Aw, Shucks! My favorite Monday-Tuesday drama is done airing. What to do? What to do? Anyways, before I go into drama coma, I just want to write a brief overall review on a drama that kicked me out of my mid-year drama slump.
An elite profiler with a hidden past, Lee Hyun (Seo In Guk) gets tangled with a detective-stalker, Cha Ji Ahn (Jang Nara) in order to solve the mystery behind his past. However, as they get intertwined, they see that they’ve something in common as they begin to play a series of dangerous cat and mouse game with a psychopath.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this drama. It’s nothing new, but I am all about the execution and how the actors carry their roles. There were definitely flaws in this drama, but it was easily overlooked because the end presentation made it enjoyable. The plot was a little bit predictable, but not to a full extent. I still had to guess who was who until we were given some clues before putting two and two together. The suspense and surprise turns were given to us in nice doses so never once did I skip an episode or fast-forward to an interesting storyline, so that’s a bonus in my book.
In terms of characterization, medical examiner/sociopath, Lee Joon ho/Lee Joon young (Choi Won young) is one of the complex character this series had to offer. I explained most of his complexity in episode 16 under “reaction,” but just to sum it up here, Joon young is one of those psychotic murderers you feel a little bit of sympathy. Granted, he did raise an army of sociopath whose missions are to kill, but should I say he did it out of misguided love. I AM NOT A PYSCHOTIC, SOCIOPATH when I say this, but I do see Joon young’s point of view. This is someone who was literally hated and shunned at birth.
Joon young was raised with disgust and hatred, so for him to snap against those who were unfair to him, due to something he really didn’t have control over (a byproduct of rape); I could feel his pain of abandonment. So, when he crossed path with Lee Hyun (Seo In-guk) at an early age, the interest he took towards the little kid was something that didn’t feel out of place. Hyun has a gift and that’s to try to see the good out of something. At a young age, he saw that people are different from what the norm is, well, given that he had to protect his little brother. This was something Joon young needed to hear. He’s different, but that doesn’t mean he should be discarded like trash for being differnt. Hyun was able to see that and that was why he took a high interest in this little boy. He saw himself in Hyun and Min (Park Bo Geum), Hyun’s little brother and he decided to live a life he never had through these little brothers. But, how?
Joon young never had a childhood. He was literally locked up, until his release, so he never knew what it was like to grow up in a normal environment. I guess the overall answer is that the environment is the substance that can create a psychopath. Everyone has a tendency to become evil due to the environmental situation, but one isn’t born evil. Hence, separating the brothers at a young age was the perfect experiment for Joon young. He sees himself in these boys. In episode 15, he tells Min that he never had the intention of kidnapping him, however, with one look; he’s able to see the different side of who he (Joon young) will become…well, after Hyun told him about Min.
Hyun was the first experiment he wanted to use to see an outcome, but with Min, this was golden. Two brothers who are raised in the same environment, one’s controlled and the other is experimental, what’ll be their outcome. It’s a perfect science experiment indeed. I would say that these boys gave Joon young the confidence in order to breed killing machines with no soul-kids who were raised in an abusive home and feed them with lies that are abandoned and not loved. In essence, he saw himself as their rescuer. However, that’s not always a good thing. In episode 16, we see one of the consequence of his action as one of the kids he raised retailed. He never wanted his parents to die, even though they were abusive, they still were his parents.
I think this is where one of the flaws of the storyline comes in play. The story has been hinting about Joon young’s conscience. In his 30+ years living with a tormented soul, Joon young has never had the opportunity to question his actions. He truly believed that he was doing this for the greater good. So, when his humanity and his psyche gets questioned by the characters, the writer didn’t fully explore on his reaction.
I guess it can be argued that his façade began to crack when he gets threatened, but not to the extent of him fully reflecting. Hints were thrown about when he began to question his doings by talking o the lady who released him, but she was just there to throw more shady questions at him that made him regress into thinking that his actions are good. But, I do guess that could be how the mind of a sociopath works. They still do not see their actions as horrible, but something people just don’t get. It really is a complex mind and I have more to go on about, but it could lead me to break down this review into two parts which is not what I plan on doing.
Nonetheless, his experiment is successful, only to an extent. Eventually, Min is reunited with his brother and despite all odds, Min changed for the better, I think. He began to realize that he was never abandoned and Joon young fed him with lies for his own benefit.
