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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Spy - Drama" Episode 9


Seon-woo slowly starts to build up a case implicating his mother as a spy, as well as the entire conspiracy she's apparently involved in. The pacing is still pretty on-track, though, partially because "Spy - Drama" episodes are short, but also due to the larger theme of emotional conflict. Almost all the evidence pointing to Hye-rim is circumstantial- enough so that Seon-woo could choose not to believe it if that was what he wanted to do.

Unfortunately Seon-woo's too diligent an agent to just ignore this information, even if he's ultimately unwilling to take his findings to higher level authorities. To the contrary- Seon-woo's spy sensibilities coupled with the emotional extremity of the situation are such that the main problem here is that he wants to know more, however potentially dangerous it might be to stall on using what he knows right now to mount an attack. If Gi-cheol figures out what's going on, that could mean big trouble.

One aspect of this making me feel less than certain is Kim Jae-joong. I'm not sure whether he's acting ambivalent because Seon-woo's character is supposed to feel ambivalent or if it's just because Kim Jae-joong is a mediocre actor. Overall I'm willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt. Seon-woo has consistently been fairly unresponsive to situational stimuli. To date this has seemed to be because he's been kept in the dark about what's going on, but it's possible that this is just an essential part of Seon-woo's personality.

In that sense this episode is a bit of a reversal of what we've seen so far, because it's the other characters who are in limited focus. Their slow-moving action is an interesting contrast to Seon-woo. They all think they're jockeying for advantage while failing to realize that everyone else is also making their own deductions about the situation, and that everything is changing too quickly for a plan that works out one minute to necessarily follow through all that well on the next.

Through all of this Gi-cheol's team still maintains the advantage because they have the most knowledge regarding the overall situation. What's more, they're also making the most deliberately active efforts to coordinate. Hye-rim isn't doing so well in that department- often it seems like the best she can is avoid getting caught. Yet as we've seen so far, often the best way to avoid being outed as a spy is just to not act like a spy at all.

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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