Tag Archive | Lee Seung Gi

Mouse: Episode 20 (Spoilers)

With God, all things are possible, especially, and most importantly, forgiveness of sins. That was the ending message of this crazy horror story. And it fits. The horror genre often goes hand in hand with religious themes, probably because the horror or horrible things are often sins or things based on sins.

In episode 20 we and Ba Reum find out that the Secretary Chief in the government, Choi Young Shin, is behind the shady organization OZ. She chose to fund this organization through the National Intelligence Service without consent. This all comes out in public due to Ba Reum, who officially turns himself in, causing great stress to Detective Go, who finally–finally!–fully concludes that Ba Reum is the cross killer. Once again, Go is foiled in his plans by Ba Reum. The first was when he wanted to go to prison to kill the Headhunter, and this time when he wishes to kill Ba Reum.

The face offs between Bong Yi and Ba Reum and Go and Ba Reum are short but great. Ba Reum really does not want to see these people he love become killers, yet he feels their pain and anguish and knows that he does deserve to die for what he’s done.

Choi Young Shin is painted as the real monster here, as her goal in having OZ watch both Ba Reum and Yo Han was to make sure one of both of them did become psychopathic murderers, all so that she could get her abortion bill passed, a bill condemning babies to death before they have committed any crime. We, and Ba Reum, find out that although he clearly had problems as a kid and was harming animals, he didn’t actually kill any humans back then and wouldn’t have except the secretary and OZ set him on that path. It doesn’t excuse the murders he did commit, but it definitely puts them in a different light. Nearly all those who want to create a utopia or their version of a heaven on earth end up harming humanity in the process. Nearly all. And because most of these people end up in government to further their plans, it’s a very, very good reason to limit all powers of government.

PD Choi gets her wish, and the very good Yo Han is declared innocent in the public eye. She, however, too, manipulated Ba Reum, along with Dr. Lee, to get him to kill other serial killers. We also learn that she was the girl who helped the Headhunter lure at least one young woman to her death. PD Choi turns herself in for this and is arrested, though I’m not sure how that works in S. Korea, since she was a child and was clearly frightened and manipulated by the Headhunter. She is also properly reunited with her father, Detective Park, who lovingly puts the handcuffs on her. With Dr. Lee, we learn Ba Reum was the one who tried to kill him and Yo Han, the doctor, saved his life.

Ba Reum ends up going to prison, to death row, and there enacts a kind of justice, for himself, and for others harmed by the Headhunter. Ba Reum fakes going back to a coldblooded killer well enough that he gets close enough to his father, the Headhunter, and kills him. The clever Headhunter doesn’t even expect this, but then he’s been stuck in prison a long time and has probably lost some of his edge.

Like the mice in his biological father’s brain surgery experiments, Ba Reum is dying and doesn’t have much time left. He does his best to make amends with Go and Bong Yi, before dying in perhaps one of the most important scenes in the entire show.

I’ll get back to that in a second, but first want to say that this episode had a plethora of great scenes and acting, especially from Kwon Hwa Woon, who plays Yo Han, and Lee Seung Gi, who plays Ba Reum. They make us really feel for these characters who got a raw deal all due to Dr. Lee’s study of the psychopath/genius gene. Much food for thought about treating children as marked bad from the day they are born. Yes, we all have original sin, but it is true that if we treat people always expecting the worst from them, not only is that psychological abuse, it often can and does bring out the worst in them. (On a side note, this brings to mind the sudden persecution of those who choose to not vaccinate, treating healthy people as if they have a disease. Again, psychological abuse and so, so wrong. Our society should be ashamed of itself).

Other great scenes were Ba Reum meeting his real mother, the Headhunter’s wife, but even better was a scene between her and Detective Go. Go is plagued with guilt now, realizing he shot an innocent Yo Han, but she tells him that he didn’t really kill Yo Han. Yo Han would have lived, but the Headhunter finished him off in order to use his brain for his experimental brain surgery to save his son, Ba Reum. And the neurosurgeon didn’t save Ba Reum because he loved him, but because he thought the psychopath gene he carried was superior to regular people, and wanted his line to survive. Ugh. Ick. And also makes madam secretary’s wish to get rid of all these psychokiller people who think other people are ants or mice sound suddenly reasonable.

Mouse is the name of the show and we find Ba Reum a figurative mouse, literal experiment, sending himself into the snake or serial killer’s lair, all in order to kill him. Everything comes full circle from the beginning shot to that scene.

Ba Reum’s death scene is the best part, though. He dies in the church he once visited as a kid, angry with God and begging God to stop him from being a monster. Ba Reum appears to see his younger self in the pew there and gives him a hug, comforting him. Ba Reum tells the boy that God did answer his prayer: He now has feelings, especially of remorse and is full of repentance. He no longer has the will or desire to kill. Ba Reum dies at peace with himself and with God. I am not sure if he just goes to the church in his mind or actually gets to go there. Think the former.

Although I am so glad that Ba Reum came to repentance and that he does say sorry to both Go and Bong Yi, I wish the writers would have found a way to indicate that Jesus is really the reason why he would be forgiven. We are called by God to repent of our sins, yes, but the real reason we are forgiven is because Jesus Christ lived a perfect life in our place and also suffered and died for us, taking the punishment for all of our sins upon himself, and the defeated death by rising from the dead in the resurrection. Christ atoned for us, something we can never do, no matter how much we may repent. It’s a sobering thought.

Detective Go does give a nod to the Gospel message, though, by asking himself if God gave Ba Reum punishment or salvation? With a wistful smile on his face, we can guess he hopes it’s the latter, and perhaps it’s a bit much to expect a mainstream TV show to really dig into the person of Jesus. It’s rarely done; sometimes Christian movies don’t even directly talk about Him or explain how it is that He is our Savior. Anyway, I give the show ten out of ten just for all that, and coming so close to sharing the Gospel message, and it is a tough message for us to swallow sometimes, that anyone, anyone who repents and has faith in Jesus can be saved. We think certain sins should be unforgivable, but we easily forget that God is holy and sees any sin, no matter how small or insignificant to us, as enough to damn a person to hell eternally. Jesus Christ is the only way any of us can be saved, from a bubblegum thief to a rapist, to a literal headhunter.

Mouse: Episode 19

Spoilers, as usual.

