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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shall We Kiss First" Episodes 21-22

2018/03/26 | 380 views | Permalink

So the honeymoon's over. Granted, the honeymoon was pretty sad, so that phrase doesn't quite mean what it usually implies here. Instead what we get is Moo-han and Soon-jin transitioning to basic domesticity. Or at least, that's what Soon-jin thinks is happening. Normally domesticity is for the long term. Instead, Soon-jin is making a life for herself that will predictably get wrenched away and leave her right back where she started.

In that context it's easy to see why Kyeong-soo is so consistently outraged by how Moo-han is effectively forcing Soon-jin to her her doom. Whether Soon-jin would see that situation the same way...well, that's where the drama is coming from. Soon-jin was already living a sad life. She's still leading a sad life, really, as can be seen by the extended sequence where Soon-jin and Mi-ra (played by Ye Ji-won) hang out, get drunk, and make fools out of themselves from basic mutual commiseration.

There's also an odd scene where Mi-ra very meanly attacks Ji-min over something that was fairly explicitly Mi-ra's fault. The screwball direction in this scene left me somewhat confused as to the purpose. Are we meant to see Ji-min as a sympathetic character who is being randomly and unfairly attacked in perpetuity for the act of stealing Soon-jin's husband? Although really, it's kind of surprising that Ji-min is still being allowed into Soon-jin's social circle at all.

Speaking of character incapable of crossing certain lines, we have I-deun doing a big one by taking a prank against Soon-jin way too far. And of course, Moo-han still refuses to do anything more complicated than express very sincere disappointment in I-deun. On one end, I-deun is obviously trying to provoke a reaction, so it makes sense that Moo-han doesn't want to give her one. But then, will this ever stop? Observe how no one even tries to get Seok-kyeong involved anymore.

Ha-min is the best hope for that situation, since I-deun will also throw her obsessive vindictive personality over to his direction every so often. But eh, to be honest I'm kind of hitting the limit for watching these various characters be jerks to each other. It just gets to be petty after all. Which is why the latest ending flashback is so powerful. Moo-han's inability to so much as look Soon-jin in the eye back then is the worst insult imaginable. That secret is likely to be far more damaging than news of Moo-han's impending death.

Review by William Schwartz

"Shall We Kiss First" is directed by Son Jeong-hyeon, written by Bae Yoo-mi and features Kam Woo-sung, Kim Sun-ah, Oh Ji-ho, and Park Si-yeon.

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