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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" Episodes 27-28


Detective Choi (played by Kim Won-hae) has up until now been a minor supporting character who I had been mentally classifying as the same tier of importance as Hyang-mi. Last episode's revelations that he, too, has apparently been receiving dream prophecies has greatly improved Detective Choi's relevance. Unfortunately, none of the actual main characters are clever enough to catch on to that essential dynamic of the case, so these revelations are mainly for our benefit.

My main problem with "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" at this point is that the leads have been slowly but steadily declining in competence ever since the domestic abuse case. It used to be their limits were intangible factors, like politics, or inexperience, or learned helplessness in the face of apparently unalterable dream prophecies. But now? Far from taking a step back and realizing they nearly burned to death in a fire save for Detective Choi's timely intervention, Jae-chan and Hong-joo still aren't taking this case seriously.

Hong-joo deciding to trust Yoo-beom is the main baffling decision. This is a man who, in an alternate timeline, framed Hong-joo for a traffic accident and indirectly murdered her mother. In the actual timeline Hong-joo has seen directly, Woo-seok simply petulantly acts in whatever manner is most antagonistic to Jae-chan's current goals. The only mitigating factor here is that Woo-seok's plan doesn't really make sense, but then strictly speaking it's not actually his plan.

My main frustration with "While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is the lack of proper set-up. Understanding Yoo-beom and Detective Choi's past history is essential to making sense of the plot twists here, far moreso than the incident where Jae-chan and Hong-joo worked together to save young Detective Choi's life. That serial killer case probably made Yoo-beom's entire career, which explains why Yoo-beom was so well-liked at Jae-chan's office when he was such an obvious slimeball.

But once again, those awful one-off cases in the middle completely killed the momentum of that early characterization, which is why so much of the cast feels so unrecognizable here. Hong-joo was actually a lot more proactive working in her mother's chicken restaurant than she is now as a full-fledged reporter. At the very least she was more cautious. And as for Woo-tak, I bring him up now mainly to emphasize that he barely does much of anything anymore. Or at least, his place in the story could easily be taken by a generic cop without changing much of substance.

Review by William Schwartz

"While You Were Sleeping - 2017" is directed by Oh Choong-hwan and Park Soo-jin-II, written by Park Hye-ryeon, and features Lee Jong-suk, Bae Suzy, Lee Sang-yeob, and Jung Hae-in.

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