Disappointingly, most of this episode is just a dinner party with too many spies. It seems like everyone has come to Hye-rim's home with a rather convoluted agenda in mind, and at times it's difficult to sort this out from self-parody. Really, what's most remarkable here is that more characters aren't found out. Then again, everyone is so determined to make sure that nobody else knows they're a spy to wonder what exactly everybody else is doing.
The meta element on that level is rather intriguing when taken in context of the last episode. Hye-rim obsessed about Yoon-jin mostly because of snooty potential mother-in-law grumblings. Beyond that, Yoon-jin is an effective spy primarily because she doesn't really act like a spy, and she doesn't act like a spy mainly because she doesn't really know how. Given that the spy construct as we know it is almost entirely the product of narrative fiction, it's an appropriate genre play.
Of course, this also puts here at a laughable disadvanatage against Gi-cheol, since he knows exactly what she is. Yet her weakness to Seon-woo comes off less as genuine romantic attachment and more that Yoon-jin just feels really bad about being mean to him like this. With Hye-rim...well, that's not really very well explored, to be honest. Which is particularly disappointing consider how curt Hye-rim was at their last encounter.
There's not as much emphasis on character relationships here as when "Spy - Drama" is at it's best mostly because the aforementioned spy dinner party is just using spy tropes on basic merits. To be honest my dislike of the setpiece is probably more a matter of general preference than it being objectively bad. Mainly this is just because processing the scene feels like a lot of work- having to keep track of every character's motivation gets rather tiring when only half of them even have much in the way of personality.
And there's also bits that are easy to make fun of- like how everyone can recognize suspicious spy cars, as far as I can tell because they're all black. This does sort of tie in to the Yoon-jin element- she doesn't even know how to convincingly dress like a spy (you need more than just a cap). All the same, I'm more interested in the characters finding dynamic ways to use their newfound information. Collecting it alone rather lacks in the excitement factor.
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 8"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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