Marriage Contract drama is the latest show to feature “a contracted marriage” as a pivotal plot in its storytelling. If you like contract marriages (me! me!) where our two leads are initially antagonistic towards each other and then later bit by bit fall in love (of course!), then this drama is for you.
Don’t they look sweet?
MARRIAGE CONTRACT DRAMA TRAILER AND POSTER
Here’s one of the teasers for Show.
MARRIAGE CONTRACT DRAMA SUMMARY
Kang Hye-Soo (Uee) is a mother down on her luck. Her dead husband left her with crippling debts and now loan sharks are after her and her 6 year-old daughter, Cha Eun-Sung (Shin Rin-Ah).
Hye-Soo experiences the lowest of the low when she discovers she is possibly dying from a disease.
Han Ji-Hoon (Lee Seo-Jin), in the meantime, is on the other side of the social stratosphere. He’s an illegitimate son and a 2nd generation chaebol (I’m assuming on the 2nd degree). His biological mother is near-dying and needs liver surgery. He hatches a plan to marry in order to use his new wife as a ready donor for his mother’s operation.
Just when both are on the brink of losing hope, they find each other and agree on a Marriage Contract.
MARRIAGE CONTRACT DRAMA TRIVIA
As per the Marriage Contract drama, it is illegal to contract with people as donors for their organs. In the show, only family members are allowed to donate. I’m still unclear whether this is actual law in Korea. (If you know this info, please share with us in the comments section!)
Still, I did find out that more than half the transplantations in Korea were from children to their parents. This is not too surprising as Korean (or Asian) culture values filial piety and respect for parents. Still, one huge obstacle to the idea of organ transplantation in Korea is due to Confucian beliefs.
According to Confucian teaching, one is born with a complete body and should end the same way, as a form of filial piety:
Body, hair and skin are gifts from parents, let no one damage them.
Still, Ji-Hoon had no qualms in offering to be an organ donor. Too bad he wasn’t a match! (But if he were, we wouldn’t have a story!)
And for those who are wondering, the liver is the only part of the human body that has an amazing capacity to regenerate. You can be left with as little as 25% of your liver and your body can still regenerate.
MARRIAGE CONTRACT DRAMA COMMENTARIES
When I first wrote this review, I didn’t intend to do commentaries. However, Show just keeps getting better and better, and I am getting more and more excited with each episode so I’m going to do weekly commentaries after all. Just gotta vent out all that excitement somewhere!
Notes: Keep away if you don’t want spoilers! If you want recaps, my fave blog Dramabeans has them. Also, my advance apologies if there are any typos. I’m typing this fast between my day jobs. 😉
Episode 1 and 2
Probably because my expectations were set to Low, I quite enjoyed the Marriage Contract drama. It’s quite embarassing but I was crying at the 6-minute mark when Hye-Soo protected her daughter from an accident. When she lost consciousness (and I knew she was sick of course), it just really got me as a parent. Suddenly, I was in her shoes — that violent and immediate NEED to protect one’s child.
(I was having breakfast at the time so I was scarfing down food WHILE crying. Geez.)
I saw Uee in High Society, the drama I wanted to like but just couldn’t. So, I was very happy to see that her vibe is different in this show and she is able to give a better acting performance. Her anguish and mounting hopelessness felt real.
I also liked the character of Ji-Hoon. He obviously has a temper and I liked that he had a flaw (or several of them). I’m looking forward to seeing more of his character unfold in the next episodes.
Did I mention that Ji-Hoon and Eun-Sung had very funny scenes together? The child is obviously precocious and mature for her age and because Ji-Hoon doesn’t babytalk to kids, they have an interesting repartee.
There was some dislike from netizens stemming from the 17-year age gap between our OTP. Happily, I didn’t know the male lead too well (and Asians are generally young-looking) so I didn’t have preconceived notions going in. I’d have to say they look good together and the age difference doesn’t seem to exist in dramaland. Uee looks mature and Seo-Jin looks timelessly handsome. Not to mention, when they’re facing off each other and that sexy tango music begins, it’s simply RaaawwwwRRRRR! Sizzling hot!
Before I close, I just want to vent about the one flaw of Marriage Contract. If I’d have to point out just one flaw (apart from the stereotypical loan sharks and reliable bestie), it would be the stupid editing and continuity.
There were several mistakes that were REALLY glaring. The first was when Uee was sitting and looking over Eun-Sung who is lying in bed. The child faces different directions in succeeding shots. The next is how Eun-Sung made it to the nail bar after she went to her mom’s resto, and finally, there was that succession of shots when Uee is approaching a seated Ji-Hoon at the hospital. I’d say, bop the editors on the head for sloppy editing.
If I ignore those visual fails, I’d have to say that Marriage Contract drama is off to a good start. Overall sentiment from viewers is good, I’m feeling invested in the story, and I seriously wanna see the cute when our leads decide to go ahead with the marriage contract.
The first two episodes were set-up so I can’t wait to see what the next episodes will bring. Cheering for you, Show! Please be better and more awesome. 🙂
Episode 3 and 4
The Drama Gods must have heard me because I enjoyed Episodes 3 and 4 of Marriage Contract even more. Did they satisfy my craving for cotton candy romance? Definitely not. We’re still in the midst of everybody’s turmoil and pain but weirdly enough, I feel satisfied with each event unfolding. It feels like a wound that needs to hurt bad before it will get better.
Our set-up is complete when Hye-Soo agrees to the liver transplant. Because we know she’s sick, we can understand her when she says she wants enough money for her daughter. For Ji-Hoon, it probably just sounds like haggling.
