That Psychometric Guy: Episode 1
Ooh, now this looks like fun. tvN just dropped its latest crime-thriller/rom-com (because, yes, that is now its own genre) titled That Psychometric Guy. The guy in question has the unique ability of sight through touch, something that will be mighty helpful when investigating some dark cases. The concept alone was enough to draw me in, and after meeting the psychometrist himself, I think I’m here to stay.
Note: This is just a first episode recap.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
We open to the night of December 3, 2005 at the Yeongseong Apartment complex. The guard of the complex is talking to a snobby resident, who’s angry that the guard is against them parking on the street.
The guard tries to tell her that their cars could block emergency vehicles, but the resident won’t hear it; she fires him on the spot. (Uh, lady, do you even own the place?)
Meanwhile, inside, a woman with a suitcase hurries toward the exit. She turns a corner and panics at the sight of another figure. She hides behind the wall, looking terrified.
In one of the apartments, a young boy, who we’ll come to know as LEE AN, is having a tantrum, telling his mom that he wants a puppy for his birthday. His parents ask if there’s anything else he wants, and after thinking for a second, he answers with “sibling.” Flustered, Mom gets up to look for the animal shelter’s phone number, lol.
We cut to the snobby resident from earlier, opening her door to a man we don’t see. She starts to ask what he wants, and without uttering a word, the man stabs her and sends her falling to the floor. Her friends from inside cry out in shock. As little Lee An and his parents happily walk to the elevator, on their way to retrieve a new puppy, the killer is still in the female resident’s apartment, laying several bodies on the floor.
Strangely enough, the killer also takes out the chinaware and fills them with tea, as if setting up a scene. He cuts the gas line and places a lighter in the microwave before rushing out of there. The timer hits zero and the place is up in flames, engulfing the entire middle floor with smoke.
The Lees’ elevator stops, and they’re horrified to hear other residents running past them and out of the building. Dad manages to get the doors slightly open, but they’re too low to climb up. A male high schooler (Jo Byung-kyu) comes by, and Dad grabs his ankle, begging him to at least help his son out.
Before the high schooler can answer, the guard crouches down and holds out his arms to bring Lee An up. Just as he pulls Lee An to safety, the elevator cord snaps, sending Mom and Dad hurtling down.
Little Lee An cries for his parents, and outside, the fire department is rushing to the scene. They have trouble getting close to the building, however, due to all the cars on the street. The high schooler looks out the window, evaluating the commotion down below, and mutters, “We can’t wait here any longer.”
He breaks the window with a fire hydrant and picks up An, who’s passed out from all the smoke. He gives Lee An one last look and then jumps out the opening, falling down, down, down until they smash into a car.
The crowd of residents gasp in horror. Blood pools around An’s head, and he slowly opens his eyes to see the high schooler’s name tag: Kang Sung-mo. Too weak to move, the boys both close their eyes.
11 years later. A young man stands before a morgue, opening his eyes and smiling at the freezers. He slides his hand over the doors, and we see that the touch sends signals to his brain, giving him the ability to see the history of that object.
He touches each door, seeing all the bodies placed inside, until stopping at one marked “Hanmin Nursing Home fire.”
He opens the door and looks inside, finally showing his face and revealing himself to be our fully grown hero Lee An (Got7’s Jinyoung). A title card appears for the term “psychometry,” the ability to measure and interpret a person or object’s soul.
A detective named EUN JI-SOO (Dasom) heads toward the morgue, telling her doctor friend HONG SOO-YEON (Sa Kang) that Lee An is her best shot at solving the nursing home case since there wasn’t any evidence at the scene. She hopes Lee An can figure things out before someone named Prosecutor Kang arrives.
Ji-soo and Soo-yeon join Lee An inside and inform him that the majority of bodies inside died of smoke inhalation, while three died from stab wounds. They take the corpses out of their freezers so Lee An can further inspect them. He shuts his eyes and touches each one but is frustrated to get nothing but hazy memories of the fire.
He steps back and tells Ji-soo that the only thing all three victims have in common is having seen the numbers 80B, 75A, and 85C. He grins and asks if this is enough to make him the psychometrist for the police.
