[What Mary Thinks] Taxi Driver 2: Episodes 1-2

It’s been a while since I’ve had a regular K-drama schedule where I watch multiple currently airing dramas a week so this feeling is quite unfamiliar. But at the same time, I’m satisfied, content, and quite pleased with what I’m currently watching. I’m just not sure if it’s because I’ve gotten pickier and pickier over the years or if it’s because the quality of K-dramaland has deteriorated as the years have passed, but it just hasn’t been quite the same for me. I’ve struggled to find multiple currently airing dramas to watch at the same time that is not underwhelming. However, I’m glad to say that all of that has changed since 2023 and I think things have been off to a good start so far into the new year.

Another drama that I plan on adding to the mix is ‘Taxi Driver 2’ – the widely popular and successful show lead by Lee Je-hoon who plays Kim Do-gi – “a Korea Military Academy graduate whose mother was murdered when he was young. Since he could not take revenge on the man who murdered his mother, he now works as a taxi driver for a company which offers a “revenge-call” service to its clients who have been wronged and helps them take revenge.” The drama was a huge hit when it first aired in 2021 and now it’s back with a second season that seems to be just as popular as it was two years ago. The first episode premiered to a very strong start with a viewership rating of 12.1 [!!]. It’s not often that dramas premiere to double digit ratings, but I think that speaks volumes about how anticipated and popular this show is and the lasting impact that it had on its loyal viewers. I had heard about the high ratings with this drama and just how popular it was, but I was never really interested enough to tune into the first season. Once I gave the first two episodes to the second season a try, I think I could sort of understand why this drama was such a huge hit. I get it.

I love shows that center around teams working together towards a common goal and the ‘Taxi Driver’ hits that mark right on the spot for me. I love how the ensemble in the drama all come together and contribute through their own strengths and talents. The show is gritty, dark, action-packed, and grueling, but I also enjoy the little bits of humor that is added here and there throughout the episode. I think the drama is also as majestic and exciting as it is due to the cast, especially Lee Je-hoon who’s able to just command your attention in every single scene that he’s in. Granted, he’s the main character of the show, but he makes everything look and feel seamless. He’s able to sell the role and position as the main character of the team so effortlessly. You gravitate towards him every time and he possesses this charisma and presence that makes this show 100 times more exciting and cool. I don’t think this show would be as good as it was if the male lead was lacking in this department.

Another thing about this show that I appreciated was how simple it was. It didn’t overdo it with the action scenes or the fighting or the storyline or the teamwork stuff. It was simple and straight to the point. The premise was simple, but it took its time in telling its story and potentially offering something unique with each client. Since I didn’t watch the first season, I’m not as familiar as to how the drama functions, but I’m assuming the show will be procedural where it’ll focus on a new case or client every few episodes. If that’s the case, then I think I can roll with how the drama has executed so far. The first two episodes was gripping and you were on the edge of your seat because it took its time in showing you the client as well as Kim Do-ki doing the dirty work himself. He’s in the middle of the chaos and the action and he’s the one who will go in to get revenge and justice himself. Of course, it also helps that he has the assistance of his team members during the operation which is pivotal and crucial at all times.

Procedural dramas isn’t my cup of tea because it gets repetitive and redundant after a while and I can’t find myself as invested in characters who I know is only going to show up in one episode and then leave never to appear in the drama again. But I think this is where ‘Taxi Driver 2’ could be different and where this drama’s strengths could potentially lie. Instead of focusing on just one huge case throughout the show, the drama will dive into a new case or client every few episodes, but still be able to give us the details and the emotions and the storytelling that comes along with it.

With episodes 1 and 2, I liked that the drama properly set things up by going into details about the Dad’s story and his tragic search for his son who disappeared instead of just simply glossing over it to rush into our team’s investigation. My heart broke at the sight of him almost jumping off the bridge because he had assumed the worst or at the sight of his desperate plea to the police for answers. ‘Taxi Driver 2’ did something good in its first 2 episodes that other dramas fail to do or fail to do successfully which is to get me as a viewer to care about the victim that our main characters are working with. In this case, the victim was the Dad and his son who went missing and I ended up caring the Dad. I also was invested in learning about the disappearance of his son. ‘Taxi Driver 2’ got me to care about its first client with its first 2 episodes and did so in a way that was heartbreaking, devastating, riveting, and hopeful throughout the 2 hours. You were engaged and entertained throughout and you were always on the edge of your seat. Do-ki and his team did what they had to do and everyone came out at the end of it alive and safe. The reunion between the Dad and his son was an absolute tearjerker; I wanted to cry while watching that scene unfold.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, the drama got me all excited and hyped up for the next episode with the team reuniting and coming back together to do this work again. I absolutely loved the ending scene of the team members resigning from their jobs and then all greeting one another afterwards in the underground tunnel basement. And this is coming from someone who didn’t even watch season one and had absolutely no idea as to what the drama is about or what the characters do! Given that it’s been two years since the first season has aired, I get that it needed a way to remind and familiarize viewers about its basic premise and the team. As someone who didn’t watch the first season, I appreciated how the drama was able to invite new viewers in a way that made it easy to understand the basics. It didn’t take long for me to know our team members or learn a little bit about their backgrounds. And I also love the way that the team reunited again: they at first disbanded and went about their own lives with separate careers but ultimately discovered that their real passion lied in giving their special taxi service. This is where they belong and they belong together as a team.

The drama made me care about its characters and also made me look forward to the next episode. Now I have a drama to watch on Friday’s which then completes my K-drama schedule (only for my Wednesday’s and Thursday’s to free up again since ‘Strangers Again‘ is ending soon sadly). But I’m pleased with what ‘Taxi Driver 2’ delivered with its premiere episodes. It did just enough to re-introduce you to its characters and premise and to keep you captivated and engaged throughout without showing you too much. I wasn’t sure if this was one of those shows where you needed to watch the first season to understand the second and there might still be some side characters and sub-plots that will transfer over, but the first two episodes of the second season didn’t cast any doubts or concerns at all. If anything, it only made me more excited. I might be getting ahead of myself a bit too soon with how the first two episodes went, but I liked what I saw and I liked what the drama gave us. Here’s to hoping it maintains this momentum and action throughout its taxi service run.

One response to “[What Mary Thinks] Taxi Driver 2: Episodes 1-2”

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