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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Shall We Kiss First" Episodes 9-10

2018/03/05 | 326 views | Permalink

Considering their story for most of episode nine is just an extended bed scene it's surprising just how mundane and boring Moo-han and Soon-jin are together. Their relationship is not terribly romantic but in a nutty way it's actually kind of the platonic ideal of married life. They have trouble sleeping. They embarrass themselves. Yet oddly enough none of that really matters. They both just kind of shrug their shoulders and go, whatever, life could be worse.

And then, as if to emphasize that point, we get these cuts of Ji-min fighting with Kyeong-soo in a way that is frankly alarming. Did Kyeong-soo do wrong, doing all this real estate stuff in secret? Well yeah, sure, but Ji-min also way overreacts. I was more than a little disturbed for episode ten, realizing that when Ji-min hit Kyeong-soo in episode nine, she was actually seriously trying to hurt him. The guy has a bandage and a huge visible bruise.

Also consider Kyeong-soo's response to Ji-min's phone call the day after. Do they fight like that all the time? That does explain a lot. Kyeong-soo responds to the abuse by trying to go back to Soon-jin. Or worse, he decides to start acting macho. All of a sudden Kyeong-soo's stalker-like attitude toward Moo-han comes off as pathological. I could easily see Kyeong-soo picking fights with complete strangers too now. Shoot, Moo-han himself is, technically speaking, a complete stranger to Kyeong-soo.

Or us, for that matter. I've been thinking of Moo-han as a guy who's trying to escape the past. So where he goes after the hospital is, to say the least, a bit of a surprise. Then we keep getting hit with bigger ones. It turns out that we know about as little about Soon-jin as we do about Moo-han. In a way all we know about either character is what the other has been able to piece together on their own, from the dumb luck of their living in the same building.

Guilt plays into that, and this is also why guilt is a fairly major theme in this drama. I keep getting hung up on Ji-min's rants about everything in her married life being the result of a crime, for which she should feel shame. I think the big issue with Ji-min is that she refuses to act ashamed, even when that's how she feels, the result being that other see her as shameless. Unlikable though she may be, there are some lines even Ji-min won't cross.

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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