24 October 2012

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Farewell to ... the Woodalchi

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on October 24, 2012
It's not quite time yet to say goodbye to the Woodalchi underlings, as they will be with us for another two episodes of Faith next week. However, there is no denying that the farewell is imminent. Will I miss them? Yes, I most certainly will. The Woodalchi (as a group but also as individuals) are among the more enjoyable aspects of Faith - though they are probably the dumbest and most incompetent elite warriors EVER. The number of times they messed up? At least once every episode.
In fact, they are like a group of unruly children, with second-in-command Chook being the most mature. He is like a surrogate daddy, when real daddy Choi Young isn't around. Real daddy Choi Young treats his children (he actually calls them 'sons') like the typical Korean father, by often hitting them over the head to chastise them.
Most of the Woodalchi underlings are really tall, some even taller than Lee Min-ho, which probably is the one thing they look for in recruits. Since it really can't be smartness or fighting skills. Often, they are there for comic relief, and to make Choi Young/Lee Min-ho look much cooler than he actually is. Sorry. That's not his fault but the (fighting) director's fault, who is making a mess out of every single potentially cool action scene. In addition, they are used twice for eye-candy fan-service (ABS!) - since we don't get to see Lee Min-ho's abs in full glory.
It never became clear to me how many Woodalchi there are (I remember that at least one number has been mentioned and I seem to remember that it's a couple of hundred men), but we only get to know six of them more intimately. I feel that these characters are much better developed than some of the (theoretically) more central ones (particularly Jan Bin, Soundling and Fireling), which is most likely a positive side-effect of my affection for them. At closer look, the difference between the individual Woodalchi is minimal and we never see them not being Woodalchi. In other words, being Woodalchi and being slightly dumb and incompetent but really endearing is their only character trait. But their unconditional trust and loyalty towards their General and the comradery among them is both heart-warming and moving.

... This is to the Woodalchi ...

Stoic Second-in-Command aka Surrogate Daddy (Bae Choong-sik)

A newbie actor. What a gorgeous man! Serene and sincere and always there to serve. Obviously, he would be super boring in real life (cause he is very stiff and correct in everything that he does and probably no fun at all), but I would hire him anytime to be my body-guard. He would most certainly also make a good babysitter. He is the perfect gentle giant. And I think he should become the Woodalchi's next leader, because he deserves it. If Choi Young should go to heaven or so (I don't mean real heaven, obviously, but Seoul!) I also hope he finds a woman that loves and cherishes him because there's a certain lonely vibe coming from him. 

Dragonball (Oh Dae-man) 

Also a newbie actor and probably the Woodalchi with the most distinct personality. I am not even sure he is a real Woodalchi, because he mainly does the running around like a messenger boy and the acrobatics. He and Choi Young have a special bond and if one of the Woodalchis is the classical sidekick, it is him (Top 5 sidekicks post is coming up, btw!). He tells Eun-soo in episode 19 that he used to live all alone in the mountains, where Young met him and took him under his wing (though Dae-man resisted by running away and biting - until he fell asleep). Choi Young probably feels like a real father to him and the other Woodalchi are his hyungs. He stammers when he's excited and his hair is an wonderful spiky mess. I would like to pull it.   

The One-That-Dies (Joo Seok)

Joo Seok has a few moments to shine (alone) when he is on a secret mission to warn the General about the potential treason trap. He is the one with the nicest moustache in Faith. He also has a slight pot-belly, which is cute, in a way. Was the one with the nicest moustache and had a pot-belly: because he dies, protecting the king. I actually don't understand why he had to die, since his death didn't serve any real purpose, story-wise. And that death-scene was so terrible. Probably the worst fight-scene of them all and that means something in this drama. Is he probably meant to be a symbol for all the fallen Woodalchi? Or maybe we just needed some good guys dying, since you can't always only slaughter the bad ones? Because he did a very good job despite the odds, he gets an animated gif.

Puppy-Dummy (Deok-man)

Doek-Man gets to be with the Doctor alone and to protect her (though he doesn't really do a good job while he's at it). He has a small crush on Eun-soo (who could be his mother, actually, but I'm not opposing any noona-loving here). He also gets hit by an arrow. Why? Not sure. To make us anxious he might die? That would indeed have been terribly sad. Deok-Man is like a human puppy and he is my second favorite Woodalchi, right after Choong. In terms of intellect he seems to have one or two IQ points more than Dae-man, but that's still not a lot. However, he also gets a gif, cause this gif is awesome and because I really want to pat his head and tickle him behind his ears. I'd also cook him his favorite meal and read him a story before putting him to bed.

The One-that-Fights-with-a-Lance-Blade and gets to undress twice and show his marvellous abs (Dol-bae)

This one can fight, both with his weapon and with his fists. For the half-naked martial arts scene in episode 21: top points. And I think he is having an affair with at least one of the palace maiden warriors, the cheeky bastard. See that look? He is really flirtatious and he certainly knows he's good looking. I don't doubt that he will be happily married soon and will retire from being a warrior. I'm getting a bon-vivant vibe from him. He probably is from a wealthy family and is just doing a bit of king-protecting and half-naked fighting for fun.

The New-Guy-Whose-Name-I-couldn't-Find

There's a new face among the Woodalchi that has become rather prominent in the last two episodes or so. He might have been there before, but I didn't notice him. But he is in the front row now; I guess he is poor Joo Seok's replacement. He is okay and easy on the eyes, as all of them are, but he doesn't capture my heart as much as the others. I want to say 'yet', but the 'yet' makes me quite sad ... because this one cannot grow on me. This is a farewell post ... and soon, very soon, there will be no more Woodalchi to adore on Mondays and Tuesdays ...
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