20140126_seoulbeats_primeministerandiPrime Minister and I drastically complicated the plot within the third quarter of the series. Usually plot development is something to welcome, especially since the twist is intriguing, but oddly enough, it seems to detract from the drama’s initial draw. It’s not all bad, but there are a lot fewer attractive features than I’d like.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

The start of this drama was catchy because it was lighthearted with a bit of bite. Much of the entertainment was in keeping the contractual nature of Kwon Yul (Lee Bum-soo) and Nam Da-jung’s (Yoona) marriage under wraps as well as in their budding relationship. They were snippy with one another but cared. Their supporting cast was there to help keep the couple safe and fend off foes, namely Yul’s brother-in-law, Park Jun-ki (Ryu Jin). It was a typical but welcome set-up.

But as the drama progressed, primarily in these four episodes, the series has been losing steam as the tone grows more serious. Whereas before we could count on hijinks between the leads and enjoyable dialogue, the comic relief has been reduced to the moments with the children and situations with Park Jun-ki’s wife Na Yoon-hee (Yoon Hae-young). Rather than being fun, moments are heartwarming, and heartwarming isn’t engaging enough to sustain a series.

And on a similar note, the Da-jung present at the start of the drama is much more restrained by the end of episode 13. A lot of the spirit she had is so contained. Her occupation, while the driving factor for getting caught with the Prime Minister in the first place, loses its value by this point because she’s not doing anything with those skills. It’s a waste of a character that could be more active and do more than visit other people. It’s understandable that she has an image to present, but there are ways to maintain an image and still be more active.

20140126_seoulbeats_primeministerandi_yoonsiyoonAnd it’s not just Da-jung that could use some work. Practically every other adult character but Kang In-ho (Yoon Si-yoon) has remained stagnant in development. They interact with one another, but it all remains on a superficial level. There still is no extra background for Park Jun-ki or Seo Hye-joo (Chae Jung-ahn), or at least something to give them substance and make them each a well-rounded character beyond hating on Kwon Yul for his past with his sister (Jun-ki) or loving Yul from afar, choosing not to fight for him (Hye-joo).

The positive is that Kang In-ho has become a character to watch, finally allowing Yoon Shi-yoon to exercise some acting skills as the situation changes. His flexibility in thought and willingness to recalculate his beliefs makes him a key player as Yul’s former wife who was thought dead or missing — or would she be his current wife since Yul only just put in the paperwork for a missing person, and his marriage with Da-jung still hasn’t been registered — Park Na-young (Jung Ae-youn) makes an appearance.

The same doubt that Jun-ki also holds is a relief because he too is willing to look at reason. But that reasonable thinking introduces the problem of the antagonist. Minister Park was vaguely playing that role as he was someone in a high political position capable of stopping Yul’s actions. But if he too ceases to put blame on Yul, are we left with a harmonious relationship all around? Would Na-young become an antagonist? Or maybe Chairman Na, whose presence has only slipped in to send someone to stab Yul with no repercussions reflecting back on him?

20140126_seoulbeats_primeministerandi2Another issue is that the drama inserts plot points and lightly lets them go without really integrating them into the plot. The mole? It was supposedly Kwon Woo-ri (Choi Su-han) and taken care of by confronting him. Park Jun-ki believing that there was a contract marriage? The thoughts were whisked away by personally seeing Yul out playing with his family. Kang In-ho liking Da-jung? He confessed, and then they moved backed into a comfortable relationship. The political scuffle with water quality? It’s on the back burner, turning up only occasionally. Nothing seems to stick. If there isn’t a thread to hold the whole drama together, then the series is reduced to just a bunch of mini-episodes that just happen. The love between Yul and Da-jung is adorable, but not strong enough to drive the plot, at least at this point.

Perhaps the last episodes will turn up the drama, especially since the previews had multiple people finding out that Na-young was still alive to various reactions. The reception to look out for is most obviously Yul’s, and I’m hoping that Na-young’s return won’t bring a load of undeserving blame upon her but will rather have all sides treat it understandingly, perhaps with a lot of crying and apologies. And not only is there that response to look forward to but also the consequences for political careers. Talk about a real scandal for the Prime Minister if it’s not handled discretely.

Prime Minister and I has lost several engaging points, to the extent that even the children warming up to Da-jung elicits nothing more than an indulgent smile. I’ll still be watching because I want to see how Park Na-young is received; who else is with me? What do you think about the drama’s progression?