For a side story character, So-yoon is surprisingly compelling. Observe how, while being completely sympathetic herself, So-yoon embodies both of her parent's flaws. Like her father, So-yoon is inclined to fly into a rage at other people defying her, regardless of who's at fault. Likewise, So-yoon also shares her mother's unfortunate propensity toward magical thinking. Hence, Seong-won and every other central character gets dragged into So-yoon's story, to their detriment.
Then again, Jae-chan signed up for this when he decided to become a prosecutor. I rather like how unexpectedly realistic "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is when it comes to ideas like prosecutorial misconduct. It's not that Jae-chan's co-workers are evil, or even badly-intentioned. They're just obsessed with appearances and trying to be polite and respectable. That such behavior enables domestic abusers who are sufficiently well regarded publically is a horrible but completely accurate real-life irony.
This plotline, along with the flashbacks explaining how Jae-chan became determined to run this career path in the first place, emphasize the man's sense of normalcy. That's great in a hero- it shows how Jae-chan is not perfect. He has to struggle against his worse inclinations to do the right thing. This allows Yoo-beom's presence to loom large even when he has little screentime, because that's the boon offered by his evil. Yoo-beom removes short-term inconviences at the expense of long-term ethical scruples.
Elsewhere, Woo-tak (played by Jung Hae-in) takes more prominence. You may remember him as the guy who was saved by Jae-chan's rash actions in the opening episode. Here, his relationship to the prophetic visions is increasingly better defined. In the first place, as a police officer, Woo-tak has inherent authority that Jae-chan and Hong-joo lack. Also, his take on the visions is more analytical.
Is this good or bad? So far, Woo-tak is helpful. But I can't help but notice a thematic intersection here. Hong-joo focuses on the details, Jae-chan focuses on the outcomes, and Woo-tak thinks about the best way to carefully game the rules. Of course, all of these focuses are pretty essential- "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" makes a point of how accurate powers of prophecy are actually quite difficult to use in a complex real world context. And that's before getting into subjective issues. Consider how all three characters assume from their visions that Seong-won did indeed commit a crime- when in fact, the full story makes it seem unlikely that he ever would have been convicted of anything.
Review by William Schwartz
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 5-6"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 16 (final)
Despite the dip below 2.0% in ratings according the Nielsen Korea, the last two episodes were actu,...More
Subscribe to HanCinema Pure to remove ads from the website (not for episode and movie videos) for US$0.99 monthly or US$7.99 yearly (you can cancel anytime). The first step is to be a member, please click here : Sign up, then a subscribe button will show up.