The romantic subplots in “Strong Family” are really good in how they relate to each other. We have Ik-hee going through the adolescent awkwardness of a teen romance where no one knows what they’re doing, Jeong-min being generally giddy about a relationship that will most likely end in marriage (because of her age), and then Miss Jo contemplating a late lifetime romance. Incidentally, Cho-seop (played by Nam Kyeong-eup) is my favorite love interest of the bunch. The man really rocks his late fifties facial hair.
He also inspires the most direct story interest in episode twenty-nine, because Ra-yeon has finally, belatedly discovered that her mother is dating him. Sort of. Miss Jo has not actually yet acknowledged as much, mostly because the concept if kind of weird. Both she and Cho-seop have already had spouses, and lives. It’s just, their spouses are dead, and while neither Miss Jo nor Cho-seop are all that lonely, they do enjoy spending time with one another.
It’s just a sort of interesting thought experiment. Is it cheating or infidelity of any kind if your spouse dies before you, and you’re still old enough to date? The whole affair with the contract at the end of the episode is a tad creepy and weird but, eh, I can understand the sentiment. Beyond that we just have Ik-hee moving to a likely inevitable break-up, and that very embarrassing birthday where Jeong-min forgets that her co-workers are also ger friends.
Which incidentally is also a big plot point in the thirtieth episode, where personal issues in the lives of another co-worker inspire the whole office to turn out in support. That episode is a lot less dynamic than the twenty-ninth episode owing to the lack of variety, although the sentiment is very strong. It’s nice to have co-workers who care about you, and are willing to go to bat for you against the corporate hierarchy. What greater cause do we have, in the end, than each other’s friendship?
These episodes are some of “Strong Family” at its best- they’re just snapshots of the lives of these characters, who remain consistently fundamentally relatable, even on a cross-generational level. Oh, and while it’s not exactly an epic score or anything, i really like the musical cues. That string music really hits the good spot with its whole “I got your back” feeling. That’s how you make a really “Strong Family”, after all.
Review by William Schwartz
“Strong Family” is directed by Choi Moon-seok, written by Jin Yeong and features Park Hyeok-kwon, Park Seon-yeong, Kim Ji-min, Eom Hyo-seob, Park Hee-bon, Kim Ki-ri and Hoya.
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“[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Strong Family” Episodes 29-30″
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