TL;DR: You know, it really sucks when a show you were enjoying suddenly ruins the majority of your good will toward it.
I deliberately decided not to say anything when, in episode one, Cho-rong’s first significant scene included food. It was just once, and the heroine herself had sat down for at least two meals in that episode, so maybe food-sharing was just Cho-rong’s way of showing her friend that she cares about her and wanted to cheer her up. I mean, I keep a candy bowl at my desk at work—it’s a friendly thing to do, and my coworkers always thank me when they come over to steal something. Food can be a nice little morale boost.
But by twenty minutes into episode two, I knew that dramaland had yet again equated being overweight with being totally consumed by food. That characterization I was praising in the last post? I take it back. There’s nothing interesting, let alone revolutionary, about having an overweight character’s chief defining characteristics be their weight and their constant need to consume and/or discuss food. It’s lazy, offensive writing—almost as lazy and offensive as a Truck of Doom, which effectively put Cho-rong out of commission and will likely deny her the opportunity to develop any depth beyond Fat Food Lover, considering, you know, she’s in a coma and will remain that way until the plot demands otherwise. I mean, I guess technically Cho-rong had Supportive Friend going for her, but that was not about her as much as it was a necessary plot element in order to dramatically reveal Joo-ri’s true colors.
So middle fingers for you, Show. Great job on undermining my faith in you. I bet you when Cho-rong wakes up, we’ll get a scene of her eating a (comedically large) bunch of food and someone will mention her appetite has come back.
It should come as no surprise, then, that my delight for Joo-ri revealing she had claws was immediately soured when she went from raging over Cho-rong’s naivety to body shaming her because of her weight. It was low-hanging, mediocre fruit to have Joo-ri go on a rant about Cho-rong’s appearance when the far more important messages (naivety, powerlessness, Joo-ri’s fear, possible retaliation, not actually a friend) were already delivered. Why couldn’t the “I’m not really your friend” thing have been the blow that sent Cho-rong running instead of all the “you’re fat” nonsense? Because it’s a moral failing for you to be fat, obviously.
I would have loved to watch a morally gray/amoral teenage girl in a thriller, but the show has ruined Joo-ri for me. Which is a shame, because Joo-ri could have been interesting, especially since the cold open from episode one says at least part, if not all, of her testimony is a lie. It would have been compelling to see how she handled the increasing pressure about the witness statement and the school trial. Unfortunately, that’s now all tied into the ridiculous Truck of Doom and mediocre creation and treatment of Cho-rong’s character, and I just can’t bring myself to care.
(And don’t think I missed the fact that our morally gray/amoral teenage girl is also the only one with significant acne.)
There were a few good things in this episode, like Seo-yeon’s parents continuing to be good parents and insisting that she was not responsible to investigate, Joon-young accepting the awkward friendship outreach and reciprocating with cute little gestures like shielding Seo-yeon from view while she was crying, the increasing importance of the Jeong-guk Watchman, and Seo-yeon standing up to Hyun-min over his condescending speech.
While I disagree with some of the guilt that Seo-yeon took on in this episode, I like how the show is building her curiosity about the case and stoking her desire to find out the truth (and prove the adults wrong). Will she be able to do it? Or will this show ultimately strip her of her innocence and optimism to mark her passage into the adult, cynical world she’s rejecting without allowing her a victory?
I don’t know. I’m also angry enough over this episode that I may never find out. We’ll see by the weekend if my rage has cooled enough to keep watching this show or if Solomon’s Perjury gets added to the drop pile.
By the Numbers
- Setups: 1
- Angry lawyers: 1
- Excellent glares: 2
- Trucks of Doom: 1
- Bechdel Test: 2 episodes passed