A Quest For Answers In The Depths Of Alhambra
After yesterday’s episode, I couldn’t wait to start Memories Of The Alhambra today. Having refrained from spoiling major plot points yesterday in my write up, the 10th episode begins a few minutes prior to yesterday’s climactic gun fight. Jeong-Hun appeared to have died in combat and with Jin Woo stuck on the train with gun-wielding enemies, things certainly looked bleak from the onset. This week picks up where it left off and continues the dual-focused storyline with more urgency than before as we get closer to solving the puzzle around Se-Ju’s whereabouts.
Inevitably, Jin Woo survives the onslaught of soldiers early on and after another intense gun fight, finds himself right in the heart of Granada, determined to find his friend whilst completing the mission given to him by Se-Ju. This leads to a series of interesting augmented reality segments, including the beginning of a dangerous quest and the reveal of what happened to Jeong-Hun as Jin Woo descends under the Cathedral Of Granada for the toughest fight of his life.
Sandwiched between these two long segments of Jin Woo’s quest is the inclusion of two predominant stories, both taking place in Seoul. Hee-Joo hasn’t had an awful lot to do these past couple of episodes and beyond travelling around a lot, the same can be said here too. Her Spanish speaking does come in handy for some shocking reveals late on but before that we get a humorous segment between Hee-Joo and the various characters at J One Holdings as she continues to search for answers and piece together just what in the heck is going on.
Professor Cha returns again and his ultimatum, combined with a message from Jin Woo himself, leaves Park Son-Ho in a difficult position as the senior most member of the team in Jin Woo’s absence. This storyline in particular appears to be the most important out of all three and seeing where this leads in the future is a very tantalizing prospect indeed. This is before even mentioning Yu-Ra’s conversation with the Professor as he sneers, proclaiming their conversation was “amusing”. Given what we know of this diva and her devious ways, it’s unlikely she told him a knock knock joke. We’ll have to wait for a future episode to find out what they were discussing though.
Having taken the time to read through some Korean drama forums this weekend, there have been some pretty justified critiques for the series as a whole which are worth talking about here. Many have lamented the pacing of the series which, to be fair, has been pretty slow. Personally, I’ve found this slow pace works well to establish the tone of the piece and help get accustomed to the various beautiful locations shown. Granada is a gorgeous Spanish city full of interesting architecture and buildings and seeing the slow-moving establishing shots showing this off in all its magnificence helps to really immerse you in the world.
Others have spoken of the romance between Hee-Joo and Jin Woo feeling a little awkward and contrived and not what people would be expecting and this I can understand. While both of them have had a pretty turbulent time of it, let’s not forget that Hee-Joo spent a considerable amount of time and effort nursing Jin Woo back to health. During this time she saw him in his most vulnerable state, even going so far as to reach out and tell her he didn’t want to be alone. She also saved him from almost dying back in the Hostel and because of this clearly feels conflicted in how she should be feeling. Spending so much time with this man, for better or worse, has clearly had a profound effect on her feelings and this inner conflict may well be why she’s acting out of sorts.
These are, of course, really good points though and while I personally feel the series has done a good job up until this point in explaining most of its points in a concise and methodically paced manner, I can understand why some may be put off from these criticisms. Despite this, it’s hard not to be swept up along for the ride and as the curtain draws on another week, more questions are answered leaving a literal light at the end of the tunnel for us to ponder until next Saturday.