THE SHORT VERDICT:
I think it’s safe to say that Moving is quite the remarkable drama.
Not only are the production values top-tier, the directing is thoughtful and intentional, the writing is tight, and the acting is all-around pretty darn excellent.
Add on the fact that we have quite the star-studded large cast, and doesn’t it seem like this show really is the product of all the stars aligning to create an amazing end product?
My absolute favorite thing about this show is that it is as tender, heartfelt and emotionally engaging, as it is slick, polished and gritty. I found it impossible not to care about these characters, and that, to me, is Show’s best trait and biggest accomplishment.
Highly recommend, even if you’re not typically into dramas that feature superpowers &/or blood/violence.
THE LONG VERDICT:
I’m not exaggerating at all, when I say that I liked this one right away, like, in the first 5 minutes right away. 😁
That rarely happens to me, especially these days, given that I’ve been watching dramas in a serious fashion for, what, more than 16 years now.
And of course, that initial gut reaction could well fail me, since many dramas that start strong, can and do falter somewhere down the line.
Not this show, though.
Show starts strong, and then stays strong through its entire run, AND it even brings us into a strong finish as well.
Win, win AND win. 🤩
HOW I’LL BE APPROACHING THIS REVIEW
First I’ll talk about how to manage your expectations going into this one, and what viewing lens would be most helpful.
After that, I talk about what I liked and liked less, in a pretty macro sort of fashion, followed by a section where I’ll put the spotlight on selected characters and relationships.
I also give special spotlights to episode 12, and episodes 17-18, before I talk about my thoughts on the ending.
If you’re interested in my blow-by-blow reactions while watching this show, you might like to check out my episode notes on Patreon here.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are some things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. There is violence in this
This isn’t my favorite thing in the show, mostly because I just generally don’t care much for violence on my screen.
However, importantly, I felt that the violence in this show was relevant to the story, and therefore, I didn’t receive it as gratuitous, even when it did sometimes get rather extreme.
2. Show does take its time to tell its story
Show does this thing where it takes its time to unpack various character backstories, in service of supporting its main story.
What this means is that quite often, we might have to pause our main story, in order to follow Show down a particular rabbit hole of backstory.
I personally didn’t have a problem with this, and felt that it was a very worthwhile effort on Show’s part, but I can understand if some viewers feel impatient to get back to the main story, instead of dabbling in backstories.
Knowing to expect this, helps.
Also, even if you feel a little bit antsy to get back to the main story, I would suggest being patient and hanging in there without hitting the FF button, because I do feel that the backstories add a lot of richness to the watch experience.
3. There are some logic stretches within our story
I find that remembering that Show is based on a webtoon, helps to put everything into perspective, and helps the logic stretches to feel more like minor bumps in the road, than actual dealbreakers.
STUFF I LIKED
The slick production values
Show’s big budget (estimated to be ₩50–65 billion, making it the most expensive kdrama, to date) totally shows, with all the slick special effects that we get.
According to reports, Show features more than 7,000 CGI shots, which is A LOT.
Of course, while watching the show, I wasn’t actually thinking about Show’s budget; I was just absorbed into this world where our characters possess superpowers, and those superpowers just look like such a natural extension of who they are – thanks to the well-done CGI.
Show’s care, confidence and economy in telling its story
In my opinion, this is Show’s biggest strength. It’s just so confident in the way it tells its story, and it tells that story with so much care and economy.
It’s in the way Show isn’t afraid to leave a thread hanging for an indefinite amount of time, while it fleshes out a character’s backstory, because Show knows that by the time we circle back to this hanging thread, later on, we’d feel the emotional impact even more acutely, thanks to the context that Show’s taken the time to give us.
I find this storytelling approach quite bold, I have to say, because most shows would be afraid to lose their audience, while taking what some might feel is a large detour.
And yet, Show does it, and unapologetically too, trusting that we will understand and appreciate that this is an important part of Show’s process.
I love that. I love that Show can be seen to put creative integrity above, well, “pandering to its audience,” in a manner of speaking.
It’s also in the way Show is so careful in choosing the relevant small details to highlight, in the limited time that it spends on each arc, so that everything comes together in a really neat, organic-feeling sort of way, that still brings the emotional punches.
This feels particularly true in episode 12, for which I have a spotlight on, later in this review.
It’s also in the way Show isn’t afraid to mesh the gritty, bloody violence, with earnest, heartfelt poignant feels.
I feel it’s quite remarkable, really, because, on paper, I would find it improbable, that these very different characteristics could work well together in any single show.
But Show makes these odd bedfellows work, and makes them feel organic, even, and I’m thoroughly impressed.
I feel like this is especially apparent in episode 11, which focuses on the love story between Joo Won and Ji Hee (Ryu Seung Ryong and Kwan Sun Young), which I’ll talk about later as well.
Additionally, it’s also in the way Show prepares all these various threads, over it’s various episodes, and then brings it all together in a way where we can see and appreciate how the various threads intertwine, in our narrative.
Here’s a quick example of how I feel Show’s painstaking backstory-painting really pays off, in a really economical way.
E16. My favorite moment is when Joo Won walks into the teacher’s room, and he and Mi Hyun (Han Hyo Joo) come face to face.
I love that they recognize each other immediately, and fall into fellow agent mode without missing a beat.
The way Mi Hyun quietly warns Joo Won about the CCTV installed in the teacher’s room is so casually smooth, and the way he receives that information without batting an eye, is so great.
Plus, there’s alllll of the emotional resonance that hits me, in this scene, because Show’s taken the time to give us the backstory that ties these two people together.
They know each other because of everything that had happened with Doo Shik; they are instinctively on the same side because they both love Doo Shik and stand on Doo Shik’s side.
I thought this was quite beautiful, honestly. 🥲
The way Show humanizes our characters
Show has a way of humanizing its characters that I really, really appreciate.
Of course, Show takes the time for us to get to know our good guys, but it also, surprisingly, takes the time to give us the backstory for some of our “bad guys,” and I was actually quite shocked, at points, at how much sympathy Show managed to make me feel, sometimes, for some of the most unexpected characters.
Here’s just one example, to illustrate what I mean.
E7. I was really surprised by how Show manages to make Frank (Ryu Seung Beom) – who’s pretty much been a killing machine for most of the time that we’ve known him – sympathetic.
I really hadn’t expected that, honestly, even though, now, on hindsight, I can see the hints and clues that Show had been giving us.
Plus, this is a kdrama after all, and kdramas do quite like to humanize their baddies, so in that sense, I should’ve expected it, to some extent.
I just.. didn’t think that Show would, after making Frank act like such a ruthless, singleminded assassin, who seemed so dogged in killing all those innocent people.
And yet, by the end of his arc, I actually felt genuinely sympathetic, towards him. Well-played, Show. Well-played.
E7. This episode, Show gives us Frank’s backstory, and I have to say, I feel like that backstory really helps us to understand why Frank is the way he is.
The thing that hits me the most, is how he’d been taken from his mother like that, and she hadn’t done anything to try to stop the soldiers who were dragging him away.
This makes me think, Ah, no wonder he keeps wondering why his victims try so hard to hide their children; it’s because his mother hadn’t tried to hide him at all.
..Which hits really hard, actually, once we see what he’s subjected to.
It’s basically a kill-or-be-killed kind of grooming that he’s given, and all he’s subjected to is a lot of violence and yelling. He was expected to be a killing machine; it’s no wonder he is a killing machine, when we meet him.
It’s no wonder he seems to have so little understanding of human relationships; it’s because he didn’t have any, from the moment he was taken from his mother.
Oof. What a life. What a horrible, painful, terrible existence.
And yet, underneath it, deep down, we see that Frank always had a plaintive, wistful side, and I believe that’s why we see him asking questions of the people he meets. He is genuinely curious about why people and things are the way they are, and he’s never had the chance to learn, otherwise.
On a tangent, I’m also thinking that the reason his mother didn’t fight to protect him, is likely because she knew it would be a losing battle, where she would likely be killed, and also, because she knew her son’s superpower, and took comfort in the fact that no matter what happened to him, he would heal.
That’s a train of thought that I believe came from the seed that Show planted, in showing us what things likely looked like from Hee Soo’s mom’s point of view, when she’d been in that car accident, and had looked at Hee Soo, in her last moments.
Because Show demonstrated to us that Hee Soo’s mom had likely taken comfort in knowing that Hee Soo couldn’t get hurt, it feels like a reasonably natural conclusion to have too, about Frank’s mother, as she watched her son being taken away.
STUFF THAT WAS OK
Like I mentioned earlier in this review, the violence wasn’t my favorite thing.
But, as you can see, it’s landing in the neutral zone for me, because, importantly, the violence made narrative sense to me, even when it was at its most extreme.
And yes, sometimes the violence really is quite extreme, but I find that remembering this is a story based on a webtoon helps.
Remembering that these are superpowered characters, also helps. Because, in my head at least, this means that their capacity for pain and injury is just on a different level, compared to normal folks like you and me. 😅
Also, I often felt like there was a point to Show’s violence, so it never actually felt gratuitous, to my eyes.
For example, episode 11 was pretty extreme in terms of the violence it served up, but I didn’t begrudge Show the display of violence, because it feels important and necessary for us as viewers, to see and be confronted by what Joo Won has to go through, just for being who he is.
Well, of course I flinched, watching it all, and my heart couldn’t help but bleed for Joo Won, even as he faced attacker after attacker, but I think that was the whole point; Show wanted me to feel for Joo Won in a raw and acute manner, and it succeeded. 🥲
Sometimes, when Show’s violence felt overwhelming, I would take breaks, sometimes in the middle of scenes – but at the same time, it was all very compelling and absorbing, despite the emotional toll that I felt, while watching.
Gye Do’s backstory
Sorry to all the Cha Tae Hyun fans, but I have to confess that I really wasn’t that into the character or the backstory of Gye Do, whom he plays.
We get a whole chunk of Gye Do’s backstory, in episode 6.
And in principle, I felt sorry for his character, for having gone through so many struggles in trying to live a normal life, but I just wasn’t feeling it, so much, in the execution and delivery. 🙊
However, I do appreciate that Gye Do does have a valid place within our overarching story, and that it was important for Show to give us a taste of his backstory.
..Which is why it’s in this section.
Some logic stretches
Like I mentioned earlier, there is a bit of logic-stretching going on, in the telling of our story.
As I said, it’s pretty easy to adjust expectations around this, particularly if you keep in mind that Show is based on a webtoon.
Therefore, this was not a dealbreaker for me in the least.
Just for the record, however, I thought I’d give you a flavor for the kind of logic-stretching I’m referring to.
E5-6. It feels like a stretch, that the bus driver was so happy about Gye Do restarting his batteries with his bare hands, that he doesn’t treat Gye Do like a freak, and that’s why Gye Do’s able to get a job as a bus driver.
That’s not how a normal person would respond – is what I’m thinking.
I guess it’s time to use my manhwa lens a little more aggressively, eh? 😅
E7. During the scene where Frank’s barreling down side roads to find Joo Won, in order to kill him, I couldn’t help thinking that Frank sure seems very confident of all these small roads and where they each lead and how they connect, for someone who’s not local? 😅
E15-16. I have to confess, I was a bit like, “Wait, is Gye Do going rogue with a bus AGAIN??? Were there no consequences whatsoever from the last time he went rogue with a bus?”
But then, after he pulls up at the police station – which does save Hee Soo and Bong Seok, for the day – we do hear talk about how the bus’s batteries had gone haywire, which, I think, “explains” why the bus went “out of control.”
That’s when I thought, “Ahhh.. So that’s why Gye Do is able to get away with running rogue with the buses!”
Because, with his bare hands on the wheel, and thus presumably allowing his electrical current to pass through the bus itself, I’m sure the physical evidence corroborates the statement that the batteries had malfunctioned.
