Once again, "Night Light" delivers on the goods with...more elongated scenes of I-kyeong discussing business plans with characters who at this point are only really borderline antagonistic. Even when the story moves to a crisis involving the medical security of a hospitalized old man, it's really hard to feel sorry for anyone. I-kyeong doesn't play nice, but she does play fair. Why do Se-jin and Gun-woo feel compelled to interfere with that, just because they're not into the whole cutthroat businessperson jam?
The inability of "Night Light" to answer questions like this as relates to motivation is the drama's most glaring flaw. We now know what makes I-kyeong tick, and this has completely failed to add any kind of interesting dynamic to her actions. If anything, it has made I-kyeong more boring as a character. Now that we know she wants mere remarkable success in the business world, well, good on her, but why should anyone care?
It's times like this that the lack of subplots also wears me down, because there just isn't anything to serve as a useful distraction. Watching these characters interact again and again I'm struck by how none of them seem to have lives in any meaningful sense of the word. Sure, Se-jin meets up with her normal friends everyone once in awhile. For the most part, though, she's totally dedicated to moving against I-kyeong for the sake of what, exactly? Friendship? Sisterly love?
I-kyeong does admittedly reciprocate somewhat in that she's never all that mad at Se-jin and Gun-woo's meddling. That's one of her more endearing qualities, really. I-kyeong never takes anything all that personally. She's fine with just minimizing the damage. Considering that Se-jin and Gun-woo's ultimate accomplishment here doesn't even really do that much except work for sentimental value, it makes sense for I-kyeong to just shrug her shoulders and accept the outcome rather than fight it.
The overall tone in "Night Light" is insanely passive-aggressive. This would work better if there was some sort of melodramatic story arc, or of there were more obvious long-term tactical considerations behind the actions of the main characters. But the production team consistently, inexplicitly, fails to actually do much of anything with the premise here. I don't know what failure is supposed to look like for Se-jin and Gun-woo because I don't even have a clue what it is they think they're trying to accomplish.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 15"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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