Have to say that so far I am not digging the whole OZ secret organization plot line, even though it was integrated into the show from the beginning. It’s sounding like the government is basically continuing Dr. Daniel Lee’s experiment, and trying to determine if Nature or Nurture is the cause of psychopathic murders. Of course they don’t see the irony in allowing and even encouraging test subject Ba Reum to kill people. This is likely at the end of the episode why Ba Reum declares to the government official that Dr. Lee asked him to kill her. From a certain perspective, what she is doing could be considered worse than being a psychokiller.

The biggest shock this episode was that Yo Han could have lived and OZ his supposed father insisted on using his brain for the surgery. Wow. The Headhunter is truly despicable.

Everything now makes sense as far as PD Choi and her baby. The baby is not the biological grandchild of the Headhunter, but since his wife raised Yo Han as her son, she considers his child to be her grandchild. PD Choi, we find out is the missing daughter of Detective Park, who was assigned to the case of the Headhunter. With her altered mental state, his wife recognizes the baby as her biological grandchild, which is why she kidnaps him. Interestingly, PD Choi has known this whole time that she was Detective Park’s daughter and was too afraid to approach him or her mom. Again, wow.

Now everyone is suspecting Ba Reum, and with good reason. Detective Go and Bong Yi both exhibit a lot of alternate denial and anger, which is totally understandable. It may be a good thing that Ba Reum is going to die in short order from his brain surgery, as I’m not sure how the three of them will or would deal with all of this. He’s a “good” guy now, but he still wants to murder people, just those considered bad. But that’s who he killed before, those people he considered bad. Not a moral improvement, though I admit he is saving some innocents.

Great scene with the Headhunter and his wife. He is creepily charismatic and she doesn’t seem like the kind of woman who would fall for that, but maybe she was much different when she was younger.

The murder of Detective Shin was the worst! He’s only a minor character, but the kid has grown on me. A chaebol, or son of a wealthy family, who has a good heart and a good work ethic. They had to kill him when he’s on his way to see his wife and their new baby…just awful. But it did give Detective Go a chance to freakout with his emotions. He’s going to need to do that a lot in dealing with Ba Reum, OZ, and the Headhunter.

Except for the OZ stuff, looking forward to episode 20. I am not sure if this is the last episode or not. We’ll see.

Mouse: Ep 18

Oh, this cat’s cradle of a plot! So much to keep track of, but well worth it to pay attention. The main point of this episode was that both Detective Go and Bong Yi are really considering that dead Dr. Yo Han might be innocent of the crimes. That next leads them to: Someone else must therefore be the cross killer.

Mixed up in all that is PD Choi and her poor, little baby, who at least now has his grandma watching over him. Grandma’s not such a good sitter, however, for the kid gets kidnapped by the much befuddled wife of Detective Park who was on the Headhunter’s case so many years ago and lost both his children in the process. Because Park’s daughter’s body has still not been found, he, too, is horrible to this little baby, and refuses to return it to grandma unless she asks her husband where his daughter’s body is. Former Mrs. Headhunter goes to meet with the serial killer neurosurgeon in prison.

The shadowy OZ, the cabal or organization watching both Ba Reum and Yo Han as children, is still a bit of a mystery. Dr. Daniel Lee was possibly connected to them, but now is not. PD Choi, too, knows of them and is working with Dr. Lee to maybe thwart them or, more likely, working with him in the hopes that they can show the world Yo Han is indeed innocent. What she’s going to do when she finds her baby is being held for information, I don’t know. Horribleness all around.

Finally, finally! At the end of the episode we see Detective Go and Bong Yi putting everything together. They were maybe ok thinking that Ba Reum was a psycho who killed other serial killers like the man who hurt Bong Yi. Now, they are confronted with the very real possibility that he is also the cross killer. Go processes a little more slowly, and only considers the other cases, not yet his brother. Bong Yi has probably suspected for awhile subconsciously, and now her memories are knocking at her door. She fought that killer off, she had contact with him. His fight with her in the church was personal. Maybe she didn’t pick up on that at the time, but she sure is now. And she remembers a very important scar.

On the redemption theme: Ba Reum is slowly being justified for a lot of moves his younger self made, and also revealing that he actually didn’t do a lot of killing, and if he did it wasn’t for psychopathic reasons, but more emotional ones like revenge. Is it going to end with both him and Yo Han exonerated completely? Because of OZ, which is likely run by either the Headhunter or the government or both? I would find that a bit disappointing. It’s great to see Yo Han shown as innocent, we are continuing getting details on that, and I was right, he was indeed trying to stop Ba Reum and decided to kill him if that was the only way. Not as satisfying if Ba Reum is given a pass, unless he really, really didn’t do any of it, but that seems a stretch right now. And if he really didn’t do any of it, what a let down!

One thing I don’t remember in trying to keep track of all these characters is how Bong Yi’s dad died. She says something that makes it sound like the cross killer murdered her dad, but I don’t remember that. I don’t remember how her dad died being discussed. Hopefully, that will be clarified or rehashed in the future for those of us with poor memories.

Still liking the show, but I want more Detective Go and less Ba Reum, more detective hunting the killer, rather than this mixed up possible killer psychopath trying to figure himself out. Ok, I just really like Detective Go, who acts like a bear half the time, but really is a sweet little puppy with a heart of gold. He and Bong Yi should just be together. They’ll barely notice the age gap, they’ve both been through so much, traumatized so much.

Next ep should be good, for we’re certainly to get at least one scene with the Headhunter.

Mouse, eps. 16 & 17

A lot of weirdness with this show, but it’s all coming together. As Ba Reum sorts everything out about himself and Yo Han, the details are all getting filled in. However, I may be wrong in Yo Han’s motivation as a genius to stop killer Ba Reum: It appears there some shadowy organization called OZ behind all of this. An organization bafflingly covering up Ba Reum’s crimes, and also keeping tabs on him. Turns out they kept tabs on Yo Han. Dr. Daniel Lee, who is still inexplicably alive, appears to not be working with OZ, but maybe once was, and the suspicious detective I had my eye on is connected with OZ. OZ is either part of or just a nickname for the Ministry of Science and Technology. Possibly. We shall see.

The good thing is, that the other main characters like Detective Go (love that man!) and the ever spunky Bong Yi are now also coming to the realization that Yo Han may be innocent and that they haven’t got the killer after all. What both will do when they discover it is Ba Reum, I have no idea.

