Rating:
Average user rating 4.9
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Watcher: Episodes 1-8 (Series review)

OCN’s currently airing weekend thriller sees Han Seok-kyu’s return to the small screen for the first time since 2016’s Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim, and I can tell you it is well worth the wait, especially if Forest of Secrets was your cup of tea. (And duh, OF COURSE they have the same director, Ahn Gil-ho—no wonder they remind me so much of each other!) Layered to high heaven, the show is spectacularly detailed, and the current of unease that runs through it from its very opening moments only intensifies as it goes on. It’s very cerebral, but there’s no shortage of action.

Each week, my mind is a little more blown by the questions, ambiguities and impossibilities I’m left to nurse, all with my brain running at a hundred miles an hour—and still way behind. That makes this review somewhat daunting to write, as this show is far cleverer than I am. Can I really do it justice in this limited space? But if you have ever loved a dense, complex, richly characterized thriller, you can’t not watch this (though it might be a show best marathoned). It’s the rare show for me where I relish rewatching episodes, and the second watch reveals a whole new layer to the show that would otherwise have passed me by. There are any number of words to apply to this show, but “simple” would never be one of them.

The show opens on the scene of a murder that took place 15 years ago, and a young KIM YOUNG-GOON (later played by Seo Kang-joon) witnesses his mother’s death. Later at the police station, surrounded by a group of faceless investigators, a woman’s voice asks him, “Did your father do it?”

Fast-forward 15 years, Young-goon is now police officer himself. A low-level patrol cop, he chases a minor traffic infraction, only to get caught up in a case that turns out to be much, much bigger. Despite his low rank, he’s a sharp thinker, and quickly realizes that he’s stumbled onto dangerous ground when the head of the Special Investigation team, Chief JANG HAE-RYUNG (Heo Sung-tae), moves in on his case and all sorts of irregularities follow. Young-goon’s stubbornness in pursuit of truth makes its first show here, and he’s unable to back off from the case, especially when he sees with his own eyes the blatantly criminal way the Special Investigation Team is handling it, and how they answer to masters other than the law, whether that’s their own ambition, or corporate interests.

Detective DO CHI-GWANG (Han Seok-kyu), who is the total opposite: an unbending slave to the letter of the law. It leaves him as something of a lone wolf with no friends (who’d trust a colleague who’d turn them in?). Regardless, he’s undeterred, maintaining a laser-focus on rooting out corruption within the force. Jang Hae-ryung, one-time hoobae and a slippery nemesis, is his top target, but without any concrete evidence of wrongdoing, there’s nothing he can do about it, although he finally wrangles permission to investigate him from his long-suffering boss.

Young-goon, meanwhile, ends up undergoing investigation for misconduct after a series of his own mistakes leads him to shoot his suspect, which brings him into contact with Chi-gwang’s newly-formed Internal Investigations unit, deep underground in a long-disused gym—where we’re told nobody can hear you if you scream, and two people have committed suicide there in the past, so… cheerful surroundings. Chi-gwang is there for dirt on Chief Jang, but Young-goon has little trust for either of them, especially after the things he’s seen that day. Still, he follows behind Chi-gwang, if only to see his case through. Thus, they cross paths with our last main player, lawyer and former prosecutor, HAN TAE-JOO (Kim Hyun-joo), who has her own personal ties to the investigations in question.

With one thing leading to another, Young-goon finds himself the newest member of the Anti-Corruption Team, with Tae-joo on board as a special external consultant. Their remit allows them to investigate any ongoing corruption with a strict moratorium on historical cases, which isn’t exactly what Chi-gwang was going for, but he’ll take it.

[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. BEWARE AND PROCEED WITH CAUTION. I WARNED YOU.]

The three of them have an old, ill-fated connection going back 15 years, to the murder of Young-goon’s mom. Chi-gwang was the cop who brought Young-goon’s dad in, arriving first on the scene and discovering Young-goon in hiding. Han Tae-joo was the prosecutor who then put him away. In a further twisted connection, the dad turns out to have been Chi-gwang’s most cherished sunbae, and it seems like that betrayal of faith was what set him on the path of putting away “bad” policemen ever since.

