Generally speaking "Drinking Alone", has been pretty clear that Jeong-seok is not the most likable guy on a personal level. But time and again, the typical Jeong-seok just leaves me thinking, this guy is a jerk. No one likes him, for good reason. That by the end of this episode someone has finally gotten the courage to say that to Jeong-seok's face does not change how "Drinking Alone" is mostly an exploration of how Jeong-seok is a jerk who rarely ever gets punished for his behavior.
The guy doesn't even attempt self-reflection. Jin-i is clearly hurt on two separate occasions and Jeong-seok ignores her both times. While Ha-na's ignorance of Jin-i's pain is portrayed as the worse crime, this still lets Jeong-seok off too easy. Jeong-seok is Jin-i's long term co-worker. Ill-advised though Jin-i's come-on attempt may have been, she was coming from a very hurt emotional place and is struggling to find sympathy from co-workers, since Jin-i very sadly lacks actual friends.
Jin-i is mad at Ha-na mainly because Ha-na broke woman code by putting a guy ahead of her girlfriend. Jin-woong comes off nice primarily because he's behaving at the bare minimum level of decency that would be expected considering his relationship with Jin-i. It's jarring how Jin-woong is punished with physical exertion and ruined clothes while we're supposed to cheer Jeong-seok on for not even attempting to approach Jin-woong's standard.
As for the students, well, Gi-beom has a lot of problems in the whole "only notices his friends are in trouble when it negatively impacts him" department too. And I'd probably be more critical of his actions here except that Jeong-seok (and Ha-na, under his influence) is so very, very bad that Gi-beom looks better in comparison. While Gi-beom may have caused Dong-yeong's current bout of depression, he does at least make a sincere effort to rectify the problem.
Through similar logic, though, I thought Dong-yeong was being rather unfair with Chae-yeon. It's not at all reasonable to expect her to think that Gi-beom became a good person overnight considering he always picks fights with her- and nobody felt a need to tell her why until she straight-up confronted Gi-beom about it. Making an effort can count for a lot. But at this point "Drinking Alone" is trying to cram a lot of good person behavior into a short period in order make its characters likable. And in life, just like with studying, that simply doesn't work.
Review by William Schwartz
"Drinking Alone" is directed by Choi Gyoo-sik and Jeong Hyeong-geon, written by Baek Seon-woo, Choi Bo-rim and Myeong Soo-hyeon, and features Ha Seok-jin, Hwang Woo-seul-hye, Park Ha-sun, Min Jin-woong, Kim Won-hae, Gong Myung and Key.
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] "Drinking Alone" Episode 14"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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