Flames of Desire Burns Up The Screen

I watched the first two episodes of Flames of Desire this weekend, and I walked away feeling slightly light-headed and dizzy from all the intensity. As expected, the drama is not for the faint-of-heart. It’s makjang to to the core, and makes no concessions to the milk of human kindness. It’s dark, it’s destructive, it’s mesmerizing. In short, I just described the lead character of the drama Yoon Na Young, played by Shin Eun Kyung. And we’re suppose to root for her? Only if Queen Seon Deok was re-named Mishil’s Rise To Power and was set in the modern times, that is what we are watching unfold in FoD.

I’m not going to lie, it was a hard watch for me, in the sense that watching darkness unfold is not a pleasant experience, however riveting it may be. I absolutely slurped up every delicious drop of FoD’s opening sequence, and then slipped right into the “how did we end up here” prologue for what I just watched. FoD does break relatively new ground. It’s rare to see a protagonist be the antogonist in the story, and that person is a female character to boot. Factor in not a single person being good or bad, but more like shades of really really dark, then the story leaves us floundering for a moral anchor to latch on it. My suspicion is that Yoo Seung Ho will be that lightness in the tumult, the source of purity in the muck.

The acting in FoD is top-notch, with Shin Eun Kyung announcing to the world that she wants the Baeksang in 2011. I find FoD low on histrionics, but high on the intensity. Does that distinction make sense? It’s not like people are screeching over silly or middling plot developments, but rather that one woman’s desire for wealth is that all-consuming she will destroy anything and any one in her way. The original English title for this drama is unbelievably fitting, Flames of Ambition.

I won’t be doing recaps for this sucker, because there is no way in hell I am ready to re-watch any part of it anytime soon. It looks to be a wild ride, so check it out if it intrigues you. All I can do is provide some screencaps from FoD’s jaw-dropping opening scene, which is so deliciously over-the-top I drank a glass of wine and ate an entire cheesecake without even realizing it.

Behold the maestro delivering the makjang:

At the end of the first 12 minutes of FoD, two characters have already threatened to kill themselves, and another character actually attempted to do so. See, I told you this isn’t a walk in the park.

[Edit: Oops, I thought everyone knew since it was all over the blogosphere in the days leading up to FoD’s premiere, about the twisted relationships in FoD. Since @Carol asked about it in her comment below, I thought it merited some exposition:

Shin Eun Kyung and Jo Min Ki are married. Yoo Seung Ho is JMK’s son, and SEK’s step-son. I don’t know if there was a first wife, or YSH was born out of wedlock by JMK. Seo Woo is SEK’s birth daughter, who SEK had before she married JMK.

It’s clear in episode 1 that both SEK and SW know their real relationship to each other. It’s also pretty clear that lil’ angel boy YSH has no clue what fauxcest is going on if he married SW. And it is fauxcest, NOT incest, since YSH and SW are not blood related. His dad is married to her mom, that is all. Of course, if JMK and SEK had a child together, that kid will have elder siblings married to each other. Oh lord, I cannot wait to watch the shit hit the fan.]

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9 Responses to Flames of Desire Burns Up The Screen

  1. endodo4ever says:

    OMG! I was just gonna ask you whether or not you watched FoD and what you thought about it! Perfect timing! 🙂 Heehee. I’ve only watched a little bit of the first episode and it was so intriguing! I absolutely love the camera work and the lighting. I had to pause it for now due to the lack of time, but what I did see gave me goosebumps!

    And since you were wondering, I don’t hate B&W. Haha! I kind of like it although I’m not in love with it. I’m not attached to any of the characters yet. But then again, I still have a lot of episodes to go. Since I’m not done watching it and probably won’t be done with it for awhile, I can’t tell you all my thoughts about it yet. I am relieved that Zai Zai is much better here compared to his previous performances; he did surpass all my expectations. From what I’ve seen so far, I find his character to be the most interesting and I actually think Zai Zai’s acting is much better than Mark too….

  2. ripgal says:

    Love your captures of SEK and YSH’s eyes! So intense!

    Mid-way download of FoD 1, please hurry!

