The main conflict this episode is over the prospect of Jin-hee and Chang-min going to a movie. It's about as high stakes as it sounds, and the tension is oddly lacking for a penultimate episode. The movie is "Thread of Lies" by the way. It's difficult to guess how we're supposed to relate the story of that particular film to the proceedings here. I guess they're both about appreciating the things you love in life before they're gone forever?
It's as good a theme as any really, but none of the characters in "Emergency Couple" are in any immediate danger of leaving. The drama seems to have forgotten that medical internships last a really long time. Unless we get a timeskip, there's not going to be any immediate resolution to the living situation of the cast. Which makes the hurried tone somewhat odd. It's nice that Jin-hee and Chang-min are opening up to each other again, but this is dating stuff, not finale material.
Ji-hye's character is leaving. This would probably hold a lot more emotional punch if her character had had much development in the first place. We know that she's a single mom, that she's carrying a torch for Cheon-soo, and that she spends an inordinate amount of time talking to Cheon-soo about Jin-hee. The lack of a clear story arc for her is somewhat puzzling, mostly because the purpose of Cheon-soo's character isn't much better defined.
Oddly, this is actually a pretty decent episode if I ignore annoying little quibbles like continuity and relevance. The portions with Jin-hee and Chang-min hanging out and doing fun stuff are pretty cute. The other characters as well have their moments, wrapping up minor plot points in fairly effective fashion. It's predictable, to be sure, but there's still enough charm left over to keep the experience from becoming overly miserable.
That's the weird place "Emergency Couple" has gotten to, is that the closer it adheres to archetypes, and the better job it does with standard romantic comedy cliches, the more appealing it is. With any plot thread that's unclear, I'm just sort of confused. Taken as a whole the only moral lesson I can take from the drama is that marriages can fall apart if the couple forgets how they fell in love. This isn't a bad message by any means, but somehow I was expecting something more ambitious from a drama that went to such great lengths to establish how much the lead characters hate each other.
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 20"
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