When this show is good, it is really good. It doses out just enough suspense, horror and mind games to keep us coming back for more. Now that it's in the later stages of story development, it's finally giving us insight into Ma Yeo-jin's character, which is absolutely fascinating. Her reactions to classroom events are starting to change, especially those that involve injury and friends banding together. She probably didn't expect the children to break her down as she does them. Also, we finally see some emotional vulnerability in Ma when Ha-na sees a scar on her neck and she covers it up in a panic; or when she watches a mother with her young son and she smiles.
Despite the fact that we are learning Ma is indeed human, she still persists in her die-hard teaching mission. She zeroes in on Bo-mi in an attempt to remove her from Ha-na's growing group of followers. When Bo-mi chooses friendship over Ma's offered alliance, Ma is strangely pleased. Is this her goal? Teaching kids like Bo-mi to have a backbone? It's hard to fathom what her plans are. She enjoys watching friends, but then pits the class against each other. It's sick and twisted just like her.
Ma and Ha-na
Na-ri's mother discovers a little more about what made her the terrifying woman she is now. Her son died in a traffic accident. Sometime later, she became a teacher and a "big incident" happened that landed her in jail. Ooh, now that's interesting. This woman's reasons go beyond the death of her child. I wonder if they include why Ma is so quick to react when Ha-na gets hurt because of accidental classroom violence; she seemed panicked. Then, she's comforting when treating Ha-na's wounds - she cares. She just doesn't show it. In fact, she masks it with her cruelty. And then she blindsides us with a strangely kind deed: she ends summer classes.
While "The Queen's Classroom" remains strong in the emotional arena, what it lacks is pacing. When the pacing slows, it negates a lot of the emotional impact. This show in the original Japanese format is eleven episodes with a two-part special; shorter than this version's sixteen-episode format. This version is having trouble filling time. It would benefit from a shorter run, perhaps ten or twelve episodes.
Ha-na and Co
Also, I'm finally seeing the point of having the other teachers on the show. It wasn't obvious at first, but they are foils for Ma. The maknae teacher mirrors what Ma was like when she first started teaching. The others are either the opposite of Ma's strict teaching style or there to question her and allow for some exposition explanation. It's a bit frustrating to have the teachers used just to highlight Ma's insane teaching methods because they are throw away characters. If they were removed from the story, nothing would happen. That's sad. It means they are not integrated well-enough into the story.
The quality of the show needs to remain consistent. The first half of this episode was a re-hash of typical Ma Yeo-jin classroom torture. The second, we got to delve into her psyche and it was much more interesting. Hopefully, the show will explore her more and focus less on what she does. The question is, as it has been, "Why is she such a witch?"
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
Managing editor, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] The Queen's Classroom Episode 10"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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