Rating:
Average user rating 3.9
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Kill It: Series review, episodes 2-6

OCN’s Kill It was a little too much fun to leave with just a first episode recap, so here are our thoughts on the first half of this 12-episode action thriller.

When we left our hero, Kim Soo-hyun (Jang Ki-yong) at the end of Episode 1, we not only got a glimpse of his unorthodox childhood, but the descent and demise of his father figure Pavel (David Lee McInnis). Pavel is something of an unfortunate father figure for our hero, what with being a bloodthirsty and paranoid assassin and all, but he’s not entirely without a sense of righteousness. On his deathbed, he urges Soo-hyun to change his course, and live a good life. Our hero mostly ignores this message (for now at least), which is why we have a drama to watch — and painstakingly pick apart — so let’s get to it!

I should start out with a disclaimer. I started watching this drama because of the appeal of Jang Ki-yong with a sniper rifle in head-to-toe assassin gear, and because I love a good action thriller. For me, a good action drama must contain larger-than-life heroes, and be chock full of moral dilemmas — like the internal war of being a ruthless killer versus being loyal and protective over the people you care about, for instance.

An action drama without a hero (or anti-hero) to root for falls flat, so getting behind our troubled assassin is crucial. While Jang Ki-yong really excels in the drama’s action sequences — they make such good use of his roving gaze and cat-like movements — it took me a while to warm up to him as Soo-hyun. The issue I was having was the same one I had during Come Here and Hug Me: Jang Ki-yong is so stiff and silent. In Come Here and Hug Me, it won me over, and I found it worked well in his portrayal of the emotionally-burdened son of a serial killer. In Kill It, he’s the same ratio of stiff and silent, but it was frustrating at first. Then something clicked.

Had I fallen under the Jang Ki-yong spell, or did the character of Kim Soo-hyun just take a while to make sense to me, and be worth getting emotionally invested in? By the time I hit Episode 5, all the strands of the story started to weave together more fully, and I started to get behind the drama as a whole.

I forgave the fact that Soo-hyun doesn’t actually do anything as a vet except stare blankly at the computer and stock shelves with empty bottles. I forgave the fact that everyone strangely converges at his clinic, and that every scene in the first four episodes seemed to revolve around the random table in the middle of his office (seriously, is this the only set they had?). I even forgave the lack of back story for Do Hyeon-jin (Nana), the detective who’s both chasing a killer and befriending a neighbor — little does she know they are the same man.

Kill It’s quick pace and steady pulse of reveals and recognitions keeps things not only moving, but advancing. In the space of the five episodes covered here, Soo-hyun is quickly drawn into a web by a client who knows more about his past than he does.

With each episode, we learn of a new level of connectedness, as each character’s past is not only deeply intertwined, but converges over a past case (or hit, depending on whose story you are getting). The case, and all the lines that lead to and from it, connect our characters not only to each other, but to the creepy orphanage where our leads began their story. Improbable? Yes, but I’m in deep enough to suspend my disbelief now, and all of the interconnectedness between good guys, bad guys, and good-bad guys is a flashing siren: major conspiracy ahead.

While the background scheming of textbook evil and double-crossing politicians and their right hand men is on the dull side (as ever), it escalates things quickly for Soo-hyun. The power struggles that are going on, and the need to suppress what happened at Hansol Orphanage, sets off a whole chain of events and kill orders. The deeper Soo-hyun gets, the deeper Hyeon-jin gets.

Kill It gets stronger as it continues, though very few of the reveals are of actual surprise to the audience, since we’re purposefully clued in way before the characters themselves are. Still, the ground gained between our assassin and detective is quite impressive: they go from acquaintances, to neighbors, to almost-friends, to a game of cat and mouse that’s interjected with the realization that they were dear childhood friends. The shared childhood trauma trope is probably my least favorite form of interconnectedness because it’s so overplayed — but I was willing to swallow it here for the sake of the wider story. I hope I don’t regret that.

Although it’s a little typical and patched together as a whole, Kill It makes up for it with some really great sequences that add a nice edge to the storytelling. One sequence that was really well done was the morphing of the 11-year-old murder witness that Hyeon-jin has been searching for, into the high schooler that Soo-hyun has taken under his wing. We get an eerie head-on shot of this shell-shocked bleeding child, and then see her at her present age, all while she’s standing in front of the bathroom mirror as if she’s staring at us.

