Easily the fastest Korean Drama binged in a while, Remarriage & Desires is the latest K-Drama series dropped by Netflix. Starring Kim Hee-soon, Lee Hyun-wook, Park Hoon, and Jeong Eu-Gene, this eight-episode series is chockablock full of drama, scandal, and tension. It’s the equivalent of driving in a car. From the first episode onward, we’re weaving in and out of storylines, speeding up or slowing down in what equates to prolonged edging. By the time viewers reach that final episode, everything accelerates towards that climactic finish, leaving everyone gripping onto their seats for dear life.
The first episode sets the stage for what is to come. We’re introduced to the character Seo Hye-seung (Kim Hee-seon) and the events that spark her revenge against one of the easiest to hate villains in recent years, Jin Yoo-hee (Jeong Eu-Gene). By the end of the first episode, viewers will more than understand Hye-seung’s overwhelming need to destroy the woman who ruined her life. As the episodes continue onward, due in part to how committed Eu-Gene is to her character’s overwhelming narcissism and general psychopathy, viewers will be overwhelmingly Team Hye-seung.
After the first episode, the bulk of Remarriage & Desires centers around the exclusive matchmaking company called Rex. It’s also how we get a peek into the satirical nature of the show. Rex predominantly caters to the extremely wealthy. With those of the upper echelons desiring to date within their own class and ranks, this proves to be the easiest money spent to make an arduous, lengthy process less so. The lengths social climbers and the wealthy will go to maintain and/or lift their status up are critiqued here, and it’s difficult not to laugh as we watch how easily these systems fall apart when there are just enough cracks.
It is through Rex, however, that our protagonist learns how to navigate the system and go against people like Yoo-hee. The key to her survival, though, is not to lose sight of herself or the end goal. Too many people lose themselves in the process of achieving their goals. In the process of climbing high, they lose their humanity. The most grounded characters here in Remarriage & Desires are the ones who ultimately help keep the series from turning into a celebration of corruption and greed.
Now, this is an awful lot to swallow contextually. Had Remarriage & Desires been delivered differently, it would not have been as successful. However, how director Kim Jeong-min, the screenwriter Lee Geun-yeong, and the cast came together to deliver all of this to us, the viewers, is a lesson in addictive, successful storytelling. Even when there are numerous soap opera-level amounts of drama and storylines to sift through.
The absolute drama of Remarriage & Desires is the hook that keeps us going. How Geun-yeong navigated all the various storylines without any of them getting lost in the mix is mindboggling. There’s revenge. There’s an affair that goes horribly awry. There’s corruption and scandal. Instead of a romantic triangle, there’s technically a romantic pentagon (though, one of the gals registers as a whimper of a love interest despite best attempts.) Each episode is full of so much drama and tension that you’ll be on edge. Everyone is messy, and that’s the type of drama that keeps us fed.
With all the different storylines competing for screen time, it could have been easy for a writer to lose the through line that keeps us tethered and clued into the heart of the story. Thankfully, the ever-intensifying rivalry between Seo Hye-seung and Jin Yoo-hee is so well-developed that no one can deny that this is what we’re staying for. This rivalry is the stuff of nightmares. Neither of them will compromise their goals even when threatened. And this has frightening results.
Hot off the recently concluded fantasy drama series, Tomorrow, viewers will recognize Kim Hee-soon. Portraying Seo Hye-seung, there’s a naturalness to the performance that helps ground the character. Seo Hye-seung is quite literally a character who has been through hell, and easily could have been played in a variety of different ways. But she is one of the rare decent characters onscreen despite her vengeful objective, and keeping the performance more natural ends up providing a natural contrast to her rival, Jin Yoo-hee.
Speaking of Jin Yoo-hee, my god, what an absolutely horrible character. Major props need to be given to Jeong Eu-Gene because she goes for it. Jin Yoo-hee is truly deplorable. She knows she’s evil and knows exactly the lengths she’ll go to get what she wants. We see this through the various warnings she gives to Hye-seung and others throughout the series before she unleashes holy havoc. Despite this, her lack of care and general apathy as she escalates the violence onscreen is enough to truly send shivers down the spine. Well done, Jeong Eu-Gene.
A thrillingly written series, there are so many ways that this could have been executed poorly. And, at times, it’s a bit easy to get lost because a lot of information is given to us with each episode. However, it’s a minor quibble when you take into account how well this series rounds out the female characters onscreen (sorry, guys, but you rightfully take a backseat in this series). None of the women get left behind and it’s refreshing. Referring back to my discussion early on about how the wealthy operate, we see how the women utilize their intelligence to manipulate the people around them to get the power they need. The men are the pawns here and are all too easy to knock off once done.
With cliffhanger after cliffhanger, bomb and bomb, Remarriage & Desires will have viewers immediately hitting that ‘Next Episode’ button once the credits start rolling. It’s a delightful dramatic mess of a show. Full of melodrama akin to a soap opera, viewers will be taken along for the ride and, with any luck, perhaps we might get a second season. The series certainly does plant the seed for that potential.`
Remarriage & Desires is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.
Remarriage & Desires
- Rating - 8.5/108.5/10
Remarriage & Desires is a gleefully addicting mess of a time. It’ll have you immediately hitting that ‘Next Episode’ button once the credits start rolling. It literally throws everything at its audience. It has revenge, scandalous affairs, a pentagon love situationship, and more. Wrapping everything together is the dynamically frightening rivalry between Seo Hye-seung and Jin Yoo-hee. Barring some confusion with the info overload throughout the war, this series is a must-watch, stat!