Saturday, August 08, 2020

Drama Stage 2020: My Husband Has Kim Hee-Seon

The previous episodes, sans nr 5, were much heavier in themes they explored, however this one is perhaps as relevant to people in any kind of a relationship as it can be. This episode deals with problems that stem from the lack of communication in the marriage.

And true to my words I should just stop this small review-not-review here, because to fully appreciate the story and dynamics between the characters, it has to be watched. 

The story is based on an event recollection shown from two different points of view - first we have Sohae's story. After 10 years of the marriage she starts to suspect her husband is having an affair. Worse - her friend is actually leading her into this forest of wild ideas. The fact that her husband cheated on her and she in retaliation cheated on him, somehow doesn't give her legitimacy in sharing any advice. Sohae sees then every Jinmuk's action as the compensation for his affair.

 To confirm her suspicion, she embarks on the mission to check his phone, but alas - he has a password. After many futile attempts to unlock it, she employs her daughter, Hwanhee (a real star here) for help. And the little cute obtains the password that allows Sohae to check Jinmuk's call log. To her chagrin she discovers lots and lots of calls to and from a woman named Kim Heeseon. Just like the actress.

In the meantime, Jinmuk also suspects his wife is having an affair - and the talk with his friend gives him the idea that he should maybe have an affair just to get back at her. His friend, to give him justice, actually said that it's usually women who put up with partner's infidelity, so maybe sometimes it's the man who should do the same.

Both Sohae and Jinmuk are in the therapy, and asked by their therapist if there is something they could do to solve the tension and bad air in their marriage, they both come up with absolutely every other plan except for one solution - talking.

[I honestly did not expect the Zeus - Hera showdown in a drama, but it happened here. Hwanhee was reading a book on Greek mythology and of course we had Hera's jealousy, so she visualized her parents.]

Hwanhee has a serious playground talk with her friend who says what was the worst part in his parents' divorce - he had to choose with whom he wanted to be. It showed how much mental and emotional pressure is put on kids, and yet how little their own feelings are taken under the consideration. It's usually thought that kids don't understand what's going on between the parents, even though kids know and understand everything really well. The same motif appeared in one KBS2 DS, where the little girl talked with her friend saying that they must protect the adults.

Determined to save her parents' marriage, the girl first writes to Kim Heeseon, asking her to break up with her Dad, and when she didn't receive the answer, she breaks her piggy bank and embarks on a journey to find the actress.

She meets, just like a hero in every myth, people on her path who either help her, or a bit scare her. But the girl is fearless and very smart - she checked many things on the internet, such as the passenger's age at which they are eligible to free ride on subway, or a taxi fare from one place to another. She understands the taxi driver also needs to make money (this was one of the sweetest scenes I have seen this year).

And after many hours she finally arrives at the actress' home just to be ignored because the security who answered the door couldn't see her on camera. So she dozes off in front of the gate, just to be found by Kim Heeseon who comes back home.

I really don't want to spoil the fun of watching it and learning how Kim Heeseon came into the play (and Jinmuk's phone), because that's actually a nice, short watch and I think more people should watch it.

The problem of lack of communication is an issue not only in relationship, but also in the workplace, so this can be extrapolated to other field as well. One thing I only found problematic - it was the Jinmuk's psychologist treatment of his marital ennui. Role-play is fine, but when you start getting your kicks by pretending your partner is somebody else 99% of the time, it becomes a slippery slope. One other problem was Sohae, who went to a meeting, and her friend introduced her as the single mother and Sohae met a guy on this premise, who was also hoping to find someone as he, too, was a single father.

But one thing I really loved here - the episode showed Jinmuk in an environment typically associated with women work at home and what's more important - it showed him in such a way that it was clear it wasn't just a one-time thing to win over his wife. It was visible that he did, in fact, cook, cleaned or play with daughter in the past. I know dramas show us more and more of such behavior and I'm all for it and I can only hope that promotion of such behavior on the screen will somehow find a way into the Korean society in real life.

The real MVP of this episode is Hwanhee played by a fabulous kid actress Hong Yeji.