So you might have noticed that I abruptly stopped writing reviews for "Single Wife" a month ago. This is because I had gone to the United States, and recent episodes of "Single Wife" could not be streamed there. Back in South Korea, I'm a bit surprised to find that the final stretch of plot feels rather abrupt. In-hwa, having mostly had a background role as the mean potential mother-in-law, is apparently responsible for all the malaise in Ra-hee and Jae-min's relationship.
What's especially weird about blaming In-hwa for this is that the recap portion of "Single Wife" lasts, as usual, for several minutes. It's excessive and I was initially grateful for being brought back to speed only to be confused to find that very little of the excessive recap has anything to do with the main conflict. For all the exposition we get about In-hwa's elaborate marriage busting schemes, the immediate impression is that Ra-hee got tired of Jae-min for being pushy.
He barely even asks for anything mind you, but then this is the problem that has characterized their entire relationship. Ra-hee and Jae-min have never endured any kind of serious crisis together. And to the extent there have been any crises at all, Jae-min has always been the one to chin up and encourage Ra-hee that everything will be all right. Ra-hee has never really done anything for Jae-min except very sincerely want him as a marriage partner.
Ra-hee's lack of dynamic action has always been a sore point. Jae-min actually has quite a bit more real story conflict here than the alleged main character. For that matter, Min-hong has always had the more interesting story up until now because he's the one seriously pondering what his post-marriage future holds. These are serious long-term concers that can't be easily brushed aside. Even Hyo-rim, generally a peripheral character, straight up melts down upon realizing the greater implications of all this.
Contrast this with Ra-hee and her apparent lack of empathy with anyone. She's really just not much of a main character, and her problems tend to drag down everyone else's character arcs too simply by virtue of being so petty. This all really is a shame, since the emotional catharsis scenes we get here are legitimately quite good. Seo Yuna gives a surprisingly good performance for a character that, up until now, has just seemed like a little kid. Now if only Uhm Hyun-kyung could have such an opportunity...
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] "Single Wife" Episode 11"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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