Unlike a traditional revenge melo, Young-goon hates his father, KIM JAE-MYUNG (Ahn Gil-kang), and has no illusions of his innocence, not when he saw him do it. But the drama calls into question the reliability of Young-goon’s childhood memories, especially in the most recent (and most harrowing) episodes.

That’s the genius of the show: Nothing—nothing—can be taken at face value, not from anyone. In a show where it’s impossible to separate what you think to be true from what is actually true, the only person I believe—or at least, I believe is as confused as me—is Young-goon. It’s through the lens of his perspective that we, the audience, approach the show. Like him, we can see what’s going down, but we have no idea who the villains really are or are not. His changing emotions and shifting alliances are always a mirror to mine, and in a way, he forms the moral compass of the show.

Young-goon does not and cannot trust Chi-gwang any more than he does Chief Jang, and Chi-gwang does nothing to dispel this. It’s a really fascinating aspect of Do Chi-gwang’s character that he cares so little about what others think of him and makes no attempt to defend himself. His great skill is in psyching out his opponent, using the power of silence in a way that seems to stop just short of being manipulative. In fact, he seems to be totally transparent, until you realize that maybe that’s a visual trick, and he’s actually totally opaque. Is he a puppet-master after all? If nothing else, he certainly embodies the title of the show: He observes.

The title, Watcher, always cues the same question in my head: Who watches the watcher? If the police are meant to function as the watchers over society, who watches over them? I think it’s the central question of the show. It feels especially relevant when we watch these characters frequently cross the line of the law in order to achieve their ends. As deserving as their “victims” may be, and as much as I appreciate that the grey morality is the story, on a real-life level, watching any form of police brutality disturbs me.

Though the show is structured to focus on a different case each week, every case connects to the next, like a string of flags coming out of a magician’s hat, with each case more grotesque and higher-reaching than the last. Though every case brings us a little closer to the culprit, we still seem impossibly far away from discovering them. The murder 15 years ago is almost like a prelude, and the subsequent slow reveals paint a picture far worse than we originally imagine—that we’re not looking at isolated cases of corruption, but that there is something much more sinister than personal or corporate greed underlying it… especially with a perp who revels in torture and whose signature is severing his victims’ thumbs.

As darkly enigmatic as Han Seok-kyu is, for me, Kim Hyun-joo is the one who steals the show as Han Tae-joo. We learn pretty quickly that she is a survivor of the thumb-clipping murderer. Though she’s rebuilt her life and gained a reputation for being a brilliant and ruthless lawyer, there’s a part of her that no one can see which remains vulnerable and afraid. Just like the sleek gold ring that hides the scar on her thumb, her outward success masks the inner anguish that drives her, and she’s haunted by the words spoken to her by her assailant: “Where do you think a person’s humanity comes from?” It’s an eerie question that becomes a touchstone for her as she seeks them out.

Tae-joo’s unpredictable in a way that is deeply intriguing. I find her an intoxicating mixture of pragmatic, unapologetically clever, and just a little broken. She’s willing to throw the dice, make deals and take risks, to double-cross and cross back for a triple-cross, plus she has the most adorable bodyguard/secretary, a reformed loan shark who is fanatically loyal to her. She’s emotionally honest in a way that Chi-gwang rarely is, and openly declares her intentions–that she’ll always put the search for her torturer first–but despite that, she always helps when asked. There’s something… warm about her, even if it’s only lukewarm. The show also sets up an interesting contrast between what she wants overall (to catch the culprit), and what Chi-gwang wants (to save people), and that drives a lot of their differences in their choices.

