My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 3 recap – going places

April 17, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

A definite step in the right direction, My Liberation Notes is beginning to cohere as a compelling slice of life drama.

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3.5

Summary

A definite step in the right direction, My Liberation Notes is beginning to cohere as a compelling slice of life drama.

This recap of My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 3 contains spoilers.


Last week’s introductory double-bill of My Liberation Notes was about, in a lot of ways, the desire to seek and pursue more for oneself, and fittingly it felt like a show that was building in confidence and direction in much the same way that its characters were. I’m pleased to report that trend continues here in the third episode.

My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 3 recap

A commenter on last week’s recap lamented the fact I didn’t mention the improvement in the second episode’s pacing relative to the first, and I should’ve, so I’ll mention it here. But it isn’t just pace, really – it’s more a sense of overall cohesion and rhythm, a feeling of gradual, inexorable development and change. Some of that comes from depth of character, some from nuances in performance and writing, some from formal quirks and juxtapositions. The overall effect is just more engaging. This is a show that’s getting better.

Perhaps “getting better” isn’t the right term, since it wasn’t bad, to begin with, it just felt as if it was idling. Here the dynamic between the siblings and their own individual personalities feels a lot more fleshed out and sensible. You have Gi-jeong’s desire to be loved, liked, and able to express individuality, Mi-jeong’s search for companionship, and Chang-hee’s desire for status and forward momentum. In many ways, they’re distressingly broad traits and aspirations, but that makes them relatable, and there’s a genuine sense of difficulty and progress in our understanding how difficult these seemingly simple things are to really achieve.

A persistent metaphor here is the stark difference between the countryside and the bustling city, rural calm versus metropolitan chaos. Between the two, public transport is a kind of snaking conduit that doubles as a prison, putting commuters at the whims of someone else’s schedule. There’s an odd kind of low-key pressure in the idea of a last train, the idea of being trapped somewhere and unable to escape if you miss that final escape pod. This episode uses this idea for a moment of drama that doesn’t actually go anywhere but works in the manner it’s intended to. A lot of My Liberation Notes is about putting you in a particular headspace, and once you’re there you tend to realize it’s one you’ve been in before, perhaps many times over.

This, I think, is what is beginning to work about the show for me, and what I assume will work about it for others. The formation of the titular Liberation Club as a broad idea for escape and emancipation is smart after spending the first two episodes highlighting why such a thing would be so vital in the first place. It was slow going initially, but perhaps I didn’t give My Liberation Notes its due credit for sketching a world worth buying into.

You can stream My Liberation Notes season 1, episode 3 exclusively on Netflix.

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