The drama moves into another holding pattern here of relatively little actually happening, as characters get angry at each other without really bothering to explain why. Not that I begrudge them for this- if adults can engage in this kind of childish bickering, of course high school students can too. The central bone of contention is Seul-bi. Interestingly Seul-bi is evasive here. It's not that she dislikes her love interests so much that they have no idea who Seul-bi really is. Nor, for that matter, does she. A visit ends up being made for Seul-bi to get a grasp on the new rules of her existence.
But what little discussion of angel mythology we get here ends up being light and mostly just to keep us from forgetting the drama's fantastic premise. For the most part it's just fun times at school, and there's refreshingly little vitriol in the aggressiveness this time around. Make no mistake- the situation is still quite bad for Joo-ah, and there's no apparent means of recovery in the immediate future. There just isn't any real crisis point.
I do like the way this drama addresses bullying by noting how even after big major narrative movements, everybody still has to end up going to school with each other, and provoking an aggressive fight every single time simply isn't a sustainable way of solving the problem. When our leads stumble upon an obvious scene of awkward intimidation, they end up making a mockery of the situation in a fun, inventive way that actually brings out the better of their classmates for once.
The way the situations keep cropping up organically in a flow is another one of the bright spots in this episode. Nothing in this episode directly relates to the death of Woo-hyeon's grandmother, as an example. But it's clearly influenced his thinking, as evidenced by one particularly dark observation directed toward Seong-yeol. It's a kind of character growth that we rarely get to see, since usually such dramatic events are at the climax of the story.
All in all "High School - Love On" is moving at a pretty good pace. The breezy subject matter was, for me at least, a bit of a relief after a long week. It's just really nice to be able to watch subject matter that's mostly pleasant without totally sugarcoating the more unsavory aspects of daily life that we can't really avoid. There's just light optimism. Regardless of whether the long term works out, the short term is fine for now at least.
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] "High School - Love On" Episode 11"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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