Ji-soo scoffs, saying those numbers refer to the evidence bags containing the victims’ underwear. At that, Lee An pulls out one victim’s memory of a woman wearing a ring — the perpetrator, perhaps? Just then, there’s a knock at the door and all three freak out.
The girls urge Lee An to hide and scramble over to the door to greet Prosecutor KANG SUNG-MO (Kim Kwon). Sung-mo saunters on in, suspicious as Ji-soo starts rambling about the case feeling similar to the Yungsung Apartments case.
They hear a bang from one of the freezers, and we see that Lee An is hiding inside, struggling to prevent his skin from touching anything. Sung-mo smirks, seeming to know exactly what’s going on. He locks the girls out of the room and walks over to the freezer to slide Lee An out.
“Hi, Hyung,” Lee An says with a smile. (Ha! Also, how cute is it that they’re still close?) Sung-mo reminds Lee An that he doesn’t want him using his ability this way. As punishment, Sung-mo slides him back into the freezer, wishing him luck. Lee An isn’t able to keep his head up anymore, and the second it touches the freezer, he sees visions of every corpse that was in there. He screams like a little girl and passes out, Sung-mo standing outside with a smirk the whole time.
Later, Sung-mo interrogates the only witness to the fire, an insurance agent that had gone to the home to meet a client. He’d caught a woman laughing maniacally as she stabbed her roommates and then setting the room on fire. Sung-mo finds it odd that the witness took so long to report this, but he goes along with the story for now.
Sung-mo briefs his colleagues and the Special Investigative Unit, Ji-soo included, using what he gathered from the witness and the crime scene itself. The suspect was a depressed elder who had threatened to kill before, and Sung-mo speculates that she killed herself after starting the fire.
The police chief EUN BYUNG-HO congratulates Sung-mo on a job well done. Someone notes that they seem well-acquainted already, and Chief Eun reveals that Sung-mo is good friends with his daughter Ji-soo.
Chief Eun decides that the case is pretty much closed, but Ji-soo stands and declares that something’s off. She says that the killings were a group of women followed by a fire, exactly like the Yungsung Apartments case. And since the suspect from that case never actually confessed…
Chief Eun stands as well, yelling, “Are you saying that your father failed that case 11 years ago?” Ji-soo stops there, and sensing the tension, the prosecutors take that as their cue to leave.
Not too long after, Sung-mo does the public briefing on television, which a masked girl watches with disappointment. The girl then hurries to meet an auntie of hers so she can get a ride elsewhere.
The girl removes her mask, revealing herself to be our heroine YOON JAE-IN (Shin Ye-eun). She tells her auntie that she found a new place to live, as well as a school and job.
Jae-in has her auntie drop her off at a public restroom so she can change into her school uniform. But as she’s changing, she hears someone in the next stall and finds a peep hole on the wall. The Peeping Tom runs right out of there, and Jae-in is hot on his trail.
Outside, Lee An is walking along the sidewalk, talking to his friend, and (oh noes) wearing a similar hoodie and jacket as the Peeping Tom. The guy runs into him, and the touch makes Lee An see his perverted memories.
As the guy disappears, Jae-in rounds the corner and, of course, seeing An’s hoodie, assumes he’s the culprit. Lee An keeps talking to his friend, talking about needing to see things more clearly (with his ability), having no idea that Jae-in is following him and recording what he’s saying.
She finally confronts him, but he has no idea what she’s talking about until she plays the recording. And out of context, it totally sounds like he was spying on someone. He remembers the pervert and firmly states that it wasn’t him who spied on her in the bathroom.
“I never said it was in the bathroom,” Jae-in says, narrowing her eyes. Well, he can’t exactly explain himself there. She starts to deliver a swift kick, but he catches her leg, subsequently seeing her memories.
He sees a little girl falling to the ground, Jae-in being pelted with eggs, and that last scene in the bathroom. He then realizes that he’s still touching her leg, which only makes her angrier and call the police.
