This episode didn't seem that depressing. Bear in mind I'm not sure whether this is objectively true or whether my standards have just been completely warped by the miserable tone "Missing Noir M" has been driving at lately. The opening scene appears to be underage prostitution for pity's sake, and there are murders involved. But at least we don't wallow in that too much. Even the ending, while initially annoying, did feel appropriate in long perspective.
Apparently Seo-joon has a backstory, for example. And also she's way younger than I thought- only a few years removed from high school. Not strictly speaking implausible, but Seo-joon must be quite the whiz kid in order to get assigned to a special team with so little experience. And I suppose that her backstory is overall pretty decent- to be honest this would have worked much better if we'd have learned about it earlier on. This would have been a good case to introduce the Seo-joon character to begin with, given that up until now she's just been a standard hacker cipher.
Anyway, as far as the mystery goes, there's the usual decent construction. On an objective level too the lack of depressing focus makes it easy to keep attention where it belongs- on figuring out the cause behind these disappearances. I didn't even notice so much the appearance of other tiresome "Missing Noir M" tropes- like the way the police are constantly being manipulated. For mostly positive ends, of course.
Even so I get the impression that we're gearing up for a serious final stretch plotline, given the lack of a preview. This is fine by me- normally I like my detectives serials to be abstract, but in the case of "Missing Noir M", the mystery of Soo-hyeon's true involvement with the overall case is an interesting hook. And given the screw-up at the climax, it's something I'd really like to see in better perspective.
What "Missing Noir M" tries to do, though, it tries to do well. The case is fairly gritty and even mostply plausible, if we choose to ignore the climax. Director Lee Seung-young has consistently managed a very slick production- it's not one that ever really excels behind the basics implied by the title of "Missing Noir M", but then it doesn't really need to. Sometimes gritty, well-balanced genre fiction is a good enough draw on its own, and at the very least my read on the drama's future has drifted back to somewhat optimistic.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 7"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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