Harvest Villa – A Review

My 500th post! I could not let this milestone go to waste on such a small, insignificant post, so I celebrate with a review of Harvest Villa. As tired as I was in staying up to finish this drama, I could not close my eyes and sleep. Yes – it was that. good.

I had already given my impressions on the first half of the drama, and the love I had for it holds true for the second half. In fact, I think I really REALLY liked the second half.

Episode 15 on becomes really dark – but it’s so awesome. The angst and the unfolding of secrets happens at the right time. Sure, the sentence of “The gold is hidden at…” gets a little tedious and they’re definitely stretching it for a while, but it’s amazing because of all the characters that surround Bok Kyu and their desperation for the information. The lawyer kills me – I had SO WANTED him to be good so that Bok Kyu could have one person on his side but it couldn’t be. Kim Chang Wan really kills the evil villain role; he looks so harmless that it makes him even scarier.

As for the side stories – though the landlady and the two crooks’ story still had a connection to the gold, the Park family didn’t initially – Song Yi’s love story with Ha Geun is bittersweet (and Sung Geun’s death was painful and a shock – I really didn’t think anyone would die in this drama.), while her parents’ problems of an affair kind of take on an interesting tangent. It’s got nothing to do with the gold, and the father is thankfully not the sort of evil I thought he was in the beginning. He’s evil (’cause he’s got murderous intents) but it’s to protect his family – it’s not out of greed. This side story could easily become boring, but it manages to capture my attention all the time.

However, when the Park family’s storyline became integrated with the main plot line about the gold, I was so impressed. It fit in seamlessly, and didn’t feel contrived. The affair pushes Tae Chon to want to search for the gold for instant wealth. I kind of wish I knew what happened with the photos that pinpointed Mae Ja as a murderer (even though it was an accident); Tae Chon ends up in prison, but I’m not entirely sure for what – is it because of his past crimes, or did he take the fall for his wife? And then when Ha Geun found out about Bok Gyu’s involvement with Sang Geun’s death, I thought it wasn’t as rushed as it seemed. I mean it is possible to figure things out, and Bok Gyu was on the news… If he were looking for the gold however, I would have been all, “Whut?!” All in all, pretty amazing job in making everyone search for the gold in the end. The writers were great – Jang Hang Joon and Kim Eun Hee are a husband/wife, director/writer team that are currently working on Sign! – because they made us think that everyone in the villa was after the gold, then spent 10+ episodes disproving that notion, only to have everyone (or almost everyone) searching for the gold in the last three episodes. (If Sign ends up as good as Harvest Villa, I’ll be so super psyched!)

They really know how to make cliffhangers too. The episodes move inches in terms of story – a preview in episode 16 didn’t happen until episode 18 – and yet, it’s gripping! I think it’s also because the episodes are about 40-45 minutes long, being way shorter than the normal one hour, so it helps move things along without being too draggy.

As for the emotional side of the drama, I truly credit it to the actors – especially Shin Ha Kyun when he confronts Lee Bo Young in the hospital about her killing his family. It’s a scene that could easily be cheesy but the tears that fall quickly on his face make me empathize with him as the world around him crumbles down quickly. All of the actors were wonderful in their own way – no one falls flat, and no one under-delivers.

As for the ending, I’m glad we got some closure on all the characters. Best one was of the Park family, where everyone is visiting Tae Chon in jail and he cannot accept Ha Geun as a son-in-law. It’s really funny, because the entire time that Tae Chon is rejecting Ha Geun’s bows, he also looks like he’s about to laugh but is keeping his emotions tightly controlled. Kang Byul – weird in super long hair, but I guess it’s a matter of getting used to – hehe.

I kind of expected everyone to die or not get the gold. I almost thought that Seo Rin was going to die, but that last close-up of her “dead” body on the boat affirmed to me otherwise, and I’m happy about that. While I’m not sure what happened to the gold, in my mind, she became conscious, took the gold for herself, and set up that beautiful antique-y cafe far away. And then when things quieted down and she located Bok Gyu again, that’s when she contacted him.

I used to think that Prosecutor Princess was the underrated drama of the year. In some way it still is because it was a drama airing on SBS (a big broadcaster compared to tvN) and was going up against two dramas with bigger names. But Harvest Villa really really is underrated – it’s one of those quiet dramas that never made a big splash, but probably has (or ought to have) a cult following. It’s just SO. GOOD.

I think I can see now the appeal in Joseon X-Files and what made that little drama so beloved. But Harvest Villa…man, you break my heart.

