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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 13-14

2017/10/18 | 558 views | Permalink

I had thought that entire stupid storyline about the fratricidal insurance fraud guy was over but for reasons unclear to me, "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" continues it. We get a better portrait of what the main characters were doing prior to the stabbing incident, and we also get to see Jae-chan take over the case from Hee-min. None of this is particularly interesting, since it's fairly impossible to imagine a person getting off from attempting to murder a police officer with witnesses.

Yoo-beom in particular is a sore point. We're led to believe that Yoo-beom does indeed have some moral scruples because he doesn't want to talk to his client anymore. The problem is, we have seen Yoo-beom do much more evil stuff than that already. What would be more plausible is that Yoo-beom won't offer representation because the whole insurance fraud thing means he won't get paid, but there I am putting thoughts into character actions logically.

This is not a problem I was expecting "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" to have. Recall how in previous storylines, most of the dramatic tension came from the leads trying to figure out how the dream prophecies work, and modifying their actions accordingly to insure better outcomes. This worked only because character actions could be parsed logically. In full perspective the contradictions always made sense, even if the leads were baffled by the immediate implications.

But now the dreams are just used as clumsy exposition. I mean, honestly, I don't really care where the dream powers came from, or how the lead characters used to know each other, because none of that is especially relevant to what's happening in the here and now. What is relevant is Hong-joo's prophecy of her own apparent death, and how this relates to her work as a reporter. Yet writer Park Hye-ryeon has little apparent interest In Hong-joo's chosen profession, which Hong-joo has taken up again at considerable personal risk.

My confusion is further magnified by how Park Hye-ryeon was also responsible for "Pinocchio", a drama that not only made good use of journalism as a backdrop, but also did a really good job on all of its individual cases. They were compelling in their own right, even absent larger obvious significance. Yet here, the best scene I can remember about this episode is the simple expectation reversal joke we get when Woo-tak comes back to his apartment. My expectations, too, are not being met.

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Review by William Schwartz

"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is directed by Oh Choong-hwan and Park Soo-jin-II, written by Park Hye-ryeon, and features Lee Jong-suk, Suzy, Lee Sang-yeob, and Jung Hae-in.

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