Hae-young is easy going to the point of excessive strain. She seems capable of taking any bizarre revelation in random stride, yet the minute any of her ideas are challenged, Hae-young lets loose a vicious hook. I like how Do-kyeong reels from her verbal hits for exactly the wrong reasons. While Hae-young is overreacting, she's overreacting to Do-kyeong's overreacting, and Do-kyeong's own hidden motives that he can't admit out of sheer guilt and shame.
And there's good reason for this. We get a closer look at Hae-young's relationship with Tae-jin, and it soon becomes clear that, whatever Hae-young's surface responses were to the breakup, this was in fact a romantic entanglement she was taking one hundred percent seriously. Watching Hae-young be sad is quite discouraging because her personality seems to be at a completely different wavelength when she's not making a self-conscious effort to have fun.
That much is making me worry about the inevitable appearance of the other Hae-young (played by Jeon Hye-bin). "Oh Hae-Young Again" has gone to a very deliberate effort to show that our main leads are not what they seem. The obvious next step is to demonstrate that the other Hae-young also has problems. But I don't really want to see the other Hae-young that way, because it's so much easier to blame her for all the bad things that have happened to Do-kyeong and Hae-young.
Which is of course completely unreasonable. An important thematic thread in "Oh Hae-Young Again" is how Do-kyeong and Hae-young struggle to take responsibility for their own decisions in life without making excuses. Do-kyeong spends most of the early part of this episode being a jerk, then proceeds to spend most of the latter part of this episode atoning for that by taking a more apologetic, if still gruff tone, and appreciating that his own spiteful behavior encourages others to respond with similar hostility in unwarranted situations.
About the only real complaint I have with "Oh Hae-Young Again" is that Hae-young seems oddly victimized. Don't get me wrong- creepy guy behavior is a thing, I appreciate that, but Hae-young strikes me as the kind of woman who can take care of herself decently enough without Do-kyeong having to pop along to rescue her. Although that much is probably overthinking- those scenes are for the benefit of his character, not hers. And goodness knows the drama already spends an excessive amount of time on the subject of Hae-young.
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 3"
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