As for PD Choi, she has a new babysitter for her child, the wife of the Headhunter serial killer, and, if Yo Han is really her son, not Ba Reum, biological grandmother to said child. PD Choi herself is trying to show her former lover innocent, mostly so that people stop treating her kid so poorly, but I think also she feels it’s the right thing to do, to set the record straight.

We learn a bit more about Ba Reum’s past. AKA Jae Hoon, he may not be quite the out-of-control killer we all thought he was. That is, he’s not and has not just killed for no reason. At least one murder has been in revenge for the man who killed his mother. Turns out, too, that Ba Reum and Yo Han crossed paths as children and Ba Reum was impressed by the latter’s smarts and kindness, wanting to be like him.

Where is all of this going? For now, it appears the big twist is that Ba Reum and Yo Han were part of an experiment. True, we know they were part of Dr. Lee’s study, but this is something bigger, probably, quite probably a grand experiment thought out and orchestrated by a person who is real dad to one of them: The Headhunter, the neurosurgeon Han Seo Joon. I really hope that’s the case, because he’s got a creepy good presence and makes a great villain.

Hoping Go and Bong Yi take all the killers down, that Go marries PD Choi already, and that Bong Yi starts a completely new and better life elsewhere. Lab rats no more, let them live their lives in freedom! And Ba Reum, he’s got remorse and I do hope he finds redemption, though it will likely come with his death, as redemptions often are wont to do.

Still really liking the show, but there’s a lot of busyness that abounds, and I almost wish they’d do away with some of procedural stuff and get more to the heart of the matter: Are we dictated by our genes, or by what we do? Or both? It’s there, the question is there, just hovering in the background. Ba Reum now is governed by both things, though perhaps he wasn’t before his brain surgery. It has to be pretty awful to become self-aware and find out oneself is a psycho serial killer. The stuff of nightmares. But that is what sin really is, a nightmare, and it’s in all of us. And only by God’s grace can we overcome it.

Mouse, episodes 14 &15 (spoilers)

This show has very good writing. Mostly, I’m just glad I’m right about the plot, but it’s more that I’m hoping I picked up on all the right cues from the writers, and that’s why everything’s fitting together so well. This may turn out to be a redemption story for our psycho killer, but that remains to be seen, as there’s one more episode.

All the excitement of episode 14 is the big reveal, and it’s done well, the audience finds out along with Ba Reum that he is the cross killer. It never was the doctor Yo Han. Yo Han is the good one, and it’s his brain power that’s giving Ba Reum his smarts and also his newfound emotions. I thought, I so thought, that Lee Seung Gi’s acting was hokey in the beginning episodes, that Ba Reum was a bit too nice to be genuine. It was too good to be true, for Ba Reum was acting the whole time, as often serial killers do. They can fake being nice guys. Perhaps women instinctively know this and that’s why we don’t really go for guys who are too nice…? But I digress.

Ba Reum is on the mend by the end of the episode. He’s accepted that he’s a serial killer who kills and enjoys killing serial killers, rapists, pedophiles, and the like. At first he thinks surely he can’t be with Bong Yi, but then he changes his mind, certain that he’ll find a way to punish these evildoers without killing them. That he can still bring them to justice and still get the girl. We get one of the only, if not the only kiss in the show. He friendship with Detective Go is also growing, as they now think of each other and older and younger brother.

How does Ba Reum figure out that he himself is the killer? First of all, he start having some hallucinations of himself as the psycho killer taunting him to kill, and also still picturing Yo Han taunting him. The biggest thing, is that through a series of coincidences he comes to realize that Detective Go and his brother both had similar lockets and that Ba Reum himself has one hidden in his house. Since Go has his locket, that can only mean one thing, that the locket Ba Reum possesses is the one owned by Father Go, the one the cross killer brutally murdered on live TV. The conclusion of that murder was that the cross killer considered himself to be God, a typically thing unrepentant sinners like to do. He also remembers that the necklace he made and gave Bong Yi is actually made of cat teeth. Ew!

It’s what he finds Bong Yi’s dear grandma’s brooch in his house that he knows for sure. He killed her, and before he ended up needing brain surgery. The old neighborhood where Ba Reum and Bong Yi lived is roped off to be demolished. Bong Yi goes there to his house and finds the underground lair–these killers always have lairs and hidey holes–and remembers other things, like holding the missing kid from a year and a half ago hostage while pretending to work with the cops to rescue him.

Excellent, excellent acting from Lee Seung Gi. He definitely seems like a generally good man finding out he is a monster. Episode 15 is largely the details, and well worth watching how everything came together to the present time. Many teases where Detective Go and/or Bong Yi finds out he is the killer, but that’s going to be saved for episode 16. Also, Ba Reum’s prison guard friends has now awakened from his coma and we find that Ba Reum tried to kill him too–and he remembers!

With his new empathy and emotions, Ba Reum’s Yo Han good side is practically dragging him towards a redemption, at least a works righteousness one. Inside, I think Ba Reum knows he can’t really make up for what he’s done, no matter how sorry he feels now, but he is compelled to try, though like what’s-his-name in Crime and Punishment, he’s reluctant to actually turn himself in. I feel so bad for Bong Yi. She’ll want to kill him when she finds out, and so will Detective Go. PD Choi will be more sympathetic, I think because she subliminally knows Yo Han is a part of Ba Reum now.

Redemption, redemption. God works in mysterious ways, and this is a fictional depiction of that. The cross killer and psycho kid who was angry at God for not stopping him from killing is now getting his chance, but God’s putting it on him, giving him the emotions and the will to change. It’s just too bad that he probably won’t be finding solace in the true forgiveness in Christ. Oh well, our entertainment rarely shows that truth. Will Ba Reum recognize this chance? Who knows, he may choose the dark side after all and Bong Yi may have to put him down. As for the stuff with Dr. Lee, I have no idea what’s going on there, but he doesn’t seem to know that Ba Reum was actually the real killer before getting brain surgery.

Continuing with the theme of the psychopath gene, PD Choi is struggling raising Yo Han’s child. People are awful, truly awful. And to a baby no less. And the baby will live and grow up with the shame of being a psychokiller’s child over them unless Ba Reum can successfully clear Yo Han’s name. Hopefully, that’s something that will happen.

The last big twist will likely be that Ba Reum is the son of the Headhunter, not Yo Han. Looking forward to that in episode 16. One episode doesn’t seem like enough to tie up all the ends, but I’m sure the writers will surprise me.

Until next time!

