It’s always good when a drama series causes you to pause and reflect, because it explores such real and serious issues. This could also ironically be the reason why this series may never eventually have high ratings, but I would certainly say that this can be used for marriage enrichment programmes to highlight important things that married couples should think about.
In my review last week, I mentioned that one of the signs of Hyun Woo and Soo Yeon’s marriage falling apart was their lack of honesty with each other and how Hyun Woo chooses to talk to everyone about his wife’s affair instead of asking her directly. This week’s episode offers different perspectives on this, which causes me to empathise with his hesitation.
This episode juxtaposes three characters – Bo Young, Ara and Hyun Woo; all of whom respond differently to their suspicions of their spouses’ affairs.
Bo Young chooses to evade the truth, and builds a wall around her heart to prevent herself from getting hurt. She doesn’t ask her husband about it and eventually ends the marriage, choosing instead to run away from the truth. Ara, on the other hand, acts on her suspicions and checks in on Joon Ki in this episode to verify the truth. While taking so many steps to catch him, it seems as if she is relieved that she has not caught him. To her, the fact that Joon Ki puts in effort not to be caught is a sign that that he still loves her. Hyun Woo shares at the start of the episode that as much as he wants to barge into the hotel to confront Joo Yeon, he is fearful and anxious when he thinks about what will happen next, especially for their son Joo Soon.
Common across all three characters is the fear of confirming their suspicions and confronting the implications. Credit has therefore to be given to the series for being intelligently set up to allow us to see how difficult such a confrontation will be, without actually having to put our main characters through it yet. This is done through the couple whose adultery is captured on film and they have the most uncomfortable conversation ever. The wife brutally tells her husband that there was no reason for her affair – it was just because she loved the man and even more devastatingly, she confesses that she doesn’t need a child and hates the child for looking after her husband.
The matter of simply confronting the truth isn’t simple at all. Once the spouse has been exposed, things become more difficult because the couple now has to confront hard truths and for couples who have been together for a long time, such confrontation involves exposing lies that may have been built up over many years. After such confrontation, then comes the difficult discussion on what to do next, which becomes more complicated when children are involved. Is confrontation the spouse really the best thing to do then? In theory it is, but in reality? There are no easy answers.
While there are no easy solutions, there certainly is no shortage of possible solutions as we see the multitude of opinions that flood in from the forums as well as from Joon-young and Yoon-ki. It’s comforting to see that Hyun-Woo has no shortage of friends who are true brothers-in-arms, always ready to extend a helping hand and even act like a sissy so as to help their friend uncover the truth about his wife’s affair. As for the forum community, I’m not exactly sure where the writers are heading with this, except to display the confusion that can arise when one seeks advice from the Internet. This really isn’t an uncommon phenomenon, though from my observation, it’s usually the women who seek help on such forums and the portrayal in the series is genuine indeed. There are indeed a multitude of opinions coming in, to provide support and solutions. For now, what I see the series doing is emphasising how each voice on the forum arises from different circumstances and settings and hence not always reliable.
Besides the forum, the other “construct” that the series uses to explore the issue of adultery is the TV show that Hyun Woo’s team is producing. Besides what was earlier mentioned, the production of this TV show is put to very intelligent use in this episode as the interview of the man is intercut deftly with responses from Hyun Woo, as if both of them are being interviewed at the same time. The editing was perfect and put to great effect here to show how both Hyun Woo and the man’s situations are similar and they both seek solace in a community that is “distanced” from them, either from an Internet community or a TV production team.
While the series has generally been solid thus far in exploring its themes and also in terms of its production value, I do hope the show can work on also making itself more compelling. I did find certain portions of the episode rather dull, perhaps because this episode’s main focus was on Hyun-Woo and Soo Yeon’s relationship without significant progression in the other relationships, which was unlike the first two episodes. There was also less comedic energy in this episode, possibly because we are now moving into more serious territory where the truth will be uncovered. I foresee that the ‘seriousness’ of the series will increase as we progress through the episodes and it will becoming increasingly challenging for the show to maintain its light-hearted tone. Nonetheless, if it does that well, that will be a true feat and prove that a series can explore a serious issue without taking itself too seriously.