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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Man-hole" Episode 5

2017/08/30

Feelings are often realized when it's too late and when words and hearts can no longer be shared. This is what Pil, Soo-jin, and their friends realize in the latest reality that the manhole has wrought.

This is the quietest episode we've gotten so far in terms of energy, but the emotional connection and character development was quite powerful. Soo-jin is far from the rather 1D character she was in the first episode and shows her depth of human character and compassion. It's good to see her develop more rather than just be the object of Pil's grand affections. However, it would still be nice to see more of what makes her and Pil, well, her and Pil. We hear them say they love each other and we watch them pine, but what built them up to these feelings? The past doesn't quite give us enough of that.

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I do want to commend Kim Jae-joong for pulling out the good stuff this episode. What I mean by that was he was able to deliver on the expectations of Pil's role in this episode: pain, introspection, personal reflection. The character was still a spazzy man, but watching people react to the fact that he'd been in a coma for six years is heavy, and Kim Jae-joong handled that with the appropriate gravitas.

Another good point of this episode in particular was that the corporal/spiritual concept reflected in the cinematography. There was some beautiful mise-en-scene work and in general the episode was beautifully shot. Admittedly, a few of the ghostly ideas were awkwardly wrought, but that is a small quibble because there were a couple of hilarious ghost rules. For example, the body possessed by Pil always sneezed upon possession.

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This episode was a step up from the others because it delivered the emotional depth that had previously been lacking. We see that Pil's friends and family love him. More importantly, he sees that. Perhaps this fluttering lead will have something more than his powerful love for Soo-jin to drive him forwards. Perhaps now he will work for the rest of his friends, his family, and most of all, himself.

Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'

"Man-Hole" is directed by Park Man-yeong, written by Lee Jae-gon and features Kim Jae-joong, UEE, Jung Hye-sung and Baro.

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