These two episodes of Taxi Driver were interesting. Mostly because I’m not sure I actually liked or enjoyed them. And it’s not because the subject matter was uncomfortable or anything like that. It just felt like the case of the week was a bit too “out there” compared to the more relatable and character-driven cases our Rainbow Taxi friends usually take care of.
Perhaps it had to do with how the case of the week did not involve revenge or someone who was on the verge of taking their own life. I can understand the show wanting to switch things up and try something new. All to keep the show feeling fresh, especially if they have plans for more seasons.
But with this case of the week specifically, I feel like there was a big disconnect. It’s a bit harder to become engaged with the case and the people involved when usually, we meet someone we immediately connect with through their story.
This case of the week came across as more of the type you’d see on a regular crime procedural, like a Law & Order or *shudder* Criminal Minds: Korea. An almost cult-leader-like charmer scams desperate couples into fake-adopting children so they can be approved for home loans. Only then to have said leader take the homes when the already cash-strapped couples can no longer pay. And then repeating the process by cycling the orphaned kids around to different willing couples.
What Taxi Driver has done was take that procedural format, but make it much more character-driven and personal. That is as opposed to the plot-driven narratives of crime procedurals where you’re in and out in one-hour episodes.
The saving grace for this case of the week (in addition to seeing the Gang out in the field once again) was definitely the satisfaction and relief when the Gang is able to save the children. Anytime children are involved, it will obviously be an emotional and difficult story to tell. And the scene specifically of Do Ki saving the little boy from the fire was the kind of emotional action sequence that Taxi Driver does so well.
But as a whole, the case of the week is probably the least interesting or engaging from the entire series.
Which then makes me wonder if that was intentional in order to make the reveal of On Ha Joon’s true nature all the more impactful.
Of course we’ve had our suspicions of the seemingly kind and clumsy rookie. The idea that infiltrating, so to speak, Rainbow Taxi in order to maybe bring it down from the inside is not that surprising. Nor is the revelation that he’s actually rich and powerful and has had our Rainbow Taxi friends in his bullseye for a while now.
I guess the surprising part was him being directly involved with this underwhelming case of the week.
If Ha Joon is targeting Rainbow Taxi as his own revenge for maybe someone he knows that was once a recipient of the Gang’s unique justice, then I’d rather they had just drip-drip-drip’d those details rather than tie him in with this housing/child trafficking scam.
That said, I’m certainly interested to watch Shin Jae Ha deliver another great performance here as Ha Joon. And I’m looking forward to seeing Ha Joon be the Gang’s main antagonist (maybe related to the sniper in Vietnam?) or even if there’s someone higher than him on totem pole.
But these two episodes definitely left much to be desired. Here’s hoping the next round of cases get back to what Taxi Driver does best.