Last time Geum-ran finally got around to asking the question she should have asked several episodes ago. This time, she takes the long way around to finally taking the decisive action she should have taken several episodes ago. Once again, the good news is that Sara doesn't wallow in stupidity forever. And once again, the bad news is that she spends most of the actual runtime waffling on what to actually do for no particularly good reason.
The worst part of Geum-ran's determination to do everything alone is that it shuts Tae-hee out of the equation entirely. He's pretty much reduced to a helpless damsel here, and no, that trope isn't any less irritating when applied to a man instead of a woman. I can't quite remember the last time a story even tried to do this, so I guess there's some comfort knowing that an idea that sounded dumb in theory also works out dumb in execution.
Speaking of dumb, what exactly is Min-hyeok's plan at this point? To just stalk Sara and Tae-hee randomly at all times so he can make another ill-advised threat? I was rather surprised this time when one character actually goes to the trouble of locating evidence implicating Min-hyeok. Although again, this was such a comically easy process it just begs the question of why Geum-ran has been refusing to communicate with Tae-hee this entire time. They could have entrapped all of their enemies some time ago if only they'd just been working together!
I also take umbrage at the story's ethical trajectory. Min-hyeok's recent cartoonish villainy has mostly eclipsed Kang-joon's blatantly evil villainy from earlier in the drama. Even more confusingly, "Birth of a Beauty" is trying to play up Chae-yeon as unsympathetic again even though, as the woman herself very correctly points out, Chae-yeon is quite literally doing the job that Sara has been refusing to, again for no apparent reason.
Hopefully the final stretch of "Birth of a Beauty" brings the situation back to fundamentals. Now that Sara has pretty much completely exposed herself...well, actually I'm not sure how this helps with the whole arbitrary threat problem. But let's never mind that point. I really want this drama to end on some note of positivity, some kind of reminder of what used to make it all so fun. I'll take any scheme from Tae-hee and Sara I can get, just so long as it involves them working together somehow instead of entangled in incomprehensible alliances.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Birth of a Beauty" Episode 19"
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