Cut to: Jae-in happily talking to the police while Lee An is inside a cell, climbing the bars like a trapped monkey. He insists that he’s innocent, but Jae-in merely finishes her report and leaves for school. One of the officers then turns to An, immediately recognizing him as the infamous middle schooler who’d gotten into all kinds of trouble, like fighting. And with that, the officer knows exactly who to call.
Ji-soo comes by the station and bails him out, but he deflates to hear that he could have a sexual abuse record on his hands. As she drives him to school, she lectures him for getting into trouble yet again when she was trying to put his ability to good use. An’s face falls as he says, “You should’ve told me it was a Yungsung Apartments copycat. If I’d known it was that kind of case, I would’ve taken it more seriously.”
Ji-soo suggests Lee An have Sung-mo take care of his record, but Lee An says that he can handle it himself. He heads off to school, jumping the fence and making all the girls scream for him. He’s joined by his best friend LEE DAE-BONG (Noh Jong-hyun), who he’d been talking to on the phone earlier. Dae-bong tells him that a teacher was looking for him.
Meanwhile, Jae-in is at the very same school, giving her forms to her homeroom teacher. The teacher notices that Jae-in transferred many times, and she just fakes a smile and brushes it off. And curiously, she refuses to hand in the form containing her parents’ information. She steps out to use the bathroom, and when she comes back, she’s surprised to find Lee An by the teachers’ office.
Lee An doesn’t get much time to react because a teacher drags him inside and accuses him of breaking into the school to steal the midterm answers. It doesn’t make sense for a troublemaker like him to suddenly do so well on a test. On top of that, he was caught jumping the fence on a Sunday.
Lee An explains that he mindlessly came to school that day. And we see that the day of the midterms, he’d touched the person in front of him to get the answers. But since he can’t just say that, the teacher assumes his silence makes him guilty and orders him to bring his parents.
“My parents passed away,” Lee An says, earning Jae-in’s attention. The teacher coldly states that his behavior makes sense now — he’s an orphan. Either way, he’ll make sure that Lee An is kicked out of the school.
An’s light demeanor is completely gone now. He says that his hyung would tolerate everything as long as he graduated, so he can’t leave now. When the teacher ignores him, Lee An shouts his name, earning him a smack on the head. Another teacher intervenes, however, and urges Lee An to walk away.
Afterwards, Jae-in is taken to homeroom and introduced to her classmates. One girl, KIM SO-HYUN (Go Yoon-jung), stares at her with obvious recognition.
Meanwhile, Lee An skips class to hang out on the roof. He considers calling Sung-mo but decides he doesn’t want to be a burden to him. “You’re helpless,” he mutters. “Did you survive alone to live like this?”
So-hyun approaches Jae-in before gym class, and Jae-in immediately recognizes her. They don’t get much time to talk, though; So-hyun makes a quick escape when several other girls flood in.
The girls lean in on her, making her nervous, and ask if she’s the daughter of this famous politician. Jae-in seems to relax and excuses herself from the room. The second she’s out, she starts having a panic attack and has to flee to the roof.
As she breathes into a paper bag, she remembers when students had pelted her with eggs, calling her shameless. On a different part of the roof, Lee An looks through articles of the guard who saved him. Apparently, the guard had promised to go after his parents, and he did — he tried his best to revive them.
But another article reveals that the guard had then been arrested for causing the fire. We cut to the guard as he waits in line for his parole evaluation, and all the while, he’s holding a picture of a smiling Jae-in. Oh, man…
Having calmed down, Jae-in stands, only to freeze at the sight of a building off in the distance: Yungsung Apartments. She remembers being there the night of the fire and witnessing Lee An and Sung-mo drop from the window. “No matter how far I run, you’re always there,” she sighs.
Elsewhere, Sung-mo and Ji-soo discuss the case, along with An’s abilities. Sung-mo explains that Lee An might’ve had trouble seeing clearly because he was touching the bodies as objects and not people. And while touching objects is more emotionless, touching people is an entirely different story.
