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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 14

2017/01/03 | 781 views | Permalink

Enough of I-kyeong's plan has been brought into operation that we can finally get exposition of her motivation without potentially ruining it. I-kyeong, though, has not been fighting for the reasons we had assumed. It's hard to tell whether the truth is better or worse than what we've assumed. On one end the lack of emotion in I-kyeong's decision making process makes her pliable to reason. But then where does that leave Se-jin and Gun-woo, whose only arguments have ever really been emotional ones?

The other big spin this puts on I-kyeong's character is that she really is good at this business stuff just because it's her skill set. She never flinches. Anyone who thinks they can intimidate I-kyeong to submission quickly discovers just how foolish this idea is. Whether I-kyeong has anything to do with the escalations that happen afterwards is besides the point. She gets these very confident men to doubt themselves, when confidence is all that's really necessary to succeed in business.

This is why "Night Light" has annoyed me with the attention to specific details, because those don't really matter. I-kyeong manages perception very well. This episode is by far the closest we get to an emotional meltdown on I-kyeong's part, and it was only ever managed by her getting smacked hard by one of the most difficult spiritual hits a person can take. And even that barely slows I-kyeong down. The other characters are more surprised and caught off-guard than I-kyeong is, and she uses that to her advantage.

Unfortunately, while the lack of an emotional hook and the exploration thereof adds some excellent dimensions to I-kyeong's character, without the emotional hook, "Night Light" has pretty much no plot. This is just a story about corporate backroom dealings. Se-jin's outsider perspective and emotional attachment as I-kyeong's only real friend offer some potentially intriguing conflicts, but right now Se-jin just looks kind of silly being involved in this situation at all.

I-kyeong's character arc here was well-developed and properly foreshadowed. As the main character, this was obviously important. But "Night Light"s problem has always been some very strong individual pieces working against a rather incoherent whole. By the end even Moo-il is feeling kind of ambivalent, wondering why he's even bothering to fight I-kyeong at all. When the straight-up villain doesn't have enough motivation to fight through to the bitter end, that's symptom of a pretty weak narrative overall.

Review by William Schwartz

"Night Light" is directed by Lee Jae-dong, written by Han Ji-hoon and features Lee Yo-won, Jin Goo, UEE, Choi Il-hwa, Choi Min and Shim Yi-young.

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