Up until now the characters in this drama have been almost entirely reactive. This isn't a complaint- just a sort of odd observation considering who these people are. Min-Joon has superpowers, and could choose to do practically anything- he just doesn't want to. Meanwhile, Song-I is on the top of the world as far as her career goes- yet for most of this episode she's reduced to hiding out in Min-Joon's apartment rather than going out and facing her problems.
Emotionally speaking, we get a picture of just how fragile Song-I is as she lists off a proud accomplishment to Min-Joon, and Min-Joon is later on forced to try and shield her from the worst of how her...well...lack of reaction has created a whole new host of issues. Even though our lead characters act passive mainly as a defensive gesture, this episode makes it quite clear that this isn't actually helpful. There's only so much mileage that can be gotten out of trying to prevent other people from doing stuff.
Active behavior likewise has simialr pratfalls. The police investigation into Min-Joon's mysterious presence on the boat just keeps uncovering more and more evidence. Ironically, it's Min-Joon's wavering that's causing him so much trouble here. If he had resolved to protect Song-I from the get-go, he could have cleaned up this entire plotline at no risk to himself. But because he's always making last-minute emotional decisions, Min-Joon keeps making mistakes.
Our lead characters aren't the only ones who have fallen into this trap. Pretty much everyone aside from the police and Lee Jae-Kyoung (played by Shin Sung-rok) are taking a reactive role with the people around them, and this goes about as well as can be expected. A brief glimpse of the Lee brothers' parents gives the clear impression that these two have not had the best instruction in how to operate in life.
This level of passivity in a storyline would normally be a negative- an indication of lazy writing. What makes "My Love from the Star" different is that the character conflicts are quite directly a manifestation of an unwillingness to take charge of their own destiny. It also helps that the plot clearly moved forward even without the help of the so-called main characters, emphasizing that they can't hide from these problems forever. Or, as the case seems likely to be with Min-Joon, those few weeks he needs to stay free lest he be left behind once again.
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] "My Love from the Star" Episode 5"
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