Cyber-crime drama Ghost (or Phantom) came to an end today with its 20th episode and happiness all around – well, for the protagonists. I didn’t follow this one from start to finish, but the few episodes I did catch along the way were interesting enough to propel me to watch the ending. Yeah, I’m a spoilsport.
There have been quite a few articles about Ghost ending on a lower note ratings-wise, with a 12.2%, while Gaksital hit its highest yet with a 19.5%. But the majority of reviews are praising Eom Ki-joon and So Ji-sub for anchoring this drama with their amazing performances. Of course, being the Eom Ki-joon fan that I am, I couldn’t resist taking a stab at the final thirty minutes of Episode 20. I am in no ways qualified to review this drama in its entirety, but I just wanted to comment on the bits and pieces I had the pleasure of watching.
The ending today saw the fall – literally – of its resident villain Cho Hyun-min, played by Eom Ki-joon, after he learned that Shin Hyo-jung had loved him and had been pregnant with his child before he pushed her to her death. Yeah, that’s a mouthful. But I touch upon this because Eom Ki-joon was just absitively posolutely fantastic. He does the cold, nasty evil dude SO well, which is why he’s done quite a few supporting roles with this type of character. But he’s also incredibly warm, which I wish I could see more. There was a flashback today of Cho coming to see Shin after killing his uncle (yeah, not so nice), and the concern on his face, the love and cherishment he held for Shin, was so touching. Yeah, he’s still a murderer, but you can’t deny the man loved his woman, and Eom Ki-joon was brilliant. And if we wanna talk brilliant, we can’t forget the subtle shift in emotions, the shock and regret and agony that was Just. So. Brilliantly. Done. when he learned that Shin had been pregnant with his child. No bawling, no crazy screams, no nothing to excess. Everything’s in the eyes, in the face, in the body language. That whole Phantom of the Opera track blasting in the background, I think, was a big big big mistake. They should have let the acting do its own singing and talking. It was more than enough.
I understand the writer’s intent in making Cho Hyun-min fall to his death in a mirroring of Shin Hyo-jung’s death. It’s the closure to this show, which began with Shin’s fall to death. We’ve come full circle. I understand the narrative purpose. But I reaaaally reaaaaalllly would have preferred, on a personal level, not to include a suicide. This isn’t a pretty world we’re dealing with in Ghost, with all the hacking and lying and cheating and killing everywhere. But suicide is something that’s a pretty big problem – especially amongst teens and celebrities – in Korea, and I physically flinch whenever it’s referenced or implied or portrayed or ANYTHING in dramas/movies/shows/music. So Ji-sub had his own brush with it when his best friend Park Yong-ha ended his life several years ago. It was a very difficult time for everyone, and So Ji-sub just hasn’t looked the same since. He may smile and laugh, but there’s a shadow over his face. I know gritty is popular, and I know hearts and rainbows don’t cut it in the entertainment industry, but it’s just my personal desire not to see such things portrayed so vividly in dramas or films. Actor Cha In-pyo’s words really come to mind. When on SBS’s talk show Healing Camp several few months ago, he said celebrities just shouldn’t discuss times when they had contemplated ending their lives. It’s not that he is in any ways unsympathetic to the difficulties that may have pushed people to go so far. But such thoughts and actions are not the answer to anything, and they are not something that should even be given thought.
All the darkness notwithstanding, I think Ghost made a very laudable stab at the cybercrime – and crime in general – genre. It’s unfortunate that the show didn’t receive quite as much love as Sign, the procedural crime drama penned by Kim Eun-hee last year (starring Park Shin-yang and Kim Ah-joong), but I think Ghost is nothing to laugh at. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was well-done (with great attention to detail!), and I can wholeheartedly applaud all the hard work everyone put into it.