7 August 2013

WHO ARE YOU: Episode 3 & 4 Review

KOREAN DRAMA REVIEW: Who Are You Episode 3 & 4 (2013)

Okay I am officially loving this show now.
Please don't let me down show. You can do it. Be awesome. Fighting!

This weeks mystery was particularly creepy and interesting, a young woman ghost confronting Shi On in the Lost Property Room when she goes in to retrieve a metal briefcase.
Someone had rung up the police station in a panic, asking Shi On and Gun Woo to stay open later than usual in order for him to come by and pick up the case (Gun Woo's reaction to staying late was pretty funny). This situation is already a little suspicious in itself, but when the owner arrives and is clearly homeless, Shi On figures out there is something wrong with this scene. Add into this a ghost that looks just so freaking sad, frost rising from her body and her lips a cold steely blue, wearing a long black trenchcoat and just being generally terrifying, and what you have is an exciting new mystery of the week.

Of course the ghost follows Shi On around incessantly appearing at her home, in the office and on the street, until Shi On is screaming at her to leave, even resorting to visiting a local Shaman whom she asks for help. Apparently the only true way to stop ghosts from attaching themselves to you is by ignoring them.... hhhm.
Well no one said this was rocket science after all.

The scene where Shi On runs out of her home terrified wearing only her inside slippers is particularly creepy, Gun Woo happening to spot her getting onto a local bus just minutes after he dropped her home. Suspicious and also possibly worried for her sanity,  he follows Shi On in his car as she travels out into the countryside accompanied, unbeknownst to him, by the young frozen ghost.
It is so disturbing watching the dead woman use a young school girl as bait, constantly touching the unaware teenager so that she is shivering with discomfort, all in a bid to ensure that Shi On will follow her as far as she needs to go just to stop the ghost attaching herself to an innocent.
This ghost looks so horrifyingly sad, but boy is she not messing around.

Shi On follows the ghost off the bus and down a dark country lane which is beyond creeeepy. Gun Woo thinks so too and so follows behind her to find out what the hell she is doing out there is the middle of nowhere all alone. When Shi On realises he is there she gets the fright of her life, poor woman, but ignoring his questions, she begins digging up a patch of freshly turned ground to reveal...... a fucking hand! Eeek!

Both her and Gun Woo are beyond shocked at this horrible discover (possibly Gun Woo a little more as he had no idea what was happening) and in terror Shi On slowly looks up at the ghost who is again standing nearby, still looking as if she may start crying any moment. Shi On's eyes travel down the girl's face to her trenchcoat, running down the lengths of her sleeves to reveal that one of her hands are missing. Oh my gosh this poor ghost has literally been chopped up! This is so hardcore!

When a Crime Scene Team turns up the next morning and asks Shi On what she was doing out here in the middle of the night she is at a loss for words, but Gun Woo steps in with some ridiculous story about night exercising to cover for her. It is a pretty cool thing for him to do considering their professional relationship is already hanging from a thread, especially since she has refused to explain to him why she felt the need to go out there and start digging. I guess he thought she might be a bit more open with him if he stuck his neck out for her but this is not the case, and her ongoing refusal to explain herself infuriates him.

Gun Woo isn't stupid and he knows that something is going on. Shi On twice now has 'just been lucky' as she puts it, coming across and solving some very serious murder cases out of nowhere and both times he has absolutely no idea how she has done it. After a huge fight in the storage room (Shi On has decided to search all the bags in there which is against protocol) Gun Woo asks her to transfer him elsewhere, saying he can no longer work with her, which leads to two of my favourite lines in the whole episode:

Gun Woo lamenting to himself how crazy his life has become: 'Your life has turned into an acorn jelly.'

And also the new idol intern who has joined the office for his Military Service, talking to another intern about being forced to spend time with Gun Woo on a night out:  'I almost vomited I was so bored!'

Those lines right there are just two more reasons why I watch Korean Dramas! I dunno if the subtitles are taking liberties but I really love coming across cultural sayings such as these in dramas that sound so odd and fantastic to my non-Korean ears.

