The drama takes a brief break from the legal proceedings to delve into Seok-joo's currently unknown past. The whole thing about a missing fiance sounds horribly contrived- but like a lot of the amnesia elements in "A New Leaf", it's actually pretty well integrated with Seok-joo's non-communicative standoffish character. As far as we can tell the main reason nobody can tell Seok-joo what's going on is because he never shared information about his personal life with anyone. Whether he had a good reason for this is as yet unknown.
Jeong-seon (played by Chae Jung-an) is herself a bit of an enigma. We get lots of background information as to how she first met Seok-joo, and it's implied relatively clearly how Seok-joo's name came up as a potential husband in the first place. Yet the exact motivation on their end remains a mystery, and it seems unlikely that we're going to get an explanation any time soon.
What is clear is that Jeong-seon isn't a bad person, even if she's surrounded by a family with motives that are clearly less than noble. This makes for a very curious parallel with Seok-joo. But if he was influenced by Jeong-seon's situation in any way there was no evidence of it in the episodes before Seok-joo became an amnesiac. There might have been some genuine affection in that relationship, but it's difficult to imagine that the old Seok-joo would have been able to do much beyond commiserating and telling her to keep on trucking.
It's very difficult to get a good read on the situation simply because of how little Jeong-seon reacts. She's neither upset nor overjoyed at finding out that Seok-joo has lost his memory. She cuts it out with all the nonsense and just moves forward. I could see how the old Seok-joo could like that in a woman- nice and uncomplicated. But then that's the whole premise of the drama anyway. Is a nice uncomplicated life really worth living?
The Seok-joo / Jeong-seon issues suck up most of the drama's energy, but other relevant events do happen. Mainly the groundwork is set for Seok-joo's next likely case, and he discovers another relevant fact from his missing past. Note his reaction pon the revelation. I think that's the first time we've ever seen Seok-joo express genuine gratitude. It begs the question of how many characters in the drama have also been so fortunate.
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.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A New Leaf" Episode 8"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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