The relationship between Geon-Woo and Detective Choi has been one of the stranger points of this drama ever since we found out about Detective Choi's hidden agenda. From that point his character has been in the peculiar position of being both kind of an antagonist, and yet the only person Geon-Woo can talk to about his personal problems, since Geon-Woo condescends to his subordinates and his other superior (Si-On) is the cause of most of these personal problems to begin with.
In this episode the awkward nature of their personal dynamic is put into full focus. Geon-Woo, reeling from the events of the last episode decides to drown his sorrows the only way he knows how. By getting drunk and complaining to Detective Choi. Which is rendered difficult by the fact that Detective Choi is on the run from the law so Geon-Woo just gets really plastered instead.
This is another one of those conflicts that makes "Who Are You - 2013" really hard to place. It's trying to draw out drama by asking us to have sympathy for characters who, either through their own bungling or incompetence, are the cause of most of their own problems, though they don't generally acknowledge it. Normally I'd find characters like this terribly annoying, but there's never really any egotism or self-righteousness. They're flawed, but they're trying, and for the most part willing to learn from their mistakes, just not in any generally useful way.
The entire drama seems to be built on this basic theme. The romantic subplot between the spirit medium and one of the lesser police officers appears, at this point, completely decoupled from the actual main story. The only real parallel is the fact that both these people exhibit the exact same character flaws as the characters in the main drama, albeit to completely different ends.
The problem is, I have a lot of trouble believing that the drama is deliberately scripted like this. It's just so abstract. Usually we're supposed to empathize with the people we see on-screen- not micromanage their mistakes in a way the characters themselves don't actually acknowledge. There's no reason why we can't have a drama like this, though. And honestly, in terms of pure entertainment value, "Who Are You - 2013" is succeeding insofar as giving the viewer the requisite amount of action, humor and drama necessary for compelling television. I've just never seen a program simultaneously feel so contrived and genuine.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 11"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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