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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Temptation" Episode 14

2014/08/30 | Permalink

"Temptation" is no longer at a standstill. The showdown between the three women has begun, and despite the fact that is is very ugly, it spikes the activity and interest levels upwards. No longer are the characters standing around a posturing. Things are happening and its much better than the wearying setup we were subjected to for the past few episodes.

Unfortunately, "Temptation" took a very long time to warm up and switch gears. Now it has six episodes to follow through with the change in the storyline and keep it as interesting as this episode was. What made the episode different was its pace and how tightly knit the writing was. The women, Hong-joo, Se-young, and Ji-seon, were vicious in the underhanded ways that the sex is known for: gossip, insults disguised as pleasantries, insidious comments intended to bury in the mind and rankle. These interactions were well-planned and timed and kept the episode moving at a brisk pace.

The men, on the other hand, are more dubious. Their characters are blustering about in attempts to protect their women, but their growth is virtually non-existent. Min-woo is hard to read. He either smirks or looks disconcerted. Normally I find actor Lee Jung-jin compelling, but the direction of his character makes the performance confusing instead. It seems as though the viewer is supposed to doubt him as well, but with all the suspicion floating about the plot, it is unnecessary. Seok-hoon was on a similar path in that his character was trapped in his romantic bubble and was blind to everything else. He didn't do much of anything besides act sweet with Se-young and avoid Hong-joo. The very end of the episode showed him acting more aware of Hong-joo's emotional distress and that morphed him into a much more interesting, and indeed relevant, character.

Hong-joo as a character is also more evolved now. Rather than continuously plotting revenge, we now see how exacting that revenge takes a toll on her and how difficult it is for her to be in the midst of it. What makes a good story is watching the plot pressures mold and change characters and situations. "Temptation" stayed quite stagnant for a while because it focused on the characters "planning" to take revenge. It is now showing the effects of the revenge. That is where the interest lies. Hong-joo is exhausted, confused, and subject to the whims of her emotions. When her temper flares because of Se-young or Ji-seon, she suffers emotional fallout and physical exhaustion afterwards. She doubts Min-woo's loyalty to her, which is propagated by old cheating pictures provided by Ji-seon. It's a nasty game these women play, but if the show is going to air the game, it needs to continue the kind of direction this episode has shown.

As for Se-young and Seok-hoon, their relationship is solid. Even when she breaks up with him to re-take her position as CEO, they are mature about it. It is their beginning that taints their relationship. For Se-young, the relationship has done worlds of good. She sees the trouble she caused in Seok-hoon's marriage and the wrong in her behavior. She's learned how to relate to people because of Seok-hoon, and has become more open in business. Seok-hoon just seems to be a devoted puppy, like he seemed to be with Hong-joo in the first few episodes.
I'm not sure if the quality of this episode is a fluke or if it will continue, but hopefully it is the latter.

Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'

"Temptation" is directed by Park Yeong-soo-I, written by Han Ji-hoon and features Choi Ji-woo, kwon Sang-woo, Park Ha-sun and Lee Jung-jin.

 

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