Grinding Those Experience Points
After the first few episodes, Memories Of The Alhambra continues its augmented reality drama with an episode focused on back story and setting the foundation for what’s to come. While plot progression is slowed for this episode, the extended run time of 70 minutes works well to flesh out the various characters. With a returning blend of comedy and drama, Memories Of The Alhambra continues to be an endearing Korean drama.
We begin our episode with Jin-woo deep inside the game, levelling up. After a frantic dash through the cobbled, winding streets of Alhambra, we learn he intends to challenge Hyung-Seok. As things start to calm down, Jin-Woo visits a nearby pub only to discover NPCs (non-playable characters) sharing a drink. This works well to flesh out the game world and little touches like this really sell the concept of a living, breathing world inside the game. Among these additions is a new character, a woman called Emma, playing a classical guitar.
It’s at this point where we learn more about who this strangely familiar woman is and what led to her playing such beautiful music. A tragic backstory, mired in hard work and fruitless endeavours leads to the main plot hook this week, which takes up the bulk of time in this episode. With a big decision ahead of her, we catch up with Hee-Joo as she’s faced with a conflicting decision on her future. This all builds toward a climactic third act; a big in-game sword fight and a shocking plot twist that leaves the door wide open for a darker, more mysterious tone to follow.
With a good chunk of time dedicated to seeing the inner workings of the game this week, Memories Of The Alhambra continues to draw inspiration from Sword Art Online. It’s a smart move too and unlike the anime which had the tendency to jump forward in time without warning, we get to see Jin-Woo levelling up and experiencing the trials and tribulations that brings. It really helps sell the concept too and the various point of view shots do a good job getting us up close and personal with the game.
Hee-Joo continues to be the stand out here though and her character is empathetic, mixed with a sprinkling of humour to make her easy to root for and get behind. While Jin-Woo is the focal character for much of the show, Hee-Joo is arguably the more endearing character. The two share great chemistry together on-screen and this really helps drive the narrative forward during some of the slower segments.
Memories Of The Alhambra continues to delight and surprise every week. The blend of humour and drama works really well and the slowly developing plot appears to be getting into a more consistent vibe now. With an ending that leaves things wide open for where the show could go in the future, Memories Of The Alhambra is an impressive Korean drama that seems to be getting into a much more consistent groove now. Where things go from here is an interesting topic left up for debate but the promise of a much more involving mystery is certainly a tantalising prospect going forward.
Provisional Season Rating