The big fight between Soo-ah and Jin-seok ends up not happening (for now) due to people being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Where "Road to the Airport" gets to especially puzzling territory, though, is how this seems to work out for the better. Sure, Jin-seok briefly terrorizes Hyo-eun, and throughout the episode is motivated primarily by petty spite caused by Soo-ah's emotional affair with Do-woo. Yet by the end, he has actually managed to come up with a much better long-term plan than Soo-ah did, for all the wrong reasons.
Jin-seok's thought process is fascinating as it is disturbing. At one point we even get to see Jin-seok completely spell out his logic for a "happy" marriage, apparently oblivious to how the real-life failings of this philosophy have more to do with his life choices rather than Soo-ah's. Even though Jin-seok's decisions all involve changing his own behavior in the current marriage crisis, Jin-seok has somehow managed to rationalize everything as being Soo-ah's fault. How is it possible that Jin-seok knows what emotional abuse is, yet is not aware that he is the one doing all of it?
That much is a complicated character question which "Road to the Airport" will probably not manage to answer. The essential contradiction this episode, in the lead up to the final conflict, is simply how far Soo-ah is willing to go to protect her newfound emotional intimacy with Jin-seok. Now that all the tangible logical marital conflicts have been solved to her favor, does Soo-ah simply admit that she was wrong, even though her emotional affair with Do-woo was the only reason Jin-seok came up with this totally-not-a-compromise in the first place?
It's actually a genuinely difficult question to resolve. Yes, Do-woo is a stand-up guy who will make Soo-ah happy, but is that worth giving up on everything else in Soo-ah's life? Does Do-woo really need Soo-ah anymore now that he has successfully resolved his own conflicted feelings regarding Annie's death? How much do they really need each other anyway, when they have so much to live for elsewhere?
These are tough moral questions that only Soo-ah and Do-woo can answer. And this, ultimately, is why I'm glad we don't have the big confrontation between Soo-ah and Jin-seok just yet. The determination of how much Soo-ah and Do-woo need each other is one that should exist beyond situational externalities. Accepting that there is no truly perfect happy ending will be, in the end, the final culmination of Soo-ah's character arc.
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 15"
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