K-Drama Review : The Bride of the Water God

K-Drama Review : The Bride of the Water God one-half-stars

When the narcissistic water god Habaek (Nam Joo-hyuk) visits earth in order to find a stone powerful enough to help him claim his throne, he seeks out the help of his servant and destined bride, psychiatrist So-Ah (Shin Se-kyung), whose family is fated to serve the water god for generations. The problem is that she has no belief in the gods and initially mistakes him for suffering from delusions. Things get even stranger when the wind god Bi-ryeom (Gong Myung), the water goddess Moora (Krystal), and the semi-god Hoo-ye (Lim Ju-hwan) show up to complicate things.

I had pretty high expectations for this drama. After all, it had a promising story of mythological proportions, which was adapted from a popular manhwa, and even had Krystal Jung in it, whom I love. Sadly, the drama didn’t really seem to know what direction to go in, and suffered from a lack of good writing, leads with no chemistry, bad acting, and from side characters who were more interesting and loveable than the main characters. I can only imagine how disappointed fans of the manhwa were with this adaptation.

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
KDrama - The Bride of the Water God- Blogging with Dragons
KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

The story began when Water God, Habaek, journeying to earth to find the God Stones he needed to become King. Shocked to land on Earth without the coordinates to the God Stones, his powers, or any money, Habaek was forced to rely on his servant–one who descended from people who made a deal with the Gods to serve them for all eternity–to get by in the modern world. His servant, So-Ah, aptly played by Shin Se Kyung, was a psychiatrist and at first mistakes Habaek for a lunatic, and tried to treat him. Before too long, she fell in love with him. Why? I really wasn’t sure.

 

KDrama - The Bride of the Water God- Blogging with Dragons
KDrama - The Bride of the Water God- Blogging with Dragons

 

Played by Nam Joo-Hyuk, Habaek is arrogant and unlikable, even when he began to like Earth and humans, and when he fell in love with a mortal So-Ah. I could only imagine what this character would have been like if played by an actor with any range whatsoever. If played by someone like Gong Yoo, I bet Habaek would’ve seemed charismatic and irresistible. Instead, Joo-Hyuk’s Habaek seemed like the poster boy for an abusive relationship—controlling, jealous, abusive, and possessive. At one point, he even had the nerve to say he was a “jealous god” who wouldn’t allow her to have friends of the opposite sex even though he does.

 

KDrama - The Bride of the Water God- Blogging with Dragons

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
KDrama Reviews - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

While many of these qualities exist in other male leads to a certain extent, Joo-Hyuk seemed only capable of amplifying the bad aspects of this character, and was not able to believable portray any of his good parts like other actors who played similar male lead leads. Most of Habaek’s kinder and redeeming moments, just seemed like a flook or slip-up of the character, and not actual parts of his personality. At his worst, he even risked So-Ah’s life to see if his powers return, which was just plain awful. And what’s even funnier, is that So-Ah, a freaking psychiatrist—which was never really convincing, as she didn’t even want to hear her patients story, and had no clue what to do for a fever, despite being a medical doctor that supposedly graduated top of her class—fell for a guy with all of these blatant issues! It just wasn’t believable. Plus, it didn’t help that Habaek and So-Ah had zero chemistry together. All of their “banter” just felt like bickering and not the flirting of a couple newly in love or lust. I often wondered throughout the course of the drama, how these two actors managed to get cast opposite one another. I guess it helped that they were both attractive.

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

Their lack of attraction is offset by the great chemistry between water goddess Moora, played by Krystal Jung, and sky god Bi-ryeom, played Gong Myung. In fact, I found myself enjoying the drama mainly for these two! I loved their “will-they-won’t-they” flirtation and bickering. Despite being primarily idols, these two could act. These two often made me giggle and hope for a romance between the more than I ever did with the leads.

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

But perhaps the biggest tragedy of the drama for me, was that So-Ah didn’t end up with CEO Shin, played by the absolutely phenomenal Lim Ju-Hwan. This actor, whom I loved in Oh My Ghostess as well, can display the tiniest range of emotions with ease. He made it even more obvious how much Joo-Hyul lacked as an actor, making him seem emotionally constipated in comparison, and how much Habaek fell short as a love interest. Honestly, Lim Ju-Hwan could have played every single character in the drama and it would’ve been much better.

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

And what’s more was that the storyline for CEO Shin was much more interesting than that of golden boy Habaek’s as well. View Spoiler » he grew up using his newfound privilege to make the Earth a better place, donating money and time to charities, and taking up gentle hobbies like gardening. He also spent much of the show encouraging So-Ah, listening to her problems while sharing some of his owns, and saving So-Ah from financial ruin, which is mostly Habaek’s fault.

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

So I was pretty peeved when Habaek and the other gods, started aggravating, attacking, and belittling the pure goodness that was CEO Shin. I hated to see the nicest character on the show given cause to doubt himself, but was again, amazed to see the degree of skill of Ju-Hwan’s acting, at work. Maybe Joo-Hyuk can beg him for lessons….

