The third episode finds childhood friends Hyeon-seok and No-ra still feeling each other out after having experiencing life separately for twenty years without maintaining their friendship. Life has changed them, but that doesn't stop Hyeon-seok from suffering intense curiosity at the secrecy No-ra displays upon their sudden reintroduction to one another. And No-ra, she is realizing that she's been living in a bubble as life has passed her by. It's not just the difficulties that she experiences as an older student, but the fact that she's never really been able to interact with others and watch the world grow. She's only watched her son grow up and her husband grow apart from her.
That husband, Woo-cheol, is in love with another woman, and the couple is suited in personality and temperament save for the fact that he's still married . Woo-cheol is quite the character, an ego case through and through. He controls all aspects of his life, including the lives of his wife and son. "Twenty Again" may just be a learning experience for him as well. Both he and his son, Kim Min-soo, look down upon No-ra. It's infuriating to watch and I can't wait for the moment when both are put in their place. This show has a chance to comment on the situation of the housewife and how the position doesn't make her lesser than a man.
What this episode is really about is No-ra's decision to take charge of her life. The faux cancer is the impetus and it spurs her on to enjoy the things in life she's missed out on while focusing solely on raising her ungrateful son. This is only a decision, however, not a huge step forward, and she barely makes her first venture into fulfilling her new dreams before she hits roadblocks. I enjoy how these roadblocks are solid plot points, such as No-ra upsetting the social hierarchy by using her wisdom to speak against sexual abuse, which are also real social issues that need addressing. No-ra has to work through the injustices of the Korean social system like older students siding with a lecherous professor in order to get ahead in their academic careers. These powerful men get away with horrible injustices because they control the futures of those below them.
Hyeon-seok, like No-ra, has changed quite a bit from his 20-year-old self. He is rough and bitter, damaged like she is, and in no less in need of healing. What does remain from their youth is their immature behavior that manifests around each other, No-ra and Hyeon-seok. The humor inherent in forty-year-old adults fussing like children softens, but doesn't undermine, the gravity of the issues at hand: controlling husbands, wives who are shells of their former selves, sexual abuse, and rigidly biased social stands.
As the trapping of college life start to settle on No-ra's shoulders, "Twenty Again" surges forward tackling friendship, marriage, society, and redefining oneself after twenty years of stagnancy. It's no easy feat, but so far so good.
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] "Twenty Again" Episode 3"
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