48 Hour Countdown
Memories Of The Alhambra is one of those shows that starts off strong and just seems to grow from strength to strength. As we pass the halfway mark in this 16 episode Korean drama, I find myself continually struggling to find criticisms each week in this impressively written show. While I take no pleasure in writing a bad review for a show or film, Memories Of The Alhambra is such a well written drama it’s almost prophetic at this point that the episode we’re given will live up to expectations and deliver in both plot and characterization.
The story this week picks up right where we left off from before. Jin-Woo’s exhaustive training with hundreds of bodies lying around him has paid off. He’s now Level 90 and with that prestigious rank, he’s able to acquire a special item from an in-game character known as Master, which just so happens to be Se-Ju’s Gamer I.D. From here Jin Woo is told he must travel to Granada within 48 hours to open the special item and embark on the quest given to him. Convinced this will lead him to Se-Ju himself, Jin-Woo packs up his things and monologues over what he thinks happened to Se-Ju in the events leading up to his disappearance.
It’s a pretty plausible concept too and something I’ve been thinking about recently and may have written about in a past episode impressions piece. I won’t divulge the details here but suffice to say it seems pretty logical. As is the case with this sci-fi drama, things are never as simple as they seem and as Jin Woo follows the clues back to Granada, all hell breaks loose. The final ten minutes of the episode are incredibly tense too, finishing on a very open note, ready for tomorrow’s episode which really can’t come soon enough.
Between these predominantly Jin-Woo-heavy segments, Hee-Joo finds her character tested as she cancels her flight and goes back home in anticipation for Jin Woo’s arrival. After a lengthy wait (which we find out the reason for in a later flashback in the episode), Jin Woo and her share a particularly awkward and amusing moment together before sharing a tender moment. It’s a small segment in truth but an important one. The way this ends is also likely to be the moment most people remember the most fondly looking back on this episode.
We mentioned Professor Cha last week and his plans for Jin Woo’s company and this week we see the start of this plan come into fruition. Gathering Jin Woo and his ex wife Su-Jin together for a certainly-not-awkward lunch, he suggests the two should get back together instead of forsaking the vows they shared. This obviously does not sit well with either party but Su-Jin does warn Jin Woo to watch his back as The Professor has not forgotten his role in Hyung-Seok’s death.
The series builds up to its finale really nicely too and what begins as a relatively straight forward episode, quickly becomes another very impressive and satisfying hour of entertainment. The editing is on point too, with some well worked flashbacks and generally excellent cinematography throughout. The framing in this show is second to none, with the musical choices perfectly emphasizing what’s on screen. While some of these are admittedly just repeated segments from previous episodes, there’s a suitably epic feel to the orchestral theme when Hyung-Seok shows up. The same can be said for the more mischievous theme whenever a rare bout of humour crops up that’s almost always perfectly written.
As the curtain closes on another episode, the door is left wide open for next week with one question playing on everyone’s lips – where is Se-Ju? While it seems almost definite he’s still alive, big questions remain over the events leading up to his disappearance and the future endeavors of the game and company. There’s so much left unanswered here but given what we’ve seen so far from this series I’m not worried. Memories Of The Alhambra has proven time and time again it can deal with the big questions with ease, weaving a coherent, perfectly paced drama in the process. Bring on tomorrow’s episode!