There's almost no movement on the actual plot here. By the end all Tae-hee has managed to do with the corporate board is restate what he said at last episode's cliffhanger, except with more convincing evidence this time. As it turns out, "Birth of a Beauty" has more important things to worry about this time- here we get full resolution on the question of whether or not Tae-hee and Geum-ran will be able to get together.
Geum-ran, not Sara. For the first time "Birth of a Beauty" tackles the fact that Geum-ran and Sara are, in fact, mostly distinct entities. Geum-ran is the actual person. She's the person with unshakably cheery resolve, the one who's bored by rich people stuff but genuinely excited any time there's a chance to act like a typical housewife. Geum-ran doesn't even really care about the wife part. So it's easy to see how she managed to get married to Kang-joon in the first place. While amusing, all of this stuff is also kind of annoying, as Tae-hee is forced to admit here.
The problem is that Geum-ran is the actual person. Sara is just the manufactured facade that's useful mainly because she's the one that can further the plans. Geum-ran is the kind, loving woman. Sara exists exclusively to take revenge on those shallow enough to treat others primarily based on looks. For Tae-hee, who's had to struggle with the fact that the people he had grown to love ended up turning out kind of evil, it's actually a struggle to admit that, no, it's not Sara that matters. Geum-ran is the one he actually cares about.
It's against this backdrop that the villains move. Chae-yeon's plan remains hilariously bad. While she does correctly hit Geum-ran's weak points, Sara immediately points out that Chae-yeon's new attitude is obviously manufactured, and absolutely refuses to let herself be intimidated. It's one of the best parts of Sara's personality really- she's Geum-ran's best imitation of a cold-hearted sociopath, and in this case the fake is even more effective than the real thing.
In the end though, Sara's not really worth loving- which is what makes the final scene and climax so effective. It's easy to forget that, among other things, Geum-ran has the flaw of generally low self-esteem. That doesn't go away just because the Sara facade can hide it. It's Tae-hee's decisions here that ultimately strike the emotional resonance here- and when "Birth of a Beauty" hits, it hits hard.
Review by William Schwartz
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] "Birth of a Beauty" Episode 10"
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