I've been wondering, who was Sin-woo's teacher in the original timeline? What happened to that guy? Why didn't he show up this time to take his job? It's a question that has become increasingly relevant as Sin-woo's memories differ from events in the new timeline. Although the bigger surprise is how much events don't change, or how they change in ways just minor enough that Sin-woo still mostly correctly guesses what has happened, save for a few minor details.
I find it funny, for example, that Sin-woo remembers about the huge smoking incident only after it has happened. In all fairness Sin-woo probably just forgot about that until it became relevant. Although really, meeting Ji-soo in the school after hours was a dumb idea however we look at it. And I'm still struggling to figure out how they accidentally got trapped. It seems like that wasn't even the fault of the fire, just a failure on both of their parts to remember when the building closes.
The storyline with the younger Sin-woo is far more streamlined. It's time like this I kind of wish that the younger Sin-woo was the perspective character, and the whole time travel aspect of the story was just a last minute plot twist. More than the irony of the younger Sin-woo being jealous of his older self, I like how the younger Sin-woo simply mistrusts his teacher on general jealous principle, no matter how much the older man makes a point of being a decent guy.
What's a lot odder than the main plot here, though, is the way Sin-woo abruptly decides at the end to just leave, his job apparently having been finished. If I didn't know better I'd think "Longing Heart" was wrapping up completely, when this is actually just the halfway point. Also, a lot of fairly fundamental storybuilding points haven't even been discussed yet, like what the whole deal is with that ominous funeral where everything goes wrong.
My main issue with this episode is that its too transparently plot-oriented. Sin-woo and Ji-soo meet up at night, they get stuck, and eventually the younger Sin-woo is blackmailed. There's no character development anywhere. We already knew that Sboth Sin-woos mean well and that Ji-soo is, for unclear reasons, emotionally needy. But at the end of this episode we have no better understanding of how they got that way than we did at the end of the last one.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Longing Heart" Episode 4"
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