All this time later and the good guys still can't get their act together. Seon-woo and Hye-rim come so, so close to actually getting on the same page and swapping notes on what's going on- but both are determined to go it alone for the sake of sacrifice. Note particularly the scene where Hye-rim chases after Seon-woo- this is very nearly a parallel of when Woo-seok did the same with Hye-rim, but ultimately, Seon-woo and Hye-rim are too heavily locked into the spy mindset to take their emotional relationship all the way.
With a backdrop like this, it's unsurprising that the bad guys are able to fall into an almost complete advantage. Gi-cheol has no trouble getting everyone to do exactly what he wants. The only loose end from his perspective is Gi-cheol's technical superior in the north. But it's hard to imagine this new guy being able to pull ahead. In this drama information is everything, and Gi-cheol has more of it.
What I like about the spy manipulations here is that there's relatively subtle. It's eminently predictable, for example, that Seon-woo could be provoked into acting by putting Yoon-jin in danger. The bad guys have never actually trusted either Hye-rim or Seon-woo to simply do what they're told. To the contrary- by provoking these two into acting heroic, the bad guys are able to provide excellent cover for their own machinations regarding each other.
Of course, on another level it's a bit disinheartening to realize that none of our actual main characters are terribly competent. They are, in reality, just tools being used for the sake of furthering a proxy war. Seon-woo even gets a nice moment of spy action here that sure makes him look cool- but in greater context, it really just demonstrates how he's mostly useless as an actual spy with his own agenda.
To be entirely honest, the pacing of "Spy - Drama" along with the mostly impotent counterstrikes by the good guys are such that I can see why some would consider this drama to be a tad dull. At the very least it's definitely wordy, and rather defies conventional Korean drama standards by having everyone use a poker face at almost all times. Be honest- most of us got into this stuff because of the emoting. All the same, we're reaching much more decisive movement here, such that the remainder of "Spy - Drama" looks to just be payoffs for all this build-up.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 11"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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