There's several minutes of happiness as "Shall We Kiss First" focuses on events immediately preceding the cliffhanger before getting back to where the story left off- with Soon-jin discovering the pen and all of its horrible implications. Not that this has any apparent effect on her relationship with Moo-han. Soon-ji appears to be making a deliberate point of not destroying her relationship with Moo-han, when you'd think some form of revenge would be on her mind.
I can kind of appreciate what "Shall We Kiss First" is trying to do in showing that spitefulness is self-defeating, and that Soon-jin does not especially want to go back to that attitude when it governed her entire life before meeting Moo-han. The problem is, pretty much the only semblance of a plot the drama has right now is in the deep backstory. Nothing else is happening anymore. Even the subplots have mostly been trashed at this point, as other characters simply keep butting into Soon-jin and Moo-han's relationship.
Except I-deun, amusingly enough, the character whose lack of personal boundaries has been the single greatest metaphor of Moo-han's past failures. She just keeps making googly eyes at Ha-min, while other women do a far more effective job of flirting with the barista. I didn't like that sequence much, in the first place because we've already seen them do this, and in the second place because I-deun is not engaging with Soon-jin's warning.
Admittedly the warning is referenced. But no one does anything with it. While "Shall We Kiss First" has been showing us a lot of characters threatening one another no one has the guts to actually go through with their darker impulses and force a drastic change of events. So what we're left with is that Moo-han and Soon-jin are trying their best to be happy, and sort of succeeding under the cloud of a dark mood. And that's about it.
But even if Soon-jin and Moo-han are able to achieve some mild success the overall thrust of "Shall We Kiss First" has just gotten too depressing for me. The drama isn't even sad in a profound way any more, it's just terribly dull. The afterwords always have these really good subversions of previous scenes which had been skipped, where the implications are quite a bit different than what we had been led to believe. Unfortunately, having to sit through straightforward melodrama scenes all the way until that point is a test of patience.
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] "Shall We Kiss First" Episodes 25-26"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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