Another great sequence featured our leads sitting across the table from each other over Hyeon-jin’s birthday cake. They talk about past childhood friends (if you can call short one-word answers actually “talking”), and Soo-hyun says he had a friend that was good at making paper airplanes. Hyeon-jin muses that she used to be good at making them as a child. This is an important scene where we get some clues that these two were the childhood friend they have each been searching for, but the scene is even more impactful because of how it’s shot. The candle flickers between them, and Soo-hyun stares at her while she gives thanks over her cake. The effect of the head-on camera shots in this scene is mesmerizing.

Is this a scene of recognition? Does Soo-hyun remember her from his past, or does she remember him? Is this a peek into his soul, or are we witnessing his growing attraction to her? (They crackle on screen together, that’s for sure.) I’m not sure if the ambiguity is intentional, but it really worked here. Both of the actors can do a heck of a lot with their eyes, and it’s scenes like this that made me forgive the drama for using the paper airplane device, and other well-worn plot devices, to keep the plot moving forward.

We close out Episode 6 with another fantastic moment. Soo-hyun has backed out of his latest “assignment,” and told the client he doesn’t care about the repercussions. But, in the same breath, he runs at top speed to save Hyeon-jin. She’s walking across the street unaware that she’s about to get mowed down by his client. Soo-hyun runs for her, grabs her, and the scene cuts to black. The cut is so fast you can barely process his arms wrapping around her before the episode abruptly ends.

Such a brilliant bit of editing. It just goes to show you can take the most tropified scene in all of dramaland (vehicle of doom, girl lost in thought crossing street, hero rushing in to save her) and make it something fresh and impactful. It’s all in how you do it. Kill It, if you cannot give me depth of storytelling and uniqueness of plot, give me glorious and well-filmed moments like these, and I’ve got enough to keep me watching.

With these six episodes behind me, I can safely say I’ve totally fallen for this silent hero with a mountain of problems and pain ahead of him. So much has been revealed by our midway point that I wonder what is left to unfold in the next half — but that’s a good place to be. It’s better than knowing exactly what is going to happen, and just waiting for it unfold. We’ve got questions that need answering, and a conspiracy to uncover, but something tells me there are many more cards to be played before we learn the truth behind Hansol Orphanage, and Soo-hyun’s dark and mysterious past.

Editor’s Note: Please don’t discuss spoilers because we’d hate to delete your comment! This includes anything shown in previews.

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I really wanna know what the deal is with his eyes. I thought it was just my computer screen being weird but nope. His eyes are blue as a child and now he wears contacts(??) I guess to cover them up? I feel like this is almost a drama I want to wait until it’s completed before I continue because I want to know everything yesterday!!

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Blue eyed Koreans are rare and distinctive enough that our hero would need hide that feature - given the nature of his real business.

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He's a wolf child. ;P

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He's an experiment basically. Anyway, if I get it right FT Bio make (through artificial insemination) and raise children with certain characteristics that they want. Those are the numbered children. (Researchers really do that with animals in labs, but of course not with people). It seems like a lot of high officials had a child made that way with their genes. Then they use them. For example, one official needed an organ transplant, but they can't find a donor who matches, so they'll use the child they made (it has the most similar DNA). There would also be a huge amount of money to be made illegally selling organs, and so on...

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I agree with you @missvictrix that this drama is too much fun (in an absurdly entertaining way) to be left alone. Despite my love for dark OCN dramas, I never expected any of their characters to connect emotionally with me because these stories usually are being told in a cold way. That's way the silent and closed-off Soo-hyun, and the arrogant Hyun-jin are the least of my worry. As long as it continues to be dramatic and entertaining, I can leave my brain at the door and enjoying this perfect weekend treat.

In all seriousness though, I always thought that Kill It actually has an interesting story to tell. Their past stories are full of depraving and horrifying issues (especially everything about Hansol orphanage), and even their current lives haven't been free of that (I still shudder at Hyun-jin's mom's super controlling nature and how her husband has practically allowed it to worsen as long as it doesn't bother him). But it also has a very complicated web of relationships and sequence of events that most times didn't translate well on screen. I'm sure I'm not the only one trying to trace back the flow of information in this show and failed miserably. Or who still couldn't figure out who the heck those people are talking about when they drop new names every minute or so.

