While the literal plot is I-kyeong educating Se-jin on the finer points of what exactly is this concept we call "money", metaphorically, there's a frequently educational tinge to the presentation of "Night Light". Writer Han Ji-hoon seems to be speaking to us more than he is telling a story- and the lessons are valuable. Time and again we see that what makes the rich people in this drama powerful is precisely that they do not throw their weight around unless they absolutely have to.
Se-jin has talent. She has spunk. Most importantly, Se-jin is very good at acting smart in a horrific crisis situation, even as she looks terrified the entire time. But without a proper grasp of future planning, Se-jin can never be as powerful and I-kyeong. And I-kyeong, to her credit, wants a powerful, confident Se-jin on her side. Because whatever I-kyeong's plan is, it requires allies at the utmost level of competence.
While there's not much movement on overall plot yet, "Night Light" does manage to look pretty cool as it goes into these various moral lessons. Take all the scenes related to the truck. Se-jin pretends to be meeker than she really is in order to search for information, and when the situation escalates into a physical confrontation, Se-jin just as easily switches gears to playing keepaway. However terrified Se-jin may be, she never shuts down all the way.
"Night Light" is the same sexy powerful woman drama it was for the first two episodes, and I do hope this is a tone that never falters. The aggressive, borderline psychotic tone I-kyeong takes while always looking totally cool and in control is...well, that's the kind of attitude that takes a person far in the corporate world. This isn't lean in feminism. I-kyeong does not ask for favors. I-kyeong takes them, by force, because no one likes her that much and this is not going to change just because she smiles more often.
But the same flaws are also present- "Night Light" continues to prioritize being slick and cool over building up a convincing overarching story. While I can see how the scenes work in isolation when it comes to character development, vagueness when it comes to the larger plot mkes "Night Light" difficult to assess in broad perspective. Still, piecemeal steps are being made to explain the background forces in I-kyeong's life, so we are getting there.
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] "Night Light" Episode 3"
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