Sung-mo takes her to his office and digs out an old journal, where he’d written notes on An’s ability since it first came about. If he’s so curious about An’s ability, Ji-soo wonders, why isn’t he doing anything about it?
Sung-mo turns to her and answers that he’s waiting for Lee An to find someone he really wants to get a read on. Sung-mo admits that he even has someone in mind. “That kid,” he says as we cut to Jae-in and Lee An on the roof.
Lee An jumps down from his point on the roof and realizes mid-air that Jae-in is standing below him. They can only look on with surprise as he falls right toward her.
Like I said, I think we’re gonna have fun with this one, y’all. We’ve got an interesting concept, interesting backstory, and most importantly, interesting characters to hold it all together. Now, to be honest, the second the premise was announced, I immediately thought of I Hear Your Voice. And even now, I’m still thinking about it. The two are pretty darn similar, with one focusing on a mind-reader and lawyers and the other focusing on a psychometrist and detectives. We have characters who have gone through the same traumatic experience, who might have that trauma (AKA, killer) following them in the present, and who want to do everything in their power to bring justice. I got a whole list here, and I’m checking every box. But, hey, no complaints. I Hear Your Voice is one of my all-time favorite dramas and anything at all like it will be a good time for me.
First, I like that we’ve established that our characters’ source of trauma is this one apartment complex. We know that a murder took place, but as of right now, it has nothing to do with our heroes. They just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, which in itself is tragic. So while there may not be a killer specifically targeting these kids, I’m still worried for their safety. Because I can already tell that they’re going to be reckless when it comes to solving these cases. If the same killer really is at large, we may have a lot more deaths down the line. With that said, I’m thankful that our heroes at least have what seems to be a good balance in Sung-mo and Ji-soo. I think these two are the prosecutor and detective (and friends) that they need. They seem very mature, level-headed, and just as passionate as the kids. And I kind of already ship them together. I ship everyone together, but that’s not the point.
As much as I enjoyed this premiere, it was a little slower than I would’ve liked. The backstory was great, the stuff at the morgue was great, but once we really got into the present-day story, I don’t know, something felt off. It definitely felt like a lot of set-up rather than action, which is fine, of course, for the first episode. I just hope we pick up the pace next time. What I thought I was going to be worried about was the acting. While there are plenty of familiar faces here, our main crew is relatively new. That can be scary, considering these seem to be meaty roles, but I think they’re doing a decent job so far. Jinyoung, in particular, comes across as very wide-eyed and green, but even so, I believe him in this role; he plays that rambunctious puppy really well. I’ve only ever seen him as the younger Lee Min-ho in Legend of the Blue Sea, and that wasn’t much to go on, but I do know that he makes whatever character he’s playing likeable. Shin Ye-eun is also likeable, but we didn’t get too much time with her character this episode. I look forward to learning more about her and her story with the dad.
I know this is just the first episode, but I wish we’d been given more background on the psychometry. Sung-mo revealed that An’s ability was due to that nasty fall he had when he was younger, but there are other things I want to know. Did it affect him as a kid? Is that why he got into fights? How does it all work? Does he know how it works? How is he so calm and smiley while touching dead bodies? *clears throat* I digress. Going back to I Hear Your Voice, the origin of the power didn’t matter too much, but the way he used it certainly mattered. The very intensity of the power mattered. It was beautifully done in that drama, and I think it could be done just as well here. To me, psychometry actually sounds more horrifying than mind-reading because our hero is overwhelmed with the memories of people and the histories of objects. The poor guy couldn’t even lie his head inside a cooler for two seconds without seeing some scary shit. We haven’t seen too much of his power yet, but I have a feeling it could get much more scary. Much more emotional. Much more entertaining. And I’m all for it.
- Premiere Watch: That Psychometric Guy
- Got7 Jinyoung to star in tvN’s supernatural rom-com
- tvN drama That Psychometric Guy rounds out cast
- Stills and casting additions for tvN’s That Psychometric Guy
- New stills for fantasy romance That Psychometric Guy
- tvN’s That Psychometric Guy releases first video teaser
- Flirting over the piano in tvN’s That Psychometric Guy