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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 14

2018/01/23 | 712 views | Permalink

Remember back in the early episodes of the drama, how the flashbacks to the building collapse always came off as completely terrifying no matter how many times we saw it and knew how they were going to end? The flashbacks we get now have a very different emotional effect, even though the scenes themselves are practically difficult. They now take place in the context of Kang-doo and Moon-soo talking to each other, rather than keeping the bad memories to themselves. As a result, the nightmares are far more bearable.

All in all this is a very elegant metaphor for the recovery process from trauma. Kang-doo's martyr complex is mostly gone. Hearing Moon-soo air out her own deep, dark thoughts regarding what happened, and how she feels guilty about that...it makes Kang-doo less scared. And at the end of the day, that's the real reason Kang-doo was acting out. Kang-doo was always scared, and felt that whatever miserable fate he ran into at the end of the day was well-deserved.

But here, Kang-doo's greatest fear comes true- yet he does not run away from that, or let Moon-soo run away either. Kang-doo doesn't even try to justify what he did. Instead, Kang-doo speaks from the heart. He gives Moon-soo a hug. Then, Kang-doo tells Moon-soo that he loves her. I don't think he's ever said that before. For Kang-doo, that is a very scary thing to do, and Moon-soo knows that. This is how Kang-doo acts brave in an emergency, without hurting himself.

Of course, the greatest emergency is yet to come- although this episode doesn't really get into that. Instead we get a weak final arc to the strained relationship between Joo-won and Yoo-jin (played by Kang Han-na). It's not an actual relationship or anything, which is why i've struggled to discuss Yoo-jin much even though she's technically the second lead. Joo-won and Yoo-jin are really bad at talking to other people, and especially each other.

It's not a massive personal defect or anything, they're just sort of permanently closed off emotionally, and that's sad. Some sense of vulnerability is necessary to create meaningful trust in a relationship. That's how Wan-jin, after all, was able to have a fairly convincing romance mostly off-screen. As a cripple, Wan-jin is always inherently vulnerable. But lucky for Wan-jin she's just a physical cripple- emotional crippling on top of that would just be too much.

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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