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91

Circle: Episode 7

Just when I thought that I knew what was happening, Circle does a 180 degree reverse on me and starts making me think the complete opposite. The show is definitely turning out to be a mind-bender, but I love that about it because it lets us explore the other side, rather than sticking to a confined mindset. In this episode in particular, Woo-jin and Joon-hyuk are both forced to speculate the motivations of their missing family in their respective timelines, and it leads to their own growth as they realize that perhaps what they accepted as givens may not have been true.

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

Byul focuses intently on something on the computer screen, while scribbling furiously away on the electronic notepad. The little twin brothers Bum-gyun and Woo-jin play a morse code game from separate rooms, decoding each other’s words.

But soon Bum-gyun stands up in victory, having received no response challenge from the communicator. On his way to find his brother, who is always with Byul nowadays, he sees his grandmother hanging up laundry and proceeds walking through a dark basement passageway and a sophisticated security system to his father’s office, which he unlocks with his fingerprint.

He gloats gleefully that he beat Woo-jin, who insists that he stopped playing because it wasn’t fun anymore. But then, Bum-gyun sees Byul at their father’s computer, and sighs because she’s writing nonsense again, and he’s worried that she might mess up their father’s stuff.

Byul and the children quit the room when their dad, Kim Kyu-chul, comes back to do some work. However, when he sees what Byul has been working on, his eyes grow wide with amazement. He takes a cross-shaped USB stick and promptly saves the material.

Part 1: Beta Project

Seeing Professor Han’s old photograph, Woo-jin is stunned to realize that his father is the man standing in the corner. Looking at his crestfallen expression, Jung-yeon cautiously asks him whether he remembers anything about his father. He defensively fires back whether she recalls any of her own past.

Meanwhile, the old Eunsung Hospital psych patient tells Chief Hong that it was Kim Kyu-chul who was the head of the illegal research program performed there. The detective immediately goes to confront Woo-jin and Jung-yeon about it, and demands to know what they’re trying to do, because it can’t be coincidence that they’re both children of the main researchers from Eunsung Hospital. He says that Eunsung ran unethical human experiments ten years ago, and the lead researcher was Woo-jin’s father.

Woo-jin reels in shock and frustration at these new revelations, saying that he’s the one who is most curious to know what all of this means. He insists that his father was an ordinary salaryman, not some disgraced scientist from MIT, as Chief Hong claims.

Meanwhile, in the dark basement where Bum-gyun is being held captive, he shucks off his cast and stumbles around to get his bearings. Suffering from an intense headache and a flowing nosebleed, he limps around blindly until he eventually gets the lights to turn on.

Then one by one, things start to look familiar. He stops at the grandfather clock and we see little Bum-gyun walk past it in his memory. He vaguely begins to recognize his surroundings as his childhood home, and he turns toward the door that once led to his father’s office. He tries his fingerprint, and it still works to unlock the door.

He enters the office to find a room full of furniture all covered with sheets. As he pulls the sheets away, his memories of the space come flooding back. He pauses in front of a wall and then pulls down one last sheet, revealing a family portrait of Dad and the twins. Bum-gyun gets emotional at the sight of Dad and Woo-jin, but then the fear and panic set in, as he wonders why he’s been brought here.

Sunbae Lee sneaks around to the basement where Bum-gyun is trapped, and he doesn’t notice that Professor Park has followed him there. Moreover, Professor Park recognizes the house as Kyu-chul sunbae’s, and wonders what is going on.

Sunbae Lee is confused when Bum-gyun is nowhere to be found, when suddenly Bum-gyun surprises him with a sneak attack from behind. Bum-gyun punches him over and over and pins him up against the wall in a stranglehold, screaming, “Die! Die!” in a blind rage. But then another headache comes on, and Sunbae Lee sees his opening to slam Bum-gyun against the wall so hard that he’s knocked unconscious.

The sunbae scrambles away, badly shaken up by the fight, and locks the basement door behind him. He reports to Professor Han that the CCTV has been installed, and then he asks nervously if this is really okay. Professor Han tells him to endure just a little longer, because they’re almost there. From the bushes, Professor Park listens in on Sunbae Lee’s side of the call and gathers that Professor Han is behind this.

Back at the lab, Professor Han recollects a conversation with Bum-gyun, when he was still being held captive at the hospital. Professor Han begged him desperately to find out where his father hid their experiment data, but it was clear that Bum-gyun didn’t know, because he just railed back at him, demanding to know where his father was.

As he’s reflecting, Professor Park comes into the lab to confront him about what he found out after following Sunbae Lee to Kim Kyu-chul’s old house. Professor Park can’t believe that Professor Han has been carrying out more research on students to continue the work of their banned experiment. He raises his concerns, saying that his invention—the blue bot—has not been safety-approved for human experimentation.

Yet, Professor Han just accuses Professor Park of having an inkling all along and by the virtue of not stopping him, he’s become a complicit party, an automatic co-conspirator. Professor Han threatens Professor Park into staying silent on the subject by saying that they’re already on the same boat; if one goes down, then so will the other.

Jung-yeon hesitates at the door to her own home, not wanting to go in and face the lies that her supposed “father” has been feeding her all this time. She heads back out instead.

Woo-jin frantically digs through his things again to see if there’s anything he’s missed. Concluding that there isn’t, he makes up his mind to follow the only lead he has, and he takes off from his apartment before dawn. But on his way out, he notices Jung-yeon hunched over at the base of the steps in his hallway.

Despite his frantic need to find out what’s happening, he takes a slow moment to gently wake her. She doesn’t respond at first, so he leans in, which is when she pops her head up, putting their faces inches apart.

