I Remember You: Episode 2
Hi everyone, excited to be recapping this drama with dramallama! There are never too many Sherlock Holmeses roaming around in dramaland.
Well, I Remember You is turning out to be quite different from what I expected, which is totally fine, since this whole psychopath thriller is understandably much meatier than a mere rom-com. The tangled mystery and action pick up in this episode, and we find that our resident stalker is perhaps not as superficial as we initially assumed, while our genius profiler remains well, a genius, even though his past seems to be coming back to haunt him.
EPISODE 2: “Hello Monster”
As a young boy, Hyun is told by his father to live a solitary life in the basement, while everyone else will assume he’s abroad. In tears, Hyun asks why Dad never questioned him about the promise he made with Joon-young: “Dad, you should have asked me, before calling me a monster, before locking me in a place like this!” Dad backpedals slightly, clarifying that his intention was to protect Hyun.
Time flies by as Dad tutors Hyun in the prison basement, and little brother Min’s quiet pleas to play together go unheard.
Two prison guards enter our killer Joon-young’s cell ominously, but Joon-young was already calmly expecting them. With an eerie smile, Joon-young brings a broken glass shard to his neck and slits himself. Unable to find his pulse, the guards hurriedly call an ambulance to transport Joon-young to the hospital. Oh no, is this some intricate plot to escape?
In the ambulance, right as the guards realize that there isn’t much blood loss from Joon-young, they hear the siren of another ambulance heading in the direction of the prison. Ohhh, so that’s the ambulance that responded to the guards’ call, which means the one they’re in right now is the getaway car. As the paramedic’s smirk alerts us that something is up, Joon-young’s eyes flash open.
Flashback to Joon-young’s meeting with Hyun. We see how his little escape plan worked out as Joon-young shows Hyun his secret talent: an undetectable pulse. Hyun is clearly impressed (so am I!), and the two prodigies agree to share more secrets with each other before we cut away.
Back in Hyun’s house, Dad senses something amiss. As he hustles around his room, he suggests to no one in particular to chat over a cup of tea. And what do you know, Joon-young is standing right behind him. Chills.
Over tea, Joon-young’s first question is to ask the whereabouts of Hyun. Dad keeps up his cover story that Hyun is nowhere to be found, and then impulsively picks up a kitchen knife to attack Joon-young. Joon-young retaliates immediately, and his punches don’t land lightly for his small build. Both Hyun and Min hear the fight, and Min flees out of fear through the window.
When the noises eventually stop, Hyun cautiously makes his way to the living room, to find Joon-yonng standing over Dad lying in a pool of blood. Hyun goes running out of his house screaming for Min, their family of three now broken within the span of a night. In a voiceover, Hyun narrates: “Today, I lost my father, and my younger brother disappeared. And a hole appeared in my memory.”
Cut to: Hyun at a counseling session with a psychiatrist, explaining that memories from before that incident are blank. The psychiatrist is unsure if this is a temporary memory loss, but he suggests that those memories aren’t strictly necessary. In Hyun’s mind, he acknowledges the only things that he remembered — his fateful meeting with Joon-young, and Dad’s words that his son is a monster.
The psychiatrist hands him over to Dad’s colleague on the police force, and he thinks to himself, “What kind of child was I? What did I do, for my dad to call me a monster?”
Back in the present, Hyun broods over the same questions as he visits his old house. His lost memories drive a desire to meet someone who knew him as a child, and there’s only one person who fits that bill — Joon-young. After so many years, he’s still curious: “What type of conversation did we have? Some parts were forgotten, some parts were erased, and some parts were altered. Memories are like that.”
At an interview about his book, The Memory of a Murderer, he suggests discussing a personal issue, with the assurance that the reporter will publish it. He cryptically states his one wish — to meet the person who taught him about the concept of a “critical period” in a child’s development. The reporter blindly asks: “Are you referring to your first love?” Ha, you couldn’t be further from the mark. Well, actually, maybe not.
