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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 13


For all the critical subtext of how Kang-doo and Moon-soo are literally creating a new building on the ruins of the one that destroyed their lives, very little of interest actually happens at the construction site. Which makes sense. Nothing out of the ordinary happens at most construction sites. When something out of the ordinary happens, that's typically an indictment that the people who work there are not doing their jobs correctly, and whatever their individual flaws, the construction company in "Just Between Lovers" has been pretty competent.

So we're left with more of the usual healing romance between Kang-doo and Moon-soo. Not only are they better at talking to each other, but Kang-doo and Moon-soo also feel more at ease discussing their relationship with other people. I love their sincere thoughtful answers. Kang-doo especially, back at the beginning of the drama, was so hyper-defensive it's almost surprising to see him at such ease here- but then, we've seen the full progress of his characetr growth.

But I actually ended up taking more notice of minor character conversations. We finally get the big confrontation between Yoon-ok and Dong-cheol. And yikes, we really do get the sense that they used to fight like this all the time and that Dong-cheol started living in his own restaurant because he couldn't deal with it anymore. The way he talks like they're not even married anymore is especially brutal. Contrast that lack of support with the obvious mutual support Kang-doo and Moon-soo feel for each other.

On the other end of the spectrum Kang-doo's sister-like figure Ma-ri (played by Yoon Se-ah) opens up about the time she's spending with Yoo-taek (played by Tae In-ho), the erstwhile tyrant of the construction project. It's an odd relationship to take in broad perspective. While Kang-doo is right that Yoo-taek is not to be trusted, ever since Ma-ri's been spending time with him, Yoo-taek has generally mellowed out, which is the main reason why there hasn't been much drama at the construction site.

Their relationship is inherently shallow. Yoo-taek does have a wife and kid after all. Yet Ma-ri spending time with him is better than the alternative we've already seen. And besides that Yoon-ok and Dong-cheol are in together so deep they can't actually function as a couple anymore. Wedged between those two stories, Kang-doo and Moon-soo are treading a fairly impressive middle ground- all the more reason to root for their continued success.

Review by William Schwartz

"Just Between Lovers" is directed by Kim Jin-won-I, written by Yoo Bo-ra, and features Lee Junho, Won Jin-ah, Lee Ki-woo, and Kang Han-na

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