It stuns them both, and after a beat, he stands up awkwardly. He chides her for not calling, but she just asks where he’s going so early. He says that his grandmother might be the only one who knows what happened to his father, so he’s heading to the nursing home.

Before they enter the facility, Woo-jin tells Jung-yeon that his grandmother doesn’t recognize him anymore because she has a form of dementia, and she doesn’t remember anything after her son’s disappearance. When they visit his grandmother together, Grandma backs up in alarm when she sees Woo-jin, not believing that he is her grandson, who should be 11 years old.

However, she immediately recognizes Jung-yeon as Byul, the girl who lives with her son’s family, and greets her warmly. Jung-yeon takes that as her cue to ask about Woo-jin’s father and his belongings, but Grandma doesn’t know anything. She just tells them to ask her son when he gets home, and Woo-jin quietly wipes his tears and gets up to go.

As they depart, Jung-yeon admits that the more they uncover, the more afraid she becomes of unlocking her memories. She doesn’t know what to do next, so Woo-jin says that with his father missing, all they have is her father to go on. He plans to get into Professor Han’s computer somehow.

Jung-yeon tells Woo-jin that she has one more secret he doesn’t know, and at first he’s alarmed, but then she announces proudly that she’s a hacker. She says that she even entered a hacker competition and “won… something close to first place.” He pointedly says that means she didn’t win, but she argues that the important part is that she’s already used her “skills” to obtain access to her father’s computer.

From the nursing home facility window, Woo-jin’s grandmother watches them leave with an inscrutable expression on her face. Then we see that the wooden cross containing Dad’s USB stick is hanging from her neck.

Jung-yeon distracts her father by suggesting lunch, and when he seems hesitant to go, she implies that her memory is returning and it works like a charm. Once they’re gone, Woo-jin sneaks into the lab and discovers that the “hacking skill” Jung-yeon boasted about is just a rudimentary hidden camera.

He replays the video of Professor Han typing in his password and proceeds to unlock the laptop. He’s horrified when he finds videos of his brother lying on a table and convulsing violently in pain. Through tears he can’t stop from falling, Woo-jin quickly remembers his purpose and takes out an external hard drive to copy all the data.

Meanwhile, Min-young who had been at the police station earlier to ask about their progress into Bum-gyun’s case, sits down with Chief Hong and tells him that the blood bank workers were all wearing masks, but the driver had something in his mouth, maybe a cigarette or something like it.

Woo-jin calls the police station to let them know that he’s found hard evidence against the culprit, and his call is intercepted by another detective, one of Chief Hong’s subordinates… the guy who’s always sucking on a lollipop.

The cop, after hearing that Woo-jin has procured evidence, immediately rushes to Handam University to pick him up. Woo-jin jumps into the policeman’s car without a second thought, but when they start going away from the city, the cop starts becoming evasive, and Woo-jin gets uneasy vibes. So he grabs the steering wheel in an attempt to force a stop, sending the car swerving back and forth in the road. The cop slams on the brakes and whips out a gun, pointing it directly at Woo-jin’s skull.

The entire way to Eunsung Hospital, the cop keeps the gun aimed at Woo-jin for him to comply, and on the other side of the final door he’s forced to go through, Professor Han is there waiting. The cop hands over Woo-jin’s external hard drive where he stored all of the evidence, and Professor Han goes on a violent rampage to physically destroy the data.

Emotions are on high for both Woo-jin and Professor Han, as the professor explains that his research is the next great step in human advancement. He clearly believes that Woo-jin’s father stole research that was rightfully his when he disappeared with Byul’s extrapolations, which provided the key bridge in their research to control the basis of human memory.

Woo-jin screams that that’s not science, but crime. But Professor Han argues that Woo-jin is a scientist too, and he gets this manic glint in his eyes as he describes how they will be able to rid people of their unpleasant memories, save them from unhappiness, and maybe even rid the world of crime completely.

Grasping Woo-jin’s shoulders, Professor Han implores him to help him find his father so that he can recover his lost research, becoming increasingly unhinged and desperate. He adds that with these advancements, Bum-gyun could live happily without his traumatic memories. Woo-jin stares back at him, shaken.

Part 2: Brave New World

Minister Park is taken aback when he realizes that Jung-yeon is Bluebird, and Joon-hyuk can’t believe it when she tells them that Woo-jin could possibly be the CEO of Human B. The evidence she does have is flimsy though, only based on the fact that the last photo she could find of Woo-jin was taken in the office of Human B’s CEO.

Minister Park opens Joon-hyuk up to the possibility that the CEO could be Woo-jin because he was the only one with access to Professor Han’s research before he disappeared. Joon-hyuk refuses to believe it, claiming that his own memories are the proof: He admits that his memories haven’t returned, and what he “remembers” is what he’s cobbled together from watching the footage of Woo-jin’s memories.

Minister Park asks if he also remembers Woo-jin saying that oblivion was the only sure treatment for PTSD, and says that they must consider all possibilities even if they don’t want to believe it.

Jung-yeon passes through Smart Earth’s security system to Ordinary Earth using a decoy chip, and soon Joon-hyuk tracks her down and pulls her aside into an alleyway to question her about Woo-jin.

He demands to know how of all people Jung-yeon could think that Woo-jin would become this evil mastermind who takes people’s memories without permission. Jung-yeon tells him truthfully that Woo-jin could come to think that way because of his brother.

She says that when they finally found Bum-gyun, he had lost his memories, and Woo-jin had a hard time accepting it. Joon-hyuk says it must’ve been hard for Woo-jin not to be recognized by his own brother, but Jung-yeon clarifies that Bum-gyun looked happy. Bum-gyun had smiled with an innocence unshadowed by memories of their father’s abandonment, and she says that smile prompted Woo-jin to think that perhaps he was better off not having painful memories. She suspects that this experience could have become the beginning of Human B’s creation, and hearing this, Joon-hyuk breaks down in tears.