Rating: 10/10

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5 thoughts on “Harvest Villa – A Review

  1. thanks alot finally someone is taking notice of this gem and yes it is criminally underrated this drama is love love love it made me laugh cry and kept me on the edge of my seat it is also very simple but very deep at the same time it is in my top 3 fav kdramas ever

    I remember reading that
    the director told lee bo young that he wants to surprize the world with this drama it is a pity that mbc dropped it because it could have been a hit it is also a pity that alot of kdrama fans are so shallow
    alot has dropped it just because it does not have eye candy

    I really started watching because I am a fan of LBY and did not expect much just like everybody else and ended up loving every bit of it and every actor man watching Shin Ha Kyun was alone a great experience
    this guy has to be the best actor in korea he is not goodlooking but the way he acts his amazingly natural facial expression how can you watch harvest villa and not become a fan of his how I wish he will star in another drama how I wish it will be with lee bo young also

    I dont think that sign will be anything like HV even though it is almost the same team but the writer has written some really awful stuff before I think HV will a one hit wonder they cant do anything so perfect again but I keep my fingers crossed

  2. wuahhhhh I didn’t expect you rate this one 10/10!!! hahahha
    Yesss I love this one, I really really LOVE Harvest Villa with a passion. They are so smart to keep us guessing, wondering, and can’t wait to watch the next EPisode!!!

    In terms an emotional level, I cried so hard from 14-20…. hahaha that’s how crazy I am about this show …

    • in terms of enjoyment and how much I love this show, It’s Perfect… I think this drama has flaws, too…. although I love this drama with a passion… There are some moment I expect want to coming but sad it didn’t.
      @sandy: Maybe My taste for handsome guy is different from you and alot of people, haha.. , But I really think Shin Ha Kyun is really really handsome. I love his lips, it’s sexy 😛 I’m definitely become his fans after this drama… ❤

  3. I loved HV too, one of my favs this year.

    But I didn’t quiet like the last 5 episodes because I felt there was a certain disjoint and disconnection between the characters and plot-lines. I can’t quite remember the exact scenes but something just didn’t hit it right for me towards the end..

    But still, it’s still one of the gems last year.

  4. Can’t agree with you more on how under-rated this show is! I admit that I was one of those who turned-away after seeing a few scenes last year even after reading about the plot and knowing LBY was in it – the scenes i saw (one on episode 10 , i think) just didn’t appeal to me (what on earth was i thinking ?!) …… until I saw another clip of it last week with a comment saying how under-rated this show is…. thought I’d do an episode a day but wham! i started and couldn’t stop till I finished all 20 (with the necessary break and stopage time in betweens of course …… and good thing it was a long Lunar New Year holiday weekend too !)
    It was sharp and clever, a very very different feel from the usual dose of kdramas, though it still did provide the familiar romance (albeit in a twisted convulated and fresh kind of way…). Shin Ha Kyun has a new fan right here! His acting was the one that caught me off-guard. I just love the smooth transition he gave when potraying Bok Gyu – from innocent, comedic love-fool in the beginning of the series into a hardened and manipulative victim fighting for his life at the end. LBY , well, I’m bound to be bias when commenting about her but as objective as I can be, she has not let me down in this at all and I shall continue to be a good follower of her acting career. The rest of the cast too, believe you gave them the credit that’s very due to them, in your review.
    If I’m honest, I’d really like if the ending could give us a little bit more closure on how the beautiful Seo Rin survived the gun-shot wound and a boat full of male-thugs (I can only assume it IS a boat manned by a bunch of people who are used to running away from the law considering how they were only too happy to steer the boat away at the sound of the police sirens and how they WERE able to stay undetected from the coastal Guards) with a whole load of gold that would drive them crazy and in the middle of a torrential sea (which was the apparent reason given by the detective guy why the coastal guards couldn’t catch the escaping boat…..). But I DID like the subtle little emphasises in the last scene which said enough on the leading couple ending up together , like Seo Rin still wearing her wedding ring after all that and the (yearning) smile they both had on them…… we’ll just have to leave her escape and the Q&A sessions that would have taken place between between them to our own imaginations, then.
    Lastly, my only hope is that the show did get enough attention, good reviews or some kind of following even though it may not have gotten the ‘cult’ status that it deserves, and that the actors and actresses (heck, the whole cast, of course) as such did get the satisfaction and acknowledgement that they SO DESERVE. Bravo!

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