Rather than just generic hand-wringing about whether or not Woo-hyeon and Seul-bi will get together in the end, this episode "High School - Love On" finally comes up with a concrete conflict- memory loss. Not the best plot device but the quality of this drama has been so subpar lately that I'll take it. Obviously we know that they're going to get together by the end. The fun is just watching Woo-hyeon and Seul-bi interact together, being all lively and cute. Just like the earlier episodes of the drama, which as referenced here, sure were a lot more fun than the more recent stuff.
While I've been less than pleased with the build-up, the ending is actually pretty effective. All of the characters have their central personal conflict thoroughly resolved, not through the use of external plot devices, but rather through changing and following through on their own behavior. Even when no one else is watching, characters who were previously jerks now make the extra effort to try and be a good person instead.
The result is a final episode that's actually quite calm and considered, with a much heavier emphasis on resolution than conflict. It's nice to be able to watch little scenes, just out in the park, or at the restaurant, or at the school, or on the street where people are acting in a helpful rehabilitative way. It's the small gestures that really matter here. Everything that happens this episode is a lot more effective emotionally than the huge dramatic events last time simply because it's all a lot more subtle.
I don't know whether this fully deserves to be called a good episode. What makes it so pleasant to watch is the fact it bears almost no similarity to the contrived mess "High School - Love On" has been lately. I wasn't really sure what any of the plot arcs were intended to accomplish until we get to the various denouements here and it's just, oh, I get it. She was supposed to learn to be forgiving, he was supposed to learn to be helpful, everybody was supposed to learn that it's more fun to be nice than to be mean.
The quality of "High School - Love On" has been on a steady decline ever since the first episode. And in many ways the finale demonstrates way. There are good character arcs to be had here, it's just that none of them were delved into in a very convincing way. Still, if you've been watching the drama for this long, everything you can reasonably ask for is in here. Just don't think too hard, relax, and take heart in the fact that Seul-bi's in her heaven and all's right in the world.
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 20 Final"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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