He looks sad and lost as he asks, “It’s… all because of me?” He sounds so fragile as he dares to wonder if he spent ten years in search of Woo-jin, while Woo-jin didn’t want to be found. Jung-yeon pulls off a pendant that Woo-jin gave her at their last meeting before he rushed off to see Professor Han, and asks Joon-hyuk how he thinks she feels. Woo-jin promised he would come back for her, but she never saw him again, and now all she knows is that he might be the CEO of Human B. “I thought he couldn’t come back! But what if he didn’t want to come back?” she asks, tears streaming down her face.

In a holographic meeting, Minister Park tells Mayor Yoon that he wants to publicly announce Human B’s misdeeds now that they’ve gone too far, trying to forcibly implant a Care Chip into a non-consenting Ordinary Earth citizen. Mayor Yoon doesn’t want him to do so because it might hurt his own political capital with his citizens, so he promises the minister that he’ll take care of the Human B problem.

Mayor Yoon saves Deputy Chief Lee from his interrogation in Ordinary Earth (although he didn’t seem to need much saving, having been pretty unrepentant and silent), on the condition that Mayor Yoon will gain a direct hotline to Human B’s CEO.

Chief Hong is outraged that Mayor Yoon would suddenly pull out their biggest lead in the investigation. But because Deputy Chief Lee is a Smart Earth citizen, and technically under Mayor Yoon’s jurisdiction, he can only watch helplessly as the Human B manager leaves freely.

Something is clearly up with Joon-hyuk. He’s suddenly in a cheery mood and insists on taking a trip, and drags Min-young to a virtual reality center so that they can take a leisure day. This is so jarringly out of character, and Min-young knows that something is wrong, but Joon-hyuk keeps up a playful facade, seeming to want to leave all his responsibilities behind for the day.

He sneaks alcohol into the center despite it being against the rules, and as they drink illegal beers together, he brings up his real concern—that Woo-jin might not want to be found. Min-young tries to ask more, but stops when she senses that he doesn’t want to explain.

At the police station, Chief Hong is forced to let Park Jin-gyu go as well, despite knowing that he was a co-perpetrator in Min-ji’s kidnapping all those years ago. He tells the man, who seems genuinely sorry for his actions, that as punishment he should live with the guilt of those memories for the rest of his life.

Chief Hong comes to the virtual reality center after receiving a call from Min-young that Joon-hyuk is acting strange. When he sees Joon-hyuk aimlessly playing games, he tries to shake him from his funk, but nothing rouses Joon-hyuk until an emergency call from Smart Earth arrives, showing a clip of Min-ji threatening Park Jin-gyu’s life.

When they arrive at the apartment, they hear Park Jin-gyu’s pained screams through the door. They bust in and see that he is unharmed, but Min-ji is slumped over on a chair, unconscious with a pool of blood draining from her slit wrist. The cops quickly take her to the hospital, while Chief Hong reels in shock that the girl he rescued is in danger of dying again.

Min-ji survives, and when she wakes up at the hospital, Joon-hyuk asks why she did this. She replies that she found it appallingly unjust that none of the men who kidnapped her remembered what they did. She couldn’t reconcile the fact that her kidnappers had been living happy lives afterwards, as if nothing had happened, as if they hadn’t committed that crime.

As she’s explaining her feelings about recovering her memories, Ho-soo is going through the same stages of grief and anger she’s describing. Ho-soo remembers that when he tried to be intimate with his girlfriend, she was fearful of his presence and pushed him away, haunted by a trauma in her past. And then he remembers seeing her dangling feet after she committed suicide.

In the present, Ho-soo puts on the tie his girlfriend gave him, and goes to confront his girlfriend’s father, whom he knows was the sexual predator who had driven her to suicide. He demands to know whether the father remembers what he did to his daughter.

But the father has no memory of her existence at all. Ho-soo grabs him by the collar and cries that his daughter died because of what he did to her, but he thinks Ho-soo is just a crazed loon. Ho-soo sends a flying punch in his direction, but as he’s about to punch him again, the man’s younger daughter comes out to defend him and they run away.

In the hospital, Min-ji asks Joon-hyuk whether what she did was so wrong. As he leaves the hospital room, Joon-hyuk questions his current mission to find Woo-jin at all costs. He thinks that perhaps Woo-jin could be living a happier life without the traumatic memory of searching for Bum-gyun at such a young age.

Chief Hong thinks that he should continue to search for Woo-jin because that’s what family does for each other, but Joon-hyuk is still conflicted, wondering if he isn’t bothering someone who would rather not remember him. He wonders if maybe living in the dark is better after all, because there’s nothing more frightening than memories.

That’s when Ho-soo shows up and tells him he’s had a change of heart. He now thinks that what Joon-hyuk originally believed was correct: Memories, no matter how horrible, are necessary for people to acknowledge the truth and take responsibility for their own actions. People who wronged others shouldn’t get to forget and live happily without those memories, he argues.

Deep in thought, Joon-hyuk solves his Rubik’s Cube mindlessly, and at the end of his deliberation, he heads purposefully to the Human B headquarters. He meets Deputy Chief Lee at the entrance, and proposes a three-way meeting between himself, the Human B CEO, and Bluebird.

Moments later, someone sets an old phone down next to Joon-hyuk’s Rubik’s Cube, showing a message with the time and address of the proposed meeting. The phone’s screensaver returns, showing the picture of Woo-jin and Bum-gyun that Bum-gyun used to have on his phone.

