Mouse, episodes 5&6: Kdrama review

Spoilers ahead.

Mouse is really delivering as a show, and I’m excited to tell you my theories on what’s going on, but first, let me deal specifically with episode 5.

Had to watch the episode twice, because there’s a spot of writing in there that doesn’t make sense. A second viewing didn’t clear it up for me, and neither did watching episode 6. Our detective hero, Go Mu Chi, played by the wonderful actor, Lee Hee Jun has teamed up with PD Choi Hong Ju (Kyung Son Jin), and a couple of police officers, one of which is Lee Seung Gi’s character, Jung Ba Reum. LSG is easily the most famous drama actor in the show, thus his character is suspected by the audience from the start as being the real serial killer. It was an interesting casting choice, and I think the writer is using LSG’s fame to their advantage. It’s interesting to contemplate what the show would be like with a lesser name playing Jung Ba Reum. But I digress. They all team up to throw a Sherlock show together for the killer, all in the hopes of saving a little boy from becoming the next victim. We, as the audience, are largely watching the show along with the citizens on the drama, though we are given behind-the-scenes snippets they are not.

Ultimately what happens in episode 5 is the expected: The serial killer, who’s yet to have a media name like his father, who was the Headhunter, checkmates them all, especially detective Go, whose sorrow at the end is truly heart wrenching. The spot of writing that’s troubling is the Sherlock show has fifteen minutes left and the boss decides to shut it down. PD Choi and detective Go circumvent him, however, hoping to still save the boy and beat the killer. With five minutes left, the show gets stopped forcefully by the boss. The next scene, however, is ten minutes before the show ends, and it’s as if nothing has even happened with the boss. Doesn’t look like the Sherlock show was even put on pause. Probably, I missed something, but it was never clarified what exactly happened, and episode 6 doesn’t deal at all with the Sherlock show. It appears to be a writing, script, or production mistake, but such a large error would be truly unusual. I am not sure what to make of it, and not sure what I missed. Perhaps this discrepancy will be brought to attention in future episodes, but it seems unlikely.

The most important thing to notice after the ending tease of episode 4, is that although it does appear to clarify that Jung Ba Reum is not the killer, as he’s shown working with the team to come up with a plan that involved him pretending to be the killer, his character is still kept, purposefully, in the background. Ba Reum, having a leg injury, hobbles all around the city, doing the legwork that detective Go and PD Choi can’t while they are filming the show. He appears to be helping, but there is a lot of his time not accounted for. A lot. And, I have to note, filming a fake video of a child actor, was his idea, so if he is the killer, that quickly explains how the real killer also sent a video. He knew of his own video in advance and suggested that idea purposefully. No wiretapping needed.

In episode 6, the main focus of the show continues: Who is the real killer? We are shown a ton of suspicious circumstances and outright acts by Dr. Sung Yo Han, who is supposedly the son of the Headhunter. He does very much appear to be, if not the killer, a killer, though where he finds the time in a busy doctor’s schedule, I don’t know. All that aside, the audience is not satisfied with the doctor, at least not as we’ve seen him. His personality doesn’t match up with the very arrogant, very emotional serial killer, whose every breath is full of wrath. Dr. Sung is cold and clinical, and appears to be a sociopath, or someone with antisocial personality disorder. He is emotionless in the extreme.

As the episode progresses, we see happy Ba Reum helping the detective through his grief and into sobriety, and the doctor acting suspiciously. It is possible, however, that Ba Reum is a bit too helpful. He’s clearly very smart, at least as smart at the detective and the doctor, and ends up visiting the doctor’s home at the end. Finding the secret basement room, we suppose he will come across all the pictures of all of the other murders that granny saw on the wall. Not so, not so! What we see is a collage on the wall, but they are all pictures of Ba Reum! And we have a scene with the doctor confronting his mom–who we know definitely to be the mother of the Headhunter’s son–saying, doesn’t she know that her son is a killer? She collapses at that, but it’s careful, odd wording. Your son is a killer, not I am a killer.

The episode ends with the doctor coming to Oh Bong Yi’s house. Bong Yi is the romantic interest for Ba Reum, despite being only nineteen. For some time he has befriended and protected her and her granny, until granny was killed, presumably by the doctor. Ba Reum is there to save her, and just as detective Go shows up at the scene, the doctor and Ba Reum clearly have it out. Go and Bong Yi see the doctor attempting to murder Ba Reum with a hammer. Go shoots the doctor before he can finish up.

The last scene is clearer than the previous tease: Ba Reum is recovering from a head injury in the hospital. His beloved bird in a cage is there with him the room. Ba Reum wakes, takes the bird out of the cage, and wrings its neck. He throws the bird out the window and relaxes back on the bed, happy that it’s quiet now. Clearly, the policeman is not all that he appears, he too, clearly, has antisocial personality disorder. But is this something he’s always had, or is it due to the head trauma? Is he our wrathful killer or something else? Certainly, his character has been kept carefully in the background for some time. He has also been in the right position to carry out most, if not, all of the murders–definitely granny’s and definitely the attack on his friend at the prison. He found the doctor’s house awfully fast and seemed to gain instant insight as to why the doctor had his pictures on the wall.

