It’s a busy period for me now. Only had time to squeeze in the viewing of Ep 5 today, so thought I’d quickly jot down my thoughts on this first!
This series is coming together really nicely. While I felt Episodes 1 and 2 were a little shaky in terms of tone and flimsy in terms of plot, the pieces are quickly falling in and the sources of tension are piling up to drive the story ahead meaningfully. The problem with some shows is the reliance either only on the romance or on the battle against the villain as the driving force, which results in padding because you can only keep the couple apart for so long, or much back and forth in the storyline because the villain cannot be defeated too early. This is clearly not the case for Suspicious Partner because while the romance is important, we see our leads have their own independent yet equally captivating storyline. The show is currently juggling the different plotlines very well.
I’m getting increasingly fascinated by the character of Bong Hee. She started off rather stereotypically as the brash and energetic female character who gets rejected and falls into the arms of another man when drunk. However, her inner world has become more interesting as the show progresses. In this episode, we see that while she’s lonely, it’s almost as if she doesn’t want to connect and chooses deliberately to live by herself either because of the fear of connecting or the fear of burdening others. I was wondering why Bong Hee would return immediately to her home, which is the site of Hee Joon’s murder and makes her also an easy victim for the murderer – wouldn’t she at least want to stay with her mum for a while? However, this could reveal her desire not to burden others, even if it means making herself more vulnerable. I really liked the scene between her and Hee Joon’s dad. While I completely resented Hee Joon’s dad’s verbally and almost physically abusive behaviour (such a contrast to the calm and collected hospital director he played in Romantic Doctor), I thought Nam Ji-hyun did a marvellous job of portraying that mix of fear, respect for seniority and courage in standing up to him and refusing to be cowed into confessing to the murder. While her voice and entire being quivered, there was a clear firmness in her eyes and spirit.
We’re only 3 (or 5, depending on how you count) episodes in, but our protagonists are now in very different states from the first episode yet that differences is ironically what makes them so similar and relatable. Both have become increasingly more isolated and cut off from the people around them. Both feel a burden to their parents; both now feel a need to prove themselves, yet both protagonists continue to portray a strong front to those around them and even to each other, only willing to admit their weaknesses when alone.
Ji Wook now struggles between his attorney role and his constant reminder of his dad’s hopes for him. I loved the scene when he went into frenzied rage and told the rich woman’s son off. However, instead of facing the son, he turns away and it’s almost like a monologue – like that sense of righteousness takes over his being and he loses control of his behaviour. Ji Chang Wook’s manliness has often been associated more with physical strength, athleticism and heroism in the shows I’ve watched. We’re seeing a different side of it in this show and that is in his assertiveness and moral fibre. He may not be jumping across buildings or taking down villains, but Ji Wook is certainly a man of strong character and that makes him equally admirable and heroic compared to the other more obviously heroic characters he’s played.
This heroism is not a straightforward one and he vacillates back and forth, especially towards Bong Hee. I loved the scene where he admitted he was worried for her as a mentor but is now no longer worried – yet as he says bye to her and asks her to take care of herself, there’s such tenderness and concern that it’s so evident that he cares for her. This is something that even Hee Joon’s dad can see – that he was so charmed by her that he put his career on the line for her. I get a feeling that Ji Wook will be living in denial land for quite a while but that’s really not an issue because I am interested in seeing both characters grow.
I continue to enjoy the direction of the show, whether it’s the deft switch of tones from romance to comedy in the scene where Ji Wook bumps into Bong Hee at the site where the knife was found, or the very dreamy glow of the scenes where Bong Hee is looking upon Ji Wook for strength. This show continues to be solid and a delight to watch!