Jo Hyun-tak’s drama Snowdrop, starring Blackpink fame Jisoo and Jung Hae-in takes us back several years to 1987 when South Korea was amid political turbulence and the people were protesting against their authoritarian government and demanded a democratic rule. It began with giving us a sneak peek into the lives of Hosu University hostel’s students, their strict curfews, unbending dormitory rules and the humorous banter between the girls.
On another side, the politicians of that time are planning to win the next election, and an ANSP (Agency for National Security Planning) agent is bringing together a team to catch a North Korean spy, who they suspect is in Seoul.
Amid the planning and plotting, the young girls of Room 207 of Hosu University go on a blind date with four men, where Yeong-ro (Jisoo) falls in love with Lim Soo-ho (Hae-in) at first sight. However, things escalate quickly, when Soo-ho turns out to be the spy they were after, and his group is intercepted by the ANSP on their D-Day. A shoot-out ensues and Soo-ho escapes to the girls’ dormitory and ends up hiding in Yeong-ro’s room.
When the series had released in Korea, it was met with protests from a lot of people for allegedly distorting the history of Korea’s student protest in the year 1987. The petition alleged that Snowdrop downplays the value of the student’s movement that played a huge role in getting them their democratic rule. Such was the uproar that the makers had to release three episodes of the show to convince the viewers that its aim is not to distort history.
The first episode did not offer much that would enlighten us about those particular incidents in Korea, but the second episode had glimpses of the student’s protest when one of the girl’s of the university was shown attending the protests, and their dean later trying to save them.
Even when the ANSP agents barge into their dorm to look for the spy, the girls of 207 mistake the latter as a student protestor and one of them argues that the authorities try to show the students in a bad light to undermine their protest.
The show moves at a slow pace and we try to figure out whether it goes towards a romantic storyline or a riveting spy-thriller.
Do not expect too much romance in the first two episodes because it sets the tone of the series and takes its sweet time to introduce us to the characters. However, the lead pairs Jung Hae-in and Jisoo did not need to get too intimate on-screen to make us notice their chemistry. It was present from the exact moment they met, and Jisoo knocked off Jae-in matchstick building. Her awkwardness clashes with Hae-in’s calm presence which is enough for us to notice the spark.
In her acting debut, Jisoo shows potential and looks convenient in the skin of a 20-year-old. And she is not the only one who gets butterflies in her tummies when she sees Hae-in. He is a treat to watch for all of us. Despite its show start, Snowdrop can become one of those series that pick up pace around the fourth or fifth episode and completely turn the story around. With a cat and mouse chase between a North Korean and South Koreans, politics that shaped the country and a forbidden love blooming, it promises the viewers a lot of things. Only time will say how much the makers are able to deliver.
Furthermore, we all know what happens when a North Korean person falls in love with a South Korean (Crash Landing On You). So be prepared to get your heart broken if you decide to continue with this series.