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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 14

2017/01/04 | 1434 views | Permalink

As far as secret relationships go Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong have better excuses than most. Athletes with pretensions of competing on the international level aren't supposed to dally around with romantic partners- their workout schedule is too intense. Of course in the immediate sense Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong only care about not having friends and family tease them. That's where most of the conflict and comedy come from this time around.

The impetus being, once again, Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong's three idiot friends who keep coming up with new ways to interrupt and cause problems. They really are the best friends. Note how they're actually being nice. It's Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong's own dumb fault for causing the misunderstandings. It's fun watching Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong try to squirm out of these self-inflicted problems, only to be forced in the end to pay the ultimate price. Which is actually quite mild, all things considered.

There's a lot more tension in the two remaining romantic subplots, which proceed at a strong plot. Jae-i continues to be an awkward dork. And not in a charming way either. That's a nice touch, because it forces us to reconcile how we want Jae-i and Ah-yeong to get together with Ah-yeong's entirely correct argument that Jae-i is wholly unconvincing in the role of determined suitor. Then there's Coach Seong-eun's desires, which create a love triangle with quite a bit of tension since all three outcomes (the third that she ends up with no one) being fairly plausible.

Lastly, there's Si-ho, who is infinitely patient and understanding with Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong, as befits her relationship with both of them. More dynamically we also get the pay-off for all her gymnastic training, which asks the question of why she's been working so hard. I like Si-ho on her own merits. But the resolution of that plotline should also be kept in mind as Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong are likely to go through similar arcs in the final few episodes.

The athletic backdrop in "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" has consistently been a convincing one even as the story moves rapid fire through crisis after crisis. And I must say, it's impressive how the script is able to juggle so many disparate plots so convincingly. It's like we get through two episodes of content in a single episode, which is why I'm not so worried about the genuinely agonizing emotional breaking point Joon-hyeong inches toward- and we can only hope Bok-joo will be able to help him weather that storm.

Review by William Schwartz

"Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" is directed by Oh Hyeon-jong, written by Kim Soo-jin-III and Yang Hee-seong, and features Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kyung Soo-jin, Lee Jae-yoon, Lee Joo-young and Cho Hye-jung.

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