Mouse, eps 12 and 13

These two episodes felt a bit like filler, or just more standard procedural fare. Basically, they are just about Ba Reum now embracing the role as a serial killer of serial killers and other monsters, beginning with the pedophile who attacked Bong Yi as a girl and has now been released, Kang Duk Su. Pretty much all the characters in the show agree that he needed to die, even if it was by vigilante justice and not due process.

Detective Go, smart cookie as he is, immediately senses that whoever killed Duk Su was a psychopathic killer because of the way he killed him, an eye for a eye–every mark that he had made on Bong Yi’s body in the past, the killer, we know is Ba Reum, made on his body. For a bit Go considers that Bong Yi could be the killer, but it’s more that he just wants to make sure suspicion doesn’t fall on her, I don’t think he really thinks she did it. Similarly, Bong Yi is certain Go killed Duk Su, as he had promised her once to do so, a young officer to a child. Yoo Na, the child Bong Yi was trying to save and the one Ba Reum did save, knows it was Ba Reum, but she doesn’t know she should also be afraid of him, for he would now kill her without a thought if she gets in his way.

We learn more interesting backstory: Our cross killer as a boy was indeed a psychopath, passing up dying children on the street as it interfered with playin his video game. Truly, he is ill, and really cannot relate to the emotions or pain of regular people. His presumable mother, wife of the Headhunter, we find was kidnapped and almost killed by yet another serial killer when she was 9 months pregnant. This case is later connect to the SuSeong killer case by Bong Yi, who is offered a job as a writer by PD Choi at her network. PD Choi, we find was held hostage as a girl along with another young woman who didn’t make. The woman wanted to be an awesome producer, and that is why PD Choi chose her profession. Likely, they were held by the Headhunter, but that is to be yet confirmed.

Ba Reum seems to be better at channeling his literal killer instinct: He doesn’t end up killing his cousin, but instead goes after the cat who scratches him to keep him away from the boy. So really it’s anger at the cat that prevents him from killing the boy. Later, he actually does use willpower to stop himself bashing Yoo Na over the head, so afraid is he that she’s going to reveal his secret. A couple of times we thing that Go figures out he is this newest psycho-killer, but we find it’s misdirection orchestrated by Ba Reum himself.

Episode 12 deals mostly with somewhat tediously connecting the right culprit to the SuSeong serial killer case and proving the man in prison innocent. Ba Reum finds his next target in Li Jae Sik, who did time for supposedly killing a girl’s rapist. Turns out he was the culprit and the young man who died or was at least seriously injured was his step-daughter’s friends or boyfriend. As Ba Reum is just about to take Jae Sik out, Detective Go also puts the pieces together and comes across him, surprised to see his friend there. Bong Yi, too, gets a surprise, finding her honey’s face on a bike webcam that someone’s turned in from the child predator killing. They know! Or do they? We’ll see in the next episode.

Some intriguing things: PD Choi is finding herself having an unexplained connection to Ba Reum as pieces of doctor Yo Ha’s personality keep peeking out. Ba Reum is jealous of the close, family-like connection that Detective Go and Ba Reum share. The more time Ba Reum spends with Dr. Daniel Lee in the Headhunter’s old lab/warehouse/stomping grounds, the more I wonder if he’s merely hallucinating, if the doctor is in his head? There’s been little to no explanation as to how or why the doctor is still alive. Also wondering if Ba Reum’s hallucinations of Yo Han aren’t exactly that, for Yo Han is an entirely different personality than he ever showed in life.

Still sticking with my theory that Ba Reum himself is the cross killer, and possibly the Headhunter’s real son, and that it is Yo Han’s brain that is the genius good one. I know that Detective Go’s a bit too old for her, but Bong Yi would be much safer with him. alcoholic that he is. Still wondering about that suspicious young detective who’s always in the background. Hoping this week’s episodes are back to riveting, but with twenty episodes, any writer would have trouble sustaining that, and riveting needs breaks every once in a while to stay, well, riveting.

Author’s note: This was meant to be a review of 12 and 13, title changed.

Mouse, episodes 9-11

Spoilers aplenty.

Let me begin with my ultimate theory on this show, which I haven’t yet given up on, despite much evidence to the contrary. It is this: Lee Seung Gi’s character, Jung Ba Reum is the serial killer the detectives are hunting for. He’s either the real son of Han Seo Joon, the Headhunter, or the other baby who’s mom also participated in Dr. Daniel Lee’s research on the psychopath gene. His real self is the psychopath serial killer.

In episode 9 we are given more insight into what happened to Ba Reum. By a series of quite interesting incidents, the Headhunter serial killer, also brilliant neurosurgeon, was called in to perform brain surgery on Ba Reum to save his life. As his brain was handy, Yo Han’s brain was used. Since Yo Han was in theory the killer Detective Go and everyone was hunting for–the one who began as a child with a serious beef with God, Ba Reum now has the mind of a serial killer and doctor. He’s brilliant and makes a great detective. He’s also now plagued with thoughts of killing people and is starting to act on it.

Here’s where my theory comes in: I think that Yo Han is another misdirect by the writers. I think he’s actually innocent, and may not even be the Headhunter’s son, but another boy who was simply a genius. Do I have evidence for this? He told his mom, “Your son is a killer,” not “I am a killer.” PD Choi had a love life and a baby with him and states they are the same. How exactly they are the same, I don’t know. The important thing is she really doesn’t believe he’s a psychopathic killer, not deep down in her heart. The three biggest reasons I have for thinking that Ba Reum, not Yo Han, is actually our killer is that 1, Ba Reum’s personality didn’t seem quite genuine at the beginning of the series–a somewhat dumb, simple guy with a heart of gold, and out of sync with the gritty world around him. Could he be putting on a show, much like his magic show he performs at the prison? 2, and this is a long shot, but significant: In the scene where Yo Han attacks Ba Reum, we get a glimpse of Ba Reum’s face just before they fight. The expression is not the Ba Reum we know, but an intelligent man, eager for the fight, a horrible killer who, I think, Yo Han has actually been trying to find and to stop. Like Detective Go, Yo Han surely thought such a man should die and probably that beating his head in with a hammer was even too good for him. This relates to 3: for some reason, Yo Han had a collage of pictures of Ba Reum in the secret room in his basement. Inexplicably, Ba Reum knows about this room and sees the collage–that, I don’t think has ever been explained yet–and also seems to know exactly why Yo Han has such a collection. Yo Han has perhaps been hunting him, the genius hunting the psycho.

