[SPOILERS INCLUDED]

Title: 역전의 여왕
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Episodes: 31
Average Episode Rating: 10.8% nationwide 

Main Cast: Out of the main cast of this drama, I only know Park Sihoo. The rest of the actors are new faces to me, although some of them have appeared in other dramas that I have watched. It’s just that I didn’t recognize them (which is kind of sad..).

Kim Namjoo as Hwang Taehee:

Kim Namjoo was the main character of Queen of Housewives, the prequel to this drama. All the other dramas and movies that she has been in aren’t as popular as Housewives was.

Hwang Taehee is a workaholic who graduated at the top of her class in high school and college. She gets married to Bong Junsoo and then the two later have a child, Sola. They later divorce and she returns to work, but many obstacles stand in her way in both her personal and work life. The two actually become mixed together too.

Jung Joonho as Bong Junsoo:

Jung Joonho has starred in a number of dramas and movies. However, the only drama that I have seen him in is IRIS, where he acted as Jin Sawoo, the guy that turns from good to evil.

Bong Junsoo goes to work at Queens in order to show his ex-girlfriend how capable he can be. He has studied many subjects including law, but he failed all the tests. He is quite incompetent and in his five years of working at the company, he never once got promoted (partially because of people’s grudges towards him and Hwang Taehee). Although he divorces Hwang Taehee, he hopes to reconcile with her.

Chae Jungahn as Baek Yeojin:

Chae Jungahn is another actress that I didn’t initially recognize until I saw her actress profile. She has acted in the 2007 hit drama, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, as the other leading lady. (On a side note, when she first appeared in this drama, I thought that she could be a member of SNSD. Her style is so similar to that of Yoona’s or something.)

Baek Yeojin always gets bullied by her boss, Hwang Taehee. However, once she gets on Ms. Han’s side, she gains power and becomes the new team leader. In order to succeed, she cheats and uses other people’s work. She is the ex-girlfriend of Bong Junsoo, another factor that makes her hold a grudge against Hwang Taehee.

Park Sihoo as Goo Yongshik:

Park Sihoo acted in last year’s Prosecutor’s Princess as the main man. And that’s the only drama that I’ve seen him in. After that, I became a fan.

Goo Yongshik is a spoiled brat who always plays around. This all changes when his dad (the CEO of Queens) makes him work at the company. He is given a team and forced to work for once in his life. This is where he meets Hwang Taehee and falls for her outspoken character. Despite his playful character, he is filled with pain because he doesn’t know who his mother is, and his greedy brother is always trying to take his power over the company.

Ha Yoomi as Han Songyi:

Ha Yoomi has also been in a number of dramas and movies, but I don’t recognize any of them.

Han Songyi is an independent lady who works for herself. She is the definition of a feminist – she doesn’t get married or have kids, and she doesn’t want to either. She likes living as a single woman. She has worked at Queens for over 20 years ever since she was 20 years old, rising to the position of vice president. She openly favors those that suck up to her and easily throws away those that are “disloyal” to her.

Director + Screenwriter:

Both directors of this drama haven’t directed any famous dramas in the past. Screenwriter of Queen of Reversals, Park Jieun, has written for Queen of Housewives, so I guess it’s only normal that she would also write for the spin-off/sequel to that drama. 


Synopsis (from Dramawiki):

Hwang Taehee is the daughter of a chaebol and team leader at her workplace. She is married to Bong Junsoo who works at the same company. When Bong Junsoo’s ex-girlfriend, Baek Yeojin, who happens to be Hwang Taehee’s rival as well, begins to work in her team, troubles start to surface. Taehee has to juggle her challenges in love with those in work, helping shape her boss and department director, Goo Yongshik, from an insensitive and uninterested second generation chaebol to a true leader. Taehee’s seeming success in love, however, presents her with another problem as she begins to realize that marriage involves just as many obstacles to overcome.

First Few Episodes:

I read some reviews before jumping into this drama, and many people said that the first ten episodes or so were a bit slow and boring. Because of that, some quit watching before the drama became really interesting and dramatic.

