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Psychopath Diary: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread

With our plot set-up out of the way, Psychopath Diary hits its stride this week, and gives us a fuller sense of how it’s going to handle its genre mash-up — and it’s pretty hilarious. There are the facts of what’s going on in our hero’s workplace and life, and then there are his (and everyone else’s) interpretations. How these two play off of each other is where the strength (and humor) of the drama lies.

  
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

The brouhaha at Dong-shik’s workplace continues, and gets even more complicated. Those on the Seo Ji-hoon side of the fence are trying to force Dong-shik to quit and make him their scapegoat, while those on the Seo In-woo side are trying to leverage Dong-shik to trap Ji-hoon and get rid of him for good.

Teamleader Gong first tries to force Dong-shik into quitting by making his job even more thankless — namely, by forcing him to work out of the storage room. When that doesn’t work, they cook up a sexual harassment scenario with Dong-shik’s coworker and try to get him in hot water.

Bo-kyung and her partner must the the only two cops in Seoul, because they again meet up with Dong-shik, this time investigating the harassment case. Much like every other plot set up against Dong-shik lately, it flops miserably, and he winds up the hero.

Dong-shik himself is caught up in other things, though. He’s consumed with his new identity as a psychopath, and decides that murdering Seo Ji-hoon is his next mission. Here’s where things get really hilarious — the contrast between Dong-shik’s utter seriousness about committing murder, and his total incapacity to do anything but bumble around is really the best thing ever.

While trying to come up with a good homicide plan (he does this in a labeled document on his work computer, no less), he can’t spell half the words he’s trying to use, his diabolical laughs turn into choking fits, and I positively snorted during the scene where he imagines trying to stuff Ji-hoon into a body bag and drag him out of the office.

What’s best about all of this is the dichotomy that Psychopath Diary is constantly playing with. There are clearly facts, but no one really sees them. Most, if not all, of the relationships in this drama are based on assumptions (false) and inferences (also false).

For instance, Dong-shik revels in the fact that a dog recognizes him, gloating that “dogs recognize predators,” when in reality, he used to be the dog walker, and that’s why the dog knows him. It’s hilarious contrasts like this that add layers to a drama that’s really about the entanglements brought on by misunderstandings, assumptions, and presumptions.

It was a bit of a surprise to me that Dong-shik actually goes through with his kidnapping plan and takes Ji-hoon to an abandoned warehouse. Thanks to his wealth of horror movie trivia, Dong-shik carries out quite the mock-horror scene — but he also stops in the middle to take a call from his dad (lol), and winds up saving Ji-hoon from hanging rather than letting him die.

Dong-shik is furious with himself, wondering why he couldn’t go through with it, and for all the power he wielded in that moment, he’s the one that’s shown on national television getting beaten by Ji-hoon with his crutch. This is another great example of the clashes in the drama, and the clash in Dong-shik’s psyche, as he acts out the role of a psychopath while still defaulting to the mentality of a pushover.

Just when we think that Dong-shik is settling into his new persona, he finds out from his colleague that he left a suicide note right before he got amnesia, and Dong-shik can’t fit the idea into his brain. “Why did a psychopath like me try to die?” he asks himself. To answer the question, he follows the diary entry for that day, and for the second time, becomes suspicious as to whether the diary is really his truth or not.

Speaking of suspicious, Bo-kyung continues to dig into the suicide cases that are actually all of In-woo’s killings. But she’s also starting to see Dong-shik’s connection as well. It might just be that she’s the only one with enough sense in the drama to looks past assumptions and find out what’s really going on.

By far the best bit of action this week was the relationship between Dong-shik and In-woo. For one, Dong-shik has absolutely no idea who In-woo is for the longest time, and is hilariously rude and nonchalant. Secondly, because of Dong-shik’s near-murder of Ji-hoon, his family sidelines him for a while in the hospital, presuming he got into drugs again. This opens the door for In-woo to get promoted and run Dong-shik’s department.

While Dong-shik really has no use for In-woo, In-woo gloms onto him immediately. Because he observed the entire kidnap/murder scene, he believes that Dong-shik is like him, and seeks a kinship with him that is almost creepy. It’s really funny to see this interaction of real psycho and fake psycho.

