Korean Drama Review: Pandora: Beneath The Paradise

Falls Short of Expectation

For such a highly-anticipated series, Pandora on Disney+ falls short of expectation and was quite a boring watch.

Given all the fanfare surrounding Penthouse, I was originally anticipating Pandora as it stars the same lead actress Lee Ji Ah of makjang success Penthouse and was penned by the same writer of “The Penthouse”. Unfortunately Pandora just fails to deliver. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The story is essentially about Hong Taera (acted by Lee Ji Ah) who seems to have it all as she is the wife of a successful man Pyo Jae Hyun (Lee Sang Yoon) who was also a presidential candidate.

However as her lost memories surface, she realised that her husband is not what he seems and might be guilty of manipulating her memories.

In fact she herself seems to have a dark past where she was a hired assassin and was involved in the assassination of her best friend’s father who was a president then.

Tries Too Hard To Be Exciting & Complicated But Ended Up Boring

Pandora appears to have many exciting elements to make for a sinful indulgent watch.

There are murders (lots of murders!), betrayal, secrets, amnesia etc. It all sounds so exciting but if the intent doesnt justify the means, it just can’t make me understand the character’s motive.

Far-fetched Plots

Often, the plots come across as far-fetched too.

Eg. Hong Taera was groomed to be an assassin since young and involved in an assassination. She was then rescued by her husband and manipulated to become his wife with tampered memories.

Yet the husband one day decides to let her regain her memories so that she can marvel at what he did to her?! and be by his side to support him as he becomes the president. Frankly it doesnt make sense at all.

Pyo Jae Hyun was shown to be really shrewed and able to think one step ahead, therefore he could cover his tracks well and get away with crimes.

This doesn’t gel with him making the foolish move of letting his dutiful compliant wife regain her memories so that she would start doubting him and thwarting his plans.

In fact it seems like the whole drama started cos he created his own trouble.

Wooden Acting By Female Lead

I do admire Lee Ji Ah’s albaster skin, long silky tresses and slim physique. However good looks can’t save wooden acting.

I am not sure if it is indeed due to bad acting or a result of too much plastic surgery on the face, but I just don’t feel the emotions whenever Hong Taera is supposed to be feeling angry or aggrieved. It is like, I do see the quivering of lips, and the tears welling up in the eyes, but I don’t feel the emotions or sympathise with the role at all.

Actually Lee Ji Ah looks rather unnatural and too “perfect” all the time. But perhaps fans would say Hong Taera is supposed to be really perfect to begin with.

Saving Grace Is Lee Sang Yoon Who is Quite Charismatic

All along my impression of Lee Sang Yoon is a rather dull man. Although he has been in leading roles in recent dramas, however none truly left an impression and it appears that the female lead often overshadows him. Maybe it was simply the fact that he was casted in forgettable roles previously.

This time round Lee Sang Yoon really surprised me in this charismatic villain role.

I guess I am supposed to dislike him however I just can’t hate him! Not when he seems like the most intelligent and competent one in this entire drama. Plus wearing a suit on his 6 feet body frame really suits him! Haha. Actually he really looks the part, probably due to his imposing stature.

All in all, I think Pandora is an okay watch if you have too much time on your hands. If not I believe there are better Korean dramas out there to indulge in.