A Clearer Picture Of The Overarching Story
Building on the foundation set in the first episode, Memories Of The Alhambra continues its story, drip feeding tidbits of information to help build a bigger picture to the overarching story. While Jin-Woo continues to be the sole focus, more screen time is given to hotelier Hee-Joo as she becomes a much more prominent figure in the show. On top of this, we learn more about the virtual world Jin-Woo is building and his rival and ex-business partner, Cha Hyung-seok.
The story begins where we left off at the end of the last episode. Jin-Woo backtracks on his rude remarks to Hee-Joo, trying to make amends for his actions by integrating more with the hotelier and her guests. After a hurried breakfast, he leaves one of his employees to sweet talk Hee-Joo while he goes in search of Jung Se-Joo, the man who went missing on the train to Granada, and Hee-Joo’s younger brother. An undesirable encounter with someone from his past leads to a bigger revelation as Jin-Woo heads back to the digitalised augmented game to find another user has logged in.
These storylines work well and with an equal dose of comedy and drama, the series is tonally consistent in delivering a mix of lighthearted drama with more darker, mysterious tones. All of this whilst continuing to dive into the digitalised world of augmented reality.
In the first episode we saw how combat works inside the game. The second episode expands this, building on core role playing game tactics including searching the surrounding area, dialogue choices and the ability to engage in duels with other users – one of which happening to be Hyung-Seok who has his own agenda inside the game. Much like the first episode, this is all presented through a mix of fantastical elements and digitalised point-of-view shots from Jin-Woo’s perspective. Of course, much like the first episode we cut back to Jin-Woo’s office for some light commentary on the situation but for the most part we remain in-the-moment during these segments.
The real charm here though comes from the characters and its partly the reason the show works as well as it does. The comedic elements are genuinely amusing and one such conversation midway through the episode combines this excellent characterisation with a keen stylistic eye. The screen splits in two with rapid shots cutting to different body parts as Hee-Joo launches a venomous rant directed toward Jin-Woo after his behaviour in the first episode. It’s a clever moment and the highlight of the episode, next to the action itself, as it highlights a more dominant, fiery side to her persona which we haven’t seen before.
A tantalizing look at the episode ahead raises more questions around the direction of the show but the pieces appear to be slotting into place nicely. Hee-Joo continues to be a crucial factor to the way this series is likely to play out with Jin-Woo and Hyung-Seok’s rivalry appearing to be the anchor that holds everything together. It’ll be very interesting to see what next week’s episode holds but with the way this season is panning out, it looks like we’re in for a real treat with this South Korean drama.