Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I hope you guys are ready to dig into our new group watch, because Show is shaping up to be quite the rollercoaster, right away!
Here are our usual ground rules, before we begin:
1. Please don’t post spoilers in the Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point. If you really need to talk about a spoiler, it is possible to use the new spoiler tags, but please know that spoilers are still visible (ie, not hidden) in the email notification that you receive, of the comment in question. We have quite a few first-time viewers among us, and we don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.
2. Discussions on this thread don’t have to close when newer threads open, just so you know! But as we progress through our group watch, please keep the discussions clear of spoilers from future episodes, so that future readers coming to this thread won’t be accidentally spoiled. Does that make sense?
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
So, full disclosure, you guys: I watched this show when it first aired in 2015, and loved it enough to give it a mental A- sort of grade, but now can’t remember anything much about it, except that Ji Sung is fantastic in this.
Coming away from this first episode, it occurs to me that this show vibes like some kind of screwball makjang fantasy sort of mash-up. This drama world feels weird and off-kilter, and is prone to the extremes of OTT screwball comedy, and tryna-be-posh makjang, wherein police officers, doctors and probably all other professionals to come, are depicted as doing weirdly poor jobs of their line of work, most likely because normal-world protocols don’t apply in this bizarre drama world.
It’s kind of freakish, but y’know, I find it all strangely compelling.
For a start, I think if we’re going to enjoy this story, we’re going to have to throw all expectation of proper medical / psychiatric protocol out the window. That’s just not how this show rolls. For now, I’m leaning towards thinking of this show as some kind of hallucinogenic opera. That feels quite fitting, no?
I think one of the big things to get out of the way, is the screechiness of our female lead, thus far. I’d remembered Hwang Jung Eum as being pretty shrill in Show’s initial episodes, but watching this again in the present, boy, I was still a little thrown by just how shrill she gets, and how often, this episode.
I assure you that as far as I remember, that screechiness gets toned down, as Oh Ri Jin calms down. I can’t say for sure when that happens, but my brain hazards that it’s probably after about 3-ish episodes. If your memory of this is clearer than mine, please let us know in the comments when we can expect her to calm down, so that we can manage our expectations? 😅
In Hwang Jung Eum’s defense, she is perfectly capable of being more restrained and subtle, so my guess is that she was directed to be screamy, to help create the outlandish screwball vibe that’s part of this show’s DNA (so far, anyway). And in Oh Ri Jin’s defense, she really does find herself in some pretty surreal circumstances, so I feel somewhat generous about tolerating a bit of screaming and yelping.
Of course, the main thing that’s bolstering my sense of generosity, is how we’re already seeing Ji Sung demonstrate some serious acting range, in this first episode alone.
He’s completely earnest, hapless and befuddled as main personality Do Hyun, but is such a rebel badass, when he’s Shin Se Gi. I’m pretty sure that we haven’t yet seen Ji Sung at his best, since we’ve only just been introduced to Shin Se Gi, and there are many other personalities residing in Do Hyun, with whom we haven’t made our acquaintance yet.
At this early stage, however, I’m already very much impressed, because not only must it be exhausting for Ji Sung to play multiple characters, with all the additional lines of dialogue and screen time that come with, he makes the transition between Do Hyun and Shin Se Gi look so effortlessly easy.
On a tangent, I am very amused at how Do Hyun always finds himself wearing guyliner when he comes to, after Shin Se Gi’s taken his body for a whirl. It makes me imagine Shin Se Gi applying said guyliner, upon taking over as the main consciousness, and that’s just hilarious to me.
I don’t know how realistic it is, for there to be physical discomfort involved in Do Hyun and Shin Se Gi trading places, but, as we’ve already established, realism is not something that we can look for in Show, and expect to feel satisfied with our findings. That physical pain that Do Hyun experiences, when Shin Se Gi comes to the fore, is, again, very well-delivered by Ji Sung; I completely believe that pain that I see on my screen, so much so that I half wince in solidarity.
Just watching Ji Sung do his thing, is one of the big highlights of my watch experience. He’s so good; I can’t imagine anyone else in this role, honestly. I remember Lee Seung Gi had been offered this role, only to ultimately decline. I mean, I think Lee Seung Gi’s pretty solid in general, but I honestly can’t imagine him being able to manage multiple personalities with as much ease or nuance, as we’re already seeing from Ji Sung.
Also, Show had experienced its fair share of casting woes; it had felt like no one wanted this role at the time, since the casting offers were systematically declined. Of particular interest, I think, is the fact that this role had originally been offered to Hyun Bin. Hyun Bin had engaged in talks with the production company to possibly star in the role of Do Hyun, but he’d ended up declining – and had then taken that other split-personality show, Hyde, Jekyll, Me, which aired in the same time slot on SBS, and which had proceeded to tank in an embarrassingly stark and painful way, while Kill Me, Heal Me (competing in the same time slot, on MBC) did much better, not only ratings-wise, but among drama fans as well.
