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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Miss Korea" Episode 12

2014/01/31 | Permalink

The "Miss Korea" competition is underway and trust is no where to be found as allegiances and alliances break and change. Despite the intensity of life at the training camp, the girls, especially Ji-young, find things to make them smile. In this social war-like situation, it's a good lesson to impart.  

In the "Miss Korea" competition, these girls are never given a moments respite from the tension. They share rooms with their competitors and are in constant fear of ridicule and sabotage. They prepare performances and train with those same women. Meanwhile, their handlers are bribing, cajoling and trying to work the system in every possible way in order to win crowns, money, and fame. This is the cruel world Ji-young entered and this is where we watch her fight for a future she never thought she deserved. Her character is such an uplifting one. She changed from an aimless petal on the wind to a rooted tree, determined to change her own future. Part of that is the role that Hyung-joon is playing in her life, how he supports her and also, how he is changing because of her. That is the couple I wanted to see from the beginning.

I'm also glad to see that the IMF crisis still has a strong grip on the show, especially on the "Miss Korea" competition. Competitors and their handlers are desperate for money to fund dresses and bribery attempts. Money to fund the competition is as much of a stressor as anything else. One salon owner even uses her house as collateral to fund her contestants sint in the competition. That kind of desperation is one of the scariest parts of "Miss Korea" - people are willing to give anything to achieve the fame, money and influence provided by the crown.

What I love about Ji-young, however, is that despite her desire to win, she still retains her humanity. She defends herself against the bullies, she is kind to Jae-hee just because Ji-young is a kind person. She enjoys the support of the Vivi Cosmetics team that has rallied behind her and revels in the love she feels for Hyung-joon. In times of strife, this is the kind of stuff that needs to happen, and Ji-young shows us that. She shows the embittered Jae-hee that, and I think it will make Jae-hee a true competitor for Ji-young, not just a petty, prank-pulling one like many of the other girls.

Hyung-joon's well-intentioned separation from Ji-young is annoying, but luckily, Ji-young doesn't buy his game and his idiocy isn't left to fester for long. It's a nice change of pace as the character development has been ridiculously slow throughout the first half of the drama. Lee Yoon also saw a bit of development this episode as well, which was long in coming and short in delivery. He is selfish, and seems to be in love with idea of Ji-young rather than actually liking her. He manipulates everything around her to get his way, and personally, I don't think that quite says "I love you". But his confession plus his deception of Hyung-joon make him interesting, and that I can run with. He just needs more screen time and more to do than mope and throw money and words around.

"Miss Korea" is finally starting to become interesting. It always had lovely chemistry in the cast, but everything else was too slow-moving and much too indulgent. Now it's found it's stride and that's making me enjoy it much more.

Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy

Follow on Twitter @Raine0211

"Miss Korea" is directed by Kwon Seok-jang, written by Seo Sook-hyang and features Lee Sun-kyun, Lee Yeon-hee, Jo Sang-ki and Lee Mi-sook.


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