Though for all my complaint, I still can't wait for the new eps this week (and hopefully DB will put up a final review for this drama). Plus, the OSTs are total earworm. 🎶🎵

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@gadis YES isn't the music great? And they use it quite well. I'm glad I'm not the only one that's enjoying this one ;)

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@gadis, @missvictrix, thank you both for your thoughts--and for making me feel not so stupid when I wonder, "wait, who is this again?" or "did I hear that name before?" "am I supposed to know that name?" "do I not remember all the names because I'm not Korean and even after a few years of watching kdramas, I'm just not familiar enough to keep up?" (this last one makes me feel really bad about myself).
Thank you, @missvictrix, for the first recap (which really helped ground me as I had watched that episode and am now going back weeks later for the rest) and then for deciding to continue the discussion! I am watching it late--just finished ep 7 and the drama is already over--so I really appreciate your prohibition against spoilers.
It was fun seeing you point out all the kdrama tropes, which are pretty worn and weary these days, but a great editor, director, and cinematographer can certainly make them work. My heart is breaking for the children the two leads once were--and the adults they now are. (Though I do wish the leads would express more emotion; I'm not as sure as you both are that their eyes are able to do the heavy lifting. I've seen some great "eye acting" in kdramas--Jang Hyuk, Kim Jae Wook, Cha Seung Won--and, at least so far, these two haven't gotten it.
Naming a person (or animal or thing) as a way of trying to own him/her/it goes back probably to the beginning of civilization and language and it is used to great effect here. Even--or maybe especially in this case--if the name is (horrifyingly) a number.

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Nana girl crush!

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I am watching, but I almost think I have the entire plot figured out. I am still in, but this one isn't one of my favorite dramas. So many cliches that it almost makes my head spin.

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I kind of dropped it. All the "coincidences" were too much and kind of ridiculous. They're lacking professionalism... I'm disapointed by the both actors and their characters.

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Thank you for this midpoint recap of KILL IT, @missvictrix. It's unusual and interesting to encounter a Kdrama with a connection to the Russian Far East.

I just watched THE FATAL ENCOUNTER, and Ye Olde Orphans Turned Into Assassins Trope was the basis of that sageuk film, too. (I watched it as a warm-up for Jo Jung-seok's upcoming turn in NOKDU FLOWER, and enjoyed it immensely.) Anyone who tuned into 100 DAYS MY PRINCE knows how things turned out for another young person forced to become an assassin, so I have to admit that the future doesn't look too bright for veterinarian Soo-hyun. What I want to know is the reason for his father (allegedly) putting a hit on him when he was a little kid. Did I miss something, or has this not yet been revealed?

The creepy abandoned orphanage continues to give me GOD'S QUIZ: REBOOT vibes. I'm beginning to suspect that Soo-hyun's blue eyes may be a factor in his stay at the orphanage. It's just a hunch. A little background on the genetics of eye color:
https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/traits/eyecolor

@gadis, I agree with you about Hyun-jin's mother being a control freak of epic proportions. I don't know whether she's just a plot device to give her adopted daughter plenty of grist for developing a strong will and sense of self, or whether there's more to it than that. Dad is so weirdly passive / uninvolved when it comes to Mom's domination that I have to wonder which cards she's holding over his head.

I've been enjoying Lee Jae-won's portrayal of Philip, Soo-hyun's business partner in "Assassins 'R' Us." The guy obviously cares about him. I've lost track of how they met. Or has it not yet been revealed?

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What I want to know is the reason for his father (allegedly) putting a hit on him when he was a little kid. Did I miss something, or has this not yet been revealed?

I think they still haven't revealed any new backstory about that. It might have something to do with his blue eyes, or the fact that he only has number in lieu of proper name.

I've lost track of how they met. Or has it not yet been revealed?

