Farewell to ... Faith

Faith, now that you are over, a new era starts ... a faithless one, obviously, but also one that is less stressful, I hope. This summer was truly drama-crazy, and it is taking its toll on me: I am so far behind on all the KDramas I'm watching, it's not funny. Or, put differently, real life is constantly interfering with my drama-watching, which is even less funny.
To be frank, Faith was a mediocre drama at best. The directing, that is well established and acknowledged by quasi everybody now (even by vicious die-hard Lee Min-ho fans), was bordering on criminal, the editing was often choppy and felt rushed, the story was going in circles or even backwards more than forwards, and many of the characters were just plain redundant.

And, would you believe it, this show has done it again: simply removed one of the central characters in the most anticlimactic way possible, this time major bad-add-for-some-episodes Deok-heung. So he just went to Yuan in episode 22 and that's it?! Another wasted character and very, very bad writing. Is it that hard to properly send your characters off, show, if necessary by having them killed? So why did you kill two of the lovely Woodalchis then? I seriously don't get it.
And still ... I kept watching. Even more astounding: When I had only one hour to spare on drama-watching and I had to make a choice between Faith, Arang, Nice Guy, and Vampire Prosecutor, I most often chose Faith. Why the friggin hell?? What is it about this drama that makes it ... special and kept me invested, despite its countless faults?

The most obvious answer (you might have seen this coming) is Lee Min-ho.
Though I wasn't happy about his acting for a long time (before he grew on me so much I just got used to it) and still think he failed at convincingly portraying a general with superior leadership qualities, Lee Min-ho made this drama a special drama despite its mediocrity. And it was also him that made the romance in this drama a special type of romance.

It came on slowly, but sweetly, grew naturally, and was never forced. These two people just came to love each other in such a tender and comfortable way despite their differences and despite the immense obstacles they were facing. It is this romance and how it changes the two protagonist that I found the most engaging and enjoyable aspect of this drama. And though Kim Hee-seon obviously has a part to play in this, I think it is Min-ho that makes this noona-love seem so natural.
Certainly, there are other aspects and scenes that I will remember fondly. Lady Choi, for one, and the great performance of the King and the Queen. The Woodalchi with their endearing comradery. The police shield. Or the scene where Choi Young eats all of her rice soup without noticing. A totally confused/baffled Choi Young in Seoul. The secret glance through the screen into her room, when she bares her leg (ok, that belongs to the romance bit). Her insistence that they meet every day at the same pavilion to tell each other about their day (okay, that too). When she walks into the Woodalchi headquarters with short trousers. When he just looks at her in his, hm, Lee Min-ho way (it has been called eyeloving by some ladies I know). The various appearances of the Aspirin bottle with the yellow flower in it (oups, romance again). Ki Chul's derp faces. When he tells her to say "Daejang" again (=romance, yeah, I know). When Choi Young goes to steal the royal seal. Kim Hee-seon's hair color. Eun-soo's out-of-placeness. When all the Woodalchi enter together, after the King puts on his Goryeo clothes.

And even though I am absolutely not sure this show did something logical with the time-travelling-thing.. wait, no, I'm actually pretty sure it made a total illogical mess out of it, I still also liked the ending. It feels ... very good. I am satisfied.
(Though I can say with absolute certainty that I do not like Lee Min-ho with facial hair. It makes him look like Orlando Bloom in a really creepy-weird way).