Scholar Who walks the Night ~ episodes 1-4 ~ first impression

Hello DramajjangersScholar_Who_Walks_the_Night-p1

Many vampire themed dramas came out this year. Should we call it the year of the vampires? “Blood” was a disappointment, “Orange Marmalade” turned off my expectations (it had to come to the 11th episode to get somewhere, but I’ll be talking about this on an other article.). I’m really neutral when it comes to vampire stories, I don’t like them but I don’t hate them either. I was really curious to see how a korean drama would give a story like that. As I mentioned with the previous dramas obviously they didn’t deliver it well.

There has been a big fuss about “Scholar who walks the night”, because of its cast and because I think most of the viewers, think this drama as the last hope of a good vampire story. Is it me or as much as they try and unless its series with a lot of violence, vampires will always look fake?

contains spoilers

“Scholar who walks the night” is in a better direction than the other two dramas, But still the story about the mega vampire Gwi ( Lee Soo Hyuk) , who has tormented a whole kingdom, killed crown princes has everyone under control, sounds like fairytale to me. Kim Sung Yeol’s (Lee Joon Gi) story for revenge comes more natural. But I really hope that the 20 episodes aren’t going to be about crown prince Lee Yoon (Shim Chang Min) and Kim Sung Yeol trying to kill Gwi, cause them trying to find the books on how to do it, already has become tiring in the first four episodes.

Sometimes when it comes at this type of dramas, I try to convince my self by thinking “ok I know the story is not gonna be a masterpiece, but maybe they will deliver it well and the drama will become interesting”.

This was the first half of the drama, the other half is the love story. Kim Sung Yeol and Jo Yang Sun will be the main couple. The female lead, chooses to dress as a boy so she will be able to live comfortable and sell books, that she loves so much. The disguise theme is well known in the korean dramas, but for our shake Kim Sung Yeol knows about her being a girl. He discovers it at a scene that was done pretty nice.

I really couldn’t afford two hidden identities between the leads, the one of the Scholar being a vampire and the other of  Yang Sun being a girl. Although there is gap between the two main leads, if you think about it you can’t imagine those two different people being together, somehow there is something that makes me want to ship them. It’s going to be a tough romance though, with Kim Sung Yeol having regrets for killing his meant to be bride Myeong Hee and with the appearance of the woman with the same looks Hye Ryeong, under Gwi’s service. I hope the writers will make it convincing on how the mature and with only one purpose vampire Kim Sung Yeol will fall for innocent and playful Jo Yang Sun.

The acting is very important because like I’ll say for the 100th time, a vampire story can easily become ridiculous. Lee Joon Gi is doing a nice job as Kim Sung Yeol I like his down to earth acting and he has the mature feeling the character needs. I read somewhere about Lee Yoo Bi acting terrible as boy, that she couldn’t look more obviously like a teen girl. I hadn’t thought about it, but when I came across that comment, I noticed that while watching the episodes. It sure isn’t realistic how nobody has noticed a bright girl, but it doesn’t bother me that much. I hope Jo Yang Sun soon embrace her female side so I can look at the wonderful female dresses of the era, just kidding. I don’t think Lee Yoo Bi’s acting is not good at this pont. I haven’t seen anything else with her in it. Lee Soo Hyuk plays an important character Gwi and it’s really hard to deliver a villain like that vampire. I have seen works of Lee Soo Hyuk and he was pretty decent, but now he needs to step up his game. He gives a bit of a twlightish performance here which is not enough for the mood of the drama. But ok no one can deny his physique is perfect for a vampire and he is hot.

The surprise came to me from Shim Chang Min, DBSK got me in the kpop world but after JYJ left I didn’t follow the members closely so I hadn’t watched anything with Changmin’s acting. I think he fits Crown Prince Lee Yoon really well, I didn’t expect that. Kim So Eun hasn’t been able to show her talents yet, except form the first episodes where she played Lee Myeong Hee, the scene she dies was very emotional and beautifully delivered.

I have to give credits to the drama for being more daring for a Korean one, with the brothel’s of the era, the books with adult content and the fighting scenes. Although there were some weird points too like the scene with the shirtless Gwi turning the little girl into a vampire.

“Scholar who walks the Night” is already in the beginning, a beginning that was neither bad or good. Let’s see where this drama is going to lead us.
What is your opinion of that beginning?