Here’s my theory: The two moms who participated in Dr. Daniel Lee’s psychopathy study both decided to chance it with their babies and let them live. One son is a serial killer, the other a genius. There is also a possibility that both are psychopaths and killers. Somehow, the children got switched, and although she calls him her son, it could be that Dr. Sung is in fact the other child, and that it is actually Ba Reum who is the Headhunter’s son and who has inherited his psychopathic tendencies. The scene that detective Go sees at the end could very well be the doctor attempting to put an end to a very, very bad person. Instead, it is the doctor who dies–or not, we know he was also taken to the hospital, but not shown his fate.

Ba Reum being the killer makes a lot of sense. Ba Reum is indeed very nice and very sociable to everyone, however, it seems almost too much, and it could be that he’s putting on an act. In the midwest we have something called passive aggressiveness. This is often manifested in spiteful acts from people who are otherwise and outwardly very nice and personable. Like a person wishing you well and purposefully tripping you down the stairs. The hidden rage is positively pathological. Ba Reum is also everywhere–everywhere! He has inserted himself in nearly every aspect of detective Go’s case, though Go doesn’t yet realize it, and this is often a hallmark of a very arrogant killer who is sure that he won’t get caught and also desires to be in the spotlight. Playing nice officer Ba Reum puts the killer doubly in the spotlight. It even fits for him to have taken Bong Yi under his wing. She’s a fighter, and he, the killer, likes that, for it’s “no fun” if they don’t fight back. Bong Yi has also been through a past trauma, and she’s not the sort of person to forgive and forget, but may be out for revenge against her tormentor. This, too, is appealing to our killer, who despises anything full of God’s love and forgiveness.

The real issue for the killer is that he cannot forgive himself and in fact does not think he should be forgiven. He despises God for the simple fact that with repentance God would forgive him, even though he’s done truly awful things. As to whether or not he truly cannot stop being a killer, that remains to be seen. He thinks he cannot stop, but that’s not the same as actually not being able to stop or able to will himself to stop. It is possible that any sin, any addiction can be overcome with willpower, but not human will alone. With God, all things are possible. He can do what man cannot. We often think God has failed us, but it really we who have too quickly given up on God. God’s ways are not our ways, and he often doesn’t work in the way we expect. As a child, our killer thought his killing tendencies would instantly disappear with a prayer, but it’s not that simple. The child has anger, a lot of it, and continues letting it run unchecked. Someone who has true faith would recognize, maybe not at first, but eventually, that the anger itself must be dealt with, and by the person who has it. Ultimately, the anger must and should be healed. To heal from a deep wound physical, mental, or psychological is an extraordinary, life changing thing. Why would God rob someone he loves of that process? But the killer stubbornly refuses to let the process happen.

Detective Go, too, is full of anger and needs healing. Why is the killer picking on Go? Does it have something to do with the Headhunter, the sins of the killer’s father? Is the killer upset that the Headhunter sins, too, would be forgiven if he came to repentance?

Perhaps this is a redemption story. We were presented at the beginning with the idea of marking a child, even before it is born, with the label of psychopath. I have no doubt this theme will surface much in the remaining episodes. The foreshadowing is how Dr. Sung was almost beaten to death for supposedly being the son of the Headhunter, and saved, interestingly and ironically, by Ba Reum and his friends. The love and forgiveness of Christianity is often difficult to comprehend when it comes to certain acts like murder. In society, certain things are deemed “unforgivable,” and with good reason. A killer who genuinely cannot stop himself should be kept away from society in prison, and his life should be forfeit if he has no remorse. Letting multiple people like this roam free would mean that society would shortly end. But what is impossible for humans, is possible for God. He can and does forgive every sin. But he also calls for repentance and a contrite heart, a heart captive to God. For some it is a bridge too far that even a repentant psychopathic killer can and is forgiven. But as humans we so easily forget that any sin, no matter how slight we see it, is an abomination to God. There may be degrees of sins, but all sin damns us to hell, even the theft of a stick of gum. We can no more measure up to God’s standard of holiness than can a killer like Jeffrey Dahmer. We both God’s forgiveness, paid for by the life and death of Jesus Christ, to enter into heaven.

Still, maybe Ba Reum is not the killer, or at least, not the one we’re looking for. Could he have a split personality, and one be nice and the other psychotic? Could he be a psychopath, but not a killer? At least, not a killer of humans? Unlikely to both, but we’ll see how it plays out. And then there’s the title of the series, Mouse, and the whole scene at the beginning with the little boy bringing the mouse into the snake’s den, a mouse who attacks the snake back. Who is the snake? The Headhunter, perhaps? He’s still alive and in prison, and clearly plotting something or at the very least working something out about his son. And who is the mouse? The son? And why is he considered a mouse? Because he’s no killer?

Seriously loving this show. A lot of food for thought and phenomenal acting by Lee Hee Jun as Detective Go. Presumably phenomenal acting to be forthcoming from LSG, as well, but we’ll see. Until next time!

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