I'd just like to take a moment to admire Yoo Joon-sang's role here as Section Chief Yoo. Yes, it's a fairly minor role, which for the most part only relates to the characterization of one of the secondary characters. But I just love how delightfully angry he gets! Corporate culture is serious business, and look at this new guy, failing to work himself to death for the amusement of his betters. It's funny stuff, and surprisingly relevant.
Because here's the thing- "My Love from the Star" is clearly trying to make a deliberate theme out of putting unlikable characters into sympathetic situations, which kind of confuses the emotions. I want to feel bad for Song-I getting sick, really I do. I had the same operation back when I was a teenager, and it really is an awful situation. But she goes about everything in such a bratty way it's hard to fault people for not wanting anything to do with her.
It's that kind of general aloofness which this drama is pulling off so well. Min-Joon is easily the most relatable character because it's obvious that at this point he's motivated largely by lingering emotional attachment. And he full well recognizes that this is a bad thing. This stuff is not his problem, he's better off not getting involved, indeed, it's pretty clear that Song-I doesn't even want his help unless the alternative is an immediate death.
Fiction these days commonly forces unlikable characters upon the viewer and expects us to sympathize with them because of a few scattered positive traits, but "My Love from the Star" take a refreshingly cynical view to the situation. As of yet, it's still unclear what outcome we're supposed to be rooting for here. At present there's pretty much no compelling reason for Min-Joon to hang around Earth another 400 years, even if he somehow turns Song-I into a respectable person.
But in addition to drama, this set-up does wonders for the comedy as well. When so many characters are basically hostile to each other, opportunities for humorous reversals are constant. This effect is only amplified by the drama's quality direction. We take another beautiful step back to Josen times, and there's that same sense of dread coupled with curiousity about how these flashbacks created the cold sarcastic Min-Joon we see today. "My Love from the Star" is quality television, expertly blending excitement in the moment with anticipation for the future.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Love from the Star" Episode 3"
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