Oasis Season 1 Review – Revenge angle saves fumbling 1980’s Korean melodrama

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cwms9WUgyl4

Season 1

 

 

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 13 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 14 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 15 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 16 -| Review Score – 4.5/5

 

Oasis is the latest melodrama set in the turbulent time of 1980’s South Korea. This period drama stars some surprisingly familiar faces that had everyone tuning in as we get Seol In-ah as Jung-shin following her Business Proposal stint.

Meanwhile, Jang Dong-yoon who solidified his position as a K-drama male lead in The Tale of Nokdu returns as the anti-hero Lee Du-hak. As for Choo Young-woo, he is on a streak with Oasis being his third leading K-drama where he plays the complicated Cheol-woong.

Oasis starts off as a simple love triangle in the 80’s, as neighbours Du-hak and Cheol-woong fall for the new girl Jung-shin who moves to their sleepy town of Yeosu. But their friendship doesn’t survive their rivalry as Jung-shin chooses Du-hak. To worsen matters, an incident involving the three friends has them parting ways with Du-hak ending up in prison. 

After a timelapse, a now-free Du-hak becomes a gangster who wants revenge and tries to control Cheol-woong as they share a dangerous secret. They end up constantly crossing paths with Jung-shin who is a struggling movie producer in Seoul and the feelings they hope to suppress bubble up once more.

Oasis gives us several time jumps over the 80s and 90s as each phase has a dangerous incident that changes the three characters’ lives. But the two major time jumps after Du-hak’s time in jail and the 3 years time-lapse for the new storyline in the second half of the show were a good call.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the K-drama is absolutely confusing and lost viewers who did not want to see it through. Sure, as stand-alone episodes they are fun to watch, but from a big-picture angle, it isn’t well executed as there are too many digressions and red herrings that don’t contribute to the main story.

But if one were to give the show a chance, it is worth it because, after the Yeosu childhood arc, the show just keeps getting better and better as it turns into a revenge drama full of plans, betrayals and dangerous secrets. Viewers got plot twists and cliffhangers that made them eagerly wait for the next week, trying to guess how it would all go down. 

The confrontation scene in the finale where all the secrets gradually pour out like a broken fountain is possibly the most satisfying segment a K-drama finale can ever have. The characters were their frustrating selves yet somewhere also made decisions that the viewers wanted them to. Realistic yet sad endings were pretty much decided for everyone making it the perfect ending for a melodramatic show like Oasis.

The first half of the show did bring in some nostalgia for simpler times. But it seems like Jang Dong-yoon’s stylist hated him because while Jung-shin and Cheol-woong look as adorable grimey teens, pretty young adults and refined adults, Du-hak’s weird tan and hair just keeps getting worse and worse till someone finally fixes it for the Japan arc.

Can’t believe he is the same actor who passed off as the pretty girl in The Tale of Nokdu. However, no amount of bad makeup can hide the chemistry his Du-hak has with literally everyone from Jung-shin to Cheol-woong and his best friend, Hyung-joo. From the romance with Jung-shin to the bromances, he carries the relationship angles of the show on his back. 

We also have to talk about Choo Young-woo and the way he killed it as Cheol-woong. Most fans know him from the angsty Korean BL, You Make Me Dance and he once again plays a hopeless romantic. But he finally gets the material to show off his range and is pretty much the best grey character ever written if we were to compare with the second leads in recent K-dramas.

He is loyal, he is selfish, he is caring, he is an asshole, he is petty, he is helpful – such contrasting traits make him unpredictable and fun to watch as he is the epitome of ‘don’t let them know your next move’.

But it is a shame that the wide variety of strong female characters that we get have limited screen time including the main female lead. Sure, the show is mostly about the complicated relationship between Du-hak and Cheol-woong, but we need to petition for a female-centric season 2!

Jung-shin is the most loveable clown who is foolish and bubbly, strong and independent. She is no damsel in distress, just a damsel who saves herself from distressing situations with her own wit and strength. As for Yeo-jin’s actress, Kang Kyung-hun, we saw her potential in Alchemy of Souls season 1, and even though she just got a teensy bit more screen time in Oasis, it still isn’t enough.

She plays the beguiling vamp so well that she deserves to be cast in a major role in melodramas like Penthouse or Sky Castle. Such is her talent that she completely steals the spotlight in Oasis every time she is present.


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  • Verdict - 6/10
    6/10
6/10

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