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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Strong Family" Episodes 35-36


The climax to episode thirty six is a school concert that I had mostly forgotten was even a plot point until it pops up, and which as usual just goes into the usual father-daughter bonding. More than the catharsis I actually somewhat perversely liked the general low quality of the performance. It's about the level of musical talent that would be expected from normal high school students, which is quite a contrast to the usual overly high production values that tend to accompany such storylines.

The overall best scene is when Ra-yeon and Si-ah go in for a combined shaman consultation and of course, as is to be expected from a Korean drama, they receive a cryptic prediction that is obvious in ways they are as yet unable to contemplate. This also leads in to a follow-up shaman scene, which is really just a silly reference to the more flamboyant roles in the acting careers of Park Hyuk-kwon and Park Sun-young.

There is some pretty decent emotional resonance in the Miss Jo / Choon-seop romance, as the conflict ends up coming from Miss Jo's own family. I rather liked the arguments Miss Jo makes in response about how while she's always there emotionally for her daughters, they're never around for her. In context it's a lot less meaner than it sounds. Miss Jo's a pretty strong woman who doesn't really need looking after, and technically speaking, the whole conflict is about her looking out for Choon-seop. All the same, she knows he cares, and that means a lot.

Elsewhere that's as far as Jeong-min when it comes Gwi-nam. She knows that he cares, and she knows that she cares too however much she pretends not to, and that hurts. Although really, Jeong-min's feelings are only a subset of the larger corporate plot where we once again learn that everyone in Cheon-il's office is one hundred percent willing to stick up for each other.

While we've seen that often enough, that kind of warm fuzzy feeling is the kind of thing I don't mind feeling more than once, especially compared to the usual zany situation comedy antics of Cheon-il being dopey and silly. We know, in general, that everything will work out in "Strong Family" because...that's why they're strong. They can always be relied upon in a tough situation, or even one with relatively minimal dangers. Love is just an extension of that attitude.

Review by William Schwartz

"Strong Family" is directed by Choi Moon-seok, written by Jin Yeong and features Park Hyuk-kwon, Park Sun-young, Kim Ji-min, Uhm Hyo-sup, Park Hee-bon, Kim Ki-ri and Lee Ho-won.

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