Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Na Young Gil
tvN’s Mine wasn’t exactly a highly anticipated series since it was about ‘the lives of the upper class,’ ‘murders,’ ‘affairs,’ and all ‘the complicated feelings between men and women.’ Though the idea of having Lee Bo Young and Kim Seo Hyung as lead roles were appealing, some concerned that the show might turn out to be unoriginal and overly provocative.
But it didn’t take long for them to prove that we worried for nothing. As the show progressed, viewers became engrossed in the story and characters. And now that the show’s run for ten episodes, viewers are engrossed in the show. Let’s discuss the appeal of Mine.
The show revolves around the two daughters-in-laws of the Hyowon Group family, Jeong Seo Hyun, and Seo Hee Soo. Hyowon Group is one of the top 1% wealthy corporations in South Korea. It’s about their journey to find ‘who they truly are’ and claim ‘what’s theirs,’ which they kept hidden in the chain that binds them due to their status as part of a wealthy family.
The show was intense from the beginning. It stirred up the curiosity by starting with a murder (or a mysterious death). Then, it turned the clock back 60 days to slowly show viewers the events leading up to the death. Ever since Chairman Han had collapsed, the greed of the family members and the sketchy behavior of outsiders, who stepped into Han’s household, got jumbled together. Together, they eventually begin to endanger the Hyowon Group.
Unlike the project’s intention, the show’s plot may not be any different from other guilty pleasure shows that have been aired. The complicated family tree on the show doesn’t help either. For example, Han Ji Yong and his son Han Ha Jun are those born out of wedlock. Not only that, Han Ji Yong’s biological mother had worked as Han Ji Yong’s nanny, and his son Han Ha Jun’s birth mother also became Han Ha Jun’s tutor. I’m sure some of these settings could bring headaches for many people. Plus, the show explores a family fighting over inheritance, secret affairs, and the love between a poor woman and a wealthy man. It’s understandable if the show has been labeled “unoriginal.”
But Mine is not like one of those overdramatized guilty pleasure shows that people hate-watch. The show focuses on a bond between Seo Hee Soo and Jeong Seo Hyun and their growth after overcoming all these obstacles. That’s what makes viewers engrossed in the show, and it’s why the show’s relatable. The focal point of the show is the two characters’ stories. And, of course, Lee Bo Young and Kim Seo Hyung’s acting is incredible.
Dyed-in-the-wool noblewoman Jeong Seo Hyun is excellent at hiding her true self. Since she knows how things work in wealthy families, she was never shy around the Hyowon Group family. She eventually became the most influential person in the family. But she has her own share of secrets and pain. To survive as a daughter and daughter-in-law in wealthy families, she had to live in the pain of hiding her sexual identity from everyone, about being a lesbian.
On the other hand, Seo Hee Soo is the opposite of Jeong Seo Hyun. Being a former actress, she doesn’t let herself be constricted by rules or conventions. And she loves who she truly is. It wasn’t easy for her to live as a daughter-in-law in a wealthy family. But since she had what’s entirely hers, her dear husband Han Ji Yong and stepson Ha Jun, she could keep up with it. However, when she found out that Kang Ja Kyung, Ha Jun’s tutor, is her stepson’s biological mother and Ji Yong’s secret mistress, she feels devastated to the point of having a miscarriage.
The person, who reached out to her when she was going through the horror, was no one but Seo Hyun. Even though Hee Soo is the opposite of her, she stood up for her because, perhaps, she saw her past self in Hee Soo. The two women’s bonding, growing and striving to overcome the oppression within Hyowon Group, and breaking the emotional fences they created for themselves, like “an elephant trapped in a narrow doorway,” are the backbone and the biggest weapon of Mine.
Of course, the show has its flaws. Although opinions may differ, among the show’s many subjects(mystery, thriller, black comedy, romance), the romance between Seo Hyun’s son Soo Hyuk and maid Yoo Yeon was the most questionable element. It almost felt like it was a combination of an unnecessary cliché of a Cinderella story and a powerful and progressive show. But because admitting their relationship plays a part in Seo Hyun’s growth, I am willing to put up with it.
With six episodes ahead, Mine still has so many unfinished storylines. What’s the truth behind the murder in the Hyowon Group family? Will Seo Hyun and Hee Soo be able to protect themselves and claim what’s theirs? Many viewers can’t wait to see the next episode.
Verdict: A series starring go-to actresses, Kim Seo Hyung and Lee Bo Young as the lead roles. 8/10
Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres.
Translator Na Young Gil: ZAPZEE is the best Korean pop culture community, and I’m happy to be part of it.