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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 10

2016/02/20 | 1587 views | Permalink

Having finally obtained concrete information on Soo-hyeon's experiment, Hye-rim has to decide whether to attack quickly or slowly. Once she's made that decision, we're then treated to more of the usual doubting about whether Soo-hyeon is really that bad a guy or if there are some emotional truths mixed in with all the logical lies. This leads up to a cliffhanger where Hye-rim is surprised to learn information I thought she already knew, the next follow-up stage being more wackiness.

For me the wackiness at this point feels fairly forced. There's genuine malice behind most of Hye-rim's dialogue this episode, and the anger in general just makes me think that a legitimate happy ending here isn't really plausible. Hye-rim even snaps out at her younger sister in lieu of a more deserving target, and the resulting furious argument comes off as rather beyond the pale. There was definitely some tension between the sisters, but really this much?

The plot point isn't necessarily a bad one, but it's indicative of the greater problem "Madame Antoine" has with proper build-up. Until now we haven't had a clear enough portrait of either Hye-rim or Yoo-rim to know what their familial issues were, which is why their fights here feel like something coming from nowhere. The notion that Yoo-rim is unattractive to men also seems a little silly, although I could see how being compared to Hye-rim all the time might create that effect.

At least the current patient is well-integrated to the story. Not literally, of course- the clinic's objectives have never been all that well defined. Thematically, though, it's easy to see sibling rivalry as a constant recurring contributor to dysfunctional relationships, because like it or not, siblings do compare themselves to one another. There's always a sort of superiority-inferiority dynamic going on simply because of the age difference, and this can easily manifest in a way that's tremendously unfair to all involved parties.

Unfortunately this psychological issue has pretty much nothing to do with the main romantic conflict between Soo-hyeon and Hye-rim, which is why I'm not expecting this backstory to be referenced again. Really, if this backstory was actually important in any meaningful way, we would have gotten hints about it way earlier than this. What's more, there would also be fewer cute jokes involving character traits like Ji-ho's literal-mindedness. I mean sheesh, the guy's so dorky at points it's a wonder any woman is interested in him romantically at all.

Review by William Schwartz

"Madame Antoine" is directed by Kim Yoon-cheol, written by Hong Jin-ah and features Han Ye-seul, Sung Joon and Jeong Jinwoon

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