I never would have thought, during the early episodes of "Night Light", that I-kyeong was going to emerge as the most sympathetic character. The thing is, she's already won. I-kyeong is just making normal business deals now. Yet Se-jin and Gun-woo still hover in the background wanting to bring her down for...some reason. Se-jin's attempts at backroom deals here are a lot shadier than anything I-kyeong has done in recent memory, so it's hard to want her to succeed.
What's really weird is that I-kyeong herself seems to want Se-jin to succeed. This isn't another one of her arcane tests, it's just that I-kyeong kind of likes Se-jin and doesn't especially want to completely destroy the younger woman on the march to power. Se-jin really doesn't make this easy though. While I can kind of get why Gun-woo is still trying to go after I-kyeong, Se-jin's complete lack of a stake in the fight just makes me wonder time and again why she bothers.
Just look at Tak, following her around like a lost puppy dog. Technically he's supposed to be on stakeout but no one in this drama is even pretending like I-kyeong and Se-jin are in a genuinely antagonistic position. If narrative conflict isn't the ticket here, then logically interpersonal conflict should be in charge. Yet time and again writer Han Ji-hoon fails to deliver on that front, apparently incapable of coming up with dialog about anything except dry business transactions.
Even these might be palatable except they never go anywhere. The high-powered business executives just keep moving around business deals in arbitrary fashion that will presumably somehow make them more money in ways that are not immediately obvious. A late kidnapping is exciting, not because there's any point to it, but simply because it is that all too rare moment in "Night Light" where something actually happens and characters are subsequently forced to explain the reasons behind their often arbitrary actions.
More than anything else I can't figure out why it takes so long for so little to happen. By the end Se-jin has finally unraveled the mystery behind I-kyeong's secret weakness. Great. So now what? Especially when we consider that inherently self-defeating nature of Se-jin's discovery, it's really hard to figure out what angle this could possibly work with. Even I-kyeong riding off with Se-jin into the sunset would be a disappointment at this point because geez, just let the poor woman run a successful multinational corporation already.
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 17"
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