Perhaps that’s why I’m loving the current alliance between her and Young-goon so much. Young-goon might be younger and less experienced, but he’s in no way callow, and his acute senses not only keep him in the game, they keep him alive. It’s an alliance of pragmatism, but it’s driven by such raw emotions for both of them. Tae-joo’s as I mentioned above, but for Young-goon, it’s to know the truth about the night of his mother’s murder once and for all, especially as Tae-joo confesses her growing doubts about the case now, noting that her ordeal happened seemingly in response to her re-investigation into his father, meaning that somebody wanted them to leave the case alone. Is it possible that the truth he’s always believed about his father might not be the truth after all?

Young-goon makes a really good team with Chi-gwang, too, and his slow defection from Chi-gwang’s side to Tae-joo’s is so fascinating to watch. Tae-joo and Chi-gwang have a natural chemistry that shows in how easily they work together even when they want different things. They have a respect for each other’s competence that’s not quite trust, but may be even better. The great thing about this trio is how well-matched they are against each other. It plays to their strengths when they’re on the same side working for the same ends, but it also makes them formidable foes should they go up against each other.

By the second quarter, a host of major players are established, with Kim Jae-myung coming to the fore. After being in prison for 15 years, he reaches out to Young-goon with a tip-off about a corporate corruption ledger. Something of a power-broker in the prison, the corporation in question, Muil Group, tries to cut a deal with him to acquire the ledger, but matters quickly get out of hand, leading to a kidnap-cum-murder and a runaway prisoner. It culminates in a standoff with guns drawn between a chaebol, the runaway prisoner and Young-goon, which leads to Chi-gwang firing off a killing shot (WHY a kill-shot, WHY?)… and it’s the first crack we see in Chi-gwang’s unflappable front.

It’s a major turning point in how we’re allowed to see Chi-gwang, because he always gives the impression of knowing exactly what he’s doing. There’s this snippet of a scene with Chi-gwang soon after the shooting, where alone and trembling, he holds up the gun to his reflection. It’s a brilliant visual metaphor, the moment feeling like it’s the first time he’s really looked in the mirror at himself for so long. To me, that moment, the way his entire body shakes tells me how heavily the death he caused sits on him, even though it was all by the rules. It’s as if, for the first time, he begins to doubt the rules. According to the rules, he did nothing wrong, but clearly he feels wrong, so what does that mean?

It’s a seed of faith you need as a viewer, because everything about the second quarter makes you doubt him. Tae-joo introduces a possibility fairly early on, that Chi-gwang is the true culprit of the murder of Young-goon’s mother and he framed Kim Jae-myung. He was in all the right places at the right time for that to be true. This is another part of the genius of the show, it doesn’t give you any answers right away but instead introduces reasonable doubt. In a criminal case, the introduction of reasonable doubt is what can make all the difference in court, and it’s such a clever, subtle way of delivering the narrative and maintaining suspense, which is a thriller’s most crucial currency.

Like Forest of Secrets, the cinematography of the show does such interesting things with space and distance. The team can all be in the same place, but separated by yawning distances, making it feel like a reflection of their disparity and actual dynamics. Even in small details like the fact that Ahn Gil-kang is significantly taller and broader than Seo Kang-joon, so that even when his kid is all grown up, he towers over him and fills the space, which shows especially when they’re together in the home they once shared. The entire show is littered with details like that, and creates a further layer to the storytelling.

Most of the first half goes by at breakneck speed with little time for melancholy, but episode 8 sees a slowdown as Jae-myung finally succeeds in negotiating his own release on parole in exchange for the ledger. By this point, Young-goon has enough doubt about the events of that night that he’s able to grudgingly take his father in. However, Young-joon refuses to acknowledge him as his dad, always referring to his father by name (or less). But Jae-myung is willing to take that. By this time, we’re pretty convinced he didn’t do it, and with Jae-myung’s concerted efforts to cram 15 years of fathering into one day, it’s clear that despite Young-goon’s brusque attitude towards him, he’s also ready to start changing his mind.