Mystery solved. Or at least, mystery answered to an extent that my brain is happy to accept the logic of. 😁
SPOTLIGHT ON CHARACTERS & RELATIONSHIPS
Lee Jung Ha as Bong Seok
Bong Seokieeee~ 😍😍😍
It is no exaggeration to say that Bong Seok is literally my favorite character in this entire ensemble. And I say that in the context of really, really liking a bunch of other characters too.
Lee Jung Ha is perfectly cast as Bong Seok, because he clearly has that sweet, guileless vibe about him in real life.
Also, props to Lee Jung Ha, who reportedly gained about 30kg(!!!), which is roughly 66lbs, in for the role. Such dedication!
And it all came together beautifully, because Bong Seok really is a special cinnamon roll, who should be loved and protected at all costs. 🥰
I’ll talk quite a bit more about Bong Seok in the section where I talk about his bond with Hee Soo (Go Youn Jung), but for now, here are some Bong Seok-specific thoughts from my watch.
E1-2. Immediately, we’re introduced to Bong Seok, one of our main high school characters, and I find him all kinds of endearing.
He’s got this earnest, guileless, good-natured, sweet-tempered vibe about him, and I find him all the more endearing, the more I learn how much he’s been through, growing up with a special ability – the ability to float, which I’m guessing might turn into the ability to fly, if he can get it under control?
E7. My heart goes out to Bong Seok, because he looks so gutted, when he doesn’t manage to get to Hee Soo in time, when that jump board almost falls on her.
The way he starts trying to learn to harness his powers, all by himself, feels so valiant.
Poor Bong Seok. His angst feels very real, and I can see why he would feel so helpless, and also why he would feel upset that Mi Hyun’s treatment of him, is what has made him helpless, when all he really wants, is to be able to protect the person that he likes.
And of course, there’s also the thing where Bong Seok’s absolutely at an age where he needs to start thinking about being his own person, rather than a passive follower of Mom’s instructions.
Our Bong Seok’s growing up, is what it is, isn’t it? 🥲
But I feel for Mi Hyun too, because she didn’t clip his wings because she’d wanted to keep him captive; she’d restrained him because she’d wanted to keep him safe.
And, what a poignant reveal, at the very end, when Bong Seok tells us, in voiceover, that the dream that he’d had over and over, about his dad flying over to him, above the clouds, had actually been a memory.
Aw. I do want Bong Seok to be able to learn how to harness his powers, as he figures out how to become his own person, and I also want Bong Seok to be reunited with Dad.
E15-16. I realize that Bong Seok doesn’t just have the most infectious smile; he also has the saddest puppy eyes, when he’s feeling down.
Oof. It hurt my heart to see Bong Seok so despondent, while he works to assert himself as his own person, with Mi Hyun.
Well, it’s not only that, I’m sure. I’m sure his sadness also has to do with how he’d felt helpless to do anything for Hee Soo, when she’d been in danger.
That is definitely his impetus for asserting himself with Mi Hyun now.
Now, he wants to be able to harness his power, so that he’ll be in a position to help and protect the people who matter to him, and I totally get that.
Pure, precious Bong Seok. 🥲
Go Youn Jung as Hee Soo
I surprised myself, by perking up a great deal, and smiling a big ol’ smile, when Go Youn Jung first appeared on my screen, because it felt that good to have her back on my screen. 🥰
It’s admittedly quite a different role for her here, where she plays a high school student, but somehow I have no trouble believing that she’s a senior in high school, who’s just doing her best to make the most of her situation.
And, no lie, I loved her in this role.
There is a lot to love about Hee Soo too, and here’s a quick rundown. And of course I’ll talk more about her too, when I talk about her bond with Bong Seok.
E1-2. Hee Soo’s so matter-of-fact and practical about everything, and at the same time, there’s a very likable quality about her, like she’s not taking things too hard, even when things aren’t the best, like how their family is tight on money and therefore she can’t afford to have the hagwon lessons that would help her do better in school.
I like that about here, right away.
E5-6. Man.. I know Hee Soo had talked about it, a bit, in our previous episodes, where she tells Bong Seok that she’d been expelled because she’d fought 17 other students and been the only one to emerge unscathed, but seeing it play out on screen, with context and everything, was quite something else.
I’m guessing (hoping?) that the school violence is exaggerated for dramatic effect, but even with that lens on, it was hard to watch that group of bullies target the new girl, and systematically intimidate and bully her.
And, it’s horrible to see everyone systematically ignore this, while it’s going on right under their noses, whether they’re teachers or students.
I guess that’s the whole point, though.
While others find it easier to close their eyes and their ears, our Hee Soo finds it hard to stand by and do nothing, while someone is being tormented like that.
And, even though we see that she hold back, out of consideration for her father, it again says a lot about her, that in the end, she tells Bong Seok that her father had just been an excuse.
She really does have a heart for the helpless, which, at a fundamental level, already makes her a hero, in my eyes.
I ask myself if the only way she could have intervened was through violence, and I’m coming to the reluctant conclusion that she would have ended up fighting them, one way or another, ultimately.
She’d approached the teachers, who only put up a show of doing something, but they only made everything worse.
And, if she’d just tried talking to the bullies, they would’ve very likely started using violence on her first, at her audacity of trying to interfere.
So, one way or the other, as long as she had it in her mind to help Hye Won, the girl being bullied, Hee Soo would’ve ended up fighting them, I do believe.
And what a fight it turned out to be, my goodness. 😬
And here I thought that we’d only really get to “real” violence when Show switches its focus to not be so much on the high school portion of our story.
This fight is violent, bloody, muddy and vicious, and I’m most shocked, honestly, that the bullies actually attack Hee Soo like they want to literally kill her. 😱
It’s partially driven by the fact that they can’t seem to take her down, but still. It’s shockingly brutal, and while I’m secretly relieved that Hee Soo can’t get hurt, I’m also registering that even though she heals from every wound, she must feel the pain that’s inflicted on her body with each hit, kick, stab or slash, right?
That’s awful. And it feels like such an injustice, that she’s forced to leave school, while the bullies who’d hurt her and every other kid they’d bullied, get away scot free.
I feel really bad for Hee Soo, through the entire aftermath.
All she’d wanted to do was to stand up for Hye Won (Shim Dal Gi), whose life was so miserable because of the bullies.
In return for her efforts, she’s kicked out of school, and made to feel like an immediate outcast, because of how she’s freakishly ok, even though everyone else is hospitalized.
On top of that, there’s the guilt that she must feel towards her dad, because of how her actions impact him.
Not only does he have to practically beg the other parents not to press charges, he has to sell the house in order to pay the compensation.
It’s a lot to deal with, for sure, and our Hee Soo is honestly being really strong about it. 🥲
Bong Seok & Hee Soo
My puppiesss~ 😍😍😍
To absolutely no one’s surprise, I felt most engaged and happy with Show, when the focus was on Bong Seok and Hee Soo.
Not only are they absolutely adorable together, they also make each other’s lives better, and I just couldn’t get enough of them being in each other’s orbits, and getting to know each other, and having each other’s backs. 🥰
When they weren’t on my screen, I missed them the most, and when they were on my screen, I often smiled goofy smiles; you get the idea. 😁
E1-2. I am digging the budding friendship between Hee Soo and Bong Seok, and of course, Bong Seok’s burgeoning crush on Hee Soo is completely adorable.
I love how, when Bong Seok’s happy or excited, he can’t help floating, and it’s cute and funny, how the poor guy’s fighting so hard to stay cool and stay grounded (literally!) when he’s around Hee Soo. 😁
E3-4. In my head, I know that our whole story can’t only be about our high school characters, since there are adult characters too, and there is stuff happening on that front too, but I have to admit, the high school part is where my heart is at, right now.
I just want to spend more time with Bong Seok and Hee Soo, as their bond grows; it’s so sweet and heartwarming, in all the best ways. 🥰
I love how they’re becoming legit friends, this pair of episodes.
First, though, I am giddy in love with how guilelessly innocent and endearing Bong Seok is.
He seems to literally not have a suspicious or malicious bone in his body.
When Hee Soo says that they’re a chicken and a piggy, it doesn’t even occur to him that it could be taken in an offensively, and when Hee Soo clarifies what she means, he sails right past what could have been taken offensively (though she totally didn’t mean it that way), and just remarks with wonder, how she’ll be getting to eat a lot of chicken, since her dad’s opened a chicken shop.
And when Hee Soo asks about his dad, Bong Seok tells her, completely openly, that he’s probably seen his dad, but has no memory of it. He doesn’t even seem to feel at all sorry for himself, that he doesn’t have a dad.
He’s just so happy and grateful about everything, and it warms my heart so, y’know? 🥰
And then, when they see class bully Bang Ki Soo (Shin Jae Hwi) skulking by, bleeding and bruised from being beaten up by Kang Hoon (though they don’t know that), Bong Seok’s instinct is to go check on him, even though he’s far from friends with Ki Soo.
In his mind, as long as he’s seen Ki Soo all bruised and bloody, it’s the right thing to do, to check on him.
Gurgle. Isn’t Bong Seok the most precious cinnamon roll, like, ever? Gosh, I luff him.
I’m actually pretty glad that Hee Soo is more streetsmart than he is, because with Bong Seok being so sweetly innocent, I feel like it’s good that there’s someone with him, who’ll help look out for him.
And it feels like that’s exactly what Hee Soo’s doing now, like when she instinctively holds him back from getting involved with Ki Soo.
The help flows both ways, though, which I love.
Hee Soo might help Bong Seok in keeping him safe, but Bong Seok helps Hee Soo too, in how he tells her that parents want to support their children, and that she should tell her dad how she needs his support, so that he doesn’t become sad.
I do feel like this is the only reason Hee Soo bites the bullet, this pair of episodes, and tells her dad about her choice to pick PE as her major.
Of course, it does look like she’s only picking PE because it’s the most practical choice, given how financially tight they are, and how Dad would therefore be unable to afford the hagwon lessons that she would otherwise need.
But still. It feels like a step in the right direction, that she shares her decision with Dad, and formally asks for his support.
And, it’s all thanks to Bong Seok, yay Bong Seok. 🥰
E3-4. I’m just really happy to watch Bong Seok and Hee Soo hang out together, and grow closer, as they do so.
It’s so nice to see that Hee Soo notices the scrape on Bong Seok’s elbow, and buys ointment and bandaids, so that she can treat it for him.
I think I will always and forever be tickled by Bong Seok fighting to stay cool in the face his hyper-awareness of Hee Soo, and that scene in the bathroom is just so great, where he’s literally standing as still as possible, trying his best to ignore her, while reciting pi, and squeezing his eyes shut, while practically begging her leave first.
..And then he loses control once she’s outta there, and we get that great shot of Bong Seok with his body and legs flying the air, barely anchored by his grasp on the mop handle.
Hahaha. That’s just so great, seriously. 🤩
Another scene I loved, is when Bong Seok sees Hee Soo running around the field after dark, when everyone’s left for the day, and he goes and puts on every single light in every single classroom, so that the combined brightness from the building, lights up Hee Soo’s running path for her.
It’s the darndest, sweetest thing, and I love that it makes him so happy, to help her out.
But of course, the more time Bong Seok spends with Hee Soo, the more likely it is, that his secret would come out – which is exactly what happens, this pair of episodes.
I do think that timing’s pretty perfect, because I’d rather Hee Soo know than not know, and I like that they can bond over being different.
First though, I just love how Bong Seok starts flying around, when he’s around Hee Soo.
The way he lifts off, while helping to hold her legs while she does sit-ups, must have been so alarming, for him. It’s no wonder he runs off, telling her that he’s got cleaning duty.
But then, we get that scene at the stairwell, where Bong Seok lifts off from the shock of Hee Soo touching him, when she checks on the wound on his elbow, and it’s epic, how he’s just floating freely there, with no way to get himself down.
..And Hee Soo just launches herself at him, and grabs him by the leg, and becomes his literal anchor, to bring him back down to the ground again.
It’s so cutely hilarious to me, that she has to use her whole body to weigh him down, but the closer she gets to him, to help him, the more his body wants to float, because he’s just that affected by her. Tee hee hee.
