Is “Kairos” possibly the best short drama MBC has put out in 2020? I think so!
“Kairos” is an interesting drama that tells the story of a man who seemingly leads a happy life but suddenly everything comes crashing down after his daughter mysteriously disappears and all evidence lead to the possibility of a murder. This is followed by the suicide of his wife who is unable to bear the pain of losing her daughter.
Kim Seo Jin (played by Shin Sung Rok) then connects with Han Ye Ri (played by Lee Se Young) via a phone call, she lives one month earlier and they manage to change their past, present and future. Getting into a lot of trouble and suffering greatly in their attempts to turn back time and fix everything, this is firstly fueled by Kim Seo Jin’s desire to bring back his family but then extends to Han Ye Ri’s desire to find her missing mother who is also terminally ill.
What you have is a great idea, while not uncommon, but a promising idea that can go awry pretty fast.
Note: this will be a spoiler review of the said episodes in the title. This is a subjective review.
The issue with time travel dramas
My issue with time travel dramas has always been the consistency and believability. Its not only an issue for Korean dramas, but generally, its very difficult to pull of a time-travel drama because writers tend to get caught up in the world they create and end up intentionally or unintentionally leaving so many plotholes that become difficult to ignore as time goes by.
Take “Alice,” a promising SBS drama about time-travel that quickly turned sour and became illogical and difficult to comprehend. While “Alice” will land on my list of the most disappointing kdramas in recent memory, “Kairos” will probably land on my list of fav kdramas in recent memory and the difference is, execution.
I am not here to undermine the amount of hard work it takes to write such dramas, especially with content that plays around with time, there is almost no way you can avoid screwing up but “Kairos” unbelievably manages to stay engaging and believable for almost its entire first half.
How “Kairos” Beat The Curse
“Kairos” reminds me of “Signal,” both about two individuals allowed to connect via phone for a specified period of time, both with a lot to lose and a lot to uncover working together to bring justice and bring back someone special.
However, unless you’ve been paying close attention, “Kairos” wouldn’t remind you of “Signal” easily despite how ridiculously popular “Signal” is and that is a testimony of how good the screenwriter of “Kairos” is.
“Kairos” is written by Lee Soo Hyun who has no other credit to his/her name, but I AM A HUGE FAN, THANK YOU writernim.
I can’t sing enough praise about what appears to be the debut script of Lee Soo Hyun, I can’t find any other credit to their name but if this is their debut project, I think I just found the newest gem screenwriter.
Often than most would like to admit, they watch for their oppas, which isn’t wrong but it does cloud judgment and sometimes, people excuse bad scripts because it’s their ‘oppa/unnie.’ This becomes an issue in our community when you’re trying to discuss kdramas. This goes even more for time-travel dramas because some just can’t have a discussion if you say their fav actors time-travel drama doesn’t make sense.
“Kairos” doesn’t miss a beat and in fact, stays consistent throughout its run, and so far, I haven’t seen one clear slip up from the screenwriter which leads me to assume they’ve probably been working on this for a while, a while.
I am also working on my debut novel and I’d never touch a time-travel concept, I don’t have the audacity to do so, they’re so difficult to pull off and require lots and lots of revision, it’s a headache. Props to Lee Soo Hyun.
What I liked about the script was how everything fit perfectly, every scene matters; there is no dull or wasted moment. There are no filler scenes and there is purpose for everything you see. You’re introduced to certain information at certain scenes and for a purpose. I like it when screenwriters pay close attention to details and withhold information purposefully; it’s nice when the writer treats you like an actual adult who is able to decipher clues without the need of exposition to shove in your face whatever information necessary for the further advancement of the plot.
The screenwriter is bold, we’re half-way through and so much is already known which gets me excited but kinda scared as well. I love this drama so much and I am so afraid it’ll go off the rails in the second half.
By episode 5, we found out that the wife is a sociopath and had planned this whole thing. The shtick is already up and everything has been seemingly turned back to normal.
Now, the second-half remains and I am hopeful, very hopeful that this will go down in history as one of the few times a kdrama was able to pull off the time travel concept mostly well. There are 8 more episodes to go and that means a lot of content, I am surprised things moved at such a fast pace because I am loving the drama so much and I’d hate to see it suffer in the second half.
The twist was a bit expected but since I binge-watched the first 8 episodes in one take, I was surprised to some extent. Still, very well-written and very well-acted.
Where do I start with this one? I LOVE EVERYONE’S PEFORMANCE!
I’ve always been a fan of Shin Sung Rok, since his early days. He is a pro, truly able to portray a wide range of emotions at such fast pace. The character he’s playing is very difficult and emotionally demanding, he pulled it off so well like the pro he is.
Lee Se Young… oh my god, Lee Se Young… YOU ARE AMAZINGGG!!!
Lee Se Young’s performance in “Kairos” is one of my personal fav performances of a female lead in a 2020 kdrama.
The desperation in her eyes, it just sends different. She is an amazing underrated actress who deserves more spotlight. This role also wasn’t easy to pull off. And despite how ridiculous the situation appears to be, not even for a moment do you think that she was exaggerating. On top of that, you believe her and every word she says, she feels sincere and you can tell she’s desperate, she’s totally embodied her character to the point that it felt like an actual human being stuck in a predicament.
Ahn Bo Hyun is literally trying to make the rest of South Korea hate him before this year ends. He played two evil characters this year but this one, he pulled off better.
I talked about his performance in “Itaewon Class” previously; something about that performance didn’t sit well with me. It felt like something was missing, something I can’t quite put put my fingers on.
I can sense he’s more comfortable this time around, and is doing a lot better playing the bad guy.
My judgment is, the character is being manipulated as well. He might be a shitty ass human being but he doesn’t strike me as someone who would kill. It looks like he has confidence issues and feels inferior to Kim Seo Jin and he’s weak enough to be manipulated by Nam Gyu Ri’s character Kang Hyun Chae.
Now onto Nam Gyu Ri. Sis is evil, and her character has one of the most punchable faces in kdramaland EVER. I CAN’T STAND HER FACE (the character, not the actress).
Nam Gyu Ri is brilliant here and definitely shines. The special thing about her is how subtle she acts. Kang Hyun Chae is not in your face type of evil but still, a sociopath nonetheless. Someone who is selfish, heartless and manipulative. She looks so calm and collected but spits the most absurd shit ever, and it’s honestly very disturbing.
She’s one of the characters I legitimately felt a bit scared of, it’s not that she’s grand or killed a million people but she’s still that evil and has the capacity to wreck a person’s life just to get her way. I don’t even think she loves her daughter.
The thing that scared me of her was also how close to reality her character felt, such people actually exist in real life and even if they won’t behave as crazy, they still do some pretty awful things to get their way. Such people aren’t uncommon and that’s what scary.
WINNER Kang Seung Yoon is also doing tremendously well. I’ve seen him in “Producers” in 2016 and despite his short appearance, it was clear he had the talent. I am surprised he doesn’t do dramas more often, he can become one of the biggest idol-actors if he picks projects similar to this one.
He’s also playing a complex character and I love his interactions with Lee Se Young, I hope they end up together in the end.
So these are my thoughts on “Kairos” episode 1 to 8. I can’t wait for the rest to unfold. 2020 has been a good year for kdramas. “Kairos” is criminally underrated and deserves more attention, its crazy good and engaging.
Have you guys seen this drama yet? What are your thoughts on it?