So it’s absolutely freaking tragic (and inevitable), that Jae-myung’s innocence is finally proven in the worst way possible, murdered in the bathtub–with his thumb cut off. It ripped my heart to utter shreds that Young-goon never got to call him “Dad” once, and that that terrible house where he saw his mother murdered now has another ineradicable memory. And why was Chi-gwang there again? And what about the face-off between the two men beforehand, forced by his boss? They both seem to have conflicting stories of what happened the night Young-goon’s mom was murdered, what does that mean?

The trauma awakens Young-goon’s memory of a new detail from that night: a bloodstained jacket, which belonged to his dad and was a vital piece of evidence in his conviction, was planted by someone else…someone who looks very like Chi-gwang. With that realization, his memories of his father standing over his dying mother morph into a demonic image of Chi-gwang, but whether this new version is “true” is impossible to say. Young-goon’s memory is no longer reliable.

So that’s where we’re at at the midway point: a thousand questions and no answers. We’ve got a culprit who all the evidence almost irrefutably suggests is a member of law enforcement, and for suspects, we’ve got creepy Deputy Commissioner PARK JIN-WOO (Joo Jin-mo; Chi-gwang and Chief Jang’s boss), who seemed like an ally at first, but this man is shadier by the day and increasingly obsessed with the ledger, whose whereabouts are still unknown. What’s his game? We’ve also got the inscrutable police chief, Commissioner YEOM DONG-SOOK (Kim Soo-jin), a social media celebrity fixated on making her mark. Does her smiling front belie hidden corruption? She looks like murder wouldn’t make her turn a hair. Of course there’s also Jang Hae-ryung, who’s been forced into working together with Chi-gwang. Suddenly he doesn’t seem like the worst of the lot, and he’s actually good at his job when he does it, so is he actually a little fish?

There’s such an abundance of doubt right now, that the only people I’m not suspecting are Young-goon (because he would not murder his own mother) and his teammate Jo Soo-yeon (she’s too young). As much as I love Tae-joo, I have to force myself to suspect her too, despite her scars and trauma. Is a thumb-scar even reliable proof that they’re not the villain? A villain this devious could well play their own decoy. We’re left to rely on interpreting the meaning of each character’s private moments and who they are when no one is watching. With the second half of the show taking off, all I know is, I’m going to be watching it like a hawk, second for second.

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Yay! I was waiting for this because I am so confused by what is really happening and who is who in this show. Thank you for this wonderful review, @saya!

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Ho, I accidently found "Watcher", clicked and not regretting my decision.
I like this series.

The opening and back ground of Young Goon, Tae Jo are scary enough. Both lost someone very dear to them and in gruesome conditions. How they live with those scars and try to right the society, in the name of justice, revenge or whatever, is beyond me.

I am now on hold, till it nearly finish. I couldn't stand the wait. And will be joyously watching them in one go, oh sleeps, what are thou? And the twists... ho... me likey! Hope it delivers till the end. Oh, the casts are great too!

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What a well-written review. I enjoyed reading this and hearing your thoughts. It was also helpful to refresh my memory on the past events of Watcher since there's a lot of information to digest.

Watcher is my favorite airing drama. Each episode keeps me hooked and eager for the next one. In addition, I'm surprised but pleased to hear that the director is the same one who worked on Stranger. No wonder why the two felt similar to each other.

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While "DS60D" got me irritated with its the last few episodes for guessing who's behind the bomber, "Watcher" is the only drama to make "guessing" who is/are the bad law enforcers is interesting. While the show is trying to bring us to believe that Deputy of Chief Park has something to do with the ledger (like his name is in there) or Officer Jang is not a good police, but I have to agree with @saya, that there's something with Commissioner. On a (accidental) meeting with Kim Jae-myung when she asked to take a photo together, Commissioner asked Jae-myung if he remembered her. He said, he remembered her as his student in the Police Academy and always sat in the front seat. When Jae-myung told her if he's given her an "A", she said, "No, it's was an B (or C)". Then Jae-myung said, there must be something why he gave her an B/C. She looks so shady...

