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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 9


I-kyeong's plan somewhat manages to come into focus this episode, and to the drama's credit it is a mostly logical escalation of all we've seen I-kyeong do so far. Rather than act in an apparently decisive manner, I-kyeong intends to needle all the antagonistic presences into going after each other. Considering how many of them are genuinely horrible people, all I-kyeong is really doing is conspiring to get them into the same room and destroy each other. Then, presumably, I-kyeong will pick up all the pieces.

One of those pieces is Gun-woo, and therein lies the only real significant conflict in "Night Light". In contrast to his familial allies, Gun-woo is actually a genuinely nice, empathetic person who feels pain and grief at loss rather than anger and disgust that his preexisting plans have been meddled with somehow. We can be generally indifferent to the other characters. But doing anything mean to Gun-woo just feels cruel.

And it's not like this is an accidentaly side effect. Se-jin's purpose in the plan is to provide a comforting hand for Gun-woo. Given that Se-jin herself is also a person who feels empathy, why should she side with I-kyeong? Right now the main problem with Gun-woo is that he lacks a plan of his own, and this would seem to inevitably force him into I-kyeong's corner. But why should the alliances shake out so easily?

For all the set-up "Night Light" has gone through this is unfortunately the one part where writer Han Ji-hoon has been unfortunately deficient. Much ado has been made over Se-jin fitting into the qualifications of her position, and the various corporate structures that make I-kyeong's plots function logically. By contrast, relatively little attention has been paid to motivation.

A lot of this is just a function of how nearly every form of corporate combat in "Night Light" is completely indirect. I-kyeong never has to answer any inconvenient questions as to how and why she's acting because nothing she does begs these questions in any obvious way. All the same, by the end of this episode when we finally start getting a real hint of struggle between I-kyeong and Se-jin, the situation is too difficult to parse because on the literal face of it, all I-kyeong or Se-jin want is money. We know very little about their actual moral philosophies- just their tactical styles.

Review by William Schwartz

"Night Light" is directed by Lee Jae-dong, written by Han Ji-hoon and features Lee Yo-won, Jin Goo, UEE, Choi Il-hwa, Choi Min and Shim Yi-young.

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