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

As So-Ah comforted CEO Shin in his time of need, I wanted to scream at the show’s writers. CEO Shin’s and So-Ah’s relationship was 1000x more interesting, and her acceptance of him, and his nature—View Spoiler »—and his response was so beautiful. It was definitely the standout of the show for me! It would’ve made for an infinitely better drama if the story focused around these two’s romance, instead of So-Ah’s and Habaek’s.

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

It was so obvious to me how much better it could’ve been that it almost hurt that I didn’t get to see that show and instead was stuck with the lackluster romance between Habaek and So-Ah. This sentiment went beyond any type of typical second male lead syndrome I’ve ever experienced because the show was completely unable to make Habaek at all complex, sympathetic, or swoon-worthy. In fact, his added backstory of a failed romance View Spoiler » And as this was something over and done with—he dealt with this centuries ago—I didn’t really feel affected by it at all. I had hoped that his own curse would allow him to have more sympathy for CEO Shin, but no.

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

I believe this storyline was the main plot of the manhwa, and it was a shame that it was so sidelined by both the writing and Joo-Hyuk’s acting. This plotpoint was really more mentioned in passing and flashbacks, and not focused on, by the drama. And Krystal Jung as Moora, portrayed more of the damage this failed love affair caused than Habaek’s actor was able. If the drama had stuck with this plot, instead of switching between all the other plotlines, such as the Shins being some mysterious threat, to Moora and Biryeom going from antagonists to Habaek’s besties and then back again, and then switching to CEO Shin, and So-Ah’s deceased father as antagonists. The show also jumped from searching for the Godstones to getting Habaek’s powers back, to searching for DooJong (another god), and then to Habaek going back to the realm of the Gods early, and then Habaek leaving the realm of the Gods to be with So-Ah for a bit longer, then the drama would’ve been a lot stronger and cohesive. Instead, I felt like I had whiplash from the constant jumping from plotline to plotline, which made it hard to care about every single one of them, especially when they were tossed around so carelessly. I even laughed at the sheer ridiculousness of the show when it added a plotline of So-Ah View Spoiler » in the very last episode.

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons

 

But most disappointingly, So-Ah never became View Spoiler » The show just ended with View Spoiler » Definitely not my idea of a happily ever after. And what’s worse was that So-Ah picked that fate herself instead of wishing to follow him to the realm of gods to become his wife.  I thought the whole show was a lead up until Habaek took So-Ah back to the realm of the gods, with her becoming his bride, and breaking the curse on his lost powers, as the show hinted throughout that she was the key to unlocking them. Plus, all of those hints at So-Ah’s suicide attempt from jumping off a bridge into icy water, failed because of Habaek’s intervention also pointed in that direction, or so I thought. I pictured So-Ah becoming a Water Goddess, and serving as not only Habaek’s Queen, but an ambassador to the human world, perhaps with CEO Shin keeping an eye on things for her in the human realm, but no. Instead, View Spoiler » And I was perturbed by the fact that everyone in the drama, except  Moora, acted like this was a happy ending, when it clearly wasn’t.

 

KDramas - The Bride of the Water God - Blogging with Dragons
This show did not make the right kind of splash.

 

My only consolation prize for watching this show was that View Spoiler » But other than those incidents, the whole show was just a major disappointment and an even bigger missed opportunity. I really can’t recommend it to anyone, unless they are fans of a particular actor or actress in the drama. But based on the wishy-washy story and writing, portrayal and lack of chemistry between the leads, there’s no point in watching it. After this show, I also planned to steer clear of any shows with Joo-Hyuk in them in the future.

one-half-stars
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KDrama Reviews - bloggingwithdragons.com - The Bride of the Water God

Posted September 18, 2017 in K-Dramas, Watch

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7 responses to “K-Drama Review : The Bride of the Water God

  1. Mika

    blame the writer..i was also super disappointed with this drama but i kept watching cuz im a fan of krystal.

  2. Arn wong

    Blame the writer; joo hyuk doing great in fairy weighlifting kim bok joo; and hes doing quite fine in start up also ?

  3. Stephanie Johnson

    I give it 4 stars. But the script totally failed in regards to The Half-god Rich Guy. He spent his whole life doing good and was more sane and rational than these other nutty gods. Hence, there was nothing the script could do or say to make us dislike him.

  4. Lynn Ong

    This drama turned out to be boring. Most of it described well by the writer. But Shin Se Kyung was never my favourite actress. Her eyes are so ” staring-kind ” it makes me difficult to look at her. Her mouth are always pouting, and her acting – ah so often exaggerating and not natural. If I pick a drama to watch, I try to avoid her drama. This one was exception as I thought Nam Joo Hyuk would make the drama interesting, but it was not so. Now I am moving towards Episode 7 and trying to finish the whole drama as fast as possible.

    • Unfortunately, I watched this Kdrama a few years back, so I’m hazy on the details, but it definitely wasn’t one of my favorites either. The standout for me was the second leads.
      I hope that whatever drama you choose to watch next, you love!!

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