Friday, November 20, 2020

KBS Drama Special 2020: Crevasse

This was a story about two people and their lives ruined by the past, cowardice and passion.
I honestly had no idea what the direction of this episode was. It meandered through problems and ended up with an open ending and most likely a happy(ish) outcome for Sumin who went through the most turmoil that upended her life.

Unlike most of the people I share virtual space with, I have no problems with stories featuring cheating. I did not experience it, nor was I ever on the "leftover" side of it. However, barring some notorious and habitual cheating, this can also be seen as the fissure in the relationship. One side may think everything is fine, but the other might be left in an emotional desert wanting something more. I don't want to excuse cheating, but it somehow responds to my own fears. Not fear of abandonment, but fear of missing the right time or the right person. I also don't want to explain further.

The two characters here missed on that chance in the past and later ruined whatever they could have entirely. We meet them through the shaky, handheld camera which adds to the raw opening - Sumin prevents Sanghyeon from jumping over the roof into the presumed sea below the funeral home. The sea is a leitmotif here - its blending with the sky at the faraway horizon blends the morals in the story as well. And yet, after every wave, the sand is pristine again.

Sumin leads an uneventful life - she works as a nutritionist and her detachment from life is seen through the cafeteria scene in which she's the only thing that does not move. The buzz of the life around cannot penetrate her, so she even eats away from everyone. At home, she lives with her husband but she might as well be living alone - they lead separate lives and have separate bedrooms. He only cares to have food prepared and house run. In one scene he yelled at her that she did not go for groceries so he has no apples to eat. Because poor man has no hands, I bet. Their son studies abroad and does not want to spend any time with his parents, ignores calls from his Mother which makes Sumin feel even more alone and useless.

And then comes Sanghyeon, who just lost his wife and is raising their little daughter, moving back to Seoul because Jinwoo found him a job. And we learn that two of them were acquainted in the past. More - they were friends, and from the hints - maybe even more than friends even though it wasn't pursued. Worse - Sanghyeon set Jinwoo with Sumin because he said he liked her. And here we have the first instance of the cowardice that reared its ugly head 10+ years later. Probably that's why Sanghyeon left Seoul, even though it's not explicitly stated.

Sumin feels needed for the first time since a long time - she takes care of the little girl and both her and Sanghyeon start their ill-timed affair. And it soon changes into the titular crevasse - between themselves the most. Sumin is invested into the affair to the point she's ablaze with life and passion, even considering divorcing her husband. Which she ends up doing anyway, but not for Sanghyeon who rejects her, but for herself. At one point Jinwoo starts to suspect his wife has an affair and true to his nature, his possessiveness starts to emerge. He has no feelings for Sumin, but as he assures himself: she would never do this to him because they have a child together. To assert his "claim" to her, he tries to force himself upon Sumin, to her refusal stating that they're married and it's natural. Thankfully, she manages to leave.

The affair served for Sumin as the wake-up call. She realized she doesn't have to spend her days in a kind of a stasis, being reduced to the grocery delivery for a man she shares a house with. To Sanghyeon it served as the cowardly reminder that he feels inadequate both to Sumin and her husband and also his consciousness started to emerge after a post-funeral haze. He was a coward then and he remained a coward now, cutting Sumin from any contact with him or his daughter (to which she reacted with an elevated level of hysterical behavior). He used both his daughter and the memory of his wife as the shield against Sumin's feelings. Which is weird, because from their talk we know he was a shitty husband, and his wife might have committed suicide that only looked like an accident. He admits that after giving birth she was diagnosed with postpartum depression and yet he couldn't do much for her.

Sanghyeon felt loyal to a guy whom he barely knew and he set up for a date with the girl he had feelings for. And this toxic male loyalty cost everyone a chance for happiness and cost a woman her life. 
What I'm glad for, though, is that this episode mentioned few societal issues - marital rape (it didn't happen here, but the excuse was given), the postpartum depression that as one article states:
Perinatal depression is generally recognized to be a common affliction among women during pregnancy and the first postpartum year. However, estimates of the prevalence and incidence of the condition vary widely—from 5 percent to more than 25 percent of pregnant women


and new mothers—depending on the assessment method, the timing of the assessment, and population characteristics. (1)
 And I'm also glad that Sumin divorced her husband, not for any guy, but for herself. 

 1. Gaynes BN, Gavin N, Meltzer-Brody S, et al. Perinatal depression: prevalence, screening accuracy, and screening outcomes. Evid Rep Technol Assess (Summ). 2005;(119):1-8. doi:10.1037/e439372005-001