Chicago Typewriter

Overall Rating: A+
Subtitles: If there were any issues with the subs for this, I did not notice them.
Brief Synopsis: A famous author, his number one fan, and a mysterious ghost writer are brought together by a typewriter that wants them to tell a story about their past lives as freedom fighters during the Japanese Occupation. Watch it on Viki here.

**Full show spoilers below the image. If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not proceed**

Ending Type: This was a happy ending with a bittersweet tinge. The past timeline ended in tragedy, the present happily, but that included saying goodbye to our favorite ghost who went on to find peace and that’s great and all but makes me feel things I don’t want to feel in a happy ending show. (Please note this was still very much perfect, however. This show is a masterpiece from start to finish).
Characters: Gosh these characters. I went into this show with little to no familiarity with any of these actors (except my precious Si Yang who was not even main cast) and almost no idea what the show was about. The amount to which I ended up invested in the three main characters, and the amount that I cared about them, cannot be overstated. Across the board these were phenomenal, dynamic, fascinating, and just very real, wonderfully flawed human beings and I just…. wow. Just wow.
So the leading man was Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In) who we meet as an arrogant and socially isolated famous author who is hiding a lot of pain and trauma beneath his cold and aloof exterior. He’s an idiot in many situations and not overly likable at first, but he grows on you over the first couple episodes and as he begins to develop he becomes an incredibly complex and dynamic and fascinating lead. In the past timeline he is a romance novelist who secretly leads the resistance against the Japanese and I don’t even have words to talk about the intense emotional impact of his character in the past timeline. Like literally there is not very much screen time overall to the past timeline story but by the time he is holding a gun to his head ready to take his own life… damn the feelings. The feelings are no joke. In the present, as he remembers more of the past, he decides to change the ending of their stories and to make all their past selves’ wishes come true and it’s an incredibly moving and beautiful thing. His character is just wonderful, and wonderfully flawed, and Ah In is one of the most impressive actors I have ever seen. I cannot rave enough.
Our favorite ghost, Yoo Jin Oh (Ko Gyung Pyo) was also a phenomenal character and the emotional journey he went on was just heart rending. The slow reveal of what happened in the past, leading up to the big mystery of how he died and why he was trapped as a ghost, absolutely destroyed me. He was such a charming and wonderful character overall and the added dimension that slowly appeared as both past and present timelines developed was expertly done and perfectly executed. I loved him so, so much.
Jeon Seol (Lim Soo Jung) was also an incredible, fully realized character who gained depth and dimension as we learned more about her past self and her present self. Like she was awesome but she was not perfect, and her story in the past was ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING. Of all of them she was the one that I needed to have a happy ending–everything she went through in the past and then also in the present was just so much (even if she had so much grit and courage in both incarnations) and I felt so much relief at the end when it was clear she was going to be OK. She was an absolutely fascinating character, and I loved how she stood up for herself when Se Joo was being a jerk and how she made her own choices from the getgo. I also really, really appreciated that she got to be the savior/protector character on multiple occasions. A+ female lead.
I also have to talk about our villain, Baek Tae Min (Kwak Si Yang), because I was, once again, super impressed by Si Yang. I don’t know that Tae Min was the most fascinating villain ever created, but I did absolutely love how Si Yang portrayed him. The way his face slipped from the “I am a pleasant fellow” to “I am evil as shit” when people’s backs’ turned just made my jaw drop on multiple occasions. He didn’t need actions or lines to express his menace, it was all there in his expression and that is not easy to accomplish. Incredible.
Relationships: So I’m going to go crazy and do romance first then friendship. I know, how will we handle the shock.
So look, I loved the main romance. I thought the chemistry between Se Joo and Seol was phenomenal and their slow build was super cute and the genuine care they had for each other was really moving. But their past timeline romance was DEVASTATING. The very brief moments we got to see of them, but the sheer amount of emotion packed in there, was unreal. Just… unreal. I felt so many things watching them, and it really added a lot to the present romance because you wanted so badly for them to work out to make up for the intense tragedy of their past. The fact that their love transcended 80 years, that their dying wishes were to meet again in the next life…. just wow. So good. So beautiful. So emotional.
But what really killed it in the relationships department in this show was the friendship between the main trio in both the past and the present. In the past their trust in each other, their playfulness with each other, the really intense lengths they went to for each other… gosh dang it was so intense and so beautiful. In the present they have to re-establish all of those things based on their new personalities and incomplete memories and they still manage to get there. The warmth between them, and the trust, and the play mixed in with all the intensity and just raw and real love… oh boy I had way too many feelings watching this show. It really, really got to me.
High Points: This show is a literal masterpiece. It was written exquisitely and it was acted and produced with incredible excellence. All of it, every single part of it, was phenomenal. When I sat down to watch it I did not really know what it was about and I was kind of along for the ride, and the way it hooked me and pulled me in and really got to me emotionally was incredible and there has yet to be a show that does even close to the same things to my mind and heart.
Low Points: Absolutely none.
Final comments: I’ll be honest I’ve sat on this draft for a very, very long time. This was my 5th K Drama, finished long before this blog was started, and it’s the last of my “catch up” (the posts for the 21 dramas I had finished when the blog launched) posts. I am not and never will be satisfied with my own review of this because I just don’t know how to fully express the masterpiece that it was, and I don’t understand why more people don’t talk about it. It was incredible and a phenomenal viewing experience. Just truly a masterful creation.

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