I just remember Philip remindes Soo-hyun that they've known each other since they were a kid. I don't think they are orphanage buddy since Philip seemed to be clueless about Soo-hyun's forgotten past. Maybe they met each other after Soo-hyun got out (adopted?) from Hansol? Or maybe they are acquaintance from his time in Russia with Pavel? (Though it wouldn't make any sense that Philip couldn't speak any russian)

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Thank you for your reality check, @gadis. I'm also watching DOCTOR PRISONER and CONFESSION, and I'm afraid that the characters and plots are getting a bit mushed together in my mind. Add in the earlier shows I'm being reminded of, and it's getting challenging to remember which is which. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake that Cylon reference, though. 100%!!

@hebang that's a hefty lead time hahaha. Can I at least get expedited shipping?

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The price of a First Class ticket on Space-X’s soon to be announced a Planet Express shuttle is included. We got a really discounted price for buying 25 years in advance! There IS an optional package just made available - the delivery includes a birthday cake and private party! Interested???

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@missvictrix,

Another possibility:
Have Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth do the cloning, with delivery via FUTURAMA's Planet Express. Just make sure he doesn't send his own clone, Cuebert. The bad news: Bender will be driving. Through a black hole
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/757241/
to clip some time off that delivery lead time. Now if only there were a way to send it through the TIME TUNNEL, you wouldn't have to wait 25 years, 9 months, and 5 days. ;-)

@hebang FlyingTool, Another Space-X fan? Cool! I sneak a peek at the launches when Mr. P. watches them. Seeing them land the boosters -- especially on barges out at sea -- is wild. Having watched Gemini and Apollo launches and splashdowns on TV, it boggles my mind to see Space-X vehicles land on a dime.

BTW, the birthday cake and party are a nice touch. ;-)

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@missvictrix, @pakalanapikake: Cylon reference? As in Battlestar Galactica & Caprica? I didn't catch it in your post, Ms. P.
Is there a very esoteric reference that just blew past me? Or am I getting more dull by the moment?
Just when (see comment of mine near top) I thought I was figuring the Kill It world out thanks to Miss V and Ms Gadis, I'm now lost again. . .

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@isbjorn May 7, 2019 at 11:48 AM

Ah, the comments are out of order because of the loss of the reply button. I had to dig around down below in the thread to find my comment with the Cylon reference to which @missvictrix alluded:

http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/04/kill-it-series-review-episodes-2-6/#comment-3444228

Suggest you try to read the rest of the thread in chronological order as far as Flying Tool's reply dated April 13, 2019 at 1:45 PM:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/04/kill-it-series-review-episodes-2-6/#comment-3444209

I hope that helps make sense. Sorry for the delay. ;-)

PS: SpaceX's interplanetary spaceship the BFS, (“Big Fragging Spaceship”) has been named "Planet Express" because it looks like the interstellar delivery ship in the FUTURAMA cartoons. The reusable booster assembly is landed vertically, often on a barge at sea. It's amazing to watch.

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@pakalanapikake thank you!

that is hilarious re Planet Express & SpaceX's BFR shuttle. Love yr joke re Bender driving in April 14 7:36 comment.

I too watch the various SpaceX launches when hubby has them on the bigger screen (I'm on Surface Pro while he has control of larger screen mounted on wall). It's quite exciting to see them send satellites into orbit, etc. And it was pretty funny watching Musk's red car emerge from the nosecone (or "fairing" as husband called it). And, yes, seeing the rockets land back on earth is really amazing (tho the rocket that sent the car up may have become space junk--can't keep all this stuff in my head).

I remember one that looked as if it was landing perfectly, then teetered and fell off the deck.

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I think the numbered kids were clones that they created to use as organ donors (remember the old guy that said he was afraid to die and who wanted to see the picture of his donor. The picture showed one of the kids from the new orphanage). The story reminds me of Never Let Me Go (book by Kazuo Ishiguro).
I think the father in this case is the director of the orphanage. He created him so that counts as being his dad. He needed all numbered kids dead and since number 88 seems to have a knack for surviving, he needed someone more professional to take him down (Pavel).

