It’s safe to say that what some of us might need right now isn’t drama and suspense. Sometimes, quiet feels right, and getting pulled into warm cinematography and soft classic musical feels like a breath of fresh air.
A Piece of Your Mind isn’t a drama that’s going to shout it’s own praises loud enough to make you notice it. But that is perhaps why it’s such an important drama to see. The slow pace that it commits to from the very beginning never really ebbs away, and whilst for some viewers this may make them lose interest early on, for others, it will be an investment of time that pays dividends. The drama leans into its slowness. It takes it’s time to explore its characters, their backstroke, and most essentially, their grief.
Coming from a string of successful melodrama appearances, Jung Hae In is perhaps the perfect choice for a male lead in a story such as this. It’s true that it’s not much of a challenge for him, nor does it really deviate from some of the prior roles he’s known for. Yet it can’t be denied that practice makes perfect. He plays Moon Ha Won, an AI developer who has been stuck in his past for almost a decade, clinging to an unrequited love after heavy loss.
Alongside him is Chae Soo Bin, playing Han Seo Woo. A classical music engineer, she also shares a tragic past, one which still influences her in the present. The two come together by circumstances surrounding Kim Ji Soo, Ha Wons past love, and the possible voice for the AI that he’s creating.
As A Piece of Your Mind aired relatively recently, we’re going to keep things as spoiler-free as possible. It’s safe to say that the opening few episodes are the hardest to get through. There’s a little explanation of the characters, to the point where it often causes confusion. And because we have only cryptic flashbacks to the past, there’s no explanation for the lack of explanation either. Thus, some of the characters’ actions feel questionable to start with. Ha Won’s apparent obsession with Ji Soo can come off as more akin to stalking than is comfortable. Luckily, if the viewer’s curiosity is piqued enough, patience pays off.
The love story that develops is one that’s built on mutual understanding and a sense of comfort. Both Seo Woo and Ha Won find comfort in each other and come to realise that they can help heal each other in a very healthy way. Comparatively, the relationship between Ji Soo and her husband Kang In Wook is somewhat more fraught. This comparison is unavoidable, especially as the drama tries to frame certain moments in a more villainous light. Still, there isn’t anyone specifically in the wrong here. The writer beautifully tries to explore the motives and grey areas of all the characters, allowing for their development to feel natural. The leads actors make the most of this, truly pouring everything they have into making their characters feel believable.
It’s a shame then that some of this slow build in characters is lost in the dramas ending. Due to low ratings, A Piece of Your Mind was cut from 16 to 12 episodes. This isn’t all bad; the story could have comfortably fit within 12 episodes, yet the abrupt change towards to end of productions makes for a slight rush to wrap up arcs and plotlines, a rush that wouldn’t be necessary with the original 16 – or else having planned for a shorter runtime to begin with. Such is one of the difficulties in the style of adaptive writing during production that many Korean dramas follow. However, this is one drama that doesn’t suffer too badly for the change.
A Piece of Your Mind really is a change of pace for a lot of people. It’s slow, introspective, retrospective… and for that reason, should you choose to stick with it, it rewards your investment in its characters with a slowly unfolding plot and tender scenes. If this calming approach to a sad, yet hopeful story is something you need right now, this could be exactly what you’ve been looking for.