Soo-hyeon's insistence on rationalizing all of his actions in context of the experiment is seeming less like anything resembling a pretense of science and more a weird psychological fixation. He gives Hye-rim a major passionate kiss, and when she finallys recovers enough of her senses to fight him off, right away Soo-hyeon is back in defensive mode. That means more lying, mixed in with barely enough truth to be persuasive in the face of of Hye-rim's immediate inquisition.
What makes the experimental framing device especially puzzling in this context is that Soo-hyeon starts seriously thinking about his own psychological issues centering around an amusement park. Unfortunately that entire plot point ends up being a bit of a dead end, because "Madame Antoine" leaves the amusement park almost as soon as the story moves there, leaving us with no real new information about Soo-hyeon.
The plot in "Madame Antoine" is frequently in the awkward place of not being able to make much forward progress because the main interesting parts of the production are its most generic ones. By contrast, the main unique aspect of the story, the psychological elements, are frequently underutilized and not well connected to each other. We never consider how Soo-hyeon the doctor compares to Soo-hyeon the patient, which is a shame because Soo-hyeon himself obviously needs to think in these terms.
There's just not much in the way of parallels. Take the one-off case this episode. It's pretty much a stripped-down version of the later plot in "Hyde, Jekyll and I" from last year. For this reason the resolution comes off as very unsatisfying, since I can easily see that it's possible to build more depth and commentary off of this story, but all of the temporary psychological cases suffer from the fact that they end before much of anything has happened, such that it's impossible to analyze them on a level except for the most superfluous.
That's the main issue "Madame Antoine" suffers from right now is that there doesn't seem to be any real ambition. Worse, the production team actually seems to acknowledge these issues, but is at a complete loss as to how the story should be moved forward. The best they can do is establish certain basic facts, like how Seung-chan and Ji-ho are not credible rivals, and force them to acknowledge that much. Now if only the characters could admit the experiment has long since lost any scientific credibility, then maybe the romance between Soo-hyeon and Hye-rim could progress more organically.
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.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 8"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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