I don’t know if there are any words to describe how awesome it is that the Rainbow Taxi Company is back in service. SBS’ blockbuster series (and my favorite drama of 2021) Taxi Driver (모범택시/Deluxe Taxi) finally returned to begin its second season.
Even for a drama series as excellent as Taxi Driver, some things might be a bit hazy for a viewer more than 20 months since its last episode. But these first two episodes back were perfect reminders of every single thing that made those first 16 episodes in 2021 so amazing and one of the best television experiences you can have.
In my Good Ol’ Review after the series wrapped, I had said the series was “the total package.”
In fact, everything I said to conclude the review in 2021 still applies now in 2023:
“Explosive action is paired with stories that have emotional depth. Characters are fully developed and well-rounded. The excellent cast delivers in every scene. Writing is tight, production is top-notch.”
And even now, I know this line from that review will apply again here:
“All this and more come together for what is certainly going to end up being one of the very best of the year. “
To have so many different elements like an excellent cast, exciting action, emotional stories and just plain fun; it’s very rare in Korean drama to have so many positive things going for a series. And it really does all come together for Taxi Driver.
Now, these are only the first two episodes of this second season of course. But when it starts off so strong like this, there’s really not much doubt that the series will be able to easily pick up where it left off and continue the pace to the end of this season.
First, the season premiere kicked off with an awesomely explosive start. Jumping right into the middle of the action was such a great way to welcome back viewers into the series. The ever charismatic and badass Lee Je Hoon back as Kim Do Ki and in another one of his disguises right in the middle of righting the wrongs of injustice once again.
Not only that, the series was able to address the absence of the always great Esom whose other projects conflicted with filming for Taxi Driver 2 and thus could not return as Prosecutor Kang. And they actually did it in a great way. Keeping her a part of the story in a way that makes sense and not in a contrived way. Or worse, not just ignoring the character exists. How they did handle it was the best they could do.
Still, upon hearing the news that she wouldn’t be able to take part, I hoped that somehow she’d still be able to make a short cameo of some sort. It could still happen of course. Maybe as the Episode 16 cliffhanger to prepare for season 3? 😊
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet. These first two episodes really set the tone for the rest of this season. What better way to announce their return than by going international! The scenes in Vietnam definitely helped to raise the stakes in the narrative while visually, it gave the show a grittier look. That partly seemed to show that there is a potential for some darker cases this season as well. And the cliffhanger at the end of Episode 2 definitely implies a big threat lurking in the shadows.
This first case for the team though worked perfectly to set up bringing the team back together. And again, all the different pieces and emotions came together in the best way possible. So much fun and humor alongside the sincere emotions and difficult drama, seamlessly intertwined to bring about that total package Taxi Driver is so adept at producing.
The story of father and son (played wonderfully by Choi One and Zo Zee An) was such an affecting one. Especially when situations like illegal recruiting and human trafficking are sadly far too common, especially in Asia. And not only that, but their story also touched upon the often cruel environment in Korea where jobs can be difficult to find. Which in turn makes paying the bills even more difficult. Not to mention the sad shortcomings of authorities and law enforcement as well.
But again, with the legitimately emotional story also came the fun and humor of the series. The lighthearted touches that allow for that full experience while watching Taxi Driver.
It was fun seeing the photo booth replacing the video game for the virtual contract signing with those who need the services of Rainbow Taxi.
Even more fun seeing the team literally dusting off the cobwebs to get the operation back into full gear. Seeing Do Ki and Mr. Jang and their two-man operation was such a perfect way to depict the difference between now and the last time we saw the team all together. And of course, made the team’s reunion all the more special.
And what about seeing the scene stealing Madame Lim once again! I would love to see her pop up sometime in the future. Maybe not even in this season any more and saving her to pop up in a season three to continue her pursuit of her beloved Wang Tao Zi.
Madame Lim was just one of the many Easter eggs for fans of the first season. But these two episodes were just as good even for someone coming into this fully realized world for the first time.
Overall, it is just so great to have Taxi Driver back once again. I was so excited for these premiere episodes. They easily picked up right where they left off. And I am so excited for the next 14.