So anywaaay.... Gun Woo heads back to the office late at night after the fight, meaning to possibly do some paperwork but basically just falling asleep on the couch (they have a couch, I wish my office had a couch.) Shi On comes in even later to find him still lying there, dead to the world. Her reaction is actually rather interesting in that she picks up his pathetic attempts at paperwork (there is a round melted plastic ring on the binder because of a noodle pot and she remarks he will never get promoted with these skills. Ha!) and looks at him in an exasperated but also rather amused sort of way. She doesn't seem annoyed at him at all, even with all his words of wanting to leave her, and after a few 'tsk tsk' glances at his sleeping form, she sits down to quietly complete all his work for him.
I guess Shi On is so wrapped up in her own private world right now, obviously a secret world that she can't ask anyone else to share in or help her with, which isolates her greatly from those around her and makes her keep everyone at arms length. But even so I think she does recognise that Gun Woo is a good person, for all his bickering, and that she can rely on him when it really counts. She just doesn't seem the type to hold any grudges due to him wanting to leave, because I guess she can fully understand why he would want to. I get the impression she would let him go if he wanted, so I don't think she is particularly attached to him yet or anything, but she also literally doesn't have anyone else at all, which means she is attached to him in her own way just by him being the person whom she spends most of her time in the whole world. Which is a very sad reality really, because in saying that she really isn't all that close to him at all.
She must be so lonely.

When Gun Woo wakes up the next morning he finds Shi On asleep on his completed paperwork, and through a set of silly (but totally fun and awesome) Korean Drama Circumstances, he ends up kind of on top of her as she sleeps, right when Idol intern arrives to the office for the day. Ha!
Cuteness aside, our two officers hear that a foot (ugh) has been found in a quarry by a construction worker and they head to the morgue to check it out. Unfortunately for them there is a new Prosecutor on the case, and this guy is the sharp and no-nonsense type (due to a disappearing fiance...oh hello!) and he feels like they are trying to encroach on his territory. Being the lowly Lost and Found cops that they are, he tells Shi On and Gun Woo to get the hell out, and just when Shi On is getting all fired up to lash out a cutting retort for his rudeness the Prosecutor's face flickers momentarily, being replaced by the ghost girl's.
Oh, so creepy!
When Shi On spies the dead woman standing in a dark corner of the room, the first thing she does is slowly look down at the girl's feet......

Aaaaargghhh, but they aren't there! yuck yuck.

Episode 2:

Immediately Shi On begins to suspect the Prosecutor, and to be honest he is pretty shifty.  Especially when Shi On follows the missing fiance lead to discover that the missing girl is none other than frozen ghost! She of course immediately confronts him (Late at night. All alone. At his house) because that is just the sort of hardcore girl she is, and she catches sight of his mother before coming face to face with Shifty Prosecutor himself. Getting quite aggressively angry at her, Shifty Prosecutor makes himself even more suspicious by threatening that if he sees Shi On poking around again he won't leave her alone.
But Shi On just smiles at him mockingly and leaves.

Wow, this girl! I am not sure if she is fearless because she feels she has nothing left to lose, (or maybe because ghosts are just waaaay scarier than humans) or if she is just always this genuinely persistent in her investigation techniques, but whatever it is I am really liking it. She is such a strong and capable female lead, and I love the direction her character is taking, with her no fuss approach to danger and office politics, and her fearless nature during investigations. She is still vulnerable and realistic enough to relate to and sympathise with, but she is also not at all a useless bumbling lead who constantly needs saving. She just quietly goes about her business, solving her mysteries and being awesomely brave when faced with truly horrible situations.
Of course I understand her resolve will falter considerably when faced with the truth about her past and her dead lover, but that is just another character journey that I am excited to see, because becoming weaker in the face of horrifying circumstances such as those, or needing to depend on someone else (Gun Woo) to help her get through them,  is not really a weakness in my mind but more of a realistic approach to a very human reaction against horror and grief. As I have said before, being vulnerable isn't being weak and becoming weighed down and confused by your very serious problems does not make you a stupid useless female lead.

So, meanwhile Gun Woo has been asked to join the investigation team under Shifty Prosecutor whilst he waits for his transfer to come through. He is incredibly pleased  (even though he affects nonchalance) when Shi On tells him he has been selected because of his experience and his involvement with finding the first body part. (Eeew...body part.)  
But being part of the team is a little harder than Gun Woo expected and he is treated like a general nuisance by everybody, whatever he says or suggests being immediately shut down by Shifty Prosecutor as naivety or coincidence. 
But of course it turns out Gun Woo is totally right and so he ignores Shifty Prosecutor and begins his own separate investigation into the homeless man who first took the suitcase, even coming up with a suspect.