I do love how this results in her escorting Bong Seok home, because that’s what friends do, right; they spend time hanging out in each other’s homes?
It’s also super cute how Mom gets all flustered and excited, because not only is this the first time Bong Seok’s brought a girl home, it’s also the first time he’s brought a friend home. Aw.
My favorite part of the visit, has to be when Hee Soo goes upstairs to dry off, and she and Bong Seok have some really open, heartfelt conversation.
I love that Hee Soo apologizes for tailing Bong Seok because she’d been curious. That definitely says something about Hee Soo, because it’s not that Bong Seok’s asking for an apology; she just feels that she should apologize, because what she did wasn’t cool.
It feels like a quantum leap forward, in their budding friendship, when Bong Seok shows her his room, and the padded ceiling, and the hooks on his comforter, and tells her that there’s no need to be jealous of his ability.
It’s cheeky of her, though, to ask Bong Seok pointblank if he likes her – which causes him to shoot straight up to the ceiling. 😁
Most importantly, though, is how she’s so matter-of-fact, when she tells him that he’s not weird; he’s just different and special.
It’s so heartwarming, I’m not surprised that Mom, hearing all this through the walls with her super hearing, is touched to the point of tears. 🥲
Maybe that’s why Mom nudges Bong Seok to put on that raincoat and go out after Hee Soo, to walk her to the bus stop.
Hahaha the way Bong Seok’s doing all these giant flying leaps in the rain, bouncing over literal electrical poles, is so epic.
I was half thrilled with how epic this was, and half scared that someone would see Bong Seok, because this is the opposite of staying hidden, ack. 😅
I’m also thrilled that Hee Soo tells Bong Seok the very next day, about her own secret – that she can’t get hurt.
E5-6. I love that all is well between Bong Seok and Hee Soo, even after she tells him her secret.
There’s no judgment or anything from Bong Seok at all. He’s as smilingly encouraging as ever, and instead of focusing on the violence behind her secret, he tells her that it’s ok to be “orange,” ie, she doesn’t have to choose to be red or yellow; she can be both.
And then there’s the thing where Hee Soo tells him about her mom dying in a car crash, and how she can’t remember Mom’s face, and wonders whether Mom had been crying.
It takes some time for Bong Seok to share his take with her, but when he does, it’s so freeing and liberating for Hee Soo.
I love that he understands the heart of a parent so well, that he’d be able to say that Mom, knowing that Hee Soo would be safe, and wouldn’t be hurt, would have smiled.
Aw. He’s so guilelessly pure and wise. 🥲
E5-6. I love that, despite widening its lens to give us more context in our drama world, Show doesn’t forget my favorite thing, this pair of episodes, which is Bong Seok getting all discombobulated by Hee Soo.
That moment when he gulps with hyper-awareness at her proximity, then turns to grab his bag, and she jumps into action to help him to add on weight via his crossbody sling bag, is so cute.
And then how about how she tries to help hold him down, and he desperately cries out to her to let go and not touch him. Hahahaha. I felt so bad for him, but so tickled, at the same time. 😂🥲
Also, it’s so sweet of him to have created a playlist just for Hee Soo, to cheer her on during her long training sessions on her own.
E7. Because Mi Hyun has no idea that Frank gets killed by Joo Won (well, effectively, anyway), I can see why she’d continue to be anxious, and tell Bong Seok to come straight home from school, no exceptions.
To Bong Seok, this is a huge bummer, of course, because this totally kills his freedom, and his ability to spend time with Hee Soo.
But, he’s such a good kid, that he cooperates with Mi Hyun anyway, because he can sense that something’s up, and Mom just doesn’t want to talk about it.
It was honestly quite sad, to watch Bong Seok and Hee Soo drift apart, and stop talking to each other, and hanging out with each other, because together, they make up THE highlight of my watch.
I’m actually pretty amazed that they literally go almost three whole months, not really talking to each other.
I LOVE that Hee Soo goes to wish Bong Seok luck before his exam, because he’d given her strength too, when she’d most needed it, and I’m SO glad that Bong Seok’s quick on the uptake this time, and realizes that she’s right there, because she can see that his lights are on.
It’s so epic, how he literally leaps out of his window, propelling himself across that entire pond, and lands right at her feet. Tee hee hee. SHO CUTE. 😍
I’m also so glad that the two of them finally talk things out, and each of them realizes that the other person wasn’t avoiding them at all. Aw.
AND THEN. I freaking love how Hee Soo goes to place that big ol’ rock on Bong Seok’s lap, before she admits to him, that she’s missed him. AHHH. How cute is this??? 😍😍
And how adorable, that Bong Seok smiles a bashful little smile, before telling her that he’s missed her too.
THESE TWO ARE ADORABLE. ❤️
It’s just too bad that Hee Soo gets distracted by the fact that it starts to snow, but it almost doesn’t matter, because they both look so happy and content, as they admire the first snowfall together. 🥰
E15-16. I’m glad that Hee Soo isn’t deterred from talking to and spending time with Bong Seok, just because he’s in a sad and despondent sort of space and doesn’t seem very social.
I find it endearing, the way she just loops her bag straps around Bong Seok’s shoulders, to give him the extra weight that he’s foregone, by leaving his water bag at home.
Heh. Our Hee Soo definitely understands the kind of effect she has on Bong Seok, and I find it very cute and endearing how this is now open knowledge between them.
Like, how Bong Seok tells her that he’s been fine without his weights – as long as she’s not around. Tee hee. 😁
Han Hyo Joo as Mi Hyun
Honestly, I was gobsmacked to realize that Bong Seok’s mom is played by Han Hyo Joo, whom I love so much extra, after seeing her being all badass in Happiness (review is here!).
I love that we get to see her in the role of a drawn, tired mom (because I’ve never seen her in this space before), but at the same time, we also get to see her show some distinct flashes of badassery. 🤩
Immediately, the thing that really strikes me, is how ordinary and run-down they’ve manage to make Han Hyo Joo.
It makes her feel so approachable and relatable, and it also kinda makes me feel like maybe any of us could look as good as our favorite celebrities, with the right help, heh. 😁
Mi Hyun goes through a lot in our story, in various senses of the word, and I can safely say that she had me in her corner, rooting for her, through it all. 🤩
I will talk more about Mi Hyun in upcoming sections where I talk about her relationship with Bong Seok, as well as her relationship with Doo Shik (Jo In Sung), but for now, here are a handful of Mi Hyun-related musings, from my watch.
E9. I like how Mi Hyun isn’t easily intimidated.
When her supervisor (Kim Shin Rok) tries to pull rank on her, and treat her rudely, she is so calm and unruffled, as she stands up for herself.
I really have to admire how she doesn’t get easily riled up, and how she’s so self-possessed, without having to be rude.
On another note, I do like that Mi Hyun is kind by nature.
She doesn’t have to help Director Min’s (Moon Sung Geun) secretary, Secretary Kim (Kwon Han Sol), but she does it anyway, telling her how to make coffee the way he likes it, and how to adjust the way she dresses, in order to fit in better.
She’s not super friendly or anything, when she does this; you can tell she isn’t trying to make a friend or find an ally. She’s simply helping Secretary Kim, because she can tell that Secretary Kim’s really stressed out and having a hard time.
I’m glad that this reaps an inadvertent reward later, when Secretary Kim calls Mi Hyun with intel that Director Min knows that she’d lied.
I just like this idea that Mi Hyun’s the kind of person who gains other people’s trust and loyalty, without actually strategizing to do so.
E15-16. I did love the detail, that Mi Hyun’s able to use her super senses, to pick up on Cleaning Lady’s phone call, explaining the situation to her fellow spies who are on their way in.
Also, how quietly badass is Mi Hyun, that she walks straight to the principal’s office, where Cleaning Lady is, and lets herself in, closing the door behind her??
Mi Hyun knows exactly what she’s walking into, and she’s proceeding with nerves of steel. I am in awe of her. 🤩🤩
Jo In Sung as Doo Shik
For such a key character in our story, we really don’t see a great deal of Doo Shik, over the course of our 20 episodes – and yet, Show got me to appreciate him and care about him a great deal.
I thought that was impressive.
I will talk more about Doo Shik in other upcoming sections, but for now, here’s one specific thing that I really liked about him.
I like how Doo Shik specifically aims at the that one spot, every time, when he shoots a person, because it immobilizes them without killing them, thus offering them a chance of survival.
That says a lot about the kind of person Doo Shik is, and it makes me like him more.
And Show allows Doo Shik to demonstrate that, consistently, each time we get to see him, particularly when he’s on the field as a black ops agent.
Bong Seok & Mi Hyun [MILD SPOILERS]
Mi Hyun’s personal mission of keeping Bong Seok safe is one of the first things that Show acquaints us with, and I just wanted to say, her quiet determination and stoic grit, in the face of a whole milieu of challenges, really made my heart go out to her.
It’s hard enough to be a single parent to a regular child, but to be a single parent to a child with superpowers that you need to keep hidden, looks a million times harder.
I do get the sense that Bong Seok is her whole world, and that she would do anything to keep him safe – even if it means going to war against unknown dark forces.
This selfless maternal love of Mi Hyun’s was definitely one of the big factors that had me rooting for her, all series long. 🥲
Mi Hyun & Doo Shik
The love story between Mi Hyun and Doo Shik was one of my personal highlights of this show.
Amid all the killing violence and danger lurking, this love story felt like a really nice bit of respite, where I could escape for a while, into unexpected dorky cuteness and romancey feels. 🥰
I read somewhere that Han Hyo Joo had almost passed on the role of Mi Hyun – until she found out that, if she accepted, she would be playing opposite Jo In Sung. 😁
All I can say is, I’m so glad that they both accepted, because they are fantastic and adorable and wonderful together.
I just wish that we could’ve seen them together more than we did, but.. I am definitely grateful for what we do get.
E8. At first, I did feel a little dismayed, because instead of some kind of meet-cute, Mi Hyun receives an order from Director Min, to get as close to Doo Shik as possible, in order to evaluate his personal philosophies.
I mean, he makes it sound like an opportunity for her to become a Black Ops agent again, but in actuality, it sounds like a form of prostitution, doesn’t it, because he says quite meaningfully, that agents in the field use their bodies.
I hated the idea that Director Min basically expected Mi Hyun to hook Doo Shik romantically, and sleep with him if necessary, in order to keep him under surveillance.
So of course, there’s this undercurrent of anxiety and discomfort, even as Show proceeds to set the stage for the delicate push-and-pull dance of Mi Hyun and Doo Shik crossing paths, until they actually make contact.
And yet, despite that undercurrent of discomfort, I found myself on tenterhooks, waiting and hoping that sparks would somehow fly, when they did make contact.
Show knows how to mess with my mind, that’s for sure. 😅
While watching Mi Hyun bide her time for the precise moment to do anything, each opportunity she got to cross paths with Doo Shik, I was really impressed with how she uses her super-senses, and how she is able to analyze all this additional sensory data she picks up, in order to inform her decision.
Just that scene at the coffee vending machine, when she listens for Doo Shik’s footsteps, and gauges where he is, and also, takes note of the change jangling in his pocket, and concludes that he’s headed for the vending machine, feels like such an intricate exercise in precision.
I was very impressed, y’all. At least until she got busted, for not being careful enough to change out those folders each time she took a walk past Doo Shik, pfft. 😂
BUT, I definitely squeed, with each indication that Mi Hyun’s presence is getting to Doo Shik and discombobulating him at least a little bit, despite his smooth, unruffled exterior.
It feels kinda dorky when he asks her if she has change for the vending machine, because it seems like such a normal, almost lame sort of excuse to talk to her, when the idea I have of him, is practically Superman, with how we start the episode with the flashback of him literally flying alongside a plane, in an effort to thwart a terrorist attack.
I did love Mi Hyun’s tamped down little smile, as she buys him that coffee, because our Mi Hyun knows very well, that his pocket is full of change, for the machine. 😁
It’s also quite amusing how Director Min comes up with all these excuses to make Doo Shik and Joo Won come back to the office, just so that Mi Hyun would have more opportunities to make a connection with Doo Shik.
