Na-hee (played by Jo Seung-hee) is Sin-woo's fellow teacher. Naturally, Sin-woo remembers Na-hee as a teacher from high school, and so has always been creeped out by the obvious romantic pretensions Na-hee has toward him now in adult form. I rather like this subplot, because it's the most explicit example we have of how Sin-woo's memories of people from high school are different from what these people were actually like. As Sin-woo's teacher, Na-hee had inherent dignity. As Sin-woo's colleague, she has almost none.
Also note the extent to which Na-hee rationalizes. When Sin-woo tries to talk her out of the crush, he acts under the obviously incorrect assumption that Na-hee's compliments were actually sincere, as opposed to thinly veiled attempts to make him like her more. Considering that Na-hee's alternate timeline love interest is played by someone as homely as Ko Kyu-pil, this should not come as a surprise to him.
Nor should it come as a surprise to the older Sin-woo that Ji-soo's secret crush is on him- the older version, not the younger one who's making an active effort to be her friend. Time travel elements notwithstanding, I rather like how Sin-woo's main problems tend to be problems that would be faced by most new teachers. This helps keep the "Longing Heart" grounded in reality, and maintains Sin-woo's likability as a protagonist.
The younger Sin-woo part of the story is also quite strong on its own even without the older Sin-woo's interference. We can see that both Sin-woos are smart, decent young men. Yet they also have huge blind spots that make it difficult for them to pursue what they really want. The younger Sin-woo concludes that his happiness and Ji-soo's happiness must be mutually exclusive. Like the older Sin-woo, he does this by taking Ji-soo's comments at literal face value.
Of course, the obvious irony there is that if the younger Sin-woo was acting more self-interested, and trying to use Ji-soo's confidence in him for personal advantage, then he would just come off like a little jerk. That the older Sin-woo is trying to encourage the younger Sin-woo to act more selfishly, well, that's just the more subtle irony. But going by the preview, it looks like both Sin-woos are going to have to experience a more serious tragedy before they can solve the conundrum of all this teen romance drama
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Longing Heart" Episode 3"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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