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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 11

2015/02/13 | 713 views | Permalink

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

"Spy - Drama" is directed by Park Hyeon-seok, written by Han Sang-woon and Lee Kang and features Kim Jae-joong, Bae Jong-ok, Yoo Oh-sung, Ko Sung-hee, Jung Won-joong and Kim Min-jae.

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