And it doesn't take Gun Woo long to find out from his Mentor friend (who is clearly totally evil, right?) that he wasn't exactly requested for the team, more like Shi On put him forward for the position with glowing recommendations, a discovery that makes Gun Woo feel sincerely guilty about his past words telling her he didn't want to work with a crazy woman.  He is also obviously quite touched by the fact that Shi On has gone out of her way to help him. 

When he sees her later it is clear he is already having second thoughts about transferring, possibly only because of his feelings of guilt, but I also get the impression he is beginning to feel a strange sense of loyalty towards this quiet and constantly surprising woman. When he drops Shi On off home after work late one night, Gun Woo is about to leave only to hear sounds of a struggle coming from her apartment. He bursts in to find two masked men attacking Shi On (who by the way is totally attacking them back because she is awesome). He immediately jumps into the fray to protect her but has a knife drawn on him behind his back, an almost fatal stab that Shi On blocks with her hands, getting her a (tiny tiny) scratch on her arm. 
The men take off before the officers can catch them, which leaves Gun Woo staring at Shi On's bloody arm in dismay. He seems a little taken aback by they way she saved him from the knife, as well as her calm and collected reaction to being attacked in her own home. He helps bandage her up and she then tells him to go home, but Gun Woo understandably isn't keen to leave her all alone, and I also get the feeling he is beginning to feel rather protective of her, maybe even more so because she seems so capable and in control all the time, never asking anyone for help.

It is pretty hilarious seeing the way Gun Woo easily makes himself comfortable on her couch, throwing all the cushions away onto the floor casually and refusing to leave. Shi On is a little exasperated but she lets him do his thing. When Gun Woo finds out she has no family left at all he finds himself once again worrying, but Shi On is not having a pity party and instead brings up the fact that she is sure the body parts belong to the Shifty Prosecutor's missing fiance, which just makes Gun Woo scoff. 
After all how could she possibly know such a thing? 
The next day Gun Woo leaves his fake gun and a note saying Shi On should use it to protect herself (...but just remember not to actually shoot it) which makes her smile. So sweet!

When the ghost next appears to Shi On she is decidedly less frozen, in fact she is burning, her face scrunched up in grief stricken agony. Its just so horrible because I can totally see where this is leading....

Shi On follows the ghost to a crematorium (gross) and saves the dead woman's corpse from being destroyed just in time, using Gun Woo's fake weapon.  
Gun Woo also turns up at the scene having followed hard evidence, and arrests the culprit along with his investigation team.  And he is more than a little shocked to find Shi On already there, unable to once again explain how she knew where to go.  I love their bickering in the car, Gun woo asking her what exactly she expected to do with the fake gun (dude, you gave it to her!) and Shi On attempting to avoid his questions about why she was at the scene. They have a really great light dynamic that works so well as a counterbalance to the other darker aspects of this show, a relationship angle which has been really well thought out and fits perfectly into the concept of this show.
And of course poor Gun Woo is getting more and more intrigued against his will, drawn into Shi On's mystery's in a way that means he will never be satisfied until he knows the truth. 

With the case solved (Shifty Prosecutor's mum is totally insane and overly involved in her son's love-life resulting in murder....controlling much?), Gun Woo and Shi On bid the innocent Prosecutor farewell and then return to their daily lives. 
Gun Woo makes it pretty clear he has no interest in transferring until he learns Shi On's secret and although I definitely do think that is partly the truth, its certainly not all of it.  I get the impression he is also beginning to feel a marked loyalty towards Shi On that he can't shake, a need to protect her and help her which is only heightened by the fact that she doesn't even seem like she needs or wants anyone to fulfill that role. 
Shi On is strong and capable, but its pretty obvious that there is something going on with her, something haunting her, and Gun Woo has made it his mission to find out exactly what that is.

The episode finishes with the reappearance of Shi On's dead love.
She sees him without any recognition, though she does look at him twice, still completely unaware that he is a ghost or that they have any connection at all.

I cannot wait for next week's installment of this drama.  I really hope this show keeps up its perfect balance of dark horror mixed with lighter relationship growth, although I do understand with Kim Jae-wook's reappearance things will get a lot more Melo. Which is fine the long as the show keeps up its fun pacing and keeps moving forward with the engaging relationship they are slowly building between our two leads.

WHO ARE YOU: episodes 1 & 2

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