Lovestruck in the City: Episodes 9 + 10

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Written by Jung Hyeon-jeong & Jung Da-yeon
Directed by Park Shin-woo

It’s understandable to expect the possibility that it was going to be hard for these two episodes to top the emotional cavalcade of emotions that episode 8 unlocked, but amazingly Lovestruck in the City just keeps on getting better and better.

Initially it looks as if it’s going to do that television drama thing of flashing back right at the most pivotal dramatic moment just to prolong the suspense, and yes that is most likely why when we’re about to see the resolution to last week’s massive cliff-hanger we then go back three days earlier for some wonderful comedy involving the perils of running into your ex.

Lovestruck in the City’s ability to take key relationship questions and turn them not only into brilliantly dramatic pieces of plotting for its central relationship but also little vignettes for its supporting cast are a key part in why the series functions and works as well as it does.

We get the perquisite comedic timings of Kang Geon and Oh Sun-Young’s comically complex and embittered interactions, not to mention a brilliant piece of revenge from Rin-yi on one of her previous ex’s who never broke up with her properly, instead going for the cowardly way out of ghosting her. It’s a lovely moment that just makes the audience fall in love with So Joo-yeon’s performance even more (if such a thing were possible) and that’s before we get to episode 9’s most epic use of a bottle of Coca-Cola in television history.

It’s all fun and games for the most part, but then we find ourselves back at the police station dealing with the immediate fallout concerning Eun-oh’s arrest and the whole pesky business over the stolen cameras and it’s here that Lovestruck delivers another homerun in terms of well-written brilliance.

If the second of last week’s episodes became a quietly devastating emotional drama about the perils of lost memories, then there’s a shift into more farcical comedy for a while here, with the majority of the episode taking place within the confines of the police precinct.

It’s a very funny episode for sure, with the dialogue crisscrossing between our leads and the police officers who have found themselves caught up in the midst of a romantic K-drama, and the pace of it is thick and fast, but the series has been a masterclass in equally crisscrossing from funny to poignant and back again and it’s here that the elastic tone of the entire series gets a brilliant work out.

Inevitably Jae-won finds out the Seon-a is not in fact Seon-a but rather Eun-oh. The audience has known that for weeks and it’s been a gentle timebomb hovering over the series since we made that discovery earlier on in the season. The other time bomb just waiting to explode that is Eun-oh has been hovering around Jae-won’s life on the edges, and it gives proceedings into the second of these two episodes another round of exquisite tension that we’re now just waiting on tenterhooks to see how it’s all revealed.

Eun-oh finding Jae-won’s ring, thrown away in a fit or anger during their argument, and the revelation that she has in fact kept her own, albeit as a necklace, is a lovely piece of scripting. That it then follows that up with a more overtly silly moment involving Jae-won attempting to find it long after Eun-oh has done so is another clear indicator of just how brilliant the series’ ability to go from silly to emotional and back again is, while at the same time giving the audience and the characters a symbolic piece of their romance with which to hover proceedings over.

Refreshingly the series has changed the game somewhat now that it’s into the second half of its run and is still proving elastic in the way it’s approaching its narrative. Instead of slowing down or losing momentum, it’s simply getting better and better with each episode.

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