However, here comes my beef with the ending. I would’ve loved to see Min get killed off with the realization of knowing that he was loved, that way, his death would’ve more impact than him living. Don’t get me wrong and don’t bite my head off, Min being alive is a good thing to be happy about, but truth be told, I could be a minority in this area, I kind of wished he was killed off.
Joon young stabbing Min felt anticlimactic and a little bit dramtic if after we see that a year later, Min is recuperating under Joon young’s watchful eye. Like what the heck? Why go through all that just to show Min deciding not to run away and potentially turn himself in so that, he could fully reunite with his long, lost brother whom he thought abandoned him. It just felt off.
In essence, it was a waste of a time jump, which was unnecessary by the way. Yes, the time jump showed an alternate life Ji Ahn (Jang Nara) wanted, yes, it showed that psychopaths mind can be easily altered if they feel accepted (Eun bok and Seung Joo, even Min and Hyun).
Quick thoughts: showing us these machinations reflects what it’ll be like if Joon young experienced these affections before he went off the deep end. As Min stated, Joon young is reliving his childhood over and over again through the kids. If that’s the case, seeing Eun Bok soften to Seung Joo’s brotherly affection and Min to Hyun’s, it makes you wonder if Joon young would’ve actually stopped to rethink his actions if he had someone accountable for him.
Another issue I had was the presence of Jung ha (Seo Young-joo). Her role was to just play a guilt victim. Just there to hear Joon young whine about his actions. She should’ve had more role as someone who was accountable for Joon young. If she felt for guilty for surviving, she should have had more role in trying to change Joon young and not just someone who pops in and out when needed. Pft! It really a waste in the redemption of Joon young, well if that was ever needed; not that he needed to change, but it would have been cool to see that she actually tried changing Joon young for the better, like Hyun to Min, but in this case, Joon young cannot be redeemed. It would’ve had more impact to see that aspect of Joon young having the opportunity to be changed, but he is already mess3d up to begin with that is not possible for him to become better, as compared to us seeing Hyun changing his brother by being affectionate and apologetic.
Anyways, yes, Ji Ahn and Hyun finally kiss. Yes, Bong sung is now buddies with Myeong woo (by the way, I am bummed that we never got to know what favor he owed Hyun). Yes, Joon young is literally still walking in front of his chasers in plain sight and yes, Hyun will continue to chase him till the end of times, but that could have been easily cut short if Min had actually died and Joon young was actually left impaired by the team. Like c’mon, I actually wanted Joon young to pay for his crimes. Since, there won’t be a continuing series, why try to leave a sloppy open-ended finale. It felt awkward and really unnecessary.
Contrary to how I felt during the final episode, my reaction was based off the particular episode and not the entire series, so, I am not contradictinmyself, I am just giving an overall series explanation on how the ending should have been portrayed. The time jump was not needed. Hyun and Ji Ahn could have had their kiss, but again, it was really not needed because we already had an inclination that will find romance at the end. Besides, romance was not what this drama was about anyways.
CAUTION: if you are looking for a drama that places emphasis on love triangle between the leads, I will gladly recommend a different drama to you. This drama is not the typical sweet girl falling in love with a guy who shows cold emotions, but he really wants to find love.
The romance is mainly between Min, Hyun and Joon young. Hmm, what? Brothers in a romantic relationship, gross. Hehe! It is more of a familial bond and reuniting against a common enemy, Joon young. I kind of broke it down in episode 16 reaction. But, to sum it up, towards the end Joon young acted more like a jealous lover who’s fighting for the attention of the brothers. He lost his direction once one of them began to gravitate away from him so his reaction became irrational and literally deadly-he began to actively kill in order to get back the attention. Again, I could go on with the analysis of Joon young, but that’ll be a different talk.
Regardless, the title did live up to its name, all about memory, but more in the sense about identity. You really cannot forget who you are. The question is are you willing to change yourself based on whatever life throws at you or are you willing to stay committed to the life you are born into?
Since, this is not a romantic comedy or romance drama, I won’t really dwell on the romance aspect of the drama, even though, we had glimpse of it and the leads had good chemistry. However, I did wish Team Leader Kang Eun Hyeok ( Lee Chun Hee) has a meatier role than someone who crushed on the female lead and felt apologetic. But, he was fun to watch.
Well, if you have not seen this drama, I suggest that you do.