Doo Shik starting to offer to carry those files for Mi Hyun is also very cute. Again, it feels like a rather lame excuse to spend a bit of time with her, and I am thoroughly amused, and I guess superheroes also need to rely on regular human excuses, sometimes. 😁
I hadn’t quite been expecting it, but I do love how straightforward and matter-of-fact Doo Shik is, in letting on that he knows that Mi Hyun’s under Director Min’s orders, to get close to him.
That whole conversation, where they’re so candid with each other about the whole thing, is so refreshing.
There’s no offense, and no defensiveness; they’re just open, candid and cordial, and I honestly really like that.
From Doo Shik revealing how he knew, to Mi Hyun offering a sincere apology, I already love how these two talk, and now I want them together for real.
It feels like the right thing to do, for Mi Hyun to explain, apologize and then start to move away, but it also feels very right, in a very different kind of way, for Doo Shik to go after her, and basically invite her to dinner.
And then, how about that scene where they stand outside the restaurant after dinner, chatting over cups of tea.
It’s so cute, how, when Mi Hyun remarks that the whole point of drinking tea together, isn’t to finish the tea, but to have conversation together, while slowly sipping the tea, Doo Shik quickly pours some of her tea into his empty cup, so that they can continue their conversation.
Ahhh. So handsome, dorky and confident, at the same time. 😁
Also, I had a good giggle, when Mi Hyun latches onto the fact that Doo Shik does indeed watch dramas in his spare time. Tee hee. Like I said, he’s dorky, amid all that confident handsome.
I also very much like what he says to her, when he tells her that an intentional failure isn’t a failure, and then tells her to forget the assignment.
And then, when she questions if it’s okay to forget, he says, “Because we’re human.”
That’s the literal translation of what he says, whereas the subs simply say, “Yeah we can.” – which is why I thought I’d mention it.
I do think it’s important, because in their field of work, they are often looked upon and treated as superpowered machines. And here he is, reminding them both, that they are human.
That feels important and significant.
And, it works to liberate Mi Hyun, because that very night, she goes to sleep without setting the alarm, and then ends up being late for work. But, she’s basically failing on purpose, just like he’d said, isn’t she? – And that’s why it’s not a failure after all.
Beyond that, I’m also getting the sense that Mi Hyun’s going to stop having nightmares about her failed operation, because, the way Doo Shik puts it, it was an intentional failure, and so it wasn’t a failure after all.
First, though, I’m pretty darn stoked to see that even after Mi Hyun’s mission has been busted, she and Doo Shik are still drinking coffee and sharing conversation, at the vending machine.
Second, and very thrillingly, I’m a discombobulated tangle over here, with the way he admits to her, flat-out, that the reason he’d let her continue crossing paths with him, even though he’d figured out her mission, is because he’d fallen for her at first sight.
AND, that takes on a WHOLE other meaning, when we see that he’d been the backup that fateful night that she’d intentionally failed her mission, and his mission had been to take down the informants that she’d helped escape – and he fails that mission on purpose too, all while not being able to take his eyes off her.
So he’d fallen for her at first sight, through that window, rather than when she’d been trying to accomplish her mission by getting close to him?!?
Faint. That is gosh-darn romantic, I’ll give you that, Show. Flail.
E9. This episode, we spend more time exploring the romance between Mi Hyun and Doo Shik, and one of the things that really strikes me about this, is, how economical Show is, in handling this romance.
I mean, all we get is a total of two episodes, covering the ground between the point at which they first make contact, to where we end this episode, and without spending too much screen time on it, Show’s managed to convince me that Mi Hyun and Doo Shik have an epic, poignant love that should be protected, at all costs.
Well-played, Show. Very well-played. 👏🏻
I also appreciate that while Show focuses on the burgeoning connection between mi Hyun and Doo Shik, we also get some important context.
For example, that beat at the top of the episode, where everyone stops talking when Mi Hyun enters the office, and only start talking again after she steps out, all complaining about how they have to walk on eggshells around her, is very telling.
It took me a long second to put it together in my head, because my first thought was that perhaps they had all been gossiping about her, and that’s why they’d stopped talking when she’d entered the office; after all, isn’t that what it’s like for normal people, right?
But then I realized that that wasn’t it at all.
The truth is, they all know about Mi Hyun’s super senses, and they don’t want her hearing any of their conversations, and that’s why they avoid talking when she’s around.
That’s got to suck, for Mi Hyun, because essentially, aren’t people demonstrating that they see her as “other,” and unwelcome?
It’s kind of mindblowing that having super senses would make you an outcast, because I’d always imagined it’d be super cool to have superpowers, but when Show paints it like this, it makes perfect sense too.
People don’t want to be around her because they feel vulnerable and exposed, in front of her.
It’s no wonder she is such a loner at work.
It’s partly because she’s so isolated, that I want to root harder, for her romance with Doo Shik.
And similarly, when Doo Shik tells her that he always works in the shadows and therefore doesn’t really know how to socialize with people, I feel his isolation too, even though he’s a hotshot black ops agent with super flying powers.
I think, at the heart of it, a big part of the reason I’m rooting for them, is because they’re both so isolated, and so “other,” that it feels precious and special, that they’re able to find solidarity and connection, with each other.
I also immediately like Doo Shik, for thinking of a way for Mi Hyun to not fail the operation – and for him to keep spending time with Mi Hyun.
It’s still a risk for Mi Hyun, it’s true, but he’s putting himself out there, isn’t he? He’s putting himself in her hands, because it’s entirely possible that someone in her position might choose to double-cross him, in order to earn favor with Director Min.
He’s choosing to trust her, even though they’re just getting to know each other, and I find that melty in itself.
I also love that he outright admits that it’s because he wants to keep seeing her. It’s so endearingly candid and open. 🥰
Of course, there’s also the thing where Doo Shik is adorable in his obvious crush on Mi Hyun.
The hotshot black ops agent acting like a nervous, uncertain dork around Mi Hyun while they’re spending time together, is one of my favorite things, period.
Doo Shik looks like his inner teenager is getting to come out and hold the reins for the first time in his life, and doesn’t know what to do with them. It’s awkward and adorable, and I love that it’s obvious Mi Hyun also thinks that he’s awkward and adorable. 😍
I couldn’t help grinning at all of Doo Shik’s nervous ticks while they’re out for dinner at his favorite tonkatsu restaurant, and his awkward way of reaching for conversation topics, because he doesn’t quite know what to say.
And how about that moment, when he makes an attempt at a joke, and then blushes furiously, when Mi Hyun doesn’t laugh? Tee hee hee. So dorky.
(I have no idea how Jo In Sung does it; he legit looks like he’s blushing for real, in this scene. So.. maybe he is..? 😁)
Also, even though his attempts at making conversation sound rather lame (what’s your favorite color, for example), he really listens, to her answers, as we see later, in the episode.
And his eyes literally sparkle, when Mi Hyun says that she feels relaxed and comfortable in his company. I love that.
Somehow, when he tells Mi Hyun that he’s usually cold, calculated and serious, his endearing dorkiness around her feels all the more precious and special.
I love – love! – that because Mi Hyun mentions that she wishes tonkatsu could be delivered, because all she can order when she’s doing overtime, is Chinese food, he literally prepares a tonkatsu delivery for her – personally air-flown to her window.
It’s freaking romantic, and I think only someone who’s quite crazy in love, would actually do something like this. And so, the idea that he’s crazy in love with her, makes me grin the goofy grins. 😁 Melt.
I mean, he could have delivered the tonkatsu in a perfectly normal way, by walking to her office, and that would have still counted as being very thoughtful and romantic, but the reason he’s flying to her window, is because he wants to show her who he really is, and that is supremely melty, to me.
He’s letting it all out, and choosing to entrust her with his secret; showing that he absolutely trusts her with his life, pretty much, and I am a puddle on the floor.
It makes me so happy that Mi Hyun picks up on the core of what makes his delivery so special, right away, and thanks him for trusting her with his secret.
It’s so cute, that he flies away in a fit of nervous, bashfulness, and then sits on that tower, with a self-congratulatory, blissful, can’t-be-wiped-off grin on his face, as he takes that roll of kimbap out of his pocket and starts eating.
Aw. He got Mi Hyun fancy tonkatsu, and is having such a simple, humble dinner instead? And he’s perfectly content? It somehow makes everything even sweeter.
I’m glad that Mi Hyun sees that, with her super vision, and that it makes her smile. 🥰
It feels perfectly perfect, that when she sees Doo Shik, she tells him about her secret.
I felt a little bad for Doo Shik for a while, because Mi Hyun acts all cool about knowing that he would come, and he thinks that she’s not really that happy or excited to see him. But Mi Hyun’s leaked little smile makes it cute, and I feel better, coz I know that she’s just teasing him, after all.
It’s honestly really sweet that Doo Shik waits for more than an hour, just standing there and waiting for her to finish her work; this, despite being under the impression that she’s not that excited to see him. Aw. Poor dorky baby. 😁
And, how endearingly earnest and nervous is he, as he tries to apologize for not coming across well, in his effort to look good to her?
I can feel my heart melting, and I feel like Mi Hyun’s smile in response, is an indication that her heart is melting, right alongside mine. 😁
It’s so perfect, how she demonstrates her super senses, by matching his heartbeat with the tapping of her fingers, because we can see, in real time, how fast Doo Shik’s heart is beating, in response to her. (Very well-played, Show!)
And then, when it reaches a literal frenzy, Mi Hyun remarks that this isn’t good, because at this rate, he could die, and he goes, “It’s fine if I die” – before he leans in to kiss her.
And what a kiss it is; so full of tender wonder and feels.
Doo Shik floating up, just like we’ve seen Bong Seok do, in front of Hee Soo, is just extra, extra, EXTRA precious. Bong Seok very much takes after his father, eh? SHO CUTE. 😍😍
E9. It’s as interesting as it is dysfunctional, honestly, that Director Min’s reason for putting Doo Shik and Mi Hyun together, was for them to fall in love – so that Doo Shik would have a reason to come back.
It’s basically like having insurance, isn’t it? Director Min’s buying “insurance” so that, if Doo Shik goes rogue for any reason, there’s a way to trace him – by holding Mi Hyun as hostage, in a manner of speaking.
Which is exactly what happens, after Director Min gives Doo Shik a top-secret mission, after which Doo Shik disappears.
It seems like Show is suggesting that Doo Shik had somehow gone rogue and assassinated Kim Il Sung, but it doesn’t seem likely, particularly from how we’ve seen Doo Shik to have a strongly humanistic streak in him.
In any case, it’s just as Director Min had hoped; Doo Shik does come back, because of Mi Hyun, and it’s moving and heartbreaking, in one.
It feels like such a callback to his tonkatsu delivery, when he arrives at Mi Hyun’s apartment window, and tells her that the reason he came back (despite knowing the dangers), is because he’d felt like he was going to die (without her).
Augh. It’s heartwrenching and so poignant, to see them cling to each other in such a desperate embrace, while armed agents are crashing through her door, and multiple sniper lasers are trained on his back.
Ryu Seung Ryong as Joo Won
When we first meet Joo Won, he mostly just comes across as Hee Soo’s affectionate but rather bumbling dad, but it really isn’t before long, that Show allows us to get to know Joo Won for himself.
I was very pleasantly surprised to grow as fond of Joo Won as I did; he really is all heart, and is so very loyal, to the people whom he cares about.
I came to think of him as a big ol’ teddy bear with a marshmallow heart, even though he’s also capable of a great deal of badassery.
E5-6. I find it interesting that Show hints, this pair of episodes, that Joo Won isn’t as bumbling as he might appear.
It’s in the way he low-key intimidates that gangster-ish customer of his, so that he doesn’t get bullied, and instead, the tables are turned, and Gangster Customer ends up overpaying him, and then selling him a secondhand phone for way under the asking price.
