What an odd series this is – firstly, it’s only 4 episodes long and ends by next week with a double episode next Wednesday; secondly, there’s virtually no online publicity on it, or at least publicity in English; and thirdly, what a title! With a title like this, people googling the title will certainly end up at very strange sites. I’m also concerned about who I’ll be attracting to my site by blogging about this show.
I only watched this episode because I had some time to kill while waiting for the latest Legend of the Blue Sea episode. The first episode does look promising and with only four episodes to go, the premiere does a good job in setting up a very tightly knit mystery and introducing us to its key characters, their lives and their motivations.
The storyline revolves around Jin-Ah, played by Jung In-Sun, who is trying to find the culprit behind an arson incident that took place in her home 10 years ago when she was 13. Although she was at the scene of the crime, hiding in a cupboard, she’s suffering from amnesia and is attempting to piece together what has happened through hypnosis treatment. Her only clue is her memory of a scar that she saw on the back of the culprit; a scar that she also witnessed in a separate incident when chasing a young thief at her place.
In order to find this man, she hides under the guise of being an artist whose looking for men to pose nude for her – “nude” only on the top half – with some very specific requests. The candidates have to be in their 20s with a burn scar on their back. She offers a high price, $10,000 for 1 week, to entice people to come forward.
This is where our male lead, Chul Soo (played by Lee Joon-Hyuk), comes in. He’s been working hard at his fireman job, but a close friend of his, Kwang Ho, who also happens to be his captain suddenly contracts cancer and requires money for surgery. Chul Sol’s childhood friend, Seong Jin, and his girlfriend, Song-Ja, notify Chul Soo of Jin Ah’s search for a model, telling him that he fits the bill completely. Chul Soo decides to audition, but goes under Seong Jin’s name as he is concerned about being exposed, since he’s a civil servant. In contrast, we learn that Seong Jin is a criminal and has gone to jail before.
During Chul Soo’s first audition, Jin-Ah sees his burn scar and immediately starts to hyperventilate. She immediately suspects that he was the culprit and thus offers him the job so she can find out more. Concurrently, she asks her close friend, Jeong Nam, to find out more about him. Since Chul Soo goes for the audition under Seong Jin’s name, Jeong Nam’s investigation leads him to find out about Seong Jin’s previous crimes.
The episode ends with the first drawing session between Jin-Ah and Chul Soo, which Seong Jin has arranged to take place at his house. Prior to the session, Jin-Ah suddenly recollects that she also saw a weapon used by the arsonist. While Chul Soo is getting her a drink, she tries to find the weapon in a toolbox high above a cupboard. However, she falls and stubs her toe in a screwdriver on the floor. Just as this happens, Jeong Nam calls her to warn her about Chul Soo and Chul Soo walks in to the very suspicious scene.
Given that the show only has 4 episodes, the plot-heavy nature of the first episode was only to be expected, with the premise and mystery being set up rapidly.
I’m already finding the relationship between Chul Soo and Seong Jin to be very interesting and there’s certainly more than meets the eye. There’s an element of unresolved tension as Seong Jin tells Song Ja that Chul Soo betrayed him, so that he could be a good person. Seong Jin also seems too eager to sell this job to Chul Soo, even though he isn’t aware of Chul Soo’s financial needs. The most suspicious part was him getting Chul Soo to take on his name and arranging for the first session between Jin-Ah and Chul Soo to take place at his house. Did he do so to deliberately set Chul Soo up? Nonetheless, it almost seems too obvious that Seong Jin is the arsonist that there must be a twist somewhere.
I found the character of Jin Ah to be very well fleshed out within the first episode. She’s been a recluse after the arson event, with her life driven only by the one purpose to find out the culprit. She doesn’t socialise or date. She keeps pushing herself further during hypnosis sessions so that she can gain greater insight into what happened. The fact that she holds on to the past is even more detrimental because she cannot even remember that past which entraps her. Her line to Jeong Nam about how she would be acting like a 13 year old if she was asked to act her age captures her predicament so well. The fact that her memory of the past is fuzzy and uncertain definitely creates more tension.
Chul Soo, on the other hand, seems a little bit more typical – the brash, macho figure who does not stick to the rules, but does what’s best for the situation even if it offends others. He is a loyal friend, a true brother who will lay his life down for a friend in need. Yet we also learn that he had a dark past and was involved in gangs before becoming a fireman. His camaraderie with Kwang Ho is charming enough and I’m sure it will provide more heartwarming moments in the episodes to come.
Well, given that this series is only 4 episodes, I might just watch it till the end because I really do enjoy such whodunnit shows with mysteries to solve. Interestingly enough, given the short lifespan of this show, it will just add on to the list of shows that are ending within the next 2-3 weeks.