Let’s start off with some immense fangirling!!!
LEE MIN HO!!! 이민호 오빠 영이가 진짜 대단해요!!! 너무 너무 사랑해요!!!
I have religiously watched all of Lee Min Ho’s dramas, minus his sageuk, Faith and I find him to be a phenomenal actor, be it his good looks, or his expert talent of being a romantic hero. His one role that had totally disappointed me was Kim Tan in The Heirs. but nonetheless, the actor made a full time recovery in Legend of the Blue Sea. He was able to manifest his great acting skills in the show and must give props to Jeon Ji Hyun for her role in bringing the best out in Lee Min Ho.
Legend of a Blue Sea was written by Park Ji Eun, who also wrote hits like My Husband Got A Family, My Love From Another Star and The Producers. The first two were some of my favourite dramas, specifically My Husband, simply because of the family shenanigans, which I could relate to being from Pakistan. The Asian connection runs deeper than we tend to imagine, I must say.
Coming back to Legend, the plot is based in the romance of a mermaid with a human, in two parallel story lines. The first story line is based in the Joseon period where the governor of a coastal city, Kim Dam Ryung (Lee Min Ho) is introduced to a captured mermaid, called Se Hwa (Jeon Ji Hyun) by Lord Yang (Sung Dong Il). She has been captured by these men simply because she is means to great riches for them and is a prized possession since her tears fall on the ground to form pearls. Another reason for her capture is all the mystery surrounding her person, such as the fact that she possesses the power to make whomsoever she touches lose their memory. Dam Ryung has Se Hwa set free, and he gifts her his jade bracelet as a keepsake.
In the modern timeline we are introduced to a trio of con artists: Heo Joon Jae (Lee Min Ho), Jo Nam Doo (Lee Ji Hoon), and Tae Oh (Shin Won Ho). They go ahead impersonating other people, loaded with fake identification cards and appropriate clothing. They break into a law firm faking to be electricians to fix an elevator, but then enter an empty office in suits in order to deal with a spoiled chaebol madam, who wants to use her money to save her child from the consequences of being a bully. Even though they appear to be con artists, which is a bad thing, the only criminal thing they do is faking identities. In reality, they seem to be keeping a small commission but actually giving back to people who deserve the money. Yet, Heo Joon Jae using hypnosis to trick people into doing things according to his will, is not exactly fair either.
After having tricked this madam, Joon Jae goes away to Spain in order to run away from the consequences of his connivance. On the way there, he flirts with the air hostess (Krystal from f(x)), who tells him that the ocean around this land is famed for having mermaids living in it according to native folklore. While in Spain, Joon Jae seems to have rented out a villa, right next to the ocean. It appears to be true that mermaids live around the Iberian peninsula, as we see a serenely beautiful Jeon Ji Hyun (wearing the jade bracelet Dam Ryung gave Se Hwa) swim across the ocean, to be washed out onto a shore. Once the waves leave her body, she does not have a tail any more but human legs. As predictable kdramas go, the shore she is washed onto is Joon Jae’s villa. Even though she cannot say a word in human language, and is extremely defensive towards his every move, he still chases after her. What catches his attention is the highly expensive and precious jade bracelet she is wearing on her wrist. Even though he wants to send her away, he can’t because of this, being a con artists as he is. Yet we notice small hints of humanity and sympathy that Joon Jae has for the mermaid who knows nothing about the human world.
It is this sympathy that hints at the ensuing romance in both the timelines, yet Dam Ryung and Joon Jae have absolutely nothing in common as far as their personalities go. While one is about physical strength and empathy, the other is about mental intelligence and trickery. Similarly, Se Hwa, and the modern mermaid have not much in common. The former was graceful and elegant, suiting the time period she existed in, whereas our new mermaid is absolutely spunky and blunt with her words.
For the strengths of this drama, there are plenty, from the beautifully shot underwater scenes, to the witty dialogues and the humorous play with the reincarnations that occurred throughout the show. Yet, the reincarnations in Legend were 110% better than those in Goblin. Every time I was scared the story might lose its flavour or become too makjang, it would come back with full energy. It had thematic parallels with You From Another Star because of the mythical/otherworldly creature, and some of the rules of the universe were similar, but making Jeon Ji Hyun that kind of a character in this show benefit her a lot, as far as her career goes.There were no loopholes in laying down the foundations of this show, and even the last episode appeared like it would be as bad as the end of Goblin, because of certain incidents, but they turned it around in the most delightful twist. Hence, Lee Min Ho seriously redeemed himself in this show, and no matter how gentlemanly poor old Dam Ryung gets, I will always root for Heo Joon Jae. He can try his lighter tricks on me any time!