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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A New Leaf" Episode 15

2014/06/25 | Permalink

We finally get some much-needed characterization for Ji-won and Ji-yoon, as this episode opens with a simple conversation they have about what their motivation is in life, and what they see the law as being useful for. I like how Ji-won is actually pretty charming here, and his arguments reasonably persuasive. The guy isn't a monster, he's just looking out for himself and accepting the reality of the system.

His entire attitude sounds eerily similar to Seok-joo's pre-amnesia rationalization. It's just a lot less gruff and more basically optimistic, even though Ji-won all but admits there's not actually any good reason to have a positive attitude at all. It's one of those neat conversations that has all sorts of hidden layers that aren't obvious. Consequently, Ji-yoon's subsequent decision to team up with Seok-joo is, while predictable, wholly understandable. Even if Ji-won doesn't necessarily get it.

So! This means that Seok-joo finally has the full team together of the various characters he's met in the series. Now's the time to take the legal battle home..! Well, not really. The main essential parts of the current legal showdown have already been settled and, mindful of time constraints, writer Choi Hee-ra jumps ahead to the important part of the verdict, which you can probably guess at. Walking to and from the courtroom scene gives us, as expected, an obvious disconnect.

This is the penultimate episode of a series that's being forced to end sooner than originally planned, so "A New Leaf" is in the awkward phase of having to wind down the story at almost the exact same point that it's finally being wound up. This doesn't go quite as badly as you might think. Seok-joo's firm comes into essential information near the end of this episode that should eventually give us a sort of resolution.

Unfortunately "A New Leaf" spent so much time on character study the legal parts of the show are now stuck in rush mode. And even at its best this character study was limited. Seok-joo's relationship with his father has been put in full-focus. Every other character not so much, to the point that this team-up could have happened several episodes ago and we'd probably be in a better place from a narrative perspective. Still, it's easy enough to criticize in hindsight. On balance I do like what this drama's been doing, and even its failures have been interesting from an analytical perspective.

Review by William Schwartz

"A New Leaf" is directed by Park Jae-beom-II, written by Choi Hee-ra and features Kim Myung-min, Park Min-young, Kim Sang-joong and Ahn Sun-young

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