One thing I notice from this show is: the speakers sat on the Officer Jo's office in the Investigation Office.... When the camera rolled focusing on those speakers, I had a sense, that there's something with those speakers; or YG's self question if Officer Jo saved her boyfriend's name under "BOYFRIEND".

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I'm also curious about the BOYFRIEND ...

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i am the complete opposite hahahha

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Thanks for this great review, Watcher is definitely not a simple story. I love all three man leads and their interpretation of the characters.

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The story is too complicated for my poor brain. Same as Arthdal. Thank you for explaining think. Lol..

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Thank you so much @Saya <3.
Han Seok-kyu is always worth waiting for!!!!!! Love the rest of the cast too.
I'm a bit sad that Han's film career hasn't been as successful as in his earlier days but I won't complain because I get to see more of him on the small screen.
Before Song Kang-ho there was Han Seok-kyu.

I love this kind of show. I get involved more than I should and it's always good to read someone else's point of view.

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I know what you mean about HSK's film career, but I guess it's inevitable at his age. And even though he's not the leading man he used to be, almost all his post-2000 films are really interesting and have allowed him to do lots of new things as an actor. My favourite are The President's Last Bang and Villain and Widow. I found him almost jaw-droppingly brilliant in those two films. Looking forward to Idol.

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I also think that it's important for film actors to keep the momentum and not to take long breaks from films like
Song Kang-ho, Sol Kyung-gu, Choi Min-sik, Hwang Jung-min, Kim Yoon-seok etc. They all have thriving film career at their age.

GREEN FISH is another favorite but PRESIDENT's LAST BANG is always on the very top for me too.

I haven't seen IDOL but I'm looking forward to his other version of King Sejong in ASTRONOMY.
I love love love him and Song Joong-ki in TREE WITH DEEP ROOT.

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Oooh Green Fish. That one broke my heart. It was particularly painful cos it wasn't cathartic at all - the tragedy of an ordinary man that will probably go unnoticed by society. On a happier note - Astronomy! With Choi Min-sik!! I am not a big fan of Shiri, but I love No 3 (though I'm sure I failed to get most of its jokes).

Btw didn't Choi Min-sik take a break and return to his theatre roots for a while? He went pretty quiet after that trumpet movie.

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SHIRI has it's flaws but having Han, Song Kang-ho and Choi Min-sik together was a treat.
MY PAPAROTTI is another film that I can go back to, not because it was one of his best film but I like the music and the story of Kim Ho-joong.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0SGJJdaHBg
Love his voice and he should sing more <3.

Yea, Choi went back to the theatre but it didn't last very long.
I think NUMBER 3 was the beginning of a promising film career and OLD BOY cemented him as a top film star.

I'm super excited about ASTRONOMY. I was disappointed with the drama "Jang Yeong-sil" but I am positive that this film is going to be awesome.
Sageuk, sageuk my first love lol.

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Sorry, replying here cos the thread below has run out of space. I like My Paparotti too, especially after the likes of Green Fish and President's Last Bang. (Not to mention A Bloody Aria. And even Christmas in August, come to think of it.) But that music video is new to me! I had no idea HSK's beautiful voice extended to singing! Thanks so much for the link.

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YW :).
Thank you for keeping the Han Seok-kyu fangirling alive!

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Thank you @saya!

I badly need this. I wasn't in a good state of mind(meaning no distraction) when I started this show. Between this and Longest Day In Chang An, my puny brain was fried. I'm only at ep 6 but at least with this review, I'll have something to refer to!

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Watcher is still on my (never-ending) list of shows I want to check (mainly because of Seo Kang Joon and Han Seok Kyu). Just... what is the level of violence and gore here? I can't against those and as this is an OCN show, I'm a bit scared to start...

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It was fine though.... So far, it's just the level of "Forest of Secrets." "Rescue Me" is way more brutal, IMHO....

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It's not. For me it's still pretty much restrained and control.

