This episode marks a departure from the series so far, in that it's relatively normal. There's not that much in the way of ghosts, ill-conceived ill-executed murder attempts, and contrived plotting. For the most part this is just the story of what happens when Si-on and Geon-woo go on a company retreat. It's light-hearted comedic fare, with the occasional reference to the greater ghost storyline as, uncharacteristically, the two of them stop acting combative for the sake of being combative.
I give this drama a hard time for its absurdity, and for the most part it's well-deserved. A convoluted illegal plot does show up this episode. And true to form, the villain, rather than behave in a way that makes any kind of logical sense, comes up with an elaborate death trap that's both easy to escape and easy to notice by any random investigator. It's ridiculous just how bad these plans are, especially considering how powerful the new villain ends up being.
But if I strip all that away and look at this drama in terms of its basic elements, without wondering about it's consistently inconsistent rules and characters, there's a lot to admire here. The camerawork is quite good and encapsulates everything in each given scene that we need to see. The characters are given excellent profile and are always easy to recognize. The outside is convincingly nighttime with no apparent flaws. Even the previous episodes with goofy ghost scenes are filmed quite effectively- it's the context that renders them nonsensical.
So I-hyeon and Ok Taecyeon also have excellent chemistry. They play well off of each other. Yes, sometimes they try too hard and it feels like they have no idea what to do with the nonsensical script. Their characters are nonetheless well-defined, and their acting in this episode, without the contrivances overshadowing everything else, is actually quite good. They feel like they belong in a show about ghosts and terrible pasts that makes more logical sense.
The general unprofessionalism with which every character treats their job is on display here as well, and while I don't know if this is actually the script's intent, the actors seem to be running with the idea and not even putting up the pretense of being competent police officers unless a scene directly calls for their doing something heroic. Even though this episode feels very different from everything else so far, I still like it quite a bit. If a story must have mood whiplash, better to have it swing between individual episodes then constantly oscillating within the same one.
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. 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.
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