  3. Carol says:

    oh lordy… YSH is so adorbs, but that jacket is hideous. Maybe the reason why they cast YSH in this role, despite his extreme youth … is to be your ‘light in the darkness’ – who can convey that innocence as effectively as a child?

    however, I WILL RESIST watching this till Itakiss and SKK and Giant ends!

    (thinking to self) but this seems so cool! would it be entirely too much to request recaps of this too? hmmm, yes, yes it would be too much. but…but… Itakiss is ending soon, and …… koalas need to digest and er… excrete (?) all the kdramas they ingest, otherwise it’s bad for koala-health…. yup.. yuppers, its all for ockoala that I’m requesting for recaps!(concludes thinking to self)

    err… scuse me…. please could i have more? please please?

    ps. oh and tq for the pretty screencaps!

  4. Carol says:

    i just wondered, since i haven’t seen any eps AT ALL, so i wouldn’t have an inkling. but is this going to be a slightly fauxcest-y kinda situation?

    is the reason why the evil stepmom so opposed to the sexy seductress getting it on with the light-in-the-darkness stepson (as garnered from dangermousie’s LJ) because the sexy seductress is actually her daughter …… ooooh O_O…. i’m imagining too much now, aren’t I?

    but whywhywhy does she hate SeoWoo (beside the obvious – that she would render stepson useless in her campaign to rule the universe!)?

    • ockoala says:

      Carol,

      Your vote of confidence is inspiring, but I would have to be high on pot-laced eucalyptus leaves to even attempt recapping FoD. Jung Ha Yeon may have the cojones to write this sucker, but I do not have the fortitude to rewrite what I watched, because it’s really in the delivery and the execution where FoD steps up and slaps you upside the head.

      Also, 50 episodes! I’m barely going to survive recapping 16 episode PK. And lastly, I have another drama in mind if I do attempt another recap. Heh. I also answered your incest question in the post via an update.

      • Carol says:

        ooohwahh…. and i thought i’d been watching way too much makjang-y drama. so it WAS a fauxcest situation!

        lolz. actually, i’m not sure if i’d actually read a recap of a 50ep long drama. but i figured, if you’re game for it.. so am I! But I went to viikii and saw a bit of the first ep, and I’m not sure if i could watch this! its like the epicness of a HK drama, with the makjangness of Hokkien-Taiwanese dramas….. not too sure my weak drama constitution is built for it!

        and thanks for clearing it up….btw, just out of curiousity, what else would you attempt to do whilst high on pot-laced eucalyptus leaves? hehe.. not that I’d try to feed you any.. of course.

  5. v says:

    lol… i was waiting to see what you had to say about FoD. and you said what i thought you would… i agree with you too. frankly speaking, i’m not in the mood for makjang right now (nor can i afford to spend time on one) but i still watched FoD because i was curious of how it would turn out with the cast and all. i just wanted to have a taste of it and then leave it for later. the problem though is that makjang’s strong point (and also its weak point) is that all the nutty characters are so fascinating to watch and makes the drama quite engaging. of course, with a bunch of nutty people put together, the drama then tends to turn into a complete and splendid mess. anyways, the point is that i find myself against my will planning to watch the next episode as well. but you’re right, after each episode, my head was literally hurting from witnessing all the human darkness. way way too heavy for my poor little head. i had to watch PK right after to remind myself that there’s good and cute in humanity as well.
    and thanks for the post!
    yay, skks and dr champ tomorrow!

  6. rothvan says:

    RECAPS…? Heh Heh…. I was silly to ask you to do it since I watched the 2 episodes… It was great when I saw Seungho & Seowoo on screen for the first 12 mins, then everything turned in to DARKNESS! Anyway, Thanks for the screencaps! =)

  7. mookie says:

    This is what I thought makjang should be but was always sorely disappointed when I wiggle my toes into it in the past. It’s so unbelievable and overthetop the twists that it takes THIS level of acting dreamteam to stomp it in my heart and drag me in the mud.

    I didnt know I’m craving eating a Godiva chocolate cheesecake fr CF whole but I’m stopping by to get one after work asap.

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