Tuesday, April 24, 2018

'Queen of Mystery 2' Does Not Live Up to the Original Series

Queen of Mystery 2 is the sequel to the last year’s Queen of Mystery, a K-drama spin on the Sherlock Holmes-Dr. John Watson formula, where in this case, “Sherlock” is Seol-ok, an ajumma who loves solving mysteries, and “Watson” is Wan-seung, a rugged police detective.  This follow-up series, with 16 fresh episodes, picks up some time after the previous series.  Seol-ok is now divorced, and is aspiring of getting into the police academy.  Meanwhile, she still helps Wan-seung, who has transferred to a different station, in his cases.

I didn’t like this series as much as the first one.  First of all, there is a new supporting cast.  I really prefer the old supporting characters, and it’s as if the chemistry that the main characters built with them is wasted.  A couple of the original supporting characters show up in the first episode, but they aren’t in the rest of the series.  Among them, only two – Kyung-mi and Inspector Woo – remain regulars in this series.  Seol-ok and Wan-seung eventually develop adequately likable dynamics with their new supporting cast over time, but I definitely cared more for the first series’ supporting cast.  Moreover, the absence of a couple of them doesn’t really make sense.  It’s like they just suddenly evaporated from Seol-ok and Wan-seung’s lives.
Second, the writing isn’t as strong and smart.  Their cases aren’t as interesting, and characters aren’t as effectively fleshed out.  The tedious pacing is also more of a bother.  The bantering between Seol-ok and Wan-seung remains a lot of fun, but the quality of their mystery-solving-duo synergy isn’t as compelling.

Overall, Queen of Mystery 2 does not yield the same rewards as its predecessor.  However, there are still some thrills to be had.  Most notably, its overarching storyline – which follows up on the cliff-hanger of the previous series – stimulates a potent sense of intrigue, building up to the delivery of some nice, surprising twists.

But the thing that surprised me the most is probably its audacity to end with another setup for a third series.  Though it ties up the loose threads of the previous series, (SPOILER) including the revelation of the identity of the big bad, it concludes with him escaping to scheme for another day.
In the end, despite this series disappointing for not living up to the original, I guess I’m still up for Queen of Mystery 3.  But I very much prefer to have a Signal 2 instead.

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