KOREAN DRAMA REVIEWS
A Pledge To God
MBC (2018-19) 48 30 Min Episodes
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA
Will a mother be
willing to do anything to save her child from death?
Even if she has to violate modern moral norms and
conventions and make herself suffer? What is the meaning
of the family unit in today's world? The meaning of
marriage? Will a divorce guarantee unhappiness for life
in the couple breaking up? Is there ever any hope to
find true love again? Is true forgiveness possible? Can
past friendships and love relationships ever be
restored, after they have been tested to the breaking
This drama A Pledge To God (2018-19) asks these
questions and more, and often the answers are not that
clear cut to the audience as the story progresses. The antagonists in this drama are not
entirely evil, and the protagonists are not always
right. In particular, the two main female characters
cause our emotions to fluctuate wildly. They began as
friends but turn into huge enemies; one is
fertile and happily married, and the other keeps
miscarrying and is unhappily married ... to the former
friend's first husband! The inference is that the
infertile woman is jealous of the fertile one because
she seems to have everything the other lacks --
including the suppressed, lingering devotion of the
fertile woman's first husband toward his first wife! Yes, it
can get confusing, but as I watched I quickly realized
that this writer raised all these issues intentionally!
She wanted to show us that no one is entirely good, and
no one is completely evil. Of course the Bible calls all
of us humans sinners, but there are some humans who
strive against sin and repent when they've committed it,
and then there are others who justify sin and even glory
in it, never repenting, which is seen as a weakness by
them. That's the difference.
I decided to watch
this drama because of its two main impressive
Actors: 1) Han Chae Young, whom I had loved in the
Hong Sisters' first drama Delightful
Girl Choon Hyang, and who had been quite
mesmerizing in Boys
Over Flowers as Ji Hoo's first love /
crush, and 2) Bae Soo Bin, who has played a wide
range of characters in shows like Shining
Inheritance and 49
Days. I also noticed with a smile that
the second female lead was played by Oh Yoon Ah, and
I had loved to hate her jealous character in Saimdang,
Light's Diary, and had also enjoyed her
performance in Alone
In Love as a vixen - femme fatale. I
knew she would deliver a powerhouse performance in
her role here as the jealous ex-friend as well.
Also in the cast is Lee Chun Hee who was in Master's
Sun (he played the man who also saw
ghosts, who befriended Gong Hyo Jin's character and
traveled with her near the end of the story) and I
Remember You where he played a cop. Here
he played a character who was almost too good to be
true, so whenever he did appear more frail and human
it was almost a relief to our sensibilities!
Beautiful Seo Ji Young (Han Chae
Young) worked as a model at one time, and
she was married to an architect from a rich
family named Kim Jae Wook (Bae Soo Bin).
When Ji Young became pregnant
she was thrilled, anticipating being a
wonderful stay at home mother in future.
Her life seemed perfect, but
almost too perfect: she
suddenly learns to her shock and despair
that her best friend Woo Na Kyung (Oh Yoon
Ah) is also pregnant - with Ji Young's
husband Jae Wook's baby!
Na Kyung flaunts her pregnancy to try and
hurt Ji Young, and it has the desired effect:
Ji Young confronts her husband in anger
and even though he apologizes to Ji Young
profusely she does not accept his apology or
forgive him, telling him that he has
destroyed her life completely and she can
never love him again. Jae Wook and Ji Young
divorce and Ji Young gives birth to their
son Hyun Woo alone as a single mom.
The Bitterly Jealous Na Kyung
(Oh Yoon Ah - Perfect Casting!)
Six years later Ji Young
marries a second time, to a wonderfully
loving man named Song Min Ho (Lee Chun Hee).
Although in Korean society it is often
frowned upon to marry a divorcee, and
especially one with a child from another
man, Min Ho doesn't seem to care. He loves
his wife dearly and treats her son Hyun Woo
like his own child. They seem very happy,
until little Hyun Woo is suddenly diagnosed
with leukemia. He requires a bone marrow
transplant and when Ji Young's blood is not
a match she is forced to see her ex-husband
Jae Wook for the first time in years, to beg
him to take a blood test (this reminded me
very much of a similar story in the 2013
his blood doesn't match either! What will they
do? The doctor tells them their only hope is to
have a second child and to use the umbilical
cord blood from the sibling as a match.
Ji Young is so frantic to save
her son's life she even considers Jae Wook's
proposal that they try for a second child, even
though they are both married to different
people, she to the loving Min Ho, and he to the
often still poisonously jealous Na Kyung, who,
as it turned out, had miscarried the baby she
had become pregnant with, which had caused the
divorce of Ji Young and Jae Wook six years
earlier. She also has had other miscarriages,
which caused a continuing rift in her marriage
with Jae Wook, and the impatience of his rich
parents who wanted to see him have a new heir
all his own. At one point Na Kyung had even
threatened Ji Young to use her clout as the new
spouse to Hyun Woo's father to legally take her
biological son away from Ji Young.
The decision has to be made by
Ji Young as to whether or not to get pregnant
again with Jae Wook's child, to save the life of
little Hyun Woo, but oh the perplexities that
will result in both their marriages if they do!
Will they turn to medical technology like IVF to
have a second baby, and if so would that be more
acceptable to the ever patient and loving Min
Ho, or cause Na Kyung to finally put others'
lives first before her own?
We spend much of the rest of the series finding
out how everyone will react to the birth of a
second child to try and save the first. And when
the two boys are older will they be able to live
together as brothers in one family, or forever
be used and bounced around as pawns by the grown
ups in their lives?
By some miracle there is a
relatively happy ending to this frenetic
melodrama, but getting there will often tax your
patience in the extreme. As for me I stayed the
course on this drama for one main reason: the
luminous, nuanced performance of the female lead
actress Han Chae Young. She literally glowed in
this drama, and I liked her character best of
all, even though she often struggled between
right and wrong. How Bae Soo Bin's architect
character could even LOOK at another woman when
he was married to this beauty is anyone's guess.
Then again, many men often regret their sexual
dalliances, though they rarely admit it. Their
egos won't allow them to.
A Pledge To God To Put His
Children First - Finally!
If you're up to this sometimes
brutally honest family melodrama by all means
check it out. The actors are all worth it, and
the story of a devoted mother's love and
sacrifice is rather addictive to watch in this
day and age. Enjoy.