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Goddess of Revenge [2020-2021]


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Goddess of Revenge

Director: Kang Min Goo

Writer: Kim Hyo Jin

Episodes: 16

Original Broadcaster: TV Chosun

 

Main Cast:

Kim Sa Rang - Kang Hae Ra

Yoon Hyun Min - Cha Min Joon


Goddess of Revenge has a slightly slow start, but is ultimately a fun and satisfying watch. It details how a team of people come together to get revenge for the underdogs against those who would abuse them. Their method is to film the abusers in the act of doing something abusive and/or illegal and live streaming it to the internet, bracketed by commentary from Kang Hae Ra who details what is going on and what the viewers are watching.

 

The drama has both episodic revenge cases as well as an overarching story.


The Set Up

Kang Hae Ra is a woman who seems to have everything going for her. She is an ex-reporter turned internet influencer who is married to a successful and popular news anchor and has an adorable son. She has just published her autobiography which is well-received, and is in talks to host her own variety show on broadcast tv.  However, we see immediately that her husband hits her, leaving bruises to cover with makeup.

 

She also runs into a mysterious young man Kim Hyun Sung who says that he is a rookie reporter though he doesn’t have a job yet who looks up to her as his role model.  After his initial approach, she keeps running into the young man, first on the subway when she catches her heel on the escalator, and then at her book signing event. He has brought her some shoes since he didn’t think that she would have had time to fix her shoes yet. He asks her to buy her some dinner and they have a drink.

 

KHR wakes up in a strange hotel to find out that her world has crumbled and she is caught up in a scandal with the young reporter, though she has no memory of it. Her husband disavows her, cuts off her credit cards, and ends up divorcing her.  Her publisher is suing her for her books which are being returned for refunds. Her agency takes her money to cover her losses.  

 

She turns to a detective Goo Eun Hye who finds out that the scheme was dreamed up by her husband to discredit KHR so that he can divorce her without giving her anything and because she dared to slap him back the last time he hit her, while he has an affair with Kim Tae On, the president of FB Life Insurance.

 

She ultimately gets revenge on her husband by exposing his adultery via live streaming a sex session between him and his lover onto an online channel that she calls Kang Hae Ra’s Revenge Channel, along with a video of the young guy who had been paid to set her up admitting he had done so.

 

Cha Min Joon is a lawyer who works for wealthy scum bags. The first case we see him take on is to defend a corporate executive who has been sued for sexual assault by his secretary. He defends his client successfully, managing to make the woman look like an opportunist who entered a consenting arrangement, but then wanted more money. Afterwards, MJ has his assistant Choi Do Yoon drop a bag of money to the plaintiff’s house after the case.

 

CMJ is also looking for his sister who had been a reporter and went missing several years ago. He has gotten the notion that KHR had a part in his sister’s troubles and disappearance.

 

CMJ gets closer to KHR, and asks her to continue her revenge channel on behalf of clients that he’ll send her. CMJ is not doing it out of benevolence so much as he expects to be able to use KHR to go after the other people that he suspects has something to do with his sister’s disappearance.

 

After struggling with her reasons for wanting to do the Revenge Channel, namely because she’s finding it hard to find a job, rather than because she really wants to right people’s wrongs, KHR decides to go for it.

 

These cases provide the episodic cases. The overarching plot line has to do with CMJ’s sister Cha Mi Yeon and KHR’s son Ga On, plus the machinations of the family who owns FB Group, including the Chairman and Kim Tae On who is the heir apparent.


Kang Hae Ra’s Revenge Team Members

Kang Hae Ra
Cha Min Joon
Goo Eun Hye - a private detective who becomes a friend to KHR
Choi Do Yoon - CMJ’s assistant, who also wants revenge against FB Group and Kang Hae Ra
Kim Hyun Sung - Despite his early involvement in setting up KHR’s scandal, he decides that he really does want to be like KHR and begs to join her. He develops a crush on Goo Eun Hye.