I started the drama with sort of high expectations overall but not very high expectations for the beginning. The beginning was interesting though – we have a very strict boss who’s mean and merciless with those that work under her. But then she becomes goo-goo eyed over her newest employee. She falls in love with him instantly, doing whatever she can to get his heart. She succeeds and the two get married. However, when she returns from her sweet honeymoon, she finds her life turned upside down at her workplace, causing her to eventually quit.

The next couple of episodes bring us forward 5 years, with the couple’s messy life. Hwang Taehee makes her return to work, where the REAL drama begins.

Highlights:

The reason I started this drama – Park Sihoo! I love this actor. Although I only saw him in Prosecutor’s Princess, he is one cute actor and a talented one too. It was definitely a highlight to watch Park Sihoo’s beautiful face in almost every episode. I also liked watching his intense expressions, his humorous ones – he can portray a variety of expressions and that really displays his talent.

Another highlight of this drama was the plot – aside from the “love” aspect of it, we have a woman (Hwang Taehee) who stands back up after being pushed down. Her boss keeps trying to prevent her from working and doing well, but she is able to overcome these obstacles and challenges. She shows that hard work DOES pay off, even if others try to hinder her ability to succeed. 

Hwang Taehee is assigned to the Special Team, which is a team that is filled with people who were fired from their previous positions. They are given a spot in this team for 6 months to prove themselves worthy of a full-time job at the Queens Cosmetics Company. This brings up something else that I enjoyed from this drama – it’s a story about people and their personal issues. Although it doesn’t go into a lot of detail of each person’s obligations and their duties, it does touch a little on each subject. Through the drama, we learn of people’s hardships and how they overcome these problems together. At first, many of the team members are unmotivated to work, but once they really put some effort into their jobs, they see the results and benefits.

In the previous paragraph, I said that each worker in the Special Team had personal problems. Normally, dramas aren’t very realistic and I’ll admit that in this drama, it’s not very realistic, especially with the love story going on between Hwang Taehee, a divorced woman with a child, and Goo Yongshik, the son of the company’s CEO. But it’s realistic in the sense that it shows that each person has to support someone with their money. There’s the guy that has to support his family and a third child that’s coming. There’s the girl that has to support her siblings and pay for their school fees. There’s the other guy that has to support his family that’s living abroad in Canada. Each person has their own struggles, and this drama shows that life isn’t all rosy and sweet. I like that aspect of this drama.

This drama may not be the most interesting one with the hottest actors or actresses acting in it. It may not be a drama with a strong plot that keeps viewers interested up until the end, but it focuses on many important themes like teamwork and never giving up. It brings up other themes too, like working hard to reach your goal, which relates to the theme of persevering and never giving up. Not every drama has such constructive themes as this one does.

Aside from the themes and the deeper issues displayed in this drama, some other highlights are the side romances in the company which give us some comical relief. The “drama” between Yukyung and Goo Yongshik’s secretary and friend Kangwoo was the most enjoyable for me. I also loved how the drama put a little twist on King of Baking, Kim Takgoo. Yukyung used to date Kim Takgoo but he later breaks her heart, so Kangwoo comes into the picture to heal her wound.

Another side thing that I love about this drama is the love-hate relationship between Baek Yeojin and Hwang Taehee. The two start out bickering and as rivals in love and work, but later, they end up as friends in a way. They may still claim to hate each other, but they’ve also come to an understanding of each other’s situations.

Like the drama title suggests, this drama is quite a drama of reversals. On the love side, there are reversals with results that are the opposite of what we might have initially expected. On the work side, the outcomes are also the opposite of what they first appeared to be. The title suits the drama well, which is nice since not all dramas have titles that correlate well with the actual drama.

Shortcomings:

The constant misunderstandings between Bong Junsoo and Hwang Taehee led to their eventual divorce, which is sad. In my opinion, divorce is horrible and shouldn’t be treated as something light. It’s a bigger thing than breaking up – waaay bigger. So when Bong Junsoo and Hwang Taehee decide to divorce because of their lack of communication, it made me disappointed. How could they divorce without talking things through and really listening to what the other person had to say? In the drama, it’s evident that the two still have feelings for each other, but they don’t admit it. Both are too stubborn to admit their faults and reconcile, so in the end, they divorce. Not the right solution. If they had talked things through, then they wouldn’t need to do something as extreme as this.