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  1. Michele
    July 22, 2015 at 2:03 pm — Reply

    I was stuck on that Lee Joon Gi gif for a good five minutes before continuing!! Just sayin’! I follow Joon Gi on Instagram and he is constantly posting pics from the set. I have been intrigued ever since and have this on my list. I am happy to hear he is doing a good job thus far. He really has seemed to settle into himself as an actor giving special attention to those moments when he should be restrained and intense thereby delivering a more nuanced performance. He has great eyes which convey so much in a single gaze and which speak volumes without him saying a word. He is perhaps one of my fave actors in Kdrama today. I look forward to watching him in this!^^

    • July 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm — Reply

      The same happened to me, when I was watching the episode. Didn’t you get stuck on Lee Soo Hyuk’s gif?^^ I think the only drama apart from this, that I have seen Lee Joon Ki is “My Girl” and he has gone a long way from ther. I liked them in Lee Hyori’s mv too. I see you are a big fan of Mblaq’s G.O hehehehehe

  2. July 23, 2015 at 1:29 am — Reply

    “Although there were some weird points too like the scene with the shirtless Gwi turning the little girl into a vampire.” I know! I watched the scene first without subs, so I thought maybe I didn’t get what they were saying, but even with the subs and the context, I still didn’t get what the little girl was doing here… Was she some kind of tribute?

    Anyway, I see a couple of plot holes and I’m afraid they are really plot holes that won’t get resolved… I wonder if the thing about vampire K-dramas isn’t that they’re just not vampire-ish enough? Or more like the K-vampires don’t have a distinct flavor because there’s no big representative of the genre to establish a paragdime that other dramas will other follow or try to break. For instance, the basic feature for a vampire in most of people’s imagination is : they don’t freaking walk in the sun, if they do, they burn. In the 20th century, three big figures to establish the paragdime: Dracula, Lestat, Buffy. There are probably many stories that broke that “rule” in the 2000’s, but Twilight, Vampire Diaries are the ones that made it popular. On the other hand, K-dramas use countless of tropes like amnesia, fauxcest, chaebol, crossdressing that are a part of the K-drama identity. However, when it comes to Korean vampires, do they have something distinctive about them to make you feel like writers are being daring or following a trend when they write? I keep trying to figure out, but I have yet to identify what makes a Korean vampire special. Maybe K-Dramas tend to focus on the human perspective and use the typical K-Drama tropes that are already so out of the ordinary that they tone down the supernatural elements, like… basic question: “how do you kill a vampire or keep a vampire away”: cross, sun, silver (or maybe I’m thinking about werewolf right now? lol ANYWAY). Really, how do you kill a Korean vampire? They usually can walk in the sun and ANYWHERE (I mean, rule number 2: a vampire cannot enter in a non-public place without being invited), religion is rarely brought up in K-dramas unless for the typical funeral/wedding ceremony so the whole questioning about vampires vs. God theme isn’t discussed. Sometimes, it’s almost like you forget the story is about vampires because they’re so “human”, except that they drink blood to make them look cruel. (I do think that K-Dramas avoid the (over)sexualization of the act itself of drinking blood you can see in the Western concept) I don’t really like “Orange Marmelade”, but I think they really tried to set up a real universe for their vampires with the rules about what vampires can and cannot do and how they navigate in the human world. Most of K-Dramas start with the character already being a vampire and, usually, hating himself/herself for it… There’s never really the process of how one becomes a vampire, how one adapts or doesn’t adapt to this life. This aspect was a bit disappointing for me in “Scholar” b/c they touched on the subject as we see right away how Sung Yeol is turned into a vampire, but right away we’re also told that Sung Yeol is a “special vampire” b/c he can afford not to drink human blood for a longer period of time than regular vampires do. Why? How? The old vampire who happened to be Bad Bad Gwi’s teacher was a “watcher”… Why? How? There must be an organization somewhere with other vampires, but Sung Yeol spent more than a century on his own, “hiding” from Bad Bad Gwi. And we know from his first scene that HE knows about vampire legends. Episodes 1 and 2 felt like they were setting its own universe but already destroying it by creating uneccessary exceptions without even explaining the rules in the first place. Sung Yeol is allegedly the only one who can destroy Bad Bad Gwi… Show better gives me a real explanation as of why Sung Yeol puts so much faith into a book/plan written by a human who researched on vampires for like three months? And how come Sung Yeol came up with nothing on his own in more than a century? i might need to read the webtoon to figure out if it’s the drama writing i’m struggling with or if it’s the plot itself. Bad Bad Gwi is so used for fanservice, though. (Sorry for the essay… which is actually based only on the first 2 episodes. I need to catch uuuuup)

    • July 23, 2015 at 9:16 am — Reply

      Your comment make a review itself, I mea it in a good way^^. I totally agree with you and I think that is the reason the vampire dramas in South Korea are failing. They just use the vampire theme so they can create a story but they never explain things that’s why in the end the drama becomes fake. I had more expectations for “Scholar Who walks the Night” but it’s too early to tell if it didn’t live up to them.

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