The new season of D.P. is here, and this season takes a much calmer approach in comparison to its aggressive first counterpart. If you haven’t seen the first season, there will be a lot you won’t understand in this season, as it is a direct continuation of the first. The show follows a young man named Jun-Ho, who quickly becomes part of the Deserter Pursuit department of the military as he joins his mandatory military appointment. His partner is Sergeant Han Ho-Yeol, who is much more eccentric than the calm and resolute Jun-Ho. It’s evident very quickly that they make a great team and actually care to save the deserters rather than get them into any kind of trouble.
D.P. season 1 was beloved globally and made huge waves with its hard-to-digest subject matter, impressive screenplay and pace, and the emotional impact it had on the viewer. The second season attempts to do the same thing, but this time the excitement has faded a little bit, and the plot feels just a little bit underdeveloped. While the first season had so much to show us, this season relies on most of the things we had to remember from the first one to understand it completely.
The series has six episodes, just like its predecessor, and each runs between 40 minutes and an hour. It has a non-linear format where each episode follows a different story that is interwoven with the bigger picture of Jun-Ho’s dilemma of actually doing something right. This season definitely has some interesting plot points that could’ve been explored more. I particularly didn’t like the direction episode 4 took with the G.P. incident. It somehow made it all a little unserious with the random horror elements and not-so-great CGI. Although the subject material of this episode is actually quite gritty, because of the single episode given to it and the time wasted on other plot points, it’s rather forgettable.
We also get a really impressive performance by youngster Choi Hyun-Wook, who plays Shin A-Whi in this episode, and since they show him in the trailer, too, there was hope for something more from his role than just the one episode. The returning cast definitely continues to do an excellent job at balancing humor with action and the seriousness of all the atrocities that they’re getting to see in their military. A lot of subplots get carried forward from season 1, and some books did not need to be reopened, whereas others make sense. Episode 3, titled “Curtain Call,” is one of the best episodes of the show and a pleasant surprise.
What doesn’t work for this season is that, at the end of the day, it follows similar patterns to other mainstream K-dramas that we’ve seen time and again. The end is rather predictable, which is a shame because it sacrifices what was unique about the show. It always kept us on our feet and didn’t have any qualms about showing uncomfortable truths. While there is a larger villain in this season, he almost comes across as useless and barely has a role throughout the season, except for when he needs to come and yell at people. Unfortunately, even veteran Ji Jin-Hee wasn’t able to salvage this character, who we can only guess is a power-hungry military tyrant. Instead of playing to the strengths of the first season, the show resigns itself to a more simple and rather boring take on the outrageous topic that it represents. For those who were expecting something similar to D.P. season 1, I believe you will be disappointed by the lack of effort this season. This time around, even the emotional scenes fall flat, even though the actors do all they can to make them work, because of the lack of base. It’s a shame to see such wasted potential, especially after the massive success of the first season.
Some might say these opinions are rather harsh, but they only come from having thoroughly enjoyed the first part. Some character arcs don’t quite make sense and swim by so fast that you need to figure out if the person really switched sides or is just pretending, and I don’t mean in the thrilling manner of “Is he or isn’t he” but more so like, “When did he decide to do good.” It’s a question of whether you are watching the show for the characters, for the plot, or for both. If your answer is the former, then you get a decent second season, and some of the characters, specifically Jun-Ho, get the closure they need. But if your answer is any of the other two, then you may come out of this season heavily disappointed. It’s hard to repeat the success of a good show if there isn’t much of a different story to tell. Even in the anthology format, there’s still something that connects all the episodes together, and that bit really lacks any kind of power this season.
Ultimately, I’d say the second season is rather skippable, and the ambiguity at the end of season 1 makes more sense than where this season takes us. There’s also something dream-like about this season, and I understand that the writers are trying to give hope rather than depress their viewers, but it’s less impressive than expected. I would also like to point out that the chemistry between Jun-Ho and Ho-Yeol is entirely missing this season because they barely have any scenes together. We have to be satisfied with the few crumbs that made the first season so delectable. The crass humor is also less funny and doesn’t pack a satirical punch, either. There’s a lot of profanity, violence, and gore, so watch with caution. I’d give D.P. season 2 2.5 out of 5 stars in comparison to the 4 out of 5 of season 1.