Jin-sang (played by Kim Ji-suk) is Do-kyeong's best friend, and symbolic of the greatest flaw in the love story between Do-kyeong and Hae-young. The foundation of their romance is a misunderstanding by Jin-sang that provoked an unnecessary and vindictive move on Do-kyeong's part, which neither Jin-sang nor Do-kyeong have been able to satisfactorily resolve. It's been easy to minimize that incident up until now. But with what we now know about Do-kyeong's mother Ji-ya (played by Nam Gi-ae), long-term psychological issues are becoming harder to ignore.
Now doesn't that feel out of place. The entire first portion of this episode is just about beautiful love- not even romantic love. Hae-young has to ask a favor of her parents and rather than question the context at all the whole family gets right to work. Deok-hee reminds me more and more of her daughter in that a prickly personality mostly just serves to hide a genuine passion and optimism that's well balanced by her husband Gyeong-soo (played by Lee Han-wi), a man whose passivity in everything except a crisis situation also reminds me of Do-kyeong.
But there are still dark sides to this. Note how when Do-kyeong does something really nice for his sound effects team, he doesn't even smile or act happy. At first this seems cute and very much in character. Yet Do-kyeong being so prideful he won't act nice- that's a problem. Do-kyeong can't even appreciate when his vision explicitly tells him that his relationship with Hae-young is in serious danger.
While Hae-young also has pride, it does help that her pride deals in more easily understood aggravations. By this point it's all too clear that the other Hae-young is more a state of mind than she is a real person. The poor woman only has a few scenes in this episode, and in one of them she somewhat incredibly says something that can only possibly be interpreted as a compliment to Hae-young proper.
It really is impressive how well every little facet of "Oh Hae-Young Again" is so well interconnected. Every single crippling insecurity appears to be based on largely inaccurate impressions created by or about other people. Which brings me back to Jin-sang. It's nice that he's trying to be a good friend, since Do-kyeong's reticence will only do more damage the longer he refuses to talk. But his plan still ends up being pretty dumb, and only an improvement over Ji-ya's attitude in that Jin-sang (as well as most of the other characters) are not actively being malicious.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Oh Hae-Young Again" Episode 7"
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