A disproportionate amount of the action in "Fantastic" takes place in the hospital. Granted the entire premise is that So-hye has a (possibly not) terminal illness, but matters do take a turn for the slightly silly when both leading men also end up needing medical care for completely unrelated problems. Then they have silly hospital-related adventures together as they bond, and aw, who doesn't love some good male bonding on-screen?
The leading ladies are no slouch in this department either. So-hye and Mi-seon finally figure out what's really going on with Seol, and quickly make a point of offering their unconditional support. More importantly they come with a plan to finally get Seol moving more proactively in the direction of finally severing from those terrible marital relatives once and for all. The moment of vindication is, as expected, fairly satisfying.
Ironically it's Jin-tae, the abusive husband, who ends up being the voice of reason. The phone call was ridiculous, and it's appropriate that it did not occur to Jin-tae to cover the speaker because what a subject to have an argument about! Jin-sook fails on a pretty basic level to understand the importance of public image. Who knows how her insistence on acting like a petty cartoon villain would have affected Jin-tae's campaign if a bigger problem hadn't come up.
The rather archetypal and thinly drawn nature of the villains in "Fantastic" is among the drama's more annoying qualities. Although I do have to admit the bonding works primarily because we get to see the varuous characters team up and overcome such vicious obstacles. Seol leaning on So-hye and Mi-seon is narratively much more satisfying than her petitioning for help from Sang-wook, because she barely even knows Sang-wook. I'm sure he'll be a good guy when it matters, but it's too early to count on him for anything this serious.
And that's the main "Fantastic" quality about this drama. A lot of the warm fuzzy feelings are just a consequence of the reminder that oh so many of life's problems are surprisingly bearable just so long as you have lifelong best friends who can be relied on. Even absent that, though, Hae-seong and Joon-gi have a pretty fun time teasing each other the way boyfriends so often do. I mean really, what's more adorable, the way Hae-seong keeps acting territorial over So-hye, or the way Joon-gi grins just getting to see Hae-seong act like a total goof?
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Fantastic" Episode 11"
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