I’ve been quite busy with life lately that I didn’t even know that two of my dramas ended the same week last week. I had been watching ‘Joseon Attorney: A Morality’ and ‘Stealer: The Treasure Keeper’ on the side and forgot that ‘Stealer: The Treasure Keeper’ was only actually 12 episodes and not the standard 16. This explains why the two dramas ended in the same week and why I’m writing this final review on both dramas in the same post. So here we gooooo!
Stealer: The Treasure Keeper
It feels odd that this drama was only 12 episodes but in a way, it was also a good thing that it was pretty short. I remembered not feeling ‘Stealer: The Treasure Keeper’ all that much when it first came out. It felt bland, dull, not-as-action-packed as it should have been and it lacked some flavor or energy. But then I held on and I continued to watch the drama in hopes that it’d get better once Team Skunk and our Cultural Heritage Team worked together. And sure enough, the patience was well worth it. The drama picked up drastically once the teamwork came into play and things got a lot more exciting.
That’s not to say that the drama was the best drama ever or that it was the first thing I watched every Wednesday and Thursday. However, I found that the drama was still entertaining enough to keep me tuned in so I often watched it as I was doing something else (like working out or doing my laundry). I enjoyed the teamwork aspect of the drama so it was nice to watch the team work together on their missions or work either in pairs or separately to get the work done. It was clear what each team member’s role or contribution was and they all stood out in their own ways. At one point towards the end of the drama, Skunk and Min-woo sort of went through some escape room-like mission and that was pretty interesting and fun to watch. I for sure would not have survived if I went through the same missions that they went through, but hey, they’re the experts, right?
I didn’t care all that much about the primary villain, Kim Young-soo, who was your typical evil villain in action dramas or movies. But I have to say that I found his right-hand man, Jo Huin-dal, to be a pretty interesting and complex character. He was only working for Mr. Kim for the sake of keeping his sister alive and then he ended up killing Mr. Kim once he learned that his sister was actually dead. It was one of those situations where he was loyal only to protect his sister and not because he actually wanted to work for Mr. Kim or cared for him. In the end, Huin-dal confessed to his crimes and received the proper punishment for his actions. He got what he deserved.
Another thing that I really liked about the ending of the drama was in the way that the characters all grew and developed after working together. There was a scene towards the end of episode 12 where Min-woo, Team Leader Jang, Ae-ri, and Chang-hoon all sat together at the same restaurant that Min-woo, Team Leader Jang, and Chang-hoon hung out at in the beginning of the show. Fast forward to 12 episodes later and they had succeeded in their mission of retrieving stolen national artifacts and treasures. They also welcomed a new team member on board to assist them. Min-woo was reminded of her beginning days with the Cultural Heritage Team and how she wasn’t all that proud when she first started. But then she spent more time with her two co-workers and then eventually with Team Skunk and it was one of the best decisions of her life. I’ll admit that I wasn’t the most invested in this drama during its entire run but watching this scene of self-reflection and success from the characters in the final episode did get to me.
Dae-myeong’s story also got its own proper ending which was another good thing about the drama. We saw the way that his dad influenced him into entering the work of retrieving the stolen artifacts and treasures and how his parents impacted his life growing up. He was able to achieve justice for the tragic death of his parents (who were killed by Jo Huin-dal) and he was also able to achieve his dad’s goal in protecting the national artifacts and treasures. I’m glad that the drama didn’t neglect his story (or even Min-woo’s story) and that the drama came back around to it even with the ten other things going on. This was why the drama was a good watch for me.
And it was primarily because the drama stayed focused and really never went off-track that I enjoyed it. The primary item that our team focused on were the Joseon coins and they were also set on taking down Mr. Kim. But in the process, the drama shed some light on Dae-myeong and Min-woo’s individual stories which was a nice little touch and bonus. I also liked that the drama didn’t force too much romance and that the teamwork between our characters was the primary focus in the show. It was cute watching Min-woo and Dae-myeong interact at times and they even worked well together when they did their little escape room mission. But ‘Stealer: The Treasure Keeper’ had clear intentions of putting the team first and it certainly did that until the very end.
