While the other Hae-young has received a great deal of sympathetic characterization as of late, it's easy to lose sight of one important fact. The main Hae-young isn't aware of any of this. She hasn't been present for the scenes which explain the other Hae-young's personal issues. In many ways Hae-young is still a character in a completely different drama, the one several episodes back where the other Hae-young seemed like an obvious villain in spite of how unfailingly nice she acts in every possible circumstance.
And of course the catalyst for Hae-young's very tonally dissonant confrontation with the other Hae-young naturally involves booze. I rather like the way "Oh Hae-Young Again" portrays alcohol use. While the substance is not demonized outright, the way it lowers inhibitions is clearly treated as bad. People have inhibitions for a reason. What's more, some things are better said sober. While we know how Hae-young's life was made miserable by the other Hae-young, the other Hae Young still doesn't have a clue.
Elsewhere, there's finally a firm commitment to the Soo-kyeong/Jin-sang romance, which has several appealing foundatons. Jin-sang is one of the few men not frightened by Soo-kyeong. They enable each other's poor decisions. They both speak French. I have no idea whether they do so competently but it is pretty funny to watch, which for me is the big highlight of these two as a pair. While alone, they're borderline unlikable, together, Soo-kyeong and Jin-sang are on almost the same wavelength.
Which seems to be the main philosophical take "Oh Hae-Young Again" has writ large when it comes to romance. Tae-jin has seemed pretty sympathetic up until now. But when he actually explains his actions, they sound really stupid. It's hearing the words said out loud that has this effect. While I can see the logic behind the reasoning, if Tae-jin had bounced this idea off of anyone else they would have just told him, no dude, seriously, that sounds like something out of a bad romance novel.
I remain immensely impressed by writer Park Hae-yeong. It's hard to imagine how she's able to keep all these complicated story elements straight. "Oh Hae-Young Again" is light on plot but incredibly intense when it comes to character motivation and passion. It's easy to see why certain seemingly inconsequential events make Hae-young and Do-kyeong so disproportionately angry. Other characters agitate them without even realizing it. What makes Hae-young and Do-kyeong special as a couple is that they can actually tell when they're agitating each other.
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 9"
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