Before I started this drama, I read a viewer’s insightful commentary on the drama. I found this person’s commentary quite interesting and also true, so I’ve decided to include it in this review. All credit goes to alexO, who wrote this on Mysoju:

This drama started with promise but just ended on a record low.

In my opinion it’s a sad reflection of the modern young adult’s (warped) perspective on marriage and relationships. Sora’s (the daughter) feelings were never considered in the outcome of Tae Hee and Jun Soo’s marriage. All they ever did was show Sora smiling, as if divorce is something that only affects adults and not children. Sora’s feelings were put aside so that some fairy-tale story where the young star-stud Yong Shik could hook up with the victimized wife.

Hwang Tae-Hee never seemed to have considered giving a chance for forgiveness and reconciliation. As for the writing, her feelings toward Yong Shik were much too sudden and abrupt. It was not a smooth transition but a feeling of indifference to love from one episode to the next.

Baek Yeo-Jin. What an immature girl. Holding on obsessively to Jun-Soo, a married man, and not worrying about anything except for what makes her feel good. She never considers that what she’s doing is breaking up a family, and even if she did she doesn’t see that as being wrong as long as she gets what she wants.

Yong-Shik was much like Baek Yeo-Jin, except the male version. The very definition of a hedonist. Do you what you want, as long as it feels good and is good for you. Who really cares about the feelings of others, right?

Bong Jun-Soo. Stupid idiot for doing stupid things like not avoiding Baek Yeo-Jin and not telling the truth, but in my opinion the most realistic character and the most responsible out of all. He admits his faults and in the end, puts things of importance, such as Sora and his marriage in front of his wants, and tries to attempt to reconcile the marriage by asking Tae-Hee to live together abroad so that there is a chance that there could be healing and reconciliation. But does Tae-Hee even try? Nope. Just flies off to San-Francisco.

Basic messages and themes of this drama:
1. Do what feels good for you. That’s all that matters.
2. Marriage is a commodity, not a serious vow.

Some of you reading my comment might think I’m some super conservative, for family fundamentalist, but believe me, I’m not. I’m pretty darn liberal in all my beliefs. I’m all for divorce in certain instances like a husband who chronically abuses his wife. However, marriage is a serious vow, not a commodity, and even if in a marriage or relationship one person did something to hurt the other person extremely bad, there should always be an attempt at healing and reconciliation. If it has been tried, and it still doesn’t work out, then I think divorce is a valid path.

But that is exactly what this drama did not propose. A fairy tale, comic book story written by an immature drama script-writer which sadly, reflects many of todays youth’s perspective on marriage and relationships.

Another thing I didn’t like – the developing feelings that Goo  Yonshik began to have. I don’t quite understand why Goo Yongshik started to like Hwang Taehee. In the drama, there’s no specific reason that makes him like her and I don’t know how it even started. I only noticed that he misses his mom that he never knew. So it makes me think, does he just see Hwang Taehee as a mother figure? Is his love for her just the type of love a son would have for his mother? Or is it more of a romantic love? Obviously it’s the romantic love. But I just couldn’t figure out what he liked so much about her, which is a shortcoming of this drama as it was never fully addressed.

Another shortcoming of this drama was that it was on the slow side. There were the super dramatic moments and everything, but overall, everything was kind of slow. I guess I’m just used to faster paced dramas that keep me constantly interested.

Additional Commentary:

Things kind of went by slowly for the first few episodes, so I kind of skimmed it a lot, but then things get a bit exciting afterword. Honestly, maybe it’s because I zoomed through the entire drama in a week, but it wasn’t as fulfilling as I initially thought. However, it does have its exciting parts and I’m sure that if I re-watched this without skimming and skipping around, I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more.

Rating: 3/5