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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 7

2015/01/30 | 693 views | Permalink

Almost the entirity of the focus this episode is on Yoon-jin- specifically, her motivation. Surprisingly enough this isn't just a simple clichéd case of the seductress spy falling in love with her mark. Yoon-jin has, in fact, been using her true personality for pretty much the entire time we've seen her on screen. And finding out that this is all legitimate really underscores the woman's true character conflict- circumstance has forced Yoon-jin into being a spy when this entire attitude runs completely contrary to her personality.

Ko Sung-hee shows off real emotional vulnerability here. She's caught between three terrible, irreconcilable places, and has little choice but to to wait and hope the situation changes somehow. This puts Yoon-jin in a rather interesting spot compared to most of the other characters in this drama, who all have some pretension of being a spy master. Yoon-jin is just a tool and she knows it. It's an intriguing angle that gives immediate, obvious importance to her character, both in a comparative sense and in the larger plot.

Take how this relates to Hye-rim. Hye-rim did, in fact, do the clichéd thing and left the spying business for the sake of domestic responsibilities. And yet Hye-rim is so focused on the spy drama that she never considers the possibility that Yoon-jin too, might have more complicated motivation. It's a definite step backward for Hye-rim after a fairly fruitful investigation led her to definite information. Hye-rim still really isn't in a very good position.

Note the cliffhanger in that context. Seon-woo, having exhausted all the more creative possibilities, finally resorts to trying to find the suspects by just going through photos one by one. In broad perspective this is actually probably one of the better tactics to use against the North Koreans- while they're smart enough to mind cameras and bugs, their understanding of espionage is mostly on the personal level rather than the technological. A rather unsurprising fact, given modern economic realities. But also one that's likely to give Hye-rim as much trouble as Gi-cheol.

This episode makes excellent use of spy tropes in the melodramatic context. I really like how in "Spy - Drama", it's never really the process that matters. It's the results, and the extent to which these results are useful depends on personal manipulation of actual human beings rather than psychological profiles. This works to give a very interesting bent to what's otherwise a relatively generic spy thriller.

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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