Right away "Oh Hae-Young Again" gets on my good side by reminding me just what makes all its characters so charming. There's Hae-young with her optimism, Hoon and Anna with their exuberance, Soo-kyeong with her garbled French, Jin-sang with his paralyzed indecision, and Do-kyeong with his power to surprise the surpriser. I really do love the cast in "Oh Hae-Young Again". They all bring genuine charm to their characters, and this works to elevate roles that in the hands of a lesser performer would have been forgettable.
But one point is a major worry- the pacing. While "Oh Hae-Young Again" has been extended to eighteen episodes, I honestly have trouble seeing how there's even enough material left for one. We're given the final crucial piece of context that behind Do-kyeong's life-threatening vision, and it's distressing to think that of all Do-kyeong's personality traits, his inability to leave a situation alone may be what ends up getting him killed. He really just does not have much sense in that department.
Admittedly, if Do-kyeong did have sense in that department, he may not even be with Hae-young at all right now. Alas their relationship is threatened here by a dynamic which does make sense but which ultimately does not impress me. A decent romance can only be threatened by so many factors before it descends into self-parody, although I suppose this episode does at least explain why Hae-young could not be bothered to make a simple phone call last episode.
Elsewhere "Oh Hae-Young Again" definitely improves on itself. Soo-kyeong's attitude is much more nuanced. We see more of that self-hating depressive bite that gives her character energy. I think Soo-kyeong realizes, on some level, that simply giving up on Jin-sang is a bad idea, yet at the same time she needs to be realistic with her options. A pregnant woman in her forties really doesn't have the luxury of being romantic.
Unfortunately the preview gives an indication that this subplot, almost perfectly described in its big climactic moment where Jin-sang struggles to see if he can complete Soo-kyeong's request, will be stretched out in the extra episodes just like everything else is going to have to be. It's all rather disappointing. So much of "Oh Hae-Young Again" is so very funny- Jin-sang's imagination sequence is absolutely fantastic. But without proper context, it's easy to see how the drama can wear out its welcome sooner rather than later.
Review by William Schwartz
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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] "Oh Hae-Young Again" Episode 15"
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