"Goblin: The Lonely and Great God", a Review (#DramaFever)

I was recently joking on Facebook that DramaFever is a very difficult app to break up with, and boy...is it difficult.  Because no matter how many times I terminate my subscription and uninstall the app, I always come back.  There is always something which brings me back.

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God wasn't actually out yet when I decided to come back, but it's definitely the #1 reason why I'm staying.  Now, before I begin, I must point out that when I review something, I typically gush about what I like and then talk about what didn't work for me.  This time, I'm doing things in reverse, simply because there's only one thing I didn't like about Goblin and it's that Korean dramas in general have this annoying tendency to require a central, all-important, heterosexual romance, and that doesn't work for every story.  It certainly didn't work for this one.  In fact, it greatly hurt the characterization of the female protagonist, which is why she won't be covered in depth.  It was also a complete waste of Episode 9.

This was just one of those stories where romance should've taken either the back seat, or been absent altogether.  I lean towards the latter.  Also, once again, all the female characters are underwhelming, regardless of whether they're good or evil.

Goblin centers on an immortal goblin Kim Shin, the Goblin's Bride (who I'm in no mood to talk about), and the amnesiac grim reaper Wang Yeo.  Due to a mix-up, the goblin and the grim reaper end up as unwilling (and very amusing) roommates. The show also features gods and ghosts, and explores themes like reincarnation, karma, and numerology.

Actor Gong Yoo stars as the titular dokkaebi (goblin) Kim Shin, a 939-year-old immortal who has to marry a mortal woman before he can die.  More specifically, she has to be the Goblin's Bride, a special being who can not only see the ghost blade buried in his chest, but have the ability to pull it out so he can "return to nothingness".

There was so much potential right there, that it's straight-up depressing how they went the cliched, romantic route.

Any way, as a goblin, Shin can pull gold out of thin air, along many other incredible powers.  He amasses great wealth over the centuries, and keeps reinventing himself so as not to draw suspicion to the fact he's immortal.

Gong is a fluid actor, shifting from the hardened general from the Goryeo era, to the enigmatic goblin in modern times.  He goes from being deadly serious to humorously awkward with great ease.  In other words, he's very convincing as an immortal, displaying quite a range.  It's not wonder he was selected for this role.

Every 20 years or so, Shin travels to find his "bride", but he accidentally stumbles across her when she summons him by blowing out candles on a birthday cake.  It's quickly established that blowing out a flame summons him.  In one hilarious scene, she summons him inside a church, where we learn his powers don't work.

Shin then decides to delay his trip as he gets to know his "bride".  But due to the sudden change in plans, he comes home to find his palatial dwellings have been rented out - to a grim reaper.

Grim reapers are a truly fascinating group on Goblin.  They are humans who committed great sins in their lives, and are sentenced to centuries of shepherding the dead.  They're set up in a delightfully corporate fashion, assigned the names of people and their dates of death.  They show up, witness the death, talk to the souls, and take them to a teahouse for the dead where they can wipe the memories of some, and let all souls know what's going to happen next.

Wang Yeo is an amnesiac - like all grim repairs - so he can't even remember what awful thing he did to become a grim reaper.  I'll be honest; I slept on this actor as

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