Psychopath Diary is a lot about the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the world, and that’s exactly what Dong-shik finally does with respect to his attempted suicide. He figures he must have just gotten bored with being a psychopath. So, when In-woo drags him to a fancy club and intimates his murderous secrets, Dong-shik doesn’t bat an eyelash and merely says, “I used to feel the same, but now it bores me.”

Dong-shik’s done with the fancy club and expensive alcohol, and gets up to leave. In-woo, however, is dying for a confidant, grabs him to make him stay, and the infamous red diary flies out of his bag across the room.

The episode ends with them both yanking on the diary with determination and horror. It’s so dramatic that it’s funny, and I have to say, I’m glad the drama isn’t wasting any time entangling these two characters. Rather than drag out the storylines and reveals, I’m glad the drama is already addressing the intersection of diaries and psychopaths, whether real or imagined.

 
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Dark humor in not really my thing. But this drama is still hilarious. I guess I am going to stick with this after all.

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Thanks @missvictrix. I think I'm finally enjoying this show more. The misunderstandings and missteps are so earnestly carried through, they're hilarious. Of all things, I'm most interested in the psychopath and would-be psychopath together. I am thinking it's a pity that the red diary has turned up in front of Inwoo so soon. I was hoping we'd get lots more scenes of them together and going on at cross purposes.

Loved that with In Woo openly acknowledging DS as his friend, DS will no longer be abused by his hateful colleagues. Looking forward to the next episodes!

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My thoughts exactly, but i feel like they would still turn this around and act like they just happen to have bought the same diary or something

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In Woo developing a kinship towards Dong Shik is rather sad. I rarely develop some sense of pity towards antagonists, a phycho-murderer at that, but In Woo is just another lonely, lost soul. Was it a trauma during childhood that made him such a monster? Could a warm, more caring home atmosphere ensure capable, mature and better individuals in the future?

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I think I've just suddenly grown to like the actor who's playing In Woo and how he's playing that part with Dong Shik.

He's scary when he's killing someone, but kind of pathetic when he's trying to get Dong Shik to pay him attention LOL. Loved his total dumfoundedness when Dong Shik just gave him the casual acquaintance-to cold shoulder treatment over and over again, especially in the presence of all the other subordinates who were kow-towing.

I can't really tell at this stage if he was lonely or lost, of if that did play a part in making him more a psychopath than not. However he became one, he's dangerous and has no compunction about the pain of others as long as he gets his 'high' with killing. It's become more interesting that he now wants to wreak more harm on others with DS by his side. It's rare though for a psychopath to want a companion. For this reason alone, I gotta watch this show!!

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It does not surprise me that this show wrote In woo like some kind of love lorn idiot for Dong shik when it should have been again how much of a idiot Dong shik is for not even know the hierarchy of the company that he works for or even reading the room when the other employees were kow towing to In woo. His before amnesia personality and intelligence makes a ton of sense as to why things were happening to him.

In woo initially was wondering why Dong shik was not like what he was told about and that did peak his curiosity. When In woo saw that he took his brother, that is when he thought he might have someone who he can truly connect with and potentially kill with. And now that he knows that Dong shik not only has his diary but was the witness, Dong shik's amnesia might just save him from In woo's murderous hands.

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It's also intresting now that i hint he will soon become quite obsessed,if it is the right word,with Dong Shik,even more when he constantly is giving him the cold sholder(imagine if this was a rom-com DS would be the Candy that drives the hero crazy in love with her)...Sensing that this might be a new emotion for In Woo it will come strong and strange to him even more when all the others are doing so much to be noticed by him and would cling to Dong Shik making it all the more hilarious for us...Also might point how funny it is Dong Shik's reactions to In Woo not understanding at all his blabbering he tells him most of the time(like outside the restaurant they had the work gathering in ep 4)...It's quite entertaining how In Woo in his hunting mode is constantly stalking Dong Shik looking at his every move and expressions misunderstanding it and even thinking they are alike...It is also like mentioned a bit unusual for a psycho to look for another of his kind,most of them are solitaire so i'm eager to see were they will go with their relationship...