COMMENTS

As a person who has dabbled in research before, I’ve seen firsthand how cutthroat academia can be, and Professor Han’s desperation to recover his research data from the project he did with Woo-jin’s father was not exaggerated at all. In dramaland, it seems like all the ambition is confined to businessmen, but there’s a lot of pride, greed, and reputation at stake in the world of research. It now seems that Professor Han inserted a blue bug into Bum-gyun in an attempt to recover his memories and find the twins’ father. It obviously hasn’t worked though, and it seems a direct conflict to use the bug when it has mostly proven to erase memories rather than recover them at this point. I mean, if you wanted someone to remember crucial details about something that happened in the past, wouldn’t you not want to put an untested memory chip into their brain?

Anyhoo, I thought it was weird that suddenly Professor Park became the good guy for this episode. He’s been such a shady character from the beginning that I still don’t quite trust him, although his shock that Professor Han continued his illegal experimentation seemed genuine. It’s just that from past episodes, it always seemed like he was a conniving opportunist who was a sycophant to those above him and a bit of a bully to anyone below him in the chain. So, it’s surprising to me that he showed he had morals, and I’m half-suspecting that it may all be a deception to delude the other characters into thinking he’s on their side, when secretly he’s colluding with the CEO of Human B.

Speaking of whom, we still have made no headway into that mystery. Because they explicitly stated that Woo-jin may be the head of the amoral corporation, I think it’s a red herring. This show is too clever to make the obvious choice the right answer. So now I think it’s either the father, Kim Kyu-chul, or maybe even the dementia-ridden grandmother, because clearly the CEO cares about the twins, seeing as he/she kept a photo of them on a personal device. The grandmother is less likely, but the cross she wears around her neck contains the experimental research that Professor Han is looking for. And that data was probably the key to creating the system that Human B uses for the Care Chip implants.

From the discovery and attempted suicide of Min-ji to Ho-soo’s confrontation of his memories, more happened in Part 2 than Part 1 in this episode, despite Joon-hyuk’s own reluctance to carry on his investigation. I still am not as deeply emotionally invested in Part 2 as I am in Part 1, but I can see how the rhythm of the show is shifting to emphasize the future timeline, now that we’ve fleshed out the main details in the past. For example, the main emotional beats in this episode came when Joon-hyuk was trying to come to grips with the possibility that Woo-jin may be happier by himself, having forgotten the existence of his twin. In a way, Joon-hyuk has been repeating his past—searching for an elusive goal without concentrating on the present people around him. When he was growing up, Bum-gyun was always in pursuit of the alien he thought stole their father, but now as an adult, he’s spent all his time trying to pursue his lost twin.

This brings up the interesting question of nature versus nurture because despite having lost all his memories, Joon-hyuk has been trending toward the same types of actions that he exhibited before his memory loss. Therefore Joon-hyuk’s case indicates that perhaps a person’s personality and potential is something ingrained naturally, but he may just be an anomaly because most of the others in Circle’s Brave New World seem to have had complete personality transplants after their memories were wiped. If nurture is based on a person’s formulation of memories of their past environments, the show seems to be saying that when a person forgets everything, he or she has the potential to become an entirely different individual. Kidnappers and pedophilic rapists can become dedicated fathers, and emotionless aliens can become bubbly university students.

But perhaps this question is an unintended exploration, secondary to the main issue brought up in this episode: the idea of responsibility and culpability as it relates to memory. In many parts of the world at least, mental competence is part of the requirement to merit a guilty judgment and full punishment for a crime. If someone is deemed to be temporarily insane due to a pre-existing condition at the time of the crime, they may be released on a lighter sentence or be sent to a psychiatric ward for rehabilitation instead of prison. Ho-soo brought up this issue by stating that memories are necessary so that people may be kept accountable; just because an event is forgotten doesn’t mean that it didn’t take place. So in their current existence now, should the Smart Earth citizens not have to be held responsible for past deeds because they have no recollection of it? And even if they were to be punished in some way (like Ho-soo did by punching his dead girlfirend’s father), would their suffering even hold the same meaning because they wouldn’t know why they were going through it?

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After all the he said/she said, Joon Hyuk is really Woo Jin in a neat deus ex machina ending?

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That might just be the case, but then where is Bum Gyun? Plus the scene of him eating chicken is in line with Bum Gyun's personality. Idk, this drama has me continually scratching my head.

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I did consider this last week. It's too hard to call.

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This is really possible and it scares me. They are still hinting about it:
- Minyoung pointing out how similar Woojin is to Bumgyun
- The rubik's cube
- Joonhyuk still not really remembering anything

But still, Joonhyuk's memories are from Woojin, but they have shown flashbacks from Bumgyun's POV as well.

I'd really like Joonhyuk to still be Bumgyun though for a number of reasons:
- It makes a nice parallel for both brothers to be trying to find one another in both timelines.
- If Joonhyuk is gonna be Woojin in the end, it takes away the impact of the reveal from Episode 4 and all those moments Joonhyuk agonized over trying to find Woojin.
- This one's petty but it would be nice if Yeo Jingoo won't be another younger someone in this drama hehehe

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Can I just say that Gong Seung-yeon is an amazing actress...wow. Her seen with Bum-gyun was so emotional and real, wow. I am so glad that her career is taking off. She deserves it. So happy she has been casted for her first lead role on a major broadcaster :D also, she is gorgeous. I'm such a fan girl, hahaha.

I love this drama <3

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She's been amazing throughout this whole series, but that scene in particular really was stellar. I could feel her worry and grief so keenly.

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I haven't seen her anywhere else but, she's shining in this show

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Yeah, she's amazing. She literally plays 3 versions of her character; an emotionless alien, a cheerful&bright young college girl, and a subdued mysterious talented hacker.

