As far as secret relationships go Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong have better excuses than most. Athletes with pretensions of competing on the international level aren't supposed to dally around with romantic partners- their workout schedule is too intense. Of course in the immediate sense Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong only care about not having friends and family tease them. That's where most of the conflict and comedy come from this time around.
The impetus being, once again, Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong's three idiot friends who keep coming up with new ways to interrupt and cause problems. They really are the best friends. Note how they're actually being nice. It's Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong's own dumb fault for causing the misunderstandings. It's fun watching Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong try to squirm out of these self-inflicted problems, only to be forced in the end to pay the ultimate price. Which is actually quite mild, all things considered.
There's a lot more tension in the two remaining romantic subplots, which proceed at a strong plot. Jae-i continues to be an awkward dork. And not in a charming way either. That's a nice touch, because it forces us to reconcile how we want Jae-i and Ah-yeong to get together with Ah-yeong's entirely correct argument that Jae-i is wholly unconvincing in the role of determined suitor. Then there's Coach Seong-eun's desires, which create a love triangle with quite a bit of tension since all three outcomes (the third that she ends up with no one) being fairly plausible.
Lastly, there's Si-ho, who is infinitely patient and understanding with Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong, as befits her relationship with both of them. More dynamically we also get the pay-off for all her gymnastic training, which asks the question of why she's been working so hard. I like Si-ho on her own merits. But the resolution of that plotline should also be kept in mind as Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong are likely to go through similar arcs in the final few episodes.
The athletic backdrop in "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" has consistently been a convincing one even as the story moves rapid fire through crisis after crisis. And I must say, it's impressive how the script is able to juggle so many disparate plots so convincingly. It's like we get through two episodes of content in a single episode, which is why I'm not so worried about the genuinely agonizing emotional breaking point Joon-hyeong inches toward- and we can only hope Bok-joo will be able to help him weather that storm.
Review by William Schwartz
"Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" is directed by Oh Hyeon-jong, written by Kim Soo-jin-III and Yang Hee-seong, and features Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kyung Soo-jin, Lee Jae-yoon, Lee Joo-young and Cho Hye-jung.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 14"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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