Oh, ‘Move to Heaven.’ You were a tough one to watch, both emotionally and literally. In my first review for ‘Move to Heaven’, I noted that episodes one to five was a decent watch. Although not the most mind-blowing and compelling drama, it was nice to learn about our characters and the work that they do as trauma cleaners with their business ‘Move to Heaven.’ Fast forward to episodes 6 to 10 and I unfortunately had to force myself to finish the rest of the drama. Unfortunately, the second half of the drama couldn’t keep up with the pace and storytelling that it presented in the first half and by the end of it all, I found myself less entertained and a bit more disappointed.
In the second half of the drama, the drama focused more on our main characters and their lives more so than the ‘Move to Heaven’ business which I believe was its biggest downfall and mistake. Episode 6 primarily continued to be procedural by focusing on yet another case so while it was more routine, I appreciated the consistency that episode 6 had with the 5 episodes prior. It was touching and bittersweet and sad in between and episode 6 had its moments. Episode 7 was where the drama began to fall flat for me because of the sudden shift and focus on Uncle Sang-gu and his life. With episode 7, I became more confident in my earlier thoughts about the drama which was that sometimes I felt like I was watching two completely different dramas. You have the ‘Move to Heaven’ arc in the drama that focuses on the business itself and then you have the other storyline that focuses on Uncle Sang-gu’s character arc. The shift was so sudden sometimes that it felt as if there was this disconnect between the two and the drama didn’t know how to mesh the two together cohesively. It felt as if the drama was trying to do too much at times with the way that it would go back and forth between the ‘Move to Heaven’ business and then Sang-gu’s background story. The hardest part for me as a viewer was my lack of engagement and interest in Sang-gu’s story. I cared more to watch our three characters execute their jobs as trauma cleaners and learn more about the deceased than watch Sang-gu fight and risk his life. Maybe a part of that was because the drama never really gave me a reason to care about Sang-gu and his story; maybe the other half of it was that the ‘Move to Heaven’ business storyline was the more intriguing and interesting part that I wanted to watch about. Regardless, once the drama switched the majority of its focus on Sang-gu, I also felt a sudden shift in my attention span and enjoyment for the drama.
Another point that I realized as I watched the second half of the drama was that I felt as if the drama didn’t really know what it wanted to do in episodes 6-10. It felt as if the drama was going back and forth on what it wanted to do or what direction it wanted to go in. Whereas episodes 1-5 was primarily consistent in focusing on the ‘Move to Heaven’ business, the second half felt like a wild roller coaster ride to me. While there were two more cases that our characters focused on (the elderly couple and the adoptee), there was also the complete focus on Sang-gu’s character in episode 7 and his past coming back to haunt him. There was also the discovery about his relationship with his brother (AKA Geu-ru’s dad). Then moving on from that, there was the whole situation with Geu-ru himself and his journey into grieving and mourning his father’s passing. Unlike Sang-gu’s arc, I wasn’t so thrown off with Geu-ru’s storyline in the last episode given that we’ve been seeing him grieve his father’s passing over the course of the drama so there was at least consistency with that. What I didn’t enjoy so much was all the background information that was thrown at us within the last episode. It felt a little too much and it felt as if the drama had nothing else to present about so it decided to give us this full-blown background on Geu-ru’s life and his adoption story.
Even with all the information that was shoved down our throats in the last episode, what I did like was how things came full circle when Geu-ru cleaned up after his father’s belongings. It was exactly like what he used to do with his dad for their business. I think that was a beautiful way of showing us Geu-ru’s journey and growth in processing and accepting his father’s death. However, I felt like there was just simply too much going on in the second half of the drama and it didn’t mix in well with what we were given in the first half. If the drama sprinkled in some hints here and there in the earlier episodes to give us what we got in the second half, I think I would have been fine with it. However, the drama felt confusing to watch by mixing things up in the second half of the drama and distracting us with Sang-gu’s storyline.
If I was able to choose the direction that I wished the drama could have gone, I would have been completely fine if the drama took out the focus on Sang-gu’s storyline. Keep Sang-gu in the drama, but keep the focus on Geu-ru and the ‘Move to Heaven’ business that he worked on with his father. We see Geu-ru do the work with his father at the beginning of the drama, we see things come full circle by watching Geu-ru do the same thing by sorting after his father’s belongings at the end of the drama. Then in between all of this would just be the procedural stuff with every episode to two episodes focusing on a different case and the drama sharing with us about the lives of the deceased who our ‘Move to Heaven’ team cleans up after. This is what I would have liked to see from the drama and I actually think the drama had something going during episodes 1-5. The potential was there so the drama should have just maintained that pace for the next few episodes before wrapping things up with Geu-ru’s arc in the last episode.
However, the drama went off the rails and did a 180 by turning its grand attention to Sang-gu’s character arc which I wasn’t the biggest fan of. Sang-gu’s background wasn’t the most compelling for me, but I also didn’t really care too much about the character per se. Lee Je-hoon is a great actor and there were moments in this drama that he was phenomenal (like he usually is), but I also felt as if the character was so limiting. I get what the drama was trying to do and I get that the drama thought it would be cool by integrating this unfamiliar uncle into his nephew’s life while also learning more about his half-brother along the way, but it was the execution that fell flat for me. The pacing and timing of it all wasn’t the greatest and by the time we got the full background on Sang-gu, it was already episode 7 and I just wanted to watch more of our team with the ‘Move to Heaven’ business. I never really had a reason to care about Sang-gu because I wanted to watch more of Geu-ru and him lead the team into finding out the truth about some of the deaths like how we were shown in the first half of the drama.
All in all, the second half of ‘Move to Heaven’ did not maintain the level of consistency and excitement that it had in the first half. While there were touching and emotional moments sprinkled throughout, it felt as if the drama was confused on where it wanted to go and what it wanted to do. Despite its disappointing run in the second half, the drama remained beautiful to watch combined with its strong cast. Our actors were great as their respective characters even with the iffy writing and the drama was also pleasing to the eyes. While definitely not a drama that I’d go back and rewatch per se, I appreciate the intriguing premise that ‘Move to Heaven’ had to offer and the little lessons that the drama shared about life, love, family, and the inevitable moment that is death.