Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Taking elements of Sky Castle and Penthouse, Mine is an intriguing Korean drama – but boy does it take a while to get going. In essence, this drama is a tale of two halves. One not so good and the other very, very good.
At the center of this conflict is the Hyowon Mansion. A rich family hold many secrets there, with the women at the center of this doing their best to consolidate power. All of this is turned upside down by the arrival of two new workers at the mansion. Yu-Yeon is a simple girl but ends up romantically linked with young master Soo-Hyuk, who returns from a trip abroad.
Meanwhile, Ja-Kyeong shows up and she immediately becomes the tutor for Hi-Soo and her son Ha-Joon. Husband Ji-Yong clearly has a few skeletons in the closet, which is slowly revealed over time.
However, he also has a wrestle for power with Jin-ho and his wife Seo-Hyun. Only, Seo-Hyun happens to be a lesbian but she’s been keeping this secret for a long time, suppressing her feelings for long lost lover Suzy Choi.
If that wasn’t enough, matriarch Soon-Hye runs the show with her peacock but most of her story is taken up with eating and shouting. It’s perhaps unsurprising then that Jin-Hee follows suit with this, as she and her husband Jung-Do try to make their marriage work while grappling with anger management issues.
There’s an awful lot going on here but the show does surprisingly well to keep all the stories separate. The real crux of the drama though comes from Ja-Kyeong and her increasingly creepy behaviour toward Ha-Joon. It’s pretty contrived in truth, and the opening 6 or 7 episodes seem to rehash the same plot points and meander around without much direction. It’s not until the halfway point where things actually stat to get interesting.
You see, there’s a murder mystery brewing at the heart of this family drama and it’s not until episode 8 where Mine finally settles into a consistent rhythm and showcases this as the dominant story. When it does, Mine feels much more pacey and a lot more effective as a result.
Without spoiling anything, the show drip-feeds this across the back-end of the series with more flashbacks working as puzzle pieces to slot everything together and reveal the truth around what really happened.
While the obvious class divides are a big talking point in the show, it’s Seo-Hyun’s subplot that gets the most plaudits here. There’s some beautiful imagery, some lovely juxtapositions and a genuinely touching romance at the heart of all this that helps elevate this beyond a simple revenge thriller.
Of course, the show does take a long time to get to the good stuff. Yu-Yeon’s story in particular is a real casualty in all this and despite being made out to be a focal point of the show, she eventually fades into obscurity late on. That’s to say nothing of characters like Soon-Hye, who remain very one-note across the 16 episodes.
While the main cast do well to hide these blemishes, this is a Korean drama carrying a fair amount of issues with both its plot and pacing.
If you can stick it out through the early material and take to the murder mystery, Mine does make good by the end. But boy does the show make you work to get there. It’s far from perfect but if you’re in the mood for a revenge thriller, Mine has just enough to see you through until the end.