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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hogu's Love" Episode 11

2015/03/16 | Permalink

The opening of this episode is in a completely serious mode. Hogu has figured out how Do-hee located the adoptive parents, and promptly calls her out for believing in an obvious scam. It's a fairly strong scene. Do-hee's forced to come to terms with her own hopelessly wishful thinking, and Hogu is attacked for having such a high emotional stake in a situation that really doesn't concern him. Then, in a scene so short you'll miss it by blinking, they get the baby back.

I was kind of expecting the entire episode to be about getting the baby back. The fact that this plot point is resolved so quickly just begs more questions about what Do-hee is supposed to do going forward. And also Hogu does more moping around before finally crawling back again to discover that Do-hee has apparently decided not to act selfishly. And also Ho-kyeong is still stalking Kang-cheol. And also Kang-cheol is still possibly gay.

It's just...I feel like we've been over all of these plot points multiple times already. "Hogu's Love" has an awful lot of drama but little to no resolution. While it's nice for a story to whet viewer interest with questions, after a certain point the lack of explanation just gets to be suffocating. If Kang-cheol's not the father, then why is he willing to accept such a personal stake in this? What is Ho-kyeong even trying to accomplish? How can these characters share so much backstory while knowing so little about each other?

The main problem I have with "Hogu's Love" at this point is that the story's too allegorical. The characters only really make sense as ciphers for abstract concepts. But every strong emotional moment in this drama has impact because of who they are as actual people. I have to simultaneously accept Do-hee as both an impulsive woman who demands obedience while offering nothing return and as a person with a tragic past we shouldn't judge.

The way all of this gets conflated is just really tiring. I'm never sure whether the conflict is supposed to be about character flaws or the external situation. The former points are all right, but the latter ones involve convoluted plot machinations absurd enough that they frequently break the willing suspension of disbelief. The next episode might or might not develop this into coherent detail. The preview does offer some optimism, although I'm certainly not going to hold my breath for it.

Review by William Schwartz

"Hogu's Love" is directed by Pyo Min-soo, written by Yoon Nan-joong and features Park Soon-chun, UEE, Choi Wooshik, Im Seulong, Lee Soo-kyung-I, Jung Won-joong and many more.

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