Commentary

A lot of the fun in this drama is in seeing how KHR is actually a smart and determined person who is not afraid to take some risks in order to carry out her revenges. She is also tech savvy and very aware of how to live stream and how to frame it for maximum effect to gain audiences to watch her livestreams. She’s not one to take anything lying down. She is not a Candy who only thinks of others and allows herself to be abused and taken advantage of. Even as a youngster, she reported the boss of her part-time job for sexual assault when he thought that lending her money meant that she had to let him have his way with her. It makes it a bit of an initial mystery as to why she stayed in an abusive marriage, but we learn why soon enough.

 

This drama also supposes that there are a lot of people who have consciences, aside from the wealthy and powerful, of course, for whom nothing matters then their own positions and gains. These people are as interested in getting justice, if shown that there is a way to do it.

 

CMJ and KHR also have an interesting relationship. There isn’t any overt romance on their parts, however, over time, it’s clear to see that they grow to care for each other. It's especially fun to watch CMJ's evolution who starts with one idea of who KHR is and planning to get revenge on her, only to discover for himself that he was under misconceptions as he sees how caring and determined she really is.

 

Family dynamics play a large part in this drama though. The clear affection and closeness between CMJ and his sister before her disappearance, the unstinting love and affection between KHR and her son GO, as well as the love and support between Goo Eun Hye and her father. The dysfunction that is the FB Group is also displayed. And, there is a rather satisfying scene where the Chairman refuses to give evidence against his daughter who tried to kill him even thought she’s a danger to others because she’s the only one who can take over the FB Group until he can recover enough to take it back from her, only to then have that daughter try to kill him yet again and nearly succeed.

 

The first 3 episodes of this drama is mostly set up, and I have to admit that after the initial 2 episodes, I took a break, which I now regret. I picked it back up in the middle of its run, and it became one of my 2 favorite dramas to watch, both airing on weekends. (The other one was Uncanny Counter.)

 

In general, I think this drama did a good job of mixing humor in with the darker themes of injustice, and the relationships between and amongst the Revenge Team, especially as it evolves into them becoming more of a family than co-workers, makes it ultimately a worthwhile watch. The revenges are also handled in fun ways, though after the first couple of them, you start expecting it. In some ways, it reminds me of a similar dynamic as to the interviews that Ali G did with politicians. After awhile, you start wondering why the politicians didn’t get smarter about granting Ali G access. In this drama, though, the abusers all thought highly of themselves while thinking HR was just a weak woman with no power. Until she shows them the power of public opinion generated by a livestream of their own misdeeds.

 

I loved this drama and is definitely worth a re-watch. The acting is solid all the way around, the villains being thoroughly reprehensible and the good guys having complex character arcs. And, the revenges are actually fun to watch.


Ratings:
Plot/Story     9
Cast/Acting   9
Production Value 8
Rewatch Value 9
Overall     9

 

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A trailer for this drama, though I don't think the trailer really does it justice.

 

 

 

One final thing since I like to explain titles. The Korean title for this drama is "Bok Su Hae Ra" which literally means "Do Revenge." As frequently with kdramas, however, it's a play on Hae Ra's name and the word for revenge which is "Bok Su", so this title could mean "Take Revenge" or "Revenge Hae Ra" which could also be translated as "Goddess of Revenge, Hae Ra".

 

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2 hours ago, Tofu said:

I'll watch it and let you know how I like it.

 

Sounds good! I was surprised at how much I ended up liking it. To the point that some weekends, I would watch this dram even before I watched the latest eps of Uncanny Counter. I feel a bit bad actually that I didn't participate more on the thread for this drama because there is actually quite a lot to unpack, and moments that make you go "a-ha!"

 

Kudos to the writer for keep a tight rein on the various elements and managing to weave it all together. It does use coincidences, but not as many as you might think, and not in the critical ways that make you want to roll your eyes. And, it turns out even bad guys can develop a conscience towards the end of the drama. :laugh:

  • Haha 3
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