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Actually I stand corrected. I was checking up about psychopaths and whether they actually take up with companions and it seems they do, especially where they share the same 'interests'. So it's within reason for In Woo to be wanting DS for a killing companion.

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Am I the only one confused? Thought Dong-shik should have seen the differences in their handwritings. Or do they have the same handwritings too? Does amnesia make one unable to see differences with one's handwriting compared to other's? Probably I've missed some facts 🤔

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*DongShik sees his chicken scratch*

"It must be because my hand is still hurting."

"It'll get better when my hand recovers."

*ploughs on determinedly with his chicken scratch*

You can watch this at the end of Episode 2.

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And he uses his left hand to write in the diary, imitating the real murderer.

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This was my biggest laugh that episode. I absolutely loved it! And I giggle every time he has to air-write a character to figure out how to write it backwards.

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More likely the dude takes it as points that it is his not asking otherwise even more if the Police girl gave it to him back...Doubt it even went through his head that is not his...

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Yeah, a lot of things are falling through the cracks except the fact that Dong shik is a complete a total moron. Being passive or a doormat is one thing, but this dude is a idiot.

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This show is not bad at all. The way In woo looks at Dong shik ....

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I almost see hearts in his eyes jajja just kidding,but he does wink at him!

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A bromance would not be misplaced no

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For me, this show is most interesting when Dong-Sik's memory of his movies takes over. Its an interesting take on amnesia and which parts of our previous self reboot first.

All 3 leads are now struggling with an imagined part of themselves taking over. It feels like we are falling headlong into Plato's dualism.

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That is true! We know Dong Shik imagines himself as In Woo (LOL) and In Woo imagines Dong Shik as similar to himself (which kind of gels) and then there's Bo Kyung who has her imaginary detective dad beside her and her imagined role as a criminal profiler. They are so deadly and so serious and it's such a BIG mistake on the part of the guys that it's soooo funny.

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I think it’s this mismatch that’s making the show work.

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It's actually funny that i'm enjoying this more than i would have maybe because i'm not truly taking it that serious and just enjoy it as on a more lightly manner...Especially the interactions between Dong Shik and In Woo and how the later one misunderstands his every action in this twisted way...It's actually hilarious how In Woo on the outside gives this creepy flirting vibes towards Dong Shik and his desire to become close...Points also to Yoo Shi yoon for his expressions so in tune...Quite curious how their relationship will go from here on because i must say this is the highlight

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I lost it when the body fell out of the bottom of the duffel bag. My neighbors may have heard me let out a giant guffaw in the middle of the night. I had to stop watching and compose myself before returning to keep watching

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OMG me too, it was one of my best K-drama laughs this year

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I feel like this drama is on the verge of being lame. Only everytime, it does the exact right thing that makes it ok. I love it tho, but I hope in woos misunderstanding lasts longer. (Actually i wish this drama was darker than it is going to be, wanting DS to be IWs apprentice and them go kill people together but knowing kdramas, unlikely)

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The rest of the drama is pretty riveting, except for the cop parts (which I just use to do something else). Dong-shik's dark, dramatic, and edged-with-danger voiceovers are the best. The coincidences that lead to the misunderstandings about Dong-shik's personality are hilarious.

I'm bummed that In-woo is a serial killer since he's got a crap childhood and he seems like he would be a good boss.

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I didn't read the scene as 'serial killer because of crap childhood', I read it more as 'he's ALWAYS been a psychopath'. Trying to murder your baby brother because he got your old room is not normal behavior.

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Sorry what I had written was really unclear. I meant that I found In-woo pretty sort of likable (at least compared to all the unlikable characters in this drama) and felt sympathetic towards him because of his childhood. If only, he wasn't a serial killer!! It's also a pity that his childhood was so bad because even though he was born a psychopath, I feel like if he had a loving, attentive family and with the resources his family had at their disposal to get the best help, it was possible that he could have managed his psychopathy enough to not become a serial killer.

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Think about where we are in the plotting and remember WE'RE ONLY ON EPISODE 4! I do not know where this story's going because (1) Episode 4 feels like we're already at an episode 7 or 8 transition point, and (2) lets remember the series opener where the hero is arrested and admitting to being a psycho killer!

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And has one crime added beside the other 6 from the diary aka 7 so someone died and he says he did it!

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