On the 27th of January, “Kokdu: season of deity” premiered on MBC and left all viewers hooked on it immediately. It was a roller coaster of emotions, from heartbreak to laughter, from intense hatred to certain characters to laughter again.
But first things first…
Once upon a time, a man and a woman fell in love. Oh Hyun and Seol Hee met as a warrior and the adopted noble woman destined to marry off as a price for political peace. Right away we see how Seol Hee is not an ordinary noble lady obedient to her fate. She wants to learn how to fight so she can protect herself in the hostile environment of her new home. Oh Hyun, on the other hand, shows his soft side. He is the man who loves deeply and maybe greedily, as he wishes for their love to last way back in the underworld as well. And his greed is what caused their doom…
Lovers who can’t be together without starting the bloodshed are destined to have a bitter end to the story. Or are they?
Take a deep breath and pour yourself a tea because it’s only a small fraction of the story’s setup.
The Almighty himself isn’t happy with Oh Hyun’s disobedience to accept the fate the Almighty chose for him, and by his curse, Oh Hyun and Seol Hee can never meet again. But another deity, who got curious about why Oh Hyun doesn’t continue his path to the new life and fate, gives him a bit of hope. The curse no more no less but hope nonetheless. Now Oh Hyun transforms into Kokdu: God of the Underworld. Every 99 years Kokdu must visit the human realm in an attempt to meet the woman he longing over all those centuries and if she falls in love with him then his curse will be broken. It’s been so long, Kokdu doesn’t remember who the woman he’s waiting for was, what she looks like, or even her name. But still, every 99 years he has a chance to break the curse…
Hundreds of years pass, and Kokdu comes back to the human world over and over again, failing to meet his beloved and break the curse. Until in modern days, the cheerful but unlucky in life Han Gye Jeol cries for his mother to help but gets the God of the Underworld as her savior instead. And this is when the story of breaking the curse really starts.
Han Gye Jeol is a very likable and cheerful woman, despite the hardships of life, she still shines with optimism and is determined to help her patients, providing not only professional help but emotional support as well. She is Seol Hee’s reincarnation and so far it’s unclear if it’s her first one or had she reincarnated before to meet Kokdu in all his previous failed attempts to break the curse.
But don’t be fooled by her easy-going personality, as she can always stand up for herself without anyone’s help. She won’t let bullies push her around and even if she falls in love, her beloved won’t be free from fair critics.
After meeting Do Jin Woo, who looks exactly like Oh Hyun\Kokdu, she misunderstands his decisions as a show of affection and gets very rightfully angry when it turns out he tried to use her for his personal gain. Later they bond a bit more, as she understands the pain of losing a mother. And it was equally heartbreaking to see her desperate cries for the second time in one episode, first with Oh Hyun’s death and then with Do Jin Woo’s pathing.
But worry not, Han Gye Jeol-ah, Kokdu-ssi is here now to bring chaos and laughter to your life. Or maybe just chaos for you and laughter for viewers as the grumpy God of the Underworld is not really a charmer from Han Gye Jeol’s point of view. He’s rough around the edges, but please understand, he lived in literal Hell for centuries and occasionally hears people’s cries for help to punish the trashiest humans that exist.
Kokdu / Do Jin Woo / Oh Hyun
First, we meet Oh Hyun, a hopelessly in love man, who desperately wants to be with his beloved. He’s a brave and fierce warrior, he’s a tender and romantic lover, he’s stubborn and will wait for his Seol Hee as long as it takes. Unfortunately, over time he forgets her face and her name, and why he waits, but his heart still lingers on his feelings and he doesn’t give up. I’m very curious about Oh Hyun’s transformation into a chaotic and cruel Kokdu and hope for more flashbacks to their story in the Underworld. So far Kokdu in the human realm and in the Underworld seems too different.
Next, we met a good boy Do Jin Woo. He is everyone’s ideal type: a smart and successful doctor, a handsome and sweet man. But under the surface flaws are seen as there are no humans without them. He uses sweet and naïve Han Gye Jeol for his own purposes. Unlike him, she has so much more to lose, her life and career are too fragile to gain enemies in the top hospital circle. But we as viewers and Dr. Han, as a participant in events, eventually understood his reasons. It is truly heartbreaking to meet a long-lost mother on the operating table and lose her at the same moment allegedly by her son’s mistake. Jin Woo’s sadness and depression are understandable and Dr. Han, blinded by her attraction to Kokdu, doesn’t notice his heartbreak at first.
