Drama Stories
Jan 20, 2017 | 04:03 AM EST

Drama Review 'Naked Fireman' Episode 4

BY HanCinema

The bookends for the final episode of "Naked Fireman" communicate the emotional core of the drama. Why did Cheol-soo become a fireman anyway? Why is he always so determined to risk his own life to help others? Within reason of course. I really like how "Naked Fireman" demonstrates that in the real world, even a brave heroic man like Cheol-soo very sensibly backs down and is generally pliant when faced with a gun.

The broader realism of "Naked Fireman" is where a lot of the appeal is. In contrast to the ultra-competent leads who normally populate mystery thrillers, Cheol-soo and Jin-ah only have average intelligence. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage against Jeong-nam, who at least has detective instincts. Jeong-nam's only intellectual equal is Seong-jin, whose work as a grifter qualifies him to play mind games. But alas, he can only render indirect assistance.

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But enough of the lovely twists and turns that keep "Naked Fireman" viscerally engaging. Emotionally, we're also watching Jin-ah progress from a frightened, lonely woman obsessed with avenging her parents to one who stops learning to be so paranoid. This is obviously fairly ironic, considering how Jin-ah learns that the detective she thought was her friend has in fact been a complete psychopath all along. Of course, the flip side of that is, if that guy's the closest thing you have to a friend, maybe it's time for better friends.

That's what makes Cheol-soo such a compelling leading man. He's not perfect, and is used to conflict. All the same, Cheol-soo always tries to do his best. Cheol-soo never condescends to Jin-ah, and is even willing to admit just how frightened he really is. This encourages Jin-ah to think along the same terms. No matter how terrifying life may seem, courage is having that willingness to ignore that and jump into the fire. Because saving a person, that's what's right.

It's all a fitting tribute come the ending, when Jin-ah must inevitably visit the cremation center. For all Jin-ah has lost, life goes on. There is hope, which is what she really needed. That, coupled with the generally perfect attention to detail and story efficiency, makes "Naked Fireman" a wonder, packing the punch of a drama several times its short four episode length. I mean really, the perfume is used, not just to exposit casual interplay between Cheol-soo and Jin-ah, but even becomes a plot device in the thriller mystery? Well played production team. Well played indeed.


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