Also, there’s the way he deliberately causes that nick in the car paint, in order to force the police officers outside the building, so that he can find out more, through their conversation, about the crime that they’re investigating in the building.
Overall, I’m intrigued, and also rather tickled, that “Bumbling Dad” may just be a persona that Joo Won’s created, in order to stay safe, and he might actually be super shrewd and super badass. 😁
E7. Even though, last set of episodes, I’d concluded that Joo Won must have some shrewdness and badassery to him, from the way he’s able to turn the tables on Gangster Customer, his badassery still blew me away, when it was on full display, in confrontation with Frank.
In principle, it’s a thrilling concept all on its own; what happens when you pitch two people who have the power to heal themselves, against each other, in a fight to the death?
It sounds like such an intriguing set-up, in and of itself, because who’s going to win, and how, since both of them have the ability to heal themselves.
I had no idea how this was going to play out, and, while watching the face-off between Joo Won and Frank, I couldn’t help thinking of ways in which one might potentially be able to kill a self-healer. 😅
I’m surprised but also not surprised, when Joo Won prevails in the end, and Frank meets his abrupt end.
I’m surprised, because I’d originally thought that Frank would be around for the long haul, particularly since he’s a character who can’t seem to actually get hurt.
But I’m also not surprised, because it’s true that Frank isn’t the real enemy; he’s a victim, when you really look at it.
The real enemy is the organization that sent Frank in the first place, and it makes sense that our superpowered characters should take on that organization, rather than spend their efforts purely on fighting Frank.
“Joo Won’s still got it,” is what I was thinking, while watching the duel. I mean, for someone who’s been under the radar, and living a very normal daily life for the past many years, it’s extremely impressive, that he’s able to fight Frank with such confidence and skill.
There’s such a duality to him, I’m realizing, because, when the fight is over, he’s right back to being the heartfelt, doting dad that we’d first come to know – just with a blood-soaked shirt on his back, is all, as he gratefully eats the meal that his darling daughter had prepared for him.
I hafta say, I’m really growing quite fond of Joo Won, as we go.
E10. This episode, our focus is on Joo Won, and what a poignant arc this turns out to be.
I’d gotten the impression, from our early glimpses of Joo Won, that he’s a curious combination of dim yet badass, and this comes into play, so clearly, in this arc.
I feel for him, that he makes his living by allowing himself to be stabbed and hit, over and over again, pretty much.
He’s his boss’s go-to man, for taking down large groups of other gangsters, but really, the thing that makes Joo Won succeed, is because he’s able to get right back up again, when he’s been hurt.
Even though everyone seems to assume that he must not feel any pain, then, I do think he does.
I mean, he does wince from time to time, and that’s all I need, to come to the conclusion that although he heals every time, he also feels the pain inflicted on him, every time.
And, I do think that that’s why he’s developed such a strong sense of loyalty and affinity for his gangster brothers; he feels like he’s endured a lot of pain for them, and their connection and relationship must therefore mean a great deal.
To him, it’s a blood tie, not a commercial tie, and that’s why he’s so dogged in how he keeps trying to stick to the old ways, when his boss tries to butter up that other gang boss, Boss Jeon.
His loyalty is so pure and simple, that it hurts to see him get ostracized and then turned out of the gang, because his dogged loyalty has become a problem.
It’s horrible to see how the very person who’d been his loyal assistant, becomes the person who advises Boss Jeon exactly how to dispose of Joo Won, so that he won’t be able to heal himself.
For someone who’s as doggedly loyal as Joo Won, who clearly values these connections as if these people were his family, this has got to hurt so much.
I feel like the shock from the betrayal hurts him more than actually being tied up and dumped into the sea.
Poor, poor Joo Won.
Not only had his brothers betrayed him, the reality of who was trying to bully whom, was starkly different from what he’d been led to believe.
I can see why he would sink into a funk, and just float from day to day in that motel, paying his bills by getting run over on purpose, and then using the settlements for food and lodging.
E10. As an aside, it just feels pretty ironic to me, that in the end, the person who appears to eventually give Joo Won a new shot a life, is none other than Director Min – who tells Min Ki (whose life Joo Won was kind enough to spare) to use all means necessary, to track down Joo Won.
Doesn’t that feel kind of twisted, that both the person behind it, and the means employed, to get Joo Won that new shot at life, are so shady?
And yet, I do love the idea of Joo Won and Doo Shik being black ops partners, and so.. this is really kinda messing with my brain, somewhat. 😅
E13. The moment that sniffly guy Jo Rae Hyuk, whom we know as our current-day school principal, shows up, I’d had a bad feeling. That guy is never good news, is what I’ve learned so far. 😬
And he proves me right, by being spot-on with tracking their targets, but then advising Joo Won to hold back – so that the soldiers will basically die first, thus proving the need for someone with special powers, like Joo Won, to step in.
Ugh. I mean, I can see why that might make sense from a strategic perspective, but these are people’s lives that we’re talking about. It’s horrible that he’s talking about a plan that involves dispensing with a large number of soldiers, like it’s the most clever, amazing thing in the world.
I’m so glad that Joo Won refuses to cooperate with him, and charged in anyway, but it’s really kind of too late, because the soldiers are already dying, by the time Joo Won arrives on the scene.
It’s hard to watch this scene, honestly, because all the soldiers just keep dying, despite Joo Won’s best efforts to subdue the superpowered person that he’s up against, on other side.
I find it incredibly tragic, that all these lives are lost, because of the longstanding divide between North and South, and that even as the other superpowered guy makes his escape, he swears to seek revenge for the Republic.
I feel really bad for Joo Won, because this must be such a disillusioning experience for him, when he’d been longing to come back out into the field, for so long.
And, it’s such a sad experience for him too, because he can only watch, as the people whom he’s come to know, a little bit, all die in front of him.
Our Joo Won has such a tender heart; he’d leave the bullet in his arm, in order to remember the soldier who’d lent him his boots. And, he’d continue to wear those boots for what seems like months and months afterwards.
Such heartfelt remembrance, for someone whom he really barely knew.
I’d half thought that this would be enough to turn Joo Won off field work, but he really isn’t cut out for admin work, and I can see why he would choose to take up Director Min’s offer to lead a new team of superpowers, and go on missions.
At least this way, he feels gainfully employed, and in a space where he feels strong and capable.
I don’t know why I was surprised to see that Joo Won’s team is made up of the various people whom we’ve seen Frank delete.
I mean, I guess there couldn’t have been that many of them, so it makes sense that Joo Won could well have worked closely with the people who’d gotten deleted.
But it does now add a layer of poignance and urgency to the scene that we’ve seen in an earlier episode, where Joo Won saw that Naju (Kim Gook Hee) had been eliminated, because now we know that he’d known her personally.
Plus, there’s the thing where they’d worked on the same team, and so, Naju’s elimination does immediately point to potential danger coming Joo Won’s way.
Doo Shik & Joo Won
This was my favorite partnership, in this show.
First of all, I love the idea that Doo Shik and Joo Won are partners, with the younger Doo Shik being the sunbae, heh. Cute.
Second of all – and more importantly – I came away feeling like Doo Shik and Joo Won are so good together, that they’re kinda like platonic soulmates.
They have such similar values, and they just fit together, so well, as they complement each other with their respective strengths and abilities.
Plus, they just get each other, which I love. ❤️
E11. I was bracing myself for more violence, with the way Min Ki (Im Sung Jae) was approaching Joo Won to taunt him with that whale gun, so I was all kinds of relieved, when Doo Shik takes Min Ki out with a shot to the head.
I mean, I’m sure that Joo Won would have survived, because he’s a self-healer, but I’d seen him suffer so much by this point, that it felt like a great mercy, for Doo Shik to cut short the violence and suffering, and rescue Joo Won like that.
I feel like Doo Shik must have felt the same way; that Joo Won had suffered enough.
E11. It’s kind of twisted, how a big chunk of this violence and suffering, is the process through which Joo Won gets offered a fresh start in life.
I’m just glad that it’s over now, and he’s finally working together with Doo Shik.
I love that beat at the end of the episode, where Director Min gives all these complicated instructions for him and Doo Shik to maintain anonymity at all times with each other, and to never use their real names – and Doo Shik just flouts those rules, right away, and in Director Min’s face, by introducing himself by name, to Joo Won.
And, it’s so great that Joo Won takes his cue, and introduces himself by name too, right back at Doo Shik.
E13. In the wake of Doo Shik’s disappearance, we get to see how things go for Joo Won. And, it really is heartpinching to see how lost Joo Won is, without his partner.
I was confused for a while, at that shot of the gunshot scar on Joo Won’s arm, but then I realized that the reason there’s a scar there, is because he didn’t remove the bullet that he’d blocked, from Doo Shik’s gun.
He could have healed completely, just by removing the bullet, but he’d left it in there, to have something to remember Doo Shik by.
Guh. That’s so touching, isn’t it?
Kwak Sun Young as Ji Hee
I’ll be talking a lot more about Ji Hee in the next section, but I wanted to give her a quick shout-out, just for being her.
I love that Ji Hee’s a strong, independent woman who isn’t afraid to stand her ground, even when she’s faced with drunken, violent jerks.
And I love that she’s a compassionate person who’ll stop to help a stranger in need.
Ji Hee turns out to be a pretty darn awesome person, and I’m so glad that she’s the one who turns out to be the love of Joo Won’s life. 🥲
Joo Won & Ji Hee
The love story between Joo Won and Ji Hee really captured my heart.
I feel like in many ways, these two people are perfect for each other, even though they are so different, on the surface.
They understand each other, and it’s no exaggeration to say that these two literally save each other.
Such a wonderful, unlikely, perfect pair.
E10. I’m glad that Joo Won meets Ji Hee, because this connection feels refreshing for them both.
For Joo Won, this feels like possibly the first proper interaction he’s had with someone, since surviving the near-drowning, aside from answering the motel reception lady, when she nags him for his rent.
And for Ji Hee, this feels like the first time someone’s treated her with respect. In her own words, nobody talks to her in jondaemal, because she’s a coffee lady.
In fact, we see that customer saying that she owes it to him, to let him touch her, because he’s paid extra for delivery.
Joo Won is the only person who treats her with respect, and I do think that this will count for a lot, in terms of their burgeoning yet unlikely connection.
That moment when Joo Won gets lost trying to get back to the motel, and she stops for him, and he starts sobbing because he’s so lost, lands very poignant to my eyes.
To me, Joo Won isn’t just crying about being physically lost and not being able to find the motel; I feel that he’s weeping because he feels lost in life, and doesn’t know what to do and where to go. 💔
E11. Part of the reason I felt so much, and so hard, for Joo Won, is because Show takes the time to help me see beyond the “monster” label that he’s been saddled with.
He’s such a dorky, earnest, sincere teddy bear underneath that “monster” label, seriously.
The way he determines in his heart, to see Ji Hee again, and then proceeds to clean up his motel room, to make it as presentable as possible, before ordering coffee from the coffee shop, over and over again, until she actually gets assigned to deliver his coffee, is so earnest.
It’s so endearingly, really, to see him clean himself up, to be as neat and presentable as possible, for the coffee delivery. And I felt so bad for him, that a different lady showed up each time, to his gruff disappointment.
How awkwardly sweet, really, that he doesn’t let this deter him, and just keeps ordering coffee, until Ji Hee finally shows up. 🥲
He’s so quietly, awkwardly happy to see her, and he’s so sweetly polite to her, like she’s the most precious and important person in the world, aw.
You can just tell how anxious he is, to please her, and have her think positively about him, from the way he tries to make conversation, and hurries to put on the TV, just because she remarks that he didn’t put it on as he usually does.
SO endearing, honestly.
I also really like that he’s so earnest, in explaining himself to her. I don’t know if he even realizes it, but I do think that it’s helpful, because he’s helping her to understand him better, even if it’s in the little things.
Like why he likes martial arts novels (because they’re romances), and why he likes to watch Hulk Hogan (because he always wins), and why he likes to have the TV on as a matter of routine (because he’s claustrophobic).
