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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A New Leaf" Episode 9

2014/05/29 | Permalink

The drama's still building up to something. What I'm not totally sure. It's obvious at this point there's a conspiracy against Seok-joo, but given that neither he nor Ji-yoon have any clear indication that something foul is afoot, for the most part we're just left with vague scheming that will presumably be dealt with at a later point once all this has been set up. That doesn't really bode well for the conflict department, although the material here is interesting enough to stand on its own.

Most obviously we actually get to see the scene where Seok-joo proposed to Jeong-seon. It's pretty well in line with the man we saw in the first two episodes. It's confirmed here that the old Seok-joo never smiled, under any circumstances. The feeling of whiplash is a strange one. We're still not really any closer to an explanation as to why he proposed, or why she accepted, but "A New Leaf" did manage to at least rule out most of the more outrageous possibilities.

It also makes for a nice contrast with Seok-joo's actual lawyer work this episode, which is largely concerned with numbers games and boring technical financial stuff. On the one hand, I like how the drama is detailing the fact that Seok-joo's job was not to just do flashy high profile stuff all the time- lawyer fiction in general tends to give a pretty inaccurate impression of what this kind of work is actually like. On the other hand, we don't normally see this stuff played out for a reason- it's not terribly exciting.

This makes for another comparison with Ji-yoon, who does take on the more exciting case and it isn't quite so fun as she initially thinks. It's nice to see Seok-joo on hand just checking the scene out, even if he's not taking a hands-on role. I can't imagine Seok-joo pre-amnesia taking the time to mentor a new employee. It's a subtle change that's not clearly telegraphed, but the simple fact that Seok-joo is reaching out to other members of the firm is a significant bit of character development.

That seems to be the general tonal direction of "A New Leaf" right now- dealing in subtlety and build-up. Interestingly, there's still no clear direction for the drama to be headed. Seok-joo's romantic fate is completely up in the air right now. He's comfortable being Jeong-seon's apparent lover, and Ji-hoon's mentor, and these characters are all well enough established by now that it's difficult to see much change coming from that kind of personal angle. Right now "A New Leaf" is aiming for a legalistic showdown- and while I enjoyed this episode, I do hope that action will be coming down sooner rather than later.

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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