Unwelcome Visitors At The Hospital
After last week’s dramatic episode it was almost inevitable that Memories Of The Alhambra would take its foot off the gas and take a breather. With a couple of flashbacks and an introduction to a few more key characters, the fifth episode of this Korean drama is slow-paced and reflective, one that ends on an ominous note ready for tonight’s episode.
Following the fallout to last week’s breathless episode, the story picks up with Hee-Joo as we see the moments leading to her finding Jin-Woo at the bottom of the stairs after his fall. On the phone to his estranged second wife Yoo-Ra, Hee-Joo scrambles for medical attention before following the ambulance to the hospital. It’s here where the entirety of the episode plays out as Jin-Woo wakes up and reflects on his experiences. It’s something we perhaps expected given the fallout to last week’s drama but it leads to one very real and worrying possibility – the in-game duel with Hyung-Seok is far from over.
This manifests itself in the worst possible way during the latter periods of this 66 minute episode. A tense countdown timer and a mad scramble around the hospital find Jin-Woo desperate for refuge and inject the episode with some much needed pace. This drama ends on an ominous note and a worrying message from Hyung-Seok’s dad. “Sorry,” he whispers as the final scenes cut to the moments in Alhambra where Jin-Woo was looking for Se-Ju on the train. What happened? What did the self-proclaimed Professor mean by saying sorry? While these questions leave us eager for the sixth episode, fragments of the mystery slowly start to appear.
I mentioned last week about the changing tone in the show and it’s very much still apparent here. While Hee-Joo’s younger sister adds a few lighthearted quips and a particularly awkward moment for Hee-Joo and Yoo-Ra are welcome additions, Memories Of The Alhambra is a much darker drama than it started out as.
For the most part this works really well although there isn’t a whole lot that happens this week. Jin-Woo spends most of the episode recovering in bed, various characters come to visit him in hospital and we’re given a few flashbacks to help show the history between Hyung and Jin-Woo. Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot going on here although the preview for the sixth episode promises to change that.
With two episodes released every week perhaps this could be a growing trend going forward – one episode used to slow the pace down and establish more characterisation with the second used to add action and big, dramatic set pieces. Of course, at the moment this is pure speculation so take that with a pinch of salt but the sixth episode looks set to be another great one.
When the episode ends and a rain-soaked Jin-Woo reflects on some of the bigger themes shown so far, the fifth episode doesn’t quite measure up to what’s come before. Make no mistake about it, Memories Of The Alhambra is an incredibly endearing, absorbing drama but there just isn’t a whole lot going on during this episode. The final 20 minutes or so do well to pick up the pace but for the most part, this is a slow-paced episode rooted in characterisation. Still, if you’ve enjoyed what’s come before you can’t really go wrong here and Memories Of The Alhambra continues to be an impressive Korean series.
Provisional Season Rating