"Incarnation of Jealousy" revolves around complex triangles and quadrangles of emotions that will be nearly impossible to resolve. Situations mirror each other in that choices must be made to move out of limbo, but those choices aren't easy.
Before we jump into the choices being made, let's cover a touchier subject: sexual tension. It is obvious there is a tight string of sexual tension running between Hwa-sin and Na-ri that is lacking between Na-ri and Jeong-won. Hwa-sin has a difficult time curbing his desire to act on this tension. Some of his actions are inexcusable in that he forces her into hugs when she explicitly refuses. However, she also invites his flirtations and the line becomes blurred when she verbally pushes him, teases him, knowing that he's already wound very tightly. This is a dynamic found in almost all relationships, the push and pull of sexual desire. It's rare to see it played out on Korean public television. I hope this is an issue the show continues to explore, the balance between flirting and cruelty; the difference between loving someone and forcing someone. Sometimes it's a very thin line.
As for those choices I mentioned, Na-ri and Ppalgang have in the midst of choosing who to live and be with from what seems, for the most part, to be two favorable options. Whatever choice is made will result in pain all around. Both trios are close. Na-ri is close to both men, and Hwa-sin and Jeong-won are best friends. Ppalgang loves both mothers, and the mothers are frenemies. Jealousy is woven throughout the triangles, wanting the full attention and love of the person at the apex of the triangle. Jealousy is both coveted and hated by that person at the apex, wanting the love to know she's love, but hating the tension it creates.
Jeong-won and Hwa-sin receive a blast from the past with a wedding invitation from a mutual ex-girlfriend and that history replays in part with Na-ri. The boys have always been close despite fighting over women and this time is similar. Like with the reporter mothers, Jeong-won and Hwa-sin's fight over Na-ri is as much about their relationship as their relationship with Na-ri. It's an exploration of how close they are and how close jealousy can come to breaking that friendship asunder.
While I'm glad to see Ppalgang's story play out with more screen time, I wish more of the chef's storyline was shown because of his larger role at the start of the drama. His presence has become more anemic as time has passed. He is another apex of a love triangle, that between the two reporter mothers. But their interest flagged when they realized he wasn't interested in sex. I hope their interest becomes reinvigorated because that was a fun storyline.
The next episode will surely delve more into co-habitation hijinks. Bring it on.
Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Incarnation of Jealousy" Episode 17 "
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