K-Drama Review: The Reason We’re So Hooked on ‘Big Mouth’

Big mouth review

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Big mouth review
Credit: MBC

Even as it heads for the finale, Big Mouth is continuing its exciting game, playing on the viewers. In particular, it also got its way of stimulating viewers’ curiosity with the shocking twists surrounding the identity of Big Mouse every week. And as if to reflect on this interest, the show, which started with viewer ratings of 6.2% in the first episode, nearly doubled to 12% and broke its all-time record in episode 12. So why is it that we’re so hooked on Big Mouth?

Big Mouth begins when a third-class lawyer Park Chang Ho (Lee Jong Suk) gets caught up in a huge conspiracy after taking the job from Gucheon Mayor Choi Do Ha (Kim Ju Hun) to reveal the truth about a murder case. Having been ridiculed as a “big mouth” lawyer, he tries to use the case to his advantage, but instead, he’s branded as a criminal. Being accused of using drugs was just a start; he’s named “Big Mouse,” the notorious conman who disappeared after stealing 100 billion KRW (about $72 million) from NR Forum, a private gathering of the powerful. The drama speedily unfolds the process of Park Chang Ho getting to the bottom of the conspiracy while pretending to be Big Mouse to protect his family.

Various questions that surfaced during this process arise viewers’ interest. And on the top of the list of these questions is “Who the hell is Big Mouse?” Is the guy who hides a large amount of gold and frames Park Chang Ho in the opening sequence the Big Mouse? If that’s the case, what’s his intention? The crime involves 100 billion KRW, hence rising interest in the identity of this mastermind. And Big Mouth cleverly uses this interest. It makes viewers cast a suspicious eye on people inside and outside the prison, even Park Chang Ho who got swept in the whirlwind. Is Park Chang Ho, who’s taken over the prison, just pretending to be Big Mouse for his survival or is he finally showing his true self? The show continues its unpredictable storytelling, making it impossible for us to hazard a guess.

Moreover, the unpublished thesis of Professor Seo Jae Yong who got killed plays a pivotal role in the mystery outside the prison. The drama raises the tension by revealing the suspicious connection between Gucheon Hospital and Gucheon Prison while adding curiosity to the content of the thesis that the members of the NR Forum are so desperately after. The whereabouts of the thesis is as important as the identity of Big Mouse in that it plays a role in helping Park Chang Ho turn the table inside the prison.

It’s also fun to watch Park Chang Ho changing after getting boxed into a corner. The story of the lead character being framed by corrupt officials, but Big Mouth creates a thrilling narrative by adding confusion to the identity of the hero. It’s like the game over the list of drug dealers that only Big Mouse knows. While suspecting that Park Chang Ho might actually be Big Mouse, we get thrills from watching him dominating the jungle-like prison and leading the game. Watching the show, we end up with expectations to see him taking revenge against those who twisted his fate and finding Big Mouse that tainted him. It’s as if we’re watching the story of the birth of an antihero.

Big mouth review
Credit: MBC

The story of Park Chang Ho and Go Mi Ho (YoonA) gives the drama a refreshing and different approach. In the noir genre, which Big Mouth also strives to be, female characters have “seductive” images, often expressed as femme fatales, but Mi Ho is initiative and cooperative. She’s not just a passive helper hoping for her husband’s safe return after clearing his name; instead, she works together to overcome difficulties. Between them is a strong and pure love for each other.

The power of the actors who deliciously lead the exaggerated and comics-like story is also outstanding. Lee Jong Suk, who’s returned to the small screen after a long time, shows an exceptional understanding of the character. His technique of wittily portraying the character who displays bravado while pretending to be Big Mouse raises viewers’ focus. Kim Ju Hun flawlessly portrays Choi Do Ha, who gets in conflict with Park Chang Ho, in a completely different tone, and Yang Kyung Won skillfully illustrates ambitious Gong Ji Hoon so he doesn’t look so cruel and vulgar.

Big Mouth is nearing its end. It’s been revealed that Noh Park (Yang Hyung Wook) was Big Mouse, but the villain of the piece was someone else, and the black connection within Gucheon is slowly showing its face. Above all, Park Chang Ho has become a different person than he was before after going through a rough journey. The story of Big Mouse and the black connection will be fully revealed in the remaining episodes, but I’m already curious if Park Chang Ho’s story can continue on. (7/10)

 

Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.

 

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