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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1994" Episode 4

2013/10/26 | 1290 views | Permalink

The drama continues moving in the largely emotional territory that predominated the last episode. This time, rather than dealing with immediate attachments- the issue is loss. Don't worry- nobody dies or anything this time around. It's mostly just reflection on events in the backstory. Also making an appearance is a subplot involving a night club that's not particularly impressive.

For some reason, I assumed when the nightclub first appeared that we were actually going to get to see what was inside it. I don't have the slightest idea what nightclubs looked like back in the nineties so this seemed like rife comedic material to me, or at least general reactive material. I like the idea of putting this cast of characters in normal, but unusual situations (to them) and seeing how they respond. It's why the date sequence from the second episode remains my favorite setpiece.

But no, this narrative device, like most of the others in this episode, is mostly just an impetus to get characters talking about their feelings. And I'm sorry to admit that I really just don't care. I don't know any of these people all that well, and can't really identify with them on any definite level. Even though the central theme of this episode is a fairly universal one, there's no real context to appreciate it, mainly because there's no actual plot.

Well, except for that one conflict. Which is resolved so off-handedly and suddenly here I was honestly taken aback. If we know this much essential information, what exactly are we supposed to be looking forward to next week? Are we just trying to get from here to there? Given the general context in the present day it's still hard to imagine how our characters are supposed to get from 1994 to 2013. Between these two dates most of the implications are fully reversed.

While the last two episodes have been a bit of a disappointment, I'm willing to give "Answer Me 1994" some latitude here. It takes guts to throw away the only existing storyline, and it would require outright insanity to try and keep the drama going without any kind of plot hook at all. Besides, the next episode is clearly going to take place outside to some extent. That doesn't necessarily mean it will be funnier- I'm just tired that so much of the action lately has been happening indoors with dialogue cues and no interesting visuals.

Review by William Schwartz

"Answer Me 1994" is directed by Sin Won-ho and written by Lee Woo-jeong-I and features Go Ara, Sung Dong-il, Lee Il-hwa and Jung Woo.

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