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Is it only me, or does anybody else think that GSY and YJG chemistry is hella crazy here?
I need more OTP moment...?

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When JH chocked up in that alley with Jungyeon... Oof, that got me good. His undying faith in his brother is too beautiful, it just kills me.

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I feel like this episode should have come with some kind of trigger warning. *sigh*. Anyway, I do agree about the nature vs nurture issue you brought up. The age-old question of whether monsters are born or made will possibly never be answered. Are we who we are because of our memories or are we who we are because we were born this way?

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Couldn't it be a combination of both?

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The moment Min-young mentioned a man who smoked in blood donation car, my mind jumped to the lollipop cop. So there is a reason why he kept discrediting Chief Hong's investigation. It must be easy for him to muddy the investigation up since most cops believed that Chief Hong is a bit "eccentric"

I'm glad that Ho-soo became the voice of reason right when Jin-hyuk was at his lowest and ready to halt his search for Woo-jin. Now with the team finally complete, go and find the evidence of Human B's evilness, people!

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Same. I got goose bumps when PMY mentioned cigarette and that detective ajusshi was the one KWJ called and he practically took KWJ hostage. I was so nervous I thought they'll do what they did to his hyung. Gosh. This show.

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Ho-Soo just threw what was Joon-Hyuk words right back at his face. This really shows that when things become personal, the most reasonable person in the world can become quite irrational.

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These stories are starting to intertwine even more and I'm loving it. Professor's Han desperateness to recover the missing research while resorting to kidnapping Bum Gyum is making me very nervous. But, there is Woo Jin and Jung Yeon whom I am loving. I'm still more invested in the Beta Project but both storylines are very interesting. Another important theme touched upon was the memory problem. I have to agree that people should have their memories in order for them to know what they did wrong and accept responsibility. I can't wait for more episodes.

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I think I forgot how to breathe during this episode

WAIT OMG DOES HUMAN B STAND FOR HUMAN BRAIN???

“Memories make us take responsibility and memories serve justice. Even if it’s sad, we must remember them. That’s the only way we can get angry and take responsibility for our actions and do what’s right. People should take responsibility for their actions. Erasing our memories doesn’t mean they never happened.” I CRIED. IM SO PROUD OF HO SOO FOR REALIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF MEMORIES

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I thought it stood for Be as in human be (whatever you decide) rather than human being (what you have been conditioned to be).

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Or maybe Revision B, since Revision A (us) so clearly needs revising :)

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I've been rooting against this memory erasing thing from the beginning. It's unnecessary and unnatural (sorry Woo-jin). Just because Bum-gyun is his brother doesn't give him the right to do such a thing, even with good intentions.
Our good and bad experiences in life is what helps us grow. Having the memory erase is like taking the easy way out instead of learning to deal with obstacles in life.
I can't imagine living like a robot in the future. Neither happy nor sad.

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But for people like LHSs' girlfriend (Who is the traumatized person ) it could have helped? To start a new life as a new person? Could it have had prevented her suicide? Even Min Ji seemed to be living as a normal person until bluebird unlocked her memories? Lots of questions!

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But i do believe criminals who have committed crimes should not have this privilege.. But i felt for Min Ji's kidnapper uncle who seemed genuinely sorry about the crimes he committed!

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But I thought the girlfriend got her memory erased but her body remembers which is why she couldn't do it with him. He asked her why she was refusing and even she didn't know.

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Yes but if she herself didn't remember how LHS knew? It wasn't very clear. I thought the girlfriend herself told him about te childhood abuse?

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Yes lots of questions and we don't have all the answers.

I consider our current earth life normal so I don't see anything normal about having one's memory erased and emotions controlled by a chip.

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i have doubts about emotions controlling, but i kind of feel memory wipe might be helpful to PTSD patients, but there are some practical issues like people around them remembering everything and what if the forgotten person learnt about the memories and all :) anyway it seems like a interesting concept..even emotion control lol if it can actually stop a person from committing a crime? it's all arguable

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But wasn't LHS's girlfriend's memory wiped? I understood that it was and then somehow she remembered and killed herself. So I don't think erasing one's memories is such a good idea. I'm not an expert but I think that she mostly killed herself because of the shock she got from remembering everything, just like Ho Soo was shocked. So maybe if she hadn't had her memories wiped, she would have gotten over it after a while. I think that erasing the memories destroyed the process of self-healing, like I can't help but thinking of the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). I think if her memories weren't erased in the first place she would have had to deal with all of this

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I skimmed through a book once with a premise that revolved around the technology to alter, not so much memories, but people's emotional attachments to them. The story is told in a similar way with past and present/future told simultaneously as you come to figure out what happened. As I understood it, the main character had some deep seated emotional dislike/mistrust of her stepmom or something like that (I think it had more to do with her own issues than anything wrong with her stepmom), so much so that it impeded her ability to be happy. You find out later that she had intentionally gotten a procedure done that removed her negative feelings so she could move on with her life and have a good relationship with her family. She still has all her memories (the only fake memory is the one she gets to replace the fact that she had the procedure done) but they don't call up negative feelings for her anymore.

Anyway, that was a long way of getting to the point that, for therapy purposes, dulling or removing someone's negative emotional attachment to a memory/trauma would be more effective than removing the memory entirely. Sort of similar to desensitization therapy.

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Thank you for sharing :).

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Yey for LHS coming to the good side haha

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Before i forget this, in that time i dont think usb were available, it was the time for floppys

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I can't believe he didn't back it up to the cloud or atleast have another copy

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The room was filled with so many new technologies! I think we'll find the answer is next few episodes? Hopefully!

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It was year 2007 right? Definitely has usb already. Even has net books.