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Thanks (to @lemoncello as well).
I watched the 1st episode and it was ok. (And Seo Kang Joon was more than ok 😄)

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Glad you like it... Kang Joon is good here. I love him, and he embodies Young-joon so well...

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there are a few scenes where I had to cringe and look away, they blur most of the bad stuff

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The way they investigated the mum's death was bad. They did wrong by asking a kid like that and she put in her question the fact it could be his father, his memories were disturbed by the trauma. The poor kid put his father in prison and now he's dead...

This drama is very intense and everybody seems suspicious except Young Goon. I'm really curious about the one cutting thumb.

Is Tae-joo's husband dead? I mean they were two to be tortured and I don't remember they said something about the second person.

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> Is Tae-joo's husband dead?

In Episode 3 or 4, she refers to the incident and says something like "left my husband in the condition he is in" so I don't think he's dead.

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Ah thank you. She doesn't seem to have any relationship with him anymore.

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Or vegetable.

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And with the new informations (about missing detective) I wonder if his mother case wasn't crooked from the start and never properly investigated.

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She lost her thumb trying to investigate it...

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It was because of that case? I thought it was later, because his mother case was open and shut kind of investigation?

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She wanted to reinvestigate it thinking the father was not guilty. So it means it was pretty weird since the start.

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@Kurama, ah I got it now, I was thinking about inital investigation, with Det.Do trying to plant evidence against JM (altough in different case).

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I wondering how he could identify his own father, you are probably right that the prosecutor asking him the leading question was the problem.

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Sometimes I question my decision to watch this drama while it airs for the way it leaves after the episode ends I just want to know more but alas I have to wait.

And no wonder I'm loving this drama since I LOVE Forest Of Secrets.

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I'm in two minds about this show. On the one hand, it's really unusual and kind of refreshing for a K-drama to keep its cards so close to its chest. Almost every character, not to mention every key incident, is ambiguous, as if to reflect some shadowy, labyrinthine power structure. (Btw I'm not sure Han Tae-joo is at all emotionally honest.) On the other hand, I'm worried it'll turn out to be like Trap - shallow beneath its dark, convoluted surface.

I'll say one thing for Watcher though: it seems pretty restrained compared to the relatively flashy Trap. Most of it is people talking to each other, and the cast members - from the stars to the extras - really make the most of the dialogue. And what a treat it is to see Han Seok-kyu get his teeth into such a complex role! Stuff like Romantic Kim etc he can do in his sleep. With Do Chi-gwang, however, he can access a whole gamut of attitudes and emotions. Hopefully the show doesn't let him down in the way Trap betrayed Sung Dong-il.

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tbh i loved trap for this reason. i think watcher takes itself way more seriously. trap became a farce in itself. the idea of human hunting is truly so ridiculous and gross and written about in so many ways that posit it as absolute insanity. and, imo, that's what trap did. it was a visually stunning piece. i didn't feel lost while watching it, i laughed through a lot of it, it was so campy and DARK. i had so much fun watching it. which is why while watcher def has its sardonic moments it frustrates me that it doesn't exploit the simplicity as oppose to bog the story down with "complexity"

half the language they use just does not make sense and is not necessary. no one talks like that.

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btw i totally get why people didn't like trap. it's just right up my alley as not exactly amazing pieces of work like i would classify Stranger as but something so far out there. the ending is truly bananas and nonsensical. i admire the gumption to even do it lmao

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I've got to agree that Watcher takes itself too seriously, and I'm afraid that after bogging the story down with all that "complexity", as you put it, the show might turn out to be a sphinx without a secret. With regard to the language: can I ask if you are conversant in Korean? I'm not, so I'm just assuming that the subs are a bit dodgy and I'm enjoying whatever I can glean from them. If you know Korean, I'd really appreciate it if you could say a bit more about the script, eg in what way it doesn't make sense.

