"Blade Man" has shifted focus from Hong-bin's trials and tribulations to the ripple effect that Tae-hee's appearance has caused in the lives of everyone in the show. Her death had casted a quiet pall over everyone's lives and that in and of itself was effective motivation for character growth. Bringing her back to life has skewed the plot.
Despite the new plot direction, the effect of Tae-hee's appearance has forced changes in some of the characters, most notably Se-dong . This could've been achieved in many ways, but the point is that Se-dong has finally cracked. She always thinks of others and never herself. She takes on burdens and never relieves herself of them. Now she the weight of it all has become too much and her behavior has begun to skew because of it. It is a good direction for her character, but is handled awkwardly. For example, they have a doctor diagnose her with psychological fainting in front of numerous people, which is ethically reprehensible and only functioned to make her friend, Seung-hwan indignant on her behalf and that didn't do much of anything for the plot. "Blade Man" is guilty of adding small intrigues that are unhelpful sidebars to the overall texture of the show.
As for Tae-hee, her character is needy and difficult to empathize with, mostly because she is extremely manipulative. There was a very strange elongated scene where Tae-hee and Se-dong have a girl's day and hang out at the market. The show is trying to make them bond over their mutual love for Hong-bin and it serves only to give Tae-hee more screen time. The friendship doesn't fit and neither does the constant pity party Tae-hee throws herself.
Daddy Joo, on the other hand, is a marvelous character. He was built up as a cold statue of a man, which is the way Hong-bin sees him. Over time Hong-bin's view is proven skewed and we get to see that Daddy Joo isn't quite the monster his son imagined. Watching Daddy Joo crumble at each charged confrontation with his son is powerful, especially since his pride is what has caused so much misunderstanding over the years. Like his son, he is slowly changing. The paralleled growth with Hong-bin is an effective writing tool. There is an attempt to have Daddy Joo's growth coincide with Madame Yoon's breakdown, but that doesn't work as well.
Madame Yoon's motivator is love and money, but her character is hard to empathize with because her humanity was introduced much too late in the show. She could have been a great villain, but she wasn't integrated well enough in the early stages. Her villainy seem almost to be an aside rather than a major plot point. Only now that Hong-bin has directed confronted her with his suspicions does her role fit best.
"Blade Man" confuses me. It is so strong in some aspects and so weak in others. It's strengths don't parallel each other either. Hong-bin's strong development is not found in other characters. The show's humor is only found with Go. It seems an oversight in planning or a lack of time to round out the script. Perhaps the show might evenbring back the titular blades some time soon and include Chang back into the picture.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Blade Man" Episode 16"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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