Initially it was easy to peg Jin-seok as being exactly the kind of man who would have an extramarital affair. Yet I wasn't sure why. Jin-seok is a tad brusque, but aside from obviously high self-esteem there's nothing in his attitude that makes adultery seem all that inevitable. As we see this episode, that much really is enough. The very fact that Jin-seok seems so attractive, and obviously enjoys the presence of attractive women, is enough to draw attractive women to him.
Lest we see Jin-seok as morally inferior, though, "Road to the Airport" reminds us that Soo-ah is having a very similar effect on Do-woo. While Do-woo knows that Soo-ah is married, she's such a good listener who knows about Annie and why her loss is such a big deal. That's all Do-woo is looking for right now. The poor man is just constantly heart-broken, and all his own wife can think about is keeping Do-woo from figuring out what she had to do with Annie's death.
The rest of Do-woo's family is no help either. Ye Soo-jung has incredibly depressing screen presence. Eun-hee is clearly suffering from some kind of dementia, and while that would be a major plot point in most dramas, in "Road to the Airport" Do-won is just hurting too much to deal with his mother right now. The closest the man can even get to crying is with Soo-ah, and it's easy to see why Do-woo wants that so much.
"Road to the Airport" does really good work in exploring the emotional root motivations behind extramarital affairs. It's impressive how there's almost no sense of eroticism or sexuality- just the constant crippling sense of loneliness. Do-woo doesn't even think of his meetings with Soo-ah as being adulterous. With Annie gone, there's just this huge void in his life. Soo-ah is clearly a good person who knew Annie, so Do-woo would like to fill that void with her, somehow.
The quality of the script and the performances is well-matched by the cinematography, a steady stream of powerful dreamlike images that really emphasize how nearly every character in this drama is an island. Mi-jin is able to avoid this because she lives an explicitly extroverted existence with a large number of shallow relationships rather than a small number of deep ones. It also, not coincidentally, leaves Mi-jin with the wherewithal necessary to see the big picture.
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] "Road to the Airport" Episode 3"
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