So it turns out that Tae-yeong had correctly sussed out the fitness center scam pretty much the exact same way I did. Which makes the opening summation of the previous episode's events fairly anticlimactic. "539 Yeonnam-dong" has been very bad when it comes to properly utilizing cliffhangers. Stories should always be self-contained when possible. Putting the summation and only the summation off until next week just gives viewers more time to figure it our on their own, and that's no fun.
Well, OK, it can be fun with a sufficiently complicated mystery, but the competing fitness center mystery was not all that complicated. Really, none of "539 Yeonnam-dong" was all that complicated. No individual plotline ever got enough depth to really feel like it deserved an epic summation. All the same, that's what we get anyway since this is the last episode and circumstances must be arranged to set off the various characters on their own individual life journeys.
And by individual life journeys I mean paired life journeys. The last couple in the share house to not be in a relationship, Ryan and Do-hee enter into a relationship. In all fairness their scene at the cafe was one of the highlights, because there was at least a lot of playing around with expectations. Even if the ending was fully predictable, the individual twists and turns of their verbal repartee leave a lot of ambiguity in the moment.
When everyone else is just talking about how they feel completely honestly and with no sense of conflict there is, by contrast, just not much of a point. I'm still surprised that I-na was able to take the disloyalty of her staff so lightly. Even granting that Tae-yeong had more complicated motives no one else did. Although I could see that being a secret factor at play in I-na's decision to move on to a different shop, that prospect just isn't discussed.
Nor do we have any real idea of what the future will hold for these three couples, even though all have some pretty clearly defined problems, whether they be professional, emotional, or financial. I just have a lot of trouble buying a happy ending absence any kind of serious effort made to obtain it. I mean sure, asking someone out on a date can be hard, but that can't be the highlight of the entire story! Unless the main characters are teenagers maybe.
Review by William Schwartz
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Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 12 (Final)"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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