Jin-i gets a good chance for positive characterization quite quickly, as she's the one who has to wrangle a distraught drunken Ha-na somewhere the younger woman can sober up. Incidentally, I'm surprised Jin-i hooked up with her boyfriend at a motel when she has such a nice apartment. I'm less surprised that Jin-i and Ha-na's silly plan leads to an equally silly and comedic situation but what can I say, I'm a sucker for decent slapstick.
Jeong-seok's value as a love interest remains less than impressive. His opening scene is straight up extended food porn, and the usual talk about maximizing quality is just an afterthought. I'm a bit sad that the production team is aping only the visual elements of "Let's Eat". The characters in that drama (both seasons of it) were always doing other things not related to romance that worked to make them more well-rounded interesting characters.
At least Myeong has finally been eliminated as a plausible love interest for Ha-na. Her speech was pretty harsh, but absolutely necessary and convincing. If the students have any flaw, it's that they constantly get too distracted to remember that the whole reason they're going to this school in the first place is for their career future. The main problem is that these goals are so nebulously defined that of course Myeong is going to be more immediately engaged with his cute, attractive teacher.
Elsewhere Chae-yeon has quickly ratcheted up to being pretty much the best character. We see here that Chae-yeon's problem is precisely that she is so incredibly hyper-competent at evading anything that would interrupt her studies that...well, this is why she's the ice queen. Even when trying to be nice Chae-yeon's behavior is weirdly disconnected and alien. Her scenes are especially funny because Chae-yeon is still quite visually attractive. It's just that the boys only think that because they never get close enough to see her eccentricities.
Chae-yeon is also interesting because there are clear rumblings of a character arc in her general direction. Perhaps there's a middle ground between being generally spastic and also being unhealthily obsessed with the idea of passing exams. It's too bad the teacher side of the story lacks anything as dynamic. I mean, it's cute and all watching Jin-woong put his powers of pop culture vocal impressions to good use in new contexts. It's just not useful for much more than a mildly humorous joke.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drinking Alone" Episode 9"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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