It’s too bad that Ji Hee turns him down so decisively when he tries to buy a ticket, not to sleep with her, but to talk with her, because she thinks that he’s the sappy sentimental sort.
I’m glad, though, that the owner of the coffee shop tells Ji Hee that it’s most likely only because he thinks she’s special, because all the other coffee ladies who’d delivered coffee to his room, had come back really quickly.
YAY that Joo Won’s repeated failed coffee adventures actually yield this positive result, in helping Ji Hee to see for herself, that she’s special to him, and that he’s not that way with just anyone. 🥰
I do really enjoy that little highlight reel, of Ji Hee and Joo Won sitting down on the floor of his room, and chatting over coffee, over multiple coffee deliveries, and getting to know each other better.
In particular, the moment that stands out to me, is when Ji Hee asks why Joo Won doesn’t ask her how she’d ended up being a coffee lady and living this kind of lifestyle, and he simply answers, in his gruff, simple way, that she must’ve had a reason.
Such simple, unquestioning, unwavering, unconditional acceptance; it’s enough to make anyone’s heart waver, honestly. 🥲
Of course, all of that cozy safety starts to unravel, when that group of gamblers starts to go after Ji Hee, and of course Joo Won’s not going to stand for it, right, and that’s how the whole situation gets bigger and bigger, until he’s got Min Ki’s herd of men going after him, with Director Min as their shield.
The thing that strikes me about the whole thing, is just how dogged Joo Won is, when it comes to protecting Ji Hee.
I believe that he would literally do ANYTHING, if it meant he could keep Ji Hee safe.
And I’m touched that Ji Hee reciprocates that sentiment; she would – and she does – put herself in danger, in order to keep Joo Won safe, and it’s utterly touching to witness.
The two moments that stand out to me, in this regard, is how Ji Hee charges into that cordoned off neighborhood, in search of Joo Won, and how she literally yells at the gangsters, that she’s Joo Won’s girlfriend, to force him onto her scooter.
On a tangent, I love that moment on the scooter, when Joo Won admits to Ji Hee that he’s not a good person, and has even killed in the past.
The way Ji Hee replies, with a perfect echo of what he’d said to her before – that he must’ve had a reason – is just perfectly perfect. 🥲
This complete reciprocation of unconditional, unwavering acceptance is full of deep poignance and feels, and in this moment, I feel more sure than ever, that these two belong together.
And then, there’s that moment when that van hurtles towards their scooter, and Joo Won uses his entire body to shield Ji Hee as best as he can. The way he lays her head down on the ground, with the utmost gentleness, is so tender. You can just tell that she is very, very precious to him. 🥲
E11. I’m so, SO glad to see that Joo Won finds his way back to the coffee shop, to look for Ji Hee, and that Ji Hee is glad to see him, even though she’s waited six whole months for him to reappear.
Aw, YAY, that our teddy bear’s found his way back to his girl. Such earnest, dorky sweetness. Love. 🥰🥰
E13. Despite Joo Won’s sense of loss after Doo Shik’s disappearance, it makes me glad to see that he’s still very much got Ji Hee with him, and her warmth, support and presence basically makes all the not-ok things fade away, and causes his world to be happy – even if he’s in an admin job that he doesn’t actually like.
I really like how Ji Hee’s so tuned in to how Joo Won’s feeling, even though he’s relaxed and contented, in her presence.
Like, when he remarks that sometimes, he wishes that he could get drunk, she immediately picks up on the fact that work must have been tough for him.
And, even though he doesn’t actually say the words, she instinctively knows that this isn’t the work that he desires to do; that in his heart, he feels most at home, and most useful, out in the field.
I find it incredibly touching, that she puts his desires before her own, in the way she keeps comforting him with the words, “Do what you want to do,” while assuring him with her presence.
This, even though she knows that him going out into the field would actually put him in danger, put her in a place of worry – as well as take him away from her, for long periods at a time.
That’s just so, so pure, isn’t it?
And then, when Joo Won gets that opportunity to go back out into the field, with the situation involving North Korean spies, she keeps her word, and quietly lets him go, and then supports him by waiting for him to come home, even though many months go by.
That shot of all the meat in her freezer, meant for their monthly barbecue dinners, is so quick, but so poignant.
It tells me that a lot of time has passed; not just weeks, but months. And it also tells me that Ji Hee only wants to serve fresh meat to Joo Won during their barbecue dinner, to welcome him home.
That must be the reason she keeps buying fresh meat for barbecue, even though she already has a stash in the freezer, as she waits and hopes for him to come home.
E13. The scene that gets me most, this episode, is when Ji Hee breaks down and admits to Joo Won that she’s been wanting them to have a baby, but had felt unable to tell him about it, because she’d been afraid that it had been her fault – her past choices – that had prevented them from conceiving.
Guh. That really brought a lump to my throat, to hear Ji Hee articulate something that she’d held so close to her heart, with so much fear. 😭
I love that Joo Won turns right around, even though he’d been getting ready to leave, and gives her a big bear hug, and telling her he was sorry, before princess carrying her into their room, to make that baby together. 🥲
..And that’s how we get to see baby Hee Soo join the family, and start to grow, and join Ji Hee in bidding Joo Won goodbye at the door, with a smile and a wave. Aw.
It’s really quite poignant, because we can see that Ji Hee is still sad at sending Joo Won off into murky, dangerous territory, but she’s determined to keep supporting him, because that is what he wants to do.
It’s so, so very sad, when Show takes us to that point in the story that we’ve already been somewhat acquainted with; that fateful day when Ji Hee dies in that car accident, leaving Hee Soo behind.
My heart broke for Joo Won, to see him come back from his mission, and head straight to a public pay phone to call Ji Hee, only to be told that she’s died in a car accident.
The way Joo Won tears himself away from Hee Soo in the hospital, once he knows that she’s going to be ok, and then starts sobbing once he steps into the elevator, is so heartbreaking. 😭
It’s so hard to watch him bawl like a baby, not just in the elevator, but as he stumbles to the funeral hall, and then, when he’s trying to change into his mourning clothes. 💔
His pain and grief is so very raw and acute; I can imagine how hard it is for him to come to terms with the fact that Ji Hee’s gone.
Joo Won & Hee Soo
I do love the Papa Bear energy that we get from Joo Won, when it comes to Hee Soo.
Even though these two may not talk as much as some other father-daughter pairs, the mutual care, concern and love is very clear to see, and I really appreciated the various things they each did for the sake of the other.
And, it was also very heartening to see them bond in degrees, over the course of our story. 🥰
E5-6. Joo Won really makes it his life mission to give Hee Soo the safest, but also, most normal, best life possible, and that’s why he’s taken her on the run for so many years, and that’s also why he chooses to settle down, during her senior year of high school.
He has to do all this menial work, and yet, he’s always so good-natured and cheerful, and also, grateful, for everything.
And then, when Hee Soo gets into trouble for fighting the bullies, he doesn’t even reprimand her, even though the incident costs him the house he’d bought with his hard-earned savings, and puts him in a difficult position with the other kids’ parents.
All he does is encourage Hee Soo that she takes after her mom, in not being able to stand by and watch, when she sees injustice.
He’s such a good-hearted dad, and this context makes all of his bumbling efforts to run that chicken restaurant even more poignant and endearing.
E13. I do believe that Joo Won’s promise to take good care of Hee Soo, is not just his desire to do right by Hee Soo as her father, but also, his way of making it up to Ji Hee, for not having been there for her and the family, as much as they both would have liked.
This backstory really brings to life, for me, Joo Won’s relationship with Hee Soo, in a whole new way, and I want, more than ever, for them both to be safe and sound, as our present-day story continues to unfold.
E14. I’m not surprised that Joo Won would request to be taken off field work, after Ji Hee’s death.
Not only did the field work take him away from Ji Hee when she’d needed him most, there’s now also Hee Soo to think of.
It really is heartwarming and bittersweet at the same time, to see Joo Won and Hee Soo bonding so well, over ice cream and chores, as a matter of routine. 🥲
E14. Because Director Min now knows that Kang Hoon, who doesn’t have intellectual impairment like his father, has super strength, it’s a certainty, that Director Min is going to keep tabs on Kang Hoon, as he grows up.
This is the whole reason Joo Won immediately heads home, and packs up Hee Soo and a few belongings, and goes on the run.
He doesn’t want Hee Soo to be seen as a potential resource, and he absolutely doesn’t want her to be used by the NIS the way he’s been used by the NIS.
E14. I so love how we end off this episode, where Hee Soo tells Joo Won about the memory of Ji Hee, that she’s now remembered; that she’d smiled, because she knew that Hee Soo would not be hurt.
Joo Won’s just like the typical Asian parent, being all gruff on the surface after hearing that.
But the moment Hee Soo’s out of sight, Joo Won, with tears already in his eyes, is quick to turn his gaze downwards, and I can just feel, by looking at his back, that he’s having a little cry, and I feel that that little cry, is both out of relief, that Ji Hee had had something to smile about, in the face of death, and out of grief, because he still misses his Ji Hee as much today, as when he’d first lost her. 😭
Oof. My heart. ❤️🩹
Kim Do Hoon as Kang Hoon
I have to confess that I found Kang Hoon rather opaque, for a pretty good stretch of our story.
It took some time, before I was able to get a sense of what made him tick, and I’m glad to report that, in the end, I do think of him as a good kid.
In fact, my heart goes out to him, because he’s got way more on his shoulders than a kid his age should.
E1-2. Kang Hoon’s all studious and scholarly on the outside, but has super strength, which we see him demonstrate, when he beats up the Ki Soo, who was clearly trying to peep at Hee Soo while she took a shower.
We don’t know Kang Hoon very well, but the fact that he’s taking action to protect Hee Soo, makes me immediately think of him as one of the good guys.
E3-4. Even though I’ve mentally classified Kang Hoon as one of the good guys, because of how he protected Hee Soo from Ki Soo, I have to admit that there seems to be some kind of dark streak in Kang Hoon.
Not only does he beat up Ki Soo way more than is necessary to stop him from taking advantage of Hee Soo, there’s also an undercurrent of jealousy, directed towards Bong Seok, for being close to Hee Soo.
And there’s also how he does that jump, and smashes his hand into the wall, breaking off a handprint.
It feels like he wants to be seen, actually, when in fact, it’s safer for him to remain hidden, as someone with superpowers.
To my eyes, so far, it seems like he wants to be acknowledged. It also seems to me that he probably likes Hee Soo and that’s why he’s on edge about Hee Soo becoming close to Bong Seok.
E5-6. I’m glad that Kang Hoon has a moment of connection with Hee Soo, at the gym, when she returns his glasses to him, all cleaned up, and tells him that he did well.
It actually looks like it means a lot to Kang Hoon, and that makes my heart go out to him somewhat, because it feels like he’s been hungry for affirmation for a long time.
His desire to connection with Hee Soo is landing as kinda dorky, sometimes, and I did giggle a bit, at how he just throws out that random tidbit, that his dad owns a store too, before ducking hastily out of the gym.
Hahaha. Quite uncool, but also, rather relatable and endearing.
E15-16. Another bit of context that we get, is that Kang Hoon’s been scouted by Jo Rae Hyuk to work for the NIS, in exchange for wiping Jae Man’s criminal record.
Oh mannn. My heart goes out to Kang Hoon, because how horrible it must be, to have to basically sell himself to the NIS, to get the clean record for Jae Man that he’s always wanted. 💔
It’s kind of nice to see glimmers of happiness on Kang Hoon’s face, as he hangs out with Hee Soo a little bit, eating instant ramyun at the convenience store, which is her thank you to him, for saving her the other day.
It’s little moments like this that help me see that behind Kang Hoon’s stoic demeanor, he really yearns to feel accepted.
Jae Man & Kang Hoon
I just love-love-love the Papa Bear heart that Jae Man has for Kang Hoon.
