A Couple’s World: Episodes 5-6 Open Thread
To say the cat is out of the bag is the understatement of the year, because this drama plows through its reveals at a staggering pace. This week our heroine shows her hand perhaps a little too readily, but that’s what happens when your world is crumbling beneath you and the only thing around you are lies.
EPISODES 5-6 WEECAP
I’m not sure if there’s ever been two episodes of a drama that packed quite as much story into its time slot as A Couple’s World did this week. And with all the gasping and shrieking and holding of breath that this drama elicits, I can’t say I’m surprised they’re raking in the ratings.
The story is told with both suspense and speed, and it really grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. It’s a complete adrenaline rush, but there’s also something genuinely nauseating about it, as if you really are being grabbed by the throat. Or maybe it’s the feeling of the unthinkable ups and downs we endure with our heroine?
Plots and scenes escalate so quickly into violence and rage and pandemonium — you can’t look away, as if you’re staring at a horrifying accident. What is this? I can only explain it to myself as the clash of epic tragedy inserted into a seemingly normal present-day tale.
Last week we saw our heroine Sun-woo making some crazy choices to outplay her husband. As if her emotional wounds and betrayal weren’t enough, every day the stakes get higher for her. Playing along with Tae-oh’s lies is taking everything out of our heroine, and we see her hanging on by a thread until the divorce proceedings are ready to go.
But it gets worse. Sun-woo’s patient with the psychiatric issues (I call him itchy patient), goes totally ape in her office. He smashes stuff, injuring her in the process, but it’s his statement that she really wants to kill her husband instead of divorcing him, that really gets to her. On top of that (and her subsequent fainting spell) she’s got Hyun-seo’s ratty boyfriend breathing down her neck and threatening her. Oh, and loverboy Je-hyuk is threatening to blackmail her too, unless she sleeps with him again.
The pressure is high, and Sun-woo is starting to crack. It’s the drama’s quiet moments that show this best, though, and there’s a really heartbreaking scene where Sun-woo just curls up in a ball on her kitchen floor and sobs (with Tae-oh secretly watching from the stairs).
And then the strain finally gets to her. She takes Tae-ho to Chairman Yeo’s house for a surprise dinner with his family, and the scene quickly escalates from discomfiture to the equivalent of Sun-woo setting off a bomb. She sabotages Chairman Yeo’s investment in her husband’s film, tells Da-kyung’s parents that their daughter is pregnant, and then calmly tells the table that her husband is the father.
Words can’t do justice to the agony and anger contained in this scene. Da-kyung’s parents are horrified, Tae-oh is livid (hold onto your hat for this man’s true colors!), and for once that smug expression finally comes off Da-kyung’s face. Sun-woo is the only one with a semblance of composure in this scene, and she walks cooly off, leaving disaster behind her.
But A Couple’s World is becoming famous for this sort of chain reaction horror show where one powerful scene, rather than standing on its own, leads to yet another. And the tension keeps growing. So, after the dinner from hell where all is revealed, Sun-woo and Tae-oh endure an even worse scene outside afterwards. This is when it becomes clear (to Sun-woo and the audience) what Tae-oh is truly like.
Befitting the weakling that he is, Tae-oh puts the blame solely on Sun-woo and can only see the harm she has done by revealing his affair (say what!?). It’s another gut-wrenching scene, and we see Sun-woo struggling to grasp who her husband has become. She even tells him about her affair with Je-hyuk, trying to get him to understand her feelings by inverting them on him. It fails horribly, and things continue to worsen.
Tae-oh returns to Da-kyung and is served with divorce papers and a suitcase, but we’ve learned that he’s too horrible to let it go that easily. With Tae-oh willing to do anything and everything to best his wife, the battle for Joon-young begins, and it’s the dirtiest fight you can imagine.
It’s also rife with a serious dose of foreshadowing — as if the drama needs yet more tension? Tae-oh, in the creepiest bit of acting ever, says he is worried that Sun-woo will become like her mother (who ostensibly killed both herself and her husband in a car accident).
Terrified that Tae-oh will take her son from her, she snatches Joon-young from school and drives on a restricted road until the road literally ends beneath them and they’re at the edge of a cliff (agh, metaphor). The beautiful vista and space are the first breath of air she’s had in weeks, but this encounter with her son does not go as Sun-woo had hoped.
This scene is also a great example of the drama purposefully withholding information from us (what happens when their son slips on the edge of the cliff) — or conversely, pumping us with information to hint at what is possible (that Sun-woo, based on her family history, is also capable of murder). In other words, this drama knows how to create drama.
The story hits a crazy climax in the following scenes, and the interactions between Sun-woo, Tae-oh, and their son, are fraught with even more tension because they point right back to the drama’s source material — the Greek tragedy Medea by Euripides.
In Medea, the heroine is similarly wronged by her husband when he marries a local “princess” that will guarantee his future success. The tragedy looks deeply at rage, betrayal, and the lengths to which a person will go to return pain and betrayal on the person that inflicted it. For Medea, that means blood — no matter how much she hurts herself, she only cares about hurting her husband more.
It’s exactly this dynamic we see at play at the end of this week’s episodes, and it’s as electrifying as it is terrifying. “I am capable of doing anything to make you suffer,” declares Sun-woo. She leads Tae-oh on to believe that she murdered their son — and by gosh, for a second there I believed her.
A Couple’s World is a really gutsy drama, not only with what it shows and where it goes, but with how it tells its story, too. We had a reveal that would normally take 16 episodes happen in Episode 1. We had enough plot (and stress headaches!) in the drama’s first three weeks to fill the entire drama. And now, at the end of Episode 6, we have an interesting break in the story.
Sun-woo has won her divorce on her terms, with sole custody of her son and a restraining order against Tae-oh. Two years go by, and we see her as the dust settles. She seems to be the Sun-woo we knew at the beginning of the story (or as close to it as she can be after the lines that she crossed) — but what about the two thirds of the drama that still remain?
The episode ends with a (creepy) formal announcement that Tae-oh and his new wife and baby are moving back into town. This is upsetting, yes, but we’ve already reached such a horrifying peak with the Joon-young storyline that I can’t imagine what can top that. *Shudder* In the meantime, one thing is for sure: this drama is only just beginning.