As "Kind Words" nears its end, the journey becomes rickety. It feels like the production team is grasping at straws to extend the strife when it really doesn't need to. "Kind Words" is chock full of wonderful material, solid characters and tough situations to explore. This is where fighting for ratings really hurts a show. It starts working for the shock factor (higher ratings) rather than doing what would be organic on the parts of the characters and the plot progression. The insane emotional fluctuations this episode bumped "Kind Words" up a whole percentage point from 9.9% (20th place) to 10.9% (11th place) on the AGB Nielsen.
The biggest character to take a hit because of the need to garner viewer interest is Mi-kyung. She was well on her way to growing and learning from her broken marriage. Instead, she has regressed into a wallowing mess who spews moral soliloquies rather than being proactive, as her character trajectory promised she would become. Her nagging makes the story drag.
Jae-hak and Seong-soo, on the other hand, are refreshingly frank compared to their earlier idiocies. They are both realizing their roles in their broken marriages and taking responsibility for them. The catalyst for realization is the pain their wives are suffering. Eun-jin is at rock bottom, ready to sacrifice herself for Eun-young's happiness. Seong-soo takes it upon himself to steer her clear of that and that selfless gesture is what rounds out his humanity. Jae-hak is doing something similar for Mi-kyung because he is letting her go and letting her be herself, not a woman who defines herself by her role in the family. These men needed to see their effects on their women. It would've been better had they done it much sooner, but better late than never. Now we can watch them improve: it makes for great drama.
Throughout the drama all the actors have been solid. Park Seo-joon and Han Groo have been particular standouts, but the others are just as solid. This later episodes really show Lee Sang-woo as Kim Seong-soo. He has the finesse to pull off the variations of pain that Seong-soo experiences: tained with ego, distress, empathy, fatherly devotion. It's fantastic and makes me appreciate him more as an actor now than I did when he was younger.
There is an interesting relationship between Jae-hak's mother and Mi-kyeong's friend Anna (Choi Hwa-jung). Anna is frank and open and won't let Jae-hak's mother push her around like she does Mi-kyeong. The odd couple find each other endearing and the relationship would work better in context if it changed how Jae-hak's mother treated Mi-kyeong. Instead, the changes focus on the lonely mother finding friendship, which is good and well, but she still treats Mi-kyeong like the hired help.
What is wonderful about these later episodes where the couples are falling apart is that their parents step in and support them. Eun-jin's is absolutely wonderful as he doles out his calm wisdom and Jae-kyung's mother has her good moments as well with Jae-kyung.
One thing that needs to stop is the horribly awkward cliffhangers. The episode will end on an awkward meeting or in the middle of a conversation and it leaves me hanging, but in a good way. In the way that makes me want to walk away rather than find out what comes next.
The next episodes are preempted by the Olympics so we have to wait to see if the quality of the show stabilizes.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Kind Words" Episode 18 "
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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