Min-hong, having finally figured out what Ra-hee is up to, lapses into alcoholic depression. I mean it doesn't go on forever, just a single night as far we can tell. Then it's on to revenge. But even that is pretty light. Right at the moment I thought Min-hong was going to do something explicitly petty and mean instead he turns right around and confronts Ra-hee on how she's accepted Jae-min's marriage proposal without fully cluing him in to what's going on.
This is something I've been waiting on for quite some time- that "Single Wife" would finally acknowledge that even by wacky situation comedy standards, Ra-hee is really not a very good person. Her main character traits are, and always have been, that she was too scatterbrained to finalize the divorce herself, too petty to work with Min-hong to get it done now, and too insecure to simply tell Jae-min the full context of what's going on. None of these traits bodes well for a long-term domestic partner.
That doesn't even get into Ra-hee's subtler moral failures, like how she never sees her own grandmother while Min-hong has been more than willing to make that effort for her, and doesn't want to stop even if he divorces Ra-hee. This, too, finally piles up as we're left with a situation where Jae-min figures out on his own accord what Ra-hee won't tell him. Or his own mother for that matter.
It's odd how In-hwa is still portrayed as vaguely villainous when her behavior is actually far more defensible than Ra-hee's. In-hwa can at least plausibly claim that her actions are motivated by a concern for Jae-min's future well-being. I can't really visualize In-hwa trying to impede, say, Hyo-rim's clumsy attempts to hit on Min-hong, since by any objective account Min-hong is a sincerely nice person who also has a strong interest in the furniture design industry.
That "Single Wife" has now explicitly acknowledged Ra-hee's ethical problems is good. But unfortunately, I doubt this will have too much impact on the overall dramatic thrust. It remains clearly telegraphed, as always, that Min-hong is the right guy for Ra-hee and Jae-min is the wrong one. But the irony is palpable. We're supposed to see it this way because Min-hong is the more obviously empathetic guy who is expressly pining for Ra-hee. But Jae-min does not have these moments largely because Ra-hee's dishonesty has robbed him of opportunities to express himself like that to her.
Review by William Schwartz
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. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Single Wife" Episode 9"
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