The second episode of My Liberation Notes still has a potentially detrimental pace, but it has a little more direction than the premiere.
This recap of My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 2 contains spoilers.
As I discussed yesterday, it’s hard to depict monotony without becoming monotonous, and that’s the delicate balance that My Liberation Notes tries to sustain here in its second episode, which provides a fair amount of insight into Mi-Jeong and Gi-Jeong, though leaves Chan-hee feeling a little side-lined. The good news is that I think it achieves a slightly more purposeful hour. The bad news is that it still feels a little directionless and mundane.
My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 2 recap
I should point out that I get it. I totally empathize with the feeling of being an outcast, isolated by geography or circumstance or whatever. This episode nails the soul-sucking grind of a long commute, but I never thought I’d be listing that as a positive aspect of a TV drama, you know? But I just like the idea of Sangpo as this sleepy no-account little place where dreams go to die, and where people who want more just waste away while looking for it.
As mentioned above, the alienation of Mi-jeong and Gi-jeong is given particular focus here. Anyone can empathize with getting home so late it’s already dark, or with feeling socially ostracised, as if high-school politics are still governing adulthood. The antidote to this kind of thing is love and affection, or sometimes simply attention, but Gi-jeong is struggling to get even that, from people she doesn’t even necessarily want it from.
And don’t get me started on money, always the root of one’s stresses and strains. Mi-jeong, we learn, loaned money to Chan-hyeok for a start-up business that floundered, leading to him disappearing with the money he owes. She’s knackered both mentally and physically, on the cusp of depression, and desperate for love and connection. We can probably all relate.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s recap, though, we really need to buy into these characters and their dynamic fully for all this to work, and I just don’t think we’re there yet. The screenplay doesn’t leap out at me, and there’s just something missing in the chemistry. Of course, it’s still early days, and there’s plenty of time for My Liberation Notes to really grow and come into its own. Hopefully it can build and sustain an audience for long enough to do that.