One word consistently came to mind while I watched episode 1…ridiculous…and I enjoyed the episode!
Koo Seo Jin (Hyun Bin) wakes from a dream of a red hair woman that he saves from a falling mirror ball. His heart is racing. He dashes through his beautiful home to the indoor garden that boosts a gurgling fountain, meditation mat, and quality speaker system for his relaxation mantra. When his heart rate goes to high Seo Jin does what ever is takes to lower it. His assistant, Kwon Young Chan (Lee Seung Jun), enters the indoor garden and is obviously well versed in soothing his heart obsessed boss. He guides him to work.
Seo Jin owns an amusement park. While walking the grounds he runs into children with balloons. He recalls the dream that woke him. It had ballons. He orders assistant Young Chan to ban the sales of ballons, dancing, and a particular ride. Those are ridiculous edicts, this guy is eccentric. There is a rivalry with another guy that is leading a children’s charity event at the amusement park. Seo Jin orders him to leave and take the children.
A runaway gorilla, yes you read that correctly, chases a woman and their path is straight for Seo Jin. The woman runs up to Seo Jin, grabs him and begs him to save her from the gorilla. Seo Jin appalled by the contact and the gorilla heading his way, bites the woman so she will release her grip then pushes the woman down to the ground and runs away. He high tails it to the top of cart and monitors his vitals. The gorilla is ridiculous and Seo Jin is not only eccentric but a coward too.
Just as things look a bit dire, a sound catches the gorilla’s attention. It is Ha Na calling the gorilla. It seems they have a previous relationship. Ha Na gets the gorilla to come to her. And so ends the escaped gorilla incident. Ridiculous I think. As the reporters interview her we learn she runs the circus at the amusement park. She has been gone to America learning about the Cirque du Soleil dramatic circus arts style. She is good friends with the gorilla and she assures the public an incident like this will not occur again.
Seo Jin decides the circus has to be eliminated from the amusement park and asks his assistant Young Chan to send Seo Jin to him to he can fire her and her team. He tells Ha Na she and her team are out. Why? Because he wants them gone and he has the power to do it.
After that meeting Ha Na is upset. One of the circus performers shows Ha Na the video on her phone of Seo Jin pushing the woman to the ground and running away from the gorilla. Ha Na realizes she can blackmail Seo Jin with the video and proceeds to do just that. Seo Jin is riveted by the video and remorseful he acted in a shameful way. Does he not remember his actions? Seo Jin cannot have the video released and agrees to extend the circus contract not eliminate it. Ha Na tries to take the phone but his grip is so tight and he is so riveted, she leaves it with him. Not a good idea leaving the evidence with Seo Jin, who immediately orders his assistant Young Chin to delete the video and fire the circus.
Ha Na assures them everything is fine. They discuss adding a Cirque du Soleil style performance to their show.
But everything is not fine as they learn that Seo Jin fired Ha Na and her circus. The cancellation fee is a small price to pay for eliminating them.
Ha Na is furious the Seo Jin reversed broke his promise once he had his hands on the embarrassing video. She goes to confront him.
Seo Jin talks to Dr. Kang about the events of the day. Dr. Kang tells him to stop by her office. She has some developments that will lead to his cure. Seo Jin is off like a shot. Ha Na tries to confront him as he exits the building but his people stop her. Undeterred, she gets a cab and follows Seo Jin.
Dr. Kang dictates to a recorder that she may have found the key to cure Seo Jin of his Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Turns out Seo Jin has an alternative personality, Robin, that he works to suppress (hence all the heart rate monitoring). If his heart rate goes above a certain level, Robin can emerge.
Seo Jin hoped Dr. Kang’s words, he can be cured, are true. As he walks to Dr. Kang’s office he sees Ha Na on a zip line to an outer balcony of the building. This is patently ridiculous. How is there a zip line from one building to another that Ha Na accesses? Whatever, I’m going with it. At the same time a man with a black leather jacket enters the Dr. Kang’s office. He looks menacing. In a amazing coincidence, the office that Ha Na has repelled to is Dr. Kangs. As she enters the office through a window she sees Dr. Kang on the floor with blood on the carpet. Black leather jacket man walks up behind her. She screams, turns, and flees out of the office. The black leather jacket man chases Ha Na. Seo Jin sees Ha Na exit the office followed by the black leather jacket man. He assesses the danger and to keep himself calm he dashes for the elevator. Ha Na yells at him to keep the elevator door open but it shuts in her face.
Next we see the black leather jacket man choking Ha Na on the rooftop ready to push her off. In the elevator Seo Jin is not able to keep calm and the transformation to Robin occurs. The transformation almost has an incredible Hulk vibe minus ripping the clothes with bulging muscle and green skin. I call “Hulk-ize” his transformation to Robin . Robin runs to the rooftop and pulls the black leather jacket man of Ha Na. Just as he subdues the man, he turns and sees Ha Na tettering over the edge of the roof. He grabs for her but misses. He jumps after her, catches her in his arms, and they both plunge into a pool. Underwater, he gently cradles Ha Na. What about that sequence wasn’t ridiculous? Going over the roof after her was simply nuts.
When Ha Na visits Seo Jin in his hospital room. She asks if he rescued her. He stares. A voiceover of Dr. Kang states that Robin was created from Seo Jin’s guilt and shame and must protect others. Seo Jin realizes that Robin emerged to save Ha Na.
* The director Jo Young Gwang (49 days, a top notch kdrama (see review)), must have had a nice budget for the initial episode. The gorilla, the zipline scene, the two folks falling from the roof scene, must have been expensive.
* The ridiculous items in this initial episode were also the same items the director must have spent the big dollars on. As the episode zipped by I turned my brain off and went with what was presented to me.
*Hyun Bin as Koo Seo Jin convinced me that he was an eccentric self-centered guy. But when you learn he does this to stay in control and not let his alternate personality, Robin, come out, it makes the obsessive monitoring more understandable. At this point we don’t know why Seo Jin has 2 personalities. I liked Hyun Bin’s performance of Seo Jin. He is not a likable character. I’m watching this show for Hyun Bin who I loved in Secret Garden and My Lovely Sam Soon (see review). I believe he will deliver a terrific performance. Fingers crossed the story is worthy of his talents.
* Han Ji Min as Jang Ha Na did not make a big impression. Ji Min is not an actor I have seen before so I have no opinion at this point.
* I’m not familiar with the two writers either. Kim Ji Woon previously wrote Cheongdamdong Alice which I have not seen. Lee Choong Ho is designated as a comic.
* What’s my take away from episode 1? It was…wait for it…ridiculous…but not in a bad way. I went with it. It did a decent job laying the foundation for our story. It was over the top in certain scenes. So be it, I’m ready to proceed and see what Hyun Bin brings to the next episode!