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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Saimdang: Light's Diary" Episode 18

2017/03/23 | Permalink

Initially I was wondering whether I had somehow missed an episode of "Saimdang: Light's Diary". The last thing we saw was the grand art heist, and the recap reminds us about the big fire so...why are we starting out with Internet searches, familial awkwardness and comic relief about clothes? Then we get back to the art heist and it really doesn't help the drama's credibility when even the police officer in-story thinks it sounds improbable.

Really, more than anything else this plot mainly just seems to make Ji-yoon look kind of dumb. Does Ji-yoon know for a fact that Director Seon (played by Kim Mi-kyung) is in on the conspiracy? Well no, but considering how paranoid Ji-yoon has been in general up until now it beggars disbelief that she would place so much trust in a woman she doesn't really know all that well. And of course, the framing device ends with a fire and a car crash, and we have to wait until next episode to see how that panned out.

Meanwhile, back in the past, I was surprised to learn that apparently Headmistress Choi is also a painter. Not a real one, thank goodness. Her character has gotten the short end of the stick so much that it really would have just been insulting to learn that Joseon had another famous sixteenth century woman painter but that rather than be a rival she's just a sad petty woman obsessed with high school grudges who is also physically assaulted during sex by her husband.

The painting competition was at least moderately interesting, in that Saimdang finally got a chance to explain how and why she paints the way that she does. It's a little disappointing that she has to do so with a rather arbitrary ruleset. And I'm also wondering why an individual creative competition is being used as a capstone to a contest that was originally about producing high quality Goryeo paper but whatever, at least Saimdang is painting professionally now.

Although that plot point, like every other plot point in "Saimdang: Light's Diary", is as ephemeral as ever. Apparently not satisfied with the two overly violent cliffhangers in the framing device, the production team decides to add one in Saimdang's time involving...gunfights with Japanese pirates. One of these days I'm just going to start making stuff up in my reviews for this drama it's not like I could come up with anything more ridiculous.

Review by William Schwartz

"Saimdang: Light's Diary" is directed by Yoon Sang-ho, written by Park Eun-ryeong and features Lee Young-ae, Song Seung-heon, Oh Yoon-ah, Park Hye-soo, Yoon Ye-joo, Yoon Da-hoon and Kim Hae-sook.

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