Se-jin is pretty well-seduced by the glamorous cool promised through I-kyeong's slick in-charge attitude. Of course, this predictably goes badly because really, if the job was so easy I-kyeong would have just done it herself. So what we're left is a tense and frightening hostage situation as Se-jin desperately tries to negotiate herself out of certain disaster. I-kyeong's hilariously blasÚáreaction to the entire sordid affair is, unsurprisingly, pretty enraging. At least until Se-jin gets back to her normal job.
What I like about Se-jin is that she's a real everywoman. Observe how rather than pull off stoic action movie heroics in I-kyeong's vein, Se-jin is terrified for the entire portion of captivity. She maintains just barely enough composure to take advantage of an unexpected situation and not be a total helpless victim. That's why I-kyeong likes Se-jin so much. Se-jin could do amazing feats- if only given the opportunity.
And that's what's lacking in her current life. While Se-jin may not like I-kyeong's attitude, the older woman respects skill. This is a far cry from most of the authority figures Se-jin meets, who simply expect people to follow their orders because they say so. What makes I-kyeong compelling is that even in the high class corporate world, she's dealing with many of the same problems that Se-jin is. It's just that I-kyeong has amassed enough power to take revenge, when she feels like it.
The way I-kyeong tempts Se-jin works precisely because Se-jin wants to be a nice woman, but this is at odds with Se-jin's generally confrontational and assertive personality. Normally any time Se-jin lets the mask slip, that's when she gets in trouble. However, I-kyeong values competence- not blind loyalty. It's a very powerful weapon that has already allowed her to make massive inroads in a business field that would have spit up and chewed out a nice woman a long time ago.
The ethical conflict is pretty spot-on, and I love the performances from the lead actresses. To date, the main issue I have with "Night Light" is that every other character is just sort of bland by comparison. They represent obstacles that I-kyeong and Se-jin must overcome in order to get what they want. For the introductory story I suppose they've served their purpose. Going forward, though, I really want to see better villains than this. I-kyeong and Se-jin are at their sexiest when the odds are at the most impossible.
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] "Night Light" Episode 2"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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