23 October 2012

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Farewell to ... Jang Bin

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on October 23, 2012

In tonight's episode of Faith, Doctor Jang Bin was killed off-screen. We didn't even get to see his body. This type of meaningless non-death is the worst you can do to a drama character, but it is strangely befitting the non-character of Jang Bin (played by Philipp Lee, who had to leave the drama at very short notice for eye surgery).

Philipp Lee, like Kim Hee-Seon, was faithful to Faith despite its two-plus years in production limbo. And what do they do to him, instead of rewarding him for his loyalty? They make him a non-character, like our two wasted villains, Flute-boy and Lady Microwave.

Initially, Jang Bin would have had special ki-powers himself (as obvious from the very first Trailer for Faith). Later, he was touted as "one of the most gifted physicians" and a counterweight to the modern medical ideas of the time-travelling doctor. But then, on screen, he was just a very calm (if not phlegmatic) non-entity that lent a shoulder to a troubled woman from 21st century Korea. She could well have cried on anybody's shoulder or in her bed without a shoulder, it wouldn't have made a difference. It's these little (and not so little) things that really irk me about Faith.

I have never disliked Philipp Lee, in fact, I even liked him in Secret Garden. Now, I actually feel sorry for him. Being a non-character is probably the most shameful thing in Dramaland, much worse than being a very badly written character. Being a non-character after being cast as a second lead, as a great doctor-counterpart to the Great Doctor, is ten thousand times worse. Yes, Eun-soo, cry for him, cry!

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