Hye-won coming to terms with the end of her marriage to Do-woo is relatively easy to manage. As is explicitly mentioned here, Annie's death alone was more than enough impetus to force their break-up, and Soo-ah is blameless except to the extent she helped to stave off an otherwise inevitable depression on Do-woo's part. But where does that leave Soo-ah when it comes to her own marriage, which is slowly disintegrating as she attempts to prevent Jin-seok from realizing what's going on?
What's funny about this situation, of course, is that Jin-seok does not necessarily believe that Soo-ah's actions are wrong. Initially he's pretty much resigned to acceptance of the situation, thinking that it was probably mostly his fault. But then there's that little bit of information, that little bit of Soo-ah trying to put on a more selfish role than the infinitely patient and devoted wife, that turns Jin-seok around. And rather than guess why Soo-ah has changed her outlook, Jin-seok simply doubles down on his worst behavior.
Another irony is how neither Soo-ah nor Jin-seok are willing to interpret her actions in yet another light- that of the devoted mother. Hyo-eun's well-being may have not always been at the forefront of Soo-ah's mind, but to date the plan to resettle in Jeju Island has been a smashing success where the only real downside is that Jin-seok has been shut out. Yet note how Jin-seok himself doesn't even care about that, instead opting to act as a control freak.
I find Jin-seok more intriguing a character than is probably fair. It's just, to rationalize the affair between Soo-ah and Do-woo, it would be so much easier to make him explicitly abusive somehow. But the constant running thread of Soo-ah and Do-woo's relationship is that they are functioning emotional equals. While are perfectly mentally stable, they have also made sacrifices for the sake of personal relationships. It's only just now they're realizing that sacrifice has to be a two-way street.
Hye-won does finally get this, and while "Road to the Airport" does a decent job humanizing Hye-won and making her somewhat sympathetic, ultimately, she is the one that sets Jin-seok upon Soo-ah and Do-woo for no other reason than pure vengeful spite. It's fascinating how "Road to the Airport" is able to wring ethical ambiguity out of a situation even like that. Did Jin-seok have the right to know? Of course. But context always matter.
Review by William Schwartz
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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] "Road to the Airport" Episode 14"
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