In a lot of ways, D.P. Season 2 lived up to our expectations. We would like to make the distinction clear that what we expected and what we would have liked are two completely separate things. We had a feeling that the scriptwriters would play it safe, and that is what they did. Season 1 had already told us about the institutionalized bullying of the army, so we are not sure how Season 2 has given us anything new. One simply can’t keep pumping emotion and hoping that it makes up for the lack of story development.
We must point out that our perspective is not that of a South Korean. What we know about the country has largely come from Korean dramas and from other Korean Youtubers, who try their best to educate the international audience on the culture of their country, along with skincare and fashion. Therefore, while we recognize that it is not a problem unique to South Korea, our understanding is that bullying and complete submission to seniority and authority are prevalent in the culture, not just in the army but in schools, colleges, and a lot of workplaces. This is not an opinion formed on the basis of K-dramas but on the facts collected from some online publications. However, it is only fair on our part to remember that there may be some gaps in our knowledge of things.
Regardless, when we talk about the world of D.P. Season 1 and Season 2, we simply cannot doubt that bullying is a part of the institution and is seen as an “essential part of personal development.” Once the writers had decided on this route, they should have explored it with more nuance if they wanted to do justice to the topic. However, what we get is some more shenanigans around the thing we had already been made privy to in Season 1. Once hazing and bullying had been established as institutional problems, we also needed to see the institute’s perspective. Yet, we saw nothing of that except that they just wanted “to cover things up.” What we are trying to say is that the series was missing some crucial details. Did the people who had been discharged from the army never talk about the bullying that happened there? Additionally, if hazing was not just an accepted but an encouraged part of the system, the seniors must have been aware that the knowledge of this would be disastrous if leaked into the real world. Basically, why was the culture of silence not explained better? Why did none of the people discharged ever talk about the bullying they faced on a public platform, and if they did, why did the series not address it? Ru Ri doing it felt too little, too late.
We believe there was a minute dedicated to this topic in Season 1 when one of the deserters was telling his mother why he could not get justice for what he had suffered. The inadequacy of the exploration of this topic is annoying. In fact, it meant that the characters had very little personal development, except maybe An Jun Ho, and that was a terrible thing to happen, even from the perspective of a simple story.
What we don’t understand is why the makers of the show played it so safe. They had a stellar cast, a huge platform, and, if we had to guess, a substantial budget for the story they wanted to tell. If someone says that they had no choice but to not toe the line, maybe a Season 2 shouldn’t have been made. A gut-wrenching look at the conditions in the army was a far more memorable way to remember the series than whatever Season 2 of D.P. has tried to present to us. Not to sound like we are going off on a different tangent, but true patriotism means addressing the problems of your country and fixing them instead of simply turning a blind eye to them all. One needs to be brave to discuss a problem in its entirety, from the victim’s point of view to the perpetrator’s and even the bystander’s. The accountability of the bystander needed to be better represented than just An Jun Ho going rogue.
There was a whole hullabaloo at the end of D.P. Season 2 regarding how the government should be held accountable. We don’t disagree, but it is as if we are simply repeating ourselves again and again; the series simply touches on the topics of importance without exploring anything in depth. Yet, for a moment, let us disassociate from the moral and social aspects of the series. Strictly from a storyline perspective, was it not annoying to see Park Beom Gu and Han Ho Yeol be the same people that they were in Season 1? Should we not have seen them change their priorities, their ideals, or even their methods of working due to the moral dilemmas of the job? Maybe if D.P. had been released in one part of 12–14 episodes instead of two seasons of 6 episodes each, this continuity could have been better-taken care of. Both parts are set two years apart, which makes us guess that Season 2 was a careful bet against the success of Season 1, another thing that cost the audience a good narrative.
Like we said at the beginning of our review, we knew that D.P. Season 2 would not be bold or break barriers, so in a way, we are alright with it. We never wanted to be disappointed the way we are, but this show committed the unforgivable sin of not being as good as it could have been, either due to a lack of conviction, courage, or writing. D.P. Season 2 suffers from the second one.
To sum it up, D.P. Season 2 is watchable only because of our strong feelings for Season 1. It is decently paced and can give you a bit of the closure you may have wanted since Season 1 aired two years ago. But this topic has yet to receive the treatment it deserves.