Padam Padam is a fantasy drama about an ex-con named Yang Kang Cheol (Jung Woo Sung) who was wrongly convicted of a crime and spent many years in prison. He is finally released along with his close friend Lee Gook Soo (Kim Bum) who claims to be Kang Cheol’s guardian angel. Kang Cheol meets a cold veterinarian named Jung Ji Na (Han Ji Min), and their love story is set in motion.
Padam Padam really is a special and beautiful drama. If you’re looking for something without a lot of clichés and a rich story, Padam Padam is for you.
It starts off with a strong first episode. We quickly get to know our leading man Kang Cheol when he is released from prison on a furlough. Now brace yourself, he is not your typical kdrama leading man and may take some getting use to. He is very intense in everything he does. A lot of emotion comes through his facial expressions, and he really is a unique guy in a very good way.
Back in prison, Kang Cheol accidentally kills the prison warden while in a fight. The episode ends after Kang Cheol is executed for his crimes, but is suddenly caught in a mysterious time loop where he relives the events leading up to his death. This was the first time a supernatural element was introduced into the story, and it certainly livened things up!
With the help of his best friend Gook Soo, Kang Cheol eventually figures out how to get out of the time loop and prevent his execution. After all of that excitement, the drama then revolves around Kang Cheol trying to live his life with his family and Gook Soo in his small hometown after he gets out of prison. He is also looking to prove his innocence for the crime he was originally put in jail for.
He soon learns that he has a teenage son, Im Jung (Choi Tae Joon), who comes to live with him. I was quite impressed with Choi Tae Joon in this drama. I had recently seen him in a supporting role in the more recent drama The Girl Who Sees Smells. He was great, but he didn’t stand out. I certainly took notice of him in Padam Padam. He really did wonderful, especially considering it was his breakout role.
Things are complicated even more for Kang Cheol by the fact that he falls in love with Ji Na, the niece of the man who he was convicted of murdering. Ji Na’s father, who happens to be a cop, still harbors a lot of hate toward Kang Cheol because he thinks he murdered his brother.
I found Kang Cheol and Ji Na’s relationship to be quite refreshing. He is so intense even when he is happy and having fun while she is somewhat standoffish. It’s always a change to see the woman need a little loving before her heart warms up. When not having to deal with the complexities of their circumstances, their relationship is so sweet and genuine. They have a lot to overcome to be happy though.
For me, the actual highlight of the drama was the fantastic bromance between Kang Cheol and Gook Soo. Gook Soo is such a sweet and honest guy that would do anything for Kang Cheol. Why would he do anything for him? Because Gook Soo just happens to be Kang Cheol’s guardian angel! His mission is to help Kang Cheol so that he will be able to get his wings and go to heaven. That may sound a little cheesy, but honestly it isn’t. In many ways, the fantasy element was very low key in this drama, and it is treated in a very matter of fact sort of way. It is also adorable how Gook Soo doesn’t hide the fact that he is an angel. He tells everyone that he is! Most people think he is crazy, but that doesn’t deter him.
Gook Soo helps guide Kang Cheol through ‘three miracles’ that involve Kang Cheol dying but getting stuck in a time loop where he relives his death repeatedly until he learns some sort of lesson. These were some of the best scenes with such power and intensity as our duo struggled to figure out what Kang Cheol needed to learn because even Gook Soo didn’t have all of the answers.
I found Kang Cheol and Gook Soo’s relationship to be simply amazing. There was such a deep brotherly love between the two characters. And we as the audience can really feel their caring and emotions through their acting. There are some very intense scenes between them that really touched my heart. This is probably my favorite bromance I have seen in a kdrama.
Aside from the wonderful romance, bromance, and father/son relationship, Kang Cheol’s relationship with his mother (Na Moon Hee) is also quite intense. They bicker and get on each other’s nerves, but they truly love each other. This ajumma really grew on me as the drama progressed.
The latter third of the drama does get pretty angsty, and I should definitely give you a tearjerker warning. Kang Cheol has so many people in his life that truly care for him. When life throws another curve ball at him and it looks like he may not be able to avoid death in the end, his family are the ones that carry him through.
Overall, Padam Padam is a beautiful drama. It isn’t flashy or overly cliché, it is just a wonderful story. Go watch it right away!
I leave you with this wonderful image of our guardian angel Gook Soo, because it really encompasses the simple magic of Padam Padam.
Did you enjoy Padam Padam?
My Rating 8.5/10
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