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I was more wondering why they are not using lcd tv but still using the old fat tv, lol

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Floppy disk is more till 1997 era? 2001 there's even rewritable cd and dvd already

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There are already USBs in 2007.

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Thank you for the recap!

It's darkly funny that going into this I (and Bumgyun and Minyoung) thought the alien would be the bad guy in this series. But it's humanity that's turned out to be the terrifying one.

The whole storyline involving Hosoo's girlfriend gave me chills. What a horrifying idea; certainly, forgetting you were the victim of a violent crime could be seen as a form of peace, a way to combat ptsd as Woojin first talked about. But imagine if you were living next, or even with, the person who'd hurt you, the way Minji had? Brrr.

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THanks tineybeanie for the thought provoking recap!

This week I loved how this Show surprised me, not in terms of plot twists, (since that happens every week anyway, I've come to expect it- I'm so spoilt), but in terms of exploring the idea that memory is needed for criminal culpability. Is it "fair" to have criminals unaware of their bad deeds and therefore get off free, if their victims are also wiped clean from the memory of the event?

I was worried that the reason for Ho Soo's change of heart wouldn't be convincing enough, but I'm glad to say that I was proven wrong. I can believe that the need for justice and seeking accountability for past crimes would drive him to want to destroy Human B. I'd feel really indignant too if I found someone who was responsible for ruining my life (or someone I loved) happily living, ignorant and blissful.

But is that a good way to live life? Seeking out revenge and justice for past wrongs, always hoping for things to be dealt fairly and justly? Is present Ho Soo happier than past Ho Soo, truly? When Human B is dismantled and Stepdad remembers his crimes- will Ho Soo get the closure he is craving? Or will it just ruin the life of the new daughter that stepdad has? I do see both sides of the argument better now and sympathize with Joon Hyuk's dilemma much more.

I love how I'm made to think about these things, and how the Show really has chosen a question that has no perfect answer, thus making the creation of Human B to be a real possibility, not just some brain child of an evil arch villain wanting world dominance. Kudos to the writer!

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Love it when a show is smarter than I. I totally fell into Minister Park's trap, but loving the twist. That actor is awesome. And Yoo Jin-Goo would get away with murder if he were my son, he's just that believable. I feel his pain, his exhaustion, his disbelief. I don't even want to speculate anymore, just here for the ride and loving it! TWO. MORE. WEEKS!

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I want to know the answers to all the questions I still have really soon but at the same time I don't want this show to end! :(

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for this case, I knew from the very start if Han Sang Jin always playing a cunning guy almost in every drama lol

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What if Human B stands for Bum-gyun, as in Woo Jin is taking revenge on everyone for Bum-gyun losing his memories and named the program after his "lost" brother?

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Kim woo jin shed a lot of tears in this episode. The fact that he did not have time to curl up in his bed and cry as much as he wanted pained me.. he just kept wiping his tears away while working hard to find the lost data, and lost brother.. that was really painful to see.

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IKR... and he would cry a whole lot more next episode. Watching him try to act normal in front of his grandma even if seeing how his grandma won't acknowledge him was so sad.

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I cried too whenever WooJin cried, not to mention the next episode. my poor heart goes with him.

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Woo-jin looked so tired. Has he slept or eaten at all? I mean, I understand that when your brother is in mortal danger, sleep and food seem like second priority. But I just feel so bad for him.

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Happy for my girl Gong Seung Yeon.

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Finally Hosoo came to his senses. I have to admit, I was already starting to get a little bit annoyed with the character and how his moments have gotten quite repetitive. So I'm really happy Hosoo delivered so well this time with even more conviction than ever and is now detective buddies with Joonhyuk once again.

The show is still playing with the possibility that Joonhyuk could be Woojin and yet I still don't want to accept it. Please, show, no~ just don't. It's just so much better parallel to have both brothers looking for each other as Circle is centered about their story. Like even if I'm still more invested towards Woojin, Bumgyun deserves the Part 2 spotlight better.

Yeo Jingoo is my favorite actor so I know I sound like a broken record praising his acting. But gosh this man just keeps on giving me the angst as Woojin episode, after episode, after episode! Like I just want to jump right into my laptop to give him a hug or maybe a little "Hwaiting!" to show my support. Yeo Jingoo wasn't lying when he said this character is someone he'd want to treat for a drink because of how much KWJ is suffering. And his portrayal makes it even more palpable! When he tried to hide his tears and casually said goodbye to his grandma who couldn't recognize him. Poor Woojin, my heart is always breaking for him.

I really love this show a lot. Yesterday they had a presscon and the PD said that it was really hard to deliver a good CG cos realistically speaking, they just don't have the budget or time for it so they tried to deliver real hard with the acting and story. PD-nim, you totally did and please continue to do so~ Only 4 episodes remaining, and unfortunately, it isn't getting the amount of love it deserves. Thankfully though, for the people who watch the show, they absolutely love it, so yay! Stay awesome, Circle!

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Yeah i wish if the rating were higher! But i also got the idea that TVn is a paid cable channel unlike MBC or SBS? so the amount of viewer may not be as much? But i got the impression that lots of people watch it online not only people from Korea but from abroad as well (like myself). and they absolutely love it like you said!

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Yup, it's doing good, but still not as high as tvN used to rate post-Reply 1997.

Even the Koreans who watch it are really disappointed about the ratings and the short amount of episodes. This is also a show that you have to watch right from the start and not just something you can randomly tune in when you see the broadcast. It has a really positive word of mouth, but the thing is, it seems like most people don't listen to it LOL. It's really not that popular, but it does have a steady following.

