The angst has begun in its fullest glory. Doubts have been seeded and have taken deep root in the hearts of the married couple. Also, affections are given where they shouldn't be given, pulling the couple further apart and making those around them take greater interest in what they shouldn't. The side stories are cute, but not cute enough to dampen the intensity of the angst.
Hong-joo has taken the brunt of the emotional pain as she was betrayed by Seok-hoon . She has compounded it by growing emotionally attached to Min-woo's son, Roy, who has become a surrogate child for her. It's a complex emotional mess that gives very little room for levity. It bogs down the episode and makes it heavy. Not even Hong-gyu's and Se-jin's burgeoning romance is enough to relieve the tension.
From the outside, the marriage's issue is that the communication isn't solid and that there are too many secrets. The truth is told after suspicion has been created, which is the crux of the matter - apologies come too little too late. Another complication is that both Hong-joo and Seok-hoon have emotionally invested in people who can hurt their marriage - Hong-joo in Roy and Seok-hoon in Se-young. What makes the entanglements so interesting is that the viewer can see exactly why things go wrong (as can the characters), but because emotions aren't rational, the characters charge forward onto the wrong paths.
Han Ji-seon, Min-woo's wife, has taken on a larger role. She fights for the rights of her three daughters while Min-woo's mother, who wants a grandson, represses her. The appearance of Roy makes her life more complicated and she takes measures to ensure the financial security of her and her daughters. It morphs her into an evil stepmother, which is a character description I hope she defies in some way. A purely vengeful woman who hates her husband's illegitimate child is a battered subject indeed. Should she grow fond of the child despite her logic, now that would be intriguing.
As for the direction of the show, it spends a lot of time on the brooding, moping, crying, and staring at wedding rings. The pain of the characters is quite obvious without the overindulgence of onscreen tears. Also, the music is quite heavy and overpowering. A lighter hand is needed to really make the pain and angst truly effective.
What is effective is the acting. kwon Sang-woo is a master of the melodrama. He knows how to work his angles in front of the camera to bring out maximum man pain. Choi Ji-woo is charming as the business savvy but romantically ignorant Se-young. She is an endearing actress. Even the young boy who plays Roy, Jo Hwi-joon, is spot on as the motherless child who has latched onto Hong-joo as a surrogate mother.
What "Temptation" needs from now on is to remember not to lose itself in heaviness of the drama. Sitting too long in the pain and angst will drag it down. It needs to keep moving.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Temptation" Episode 5"
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