One of the governing elements of standard villains is their refusal or even inability for remorse and redemption. “Whisper” makes this inescapably clear as Jeong-il and Soo-yeon try to one-up each other in being horrible until the very bitter end. Dong-joon and Yeong-joo can taste victory, but this victory comes at a price. As Dong-joon comes collecting dues, his own cannot be overlooked.
It is time to enjoy more backstabbing from the two villains as their time is up and while their poor characters have left me unable to get completely into it, there is still fun to be had. Soo-yeon (Park Se-yeong) and Jeong-il (Kwon Yul) hit an unfortunate middle ground of not being cliche enough to find entertaining or nuanced enough to feel engaged by. Even so, there is a good enough dose of satisfaction to be felt as Jeong-il pays Soo-yeon back with her own medicine.
Jeong-il is not the only one who means business, however. Despite knowing he will be left with great stigma and despite the fact that some of the people he crosses could try pinning more on him, Dong-joon (Lee Sang-yoon) continues to walk on the right path. This is a really solid redemption. That being said, I do still lament the sudden nature of his change. A more gradually and deeply conveyed struggle would have given these decisions greater dramatic weight.
Dong-joon did and said horrible things without spending much of his personal time contemplating them through the eyes of the person he had been presented as to us. Perhaps the plans for his character were originally different or maybe his epiphany was not conveyed well enough. Regardless, his current self allows the romance to work well and that is one of the elements I do appreciate in the series by now. It does not overshadow Yeong-joo’s (Lee Bo-young) mission and it is based on true bonding.
As far as happy surprises go, I am also glad that Kyeong-ho (Jo Dal-hwan) and Bo-yeon (Yoon Joo-hee) do not go the predictable way of accompanying Tae-gon (Kim Hyeong-mook) into betrayal. My favorite bit, however, is seeing Dong-joon’s mother, Myeong-seon (Won Mi-kyung) giving him a send-off and bringing closure to his redemption. Parenthood has been an important theme of the series and I feel her presence has been underutilized.
As for major regrets before the end, I have many. Most of all, I wish the lead characters’ morality had been a bigger focus. That being said, Dong-joon’s arrest somewhat completes that theme by provinding one element which truly separates heroes from villains. When all is said and done, the heroes take responsibility for their actions. Even if this is not as prominent a focus as I would have liked, I will take what I can get from “Whisper”.
“Whisper” is directed by Lee Myeong-woo, written by Park Kyeong-soo and features Lee Bo-young, Lee Sang-yoon, Kwon Yul and Park Se-yeong.
Written by: Orion from ‘Orion’s Ramblings‘
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