To date, the obvious explanation for Do-hee's reckless decision to bring a child into the world is that she just wanted a salve for her own loneliness. Hogu inadvertently discovers here that her motivation is actually quite different- and even more sad. Up until now I thought that Do-hee at least understood she was unhappy, but the poor woman hasn't even figured out that much. No wonder the episode ends with Hogu's pathetic sobbing.
Relatively little time is actually spent focusing on Do-hee's painful childbirth- though what we do see is definitely enough to inspire pity in the woman. Which bizarrely enough is, I think, the main reason why Hogu won't give up on her. The other women in his life have been selfish, but more importantly, they didn't need him. Do-hee's insane determination to go through all of this alone is, until Hogu's epiphany, completely inexplicable. In the meantime, though, he can't give up on her. Hogu can't abandon a friend.
While the obvious emotional climax is the explanation for Do-hee's life, the snippets we get of the other three characters may well be equally important. Take Hogu's work as a penciller, in the first place. Hogu can make good work, but more importantly, he has received genuine, objective evaluation for quite some time. The weird parody flashback, while funny in its bizarre staging, also aptly explains why Hogu doesn't feel the need to prostrate himself for work. Hogu knows what he can do.
As for Ho-kyeong, she can put men in their place- a prospect the mildly psychotic woman clearly relishes. And Kang-cheol, well, he knows how to look like a winner. For these two, it's mainly the process that matters. While these goals aren't exactly noble, they're definitely achievable. Yet as we see here, Do-hee can't be satisfied with anything this simple. That's what makes the ending here feel so tragic. If Hogu wasn't in the picture, I'd be genuinely scared for the baby's welfare.
"Hogu's Love" continues, again and again, to fire on all marks. In just two episodes the drama has totally flipped everything we thought we knew about Do-hee on its head, while still being perfectly consistent with everything we've seen of the woman so far. Hogu really is a champ- in his mind, Do-hee is worth fighting for, not because she's a star, but because Do-hee needs the help, whether she's willing to admit it or not. And there's jokes too? Geez, I genuinely have no idea how the drama's able to do this.
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 4"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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