2016 went off with a bang with the arrival of Goblin which really sealed in the drama game for the year. It delivered something amazing and went above and beyond to blow my expectations away. It’s definitely not your everyday, average drama but a drama that just wows you in all aspects and piques interest with every ep. There was never one dull moment at all and, in fact, each ep generates further anticipation with the drama. Goblin is a drama that is driven sincerely by good scripting, which is prevalent throughout the entire drama, so a huge pat on the back Kim Eun Sook for writing such an amazing drama and bringing it to life following through with her other critically acclaimed hit, Descendants of the Sun, from the same year. Goblin, like Descendants of the Sun, is set in a fictional world but with a very different narrative structure. It was one that I had never seen before and surprisingly, it works, and it works amazingly well.
I got into Goblin a few weeks after it first aired after hearing rave recommendations from my friends, I knew I just had to give this drama a go. It was everything that I did not expect it to be. I went into this drama thinking that it would be a typical rom-com type of drama but the drama literally blew me away by telling me a story of a goblin and grim reaper living very mundane, yet extraordinary lives. It managed to tell a very substantial story that grew with me the more that I watched the drama. The drama was very enticing to watch and left me reeling for the next ep after finishing a ep, and this is what every drama should do.
Goblin is about an immortal goblin, Kim Shin (Gong Yoo), and an amnesiac grim reaper (Lee Dong Wook) who befriend one another and find that they have an intertwined fate with each other. The two cross paths with Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun), a girl born as the goblin’s bride, and Kim Sun”Sunny” (Yoo In Na), who they also share an intertwined fate with. Kim Shin was a respectable warrior in his previous life but was sentenced to death in that life by his precious king. However, he continued to live on as an immortal goblin and 939 years later, he has finally met the person to give his life mortality. Eun Tak was not supposed to be born but Kim Shin rescued her and brought her to life. Ever since then, she has been able to see ghosts and has been given the fate of being his bride and being the only person to end his immortality. Kim Shin has an invisible sword stuck through his heart, a remnant of how he died in his past life, and the only way for his immortality to end is to remove the sword, which can only be pulled out by the goblin’s bride. Kim Shin and Eun Tak cross paths and find themselves having some form of unbearable connection with each other. Their fate was intertwined long ago but it took them time for them to realise that.
At first both goblin and Eun Tak were weary of her status as his bride but the more time that passed, the more that it became a reality of them that she really was the goblin’s bride and that they have a predetermined fate together. They managed to grow accustomed with each other and accept each other. Eun Tak was very positive about the relationship from the start and happily accepted her role as the goblin’s bride. I love how she just fell into the role and allowed herself to fall in love with Kim Shin. She admired him and she let herself be herself. At first I thought he was just settling with her and I guess that was what he felt as well but as time went on, he got to realise that she is a girl with so much more inside her than what she shows. She is understands him in a way that no one can and that shocks him and makes him feel taken back because he has never had someone like her enter his heart before. And for him, he just opened his heart to her and before he even knew it himself, he found himself caring for her and looking out for her.
What I love the most about this drama was it gave goblin and Eun Tak’s relationship a subtle, carefree feel to it. It was a relationship just blossomed based on fate and now because they were made to be together. This really made their relationship feel very sincere and nice to watch. I liked the difference in characters between Eun Tak and goblin. He was the more serious one in their relationship whereas she is the more carefree half to the relationship and together their difference in personalities balance each other nicely. Their relationship was very nicely developed even though their existence on earth are far from being the same. There was really nice, solid progression to their relationship with both Eun Tak and goblin finding themselves growing more aware and more comfortable with each other’s presence. Their relationship was quite nicely written but there wasn’t that fiery factor to it, unlike grim reaper and Sunny’s relationship. I think I sit on the same boat as a lot of people who watched this drama and felt a sense of awkwardness between Gong Yoo and Eun Tak’s portrayal of this relationship with their age difference being a reason as to why their chemistry was on the lacking side. There’s nothing wrong with how their relationship was written out to be but the chemistry just wasn’t quite their between them.
Grim reaper and Sunny’s relationship completely outshone and goblin and Eun Tak’s relationship. Their relationship was so touching watch. I love them together. I love how quirky Sunny is and I love grim reaper’s innocent nature. The first time he laid eyes on her, his heart started to ache for her and he knew he just had to get closer to her. I love how he tries to be subtle in approaching her but she just bluntly asks him whether he is approaching her. But their love story is so much deeper than what the surface shows. For them it is a lot about learning to forgive their past lifetime, letting go and learning to move on into the present. I just think their love story was very touching and sincere to watch. It was so beautifully written and very touching. It’s just that I would have liked to see more development from them.
My favourite relationship in this drama is the bromance between goblin and grim reaper. They just have this amazing and impeccable chemistry with each other. I love the way they communicate with each other and how they just get each other without having to explicitly express it. I love everything about their relationship from their use their superpowers in a competition to outshine the other and their heart-to-heart talks with each other. They have been through lots of experiences together and just the way they manage to have such a lovely friendship with one another. However, what I cared most about them was how despite both being immortal characters, they had a very different approach to life and death and yet yet they still managed to connect with the world and believe in what the world has for them.
There are heaps of mixed feelings for how the drama ended but I think it was a beautiful closure to the journey that it brought us on. Mortality descends on everyone; sometimes it may come sooner than expected and other times it may come at the worst possible situation but that is just the way of life. The most important thing is having lived a sincere life and following your heart through to find the perfect one in life and being able to fulfil the promises made to each other and that was a story that we got to witness in this drama.
I loved this drama to bits! I found this comment online which perfectly sums up the drama; it is an intricately, thoughtfully crafted masterpiece that is romantic as it is funny and heart-wrenching to watch, but it does you more than that by getting you to think not just mentally but also emotionally. There is actually so much deeper meanings to decipher from this drama and I think the best about this drama is that it challenges the viewers to think and as a result the meanings are interpreted different to everyone. Of course, there were elements to this drama which could have been better but at the end of the day, the drama did do an excellent job in its delivery. This drama absolutely is a heart-content drama and was very intricately written and executed but definitely a drama that is worth re-watching and honestly, words is not enough to describe how incredible this drama is.