Mine -- Episodes 1 & 2: The Many Secrets of the Filthy Rich
And, boy, is this a rich set; beautifully done. The garden party will remain the most alluring scene in my mind for some time to come. I wasn't entirely sure what Mine as a drama was really about; just knowing it featured two of my favorite South Korean actresses was enough to get me interested. The only synopsis I read before quickly adding it to my "must watchlist" was that it was about strong and ambitious women who try to overcome society’s prejudices to find their true selves.
Now, what drama lover, let alone female reading that synopsis wouldn't be intrigued, and to have it be about Lee Bo Young (Seo Hee-Soo), who was equally brilliant in both Mother and When My Love Blooms and the enigmatic Kim Seo Hyung (Jung Seo Hyun) in both Nobody Knows, and SKY Castle as sister-in-laws married to a filthy rich family was the icing to the cake, so to speak. And without a doubt, they are equally intriguing in Mine despite it only being the first two episodes of the show.
At first glance, Mine and its characters comprised of the Hyo Won Group household and working staff appear to be like any other chaebol family, wallowing in richness until you get closer and see rather than live in happiness they all show signs of being chained or maybe a better term would be slaves to their wealth. The best way to describe this drama is that, at its surface, it is froth with secrets, scandals, unkindness, and backstabbing. That is, of course, not to say that there isn't some brightness to it too. At the same time, it is evident that nothing and no one is what or who they want each other to think they are; that's the thing about filthy rich it tends to turn those who are more inclined to be filthy.
The one brightness in this camouflaged world is Seo Hee Soo, a former top actress who left her distinguished film career to marry Han Ji Yong (Lee Hyun Wook), the second son of this chaebol family, and together they've been raising Ji Yong's son from a previous marriage. She seemed to be the only one in the family that doesn't pretend to be someone she isn't; she acts exactly how she is on the inside, true to herself. On the other hand, Jung Seo Hyun is married to Han Jin Ho's first son (Park Hyuk Kwon). She herself from a chaebol family. Seo Hyun is elegant, intelligent, and always rational. She and Hee-Soo give the impression of having mutual respect for one another. Both are surrounded by other members of the family that come off as strange at best. But then none of them are without secrets. They're all tortured souls held together by fragile alliances that could quickly change from friends to enemies and vice versa.
As episode one set up the different characters, it was clear that Hyo Won Group is a family living in hell, buried in their secrets. So in that sense, I was not surprised by Jung Seo Hyun's reveal of being a closeted lesbian. My heart broke for her pain for having to live such a torturous life. I knew her secret would be scandalous from how much she appeared to fear scandals, but then no one in that family is without a scandal in their closet. It's just a matter of time before the wall they've built around them starts crumbling brick by brick.
I am almost sure creepy tutor Kang Ja Kyung (Ok Ja Yeon), who, without a doubt, holds the biggest scandal of all in that she is most probably Han Ha Jun's (Jung Hyun Joon) Han Ji Yong's birth mother. Everything about her screams trouble from how she acts to how she talks and how she looks at Han Ji Yong and Hee-Soo senses; it is clear I don't think she ever considered how much not doing that would come to change her life. Even the nun is strange to me. I wouldn't at all be surprised if she was Chairman Han's (Jung Dong Hwan) wife or mistress.
Of everybody in this family, Han Jin-Hee (Kim Hye Hwa), the daughter, and her mother Yang Soon Hye (Park Won Sook) look to be the nastiest. Even Han Jin Ho's son Han Soo Hyuk (Cha Hak Yeon), is strange, or is it unhappy; I wonder if he's aware of his stepmother's secret. I think of everything that unfolded in this drama's first two episodes. I find Seo Hee-Soo not firing the tutor after her shenanigans, trying on Hee-Seo's fancy dress, and acting like she's the woman of the house even more bizarre. I understand her wanting to give the tutor the benefit of the doubt, but I get the feeling that will come back to haunt her. But as they say, hindsight is notably clever than foresight. Watch Episodes 1 & 2 here.