“A certain truth can destroy your life instantly and you know that it will also be revealed someday. But if you can put off that moment for another day, I would take that pill.”
The thriller Kdrama is not to everyone’s taste. It’s dark. It’s sinister. And at times, it can also be gruesome. Yet it is the thriller drama that provides room to explore bleaker topics, like revenge, criminality and guilt. This is the case with “Flower of Evil”, whereby the Kdrama takes us on a journey to find out if inherited criminality is inevitable, or if a flower can indeed bloom from within.
“Flower of Evil” follows Baek Hee Sung (Lee Joon Gi), a seemingly committed husband and father, as he hides his past identity as suspected murderer Do Hyun Soo from his wife Cha Ji Won (Moon Chae Won). However, as Ji Won begins investigating a series of unexplained murders, she realises her husband isn’t as perfect as he seems.
The drama opens with a warm, intimate moment between the happy couple. However, that doesn’t last for long. This sweet mirage is replaced with an ever-opening can of worms, and as Ji Won investigates the lies and suspicions within her marriage, we’re left on the edge of our seats. With each episode, we not only wonder who is the behind the murders, but also whether or not the married couple could ever return to their happiness. One thing for sure – you’ll be praying for them to stay together.
Behind the script is Yoo Jung Hee, a scriptwriter with several TV movies in her portfolio. That appears to have aided her in writing this script, as “Flower of Evil” is well-rounded and emotive; although the gap between the final episodes feels rushed, Yoo’s writing leaves us with little, if not any, questions to be answered.
This scriptwriting is combined with the directing of Kim Chul Kyu. Having directed my current favourite Kdrama, “Chicago Typewriter”, I had high expectations. Were these expectations lived up to? 100%. Each scene was beautifully executed, amplifying the emotions felt from the dialogue. I hope to see Yoo and Kim work together again in the future.
Furthermore, “Flower of Evil” sees the return of Lee Joon Gi and Moon Chae Won’s chemistry. The two previously worked together for the Korean remake of “Criminal Minds” in 2017, where they both played criminal profilers and, to the audience’s disappointment, were unable to fully develop their relationship onscreen. “Flower of Evil” acts as a solution for those viewers, who can see a fully-fledged relationship become trialled and tested instead of waiting for something that wouldn’t come.
The highlight of the drama was certainly Lee Joon Gi. He has never let the audience down with his acting, and his portrayal of Do Hyun Soo is phenomenal. The contrast between the sweet, caring husband and wounded Do Hyun Soo is frightening and addictive to watch, much like Lee’s character in “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo”. This time, his character was at the frontline of the plot, making this the best acting of Lee’s career.
As for Moon Chae Won, I was pleasantly surprised. Her character had too much going on – in-laws who hated her, a busy work life, a daughter who favoured the father, and suddenly, Do Hyun Soo’s investigation. This made her feel bland at times because you didn’t know what to focus on. However, her emotions made up for this. Her love for Do Hyun Soo came across from the get-go, with other emotions stemming from this. I have seen others criticise her tendency to be overdramatic at times; I didn’t see this. In fact, I thought this ‘overdramatic tendency’ amplified everything given to her character.
“Flower of Evil” is a vivid, exhilarating tale of trials, secrets and the need for acceptance. This Kdrama tells us that growing up surrounded by evil cannot define a person’s life, and that, when given the opportunity, a flower can bloom within the darkness. By blending the sinister, fast-paced elements you would expect from such a drama with a heart-wrenching story and a romance to root for, this is a story made for thriller fans and non-thriller fans alike. By far, this is a contender for the best Kdrama produced in 2020, alongside “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”.