[SPOILERS INCLUDED]

Title: 아테나: 전쟁의 여신
Genre: Action, thriller, romance
Episodes: 20
Average Episode Rating: 15.4% nationwide


Main Cast: Through this drama, I was introduced to many new actors that I never heard of or saw before. This obviously shows that the main cast here is not as famous as IRIS, but I liked the physical appearances of these actors. (I hope that doesn’t sound too shallow..)

Jung Woosung as Lee Jungwoo:

Apparently, I read somewhere that Athena is Jung Woosung’s return to the screen after 14 years. All I have to say about that- wow. No wonder I knew nothing about him before starting this drama. However, upon looking at his acting profile, this actor has acted in many movies but not that many dramas. Interesting.

Jung Woosung is a smart but very naive NTS agent. He loves being on the field and fighting bad guys; however, his one flaw is women. He easily falls for one in particular, and doesn’t see the clues coming until it’s too late. Yep, he’s quite the sucker for love.

(On a side note is it just a coincidence that Jung Woosung’s name in Athena is Lee JungWoo? See the ‘Jung woo’ thing going on?)

Soo Ae as Yoon Hyein:

I did not recognize Soo Ae at all when I started this drama. It was only when I looked at her resume on Dramawiki that I realized that Soo Ae was the main character of 9 End 2 Outs, a drama that I watched a while ago. That drama didn’t leave any huge impression on me, so I guess it’s no surprise that I don’t recognize Soo Ae.

Yoon Hyein is pretty but bad. I actually love her character though. We have this girl with a tough exterior, someone who can kill and shed blood easily without feeling any guilt. Yoon Hyein can easily be seen as a nice and pretty lady, but when you see her in action, there’s no laughing about it. As for her past, Yoon Hyein’s parents died in a fire when she was young, leaving her an orphan. Luckily, because Son Hyuk saved her from that fire, she was able to live on.

Cha Seungwon as Son Hyuk:

Cha Seungwon is an actor..that I honestly don’t know anything about. Except for the fact that he’s in Athena.

In an action drama like Athena that has a super evil terrorist group in it, there always needs to be a super evil guy too! That’s Son Hyuk, leader of Athena and love rival to Lee Jungwoo. A bit of Son Hyuk’s past: he was a firefighter in L.A., where he grew up. He saved Hyein’s life in a huge fire and took care of her afterward too. He used to have a heart, but his greed for power made him cold-hearted to the world and everyone in it – except Hyein.

Producer: Kim YoungSup has produced a number of dramas including the 2005 hit My Girl as well as last year’s Prosecutor Princess. Seems like Athena is a new cup of tea for this producer. 

Synopsis (from Dramawiki):

A terrorist group known as “Athena” and led by evil mastermind Son Hyuk threatens South Korea and the world. It is now up to special agent Lee Jungwoo of the National Security Agency to foil their terrifying conspiracy. Jo Sooyoung, the daughter of the South Korean president, is kidnapped and hidden away in Italy. Jungwoo and his team are given the assignment to find her and bring her back.

First Few Episodes:

The first few episodes absolutely hooked me. I started this drama with high expectations and the first few episodes met my expectations. When I started Athena, only the first four episodes were out. I spent four hours that day zooming through all episodes. I just couldn’t stop. After I finished the fourth episode, I craved for the other ones to come out. The start of this drama was strong and the action was up to par with that of IRIS; everything was carried out well.

Highlights:

I liked this drama’s concept of forbidden love. We have this innocent guy on the good side that becomes interested in a girl that’s on the opposite side. Even though he doesn’t know this, she does. But then the girl (Hyein) falls in love with Jungwoo and even though she knows that they can’t be together because of their ‘Romeo and Juliet’ type of situation, she still goes for him.

Korean dramas need more action. Too many dramas are solely about love or revenge. I like watching these spy/investigation dramas. They’re so exciting! With dramas like Athena, I couldn’t help but watch with anticipation as the suspense built up. I liked all the action- the shooting, the fire, the torture, etc. (That makes me sound really cruel..) And also, if you want to watch a drama with a guy, then action dramas like this one are good choices because guys love stuff like this. My cousin watches Korean dramas with her boyfriend, but he was never interested in the dramas until she started watching IRIS with him. Now, when they watch it together, he’s constantly watching with interest while she dozes off..hahah. Anyways, what I wanted to say is that this may not be the best drama for a female to watch, but some females (like myself) like dramas like this. And guys will definitely watch dramas like this.

Another highlight of this drama is that our evil protagonist Yoon Hyein changes. Love changes her, people change her. She changes from an emotionless person who mercilessly killed many to someone who cares for others. I like it when we can compare a character’s current state to their former one, and when we can see their change over time because of various factors. Yay for Hyein’s change!

This brings me to another highlight from this drama: Son Hyuk. As evil as he may be, I liked his character and I even planned on writing a “character analysis” post on him, but I think that I’ll just say what I want to say here. Son Hyuk’s character is a complicated one – on the outset, he appears to be evil and greedy for power, and he is. But on the inside, we can see someone much softer, someone who’s kind and caring – at least to Hyein. He saves her from a fire and takes care of her as her guardian. When she asks to join Athena and work with him, he initially doesn’t let her because he knows that the job’s a dangerous one. Later in the drama, when Hyein becomes good and betrays him, he still shows his love for her. He doesn’t hate her but instead tries to protect her from his evil plans. Unfortunately, Hyein doesn’t see his love for her and she only has eyes for Jungwoo. She doesn’t see how much he cares for her, which truly makes him a sad character in this drama. But I like how the screenwriters and directors have developed his character into what it has become. He may be the bad guy, but he’s a pitiful character. I was very torn by his evil side and his loving character. One part in the last episode especially made my heart ache for Son Hyuk.

Loved the OST songs. How could I NOT talk about that? I didn’t like the super action-y songs (for example, the song by TVXQ’s duo), but I really liked the ballads. I even bought two of them – Taeyeon’s I Love You and also Park Hyoshin’s I Love You. Ballads are nice to listen to, and they really bring out the emotion and feelings from the dramas. They also give us viewers a sense of what the characters may be thinking or feeling at the moment when the song is playing.

Shortcomings:

Love at first sight – it’s a nice thought but not very practical. Sure, there are probably happy couples out there who fell in love at first sight. But for the most part, people don’t fall in love with someone when they see that person for the first time in their lives. There’s a name for that – infatuation. Infatuation is nowhere equal to love. So when Jungwoo sees Hyein at the amusement park and he falls in love with her without knowing anything about her background or her name or anything, I just found it very unrealistic. He then goes on to pursue her when he knows NOTHING about her. I don’t think that’s very smart. You should fall in love with someone after you get to know them. But then again, that’s just my personal opinion. 

In dramas and movies, it always seems as if the good guys are stupid but the bad guys are smart..until the end when the good guys win. The same goes for Athena – the bad guys in the terrorist organization Athena keep winning and winning. They’re so sly and smart, while the good guys are oblivious and stupid. I did not really like this pattern in the drama. It became annoying.

Athena was full of nonstop action, which is a good thing. But then, as the drama progressed, the plot became a bit stagnant. We had the same thing going on – the bad guys plot something, the good guys chase after them, hoping to catch them, the bad guys escape, and repeat. This drama failed in this aspect – because of the repetition, it became sort of draggy and boring. I read some other blogs of people who quit the drama because it was getting so bad. Luckily, I kept watching, because Athena was able to redeem itself later on.

Rating: 3.5/5