You can just tell that Kang Hoon is Jae Man’s entire world, and every time we saw Jae Man giving of himself, in order to protect Kang Hoon, my heart would fill up and melt, at the same time. 🥲
This next spoiler section is more about Jae Man than about Kang Hoon, but I wanted to put it there anyway, because this demonstrates just how important Kang Hoon is, to Jae Man.
E14. This episode, we learn that Jae Man’s mildly intellectually disabled, but has a big heart, with big love for his little family.
I kinda love that in spite of his limitations, Jae Man is cheerful and positive about his life, and has a wife who really cares about him and appreciates him.
I also do love the kind and good-natured vibe he gives off, so effortlessly. I have to say, I find him endearing right away. His contentment in the little things makes my heart feel full, y’know?
I can also see how his super strength might prove to be a bit of a problem, because he’s a lot less likely to be able to control his impulse to use his super strength when he’s provoked.
..Which is how poor Jae Man ends up spending time in prison, sob.
The thing that really hits me hard about this, is, how he’s still so grateful and contented, after he’s released from prison.
He’s able to build a happy and loving relationship with Kang Hoon, even though he wasn’t present during Kang Hoon’s early years of life.
This feels like a precious second chance at life, for Jae Man, and that makes it even more tragic, to see how that eventually gets so seriously threatened.
It’s horrible and scary to see how Jae Man’s wife Yoon Young gets dragged into that violent demonstration pretty much against her better judgment, and how that escalates into a terrible situation, where Jae Man’s being hunted by the NIS. 😬
I found it really hard to watch the scene in the sewer, where Joo Won goes in on a mission to bring Joo Won out, and they face off in an extended, dramatic sort of fashion.
I can see that Joo Won’s not coming from a place of violence, in that, he does try to talk to Jae Man calmly, in an attempt to achieve his goal without having to use force, but with Jae Man being so anxious and upset, it’s not surprising at all, that Jae Man would refuse to go with Joo Won, even if it meant fighting him in a violent manner.
I felt so bad for both of them, while watching them fight, because the honest truth is, neither of them wants to fight.
Jae Man just wants to get home to Kang Hoon, and Joo Won just wants to get home to Hee Soo. The tragedy of it all. 😭
I was actually relieved when they started working together to save that little boy, even though the method must have been bone-crushing for Joo Won (eep), as they literally hacked through concrete, to get to the trapped little kid.
I’m so, so glad and relieved, honestly, that Joo Won makes the choice to let Jae Man go, even though that’s in direct defiance of his orders.
SPOTLIGHT ON EPISODE 12 [SPOILERS]
E12. This is the episode where a lot of Show’s previously laid ground finally comes together, and like I mentioned earlier, I’m just really impressed at how well it all fits together, from the big strokes, to the small details. 🤩
I wasn’t completely sure where Show was going, with the way we open the episode with Doo Shik and Joo Won in Russia, but it soon became clear to me, that this was Show’s way of familiarizing us with the partnership dynamic between them.
We also learn Doo Shik’s recurring soundbite to Joo Won, to just do as they’ve always done – which means that Joo Won covers things on the ground, while Doo Shik takes care of things from the air.
I felt bad for Joo Won, when we see that Doo Shik repeatedly does things like leave him behind to find his own way back, after a mission, but it’s also clear that there’s a lot of mutual appreciation and respect in the equation, like in the way Doo Shik allows Joo Won to use his father’s pocket knife to remove the various shards in his arm, after a mission.
They definitely have a signature vibe going on, and this becomes so important, to the portion of this episode, when we revisit Doo Shik’s arc with Mi Hyun, which Show had previously left off, at the end of episode 9.
I love the idea that because Doo Shik and Joo Won have so much history together, it’s almost like they’ve got their own code language.
Like when Doo Shik tells Joo Won to get a cup of coffee, like they always do, it’s actually a double message, of 1, asking Joo Won to head to the coffee vending machine, because that’s where Mi Hyun would go to seek him out, and 2, giving Joo Won the heads-up, that they will be in mission mode soon – because that’s always been the context of his instruction, to just do as they’ve always done.
And, I love that we get the context too, that in that moment when Doo Shik had come to Mi Hyun’s window, he’d given her specific instructions, to threaten him with his gun, and also, to give Joo Won that pocket knife.
He really has thought through the whole thing, in order to come back and create a show, in order to free Mi Hyun from suspicion and surveillance.
To him, it’s completely worth taking the risk, and coming back and creating a ruckus on multiple levels, in order to reset the situation, to make a safer reality for Mi Hyun.
It’s such a dangerous, loving thing for him to do, and I find the feels quite overwhelming. 🥲
And the only reason this works, is because both Mi Hyun and Joo Won have implicit trust in Doo Shik.
Neither of them questions his instructions; they just do exactly as they understand his instructions, and this is what causes his plan to succeed, in the end.
I love that Mi Hyun completely understands why Doo Shik is doing this, and how it’s all for her, even as he aims his gun in her direction.
And I love that Joo Won, despite his oftentimes slightly dim sensibilities, is so sharp and quick on the uptake, when it comes to working in tandem with Doo Shik.
The way he takes that bullet in his arm, because he understood Doo Shik’s code, that he should do exactly as they always do, and also, because he knew exactly where Doo Shik would aim, is just utterly moving, to me. 🥲
And, I have to admit, I got a morbid kick out of seeing Director Min hanging unceremoniously from that tree, where Doo Shik had left him. Muahaha. So undignified. Serves him right, for being so unscrupulous, heartless and evil.
After that, it’s poignant to watch Mi Hyun carry on with life, while still very much wistful for Doo Shik to come back to her.
The way she develops a habit of looking up at the sky, is so telling; it feels like the sky is more real to her, than her actual surroundings.
And then, when Doo Shik comes back to her on foot, I got such a thrill, to see that Mi Hyun recognizes him by his footsteps, long before she actually sees him.
Ahhh. She never forgot a single detail about him!
It’s so touching too, that Doo Shik’s never forgotten anything that’s transpired between them, including how he’d told her that he’d like to show her what the world looks like from the air, when it’s covered with fresh snow.
How fantastic, that he fulfills that promise right away, and takes Mi Hyun on a ride in the sky, to share that view with her, which he’d first mentioned to her, so many moons ago. 🥲
After that, it’s so great to see Doo Shik and Mi Hyun live the simple farmer life, with their newborn, Bong Seok.
Ahhh. Such cozy, young family vibes. 🥰
It feels like such a precious respite from their undercover agent lives, to be able to live like normal people, with a normal little family. 🥲
Of course, it’s not completely normal, especially when Bong Seok starts to float when he’s happy, but it’s as close to normal as they will ever get, and I love this, for them.
I love that we finally get to see the context around Bong Seok’s dream memory, where he’d floated above the clouds on his own, and Doo Shik had flown out there, to find him.
That moment when Doo Shik finds him, and holds him while comforting him, is so, so precious.
But of course, with Director Min coming back into the picture, determined to restart the special department, this cozy bubble comes under threat soon enough. Sob.
I really do appreciate, though, that in the end, it’s their superpowers that end up saving the day.
It’s because of Mi Hyun’s super hearing, that they know that they are surrounded by armed agents.
And it’s because of Doo Shik’s ability to fly, that he’s able to distract them all so well, creating the opportunity for Mi Hyun to escape with Bong Seok.
I loved that moment when Doo Shik says in that low voice, “Now” while he’s suspended in mid-air, and Mi Hyun receives his message loud and clear, thanks to her super senses being trained on him, and that’s how she manages to leave at the exact safe moment, with Bong Seok in tow. 🥲
It’s very poignant to think that, after this moment, so many years pass, with no sign of Doo Shik, but I’m holding on to hope, that Doo Shik’s going to keep his promise and find Mi Hyun and Bong Seok, just like he said he would.
Plus, if he’d come back to her once before, I’m sure that he’ll do it again, even if it takes longer than either of them had expected.
SPOTLIGHT ON EPISODES 17-18 [SPOILERS]
E17-18. This was such a strong set of episodes, especially considering that we are in the penultimate stretch, which is infamous for typically being angsty, draggy and not much fun to watch at all.
I mean, yes, some of the stuff isn’t easy to watch, but I was completely glued to my screen the whole time, and there was no point at which I felt like, “Man, this is such a drag, when will it be over?”
Not. At. All.
And that just goes to show just how well-written and well-executed this drama is. So good. 🤩
One of the big highlights for me, this pair of episodes, is seeing Doo Shik on my screen again. 🤩🤩
For a key character, we’ve really seen quite little of him, haven’t we?
So it felt nice to see, in flashback, him telling Mi Hyun about how he’d been scared of flying and falling, in the beginning, and then had realized that flying well is basically the same as falling well – which is something that Mi Hyun then passes on to Bong Seok.
That’s so great, really, that there’s something so important and useful, that Mi Hyun is able to pass on to Bong Seok, because who else would be able to teach him about flying, but his own dad, right?
And, this pair of episodes, BONG SEOK DOES FLY!!!
Oh my goodness, I was sooo thrilled to see him fly, finally, and particularly because his reason for flying, is because he is worried about Hee Soo and wants to get to her, to protect her.
I mean, yes, I found it chilling that Scary Dude (Yang Dong Geun) manages to follow Hee Soo and Bong Seok to that gym, and then proceeds to lock himself in the gym with Hee Soo, the moment Bong Seok steps out to go to the convenience store, and then proceeds to “test” her abilities.
Ugh. That was hard to watch, even though I already knew that Hee Soo would be able to heal from it. 🙈
ALSO, I hadn’t been certain of it before, but I am SO STOKED to realize that Bong Seok not only has Doo Shik’s flying abilities, he’s also go Mi Hyun’s super senses, and that’s why he’s able to hear Hee Soo reacting to Scary Dude’s testing.
I love – love, love, LOVE – how Bong Seok swoops in through the gym window (by crashing through it, no less), and grabs Hee Soo mid-fall, in a princess-carry, and then proceeds to fly around the gym, until he finds a way to land gently.
YOU DID IT, BONG SEOK!!! I’m so proud. 🥲
It’s only something I’ve been waiting for, all series long, and this met all of my hopes and expectations, and then some. SO GREAT. 🤩
Of course, given that both Bong Seok and Hee Soo are just amateurs who’ve never been trained in field work, it’s understandable that they aren’t very successful at pitting themselves against Scary Dude – at least for a while.
That moment, though, when Bong Seok figures out how to disarm Scary Dude by pinning his arms and legs with his own, and then gets Hee Soo to deliver the final blow, with that kettle bell, is so great. *fist pump*
Over at the school, I continue to be impressed with Mi Hyun’s cool badassery, even when the odds aren’t always in her favor.
The way she gets rid of Cleaning Lady and Scarface is really impressive, especially considering that she hasn’t been an active field agent for so long. You’d never guess it, based on her sharpshooting skills, her quick reflexes, and her ability to think well and fast, on her feet.
I am in awe. 🤩
I do feel really bad for the various students who are still on school grounds, while all this stuff is going down.
I feel like Byul is the most pitiable one, because she’s pretty much completely innocent. The only reason she’s on school grounds, is because the gates were open, and she wanted to get her memory card back.
The poor thing’s so traumatized that she can’t stop herself from screaming and screaming, the moment she sees Ki Soo.
I feel less bad for Ki Soo, because he’d purposely hidden himself, in order to snoop around the teacher’s room after hours, but I do still feel bad for him, because he isn’t actually involved in this – and yet gets beaten up by Scarface, who tries to test him, assuming he’s one of the gifted kids.
And then there’s Kang Hoon, who encounters Boulder Guy (Jo Bok Rae), and is blindsided by Boulder Guy’s attack.
I’d imagined that Kang Hoon would be more able to protect himself, but I suppose he hasn’t actually been trained in combat or anything.
He just has super strength and super speed, which, when pit against a North Korean agent with exactly the same superpower but lots more training and field experience, puts him at a distinct disadvantage, as we quickly see.
I’m actually kind of relieved that Kang Hoon takes that call from Mom, who then quickly tells Jae Man that Kang Hoon seems to be in trouble, which sets Jae Man speeding off to the school, to save Kang Hoon.