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"...most of the others in Circle’s Brave New World seem to have had complete personality transplants after their memories were wiped. "

I think this is because when they had the chip implanted, it erased the memories, but it also controls negative impulses/emotions -- the whole red light behind the ear thing. Bum-Gyun didn't have the chip so his negative emotions remained intact after his memory got wiped and his natural personality remained. Which brings up a different question -- because these days, we don't have a chip yet but we have drugs that will to some extent control negative impulses/emotions. And also electrical stimulation of the brain is starting to get worked out. How much of that should be used, vs. how much should we keep our 'natural' tendencies? Even without the memory issue, is the chip good or bad?

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I can't think of the chip as good since it controls you when you're supposed to be able to control yourself. It feels as if we would become robots without any feelings if we had this on...

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The twin separation thing in the drama makes my heart ache. On a personal level, the anxiety, frustration and sadness of being separated and not knowing where the other one is seems so incredibly sad to me; cemented by the fact that the actors are so good and that I'm a fraternal twin myself.
Being a twin, I can't claim telepathy like WJ did but there is an undeniable deep level of connection.
My sister almost died giving birth to her first born 6 years ago and I still cry if I think about it.
This summer I was over my sister's house and I started choking on something . My sister ran into the room. Everything went still in that moment, and I very calmly thought, "Jennifer will save me." and she did. We both cried that day. Now I want to call her.

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Aawww, did you end up calling her? It's nice that you both have a close bond like that. Truly the two boys who have no other able-bodied family out there except themselves...it sad...

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Hosoo finally came to his senses. The next episode have a bigger twist.

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I like that this episode dealt with the ethical and moral issues of Human B and their right to wipe out memories. I also like your thoughts on the issue tineybeanie.

Personally, i see it differently. Aside from nature vs nurture issue, or even of responsibility for past actions. There is also an issue of identity. Are you the same person if critical moments of your life is wiped clean? Who are you if you dont remember your past or your family? Who are you if you dont remember your passion and hobbies? For me losing your memory is like losing a piece of yourself. Losing a piece of your soul. So the issue for some of the characters is also a question of identity as well. Just like the twins grandmother who has alzheimers.
It would be painful for WooJin to decide to wipe his brother's memory when he personally saw how painful dealing with it with their grandmother.

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A. WooJin wouldn't decide to wipe his brother's memories, by taking the chip out, Bum Gyun's memories would be naturally wiped. And the grandmother and Bum Gyun are totally different. The grandmother (I'm assuming) lead a relatively normal life, and simply can't function now her memories are gone. Bum Gyun (it could be argued) has a sort of PTSD, and can't function with his memories. I believe it says in this episode or episode 6 that when Bum Gyun's memories are wiped, Woo Jin witnesses his brother happy and normal. Something he hadn't seen since they were 11 years old. Witnessing that would certainly shake somebody, and cause them to question the morality of wiping someone's memories (as in lean in favor).

I would also like to note something interesting I noticed. Bum Gyun chose to remember, and because he did he could've really helped solve the cases. When Woo Jin chose to forget, it made it harder for him to find his brother and damaged their relationship. I believe this show is alluding to the fact, that more harm is done when you choose to ignore and forget, as opposed to remembering. I find the social commentary really interesting to think about!

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I don't want to theorize anything here because all my thoughts are colored by the events from the next episode. But this week's episode really delved into the question of whether memories and experience really makes a human, responsible human. We learn from our mistakes but if we erase those mistakes that are too traumatic, are we erasing a part of ourselves or simply going back to the state we were before we did the mistake. It's interesting how all the sci-fi movies or shows ultimately comes down to whether technology is a boon or bane.

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Er, I think the pereonality lobotomy in Human B people is not because they don't have their memories but because the chip blocks them from having any negative or intense feelings.

If you can't feel anger, fear, greed, desire for dominance, disgust, contempt and so on, what bad things are you going to do?

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Makes me wonder how a chip could separate negative feelings from positive feelings. Positive and negative emotions can both be intense or the opposite.

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I think it blocks out intense feelings: both positive and negative. That's why everyone is in a state of medically induced calm. This was why Joon Hyuk asked Ho soon, if he couldn't feel desire when looking at a picture of a scantily clad woman.

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Thanks @adal!
I see where it got me confused. They always brought up the negative emotions to defend their creation but in reality it blocks both.

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I honestly have no idea how they plan to wrap up the show, but seeing how there are only 12 episodes, I'm just assuming they already have a good resolution for the ending. But I'd still really love a Season 2 with the same cast! It's much likelier if the ratings would pick up on the last 4 episodes which I honestly doubt it at this point. But a miracle would be very much welcome! So please!

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*honestly doubt at this point

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Depending on how it ends, I'd love a season 2 too. As long as it keeps the same cast!

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Well, for all those who were wondering if they forgot about Min Ji - they didn't. With this kinda show they definitely have a plan for every character and every thing.

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Yup, I'm glad we finally got to hear from Minji and that her character brought in a lot of important questions as well. Also that corrupt cop with a lollipop all the time. I'm really amazed that he isn't just there as a comic relief but that he's actually sabotaging Chief Hong's investigations this whole time!

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The plot is really good here you can feel that they know everything in advance and it's so good to watch a show like that.

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This episode felt like the "answer" episode rather than the one making us questions stuff. I truly love and mesmerized by the exchange Jungyeon and Joohyuk/Bumgyun had. They were two people that -god knows how- hate each other to death back then, only to have this kind of intimate confrontation because of the paint of losing someone they actually care for. Not to mention I was actulally surprised that Seungyeon managed to keep up with Kim Kangwoo's emotion when we all know she could still be considered a rookie.