So Ba Reum thinks he now has a serial killer’s brain in his head, but really he was the serial killer and now he has a partly good and intelligent brain taking over his body, fighting against his desire to kill, kill, kill. The wanting to kill simply comes out because it’s the larger part of his brain, for now, and something that Ba Reum originally hid from everyone, except his victims. Ok, probably it’s not how the story’s going to end up, but I like the theory, and I’m sticking to it for now because it’s more intriguing to me than the more simple good guy being taken over by serial killer brain.

To the episodes:

We are now getting a lot of backstory and ends starting to tie up in a very confusing web. Episode 9 basically confirms that the lifetime imprisoned Headhunter did indeed do brain surgery on him and used Yo Han’s brain. In addition, with Ba Reum’s genius he’s able to figure out that the Headhunter wasn’t just killing people, but was doing experiments on them. Basically, humans are rats to this awful neurosurgeon who thinks he’s God.

In addition, we find out more about the Headhunter’s past, and insight into both his creepiness and his genius. Turns out Dr. Daniel Lee is very smart, too, and helped him solve a difficult medical case. Daniel was a janitor at the hospital at the time and admires the neurosurgeon. The two become friends and the Headhunter give Daniel the idea to search out not a good gene, but a bad gene, a psychopath gene, and use that to rid the world of bad people. Later, the Headhunter regrets setting him on such a course–he really didn’t think he’d succeed at it. The Headhunter also blames Detective Go, the child, for ruining his experiments, as it was child Go who helped the police catch him.

Episode 9 deals largely with the knot killer, who everyone thought was a police detective who also has a very suspicious lawyer son. This knot killer may or may not be the same person as the one with the beef with God and who sets up his victims to be giving the finger to the cross. It’s confusing to me, and sometimes it seems it’s meant to be the same person, and other times not. In any case, Detective Go takes the fall for the murder of the officer everyone thought was the knot killer. He’s happy to go in, so that Detective Park Du Seok’s wife doesn’t have to go to prison. Detective Park is the one who was trying to catch the Headhunter 25 years ago. The Headhunter took his kids as consequence and killed them. However, this is also mixed up with the knot killer who supposedly was the one who really killed his daughter (the son was killed by the Headhunter). Whew! Confused yet?

But the officer is not the knot killer, it is actually his son, which, if you’re paying attention, doesn’t come as a great surprise. Ba Reum with his genius figures this out and in addition figures out that Detective Park’s wife did not kill the officer in the hospital, and neither did Detective Go. Turns out the officer buried a different little girl that his son, the lawyer, and the real knot killer actually killed, and he pretended she was Detective Park’s daughter. So where’s Detective Park’s daughter buried? We don’t know. Is she still alive? We don’t know. So, Detective Go gets released from jail, foiling the plans he had to murder the Headhunter in prison. Ah, well.

The lawyer, Woo Byung Chul, son of the police officer and, drumroll, a woman who participated in Dr. Daniel Lee’s study into the psycho path gene, is the knot killer. It’s implied he’s also the cross killer and that Yo Han is innocent. I think they are mixing up cases or something, but I do agree that Yo Han may be innocent. If so, how does that explain what’s happening in Ba Reum’s head? See my theory above.

We also get some interesting stuff with PD Choi and the Headhunter. She went to interview him in prison at one point and also planned to kill him there, but chickened out. Is she a former victim of his? At one point, in talking with Detective Go about the Headhunter’s son, Yo Han, and their relationship, she says, “he’s like me.” Interesting.

Ba Reum is seriously struggling not to kill animals and people. His cat’s afraid of him and he even tries to strangle Detective Go, who comes to his house drunk. He also understands that the memories he has of the yellow-jacketed kid, the one in the beginning who brings the mouse to the snake’s cage is not him. He bases this assumption on a picture his aunt gives him. It’s of him as a little boy in Kindergartener and the boy is the not the same one he remembers. Not sure about that one, as a first person memory, you wouldn’t really even see your own face, so if he’s seeing it as a third person memory, the little boy wouldn’t be him anyway, but, meh, details. There’s no reason to think that little kid is a psycho, just that he somehow had the mouse that the Headhunter did brain surgery on to make it more aggressive. Who the older girl is that stomped on the mouse, saying it needed to die, we still don’t know.

Episode 10 is much backstory, too, dealing a lot with how parents handle their psychotic kids. The mother of the lawyer knot killer didn’t end up very well, she ends up dead at the hands of her own son, who grew up to have his dad, the officer, cover for him so he could kill a lot of women. It’s disturbing stuff, basically because the mom does try to kill both her and her son to preserve other lives, and also because she has a graphic connection with the Headhunter’s pregnant wife at the end. They definitely are not short on the horror in this show.

We are happy to find that Detective Go is still alive and that his friend didn’t strangle him to death or pummel him with a rock. No, Ba Reum pummeled his own hand to get himself to stop choking the detective. Go really has no clue something strange is going on with Ba Reum, and it may take a lot to convince him that Ba Reum is or is now a killer that must be stopped by him.

Interestingly, Ba Reum goes to church to ask God to stop him killing, much like our psycho boy from long ago, the presumed cross killer. The cross killer is back, but it could be a copycat or accomplice, and in the end it’s a bit muddled with the knot killer. Go and Ba Reum definitely now have evidence against the lawyer, who is now apparently guilty of both the knot and the cross murders and someday I’ll watch it all again to figure out the connection, but while Go is actually fine that Yo Han wasn’t a killer, Ba Reum is not. Of course, this is because if Yo Han is not a killer, what then is going on in Ba Reum’s head? Aha. See my idea above.

The end has a great villain scene where Ba Reum confronts the lawyer in a warehouse and gets him to reveal his true self. Song Jae Hee does a great job in this scene, using all the creepiness he can. With his good side angered, Ba Reum’s bad side takes over and he actually kills Jae Hee. In episode 11, Ba Reum tries to turn himself in, but it doesn’t work out the way he wants–Detective Go and forensics go to investigate the warehouse, but there’s no evidence of a murder there! Still, Ba Reum is certain he did it. He wasn’t hallucinating. But, with video footage of the lawyer escaping the country surfacing, there’s nothing Ba Reum can do. Everyone just thinks he’s having complications from his brain surgery. Well, he is, just not in the way they think.

