It's hard to take Hye-rim and Soo-hyeon's lovey dovey scenes all that seriously considering that Soo-hyeon is still conducting his mostly unscientific experiment. Why he's even bothering with that pretense at that point isn't clear- I'm pretty sure that for all the problems uncovered so far, taking an MRI test at the subject's demand seems pretty useless. This much is especially true considering that Hye-rim obviously has the ability to manipulate the results for whatever arbitrary outcome she wants.
With this kind of backdrop there really isn't anywhere for "Madame Antoine" to go except for a very slow approach toward Hye-rim inevitably figuring out what's really going on. For this reason all there really is to enjoy in "Madame Antoine" at the moment are the little flourishes. I like the little flourishes. Hye-rim's mythology surrounding Marie Antoinette is fascinating, and I never get tired of her mystical pronunciation of travel guide book French as if it is somehow relevant to whatever the request is.
Yet this mythology is not given a great deal of depth. Even the psychological aspects of "Madame Antoine" aren't explored with much due rigor. I was irritated to find that the current psychological patient is a child who...acts like a child, and apparently this is grounds for some sort of psychological trauma. I mean really. Every Korean Church I've ever seen has daycare during the service precisely to avoid this kind of situation from coming up. Although admittedly I've never been to a Catholic Church, I rather doubt that policy differs much in that regard there.
But as usual there's little focus in the case, and more on the generic romantic adventures between the three main couples, as we slowly build up to all three budding relationships collapsing because of the big lie that is the experiment finally being exposed. It's troublesome that this far into the drama, I still can't come up with very many compelling reasons for why any of these couples should stay couples. Given how the foundation of all these relationships is a lie, that doesn't leave a whole lot of options.
This is especially true in the case of Hye-rim and Soo-hyeon, because that lie is rather mean-spirited. What's more, Soo-hyeon has made such a strong point of aggressively furthering lies that I don't see how Soo-hyeon could plausibly recant. The cute moments with the child patient are the closest we get to humanization but after the initial scenes we never even see this kid so..."Madame Antoine" is struggling for purpose.
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] "Madame Antoine" Episode 9"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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