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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "539 Yeonnam-dong" Episode 11


The storyline here is dominated entirely by the appearance of a rival fitness center next to the one that I-na manages. I spent most of the runtime wondering how a neighborhood that can barely support one fitness center could possibly support two, especially when the new one is offering extremely good incentive packages to customers and inflated salaries to staff. So yeah, the ending is kind of predictable.

The previous scams worked much better in part because they were just out of focus enough we didn't necessarily think they were scams. Think back to Jordan's ex-wife. On the surface level the notion of her finding a new beau could is also a commentary about the problems with their marriage. So when the twist is revealed, there's still surprise, even if in retrospect the scam was obvious. That's how effective scams work.

Whereas here all we get is I-na being bummed out because she can't possibly compete with the new fitness center. I-na's passive role here is disappointing. As a manager, I-na should well be aware of the capital costs involved in running a fitness center, and that there's no possible way the new fitness center could be making a profit. I would have loved to see I-na warn people, only to be brushed off because the deal being offered is too good to be true.

Instead everyone just acts sort of sad that their own self-interest conflicts with I-na's. As much as I dislike the managerial class in general, by everything we've seen I-na is a responsive boss who is good at dealing with the needs of staff and customers alike. I could understand their disloyalty if, in the face of I-na's warnings, the older woman accidentally highlights some of the worst parts of her personality. But as presented here everyone just comes off like a jerk.

Subplots beyond the fitness center scam are at an absolute minimum. Even though frequent reference is made to Bong-tae and I-na going out on dates, we almost never actually see them going out on dates. Looking back I'm kind of puzzled why the opening felt the need to give us a recap of all the running storylines when almost none of them are relevant here. Well, we do get Bong-tae finding a possible lead as to the identity of the master cyber vigilante- which is obviously going to turn out a red herring, so whatever.

Review by William Schwartz

"539 Yeonnam-dong" is directed by  Min Yeon-hong, written by Park Ga-yun and features Lee Jung-shin, Seo Ji-hoon, Lee Yeol-eum, and Kim Sun-young.

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