In this episode, we get more hints that Soo-yeon is possibly cheating on Hyun-Woo, but still no confirmation. Hyun-Woo even deletes the email from the investigation agency. However, to some extent, whether Soo Yeon is having an affair or not doesn’t really matter. What this episode reveals is that there are some deep-seated issues in their marriage that need to be resolved and this is something I’m coming to appreciate about this show – it shows us the problems, instead of telling us.
The tell-tale signs of a marriage falling apart are all there. Hyun-Woo and Soo Yeon barely communicate, except about childcare arrangements. When he talks to her, she’s busy checking her phone, replying him in a very disengaged manner. There’s clearly a lack of intimacy between them as we always get scenes of either one of them sleeping with their son, but never sleeping in the same room. Their wedding anniversary means little to both of them and if not for his sister in law’s reminder, Hyun-Woo would have forgotten, hence his reaction to Soo Yeon forgetting their anniversary is unwarranted. The most important warning sign is the complete lack of honesty and fear of confrontation from Hyun-Woo – rather than directly asking about what he witnessed, he gets suspicious and contemplates the divorce option without thinking about how to work things out. He speaks to everyone and even hires an investigator when what he should have done is simply talk to her. It’s always a sign of a marriage falling apart when couples cannot confront thorny issues or have difficult discussions together. Even if Hyun-Woo does discover in the next episode that Soo Yeon is not having an affair, there’s still lots to work on in their marriage and I have some confidence the series will handle that well, given how it’s handled the depiction of their marriage thus far.
Another relationship I find particularly interesting is that between Joon-young and his wife, who has remained largely off-screen thus far. We get hints of problems in their marriage, but it’s never outrightly displayed. As the only one who’s been cheated on and divorced, Bo-young seems to be the voice of wisdom in the show and she can see immediately the problems when Joon-young says his wife isn’t bothered by his spending and that they don’t fight. The issue with both Joon-young and Hyun-Woo’s marriages is not that anybody has done anything wrong (yet), it is that nobody is doing the right things, which has resulted in their marriages growing cold.
It has been commented in several blogs, articles and forum posts that adultery is a very weighty topic and to choose the mode of a comedy to handle it is strange. However, in this episode, the use of comedy allows the show to make very controversial statements and explore this sensitive issue without being offensive. While there might be guys out there like Yoon-Ki, his character is so over the top that we know he’s not meant to convey the writer’s views on adultery. With that established, he is then used to amplify the extent to which men will go to engage in and hide their affairs. The scene with him talking to Bo-young and Joon-young about the tell tale signs of cheating is hilarious, made even more so because of the on-screen visuals which were brilliant! His wife, Ara, gets similar over-the-top treatment when we see how her suspicion manifests itself. Nonetheless, the series needs to handle the comedic elements very carefully. I found myself slightly disturbed by the scene with Yoon-ki deliberately ignoring his messages while Ana was around, fearful of whether it came from his lover. This could be a very common and real scenario encountered by couples with philandering partners, yet I wondered if we were supposed to be laughing at it. Overall though, I still think the show has handled the comedic elements well and even when not outrightly comedic, it explores serious issues (e.g. what constitutes cheating) in a light-hearted manner, which is conveyed sometimes very intelligently through the camera angles.
One really nice touch about the show is its portrayal of the world of social media. We see Facebook, Instagram, web chats (with its multiple emoticons) and the world of internet forums. It continually juxtaposes the real world with social media postings, which is a fascinating exploration of the “unreality” of social media yet how we’ve grown to rely on it because of the anonymity and sense of artifice it can provide. While the seriousness and the “reality” of the topic of adultery does not allow the show to be too creative in terms of plot twists and cliffhangers, there’s no lack of creativity throughout in the direction and production of the show.
Ultimately, the second episode is certainly a step in the right direction and I’m keen to see what happens next. However, if there’s one thing I hope the show will go on to explore, that will be the “female” voice in all this. Thus far, we’ve predominantly seen the “male” perspective on adultery and heard the men’s views on this. I certainly hope we hear more from the wives in subsequent episodes. Not forgetting too the child’s voice in all this, as whenever adultery and divorce happens, it’s the child that suffers the most and we’re already seeing signs of Hyun-Woo’s son being affected by the tension between his parents.