Watching this episode really had me thinking that why is Bumgyun so hard-headed about Human B erasing people's memory when it actually helped the victim to move on with life (I think If I were given a chance to forget some worst memories I had, I'd take it for granted). But then after Hosoo's confrontation with his girlfriend's dad, it is much more painful and disgusting when a culprit actually believes he is innocent. It's just disgusting how they actually live with the memory of being a good guy when in fact they were monster to someone. And it just dawned in me now how Detective Hong said that living with the memory is a punishment itself.

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*pain lol

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Ahhhh! This drama!! I'm getting scared watching this cause I don't know what future episodes will bring and I don't want to be heartbroken.?

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I've never seen Joo Hyuk so broken as he was with the thought that his twin may have moved over to the dark side because of him. He was ready to just give up everything, but I think he should trust his instincts, he knows his brother better than most, because... they are twins, of course.

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the next episode you need to be prepared, I cried a lot. ah, so exhausting

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The twins play Morse code exchange games in their free time? Wow, I'm impressed. They're really sons of the scientist.

I like that they word play blue-bot to blue-bug and then blue-bird, that's clever.

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ikr, such a genius

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They have 10 eps? Or 12 eps?
Omonaaaa...my Mon-Tue kdrama crack is almost finish ???
I am not ready yet for next week finale ?

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12 episodes is the official count. :)

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Only four more episodes left! ahh still cannot figure out how it is going to end! Love the suspense.

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Just caught up with this series, and made the mistake of reading some parts of the recaps for the first six episodes. But this episode, wooooh, left me breathless. Can I just say how amazing all the actors are? Their commitment to their roles and characters makes the story more compelling!

This show has left me confused and conflicted, in more ways than one, it feels like I'm a part of it and I'm just as uncertain as our leads as to what to do and what's the right thing to do.

But I like the development of our characters, especially from part 2. There's a lot of questions that they have to answer. They had a few road blocks, moments of doubt, but their new resolve and determination makes their choices more powerful! Proud of Ho-soo, he was the last person I thought would get Joon-hyuk out of his slump.

I can't wait to get more answers! Especially about the twins' father, there's definitely more than what we know!

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I didn't know this drama will only air for 12 episodes and here I thought it would have 8 more episodes >_<

I love the fact that it makes you think and just when you are getting used to one idea it flips it and makes you rethink everything!

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This episode made me cry multiple times - what a roller coaster! I'm glad Ho Soo has moved on from the dark side and is being a friend to Joon Hyuk. I feel like every week I think I have a plausible theory for things in this show, and every week I am completely wrong.

I am going to miss this show so much when it's over. I'm definitely going to have to do a rewatch to look for clues.

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for some reasons I feel like woojin and joon hyuk
maybe the same person .this drama is really giving me a headache but am still enjoying it

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This show just gives you so much to think about, within it and outside of it. The writing is ahead of me every step of the way, I've stopped trying to get ahead of the twists. The cast is amazing too, as usual. I'm enjoying this ride. Can't believe we have 2 weeks left.

I will probably say this again when the show ends lol but I have to say my take away from this is how thankful I am for memories and emotions. Looking at what Smart Earth is like is terrifying.

The theme of humanity's possible 'evolution', or of a utopia, through science and research is not new, but often it is portrayed at the expense of humanity as well. Glad Circle has Byul in her many forms (Gong Seung Yeon is amazing, I'd like to be her when I grow up lol) to help the good guys in the fight against Human B and protecting what makes humans human. (Because what are humans if they cannot think and feel? If their emotions are controlled? Is ignorance truly bliss? Can a newfound ignorance change our past, and can it change who we are? Why do people decide they can play god? Who are they to do that?)

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*A newfound ignorance can't change our past, but can it change who we are?

(lol was confused there for a bit haha)

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I think it's interesting how the timelines mirror each other in the brother's emotional state as well. Woo Jin starts the show as the rational disbelieving brother who is just trying to live a normal life while corralling his crazy brother, but we see him becoming more and more emotion driven as his search for his brother continues. Joon Hyuk/Bum Gyun is also unraveling more and making more decisions based on emotion rather than logic as the search for Woo Jin becomes more desperate.

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Thanks for this re-cap Tineybeanie and the inflation about the memory stick cross. I'm watching on a fairly small screen and having to read the subtitles means I don't always spot details like this.

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Thanks for the recap, tineybeanie. I missed the significance of the cruciform memory stick. I think. There are so many small details that I'm having a hard time keeping up. I'll have to marathon the show after it finishes. In the mean time, I'll keep watching.

I appreciate all the Beanie comments. Thank goodness for so many eagle-eyed viewers and their theories. ;-)

I don't need a Human B Emotional Intensity Controller(TM) chip. I need more and faster RAM. Time to defrag my memory, then update my BIOS and reboot. ;-)

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"Just when I thought that I knew what was happening, Circle does a 180 degree reverse on me and starts making me think the complete opposite. " - This is so true! While watching, I also had my personal theories and I was always at the edge of my seat every time a big reveal happens.

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Jung-yeon and Woo-jin have so much chemistry. Yowsa!
I find it interesting that in an episode where Joon Hyuk is thinking that maybe Human B is right about memory we get a flashback to him visiting the tragedy of a woman with dementia. So we get Joon Hyuk's crisis contrasted with the proof that Human B is wrong with his grandmother, and then with Ho Soo changing his mind in such a powerful way. This drama is amazing.
I've said from the beginning I think that Joon Hyuk is Woo Jin so this raises some interesting questions about his behaviour this episode. Is he behaving this way because he's Bum Gyun or just because he believes he's Bum Gyun?
There is another possible theory here - that he is neither Bum Gyun or Woo Jin but is in fact a third person that Min Joung and the Chief have convinced is Bum Gyun. After all, he only believes what he's been told about who he is. He could be someone else entirely.
Still, that seems overly complicated so I'm going with Woo Jin for now.

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