Ba Reum is now assigned officially to the Evidence room team along with Detectives Go and Park. It’s a recipe for something, but I’m not sure what.

In a twist, we find out why there was no evidence against Ba Reum: Dr. Daniel Lee is somehow still alive and has been keeping tabs on him! When Ba Reum asks him, didn’t Yo Han kill him, Dr. Lee brushes the question aside as irrelevant to the moment. So! Considering my theory above, let me add to that: What if Yo Han was working with Dr. Lee to track serial killers–because he’s a genius, not a psycho–and what if they were both tracking Ba Reum back in the day? Just, ideas. At any rate, Dr. Lee gives Ba Reum an opportunity to become Dexter: to be a serial killer that hunts and kills other serial killers. Use his instinct to kill for a sort of good. Ba Reum tells him he’s crazy, but the rest of the episode he’s clearly in a losing battle against the evil side of his brain.

Not only is Ba Reum clearly harming his cat and not remembering it, he now does remember killing his bird in the cage while recovering in the hospital and is horrified. His aunt has a son, his cousin, that he doesn’t remember, but bonds with instantly and stupidly takes the kid from his babysitter to come over to his house, hang out, and see the cat. Never do such a thing without getting parent approval, never, never! Of course the awful happens, Ba Reum snaps into his psycho mode and it appears he will kill the boy.

We also get to spend some time with Bong Yi, who wants to deal with her rapist herself. She doesn’t want Detective Go or Ba Reum’s help, and she’s determined to make that man avoid her. But the tables are turned at the end when she realizes the predator is a pedophile–she’s too old for him know and he’s hunting a young girl in her neighborhood. Bong Yi valiantly steps into action to save the girl’s life and she puts up quite a fight. The ending scene is her fading into darkness, asking the man standing over her to help the child. The man is Ba Reum and it appears he may have taken Dr. Lee’s advice to heart and is planning to focus his killing instinct on the monsters who harm other people.

Whew! There’s so, so much to this show, it’s hard to keep up. The beginning of episode 11 also has a great scene between our cross killer as a boy and another boy who is good who he admires and wants to be like. Are these two our genius and our psycho? It appears so. I’m curious to see if this psycho boy is actually the cross killer or if he only could have been and ended up choosing a different path. Maybe that’s to come. We’ll see. There’s also another detective acting very suspiciously who is possible another serial killer or maybe just a minion of the Headhunter. We’ll see. Can’t wait to watch episode 12 tonight. I’m sure it will bring all my theories to ruin. Oh well, that’s what great stories do. The acting is all spot on, and the directing good too, only one almost doesn’t notice it trying to keep up with the web of a plot.

Mouse, episodes 7&8: Kdrama review

So we’re at it with Kdrama standard plot devices: Jung Ba Reum (Lee Seung Gi) has amnesia. Understandable with his head injury, but it’s been done so many times in these shows, my eyes are hurting from rolling so much. One year after the injury, he’s forgotten his love, Oh Bong Yi (Park Ju Hyun), and also Officer Go Mu Chi (Lee Hee Jun). Episode 7 I spent a lot of time wondering if Ba Reum was faking or not. Always waiting for that twist or the penny to drop, and the twist did come in the next episode.

Although Detective Go is on leave for awhile due to shooting Dr. Sung, who we think was the psycho-killer, he’s soon back working his skills running the evidence room. Before too l long, he’s back doing full on detective work. Go encounters Ba Reum in almost the same way he first did, by almost running him over with his car. It takes awhile for Ba Reum to get his memory back, but when he does, he goes full on genius, helping the detective connect a couple of different cases from the Headhunter killer’s time. He could be a genius only, but he clearly is now thinking like a psychopathic killer, which is how he’s able to make the correct observations and assumptions. Perhaps he’s a Dexter of sorts, a serial hunter who will now be hunting serial killers?

PD Choi (Kyung Soo Jin) has more of her past revealed. Now in short hair, she is far more reserved than she used to be, not surprising as she probably still feels trauma from aborting Dr. Sung’s baby. She was worried the baby, too, would become a killer, not unrealistic in this show, where every other person appears to be one. It’s also indicated that she herself may be the son of a serial killer, and worked closely with her father helping him abduct people–and probably even worse. With the jam packed events and characters in this show, I nearly forgot there was a second killer operating at the time of the Headhunter murders, and one who had a girl helping him. Not sure if they ever said it outright (really these two episodes need second viewings, but I don’t have time right now), that the PD is the daughter, but she’s there in his room in the hospital after Ba Reum beats him to a pulp.

Yes, let’s back up a second. So, Ba Reum eventually does remember Oh Bong Yi, and she’s living in a shady neighborhood that either is her original neighborhood or a different one where she was raped when she was younger. Not sure. As he’s knocking at her gate, getting no answer, we get to see her inside held captive by an assailant! As if this girl hasn’t gone through enough. On top of that, her original attacker is set to be released from prison, and at the end of episode 8 he goes after her. I mean, seriously, the writers have something against her. If characters could leap out of their stories and accost their authors, Bong Yi would totally do it, and without remorse. Fortunately, with her fighting spirit, Bong Yi is able to fend off the killer, who ends up running away and getting beat up by Ba Reum. This killer is then revealed to be an officer/detective working with Detective Park (Ahn Nat Sang), who was investigating the Headhunter. This guy killed Park’s daughter, not the Headhunter. But then, turns out he really didn’t, but Park’s wife thinks he did and kills him, and then Detective Go takes the fall for her. My head is still spinning.

Back to Ba Reum. He is now clearly marked as “mouse” or the kid in the yellow coat at the beginning who brought the mouse into the snake’s cage. Ba Reum has a couple of encounters with the Headhunter (Han Seo Joon, played by a magnificent Ahn Jae Wook) as he questions him in prison. The first time, Ba Reum beginning to have flashbacks–memories of being this kid and dealing with the mouse. The connection between our, hopefully, hero and the child is uncertain as another twist is thrown in.

I must have missed it in the first couple of episodes, but although it was clear that the Headhunter was some kind of doctor, totally didn’t know he was a neurosurgeon. He always helpfully has a bunch of loyal followers, who, it seems, ferry him in and out of prison on occasion, one of those times being a year ago when both his son, Dr. Sung, and Ba Reum are in the hospital and being operated on for their respective injuries. Turns out when Bong Yi was attempting to suffocate Dr. Sung, so he really would be dead, she inadvertently saw the face of Ba Reum’s fantastic brain surgeon. When she can’t ID anyone on the official roster, Ba Reum has a thought and shows her a pic of Han Seo Joon. Yup. Yup, yup, yup.

