A fated love is one of the most romantic storylines to grace the genre. It is an easy trope to fumble if the story isn’t fully plotted out. That is not the case in My Demon. Starring Song Kang and Kim Yoo-jung, this supernaturally charged Kdrama romance reminds us how love transcends fate. Through mostly successful storylines, prime performances, and gut-punch truth bombs, My Demon takes viewers exactly where they need to be to invest in our seemingly doomed couple.
In My Demon, CEO Do Do-hee (Kim Yoo-jung) is a hardworking woman with a wall built around her. Her adopted family despises her, with the exception of the founder and chairwoman of Mirae Group, Ju Cheon-sook (Kim Hae-sook), and her nephew, Ju Seok-hoon (Lee Sang-yi). Schemes are underway at Mirae Group, with Cheon-sook’s relatives eyeing taking over her position in the company. Do-hee’s life becomes targeted. This puts her in the path of the 200-year-old demon, Jung Gu-won (Song Kang).
Gu-won is a demon who finds humanity to be inferior. With little memory of his human past, the demon likes the finer things in life while spending his days collecting souls. The more desperate and pitiful the human, the easier it is to snatch the soul. While he briefly meets Do-hee in a mix-up, her desperation when face-to-face with a killer prompts him to come to her aid. In a cosmic mix-up, the tattoo that gives him his powers appears on her forearm. Now lost without his powers, Do-hee’s chaotic life takes Gu-won for a ride. In the process, these two icy main characters fall in love and learn how intertwined their fates are.
The chemistry between actors Kim Yoo-jung and Song Kang is off the charts in My Demon. Whether they are together or apart, both shine. Kim Yoo-jung’s Do Do-hee is relatable in her coldness. Facing tragedy at such a young age and then thrust into an adopted family that reminds of Succession, Do-hee builds up a shield to protect herself from harm. How Yoo-jung handles the internal transformation of Do-hee’s prickly personality to someone willing to be soft is commendable. Through the acting, direction, and writing, the character’s arc feels earned and well-rounded.
Song Kang’s Jung Gu-won earns similar praise. Arguably, he’s a bit obnoxious for the first half of the series with all his talk about how insignificant humanity is. But that’s a necessary annoyance to highlight his internal shift upon falling in love with Do-hee. As he grows to care for her, Gu-won starts to soften his perspective on humanity. We understand further his reluctance to like humanity when Gu-won remembers his past and relives his trauma.
The story fits the formula of what you’d find in a supernatural creature/human romance. While it doesn’t add much new to the genre itself, the murder mystery at its center creates enough intrigue to carry things forward. Subsequent storylines keep things interesting, even after the killer is revealed. Do-hee’s parents’ deaths haunt her, turning into a mystery later down the road. How Gu-won connects to all aspects of Do-hee’s life proves to be an intriguing element to unravel. These additions to the framework of Do-hee’s and Gu-won’s past, present, and future compel.
There are moments when the pacing and reveals in My Demon are mishandled or over-the-top. The reveal of Noh Suk-min’s (Kim Tae-hoon) evil is cheesy. This inadvertently undercuts the seriousness of the situation, which is how far Suk-min is willing to go to get what he wants. The inclusion and subsequent forgetfulness towards a couple of characters and subplots take away from the pacing of the overall story. For example, the inclusion of the gang after Gu-won takes their leader’s soul. Other characters contribute to the comedic undertones of My Demon. Adding these gangsters in is more distracting than not.
Another example of a character that’s left hanging is Jin Ga-young (Cho Hye-joo), Gu-won’s protégé. After Episode 11, she reads almost as an afterthought. It’s as if after her big moment of villainy, writer Choi A-Il didn’t know what to do with her. For the remaining episodes until the finale, Ga-young just mentions how she has to leave and not much else. In the finale, she reaches full circle with her arc. However, if more had been done between Episode 11 to Episode 16, Ga-young’s story could have been more impactful.
Ultimately, what makes My Demon so impactful is the messaging delivered by God (Cha Chung-hwa). In conversations between Gu-won and God, we can gauge the themes My Demon is working with. Whether it’s how dangerous faith can be or how happiness can be poisonous without misery to balance it out, God is there to remind Gu-won (and subsequently us) of easily forgotten lessons. Most importantly, when fate seems unavoidable, there may be a loophole to exploit.
My Demon easily takes us on a spellbinding journey from beginning to end. Do-hee and Gu-won set the bar for couples in this year’s Kdrama circuit, with their love overcoming all obstacles, including death. Backed by a more than capable supporting cast, even if their roles didn’t read as wholly necessary, My Demon tells a story about love, fate, and – ultimately – finding the seeds of hope to keep you going.
My Demon Episodes 1-16 are now available on Netflix.
From beginning to end, My Demon easily takes us on a spellbinding journey.