The crescendo of the conflict is, like the previous episode, a fairly easy to understand affair. The characters here fight to hold on to any possible advantage they can find at any given moment. When the first stage of Gi-cheol's plan goes wrong, it takes quite a bit of quick-shooting and hot-headed negotiation before the scene finally ends with one character taking a prop from a previous scene out of nowhere. Unfortunately for Gi-cheol, keeping track of everything that's going on at once is pretty hard.
It makes for a somewhat bittersweet climax. Good prevails, not so much because they actually know what they're doing, but because Gi-cheol finally makes a tactical mistake. Seon-woo is still largely unchanged as a character from the first episode. He's competent to be sure, but the younger spy chiefly prioritizes sentimentality. Without hesitation, Seon-woo plays the role of good guy here even as he knows every minute he wastes is another minute that his mother could be finished.
That's certainly one way to manage a character arc, albeit a strange one. No character growth- everyone is just thrust into the drama and left to try and claw their way out through the strength of their own grit. Don't expect any surprises too big from the epilogue- well, I guess I was kind of surprised about what ended up happening to Yoon-jin. Although maybe that was just a matter of her realizing that there's not really that much contradiction about being a spy and a good person after all.
It seems a little light, really, considering all the effort that's gone into "Spy - Drama". I have to confess that thinking back on the series, I have trouble remembering a lot of the finer plot points. But then any good spy thriller isn't really about the minutae- it's about being able to maintain a tense, exciting atmosphere on the strength of a script consistently well-written enough that we don't bother questioning the inconsistencies.
And there really aren't any inconsistencies in "Spy - Drama". That may not seem like huge praise, but this is a very easy thing to get wrong in a genre that necessitates the audience always keep guessing. Sometimes the drama was slow, sometimes it was melodramatic, and other times it actually did manage to feel like a more mainstream production. In any case, we definitely went out with a loud, satisfying bang here. So on that count, this was a ride well worth taking.
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] "Spy - Drama" Episode 16 Final"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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