‘Marry My Husband’ K-drama review: Park Min-young and Song Ha-yoon are the stars of this chaotic revenge thriller

There is something immensely satisfying about seeing a carefully drawn-out, deliciously manipulative revenge plan slowly but steadily unfold onscreen. And what better, than when a lead character(or two!) gets to execute this plan after travelling back in time?

In Marry My Husband, 2024’s first big K-drama hit, there is a constant refrain of how meaningful second chances are. When we are introduced to Kang Ji-won (Park Min-young), she is in the hospital getting treated for cancer. Her husband Park Min-hwan (Lee Yi-kyung) refuses to care for her or pay her hospital bills, and Ji-won plods along, while clutching onto the last shred of her fighting spirit. Her best friend Jung Su-min (Song Ha-yoon in a groundbreaking role) seems to be the only light in her life, or so she thinks. But it isn’t long before Ji-won discovers that her husband is cheating on her… with her best friend no less. The duo is also hoping for Ji-won’s speedy death, and even jokes about bumping her off for the insurance.

In an altercation that soon follows, Ji-won dies, only to wake up ten years into the past. A second chance is here for Ji-won finally, and this time around, she has the opportunity to look out for the warning signs, stay one step ahead of her boyfriend and best friend, and stop being a wallflower at the workplace (complete with a very enjoyable makeover montage). Ji-won however isn’t alone. There is also brooding office manager Yu Ji-hyuk (Na In-woo) who seems to be mysteriously invested in her life, and proves to be immensely useful with all the devious planning.

From the first episode, Marry My Husband, which is based on the webtoon of the same name, wastes no time delving into the thick of the revenge side of things. Ji-won is able to acclimatise to her new lease of life pretty quickly, makes some new friends (the very wholesome Choi Gyu-ri and Gong Min-jeung), and begins to handle workplace conflicts a lot better. Her newfound confidence and panache has Min-hwan and Su-min scratching their heads.

There is a lot of manipulation at play here, as Ji-won tries to rewrite her fate. If Marry My Husband’s first eleven episodes keep you hooked, it is largely owing to the bubbling tension between Ji-won and Su-min. Su-min here is no ordinary opponent; she is clingy, intrusive, has had years of practice gaslighting Ji-won into doing her bidding, and wastes no opportunity in declaring that she is Ji-won’s better half.

Ha-yoon plays Su-min with a sort of unpredictable, unhinged quality that I have greatly missed in on-screen antagonists. The actress is truly a revelation, especially given that she is up against Park Min-young who is in fine form here as well. Both these performers are undoubtedly the stars of the K-drama, and it is especially a treat to see Min-young here, go from timid to confident and scheming. Whether it is the more emotionally-demanding scenes where she breaks down, or when she struts into a room donning this K-drama’s version of a revenge dress (a sparkly black ensemble complete with a feather boa), this is her best work in recent times.

For viewers to remain invested in a revenge plot, you need antagonists who evoke instant hate. While Ha-yoon does most of the heavy lifting here as Su-min, she’s ably supported by Yi-kyung as the cheating husband and boyfriend. Casting Yi-kyung, best known for his comedic role in Welcome to Waikiki as the silly, yet vile and scheming Min-hwan, works wonderfully well given how expertly Yi-kyung switches between being goofy to physically threatening. A far cry from his 2 days & 1 night hilarious reality K-drama screen presence, Na In-woo is a very mature, calm and supportive Ji-hyuk throughout. Given Ji-won’s bad luck with romance in the past, Ji-hyuk turns it all around and infuses her second chance at life with his largely quiet, yet swoony charm.

While Marry My Husband works best as we wait for Su-min and Min-hwan’s lives to implode, the K-drama does falter in episode 12 with the unnecessary introduction of yet another villain in Ji-hyun’s former fiance Yu-ra (BoA). Compared to Su-min, Yu-ra’s tactics seem unimaginative and her character is one-note and bland. The much-anticipated showdown between Ji-won and Su-min largely takes a backseat here, and the K-drama enters seemingly convoluted territory. Fans of the webtoon were quick to point out online on Reddit threads and discussion forums that this was a largely avoidable deviation by the K-drama from its source material.

What begins initially as a battle of trying to one-up the other takes a sharp, rather bloodthirsty turn. This too has spawned off quite a bit of debate on where Ji-hyuk and Ji-won’s morals lie. What exactly does their revenge entail — is it about completely obliterating the other side, or living a better life? And is it truly okay to go down the same path as your aggressors, however questionable it might be? In the short period that the K-drama flails, the writing also seems to grapple for answers as to how far the duo can truly go. Saying anything more would mean spoiling a large chunk of what happens, but the chaos does leave you with a few questions at the end of it all about the payback.

Still, despite the middling path it takes in its latter episodes, Marry My Husband manages to tie up all its loose ends rather neatly, and seems to recover from its temporary flailing. It helps that even through the contrived chaos, the K-drama hardly slackens in pace.

Revenge dramas seem to be the flavour of the season, with both parts of The Glory, and the more recent contract marriage revenge drama Perfect Marriage Revenge. Marry My Husband joins this list with two distinctions; a K-drama that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and choosing to remain chaotic fun throughout. The revenge here is satisfying for the most part, and this makes it a winner.

All episodes of Marry My Husband are currently streaming on Prime Video

Read More: 

Trending News