I picked up Lonely Shining Goblin and Legend of the Deep Blue Sea at the same time, but only Goblin felt truly inventive. It was brooding and patient (occasionally too much so), and Lee Dong Wook’s grim reaper was reminiscent of another drama I liked, although it didn’t quite reach its potential, Blade Man.
For me, the best thing about this drama is the mood.
Highlighting Lee Dong Wook as an actor isn’t to imply that it wasn’t great to spend time with Gong Yoo on the small screen again, but as much as I hate to say so, Gong Yoo’s gravitas may have overgrown the TV medium. Although he did well embody the longing one might expect from a goblin who had brooded for 500 years, reflecting on tragedy and injustice, suffering without intimacies.
Yet having seen him in films like A Man and a Woman, I couldn’t shake the feeling that a mature partner for him would have been more appealing.
Kim Go-Eun did move my heart in scenes, even out-shining her more seasoned costars. Especially, her capacity for anguish was startling for one so young. But the ultra light-and-girly way her character was written didn’t allow for deep enough chemistry between the two. By contrast, her Cheese in the Trap character held to a grounded center. I much preferred her there.
Overall, I was pleased with facets of time and memory, overlap and questioning of identities, virtue and vice, even though some connections weren’t quite made. Long episodes were appropriate, fitting to the desired epic scale.