Falling into temptation and seeking revenge are never what one expects. Temptation the noun is more than loving someone one shouldn't. It is also the desire to taste revenge, to ignore one's moral code for an expected feeling of satisfaction. "Temptation" the show is exploring the destruction that follows in the wake of taking the darker path.
Instead of feeling satisfaction, Hong-joo is suffering just as much as her revenge makes Seok-hoon and Se-young suffer. She doubts Min-woo's fidelity, gets picked on by her mother-in-law, and struggles to assume the position of "step-mother" to Min-woo's and Ji-seon's children. On top of that she is constantly worried, angry, and hurt. She's sacrificing herself as she falls for revenge's temptation and the hope of resolution. She's a classic example of why revenge is bad - it only hurts everyone involved.
While I find her character annoying, her actions are understandable, especially after she reveals why she left Seok-hoon and stayed with Min-woo after their betrayals: she thinks Seok-hoon's heart left her, while Min-woo's stayed. To hear a bit of logic in this emotional mess was sorely needed.
Min-woo, on the other hand, is puzzling. He loves Hong-joo, but doesn't understand that cheating on a spouse involves more than just the physical. Meeting with his ex-wife constitutes as cheating and it hurts Hong-joo, but he doesn't' really see his wrongdoing. It's good to see what little change in him that has transpired, but he still has a nasty attitude in business and in dealing with his enemies, primarily Se-young and Seok-hoon. That attitude is what needs to be altered. Perhaps Hong-joo can find it in her to help him change. First she would need to abandon her revenge.
Seok-hoon is still kind-hearted and understands Hong-joo and why she's hurting. It is that sympathy, and the love he once had for her (and may still have) that makes him concerned for her. He worries that Min-woo will only hurt Hong-joo more, which in turn hurts Se-young. It's a tangled web of emotions. It always happens with cheating, which "Temptation" shows very well. The messy nature of cheating makes for wonderful plot fodder because it creates such complicated relationships and consequences. If only the show would address the reactions of the men and children better. They are underdeveloped and confusing. Focusing on faces that are constantly frowning does not reveal nearly as much as a clever line of dialogue. This shows does a lot of that, focusing on faces and rings while intense ballads play in the background. It needs more than mood to really work - it needs tighter writing.
Hong-gyu and Se-jin are a breath of fresh air with their cute relationship, although it's only a matter of time before Hong-joo's revenge and the emotionally entangled couples break it apart. It's sad because the show has little of the much needed respite from the heavy angst. When this couple is broken, there will be none.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Temptation" Episode 15"
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