Spoilers for the latest episodes, so read with discretion.
Episode 13 of Spy dealt with the onset of Kang-woo’s suspicion towards Myung-wol after he witnesses Myung-wol going through his things and stealing the book that he bought in Singapore. While I think that the suspicion is necessary at this point of the story, the narrative is getting clunky and sloppy. Earlier attempts to throw off Kang-woo from blowing the spies’ covers were smart and even funny, but how are you gonna convince me that two North Korean spies were caught having a full-fledged, extremely detailed conversation about their very North Korean mission while Kang-woo hides behind a pillar and listens, and in his apartment no less?
But I digress: my problem is mainly not with the suspicion, because it’s about time that suspicions came into play.
My problem, then, has to do with that one scene in Episode 13 where Kang-woo (dammit, I keep calling him Eric) gets drunk and upset with Myung-wol’s betrayal and tells her to prove her love to him by sleeping with him.
This scene is awful because of the power imbalance in the relationship — and in a lot of relationships — but particularly so in this one because Kang-woo has something tangible (the book) that Myung-wol needs, so she offers him to trade him something intangible (love, her body) for it. But the intangible items possess far more value than the tangible one, and while there was never the intent for Myung-wol to have to sell “herself” for her mission, it was implied that given the chance, she would have to oblige no matter what she personally felt.
I take a lot of issue with this scene mainly because while Kang-woo has always been an asshole, and this is definitely one of those irredeemable asshole things to do. The worst thing about it is that it’s supposed to be seen as some sort of romantic declaration. It’s not. Yes, Myung-wol consented, but if you ask me, she doesn’t look too thrilled about it. I think Myung-wol was resigned to the fact that she was going to have to participate in whatever sexual activity might be “necessary” in order to gain access to Kang-woo. While it was played off as a joke in the beginning of the drama, and was never actually consummated, the idea of sex has taken a much darker turn in episode 13.
There is nothing really that he can do, short of becoming a different person, that makes Kang-woo attractive.
(Crossposted from evacuatewithstyle)