While Jong-gi clearly skirts the line of medical ethics, all of his actions are very clearly in line with trying to calm So-hye down and see herself as a person whose life has value. It's very noteworthy how Jong-gi has gotten So-hye to go from mental breakdown in earlier episodes to participating in a support group this episode. The support group scene is wonderful, by the way, precisely because it really gets at how the mental toll of illness is just as bad as the physical, and how it really helps just to get positive encouragement from peers.
Which brings us around to Hae-seong, who continues to rise up heroically to tough situations because he's a generally decent guy. I really like how his motivation is never really painted as just being out of a desire to get together with So-hye. Hae-seong has a lot of sneaky ideas because he's been in tough scrapes himself in the past. The man has a very strong sense of empathy, which really is a lot more attractive than his handsomeness.
But all the same Hae-seong needs encouragement too. The billiards scene with Jong-gi is especially great, because it shows off the better personality traits of both men without diminishing either. Jong-gi, too, is perfectly happy with making misleading statements when he can plainly see that doing so will inspire Hae-seong into being a better man. And Hae-seong, however irritated he gets, wants to win by being the better man.
So-hye and Hae-seong work as a couple in a way So-hye and Jong-gi never can because they actually know each other. Yes, their relationship has been acrimonious in the past, but Hae-seong nonetheless has strong personal respect for So-hye as a person, and this respect transcends their often mutually petty behavior. That So-hye can appreciate this when they have very little direct interaction this episode is a sign that she's maturing as well.
There's also some decent integration of the Seol subplot here, as Sang-hwa (played by Yoon Ji-won) makes visits to Seol's home. More than the generally comical villainy of Seol's husband and in-laws, I like the incremental efforts made on the part of people in Seol's life to try and get her to move past all that. "Fantastic" is principally about self-improvement, as characters take bad situations and try to rise above them with a little help from their friends. It's a very nice moral thrust and I enjoy watching it progress.
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] "Fantastic" Episode 6"
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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Cinderella and the Four Knights" Episode 9
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