Lastly, we meet the main drama queen of this show: Kokdu, the eccentric God of the Underworld. The moment he appears on screen, the tears of the tragic loss of Do Jin Woo are gone and laughter follows as he is not used to the modern world and really unimpressed with humans. Kim Jung Hyun shows the transformation from Jin Woo to Kokdu so effortlessly and smoothly we can only applaud his talent. Kokdu is back and meets his helpers Ok Shin and Gak Shin while MrQueen fans rejoice in this onscreen reunion.
After watching 4 episodes, I would say that Oh Hyun and Jin Woo have the same calm vibe while Kokdu, who we know for a fact is Oh Hyun, is more chaotic. Kokdu is just too traumatized a character, he looks silly but I believe it’s his coping mechanism. He’s too broken and tired and lonely and his sass and jokes are just a mask. I’m glad he met Gye Jeol to help him to heal and he bonded with her before he found out for a fact she’s Seol Hee.
Was it the last we saw of Dr. Do Jin Woo?
Somehow, I don’t think it is the case. Kokdu always possesses a body that looks exactly like him, does that mean someone is always born and lives a normal life for the sole purpose to pass his body to Kokdu? Sounds very unfair.
So I have a list of reasons why I believe Jin Woo will be back somehow:
1. Emotional connection with Gye Jeol. Yes, she fell for Kokdu first but she started to know Jin Woo before she properly met Kokdu. The way she cried and shouted when Jin Woo died was the same as when Seol Hee lost Oh Hyun. Why make this parallel if Jin Woo is just a puppet to give a body to Kokdu?
2. Background story of Jin Woo was very specific. Writers could have made him just a random guy who died and woke up as Kokdu. If they wanted to create more drama as Gye Jeol keep thinking Kokdu is Jin Woo with memory loss then his story still doesn’t make sense. It could be simpler, instead, he’s tied to other characters related to Oh Hyun’s past life.
3. All characters from the past life are reincarnated, even Gye Jeol’s ex is someone from the past and only Jin Woo is an unimportant side character? Seems suspicious. Especially when his story tied with Oh Hyun’s enemies’ reincarnations. The more the main story is tied to Jin Woo the higher possibility he’s still there. So for Gye Jeol’s sanity and myself, I do hope Jin Woo is just chilling inside his body while Kokdu wreaks chaos all around.
In my opinion, it would be best if all three characters played by Kim Jung Hyun turned out to be just one person. Whatever they die and live in the end, it will be fair.
The fluffy white dog (played by Lulu dog) is probably the Almighty or another Deity who helps them. My bet is on the young Deity who gave Kokdu the name and send him helpers so they all can help each other.
I don’t know how others interpret it, because translation is tricky but I believe the young Deity isn’t the Almighty, simply because the Almighty from the sky knows Oh Hyun’s story and who he waiting for. While young Deity knew nothing and gave him a chance.
Why do I think he’s a fluffy dog? They both have white hair\fur and they help the main characters meet. The Almighty’s curse was for Oh Hyun and Seol Hee to never meet again.
Seol Hee’s reincarnations
The storyteller grandma from the first episode gives us hints about this:
The princess’s fate of losing her loved one and taking her life kept repeating in this world.
And the warrior became Kokdu tied to the underworld forever.
They could never meet again.
Seol Hee’s curse is to always lose someone she loves and this is why I think we had such tragic death for Jin Woo and this might be a hint she had other reincarnations before. I don’t know what the writers plan for the story but I find it really tragic if Seol Hee meets many Jin Woos over all her past lives, loses him over and over again, and dies before Kokdu inhabits Jin Woo’s bodies. So they are always close yet far apart from each, which sounds like cruel punishment. Also, Kokdu complained that he’s the only one trying hard and Seol Hee should work harder too. I think it will be revealed that Seol Hee in fact was paying her price too. After all, they both were sinners in the Almighty’s eyes.