Stain (Drama special review)


Stain (Drama unique evaluation)

KBS’s drama unique Stain paints a chillingly stark portrayal of poverty, centering about a pianist who just desires to be permitted to play his beloved instrument. With stellar acting, poignant soundtracks, and an inevitable spiral of a tragedy, this drama is 1 that left me bereft of breath by its coda.

EPISODE 1 Assessment

Stain (Drama special review)

Our protagonist, and the complete cause I’m watching this drama, is GONG JI-HOON (Cha Hak-yeon, a.k.a. N of VIXX). He’s an aspiring pianist with no the finances to back his dream up he lives in a cramped, dilapidated semi-basement apartment with his family members.

All he can afford is a sketch of a keyboard pasted to the ceiling above his bunk bed, which he “practices” on. When a cockroach crawls onto it, he squishes it to death, and it leaves behind a stain that is just like Ji-hoon — viewed as an unsightly stain by the rest of society.

Stain (Drama special review) Stain (Drama special review)

It is a effective opening scene, and it sets the tone that underscores the rest of the story. Given that he cannot afford to rent a private studio, Ji-hoon’s only avenue of practice is the university practice space, but even such a public space does not welcome him.

Underclassman JOO SHI-YOUNG (Byun Seo-yoon) interrupts him 5 minutes prior to his allotted time slot is up, then proceeds to wipe down the piano keys prior to she can even deign to touch them. It creates a discordant mess of notes that are incredibly a great deal audible to the hastily retreating Ji-hoon.

Stain (Drama special review)

That evening, Ji-hoon’s operate as a designated driver leads him to drive a incredibly drunk underclassman residence. He’s JANG YEON-JOON (Lee Shi-woo), and he’s the epitome of the privileged wealthy guy. When Ji-hoon tries to get back to operate, Yeon-joon delivers him cash to keep and drink with him, crudely attempting to get his time. It is utterly demeaning, and Ji-hoon rightfully refuses the cash.

Of course, entitled Yeon-joon requires that badly, and it escalates into a short altercation that ends with Ji-hoon fleeing the apartment. In his haste, he does not recognize he’s accidentally dropped his wallet at Yeon-joon’s spot.

Stain (Drama special review)

The subsequent day, Ji-hoon returns for his wallet, but Yeon-joon’s currently out of town for summer season trip. He provides Ji-hoon his passcode with a pointed reminder not to steal something. Ji-hoon does not, of course, but a thing a great deal greater has caught his eye — the grand piano in the living space. It requires all of 5 seconds prior to Ji-hoon’s providing in to the temptation, and he ends up playing the piano till nightfall, entranced by the stunning sounds.

Unable to give up the piano, Ji-hoon quickly finds himself returning to Yeon-joon’s residence, and prior to extended he’s sleeping there, showering there, and even wearing Yeon-joon’s garments. It is painfully telling that Ji-hoon is only treated with dignity now, when he’s dressed in branded outfits and walking out of a luxury apartment complicated.

Stain (Drama special review)

All of a sudden, Ji-hoon’s fantasy is abruptly shattered when Shi-young shows up at Yeon-joon’s door, drunk out of her thoughts. Turns out she’s been dumped by Yeon-joon, who played her like a fiddle. Ji-hoon’s a type soul who cannot turn a blind eye to her distress, so he lets her in, partially fibbing that he’s just right here to retrieve his wallet.

Shi-young buys his tale, till she sobers up and realizes that not only is there a affordable toothbrush in Yeon-joon’s bathroom, but also that Ji-hoon’s wearing Yeon-joon’s pricey shirt. She puts two and two collectively, and threatens to report him to the police.

Ji-hoon protests, but she refuses to even hear him out, sneering that he’s absolutely nothing but a beggar. As she turns to leave, Ji-hoon tries to quit her, going so far as to crawl on his knees to latch onto her leg — but she whirls about and swings her purse down on him.

Stain (Drama special review)

Reduce to the subsequent morning: Shi-young’s tied to a chair, a towel bound tightly about her mouth to avoid her from screaming. Ji-hoon nervously stammers that he had no other option if she exposes his trespassing, his life will be ruined.

This catapults us into the increasingly tense second half of the show, which spirals uncontrollably like a train that is veered off its rails. One particular impulse choice necessitates but an additional, snowballing into a tangled mess that Ji-hoon can barely hope to extricate himself out of.

The complete hostage circumstance is awfully messed up in far more methods than 1, but Ji-hoon’s desperation is painfully palpable, steering him towards rash choices he may perhaps not otherwise have produced if he had any other way out. It appears like a tragedy of Ji-hoon’s personal producing, but how a great deal of that was his personal cost-free will, and how a great deal of that was self-preservation borne out of the unrelenting disdain and discrimination of other people?

Stain (Drama special review) Stain (Drama special review)

In any case, Shi-young may perhaps have been taken hostage, but she’s no damsel in distress. She regularly tries to escape her captivity, and her conniving manipulation contrasts sharply with Ji-hoon’s meek nature — that is, till he catches her in a lie.

