The theme this time is motherhood. Jin-woo runs into the mother he was not expecting, and elsewhere in the team, a request comes down to help another mother who pretty obviously is taking the rap for her son's crime. Or is she? That's what the mystery boils down to- pretty standard set-up, and dealt with in the usual investigative style of the drama. The main hook, as usual, is the emotional resonance. This time of a mother's love.
Personally, I didn't really feel the magic, although other viewers might be more forgiving. The problem on my end was mainly that I kept expecting some kind of clear obvious (metaphorical) connection between the mother in jail and the mother Jin-woo doesn't want have to deal with. If any kind of release like that is coming, it will have to be in a future episode. The broader storyline moves at the same slow pace it usually does here, with one plot twist at the beginning and another at the end.
Not a big fan of the one we get at the end, although that mainly ties in to another of my usual complaints about the series- that we don't really get much exposure of any of the leads aside from Jin-woo and Kyeong-hee. And this isn't something that can just be blamed on my not having seen the first three seasons, because this deficiency is most obvious with Si-woo- the character who, like me, only just showed up.
It seems unlikely at this point there's going to be much more development of his character arc than what we've seen up until this point- just the usual romantic tension with Tae-kyeong, the other new arrival, who like Si-woo only really has one important character trait. It's a bit of a shame they don't have more to do, since the pair actually has pretty decent chemistry. I suspect the production team miscalculated how much room this drama actually had for new characters.
Still, when taken as a stand alone mystery, the episode is pretty decent. It's not very gory, surprisingly enough, although the mean-spirited nature of the ending leaves a bit to be desired. The preview gives the indication that we're finally moving out of the realm of new weekly mysteries and actually getting into the heart of the bigger more dangerous game that's the team is engulfed in. At least I hope that's what's happening. There's only so much skulking around in shrouded mystery this drama can do before it gets to be insufferable.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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