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Kill It also reminded me of Never Let Me Go. Young Hyun Jin (or Young Eun) was probably being groomed to be an organ donor for the Chairman's sick daughter. I however am at a loss as to the connection of the young Soo Hyun to the sick daughter (the little girl in the photo) and the Chairman. Like, why was he spending time with them? Why was a hit eventually ordered on young Soo Hyun? Also, where were the young Hyun Jin/Young Eun and Soo Hyun when the other numbered kids were being killed off?

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HJ had already been adopted at that point and SH was on the run?
I think the killing of the numbered kids happened right after the murder of the scientist's family. Their secret was in danger of being exposed, so the director decided to eliminate everyone connected to the orphanage (kids included) because he was afraid that his partner was going to expose them?
I thought that guy might be a good person (he lost his family and was betrayed) but seeing how he uses number 88 for his revenge plan makes him as bad as the director.

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Never Let Me Go (saw the movie) was one of the more impactful stories in a long time. Hope this story has a happier ending!

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The “spare parts clone” theory could also explain the attitudes of Nana’s character’s parents. The mother, having lost her daughter, has a near perfect clone without the flaws that caused the fatal illness. She could, out of feelings of guilt, fall into obsession easily. The father, seeing what to him is a walking package of spare parts being treated as his daughter by his wife, doesn’t know how to handle it - so is just passive about the whole thing.

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@hebang FlyingTool,
April 13, 2019 at 1:45 PM

ROFLMAO at your clone delivery lead time. ;-)

@missvictrix,
If you're willing to pay extra and don't mind a hybrid model, you might try contacting the Cylons.

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@tesshan,
Send in the clones! Now I'm getting a DUEL vibe. (BTW, Yang Se-jong was fantastic as two clones, their donor, and one clone impersonating the other.)

If the kids are clones, then that might explain Soo-hyun's missing memories.

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I think the missing memories were caused by the car accident. when he was hit by the car.
I wonder if SH was the donor for the sick girl. She might have had leukemia and he was supposed to be her bone marrow donor but maybe something went wrong and they could not save her (maybe he run away and they could not use him when needed). Since she was sick she could not spend time with other kids, but since he is some sort of enhanced human spending time with him was ok and she would not get exposed to germs (flu, cold, etc). Since the girl died SH was not useful anymore and that is why the director wanted him gone.

The father is passive towards HJ because he knows that she is not his real daughter but just a replacement. I think he ordered to have all the numbered kids killed so he does not seem to care about his little experiments.

The foster mom that run away had a baby with her...was that the young girl (landlady, I forgot her name)? Was she a donor for her grandfather? They said he married a lot but never had kids and it was strange that he ended up with a grandkid, no?

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@pakalanapikake @hebang If they are indeed clones, where do I order a JKY clone, and how soon can I get it delivered?

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@missvictrix April 12, 2019 at 4:56 PM

The only cloneworks I was aware of was busted in DUEL, so I'm not sure where to order one nowadays. Unless Psycho Dad from COME HERE AND HUG ME has switched from dog farming... Yikes.

Oh, dang. The baddies behind the Hansol Orphanage probably have their clone lab on a factory ship in the North Pacific. But you probably need to have a ton of Bitcoins and know the secret handshake if you want to order a #88 Special. ;-)

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@missvictrix, if you want a nice 25 year old JKY, it will take 25 years plus nine months plus 5 days to process your order.

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Yes yes smol wolf clone children yess *rubs hands gleefully*

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To be fair to the Orphan Into Assassin trope, there is some sense to it. Orphans (usually) have no family, therefore no emotional ties which makes them good for imprinting, also where else better to steal a child to make them into an assassin than from somewhere where they went cos noone wanted them anyway??

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@sicarius, I agree. Spies are also allegedly recruited from people without family ties to avoid having potential hostages that could be used against them.

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Yeahp! Which ugh I kinda wish was the case here haha. He's too emotionally attached to too many things already

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Since they used the wolf connection it makes sense. He is loyal to the people he considers his pack. SG and HJ are his main wolf ladies so he will be loyal to them over the loyalty to his client.

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@tesshan ooh I hadn't thought of the pack metaphor. That's a good one.

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Yes to this trope! And the wolf/canine tie-in! Can't wait to see where they take it, if they have the sense to do it

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The moment i realize soohyun related to seulgi's grandad and hyunjin's senior's murder, i already think this drama will not gonna see a happy end.
jang kiyong still playing the same character, the son of a killer (tho now its selfclaimed father), but somehow i understand why he playing his character stiffly.

