Almost the entirity of this episode is built around the drama of whether or not Chang-min's father is going to survive his stay at the hospital. The ability of this conflict to inspire any kind of real tension is greatly damaged by how long the action goes on- there are multiple false starts that end up inconclusive. Also I'd have a much easier time caring about this person if the drama actually explored his character in much detail. Oh Tae-seok is played by the always excellent Kang Shin-il but that's about all that's going on here.
I suppose as basic dramatic medical tension goes this episode is all right. There's nothing in this episode that's unintentionally comical. We see people frightened at the thought that this man, who is important in all their lives, might soon die without a proper goodbye. That's a scary idea to consider. It's not a terribly original one and there's not really any twist, but at least it's competently executed.
In terms of levity, there's not really much here. There's one funny joke. I could see it coming from a mile away, but hey, some drama cliches never get old. That's about the only praise I can offer "Emergency Couple" at this point. It does everything in a mostly competent manner. While the action may get tiring or eyeroll inducing, lately it's never been so bad as to inspire a great deal of frustration.
But the themes? What are the themes supposed to be here? As far as I can tell, it's thinking about what really matters in a life partner. The crisis with Tae-seok makes a lot of characters think about where they've been resting their hopes and insecurities lately. It's nice for "Emergency Couple" to dealing with emotions aside from romantic love when covering relationships. At the same time, I again have to note that hospitals don't generally let doctors attend to their own family members, for very good reasons.
If "Emergency Couple" were a better drama, I might be able to forgive little dramatic flourishes like that. But the fact of the matter is it simply isn't. The divorce angle is the only aspect of the narrative that's particularly interesting, and while that is directly addressed in this episode, the matter isn't discussed engagingly enough to make the proceedings that exciting- or detract from the general agony of Tae-seok's medical emergency. As usual the drama gets close to good concept, but fails to grab hold due to an uninspiring production.
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.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Emergency Couple" Episode 16"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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