This episode was 100% about Hwa-sin and Jo Jung-suk as Hwa-sin tries to absorb the fact that he is impotent. He also struggles to come to terms with his masculinity in a heart-breaking way that culminates in one of the rawest, truest moments in the entire drama. The other characters fall into second place behind him. Na-ri is supportive, but nothing sensational. Jeong-won is barely present. The reporter mothers have a few cute interactions together, but nothing more. It is truly all about Hwa-sin.
He wonders if having breast cancer and being impotent makes him less of a man, which is a sad reversal of the question that many female cancer victims ask themselves. His situation makes an important commentary on the state of manhood. He is no less of a man because of these things. Because he chooses to come out with the truth of his breast cancer, he is more of a man because he tells the truth to protect someone he loves. Before he arrives at that beautiful moment, he spends the episode begging for reassurance from Na-ri without detailing exactly what he wants. To her credit, she is consistently supportive of him, to the point of pretending to have breast cancer to protect his reputation. He sees her go out of her way to help him, risking her job to protect his secret, and also a younger co-worker who falls ill. She focuses more on others than herself. I do think this rubs off on Hwa-sin. I wish his friend Jeong-won was more part of all of this. Their bromance is one of the strongest points in the show.
I also like how Hwa-sin's mother has forgiven him and completely stepped back into his life. I'd like for the entire family to come together in the same way. Unfortunately it seems like Ppalgang isn't a very important part of the story anymore. In the earlier episodes, I was so curious how Ppalgang, Chi-yeol, and their friend would grow throughout the show. It hasn't happened at all. They've been forgotten by the wayside. The reporter mothers, on the other hand, have been developed in fits and spurts. Reporter Bang starts dating Chef while Reporter Gye writhes with jealousy. It's funny, but not particularly relevant to the story overall. A lot of this drama is like that.
Two more episodes before this tale comes to an end. There is no urgency in the drama to end or to continue. It coasts on Hwa-sin's growth as a character, which is intriguing, but not enough to drive it forward. Perhaps the last week will be more exciting.
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 22"
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