My problem with Trap is that, IMO, (1) it also took itself too seriously; and (2) rather being truly brave by coming up with a conclusion that suited its initial seriousness, it took the easy way out with a bunch of cliches about psychopaths, Japanese collaborators, Korean nationalists and - the cliche above all cliches - nasty chaebol. It was nonsensical all right - by the last episode I was just rolling my eyes and lamenting the way they turned the usually subtle Sung Dong-il into a screaming loon.

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no i am not korean! i do not speak it and although i've been watching dramas for years i barely know anything (it is not a language i plan to learn.)

i'm glad you brought that up too. because i was watching subs from a streaming site the first 4 eps, then i realized i couldn't understand it (not the english it was just way too vague.) i caved and got a viki sub and with those translations they are EONS better than anything from a streaming website (so if you are using those that will be a factor.)

in terms of language though i think they are being purposefully vague. 'that person' 'there' 'that' 'the thing' as opposed to specificity because you want to shroud the issue. if you can maybe search subscene for subs or sign up for a quick viki trial if you're not watching it there. it cleared a lot of things up but...still didn't help.

re: trap
i honestly didn't really relate it to any single message. it reminds me of 'the wailing' a bit in how choppy the focus is but it's a tangible piece of work. i wouldn't say "good" or at least in a critique's version of good but, if one can remove themselves far from it, it def serves a purpose. i'm always up for righteous indignation and the craziness that ensues when people get too powerful lmao. it was honestly so fucking ridiculous at times that it was too much. but i think the acting was very good so they REALLY lucked out there.

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The person I suspect is Park Jin Woo, everyone else is too obvious. Or it could be some random person. That being said I am thoroughly enjoying the cast. The acting is too notch in this.

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That's great overview @saya! I admit I don't see anyone of current characters as "Big Bad", nothing we saw so far look convincing but on the other hand by logic one of them should be, or at least thumb collecting psycho would be one of them.

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Did he really collect the thumbs? Tae Joo and the other cop accused of the murderers could be operated and keep it.

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It's seems he didn't finish with them (or it was scare tactic with cop guy, and with Tae Joo her husband interrupted him), because the dead ones were missing thumbs.

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Glad to this this recapped!
am at Episode 6, so not reading the details to avoid spoilers. Will come back once I get time to watch it.
So far, am loving the show (a bit complicated to keep track of the characters). I like that each of them have their own agenda but are somehow trusting of each other.

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Thanks @saya. I am really enjoying this drama. As a Seo Kang-joon fan I couldn’t be happier with his performance. In the first episodes he showed his athleticism by going toe-to-toe with Det. Kim Kang-wook (Lee Jae-yoon). I also enjoyed when he was in CHIPS mode.

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thank you for this! i feel like i've been kinda confused about this drama, and it's so nice having a recap lol

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thank you for this! it helps!

i think the intricacies are a detriment to the story. i am going to continue watching, and i am glad this week with the 10th episode more things are cleared up, but i think the writers mistake intelligence and tightness of storytelling with truly ridiculous roundabouts. in a way, though, it's a appreciated because this is what makes us like han tae joo--she's so annoying, so frustrating, so smart, but she makes everything way more complicated than need be. so i think the writers suffer from this.

the blocking, editing, and cinematography of this show is top notch. a little too blue for my tastes, but visually the themes are THERE and that's great. i will keep watching but since another new crazy!~~~~~ mystery is introduced, i think this is a pitfall of your own intelligence.

no show has been or will be perfect. i think as annoyed as the show has made me, i will look back on it better. there are a lot of ocn shows that i think have been handled well and keep the viewer engaged. i'm glad this channel pushes the boundaries of content and i truly hope it continues.

everyone is also doing a great job in their roles. i think i keep up with the show for the characters really. i have to say kim hyun joon i'd never seen before but i love her. i could talk about han tae joo all day long. she makes me mad, sad, i want to shake the selfishness out of her, and she's too reckless. but her and jae shik are almost all each other have. i think she's the embodiment of a strong female character whose selfishness doesn't become exhausting and stupid because she's so majorly flawed. the way they set her up, her being so clever and good at her job but making a mess where it doesn't need to be...chef's kiss

personally i think the murder needs to be cleared up and we need to understand the ledger and the serial murder. we'll see how the show progresses!

