The good news is that Tae-hee and Geum-ran are back together again, and immediately come up with an effective scheme to take down their enemies. The bad news...well, there is no bad news really. Normally it's a bit irritating when a drama has its heroes pull a magical solution out of nowhere, but "Birth of a Beauty" has amply demonstrated that the team of Tae-hee and Sara is so incredibly hyper-competent that no one else in this drama can even come close to matching them.
For the most part this is just a slow, deliberate comeuppance as Sara finally does what she should have done in the first place- bury her opponents in the truth. It's a simple fact of repercussions- not necessarily in the moral sense. Again, if the bad guys had just left Tae-hee and Geum-ram alone, they would have had no reason to organize a counter-attack. Right to the last minute the bad guys underestimate these two. Note the horrified look on Chae-yeon's face, having discovered that Sara wasn't bluffing.
Effective use is made of flashback here- in the first place just to make sure we don't feel too sorry for Kang-joon, Chae-yeon, and Min-hyeok getting what's coming to them. Oddly enough, it's actually some more minor characters who end up almost gaining sympathy. Having realized who Sara is, they actually try to petition for mercy rather than doubling down on impotent threats. Note that in the end, having not actually been an accessory to the crime, they probably won't bear too much of the brunt anyway.
Flashback also helps to establish simple character growth. It might be hard to remember now, but at the beginning of the story Geum-ran had almost no confidence and self-esteem, such that the suicide theory was actually a reasonably plausible one. As Tae-hee states, she just needs to believe in herself. And goodness knows it helps that Tae-hee definitely believes in her too.
The only flaw here comes in the form of the absolutely terrible string of episodes that predated this one. These are barely even referenced here (save for a somewhat touching scene where Sara looks at her own cut-out), and appear to have been put in the drama mostly for the sake of padding and trying to prevent the main characters from appearing too invincible. Well I, for one, prefer the invincible power couple. What powerful punches they pack!
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 20"
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