For the record, I do have enough confidence in and respect for Hyun Bin’s acting abilities, to think that he would have made this role his own, if he’d accepted it. But.. y’know, he didn’t. And it was Ji Sung who had basically offered to star, because he’d felt intrigued by the challenges inherent in the role. And based on what I remember of watching this show when it aired, boy, did Ji Sung make it work. 🤩
The other thing I really enjoy in this show, is this track from the OST, Auditory Hallucination. It’s so ear-wormy and atmospheric. And, as weird as it sounds on paper, it has just the right blend of badass edge and ethereal dreaminess. This song really elevates my watch experience, and I’m loving it all over again now.
I hadn’t paid much attention to the lyrics during my first watch, but watching this first episode again, I’m struck by how the lyrics feel so perfectly matched with our story. Here it is, above, with translated lyrics.
So far, I feel like this first episode’s done a pretty solid job of giving us the main set-up. Amid the chaos, Show’s managed to establish some important things:
1. Do Hyun’s a chaebol heir, and things in his family are.. complicated. What is this about his mother severing her relationship with him, and who’s the mysterious person that’s being kept in a nursing home by Gran, purposefully away from Mom? Circumstantially, it feels like it could be Do Hyun’s father..?
2. Born-out-of-wedlock cousin Ki Joon has deep interest, not only in the chaebol heirship, but also in Han Chae Yeon, both of whom have a lot to do with Do Hyun. Chae Yeon had seemed to like Do Hyun, given that she’d invited him to meet on Christmas Day in that flashback, and Do Hyun had seemed to like her back, given his excited reaction to receiving her call. I’m guessing that he’s keeping her at arm’s length because of his condition, and not because he doesn’t like her.
Also, I do have a soft spot for Oh Min Suk, and even though Ki Joon’s shaping up to be a shady sort, I can’t help admiring how handsome he looks in a suit, ha.
3. Shin Se Gi is determined that Do Hyun claim his rightful place as Seung Jin’s heir, while Do Hyun’s aghast at the implications of having to hide his condition while working in the Seung Jin Group. Do Hyun, does, however, have Secretary Ahn sharing his secret. (How nice, to see Choi Won Young as Secretary Ahn!)
4. Oh Ri Jin and Oh Ri On are twins, and it feels like there must be a deeper narrative reason that their names sound like “Origin” and “Orion” respectively.
5. Oh Ri On might appear like a bit of a “himbo” on first glance, with his offer to let Do Hyun use his phone on the plane, since the cabin crew’s told Do Hyun not to use his phone, but clearly, there is more going on beneath that surface. Ri On is totally keeping tabs on Do Hyun, judging from that scrapbook that we see him take out of his bag. Why, though? Is he planning to write about Do Hyun, using his super secret mysterious writer persona?
6. Oh Ri Jin is a passionate psychiatrist, though I have to remind myself that her methods (and the entire show’s methods) are not rooted in reality. How fun, though, to see Kim Seul Gi show up as Ri Jin’s runaway patient! 🤩 Kim Seul Gi’s perfect for this, and in one short scene, I already feel drawn to her character Heo Sook Hee. I’m sad that this is just a cameo.
7. Shin Se Gi is very drawn to Oh Ri Jin. For a persona that’s characterized by such badassery and violence, I’m quite surprised, actually, to see this more romantic side to him. The way he grabs Ri Jin’s wrist, so that he can declare his feelings for her at exactly 10 o’clock, is just the right kind of eccentricity that I’d expect from Shin Se Gi; I just.. didn’t expect him to have any interest in a romantic type of connection.
I’m not so hot on Ri Jin’s high-pitched yelpy reactions, not only to Shin Se Gi’s confession, but at the situation in general, but again, I’m giving it a pass because I know it will.. pass. Heh. Also, Shin Se Gi being all intent and smoldery is pretty darn sexy, and makes up for a lot. My eyes glaze over almost in reflex, and I’m a bit of a starry-eyed puddle. Glug.
Now that Shin Se Gi gets hit in the head, though, does that mean Do Hyun will be summoned to take back his body? For Do Hyun’s sake, I hope that’s not the case!
Hmm.. It’s seems that even though Shin Se Gi tends to be summoned by violence, that doesn’t work in reverse; it’s still Shin Se Gi at the helm, even after he gets hit on the head. And, I do think that in this case, Shin Se Gi’s the one who’s more suited to the immediate task at hand, which is to fight those thugs.
What’s this, though, about Ri Jin having been the one to have called for him, from a long time ago..? I mean, it makes sense that there’s more to it than Shin Se Gi simply taking a fancy to Ri Jin because she treated him roughly, but while I’m for the idea of there being more to it than a simple, spontaneous attraction, I’m not super hot on the possible childhood connection that this implies. For now, nothing to do but wait and see!
