Now that Kang-cheol has been all but definitively cleared in terms of not being the baby's father, I'm increasingly unsure what purpose he's actually supposed to be serving in the story. Most of this episode is just comedic hijinx at Kang-cheol's obvious expense. If he was the father I could call this just desserts. As stands, though, "Hogu's Love" is just acting kind of mean. Contrary to what was implied earlier on it looks like Kang-cheol is only involved with this case at all because he, too, has an unresolved emotional attachment to the baby's real father.
Note that "Hogu's Love" still doesn't offer any definite conclusions on those lines. I think I do know who the father is, as well as the true context which made Do-hee decide to give birth. What happens to Do-hee at the agency is a pretty big clue- and one of the scenes featured in the preview seems to imply that Do-hee's agony about the abortion choice had less to do with personal feelings as it did the fact that this may have quite literally been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
And it's here that the way the story is constructed really gets to me. At no point that I've noticed has "Hogu's Love" ever explicitly contradicted the stated facts in its own continuity. But nearly every conflict that exists is precisely because the characters refuse to have an honest dialog with each other about what's actually going on. Kang-cheol himself directly points this out when he asks Do-hee to explain the background clearly, and she continues to be vague.
This applies to the more dynamic plot points as well. Take the adoption issue. Once I realized Do-hee wasn't using an agency, alarm bells immediately rang off in my head. Adoption is heavily regulated, in Korea and everywhere else, precisely to prevent scenarios like what Hogu fears at the end of the episode. Four people knew about this, one of whom was a lawyer, and nobody thought to address the possibility?
I get that all these characters are coming into this with their own personal issues that aren't being resolved. All the same, this kind of plotting would rightly be attacked harshly in a more traditional drama, and it would be unfair of me to be nicer to "Hogu's Love" just because the drama's core demographic skews younger. I suppose I can at least be somewhat optimistic- now that the emotional stakes have been clearly defined, maybe the characters will tackle the situation in a smarter way.
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] "Hogu's Love" Episode 10"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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