[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Name" Episode 5

Last time on "My Name" Ji-woo and Pil-do had both been rather clumsily captured by Kang-jae. This would seem to be bad news for the cops, as Kang-jae is a mentally unhinged drug lord with good reason to just want to kill Ji-woo outright. Lucky for them, Kang-jae instead decides to just shove them into a convoluted death trap and leave. The crunching machine looks intimidating enough, and makes for a stylish setpiece.


Yet the question is begged. Are any of the characters in this show competent? Ji-woo, at least, has the excuse of a difficult task. She has to work both sides after all. But as for Moo-jin himself, the very fact that he was outsmarted by Kang-jae at all calls his entire reputation into question. What good is having an established gang if one disgruntled employee with bad people skills can just summon his own gang out of the ether?

Even the climax, with Kang-jae being led into a trap, isn't exactly reassuring. Moo-jin actually allows himself to be goaded into a fist fight with Kang-jae, which seems like a bad idea since Kang-jae's only actual established skill is being good at fist fights, while Moo-jin has been working a leadership role for years at this point. I am, of course, overthinking all of this. The point of the climax is to have a dramatic battle at a construction site, not get into the finer points of organized criminal business management.

A little worldbuilding goes a long way when making a serial television show as opposed to a movie. Very little of the plotting in "My Name" is actually important. Most of it is pretty redundant. We spend an inordinate amount of time watching characters watch other characters trying to guess what they're going to do. This is especially obvious with Ji-woo, who's so fully an observer in everything that happens her participating in the climax at all comes off as a plot twist, despite Ji-woo being the main character.

"My Name" does make for pretty easy watching if you're looking for something to put on a screen while doing another task. The plot is so straightforward and even predictable it's easy to fill in the blanks if you're missing a scene or two, and the big setpieces are distinct enough to draw attention as necessary. In this way, "My Name" has continued to maintain third place in the international Netflix leaderboard.

Review by William Schwartz


"My Name" is directed by Kim Jin-min-I, written by Kim Ba-da, and features Han So-hee, Park Hee-soon, Kim Sang-ho, Ahn Bo-hyun, Lee Hak-joo, Chang Ryul. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2021/10/15, Fri on Netflix.

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