The final episode of "Magic School" is mostly just an extended epilogue. This would not normally be so remarkable, save for the lack of a climax to any of the storylines in the three episodes preceding it. The closest we get is when Na-ra finally puts on the big romantic magic show for Yoo-ri, the conclusion to which is not in doubt since by that point Yoo-ri had given us an exasperated "what do I have to do to get this guy to make a pass at me?" look.
No joke, Jay resolves the whole issue with performance contracts and his brother's disappearance by...not showing up for the big magic trick at all and just disappearing himself. Granted, that whole plotline had already gotten pretty silly, what with the sinister evidence being used to inaccurately paint Jay as a big meanie. That the camera footage stops right before dialog that makes Jay look more sympathetic pops up is a naturally convenient scripting coincidence.
But in this case there's not even any purpose to the contrivance because Jay does not have a character arc that needs contrivances. None of the characters do, which is why it's so glaring that so many conflicts of imminent separation for ambitious career reasons are cut off because they didn't feel like going anyway. This just makes those characters look flippant. Even Joon's dramatic moment lacks weight, simply because he never had that many hospital scenes in the first place.
The main big picture issue I have trouble with is just how weak the magic is. I mean, no, we can hardly expect Na-ra to put on an expert show when he had (I presume) only been taking magic classes for a few weeks. But the tricks we see are so amateurish it's a little insulting that director Kim Do-won-I filmed them in the first place. There's not even any tension about whether Na-ra will do them correctly, because we've never seem him struggle with magic.
That's overall the main problem with "Magic School"- it's just too easy. No one has to put any serious effort in to get the stuff that they want, so the payoffs are inherently unrewarding. There's more backstory than there is legitimate conflict, let alone resolution, so the whole production just feels so badly limited by its own lack of proper development. The occassional funny joke is the only thing that redeems "Magic School", and there just aren't enough of them.
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] "Magic School" Episodes 13-16 Final"
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