"Kind Words" struggles with power plays this episode because the characters feel helpless. Trust has been broken and no one knows how to regain it. They try to resurrect relationships and families on the basis of social propriety rather than trust, and it fails them.
Solutions to the spousal cheating issues elude everyone. Eun-jin's father even cries over how hopeless the situation is. Should the couple who has suffered from infidelity split up to preserve the sanity of the damaged party? Or, should the damaged party abide by Korean social code: family and community before the individual. It means staying together with the person one does not trust for the sake of the family. It's such a powerful dilemma, exploring deeply ingrained Confucian precepts played out in modern society.
Not only are the couples fighting their mangled emotions and societal pressure, but they think of their children who would be miserable if they separated. I really love the parenting focus in all of this. The bad decisions made in the past forces people to reckon with the future in very real and difficult ways, and that includes the children who are not as oblivious as parents think.
For example, Mi-kyung and Jae-hak's children may be in America studying, but they are closely connected to their parents and would be devastated if they split, especially with the very conservative, traditional way Jae-hak's mother runs the family. Mi-kyung has a choice to stay within those confines or to Break Away for her own mental health. She even consults a psychologist who is well-portrayed in the show. It advocates psychotherapy as a veritable form of health care, and I appreciate that.
What I appreciate even more is Mi-kyung's character and how much she vacillates. Despite how much mental control she tries to have over her emotions, the fact that she's been betrayed constantly looms over her and causes her to be unpredictable. It's a very realistic scenario.
What is also realistic and as beautiful as it is sad is Min-soo's relationship with Eun-young. They are well-matched and well on their way to falling in love, but his error is probably going to cost him his happy relationship. "Kind Words" is doing a wonderful job of setting up the relationship and building the anticipation for its demise.
I'm constantly surprised by the fact that I like "Kind Words" and how it addresses the difficult issues in marriage and relationships. The show manages to mix levity into the grave situations and explore the psychology of adultery within Korean culture in a tasteful way.
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Kind Words" Episode 11"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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