This was one of the most well-written shows I’ve ever watched. Awaken by Shin Yoo Dam, is a mystery revolving around events that happened 20-some years ago at an orphanage called White Night Village. If you haven’t yet seen this show, I would recommend watching it while knowing little about the plot or characters, much better that way. I was confused at what was going on the first few episodes, but it kept me watching, so props to writer Shin.
The first episode gives a little teaser into what happened at White Night Village, but then we are soon introduced to our police investigation team led by Do Jung Woo, played by Namkoong Min (The Undateables). Haven’t seen Min in a lot, but he’s a cutie, and he’s my age, so yay for 1978! He is so totally awesome in this role and I can’t see anyone else playing Do. An FBI agent from the US enters the scene as she’s been called to help with the strange serial killer case they working, a case in which people appear to kill themselves for no reason–A Study in Scarlet, anyone? Jamie Leighton is no Sherlock, but she’s dogged in her work and gets along well with the team. And her backpack is almost its own character. Jamie is played by the beautiful Lee Chung Ah, and I know her best from that crazy movie The Temptation of Wolves.
Also on the investigation team is Kang Hye Won, played by Seon Hyun (Orange Marmalade), and although she’s an awesome fighter, she had way too many anger management issues at first, so that it took me a bit to warm up to her. The team tech guy is Yoon Seok Pil (Choi Dae Chul, Vagabond) and the new recruit is Jang Ji Wan (Lee Sin Young, Crash Landing on You).
Throughout their investigation, the team gets drawn into a deep, dark web, I’m sorry of which to say probably has some basis in reality. We all know of child trafficking in the world, and we all know that key rich people are the ones doing it and that awful things are done to the children. We all know scientists exist who care only for their experiments and little for humanity. Awaken puts both things together. The bad guys are truly villains, even the ones we don’t get to see much of, and it is their lack of remorse that is truly chilling. Aside from Min, the other standout actors were Yoon Sun Woo as an abused young man and later a villain, and An Si Ha who’s beauty makes her character all the more frightening.
Some watchers will probably get frustrated that little is explained in much of the first half of the show, but as the explanations unfold, their clockwork intricacies turn the story into a true morality tale. And the ending was poignant and spot on. Truly great characterizations and great writing. Can’t say much for the soundtrack as I barely noticed it, and if you’re looking for romance, keep looking. Love is there, though, and that’s more important.
As for the big spoilers, ah, I don’t really want to give them now. It’s so, so much better if you don’t know what’s coming. Kinda like life, really. However, I will never think of lollipops in quite the same way. Awaken is both a great police procedural and an old school sci-fi story. In some respects it’s a slow burn, but the payoff is satisfying. Did I mention the writing was great? Looking forward to what writer Shin does in the future. This would also make a great book.