「Vagabond」 review @ Snoworld | Monday, Dec 28, 2020 | 2 minutes read | Update at Sunday, Apr 11, 2021

배가본드」 / 「Vagabond」 is a 2019 hit TV series starring “이승기” (“Lee Seung Gi”) and “수지” (“Suzy”). One of Korea’s highly budgeted show and follower of the trend in filming in overseas locations, 「배가본드」 / 「Vagabond」 truly captured the interest of the audiences both in Korea and worldwide with its movie-quality production and very impressive plot.

The production and story are top-notch it was like watching a movie based on a true-to-life story.

Story

Overall, the story was great. The number of twists and turn, unexpected revelations, the high level political game, and the multiple layers, made this series one of the best crime drama of this decade (’10s). However, it failed closing the story properly.

In the last episode (16th), it was obvious it was rushed. There was no direction. Everything the series built up from episodes 1 to 15 disappeared. It started awesome, then became great, good, and ended poorly.

It is common among creative writers to have an open-ended story but in this case the ending was not an open-ending, no, it was a cliffhanger intended to be a premise for a guaranteed Season 2. If the intention was to have an open-ending, it should have ended with them driving to the airport. Everything else after that scene killed what made it great.

I still give it 8 out of 10 stars for the story regardless of the disaster after the “driving to the airport scene”. I also applaud the writers and director for not inserting romantic scenes just because their lead female is well-known for it.

Acting

Suzy did well in portraying an intelligence officer. This was a big change from her usual romantic roles and I wasn’t expecting she can pull it off. Yet, in the first two episodes, she already shone in her role, that’s a sure sign of a talented actress.

The acting of the other actors were superb. I usually see them in dramas about family and relationships, seeing them portray political and intelligence roles was refreshing and in they owned the characters they portrayed in series.

Together, the acting were too believable I kept thinking I was watching a fictionalised true story. The characters were too real, all thanks to their acting and synergy.

Production

Did I just watch a 16-episode (16-hour) movie? It was clear they spent money on Vagabond to get it all right. But in the last episode the explosions were very bad. This was the other reason why I said earlier that anything after the “driving to the airport” scene should not have been included.

Overall score

All things considered. I give it a rating of 8 out of 10 stars. The superb acting and quality production were what pulled it up, and for avoiding creating romantic scenes just because they have a great romantic-genre actress as a female lead.

A series I will watch again in the future but not the scenes I mentioned earlier.


・ Cover image: The cover image used in this article is Copyrighted to Celltrion Entertainment.

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ᜌᜓᜃᜒ (Yuki ・ 雪亮)If this is not the end of oblivion, then I shall live everyday as if my life were to end this very day.

The YOOki (柳紀 ・ 유 기) Chronicles

The YOOki (柳紀 ・ 유 기) Chronicles is ᜌᜓᜃᜒ (Yuki ・ 雪亮)’s return into casual and personal blogging. The name “YOOki” is a mash-up of the acronym of YourOnly.One and my nickname ᜌᜓᜃᜒ (Yuki ・ 雪亮).

Interestingly, according to Chinese legend, 「柳」 (YOO) is an ancient Chinese surname. The ancestors of the surname were closely linked with the ancient sage-king named Yu Shun. In Korea, the 「유」 (YOO) lineage traces to the Xia, Han, and Joseon dynasties. Holders of the surname Yu or Yoo had a reputation for charity and diligence.1

It is also the word for “willow” or the “willow tree” which means graceful or slender; and a tree growing near a body of water which provide continuous nourishment and resources for everyone. It can also mean to exist, an oil (anointment(?)), and simply as “U” (you).

The hanzi 「紀」 (ki) character means to record, be disciplined, provide order. While the hangul equivalent, 「기」 (ki; gi), means energy, spirit, a banner, and a period of time; and is also a suffix used to make a gerund or an infinitive.

Can you guess what I mean by 「柳紀」 and 「유 기」 as the Chinese and Korean for “YOOki”?


  1. 「유」 Yoo (Korean surname); CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported License ↩︎

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