Episode 8 ends with Ba Reum confronting the Headhunter in prison, and we can now see very clearly that the mouse Han Seo Joon is holding has had some kind of brain surgery done to it. It seems that the mouse Ba Reum picked up as a child and took to the snake’s cage also had surgery done to it, which is why it was so vicious and killed the snake instead of getting eaten. “Did you put that killer’s brain in my head?” Is what Ba Reum asks. Waiting on episode 9 to see that confirmed, but I have to wonder if Ba Reum is the human equivalent of the mouse from the beginning, what does that mean? For it seems the mouse may have been altered to go after something that would prey on itself. And, we’re back to the Dexter possibility. It’s also interesting that Detective Go, too, wore a yellow jacket as a child.

Riveting episodes yet again, and I’m getting attached to the characters. Really hoping that Detective Go, Bong Yi, and PD Choi all end up happy at the end. As Ba Reum is either a serial killer who now has the brain of a serial killer, a killer who now has the brain of a genius, or a genius who now has the brain of a killer, I’m thinking he doesn’t have a happy future ahead of him. Perhaps, though, with the genius ability, he may be able to satisfactorily help the others. Is the kid in the yellow jacket really Ba Reum, and is he actually the Headhunter’s son, not Dr. Sung? Or is he the child born to the other woman, the one who also took part in the study? How much does the Headhunter know?

As much as I don’t like the amnesia and brain-swapping devices, admittedly, they do make sense in this particular story, which is certainly a horror one. Curious to see how this will all play in to hating God, especially as the Headhunter is clearly bent on playing God, but to what purpose? It can’t be merely to save his son in some form, for he’s done this with the mice before. Psychopathy indeed, but there must be a reason. Perhaps he’s trying to prove his old friend, Dr. Daniel Lee, wrong. Perhaps he’s after a bigger fish…er, snake? Is the snake himself or someone else?

One thing more: My attention is also on Na Chi Kook, Ba Reum’s officer friend who was attacked at the prison and still in a coma. Just think there’s more to be revealed either by him or about him. In fact, both of Ba Reum’s officer friends could be suspect as being the child yet to be revealed, as they are all the same age or around the same age.

Oh, this story makes my head hurt! Until next time.

Kdrama Mouse, episodes 1-4 review

Spoilers ahead.

With one of the most fascinating opening scenes I have ever watched, Mouse starring Lee Seung Gi has me hooked. Murder mysteries are favorite genre of mine, and as a subset, hunt-for-serial-killer stories are too. These kinds of stories have a lot to offer, from smart detectives, to puzzle box plots, to universal themes surrounding life and death, sin and redemption. The downside is that these stories often glorify murders and serial killers, making them appear much more important than they really are. But, it’s like a magic trick, the trick seems awesome until it’s explained, and then often it seems quite dumb. So it can be with the detective figuring out the criminal, once he or she has figured them out, the prowess of the killer automatically shrinks. So it’s a downside that often has an upside in the end.

Like other Kdramas such as Hello Monster and Flower of Evil, Mouse presents a South Korea awash in serial killers and psychopaths. We get what is often a staple in this genre, an intellectual or professor who studies serial killers. In this tale it is Dr. Daniel Lee (Jo Jae Yun), a doctor and researcher who comes back to Korea from overseas. We soon find he’s really not that smart, as it’s revealed his longtime friend is a serial killer who actually killed his sister and pretended it was robbers. Unsurprisingly, the good doctor only makes it a few episodes. The most important thing about Dr. Lee is that he has isolated a psychopath gene and can predict if one’s baby in the womb has it. However, despite its 99% accuracy, the remaining one percent is a big factor, the kid could actually just be a genius. We are shown a couple of mothers who are debating aborting their children due to getting this test done, and of course they decide to let the kids live, because that’s what any good mother should do.

As with Hello Monster and Flower of Evil, Mouse plays heavily with the concept of psychopathy versus genius and the extent to which a true psychopath who is also a murderer can be redeemed in some way. The main killer in the show appears deeply troubled by his sin that he apparently has no control over. He has to go out and kill people and blames God, the Christian God, for this. His problem with God is very emotional, which is interesting on the face of it, and doesn’t seem to fit with an emotionless psychopath. The opening scene with the mouse and the snake is frightening and awesome, and we are led to believe that this little kid who puts the mouse into the snake’s cage is the killer the detectives will be hunting for.

The writing in this drama will either turn out to be amazing or a let down. It all depends how events and characters play themselves out. These beginning episodes are a knot of stories, characters and plots that will be unwound over time. Misdirection is used heavily. Our main hero is Detective Go Mu Chi (Lee Hee Jun), who is immediately likable and also infuriating. He’s his own best friend and enemy. We are introduced to the detective as a child, where his family comes up against the murderous father of our current serial killer and gets slaughtered and/or permanently maimed. As each family member protects the youngest, Mu Chi is the one who survives physically unscathed, but certainly not otherwise. He is the typical detective, bad past and and suffering from alcoholism, brash and brilliant, and not one to follow the rules. He’s the kind of person who goes around promising the victims’ families that he will someday kill the murderer with his own two hands, because official justice is too slow, if it comes at all.

These first few episodes the audience has been mainly figuring out what’s going and trying to figure out what will happen next, and especially how the star, Lee Seung Gi will fit in into all of this. Lee’s character is Jung Ba Reum, and he’s a neighborhood beat policemen with a heart of gold, but a person who also seems a bit slow on the uptake, certainly not as smart as Detective Go. That’s what we’re led to believe, anyway. We are presented with two babies who have the psychopath gene who are now grown up men in their twenties. It is implied that one of them is the serial killer and true psychopath, and one of them is the one percent, the genius. Dr. Sung Yo Han (Kwon Hwa Woon) is the son of the original serial killer from 25 years ago and he fits the psychopath bill almost entirely, showing little to no emotion. We are actually shown him killing people, but again, it’s a bit muddled with misdirection. The other child surely must be Jung Ba Reum, and he must be something more, because the heart-of-gold thing is just too difficult to believe in a series such as this. At the end of episode 4, we are shown that Ba Reum may actually be the serial killer or another killer. He is holding a child hostage and we’ve already learned the killer is trying to manipulate Detective Go using same child.

