As I suspected, the Hyeok-sik storyline is done. It is referenced a few times, but mostly all this does is establish the fact that Yoon-hee acted correctly in trying to prevent Hyeon-seok and Min-ho from becoming aware of each other's existence. From an ethical perspective I'm frustrated that the situation is being treated in such black-and-white terms. But from a narrative perspective this turnabout is even worse than that- it firmly establishes that Yoon-hee isn't getting any character growth. A woman who makes a difficult, flawed and albeit correct decision can learn from that experience. A woman who's the martyr in the face of an obvious villain can't.
All this might be more tolerable if this was a better episode overall. Unfortunately most of the other storylines are pretty weak right now too. About the only one I found enjoyable was what happens to Gi-joon and Hwa-ran. The flashback montage was a nice remider of how far they've come. I couldn't help but notice that through the haircut, Hwa-ran made it much easier for herself to be identified by immigration authorities, since they can now easily see her face. This is pertinent and relevant.
It's not particularly funny, though, and that's another big weakness this episode. The kiss was pretty good, but everything else mostly just served to remind me that all this time later I'm still not particularly invested in any of the romantic storylines. And in many cases I've straight up forgotten other important plot points, because until just recently certain issues like money haven't been much of an issue at all.
The entire problem with the cabbage market, for example, is a curious about face toward seriousness that really doesn't work that well mostly because none of the characters seem to understand how markets work. In the first place you try to sell high- selling when the market is at its worst is exactly the wrong way to go about it. In the second place, unless you're at a farmer's market, you sell to stores. You don't do it personally.
The issue with the cabbages also brings up another question- how did a gang of seven people manage to dig up an entire cabbage patch without noticing the money? Is the money located in a different cabbage patch? Or did writer Kim Ki-ho just forget that plot element because it wasn't directly relevant this episode? Relevancy is getting to be a serious problem as "Modern Farmer" nears completion. While there's plenty of conflict, there's almost no real tension.
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] "Modern Farmer" Episode 17"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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