[Review] On the Way to the Airport – 공항 가는 길

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER

Choi Soo Ah (Kim Ha Neul) is a busy flying from destination to destination as a flight attendant at Air Asia.  She’s married to Pilot Park Jin Suk (Shin Sung Rok) and together they have a daughter, Park Hyo Eun (Kim Hwan Hee).  Due to his rigid personality, he controls everything in their lives which includes sending Hyo Eun away to boarding school.

Though Hyo Eun initially hated the idea of being far away from home and her mother, she begins to enjoy life there because of her roommate, Annie Seo (Park Seo Yeon).  Because the two hit it off right away, it puts Soo Ah at ease despite being apart from her daughter.

Seo Do Woo (Lee Sang Yoon) is an architect and married to Kim Hye Won (Jang Hee Jin), a master in traditional crafts.  Like Soo Ah, Do Woo has a loving relationship with his stepdaughter, Annie.  When Annie dies suddenly from a tragic traffic accident, Do Woo and Soo Ah’s lives inadvertently become intertwined.  They begin to view their cold partners in a new light and find a connection to each other.

The thing that immediately struck me upon watching this drama was the slow burn.  Unlike many other dramas that were airing around the same time, the pacing of this drama was slow and reflective.  If you’re the type of person that like quick, zippy pace of dramas, then this melodrama might not be for you as it’s a slice-of-life drama about two people from different walks of life making a connection.  And so, the airport serves as an important metaphor about life, people and the ties that bind us.

leeSA – 그래도 될까요 (Could I?)

leeSA(리싸) – 그래도 될까요

When I first read the premise of this drama, it read as something like, “Could a married man and a married woman have a decent relationship?”  I initially misunderstood the question.  I knew that the drama was leaning towards themes of infidelity and while the drama is partly about that, the drama is also about two souls who are starving for warmth and comfort.  I found it interesting that both Do Woo and Soo Ah had similar warm, optimistic personalities and yet allowed their partners to dominate over them.  The thing that Lee Sang Yoon and Kim Ha Neul have in common is that they are so expressive with their eyes and even without any words, you could tell what they were thinking and how they were feeling.  As they begin to take the path towards infidelity, it just made more sense for Do Woo and Soo Ah to be together than their spouses.

Sunwoojunga – City Sunset

선우정아(Sunwoojunga) – City Sunset

The other parallel in this drama is between Hye Won and Jin Suk.  At times, it was hard for me to believe that they really loved their spouses as they were both standoffish characters.  And yet, I do think that they loved Do Woo and Soo Ah, respectively, in their own ways.  The thing about Hye Won and Jin Suk is that the façade of loving, respected family was more important to them that they neglected the actual emotions that were simmering underneath.  As for Hye Won, she had a child with a man she didn’t love and so was desperate to do her life over with Do Woo.  Jang Hee Jin’s hushed performance was so eerie at times but necessary to reflect awkwardness of Hye Won’s marriage with Do Woo.  In contrast, Shin Sung Rok delivered his lines with rigid precision to reflect Jin Suk’s military background.

However, the downfall of these two marriage is due to the secrets and lies.  Hye Won’s lies about why she wanted to Annie at a distance and Jin Suk’s past relationship with Soo Ah’s best friend and fellow flight attendant, Song Mi Jin (Choi Yeo Jin).  At times, it made me wonder if Do Woo should have been responsible for pressing Hye Won to tell him the truth.  And is Mi Jin to blame for holding things back from her best friend even though her relationship with Jin Suk was before they were dating?  The answer is that it’s complicated.

Do Woo and Soo Ah’s affair is a complicated matter as well.  They begin their relationship merely as two parents who are concerned about their children.  And when they lose Annie, these passive people realize that they cannot just standby anymore as mere spectators of life.  I’m glad that the drama doesn’t moralize the issue of having an affair as that’s not really what the drama is about.  Rather, it’s about Do Woo and Soo Ah suddenly finding the courage to seize the moment instead of drifting through life.

In many ways, the cinematography also captures the underlying emotions of the main characters.  This drama doesn’t just go through the motions but by taking its time in having us observe the beauty of the world around us, we can relate with Do Woo and Soo Ah.  The beautiful landscapes are captured like a postcard giving it a timeless feel.

Jung Seung Eun – 공항 가는 길 (On the Way to the Airport)

정승은 – 공항 가는 길

On the Way to the Airport took me by surprise.  I spend so much time going from drama to drama that I can often predict where the drama will take a turn for a plot twist and when it needs to hit a certain mark in order for the ending to come together.  Oftentimes, I’m multitasking as I’m watching dramas but for this, I simply let Do Woo and Soo Ah guide me on their emotional journey.  As much as Do Woo and Soo Ah felt an undeniable pull towards each other, I felt the same magnetic draw to this drama.

Rating

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