heo Sung-Tae is amazing, as per usual. Whenever he plays villain roles, I just know I will love it. That confidence, that charm. He’s amazing. I am so happy he’s found success.
Lee Elijah is also great as per usual. The supporting cast also did a great job, specifically Oh Yeon-A.
The editing and directing
Director Kim Hong-Sun is quite busy these days, he has an extensive discography and has made some of my favorite crime-themed kdramas of all time. I just love his works.
With this one… I feel its a bit somber, more so than what I am used to seeing from him. I feel the drama this time is sort of stripped from any strong feelings.
To further explain that, at times, it felt a bit distant. Even with the focus on the victims of the scams, I felt a level of distance this time in his project. Might be only me who felt that.
Aside from that, whoever was in charge of editing deserves massive applause for their hard work. The drama uses flashbacks a lot but its done so well and meshes with the plot perfectly.
I know for sure the editing must’ve taken a lot of time to plan correctly on everyone’s part.
Splitting into 2 parts
The biggest thing I don’t like is the split of the parts. We’re only 2 months into 2023 and I am already barely tolerating this trend. I think it will be even more used in the future.
Back in the day, like 2 years ago, we used to get the same kdrama, aka, 12/16/20 episodes all at once, it had a start, middle and an end.
Now with the streaming services battle which will be bloody, its showing mixed results. I just don’t like waiting, give me those 12 episodes all at once.
Its also not like the CGI or editing is so massive it would require breaks in between, its just that they want people to stay on the platform a bit longer.
This is becoming too much…. 6 episodes feel like they can hardly fit into a review and can hardly sustain the interest. Coupang Play is yet to announce part 2 release date but I hope to god its not more than 2 months from now.
“Bait” was a nice drama, I think it flew under the radar of most kdrama fans which is sad. I think it deserves more hype.
So far, I liked it a lot. This is not a final judgment of the drama by any means because it could still go South so fast but I have decided it would be best to be hopeful with this one.
Here is to hoping part 2 comes out sooner than later.