After a powerful start, "Argon" takes a little step back and an even more sombre look into how morality and principles are challenged in systems that rely on strict hierarchal rules, cronyism and a work culture of underhanded pleasantries. Yeon-hwa's own contract continues to be scrutinized, but it is our hero who has to make tough choices this time. The truth is important, but choosing strangers over loved ones is not easy.
We get to discover Yeon-hwa's (Chun Woo-hee) character a little more this time around and I am pleased by part of it. Despite not being well-off economically or well-connected, she has the guts to dive in and try, but also the skills to go with her efforts. As glad as I am that her report is professionally made, I do still take issue with her go-to contact providing her with solutions. I wish to see her network beyond her one all-knowing plot device contact.
On the other hand, I am glad that the solution presented to Baek-jin (Kim Joo-hyuk) by his crew comes after he has to challenge himself and compromise on his principles. I still feel the series is being too idealistic in many ways, his crew unanimously accepting unemployment for the sake of the truth being one, but this is still fiction and a series about a man slowly turning into a villain is not as easily digestible as a heroic crew rescuing him from immoral decisions.
As I said, convenient solutions aside, Baek-jin does make the call to compromise and accept corruption by his deceptively friendly senior, so the fact that Yeon-hwa and his crew provide a way out does not diminish the narrative value or social commentary of an otherwise morally upstanding man having to choose his employees' livelihood over doing his job according to the appropriate ethics. Baek-jin is still fair and it shows in how he gives Yeon-hwa a chance, but he is human and this is what abusive systems do to people.
I have not talked a lot about the "Argon" crew so far and that is because they are not very well developed at this point in time. They are the typical overworked and underappreciated caricatures lead by the standard archetype of an easygoing "mother hen" good guy, but I hope to see more of their individual personalities, ethics and skills as we move forward. This includes said mother hen, Sin Cheol (Park Won-sang).
Overall, I am pleased with what I see so far. Baek-jin is an interesting character and Yeon-hwa will hopefully continue to grow and become as bold within her workplace and with her initiatives as she is with her pursuit of information. As for the Evil Old Rich Dudes™, I hope they will not take over the story as they usually do in Korean drama. See? I can be idealistic in my hopes too, "Argon".
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
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Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing opinion pieces and database upkeep. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Argon" Episode 2"
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