Aw, I can’t help but be very touched by Jae Man’s singleminded love for Kang Hoon, which is all patient love and protective, fiery passion. 🥲
I have no doubt that Jae Man will do everything in his power to save Kang Hoon, but.. I’m also a little worried for him, because he’s not a trained agent either, and I don’t want him to get hurt, going up against those North Korean agents.
As for Joo Won, I’d kind of expected that he would be ultra effective and efficient in dealing with the North Korean agents, but I guess I hadn’t factored in the thing about the NK agents having superpowers too, and outnumbering Joo Won. 😬
It was really hard to watch Joo Won get bashed in the head over and over and over again, until his features actually cave in, ack. 🥴
And, given how Joo Won typically self-heals reasonably quickly, it was also quite alarming to see that Joo Won doesn’t actually self-heal for quite a while, while lying there in his own blood. 😭
I’m just relieved that, in the end, Joo Won does heal and brush himself off, in response to Mi Hyun’s call, where she tells him desperately, that she really needs him, and they need to protect their children.
Yes, of course Teddy Bear Dad would do anything for his Hee Soo.
Through all of this, we also finally, finally get information about what had happened to Doo Shik, after he’d been taken away, that fateful day that agents had stormed their little farm.
I have to say, that whole scene of Doo Shik singlehandedly infiltrating that North Korean establishment, in flashback, is very impressive.
There’s really a sense of scale to the scene, and Doo Shik looks so coolly badass, taking down so many NK soldiers, all on his own.
The way he consistently shoots at that spot which we’ve seen him practice, so that he doesn’t hurt them fatally, even while he’s on such a dangerous one-man mission, says a lot about his sense of humanity, I feel.
And, the way he gets to the Supreme Leader’s bedroom and just stops short of actually shooting him, makes me think that his mission had been to assassinate the man, but then he’d changed his mind, when he saw how frail and weak his target was.
Again, this shows Doo Shik’s sense of humanity, so so clearly.
It’s just too bad that Director Min orders Doo Shik to go back once again, after Doo Shik is apprehended off his farm – and then Doo Shik ends up being captured in North Korea, when he comes up against superpowered agents like Scary Dude.
Dang. They were prepared for him this time.
They must have been on their guard all the time, ever since the day Doo Shik first infiltrated the place. That’s.. quite mindboggling, honestly.
My big question around this, right now, is where is Doo Shik??
He’s.. alive, I hope..? 🙈
Show also gives us some context for some of our North Korean agents, and it’s quite scandalizing to me, actually, that Show would portray the North Koreans as forcing their men to jump off cliffs, at gunpoint, in order to find the ones with latent superpowers.
Ack. That’s horrible, and I can’t help thinking what folks from North Korea would think, watching this.
(I know they’re technically not allowed to watch kdrama in North Korea, but apparently people get their hands on contraband, somehow. Plus, there are those who’ve defected from North Korea to South as well; I wonder what they would think, watching this..? 🙈)
Putting that aside, I do appreciate how Show injects humanity into some of our characters, like how we see Park Hee Soon’s character, listed as Deok Yoon, shedding tears, even as he carries out the order.
And there’s also how Scary Dude is the sole survivor of the cliff jump, but looks anything but scary, as he cries that he doesn’t want to be an elite agent.
It’s sad how he ends up having no choice but to submit to the order, because he knows that if he doesn’t, his family’s safety would be threatened. 💔
(And yet, here I am, gleefully expectant at how Bong Seok and Hee Soo have subdued Scary Dude. This show sure pulls my feelings in many different directions! 😅)
As we close out this pair of episodes, with backstories all fleshed out in every possible direction, it feels like, I find that I do feel for many of our characters, even the antagonists from North Korea, because they don’t even really want to be here, like Scary Dude, for example.
The enemy, as I see it, is the establishment on both sides, and I would rather have our superpowered agents turn their powers and skills to take down the establishments that have tormented them for so long, instead of fighting each other.
Is that too much to hope for, as we head into the finale?
My other ask, of course, is that we see Doo Shik again, pretty please with cherries and sprinkles on top?
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
I have to say that this was a really, really good finale – even though I didn’t get everything single thing that I’d hoped for, by the time I got to the finish line.
All series long, Show’s been weaving all these various threads, and taking time to extend each thread in a meaningful way, before starting to pull everything together.
In our penultimate stretch, we already see Show pulling everything together, but it’s really only in this finale, where we see with proper clarity, the picture that Show was painting, all along.
And that picture, I realize, is surprisingly full of pathos, even as Show amps up the levels of violence, for our finale.
The pathos really comes from the way Show takes the trouble to give us the backstories of our various characters, including the so-called “bad guys” that our guys are fighting against.
This definitely worked to humanize the “bad guys” in my eyes, and, watching the backstories, it really hit home for me, that it’s really a very tragic thing, that our superpowered team is fighting against the North Korean superpowered team.
There’s so much pain and bloodshed everywhere, when all of our superpowered characters are actually victims of the system.
The real baddies are the respective establishments that have exploited these superpowered characters, for the supposed “greater good,” and that sad, tragic thought was the strong undercurrent underpinning my watch of this entire finale. 💔
I think the backstory that hit me the most, this finale, is the one where we see why Sunglasses Guy Jae Seok wears sunglasses to begin with.
How tragic and horrible, that he’d grown up in that dark dungeon, because his father had been accused of being a traitor.
Oof. Through no fault of his own, he’d suffered mentally, emotionally and physically, while living in the dungeon, only to suffer even more, when his superpower was discovered and deemed useful, and he was taken out of the dungeon.
That small act of kindness, where fellow superpowered agent Yong Deuk, puts sunglasses on him, knowing that his eyes can’t tolerate the light, and then tells him that he’ll be fine now, really got to me.
To my eyes, this lands as them having so little, but taking so much comfort in the small things.
And, even though we don’t really get a lot more context for their relationship, it’s clear to see that Jae Seok and Yong Deuk share a bond that runs deep; the way Jae Seok tells Yong Deuk to live, and the way Yong Deuk cries at having to leave Jae Seok there, as he dies, really brings that home for me.
At the same time, through it all, I couldn’t help but root for our guys to prevail, because, even though I felt sorry for the North Korean characters, and understood that they were victims themselves, I also absolutely didn’t want them to kill the characters that I’d grown attached to.
I cheered when Jae Man showed up to save Kang Hoon, because poor Kang Hoon really looked like he was in serious danger of being actually killed.
I love how the Papa Bear vibe is so strong with Jae Man, and I love how passionately protective he is, of his baby boy.
I’m really glad that both Jae Man and Kang Hoon come out of it alive, and I love just as much, that their relationship is properly mended, with the way Kang Hoon tells Jae Man that he doesn’t want to be distant from him anymore. Aw. Sniffle. 🥲
That’s something that I’ve been waiting for, all series long, and I felt so glad for both Jae Man and Kang Hoon, when it finally happened. 🥲🥲
Another great moment, for me, was to see Bong Seok swooping in there, and saving Mi Hyun from being shot by Scary Dude.
I’ve also been waiting, all series long, for Bong Seok to have his superhero moment, and even though there are other superhero moments that we get, like when he swoops in to save Hee Soo, but given how Mi Hyun’s been protecting him all his life, this felt like a definitive moment, when the roles are reversed, and now, he’s the one protecting Mi Hyun.
Of course, Mi Hyun’s still a protective Mama Bear, and therefore she tries to protect Bong Seok right back, so in the end, it’s a good thing Bungaeman Gye Do goes rogue with his bus once again, because he arrives just in time to save both Mi Hyun and Gye Do from Scary Dude.
The moment that really gets me though, is when, afterwards, Bong Seok takes Mi Hyun on his back and flies off, which is such a great mirror of how Mi Hyun had once taken Bong Seok on her back, to get him to safety.
So. Beautiful. 🥲
Another great moment, for me, was that scene where Hee Soo comes across Yong Deuk, all bloody and crying, and she stops to comfort him.
What an incongruent sight, given that Yong Deuk’s actually part of the team that had, just minutes ago, been trying to kill Joo Won.
It’s so pure, though, isn’t it?
In this moment, context doesn’t matter to Hee Soo; all she sees is another human who’s hurting, and she cannot help but stop and comfort him. 🥲
It feels oddly perfect, somehow, that, time-skip (and high school graduation) later, we see that Yong Deuk’s actually working for Joo Won in his fried chicken shop.
I find it endearing that Hee Soo addresses Yong Deuk as “Samchon” (Uncle), because this makes me feel like she’s become the family that he never had. 🥲
And, we even get glimpses of Bong Seok being an actual Superman, flying into burning buildings to save people, and ending up as some sort of urban legend.
I’m disappointed that we don’t actually get to see Bong Seok and Hee Soo reunite, though; that is the one big thing that I wanted, that Show didn’t give me.
I’m rationalizing that there’s a possibility that Bong Seok and Hee Soo are in contact, since the butcher shop lady seems to be in touch with Mi Hyun.
I’m also rationalizing that even if that isn’t the case, that surely – surely! – Bong Seok and Hee Soo will find their way back to each other, especially since they now know that their feelings for each other are mutual.
ALSO. Isn’t it poetic and meaningful, that Hee Soo’s taken a bullet for Bong Seok in her arm, exactly like how her dad and done for his mom? And the fact that she keeps it in her arm, to remember him by, just like how Joo Won had done for Doo Shik, is so meaningful too.
I take this to mean that Hee Soo will be reunited with Bong Seok in time, just like how Joo Won was also reunited with Doo Shik, given time.
It feels fitting that we see our various agents on both the North and South sides, take steps against the establishment that’s been exploiting them.
Scary Dude shoots his superior; Joo Won, er, “takes care” of Jo Rae Hyuk; Doo Shik, released from prison by Scary Dude, shoots Director Min.
Of course, this does create a bit of mental dissonance, because – in my head, at least – our heroes are good guys, and good guys don’t go around murdering people.
But Mi Hyun’s words sum it up perfectly; I can see how our perfectly goodhearted heroes would turn into “monsters” when they deem it necessary, in order to protect their kids.
And that’s exactly what they’re doing, in killing these key people within the establishment.
Of course, Show’s epilogue demonstrates that it’s going to take much more than a few killings to take down the establishment, and I think that if we get a Season 2, that this would be the springboard.
ALSO. What is this tidbit, where we see Hye Won, the bullied girl whom Hee Soo had helped, turn out to be a higher-up within the NIS???
Woahhh. I didn’t see that coming. 😳
I’m pretty sure that could turn into a key plot point if/when we do get Season 2.
In the meantime, though, I’m so, so glad to see Doo Shik finally reunited with his family.
Yes, of course I wish we could’ve had more time seeing them together as a little family, but at the same time, that silent, tearful reunion on the rooftop, amid Mi Hyun’s purple curtains (which I thought were such a great touch) is just perfect. 🥲🥲
And, finally, I’m so comforted and glad, really, that Joo Won is able to look at Ji Hee’s picture, and answer her question, with a smile, that this story does indeed have a happy ending. 🥲
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Compelling, absorbing and engaging.
FINAL GRADE: A+
The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Moving, is The Worst Of Evil [Korea]. I’ve taken an initial look at The Worst Of Evil and I’m happy to say that I’m enjoying it quite a bit more than I’d expected to.
You can check out my E1-2 notes on The Worst Of Evil on Patreon here.
Here’s an overview of what I’m covering on Patreon right now (Tier benefits are cumulative)!
Foundation Tier (US$1): Entertainment tidbits + the first set notes of all shows covered on Patreon (that’s 2 episodes for kdramas and 4 episodes for cdramas)
Early Access (US$5): +A Time Called You [Korea]
Early Access Plus (US$10): +My Journey To You [China]
VIP (US$15): +Twinkling Watermelon [Korea]
VVIP (US$20): +The Worst Of Evil [Korea]
Ultimate (US$25): +Lost You Forever [China]