Edited by Seo Hae Lan
Translated by Na Young Gil
Bossam was a custom in the Joseon period, in which a single man wraps up a widow in a blanket at night and makes her his wife. Back in the days, it was a way of getting remarried with a tacit agreement, and it was an opportunity to get a new life for those widows who were forced to live alone after losing their husbands. Born from this peculiar custom, Bossam: Steal the Fate portrays love beyond conflicts between social classes and families, and it’s quietly gaining popularity.
The show was set in the Joseon Dynasty under Gwanghaegun. The story begins as a rogue and a professional bossam-man, Ba Woo, mistakenly kidnaps the wrong woman. He kidnaps Lee Soo Kyeong, Princess Hwa In, the only daughter of King Gwanghae and the widowed daughter-in-law of powerful Lee Yi Cheom. But Lee Yi Cheom’s family lies to the world, including the King, announcing that Soo Kyung’s dead. Plus, instead of making things right, they try to kill her to make the lie the truth. Soo Kyung, saved by Ba Woo, starts living with him and his son Cha Dol. Soon, Dae Yeop, Soo Kyung’s brother-in-law, learns she’s alive and tries to help her return home. However, she gradually changes her mind and wishes to live a different life after going through many things outside the royal palace and the rich household.
Bossam: Steal the Fate has every element viewers expect in a historical drama such as politics, comedy, action, and romance. Among them, the unclichéd romance between Ba Woo and Soo Kyung, being the show’s backbone, is what keeps viewers glued to the show. The relationship started with a mistake. However, by going through life-threatening situations together, the show depicts how they begin to understand each other more and more, create a new life together, and become significant to each other. The chemistry between Soo Kyung and Dae Yeop is also enjoyable. Many viewers cannot understand Dae Yeop, who will risk his life to protect his sister-in-law. But when the two turn out to be old friends who even considered getting married at one point, we get to understand him so much more and the depth of feeling he has with her.
Their love stories are all tearful because they are at the center of political conflicts. King Gwanghae only thinks about getting rid of Lee Yi Cheom, who has become powerful enough to make the King feel threatened. Lee Yi Cheom does everything he can to keep his power. In this brutal political war, Soo Kyung is nothing but a pawn for both of them. Ba Woo and Dae Yeop also get dragged into the battle for power, and they have to protect the ones they love in such unpredictable situations.
Plus, it turns out Ba Woo is the grandson of Kim Je Nam, Queen In Mok(King Gwanghae’s stepmother)’s father who was executed for treason. That makes Ba Woo’s family and Soo Kyung and Dae Yeop’s family enemies. Ba Woo and Soo Kyung’s relationship were unlikely to last from the beginning. Moreover, according to history, King Gwanghae will soon get dethroned by Kim Je Nam’s followers. Many viewers can’t let go of the tension while watching the show since we all know what’s to come next.
The directing is also a big part of the show’s charm. Hit-maker Kwon Seok Jang, who produced many hits on MBC such as Pasta, Golden Time, and Miss Korea, displays his polished directing on his first historical series as well. You can tell every scene is created with great care. Especially, the backgrounds he captures, traveling to many places, look like well-made Korean paintings. The costumes and makeup highlight Korea’s beauty effectively, and the works of art showcase the characteristics of different places very well, making the story more powerful.
The acting, captured along with beautiful backgrounds, shines as well. Jung Il Woo, who starred in numerous period drama, keeps the show stable with his experience under his belt. Shin Hyun Soo shows many different types of acting through action and emotional scenes. Including Shin Dong Mi and Song Sun Mi, who’s worked with the director many times, the seasoned actors like Kim Tae Woo, Lee Jae Yong, and Lee Joon Hyuk facilitate the show very well.
But the show’s biggest hidden gem is Kwon Yu Ri. She rocks the traditional Korean hair and clothes. Plus, she portrays Soo Kyung, a demure young lady with a fiery passion in her heart, better than we all have expected. In a way, Bossam: Steal the Fate is a story of Soo Kyung setting herself free from all the rules and Confucian virtues and finding her happiness on her own. That’s why it’s important to portray her growth well. With the help of sensitive directing, which brings out an actor’s potential, Kwon Yu Ri is making a strong impression as an actress rather than as a member of the Girls’ Generation.
With the 11th episode recently aired, Bossam: Steal the Fate entered its Act 2. Instead of always fleeing as they have done so far, Ba Woo and Soo Kyung will face threats and scheme head-on. While tension is mounting between King Gwanghae and Lee Yi Cheom and implying a coup ahead, will they be able to protect their love? I wonder how far the story will dig into the gaps in between history and protect their love.
Editor Seo Hae Lan: I’m not picky and like all genres. I am in constant search of a balance between criticism and a fan’s heart.
Translator Na Young Gil: ZAPZEE is the best Korean pop culture community, and I’m happy to be part of it.