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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Good Doctor" Episode 16

2013/09/24 | 2046 views | Permalink

It turns out the dramatic severity of the last episode's cliffhanger was completely out of line with its influence on the actual storyline. The entire situation is resolved almost instantaneously with no fallout whatsoever. It's pretty disappointing- goofy as that entire plotline was it did have the potential to go somewhere interesting. I guess I should be thankful it doesn't turn into something stupid, at least.

There are more cute moments scattered throughout this episode, and the various plotlines move at a reasonably balanced pace, in line with the general plot. Everything is all right quality wise, but it lacks the narrative cohesion and strength of the previous one. While there are many individual parts that I could qualify as good, the metaphorical direction is a bit iffy. I want to call it slice-of-life, but performances are too definitely entwined in larger plotlines for me just to really be able to call this typical "Good Doctor" stuff.

Literally speaking plotlines make definite progress, and enjoying these moments is mainly a matter of being able to stay engaged in the sweetness of the individual moments long enough to get to the final build-up. This is very much an episode that improves and climaxes in its catharsis, but it's such a steady improvement that it's really important to actually care about the characters and their conflicts.

And this episode makes that challenging, because a lot of the middle is wrapped up in Hyeon-tae's conflicts. And I don't think I've ever mentioned that character's name before, because while he is important to the overall storyline, for the most part he's just the stock mean corporate guy. Nothing about this episode really changes this appraisal of his character. The best it does is hold out the hope that maybe at some future point he'll get something in the way of character development.

The main undeniable strong point that this episode does a good job showing off is the strength of the cast. There's a kind of special energy to the performances that work effectively whether the tone is humor, introspection, or deliberate lack of introspection. Even though the episode doesn't move in a particularly exciting direction, it's a pretty real and human one so the acting and emotional reactions to event don't feel contrived. Even Shi-on manages to give relatively decent relationship talk this time around, as even when he used lots of words, the basic point he's making is still a simple obvious one. "Good Doctor" has quality production values- the only real complaint I can make for this episode is that it didn't amaze me, but sometimes solid work is good enough on its own merits.

Review by William Schwartz

"Good Doctor" is directed by Ki Min-soo, written by Park Jae-beom-I and features Joo Won, Moon Chae-won, Joo Sang-wook and Kim Min-seo.

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