[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Doctor Frost" Episode 4
By William Schwartz | Published on
On the plus side, this episode dispenses with murder. On the negative side, Doctor Frost is still mostly psychoanalyzing people who aren't actually in the room. So while the drama makes some progress in terms of clearly distinguishing itself from a standard crime procedural, it's still not really great. What's more the twist is pretty obvious- it's the Law of Conversation of Character in full force. You can probably guess what direction the story is going even if you don't know what that term means.
"Doctor Frost" seems to be satisfying itself here on providing scientific explanations to phenomena that for the most part are pretty transparent. How do you tell that a person's in love? Well, the camera makes it pretty obvious. Although again, the creativity factor here is lacking. Remember Frost Vision from the first episode? Wouldn't that whole explanation have been a lot more fun if we had seen the situation from Frost's perspective rather than the same old usual close-up shots?
The few elements that remain present from the webtoon appear here more out of obligation than due to any obvious purpose in the story. For example, Doctor Frost has a second job at a bar. In the webtoon, this is because the bar offers a wealth of potential random visitors who he can practice his psychoanalytical technique on. In the drama, it's so that there's another set the characters can go to so often to have a conversation that's not the police station.
I was hoping for most of the runtime that maybe "Doctor Frost" was going to start a multi-episode plotline about Erotomania. It's not so much that I want the drama to last longer as it is that there's greater potential for depth whenever anything different is attempted. For what it's worth Erotomania's plan was pretty dumb. It's hard to imagine how he was able to operate so effectively up until that moment when it ultimately took so little to actually apprehend the guy. Although the clearout trick Doctor Frost used was a pretty decent one.
At this point "Doctor Frost" is thoroughly, decisively mediocre. That's not great but it's such a significant improvement over the last couple of episodes that I have to give the drama credit for something. The preview makes it look like the next episode will continue in the same general vein of being less about action and more about dialogue. Hopefully there will at least be an actual psychoanalysis next time. Why even bother making a "Doctor Frost" drama if you're going to skimp on the psychoanalysis?
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. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.