Bok-joo's comeuppance ends up being pretty harsh. But looking at this situation from the outside it's hard to be too angry at her authority figures. Bok-joo's childish dalliance with Jae-i's clinic is, to the people who support Bok-joo's dreams, a slap in the face. How can Bok-joo be so obviously passionate about being a world-class weightlifter, yet take part in a dieting program completely at odds with that goal?
The answer, as usual, is because Bok-joo is an idiot. There's an old Korean expression about how you beat the children you love and give candy to the ones you hate...which uh, does sound kind of horrible translated directly. My point is that for the intensive program Bok-joo has signed up for, there aren't any half measures. Bok-joo has known this all along, and chose to believe she could make the diet plan work through sheer wishful thinking. Now, Bok-joo has grown out of that, even as everyone acknowledges that Bok-joo is still working on growing up and needs well-rounded support.
Si-hi is not so lucky. I find Si-ho surprisingly sympathetic as a character. Sure, all we ever see her do is stalk Joon-hyeong and passive-aggressively bully Bok-joo. But her rythmic gymnast curriculum is insanely difficult. Bok-joo needs to get stronger. Joon-hyeong needs to get faster. Si-ho literally has to be perfect. The lack of friends is taking a fairly serious toll on the young woman's psyche.
For all her suffering this episode Bok-joo is lucky enough to not have to endure that kind of isolating pain. To the contrary, Bok-joo has Joon-hyeong acting like her absolute best friend in the whole wide world. It's easy to see why Si-ho wants him back so badly. Yet it's also telling how Bok-joo continues to clutch the idea of Jae-i as a dreamboat when she can't even explain what's going on to him.
Si-ho does have Ah-yeong (played by Yoo Da-in), who does not have very many scenes yet is very good in the ones she does have as everyone's doctor friend. Jae-i increasingly comes off as a pretty big doof though- how does a guy not realize that there are so many people who genuinely care about him? Again, for all her meanness, Si-ho is the kind of person who can have a birthday party where no one shows up. That sense of pity gives her big competition setpiece a surprisingly great deal of dramatic tension.
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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Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 7"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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