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K-drama ● Review: Sweet Home 2

English Title: Sweet Home 2

Korean Title: 스위트홈2

Director(s): Lee Eung-bok

Screenwriter(s): Heung So-ri & Park So-jung

Studio: Studio Dragon Released: 2023

Runtime: 8 episodes, 1h 2m – 1h 27m each.

Starring: Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Go Min-si, Lee Si-young, Jung Jin-young, Oh Jung-se, Yoo Oh-sung, Kim Mu-yeol, Kim Shi-ah, Kim Jeong-woo


My Verdict: Tries too hard with the action and gore. Lacks atmosphere and focus given the multiple plotlines and is presumably a setup for Season 3.


Sweet Home 2

● Given the ending of Season 1, this second season follows the survivors as they leave their apartment. The sense of surreal isolation is therefore gone. This in itself is not necessarily a bad thing as one cannot keep that up for long anyway.


● However, Season 2 becomes the usual zombie apocalypse series as survivors try to… well, survive whilst what’s left of the government and military try to handle the situation.


● The narrative shifts from one character to another since not everyone is gathered in the same place. In other words, the multiple plotlines unfold at different places. Amongst others:

  • Cha Hyun-soo (Song Kang) turns himself in to the government researchers.

  • Lee Eun-yoo (Go Min-si) and Yoon Ji-soo (Park Gyu-young) evacuate with others to a military-run camp with its consequent drama and share of questionable characters. They meet soldier Park Chan-young (Jung Jin-young) who is kindhearted and dutiful.

Lee Eun-yoo (Go Min-si)
Lee Eun-yoo (Go Min-si)
Park Chan-young (Jung Jin-young)
Park Chan-young (Jung Jin-young)

  • Seo Yi-kyung (Lee Si-young) is recruited into the military but goes off on her own doing her own thing.


Seo Yi-kyung (Lee Si-young)
Seo Yi-kyung (Lee Si-young)

  • Dr Lim (Oh Jung-se) is a scientist who has his own agenda and the military has a hard time managing him.

  • Meanwhile, Sgt Tak In-hwan (Yoo Oh-sung) and Sgt Kim Young-hoo (Kim Mu-yeol) don’t get along on how to protect their own men and civilians.


Sgt Kim Young-hoo (Kim Mu-yeol)
Sgt Kim Young-hoo (Kim Mu-yeol)

  • There are other minor characters although there isn’t necessarily an obvious arc attached to them, just the occasional background exposition. This doesn’t mean one or two of them aren’t interesting. For example, the enigmatic Father Peter (Kim Jeong-woo) is intriguing. He comes across as street-smart and knows how to read and deal with people. He knows how to look after himself but he is not out to screw over other people either. This isn’t the most original idea (and I hope he’s not merely some ex-gangster who has become a priest), but Kim Jeong-woo does a wonderful job with the character.


Father Peter (Kim Jeong-woo) and Dr Lim (Oh Jung-se) trying to manipulate each other.
Father Peter (Kim Jeong-woo) and Dr Lim (Oh Jung-se) trying to manipulate each other.

● The opening credits still start with the not-so-subtle freemasonic all-seeing eye. Also, Cha Hyun-soo as a monster has a single black wing. One has to wonder whether this image is meant to convey that the devil, a fallen angel, is a good guy and/or an allusion to the phoenix. Either would be consistent to occult imagery and themes. And on that note, Cha Hyun-soo is a boring character this season anyway. This isn’t a criticism of Song Kang’s performance, this problem is in the writing.


● With so many threads, it keeps things fresh or at least it gives that illusion. Regardless of how one looks at it, even the main characters don’t get that much screen time. Overall, although there are a few revelations, the plot doesn’t actually move that much throughout the series.


● The production is solid even if the action tries too hard. It is nicely lit, especially given the number of scenes in the dark, even if the palette selection is apparent. Oh Jung-se gives a good performance, clearly enjoying his role as a shifty scientist. Ultimately, it lacks atmosphere and focus given various plotlines and is presumably a setup for Season 3.

 

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