Fates and Furies
운명과 분노
SBS (2018-19) 40 Episodes @ 30 min Each
Romantic & Revenge Melodrama / Family Crime
Grade: A
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

"Shoes?" I said out loud, while watching episode one of this romantic melodrama Fates and Furies (2018-19), "How can I watch a whole drama about the business of shoe-making? I'll get bored so quickly!", but I kept watching this K-drama because it was a re-teaming of the two stars from the excellent 2014 drama Sly And Single Again aka Cunning Single Lady, Lee Min Jung (who is married to blockbuster Korean star Lee Byung Hun in real life), and Joo Sang Wook. They had great chemistry together in that drama as a divorced couple who could never really get over each other, and their new drama promised to bring us back that special sensuality they have whenever they look at each other on screen. They delivered, hook, line, and sinker!

It was strange that in Fates and Furies, even though they are both married to other people in real life, their potent sensuality with one another was even more intense here, and by episode three I was totally hooked and committed to following through until the end. It also didn't hurt that the opening episodes took place in stunning Busan, instead of Seoul, giving a different vibe to this series immediately, and that it also showcased a gorgeous wardrobe for its stunning leading lady Lee Min Jung, who looked more beautiful here than in any other series I've ever seen her in. Especially after having a baby with husband Byung just a few short years ago she truly looked outstanding. I also really loved the intense OST, with that plaintive violin instrumental piece starting up every episode. Fantastic and elegant! Not to mention Lee Min Jung at a party scene sings a lovely ballad in Chinese. Who knew her voice was that pretty? Not I. I would even buy her audio CDs if she put them out on the market.

There were also other familiar faces in the cast that I was happy to see again: So Ee Hyun (Heartstrings, Who Are You?), "Ahjumma" Song Ok Suk (Beethoven Virus), Shim Ye Young (who played the klutzy aunt in The Suspicious Housekeeper), Lee Ki Woo (Flower Boy Ramen Shop, Just Between Lovers, and the film The Classic), and Im Ji Kyu, playing Joo Sang Wook's right hand man, who delighted me so much with his quirky humor as famous old Joseon era author Heo Gyun in The King's Face. Fates and Furies felt like Old Home Week much of the time, with so many familiar faces!

I also noticed that SBS used the same big building with indoor pillars, to represent the home of the wealthy main characters, that they have used in countless other K-dramas I've watched over the years (for example Hyde, Jekyll and I, and Empire Of Gold). Maybe it's past time to use a different set, SBS? LOL!

The Story:

Beautiful and ambitious Goo Hae Ra (Lee Min Jung) desires to succeed in business as a custom shoe-maker and seller, a talent and interest she developed from her late father, who had run a successful business making and fixing shoes in his own storefront. She is able to make little headway financially in her life because her beloved sister Goo Hyun Joo (Cha Soo Hyun) supposedly attempted to commit suicide under mysterious circumstances (at least that's what the head doctor claimed at the time) and she has been in a coma for years, taxing her sister's ability to pay for all the extended medical care that she requires.

Tae In Joon (Joo Sang Wook) is the son of a wealthy corporate executive and owner of Gold Group, named Tae Pil Woon (Ko In Beom), and part of the family business is selling designer shoes. There is family friction stemming from the fact that his father divorced In Joon's beloved mother when she was sick and dying, and took up with another woman who was filled with avarice and greed, Han Sung Suk (Song Ok Suk). The son that she produced with Pil Woon, Tae Jung Ho (Kong Jung Hwan) has always been jealous of his father's stronger trust in In Joon, and he and his mother often try to conspire to keep In Joon away from the patriarch of the family. Sometimes they even engage in underhanded criminal activity with the intent to keep the corporate shares away from In Joon, and to deprive him of his role as the executive in charge of the shoe division of Gold Group.

Also quietly involved with this wretched family is Jung Ho's estranged, despised, and mousy wife, Ko Ah Jung (Shim Ye Young). She secretly records many of the family's conversations in the hopes that someday she can expose them all. She is a battered wife, and is treated more like a servant in the home, instead of a daughter-in-law. She has her own young son with Jung Ho but we never see him except for his picture on a wall because his father sent him to America to school to keep the boy out of his hair and to deprive his wife of a relationship with her own boy.


One day Goo Hae Ra is approached by a man named Jin Tae Oh (Lee Ki Woo) and told that if she travels to Busan for a big business meeting planned for Gold Group that she might be able to meet and even seduce the lonely Tae In Joon at a party, with the hope to get her feet in the door (pun intended) to find a lucrative position in the shoe division of that corporation. We don't find out the real motivation of Tae Oh for getting Hae Ra to seduce In Joon until near the end of the series.

Meanwhile Hae Ra flies to Busan, impresses In Joon with her style and self-possession, and he takes her up in his helicopter to see the sights of Busan from the sky. How romantic. Is this going to be just another Cinderella story, down to a lost designer shoe? Will the desperately poor but ambitious Hae Ra really make the wealthy In Joon fall in love with her? He happens to be engaged to a TV celebrity and model named Cha Soo Hyun (So Ee Hyun) but he's not in love with her; he has agreed to the engagement at the encouragement of his father, but really only for business reasons: she is rich and her money will make the Tae family even richer than it already is.

Back in Seoul, Hae Ra and In Joon spend more time together, and she is indeed offered an entry level job in the shoe division of Gold Group. Meanwhile, she keeps having dealings with the mysterious Tae Oh, who, as it turns out, wants Cha Soo Hyun to break up with Tae In Joon because he is still in love with her himself; in fact, back in college, she had gotten pregnant with his child but gave up all rights to the baby once it was born, preferring her ritzy career instead. Tae Oh has raised the little girl named Jenny all by himself, but has never really gotten over Soo Hyun. He keeps hoping they can get back together again but it's obvious Soo Hyun just snickers at the idea. She is obsessed with marrying the rich In Joon.

Then suddenly Hae Ra learns that her beloved sister in the coma may not have tried to commit suicide after all, but in fact somebody from the wealthy Tae family had attempted to murder her instead because she had gotten pregnant by one of the sons. Turns out the original doctor who falsified the medical records was in the private pocket of the Tae family, and always does their sick bidding, even to the point of drugging the patriarch for days to get him out of the way of important business decisions, making him sign documents while not in his right mind.

When they learn that Hae Ra is learning the truth about her sister, In Joon's step-mother and step-brother conspire to make it seem that In Joon was the person in the family who impregnated her and attempted to kill her. Hae Ra breaks up with In Joon and seeks her revenge on him, and In Joon ends up going to jail for a crime he did not commit. In fact he had tried to save the sister's life. When he gets out of jail will he, in turn, seek his revenge against Hae Ra, the woman he once loved? Or will he learn additional information that might help him to forgive Hae Ra?

A twisted revenge melodrama for sure, with some big surprises at the end, but if you like them that way, then don't miss Fates and Furies. It's right up your alley! Enjoy.