Mouse, the title comes from the opening scene with the snake and the mouse but also from the genre. Serial killer hunts are often described as “cat and mouse games,” usually with the serial killer as the cat and the detective as the mouse or vice versa. This story will clearly be a bit different as it is the mouse that is ultimately going to be the hunter, and it’s implied that the snake or cat won’t have a chance in the end. The mouse is likely only one person: The child with the genius gene. My theory is that it is Jung Be Reum, and although he will first seem like either the or a serial killer, his real goal is to entrap the real killer. Even with all the brutal killings, his genius will probably, even if he saves the populace in the end, come across as anathema, simply because he could so easily use his genius for evil. That’s my take on the story so far. Hoping Detective Go really shows his smarts and turns out to be the true hero of the story, but we’ll see. He could very well be the mouse, too, an ordinary human triumphing over the too-brilliant psychopaths. There are also several other young men who could all be the killer or killers. Again, the misdirection is heavy, but the specifics of it will only become clear after more episodes come out. More reviews to come on this fascinating show.

Vagabond: Too Epic?

Sorry about the downer of a post last week. This time of having to go along with so, so many lies in politics, health, news, life, well, it’s taking it’s toll on all of us. Through all the craziness I do know that God is in control and that He’ll work out his purposes no matter the circumstances.

Some spoilers ahead.

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve watched Netflix, but couldn’t resist watching Vagabond starring Lee Seung Gi (A Korean Odyssey/You’re All Surrounded) and Bae Suzy (Gu Family Book). Haven’t seen Suzy in much, because she just hasn’t acted in that much yet, but Seung Gi is definitely one of my favorite Korean actors, a good everyman with expressive eyes. He’s no Seo In Guk, but he’s a really good, solid actor.

Vagabond came out in 2019, and, unusually, this is a Korean drama built to have a second season. It ends, as is customary, on a bit of a cliffhanger. It begins with the same scene, but I’ll get into that in a second. Since K-dramas often end oddly or more often not as good as they began, I was skeptical that it truly was a show meant for a second season, but the last episode confirmed that it must be.

This show is a great, exciting watch with few missteps. The biggest flaw I came across was that we really don’t get that much screen time with the fantastic leads. Many, many scenes are spent with the bad guys, some of whom are charismatic enough to warrant it, but it seemed a bit much at times. The story is something pulled from the headlines, a plane goes down while flying to Morocco and everyone dies. Since it’s a Korean flight, many of the passengers are from Korea, and soon the surviving families of the deceased are shuttled to Morocco to get explanations and have memorial ceremonies. Lee Seung Gi plays Cha Dal Geon, a stunt man and Judo teacher who’s just never really made to the big time. He did take in his little nephew after his sister and the kid’s mom bailed and left him in a orphanage. There were many great scenes with uncle and nephew that really pulled the heartstrings. While in Morocco, Cha finds that at least one person who was on the plane with his nephew is not in fact dead. And the plot thickens.

Bae Suzy’s character, Go Hae Ri, works for the Korean NIS, something like the USA’s CIA, and she’s in Morocco to complete some missions. More of an analyst, she’s nevertheless quick to step up into roles that require more action and split second decisions. It’s great to see her character grow and Cha’s regard to grow for her as a result. The setting of Morocco was awesome and often I forgot I wasn’t watching a Hollywood made show. Multiple languages are used a lot in the story, and there’s something about it that just seems like a feature film the US would have made in the 1990s, which is a compliment. I miss that US.

Suffice to say, Cha and Go run around both Morocco and Korea trying to find some answers to just what happened on that airplane. They bump up against corruption with the NIS and also vying airplane corporations Dynamic and John Michael or Mark. The actual meaning of the title Vagabond, doesn’t pop up until far into the story when we find out that NIS lead Gang Joo Cheol (Lee Ki Young, Wok of Love) has some tricks up his sleeve.

Vagabond starts and ends very oddly for a company like Netflix that’s very proud of being diversity inclusive. The opening and ending scenes have a man we don’t know saying very racist things to Cha’s character. Wisely, Cha ignores him, until he finds he can’t anymore. By the end of the season, it’s apparent this racist man is some kind of Russian mercenary, except the actor is probably not Russian, and is a horrible actor to boot. It’s just odd that Netflix would have overlooked this in choosing Vagabond to show, but my Q-anon senses say that perhaps it had everything to do with this man being supposedly Russian, a racist, and with him (spoilers) getting shot in the end. Add that to Cha more than once putting the OK sign over one eye. Q-anon people will know what I mean–Spidey senses going off. Anyway, the beginning had me laughing because it was so ridiculous, and I almost switched it off.

Aside from that, the screen time thing, and some of the music, Vagabond was a treat to watch, with lots of action and intrigue. The writers did a great job having the main characters really grieve the dead. It wasn’t just a one-time sobbing at a funeral, they really grieved.

Some of the standout acting I have to tip my hat to, and in no particular order: Li Ki Young was great as NIS leader Gang Joo Cheol. Actually both he and Jeong Man Sik (King 2 Hearts), who plays another NIS head Min Jae Sik, did excellent jobs. Really didn’t know which side either was on for awhile. Edward Park of Dynamic and Jessica Lee of John Michael (or maybe it was John Mark?) were two very charismatic corporate honchos and played by great looking actors who have almost hypnotizing screen presences: Lee Kyoung Young (D-Day) and Moon Jeong Hee (When the Weather Is Fine). Both characters seemed very American in their ruthlessness, which I think was purposeful. As plotting Blue House official Yun Han Gi, Kim Min Jong gave a riveting performance, and I’m hoping to see some of the other shows he’s been in. The last actor I want to mention is Jang Hyuk Jin (Suspicious Partner), who I’ve seen enough to recognize, but has never stood out to me before. His pilot/junkie Kim Woo Gi was both pathetic and funny, and I really started to look forward to his scenes.

All in all, a great show and a great watch. Vagabond does highlight corruption, which is just everywhere these days, but it also has people doing something about it, which is satisfying, even if it’s only in a fictional world. I’m hoping, I’m really hoping, that Cha’s nephew is not actually dead, that in season two they somehow find that the people from the plane are being held captive somewhere. It’s just wishful thinking, but happy endings are so rare even in our fictional stories these days. I long for them, I truly do.

With so many plot lines, languages, settings, and a huge cast, Vagabond is almost too epic, if that’s even possible.