I was waiting for cute scenes during the wedding photoshoot but didn’t get them. I’m glad. That would have been super stereotypical. Ji-Hoon was his cold self but you know what? Every time these two are near each other, I can see the possibilities. I can feel the beginnings of something there. And it’s awesomesauce!
I enjoyed watching our OTP memorize the littlest details about each other. I feel Ji-Hoon had an advantage as he spent more time in academia. Still, it was SO telling when HE was the one who got stumped by the interviewer. He forgot Eun-Sang’s name! This makes me really love the writing of Marriage Contract drama. All the pieces add up to something significant. In this case, Ji-Hoon’s mistake was a telling indicator of his real regard for mother and child.
These two episodes seem to be all about all the obstacles in the way of our OTP. Sure they made an agreement to fake-marry but the Dramaverse isn’t making it easy for them as evidenced by Eun-Sang and Ji-Hoo’s mother’s refusal to cooperate. The latter becomes desperate enough to try to kill herself with oncoming traffic.
Man, I cried in this scene. Uee’s really improved by leaps and bounds! I really felt for her here.
“Then take me with you. I will die with you. If you die, I will die too. If you live, I will live. I am so desperate to live. I want to live so bad. So please choose to live. Living is better at least, isn’t it. A shabby life is still better than dying. I beg you please.”
I’ve been watching for the signs and I think it was at this point that Ji-Hoon started to see Hye-Soo with new eyes. He was very solicitous toward her (though still verbally cold and gruff) when he turned up the heat in his car and gave his jacket.
I’m starting to feel it, guys! And based on forum and message board comments, I’m not alone!
Episode 5 and 6
Omo omo omo! The cute has arrived! The cute has arrived!
I thought it was a stroke of genius on Ji-Hoon’s part to admit to the hospital social worker that the “child” did not actually like him hence he could not bring her to the hospital.
But unknown to him, Eun Sang had already warmed up to the idea of bringing him into their family. I feel that Eun Sang saw how sad her mother was on her own and thought that Ji-Hoon would be man who can love her mother enough to make her happy and not leave her.
I’ve always said that when Eun-Sang and Ji-Hoon talk, my heart mews. And it did doubly so for this heart and heart talk. If Ji-Hoon initially only saw mother and child before as a means to an end, he surely can’t anymore with this talk with Eun-Sang. (And isn’t the child actress simply amazing?!!)
“Then please don’t leave her like my father. Stay with my mum for a long time and don’t go to heaven like my father.”
And this explains Ji-Hoon’s uncharacteristic behavior later on when he gets mad at Hye-Soo for being a fool and that he’ll divorce her asap so she can find a good man. He even becomes indignant that the “father” has done nothing for Eun-Sang and Hye-Soo. Oh Ji-Hoon, you’re really starting to fall!
I can go on and on but I’ll just mention three more of my fave scenes for this week in Marriage Contract drama.
I loved it when Hye-Soo told Ji-Hoon’s father that Ji-Hoon wasn’t cold. He just appears that way on the outside but is actually warm and soft on the inside. I love the genuine look of affection on her face when she says this. And if you’ll remember, it’s the same thing that she’s told Eun-Sang before.
And didn’t you love the restaurant date? You can tell that Ji-Hoo is having so much fun watching Hye-Soo eat and talk in this humble little restaurant.
And OMGGEEEEE!!! He went crazy after that. He was spinning things, tossing stuff, jumping on tables and beds, all the while grinning idiotically. I know that look! It’s the look of a man falling in love!!!
I can’t count how many times this drama has had me in tears. I just get touched with every episode. Show, you got me right in the heart!
Episode 7 and 8
I’m possibly an odd duck in that I was more excited to watch the new installments of the Marriage Contract drama compared to say, Descendants of the Sun. I mean, the DOTS fever is real! So I’m an odd duck, I tell ya.
But what sad episodes, friends! Everything and everybody is conspiring to keep our OTP apart. The only good thing that I can see coming out of these episodes is that if ever you wondered if Ji-Hoon and Hye-Soo were falling for each other, well, we got our answer this week.
First off, Ji-Hoon sits Hye-Soo on the countertop and does his evil way with her cooks her a meal. The look he gives her is enough to melt your socks off!
Next is that cute scene when Hye-Soo wiped the bloody lip of Ji-Hoon. Skinship! And Eun-Sang surprised them with a photo!
Next was the very telling hug. Ji-Hoon was beside himself when he couldn’t contact Hye-Soo. (She’d left her phone on the bus and was wandering around after being told they won’t do the surgery anymore.) He was shouting her name in the streets and when he finally saw her walking towards him, he ran to her and enveloped her in a hug.
Squee! Somebody hug me tight like that please! It didn’t look like he was offering comfort. It looked to me like he was the one needing the assurance that Hye-Soo was alright and right in front of him.
And I just have to add in that scene when Ji-Hoon finally gets provoked by his sleazy brother because he tries to rough up Hye-Soo. (He’d kept his cool well enough when it was Na-Yoon getting shoved around.)
It’s SO telling how our OTP miss each other’s presence so much. Sigh. Stupid ex-gf and meddling dad.
The preview shows Ji-Hoon asking his dad for two days of reprieve to say goodbye to Hye-Soo before he goes off to be the dutiful son and separate from his birth mother and Hye-Soo.
I’m simultaneously dreading and anticipating the Marriage Contract drama episodes next week. I can’t wait!
Let’s both squee and suffer through this,