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I really like it. And the story reminds me of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I think that is what the old (and the new) orphanage was for. The kids were sort of clones, created as donors for their organs (see the old guy in the clinic that wanted to see the picture of his donor and he mentioned how the kid looks like him). Number 88 might have been a special breed since he seems to excel in combat and dangerous situations + the blue eyes. HJ was there as a replacement for the rich family's daughter and when the kid passed away she got adopted (she was indeed a special case but she does not know how special yet) so that the mom would not completely go crazy. She excels in darts so it looks like all kids from that orphanage are some sort of higher level humans.
SH's future really looks grim. Like Philip said he did choose the path of a killer. He might have done so in order to survive but he could have left when he got older but since that is the only thing he knows he decided to stick go on with it.
I wonder how our hero can redeem himself without loosing his life in the process.

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As absurd as some may find the story of Kill It, I actually quite like it alot. It's slick, fast paced, over the top, and leaves me intrigued. JKY and Nana look great and I like the other characters also, even Hyun Jin's police colleagues. The directing and story-telling could've been better but it is still ok with me. I'm also curious about the prosecutor who is very much interested in Hyun Jin. He seems to know more than he lets on.

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How many beanies think our hero will be both alive and happy at the end? Wish this site had a means for taking polls ...

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I do, mostly because the drama is so ridiculous that I think it us possible. I'm probably wrong though, lol.

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I am afraid the end will be her at the orphanage (alone) looking at that secret hiding place and finding a paper plane...

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@hebang FlyingTool,
I have a feeling that the only happiness that exists in this show was fossilized in amber when the leads were residents of the orphanage from Hell.

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Kill it is an utterly absurd drama, that is over the top and nonsensical. However, I look forward to it every week.

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Well, I'm sorry to say but you've convinced me @missvictrix I will check it out right now.
Thanks for the preview, think I needed that

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;)

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Hi, @martinjsimwaba! Good to see you! Jump right in, the water's fine. ;-)

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Kill It makes me think of all kinds of crazy things, and I look forward to it every week if only so I can have fun making fun of it. In a good natured way ofc.

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@sicarius,

I almost think of it as THE REVENGE OF NA-MOO. Or ORPHANAGE VIGILANTE, especially if Soo-hyun were to team up with Hyun Sang-pil (Kim Jae-won) of GOD'S QUIZ: REBOOT. They would dish out epic retribution with truly labyrinthine plotting. Conspiracy nuts would have a field day watching those two in action.

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😂😂😂😂😂
Oh my mind has been to aliens and werewolves and X-Men and ones and then back again to aliens during this show Paka hahaha

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orphanage vigilante hahaha

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Having caught up to episode 8, and seen the action, the bullets and fists and whatever fly, I have to say I actually enjoy the quiet moments between our characters the most.

And ... the bad guys - these people need to rot in h*ll for all eternity and then some more.

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But he could be a bit more vocal...in Come and hug me he was like a puppy and just nodded. But his silence it a bit annoying...if I was HJ I would slap him while screaming "say something!!!!" lol

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Yes he could and should be more vocal, more expressive. Hope the writers aren’t saving everything for a heroic closing scene.

He’s in danger of getting type cast!

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I was thinking the same. His last 2 characters are quite similar.

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The only difference being that Su Hyun wouldn't hesitate to kill a man and Nam Woo's entire character arc is based around the fact that he would, in fact, hesitate to kill a man, and then some...
So quite a big difference 😂😂😂
But yeah neither talk much, eh 😉

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Have the series reviews stopped?

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Part 2 is coming ^_^

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Please tell me I'm not the only one still watching this who is also still semi enjoying it... 😬

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@sicarius You are not alone ;)

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I AM NOT ALONE HALLELUJAH

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I'm still semi enjoying it too. And if DB did put up the next part of this series review, I'm so going to write long essay for this drama.

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You and me both! But I think they'd be very different essays! haahah

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The cinematography is top-notch and thrilling, even if the story line is all over the place with its misguided attempts at trying to weave everything (including its characters) together.

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