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i also want to mention that if this many people are confused then (imo) the team isn't making a strong enough case for it to be this complicated. the director did stranger which is a perfect example, again imo, of complications but revealing in a way that is understandable and not frustrating. i have watched the series 5 times and each time i have learned something new and beautiful. truly it's one of my favorite pieces of tv. but i think others can learn from that, just because things are vague and confusing doesn't give them extra meaning and as a piece of work what are you trying to convey when the audience is deliberately being mislead in ways i think are mistakes and remove me from the story more and, frankly, make me mad. that being said, there's just something about this show so i keep comin' back.

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I agree with a lot of the things you pointed out. I'm really enjoying this show and at the same time so confused by everything going on, like many others here. I guess that's what makes shows like this appealing.

About Kim Hyun Joo, I first saw her in I Have A Lover because some beanies here recommended it. If you like her here you should check it out sometime. It's not as complicated and dark as Watcher but she's very good in it, as well, essentially playing 3-4 characters in that.

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Thank you. I'd given up on the hope of recaps so I was tickled when I saw it posted. Mainly in the hope it spurs on more people to watch this show Because It Is AMAZING..

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especially if Forest of Secrets was your cup of tea. (And duh, OF COURSE they have the same director, Ahn Gil-ho—no wonder they remind me so much of each other!)

Good for you, @saya, because this director also directed Memories of Alhambra and all the lightening and thunder scenes are shot in exactly the same way (the flash back always comes in the 1st and 3rd episode like that), I almost get PTSD and even though the bgm is different in mind the tune of Alhambra plays and what is worse is that our office door bell is also same tune and now I can never forget it! ><

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Thanks for this review @saya! Because of it, I went back and caught up with the show despite having put it on hold. >_< Too many layers, and with no clue who trust, this one is VERY well done.

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Maybe I am the only one who does not find the show to be smart yet and see everything coming from miles away but then I am only on episode 4, I hope it does get better, because I am not enjoying seeing SEO Kang noon being used a bait and getting all hurt.

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wonderful review! sometimes subtle things or things i just don't understand make questions pop in my head and a good review is just what i need to clear them up!

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At this point I find everyone suspicious, and likely all of them have dirty issues to hide. Do Chi Wang is my main suspect, despite he seems to be the obvious choice. It's either him, the deputy commissioner or someone we haven't seen yet.
And I know she's not trustworthy, but I'm happy that Young Goon has the lady lawyer on his side, even if it is an alliance based on interest. She's also in debt with him because what she did to his father, so even if she is consumed by her desire of getting revenge, I think she will keep an eye on Young Goon and protect him. I want to believe that because it's too painful to have this poor boy all alone facing all the baddies and the murderer of his parents.
Btw, I'm loving SKJ's performance in this, and it gets even better in episodes 9 and 10.

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I just binge watched ep 1-8 of this and am confused as everyone. I dont think Do CH is the murderer coz he is the male lead isn’t he? I am finding the driver of Han suspicious but he is not a cop. Maybe it’s someone we haven’t seen yet.

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This show is insanely good, every episode is a roller coaster. I like that it is so unpredictable. The acting, script and directing are all good. Drama of the year.

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Any chance that we get a recap of the second half of the series? I am having withdrawal symptoms now that it ended :). Thank you.

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Hey Atozed, I'm working on a second half review (not a recap!) which you should see sometime this week! Tough to wrap up such a good show.

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Thank youuuuuuuuuu!

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Next recap to post:) excitinggggggggggg

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I have finished all the episodes, but still need to read a review like to clear the cloud. What a pity is here only 8 episodes. Please upload the review for the whole series. I am really bad at concluding the whole series and too stubborn to get convinced even by the actual episodes. Love to read your review and point of views in it. This is really helpful for me to understand this series more.

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