I’m increasingly intrigued by how Shin Se Gi is so cognizant of the fact that he doesn’t have much time, and needs to do everything he wants to do, before his time is up. I also find it quite entertaining, that he’s so aware of how things work, that he not only leaves messages for Do Hyun (like that video message from last episode), he also warns Ri Jin about the fact that there’s another dude who looks just like him, but isn’t him, and the way to tell them apart, is by the look in his eyes. The exact phrase used is “눈빛” (“nunbich”), and while my subs simply translate it as “look,” it’s more accurate to say that “눈빛” refers to the light or energy seen in one’s eyes.
I also think that it’s worth pointing out that those 3 colleagues who eavesdrop on Ri Jin’s wound-dressing session with Shin Se Gi, have a point, when they snigger about how the tone of Ri Jin’s screams indicate that she doesn’t exactly hate the attention that Shin Se Gi is giving her.
Show backs this up, with the way Ri Jin later dresses up for the date with Shin Se Gi that never happens (because Do Hyun’s consciousness comes back into control), and how she gets all huffy about having been dumped. I generally don’t like the narrative that a woman’s No actually means Yes, because that can be sooo problematic, but in this specific case, it is true that Ri Jin is more drawn to Shin Se Gi than she’d like to admit. And, with Shin Se Gi smoldering at her and making love confessions and wanting to spend time with her, I.. can understand why she wouldn’t hate it. 😅
I find the way Shin Se Gi talks to the professor about the other personalities, as if they are a little community that’s being oppressed, really quite intriguing. The way he puts it, it does almost seem unreasonable that the professor’s been trying to kill him and the other personalities.
And, it does sound as if the various personalities get along just fine, with him even thinking of giving that sharp instrument to another personality by the name of Yo Sub, the 17-year-old boy who’s obsessed with suicide, because Yo Sub’s been good for so long. I mean, the way Shin Se Gi puts it, there’s even a teamworky flavor to it all, because if the professor keeps trying to get rid of him, he’ll hand the reins over to Yo Sub, who will use the sharp present to great effect. It’s quite fascinating, really.
Even though we don’t hear this in Shin Se Gi’s conversation with the professor, according to the professor, Shin Se Gi’s found his first love. Hrmmm. I suppose this is in reference to Ri Jin? I’m curious to see how this background connection shakes out. How is Ri Jin Shin Se Gi’s first love?
Poor Do Hyun’s all flustered, though, thinking that his own first love, Chae Yeon, is in danger, is goes to warn her against himself. How curious, though, that Ki Joon’s sitting there in her living room, dressed in nothing but a bathrobe. Are Chae Yeon and Ki Joon lovers, then? It doesn’t quite seem to be the case, but it also doesn’t feel normal, for Ki Joon to be sitting in her living room, barely clothed?
That conversation that Ri Jin has with Ri On is quite interesting, in that the way Ri On describes the way he has separate names for the various things that he does in his life, from writing, to flirting with women, to just living his regular life, sounds much like the way many of us have different names for the various things we do in our lives too. Many of us have more than one online moniker, even, so that we can easily differentiate between the different activities we engage in, on the internet.
And yet, when Ri On lays it out like this, doesn’t it also sound very much like what Do Hyun’s got going on with his multiple personalities – except for the fact that he can’t control it?
“I’m saying that I can live a safe and comfortable life by defining myself into different people. Just like.. Jekyll and Hyde.” … “It’s a way to save yourself from this cruel world. It could be the heart’s strategy. It is something like that.”
..That sounds like a very plausible explanation for what’s going on with Do Hyun. And, I hafta say, I’m rather disappointed that as a psychiatrist, Ri Jin needs to have this conversation with her brother, before she even considers the possibility that the two encounters she’s had with Shin Se Gi (or whom she believed to be Shin Se Gi) might have been with two personalities belonging to the same person. Perhaps she’s not that good of a psychiatrist after all?
I guess I should have seen it coming, that Gangster Dude would seek out Ri Jin, in order to use her as leverage in his quest to get his jacket back. I don’t see how he would know to find Ri Jin at the hospital where she works, though. I’m pretty sure nobody mentioned it during the chaos that ensued outside the Paradise club? But perhaps this is just part of Show’s acid-fueled sort of vibe, where our drama world is distorted and trippy, and not quite rooted in reality?
I do think that Show’s done a good job of establishing Do Hyun’s personality, though. Because, even though the call that he receives from Gangster Dude is mystifying to him, we’ve already seen that he’s the type of person who would go out of his way to help someone, even if he doesn’t know them well, and therefore, I’m not even a little surprised, that Do Hyun would go to such lengths – and even put the very important board meeting at risk – in order to save Ri Jin.
What a surprise, though, that it’s not Shin Se Gi who shows up, but Perry Park! 😆 We don’t know what Perry Park’s schtick is, but I like him already, with his friendly vibe and his cheery Satoori. Now, the question is, will Perry Park be able to save Ri Jin, since he just happens to be the personality in charge right now?
I have to say, by the time I finished this second episode, I found myself fully enjoying this show all over again. It’s just so quirky and outlandish, in its own way, and I’m loving the unexpected twists we’re getting so far. More, please!