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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Who Are You - 2013" Episode 11


The relationship between Geon-Woo and Detective Choi has been one of the stranger points of this drama ever since we found out about Detective Choi's hidden agenda. From that point his character has been in the peculiar position of being both kind of an antagonist, and yet the only person Geon-Woo can talk to about his personal problems, since Geon-Woo condescends to his subordinates and his other superior (Si-On) is the cause of most of these personal problems to begin with.

In this episode the awkward nature of their personal dynamic is put into full focus. Geon-Woo, reeling from the events of the last episode decides to drown his sorrows the only way he knows how. By getting drunk and complaining to Detective Choi. Which is rendered difficult by the fact that Detective Choi is on the run from the law so Geon-Woo just gets really plastered instead.

This is another one of those conflicts that makes "Who Are You - 2013" really hard to place. It's trying to draw out drama by asking us to have sympathy for characters who, either through their own bungling or incompetence, are the cause of most of their own problems, though they don't generally acknowledge it. Normally I'd find characters like this terribly annoying, but there's never really any egotism or self-righteousness. They're flawed, but they're trying, and for the most part willing to learn from their mistakes, just not in any generally useful way.

The entire drama seems to be built on this basic theme. The romantic subplot between the spirit medium and one of the lesser police officers appears, at this point, completely decoupled from the actual main story. The only real parallel is the fact that both these people exhibit the exact same character flaws as the characters in the main drama, albeit to completely different ends.

The problem is, I have a lot of trouble believing that the drama is deliberately scripted like this. It's just so abstract. Usually we're supposed to empathize with the people we see on-screen- not micromanage their mistakes in a way the characters themselves don't actually acknowledge. There's no reason why we can't have a drama like this, though. And honestly, in terms of pure entertainment value, "Who Are You - 2013" is succeeding insofar as giving the viewer the requisite amount of action, humor and drama necessary for compelling television. I've just never seen a program simultaneously feel so contrived and genuine.

Review by William Schwartz

"Who Are You - 2013" is directed by Jo Hyeon-tak, written by Moon Ji-yeong and features So Yi-hyun, Ok Taecyeon and Kim Jae-wook.

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