First Impressions: “Goblin”

I was hesitant to start this drama because one, I have finals coming up, and two, this writer was also the writer for “Descendants of the Sun” and “Heirs.” She was also the writer for “Secret Garden,” and I will give her points for that, but “Descendants of the Sun” and “Heirs” sort of negated those points for me. I wasn’t a huge fan of both, no matter how swoony Song Joong Ki was, and usually the more hyped up a drama is, the more I tend to be wary of it. So, my expectations were low going in, and I was prepared to be disappointed.


Even the pessimist in me was begrudgingly impressed by this first episode.

(This article will have spoilers for the first episode. Proceed with caution.)

Now I’m a sucker for beautiful actors scenery, and “Goblin” didn’t disappoint.

Gah, look at these shots. My goodness.

It wasn’t just the colorful scenery, but the way everything was shot and put together — for that alone, I was hooked. This drama is gorgeous. I also loved how the drama interspersed scenes of the past and the present throughout the episode. It just made the drama seem that much more epic.

Ah so pretty!

As for the acting, it wasn’t anything awe-inspiring or ground-breaking, but I think solid for the most part. Kim Go Eun is pretty cheery and cutesy in this drama, and her character here is definitely different from “Cheese in the Trap” (the only other work I’ve seen her in). I can’t quite distance myself from the awkward and so-relatable Hong Seol just yet, however; at this point, I personally think that role suits her better. She does have a lot of unexpected aegyo in this drama, and while it is endearing, it’s also a bit… odd to me. It doesn’t quite fit her.

But okay, this was pretty cute.

Gong Yoo, though, was really impressive in those sageuk scenes. He was such a badass. Not only in the battle scenes, but there was this scene where his wife (or the queen? Not too sure at this point, but she was someone important to him), was just shot, yet he walked straight on without batting an eye. My goodness.

Just like that.

I haven’t seen him in any other work beside “Coffee Prince” (“The Crucible,” though, has been on my to-watch list forever), so I can’t really pass proof-based judgment on his acting just yet. I want to say I like it — his expressions are so on point — but that might just be the inner fangirl in me speaking.

So we’ll see.

I think the same goes for the other actors. I haven’t really seen the works of the other actors either, and as of right now, it’s hard to get a feel for how they’ll be. I am, though, looking forward to the roommate bickering and hijinks that are starting to happen between the Grim Reaper and the Goblin, and if at least for that, I’ll be following along.

Will this be the beginning of a beautiful bromance?

The answer is yes.

There is some symbolism going on as well, with the candles/fire and the color red. While I’m enjoying that right now, I’m hoping it doesn’t overwhelm us later on. I was reminded of the Hong Sisters in that aspect (the star references of “You’re Beautiful“…), and I’m hoping the nice touches with the candles and color red stay just that — light, sweet, and poignant.

Fun fact: There may be other meanings of the color red in Korea, but the one I know is that you would never write the name of someone alive with red ink. Red ink is only for the dead — which is also why the Grim Reaper has those cards with the names in red. Hopefully, this red theme isn’t hinting at something here.

Because there is a lot of red.

“Goblin,” especially the sageuk scenes, seems more like a movie than a drama, and I think the extra-long running time just added to that feel. There was this really cool part where the Goblin goes after his enemy, and the blood splattered onto the screen. I had thought for a second that there was something on my screen (because unfortunately-coincidentally by fate? — I sneezed just as the scene came on, and thought well, maybe that was me), but no. Little details like that make this drama seem like some epic fantasy movie. I personally liked this atmosphere, not only because it gave me a chance to drool over more pretty scenes, but also because it made me so much more drawn into the drama. I felt like I was there, watching all this unfold, and as every drama-watcher knows, that’s the Best.Thing.Ever.

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Also, I had gone in expecting a lot of fluff, and was a bit surprised there wasn’t as much fluff as I thought. But it’s the writer for “Heirs,” after all. How dark can it go? This may change as the drama progresses, and I’m actually kind of excited for all the fluffiness to come, now that our main couple is sort of together.

Final thoughts

As you can probably tell, I’m kind of on the fence of wanting to love this drama and not getting too hopeful. Usually, I’ll give dramas the benefit of the doubt, but it’s also hard to be optimistic given this writer’s previous two works. It’s good, but will it continue to be good? My main doubts with this writer’s work was the plot (and lack of substance), and as of now, I can’t really tell how the drama will go. I was blown away by this first episode (perhaps more so by the scenery than the drama itself…), but then again, I did have pretty low expectations to begin with. So my mantra with this drama is: we’ll see.

But overall, I do recommend this drama, if not for the plot, then for the epic sageuk parts, pretty colors, and Gong Yoo. Onwards to episode 2!

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Me, tbh.

You can watch the first episode of “Goblin” here:

What did you think of “Goblin”? Tell us in the comments below!

mayme22‘s favorite verse at the moment is Romans 12:12.

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