Episode 19 of "Kind Words" was full of everything that I've been wanting from this show for a while. It had wonderful pacing, quick dialogue and moved our characters forward while still showing that they are damaged creatures. Some of it should've come earlier, but better late than never.
This episode saw a lot of talking, reconnecting and quietly hashing out issues between Mi-kyung and Jae-hak, and Eun-jin and Seong-soo. As married couples they have more at stake with their children and extended families to account for. After eighteen episodes of trials and tribulations, the couples are finally ready to really listen to each other and come to mutual agreements and compromises. This kind of adult interaction also known as "the conversation", is a rare creature in the world of Korean drama. Yelling and dramatic fighting is much preferred. There was quite a bit of that along the way in this show, but these conversations make the bumpy ride worth it.
One of the most poignant moments of the episode is when Mi-kyung and Jae-hak call each other by name. It is often lost in translation, but in the Korean language, social role words and names are often used in place of real names. A person is then defined by that role. A personal name becomes something rarely used and when used, it is something very, very special. At the twilight of their marriage, the use of real names says, "I see you as you. Not as my wife, or, my family's daughter-in-law, or, as my childrens' mother. I see you as a human being, not as the role you play". This is one way that Korean drama, to my American sensibilities, is extremely beautiful. It plays on the extremely nuanced social sensibilities built into the Korean language.
The couple that is still suffering is Min-soo and Eun-young. What is great about them, though, is that they aren't pushing each other and clinging like a couple of mad people to their romance. Yes, Eun-young got a bit dramatic for an episode or two, but she chooses to really listen to Min-soo's reasons for breaking up and respects them, even if they break her heart and make her cry.
This show really is a lesson how to handle relationships and, in particular, relationships gone wrong. It shows couples messing up, fighting, and trying to find their way back to some sort of understanding and happiness. With one episode to go, we'll probably see a lot of resolution and some hopeful plans for the future. I would like to see Jae-hak and Mi-kyung have an amicable divorce to show that such a thing can exist, but it may not happen because of television standards and ratings. I can only hope that there won't be too many bow-tied endings to ruin the really admirable pace of growth and understanding amongst the couples and families.
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 19"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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