Ji-hoon’s demeanor switches up on a dime, and I definitely have to commend Cha Hak-yeon’s acting right here. His gaze grows difficult, and he coldly points out that Shi-young’s the sort of individual who views him as no greater than an insect, because she even wipes down the piano keys immediately after he’s touched them.

All his pent-up aggravation lastly explodes, and he cries that he just wanted to play the piano, till Shi-young came right here and ruined it all. Wealthy little ones like Shi-young or Yeon-joon can study overseas with just a word to their parents, but Ji-hoon cannot. The only way for him is to earn it via a professor’s recommendation, and the only way for him to be excellent sufficient for that is to practice on a piano he does not have.

Stain (Drama special review)

It is clear that Ji-hoon does not have a great deal in the way of assistance, least of all from his deadbeat family members. With a stepmom that only demands cash from him, a dad that does not stand up for him, and a younger half-brother that rudely resents him, it is no wonder Ji-hoon feels like he has to fend for himself. The only saving grace is his grandmother, but she, also, has barely any say in the family members.

This serves as the basis for a tentative connection to kind among Ji-hoon and Shi-young, who delivers up empathy in the kind of her personal sob story. She’s frighteningly excellent at coaxing kindness out of the excellent-natured Ji-hoon with her plaintive pleas and puppy eyes, which leads me to doubt the veracity of her tales. Ji-hoon does not, on the other hand, and he opens up about his difficult family members background to her.

Stain (Drama special review)

With that, Shi-young effectively induces Lima syndrome in Ji-hoon, and it culminates in a surprise peck on the cheek that has Ji-hoon skittishly scrambling away in a nervous panic. Shi-young advances on him, seducing him and pulling him in for a appropriate kiss — all so that she can back him up against the kitchen counter and attain for a knife to kill him with.

Prior to she can attain it, even though, a voice interrupts them. It is Yeon-joon, back from his summer season getaway. Ji-hoon scrambles to hide Shi-young in a closet, but it is not extended prior to Yeon-joon notices his presence.

Stain (Drama special review) Stain (Drama special review)

Caught red-handed, Ji-hoon winds up with no option but to nervously stammer out the truth to Yeon-joon. He didn’t imply to steal something, he just wanted to play the piano.

And then — Yeon-joon bursts out laughing. Almost hysterical from amusement, he wheezes that Ji-hoon should’ve just asked to play his piano, and he would have gladly let him. Why, he’s incredibly a great deal sick of the point that his mother foisted upon him! He’d like to be rid of it!

My stomach sinks to the floor, and so does Ji-hoon’s. It is such a callous way to trivialize and undermine Ji-hoon’s complete struggle up to this point, efficiently producing all his desperate crimes for naught.

Stain (Drama special review)

Numb with disbelief, Ji-hoon punches Yeon-joon square in the jaw, then does it once more, and once more. All the even though, he’s repeating Yeon-joon’s words that he could have just asked him, except it sounds far more like “as if.” As if I could have asked you. As if you wouldn’t have utilized it as but an additional cause to mock me for my poverty.

Then his tirade is abruptly reduce brief by a chair to the back of his head, wielded by a frightened Shi-young. She shoves him difficult, sending him sprawling, and he hits his head difficult on the grand piano. Bleeding from his two head wounds, Ji-hoon crumples to the floor, disoriented and dazed. As Ji-hoon struggles to pull himself up, his bloodied hands leave crimson stains on the piano’s pristine white keys — just like the cockroach did.

Stain (Drama special review)

In the aftermath, Ji-hoon staggers residence, nevertheless bleeding out from his head wounds. He does not make it far prior to his physique provides out on him, and he collapses in a garbage heap, exactly where he requires his final breath.

It is a bleak and bitter finish to our tale, and to Ji-hoon’s life. Regardless of all his (mis)adventures in Yeon-joon’s lavish apartment — which Ji-hoon described as feeling like a complete other globe — Ji-hoon nevertheless ended up back exactly where he began, surrounded by squalor. It is a sobering bit of symbolism that points to how poverty is a cycle that is excruciatingly hard to break out of.

All through the drama, there was a recurring theme of persons speaking more than Ji-hoon and refusing to listen to him — initially it was Shi-young, then it was Yeon-joon. Their positions of energy give them the privilege to ignore Ji-hoon’s plight in a globe exactly where cash affords 1 the suitable to speak, the poor do not have a voice.

Stain (Drama special review)

As a longtime fan of Cha Hak-yeon, I’m immensely proud of his functionality right here — he’s come so far because his initially-ever acting function! Also, colour me impressed that he learnt how to play the piano pieces himself and practiced for two complete months. Ji-hoon’s descent into desperation was so heartbreakingly palpable, and his character was wonderfully nuanced. Regardless of his moments of cutthroat ruthlessness, it was clear that he never ever acted out of malice rather, he’s been backed so far into a corner that he sees this as his only way out, what ever the price.

In just 1 hour, Stain delivers a compelling tale of 1 young man’s final-ditch try to rise above his social status and carve out a greater future for himself. Woven via it is insightful social commentary that is never ever also heavy-handed, crafting a riveting show that had my breath catching in my throat far more usually than not with its evocative symbolism, suffocating sense of dread, and haunting piano soundtracks. Would I propose it? Most unquestionably.

Stain (Drama special review)

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