After the big magical blow-up at the end of the last episode I was expecting, well, a big magical blow-up to in some way make up the plot of this one. But apparently all that happened as a result of our three leads jostling over Seul-bi's mysterious wrist was...Woo-hyeon and Seong-yeol., and spend a lot of time bickering. So, nothing new.
The attention "High School - Love On" continues to push on this teen male conflict angle has really gotten tiring. There isn't any more to their relationship than what we've already seen, so watching them fight again and again is just really pointless. It's particularly annoying because interactions between pretty much any other two characters have much more potential for intriguing storytelling, but instead we're stuck with Woo-hyeon and Seong-yeol dictating an artifical conflict regarding the school's employment policy.
Is this really why the drama has so many fantastic elements? Just to serve as a contrivance to justify a really mundane plotline that isn't even all that interesting? We still know very frustratingly little about Ji-hye, and what prompted her decisions regarding Woo-hyeon. To date all of Woo-hyeon's anger toward his mother has been the judgmental punishment necessary to establish the fact that she screwed up. A literal tribunal really just isn't necessary.
What makes this all the worse is that the various other student-related subplots that have been tepidly dealt with in the last few episodes also only get the bare minimum amount of exposition. It's nice that Joo-ah is in a better spot, even if I'm still a little puzzled as to how this didn't happen several episodes ago. The bullying plotline trailed off, and while the bullies are still hanging around being jerks, there's almost no urgency to the situation. "High School - Love On" is doing an increasingly bad job getting me to actually care about anything that's actually happening.
On the plus side, most of the drama's fundamentals are still working out decently enough. Kim Sae-ron continues to nail the exact combination of naivety and far-sightedness necessary to sell Seul-bi as a character, and the background still comes off plausibly. The sets are bright and cheery. The trouble is the drama is awfully far gone for the writing team to suddenly not have any apparent idea for what to do next. Could we just get one, genuinely emotional heartfelt scene here? Is that too much to ask?
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] "High School - Love On" Episode 16"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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