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[K-Drama Review] ‘Doom at Your Service’: A Story That’s a Tad Bit Insufficient

Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Cho EK

The fantasy romance Doom at Your Service is about Myul Mang, a celestial being, and Dong Kyung, a dying mortal woman. Many good elements seemed to promise a solid romance series, such as the subject, which reminds us of The Lonely and Great God, and the tropes from the wildly popular K-dramas’ repertoire, the gorgeous shots, the chemistry between the leads, and the script of The Beauty Inside (2018) author Lim Meari. However, as soon as the drama began, it somehow didn’t meet the viewers’ high expectations.

The drama begins when Tak Dong Kyung (Park Bo Young) suddenly learns she has a terminal illness. As she had repressed her grief since she lost her mother, Dong Kyung grew up as an adult who never cries. Instead of shedding her tears, she goes up to a rooftop and calls out to the heavens, and thoughtlessly curses everything to disappear. Soon, her words summon a mysterious celestial being named Myeol Mang (Seo In Guk), who claims that he can grant her wishes.

Myul Mang has always been overwhelmed by his own immortality. Meanwhile, on his birthday, he hears Dong Kyung’s voice, the day when he can grant somebody’s wish. He tells her that he can grant her wish to destroy the world in return for a painless 100 days before her death. At the crossroads of life and death, she agrees to his conditions and strikes a peculiar deal with him.

The first encounter of Dong Kyung and Myul Mang is incredibly realistic yet imaginative, which makes the story more enjoyable. The paring of a mortal female and an immortal male protagonist has proven to be one of the most popular tropes of K-drama, such as Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016) and My Love From the Star (2013). The lead actors, Park Bo Young, and Seo In Guk, have excellent reputations for their brilliant acting in romance dramas, raising the expectation. The episode of the red thread bracelet, which has to be charged once a day by holding hands, and them moving in together, added a sweet vibe into the series. Despite those settings, the drama falls short of portraying the satisfying romance.

The whirlwind romance between Myul Mang and Dong Kyung confuses the viewers rather than adding depth to the story. Dong Kyung getting upset at Myul Mang, who refuses to understand human beings, is just the beginning. Watching Myul Mang hide the fact from Dong Kyung that she would lose the most loved ones if she breaks the deal and pushes her to perform the contract risking her life and pain, one would doubt that if it’s even possible for them to fall in love with each other. Although Dong Kyung becomes the only mortal who understands Myul Mang’s true self, she is disappointed with him and chips at him when he draws the line between them. Their relationship develops in the fourth episode, but it is hard to get invested in their relationship because of Dong Kyung’s extreme portrayal.

What about the side plot of the other three characters in the background, then? Their love triangle seemed more interesting than the main storyline at first, but it became mundane. The relationship of Na Ji Na and Lee Hyun Kyu was expected to be fresh and pure since they shared a first love. But it all died down when the reason for their breakup was revealed; Lee Hyun Kyu avoided giving an explanation to Na Ji Na that he had to move abroad to study against his will. Furthermore, without a proper apology or a heartfelt connection, he keeps approaching her simply because he still has leftover feelings for her.

The relationship between Na Ji Na and Cha Ju Ik is no better than that. Although Cha Ju Ik has pitied Na Ji Na by how she was treated by Lee Hyun Kyu, and he kisses her on the day they meet, it is hard to connect with his past. He also seems to be hesitant to take any action, sandwiched between the two. Most of all, Na Ji Na doesn’t seem to have many feelings towards either one.

The drama has only a few episodes left at this point, and the fantastic chemistry between the two leads and their speckless acting have been filling in the gaps of the flat narrative so far. Hopefully, the rest of the show can pick up its fantasy romance story around this in the remaining episodes.

 

Verdict: A mediocre romance full of loopholes (5/10)

Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart.

Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies. 

What do you think?

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  • I think you’re missing an important issue as to why Dong Kyung and Myul Mang’s romance is the way it is. Remember, she know she’s going to die in three month. It’s really hard for her to grasp that fact (for anyone really) and her reactions to Myul Mang in certain situation is justified. She’s going to die and he’s literally the destroyer of humans! like come on!!

    And he’s a being who doesn’t really like nor care for humans and a human who has three months to live, did you expect a normal romance to blossom? Don’t forget, she is constantly reminded that she ONLY has three months to live. At some points, she’s desperate to live and you see it in her choices.

    There are so many emotions involved with both of characters that a “normal” relationship will take quite sometime to really flourish.