Here we are with another first look and as the title already gives away, the Korean drama “Mine” is this week’s feature. Not gonna lie. Watching the first two episodes, I struggled to figure out who is who, and their relationship to each other.
Therefor, rather than just a plot summary, let me introduce to you the members of the Han family, owners of Hyowon Group and the main characters of “Mine”.
First off, we have Chairman Han (Jung Dong-Hwan), and his wife Yang Soon-Hye (Park Won-Sook). It doesn’t take a genius to see that this couple has all the signs of being an arranged marriage. Living in separate quarters, the pair’s only reason to cross paths seems to be during formal occasions. Thus keeping up the appearances of familial harmony in front of the public at large.
Next up, we have their oldest son Han Jin-Ho (Park Hyuk-Kwon) and his significant other, Jeong Seo-Hyeon (Kim Seo-Hyung). Jin-Ho is known to enjoy alcohol and gambling just a little too much. Most believe he has left these vices in his past after marrying Seo-Hyeon. However, this is not the case, and his wife is well aware of it. But as long as he keeps himself out of the public’s eye while engaging in either, she let’s it go.
These two are certainly an odd pair and seem to be living in some sort of truce.
This is Han Jin-Ho’s second marriage. It is rumored that his first wife left him in big part because of his aforementioned vices. Even the existence of their son Han Seo-Hyeok (Cha Hak-Yeon aka “N”) seems to not have been enough to keep her around.
Since marrying Jin-Ho, Seo-Hyeon has therefor also taken on the role of stepmother to her husband’s son. A role she does not seem to mind despite the somewhat distant relationship between the two.
Han Seo-Hyeok is the oldest grandchild of the Han family, expected to carry on family traditions. Aware of his family’s expectations regarding his future, the quiet young man acts out the role he was born into.
However, in unguarded moments he has the appearance of a lost little boy starved for genuine affection and acceptance. There seems to also be jealousy on his part towards his younger cousin Han Ha-Joon (Jung Hyun-Joon). Although Ha-Joon was also not raised by his biological mother, it is apparent that the eight-year-old is showered in love and care by his stepmother.
Han Ha-Joon lost his biological mother in a car accident at only eighteen months old. When he was around three years old, his father remarried. Although he is aware that she is not his real mother, in Ha-Joon’s eyes she is the only mother figure he has ever known. The two share a close mother-son bond due to their mutual genuine affection towards each other.
Han Yi-Jong (Lee Hyun-Wook) is Chairman Han’s younger son born out of wedlock. He is the son of Kim Mi-Ja, the Chairman’s mistress who has since passed away. Based on the chairman’s frequent mention of her name, he seems to have felt great affection towards her. A fact also reiterated in the fact that he seems to favour Yi-Yong amongst his children.
After the passing of Yi-Jong’s first wife, he married Seo Hee-Soo (Lee Bo-Young), thus providing his infant son with a stepmother. A role she wholeheartedly embraces, treating the child as her own.
Hee-Soo is a former top actress and was unaware of her husbands family background when she first met and fell in love with him. Her kind and bright personality seems in stark contrast to the mostly solemn demeanor of the other family members.
Chairman Han’s second child and only daughter is named Han Jin-Hee (Kim Hye-Hwa). Jin-Hee is also married but her husband wishes nothing more than to divorce her. With her impulsive personality, she usually acts before thinking and is the nightmare of the family’s PR team.
Some Key Characters in “Mine”
Mother Emma (Ye Soo-Jung) is a nun and has a close friendship with Seo Hee-Soo. She looks after a foundation started by Hee-Soo that cares for single mothers and children in need.
Kang Ja-Kyung (Ok Ja-Yeon) is the newly hired tutor for Ji-Yong and Hee-Soo’s 8-year-old son Han Ha-Joon. Shrouded in mystery, she is also confident and not about to let anyone walk all over her.
Kim Yoo-Yeon (Jung Yi-Seo) is a down on her luck girl that was rescued by Mother Emma. Hee-Soo intended to employ her as her stepson Ha-Joon’s new tutor but instead gave way to her sister-in-law Seo-Hyun’s choice, giving the position to Kang Ja-Kyung. Yoo-Yeon is instead sent to Seo-Hyun’s house to work as a maid. Happy to have found employ either way, Yoo-Yeon’s only regret is not being able to work for Hee-Soo, whom she admires.
Hyowon Group is a powerful conglomerate deriving its vast fortune from various different enterprises including hotels, restaurants, and art galleries. Chairman Han is the current CEO and is assisted by his two sons, his daughter, and their respective spouses in running the business.
Under the watchful eyes of all family members, Chairman Han has to always be careful in his actions. Any one action will cause certain members to accuse him of showing unfair favoritism.
When Chairman Han collapses during one of the family’s traditional formal dinners, his children must decide on who will become the temporary president of the company.
Aside from that, there is also the mysterious new tutor and the newly hired maid that seem to bring an air of change with them. Regardless whether this change is welcomed or even noted, its final result could prove catastrophic.
The main theme and setting of Korean drama “Mine” are far from original. A conglomerate family with some unhinged members and more than one skeleton hidden in their closet is nothing new. However, I believe it is the point of view that makes “Mine” unique. The story unfolds from the point of view of the women in the family, specially the two daughter-in-laws, Jeong Seo-Hyeon and Seo Hee-Soo.
While both are completely different in temper and personality, they seem to share a friendly bond marked by respect towards each other. While Seo-Hyeon was born into upper society, Hee-Soo – a former actress- married into it.
Hee-Soo’s action come from her heart and she sometimes does not foresee the negative ripple effect her well intentioned actions could potentially have. Seo-Hyeon on the other hand is more calculated because she grew up in that environment and knows how even the most minuscule sign of strife among the family can be damaging to their business.
“Mine” is no fluffy romantic comedy but tells a much darker tale. This family who on the surface seems to have it all, is actually broken and severely dysfunctional. While certain members are greedy and vain, others struggle to find their identity and be true to it, wanting nothing more than happiness.
Judging by what was revealed during the first two episodes, there promises to be some interesting character development and revelations going forward. A fact that would reconcile me personally with the clichées prevalent in “Mine”.
Until we drama again,