The storyline has been very steady lately. Maybe a little too steady. It's still entertaining and interesting, and has been fairly clearly storyboarded, but the charm doesn't really seem to be there anymore. Maybe it's more accurate to state that the charm has worn off. Previous episodes went really overboard in the outrageous dangerous inexplicable category, and the feeling from those moments is pretty hard to top.
Now, to be perfectly clear, watching Si-On smack gangsters around with a giant wooden board never gets old. There's a cheesy element to the action sequences that always has a great charm to it. I found myself at one point thinking "geez, planked and shanked". I doubt that particular phrase rhymes in Korean, too, but those are the kinds of thoughts the more outrageous scenes in this drama inspire. And fortunately, director Jo Hyeon-tak's fundamental understanding of action scenes appears to be based largely on slapstick, even if that's obviously not the feeling they're intended to evoke.
But at this point, we're getting into equal parts serious stuff with the silly stuff. And as usual, one never particularly detracts from the other. The characters may be goofy, but they're still well-developed, understandable people and I can still worry about whether they're going to live or die. Well, except for the gangsters. But no one really cares about them anyway.
More detective work and plotting abounds in this episode, and this, too, features a fairly good mix of occasional insight coupled with general dumb short-sightedness. It's a feeling I can identify with, personally- thinking of something that's really clever in the heat of the moment, then doing something really dumb hardly a moment later because once the andrenaline dies down people get kind of slow and stupid. Strangely, even though Si-on and Geon-Woo are constantly in mortal danger, they haven't figured out yet that the stakes are high enough the gangsters will resort to nearly anything even if they can be tricked in the short term.
I'm actually kind of disappointed there isn't more to nitpick here, because those bits are always fun, but the story is too well-put together here. While that's a bit of a weird complaint, at this point the drama has me hooked more on the weirdness of it all than the actual storytelling. Still, if this episode's ending is any question, there will be plenty of opportunities for terrible plans and counter-plans to come up next time around.
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. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 12"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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