All in all, I didn’t think I’d have a lot to say about ‘Stealer: The Treasure Keeper’ but now that I’ve completed the drama and am writing this final review, I’ve come to realize that I actually did have quite a few thoughts about it. Once the characters began to work together, the drama picked up its pace, its steam, its fun, and became a lot more exciting and entertaining. I wouldn’t rank this drama on my top three list of K-dramas so far in 2023 but I definitely did not regret watching it. The aspects about the show that I wasn’t the biggest fan of began to lessen as it went on and things that I did like about it remained consistent throughout. By the end of the final episode, we watched as our team members reconvened to continue their important work in retrieving and protecting national artifacts. The work isn’t done just quite yet for our characters and I honestly wouldn’t mind watching another season of Team Karma do their thing 🙂
Joseon Attorney: A Morality
Oh, ‘Joseon Attorney.’ I at least was pretty confident and certain as to how I felt about ‘Stealer: The Treasure Keeper’, but it’s a little bit different with ‘Joseon Attorney’ in that I feel a bit more conflicted about it. The first half from episodes 1-8 was great and I enjoyed almost every single thing about it. I just remembered being completely impressed and blown away by what I saw because I honestly had little to no expectations for the drama when it first came out. And then the more I watched, the more I realized how charming and cool it was and I really liked it. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. And then the second half of the drama happened.
The focus in the second half of ‘Joseon Attorney’ shifted from Han-soo’s story to the political fight between the King and Executive Minister Yoo. It felt as if Han-soo’s story was sort of placed in the back burner in the process and I wasn’t the biggest fan of that. A big reason as to why episodes 1-8 was so good was because we saw Han-soo taking down the villains who were involved in his parents’ deaths. We saw him go after each of the three guys to take them down and it was interesting to watch him go about with his revenge plan. Then the second half of the drama focused more on the Executive Minister’s fight against the King and a part of me understands why it did that. The common denominator between the death of the late King and then the death of Han-soo’s parents was the Executive Minister so it made sense that the two sides would come together to defeat the villain. So after showing us Han-soo go after the Executive Minister Yoo’s three little minions, the drama proceeded to show us Executive Minister Yoo’s political fight against the King and his plan to defeat Executive Minister Yoo. So in that sense, I get why the drama did what it did in the second half of the show. I just wished that it didn’t feel so dreadful and dull. I felt as if the politics was too dramatic for me and it wasn’t as enticing or interesting. I’m not a big fan of politics in dramas in general so I lost interest in the second half of the drama once Han-soo no longer became the primary focus. He was still an attorney doing his job and representing clients in cases but the King’s fight against Executive Minister Yoo took on a much bigger role in the second half that sort of just didn’t feel as compelling.
With that being said, I think my support and enjoyment for this show primarily comes from the way that I felt about the first half of the show. Even if the second half didn’t impact or entertain me as much, I still enjoyed the first half so much that I overlooked how much of a drag the second half was. Episodes 1-8 was so fun and captivating and cool to watch and there were many great things about it. It was nice watching Han-soo’s character growth and development and the internal conversations he wanted to tell his dad every time he did something. One of my favorite scenes in the entire show was definitely the ending for episode 8 when Han-soo watched as the client who he represented and protected reunited with his family. Something that Han-soo wasn’t able to do for his family, he did it for someone else and it just brought so much warmth and joy to watch this scene unfold. And it was because of scenes and moments like this that sold me on ‘Joseon Attorney’ and made me feel so fondly about it even if the second half of the show didn’t hit the same way.
In the third act of the show, Han-soo finally reunited with his sister, Eun-soo, which was unfortunately short-lived. He lost his parents and then he eventually ended up losing his remaining family member who unfortunately died. Han-soo was already in so much pain and that pain intensified with the death of Eun-soo. He essentially lost his entire family which was definitely heart-breaking. I was about to protest even further when the drama made it seem as if Princess Yeon-joo had also died because then that would have definitely been way too much and I wasn’t sure how Han-soo would ever really recover. But then Yeon-joo was rather exiled from the palace and she went on to hide and disappear for a few years. Thankfully, she was still alive and she and Han-soo reunited. Their relationship wasn’t easy by any means and they definitely went through a period in their relationship where it was super bumpy and rough. But they’re compatible with each other in that they went through a lot together and have witnessed each other’s journeys. Han-soo lost his family while Yeon-joo lived a life that she didn’t want. Once they came to terms with their reality, they were reminded that they had each other at the end of the day and that they would never be lonely for the rest of their life. Because they have each other.
‘Joseon Attorney’ started off great and then sort of dwindled in the second half. Even with the disappointing second half, I will remember the drama for what it managed to accomplish and achieve with its first eight episodes. It managed to tell a story in a way that was entertaining, impressive, fun, and loose. There was some romance, there was definitely some cool friendships, and there was a clear plan as to what the drama wanted to do with its characters. The drama might have fared better if it was 12 episodes instead of the standard 16 and if it was completely focused on Han-soo the entire time. But even with its mistakes and battles, ‘Joseon Attorney’ did enough to keep me watching and tuned in. Though I didn’t love the drama during its entire run, I never had a reason to drop it or to stop watching. Similar to ‘Stealer: The Treasure Keeper’, I wouldn’t rank this drama in my top three of 2023 but I’m definitely glad that I gave it a try and that it was good enough for me to finish it.