As Hyun reads over his magazine interview, he reasons that since he can’t find Joon-young, Joon-young will have to be the one to find him first. As he recalls the email that led him to the crime scene, he narrates, “Maybe the person who restarted the story that already ended is not him, but me.”
Back to the present-present, Ji-an heads back to her pigsty of a home, where her aunt is already there to rip into her for her messy abode. The two evidently have a loving relationship as they cutely bicker back and forth about side dishes.
At Ji-an’s mention that Lee Hyun has reappeared, her aunt refers to him as “the guy you stalked,” although Ji-an tries to justify her stalking as yunno, just tracking him down and watching him. She goes on this little rant about how he’s so rude and doesn’t recognize her, but in the end, still decides to continue observing him. Her aunt is puzzled as to why she doesn’t just approach him, and Ji-an says it’s because she doesn’t know if he’s an enemy or a friend, and the only thing she knows for sure is that he’s the only connection they have to Lee Joon-young. Dun dun dun.
Hyun is listening to Dad’s old tape recordings of his meetings with Joon-young. At their first meeting in the prison, Joon-young straight-up promises not to kill Dad there, and Hyun scoffs at the irony of it: “You killed him in the end anyway.” As Hyun leaves his house, we are clued in to the presence of someone watching him from afar, and Hyun’s spidey sense tingles.
In the mortuary, forensics specialist LEE JOON-HO (Choi Won-young) explains to Ji-an that the drugs in the second victim’s body match exactly with the ones in the Bangbae-dong case. Ji-an’s question about the possibility of the murderer’s signature goes unanswered as an incoming phone call informs her about the appearance of Hyun at the Bangbae-dong crime scene.
At the crime scene, Hyun observes a painting of a two-headed man, drawn in a similar style to the drawings in his childhood sketchbook. He zooms in on the signature of the artist, and recalls that his younger brother signed a similar symbol on a sketch when they were young. Whoa, so not-so-innocent Little Bro lied about the sketchbook belonging to Hyun. So either Min is still alive, or the art piece is the work of someone who knows them.
He takes a quick look around the crime scene and picks up on a multitude of details — a recently hammered-in nail and a mismatch between the interior design and the painting. All these lead to the conclusion that the painting was likely to have been picked by someone else. Could it be a present from the murderer?
Ji-an bursts into the apartment, intent on catching Hyun red-handed for trespassing, but he’s already nowhere to be found. In a smart camera sequence, Ji-an follows Hyun’s footsteps around the apartment, both sharing the same space, but at different times. She settles on the same painting that Hyun was so interested in, and muses to herself that the painting seems rather familiar.
Hyun approaches his big-shot art director friend to find the artist of the painting, and said friend rips into Hyun for speaking to him casually, even though it was culturally acceptable when they were in America. Hyun repeats his request in English, and the friend concedes defeat. Ha.
The police are having a tough time tracking down the unregistered phones used in the murders. Nothing has turned up in the forensics examination, and they figure that the murderer must be familiar with forensics investigation. Their current suspect count: 0.
Grasping at straws, Team Leader Kang asks if Hyun has agreed to work with them, and Ji-an’s defense is that she hasn’t used her beauty to seduce him yet. Lol.
Armed with her lip gloss and a hair flip, she sits in Hyun’s lecture and spends a good portion of it unsuccessfully trying to get his attention. Her flailing efforts cause her roller chair to slip off the step, and whoosh, she goes rolling down the lecture hall ramp. Omg, this is awesome.
She manages to stop herself halfway down, but another hair flip causes her to roll down in the opposite direction. She goes screaming all the way, until Hyun smoothly puts a stop to her nonsense with his foot. He teases her for rolling down all the way in her excitement to answer the question, and then immediately dismisses her answer as incorrect.
Ji-an tries to roll herself away, but Hyun holds on to her chair to make her the volunteer subject for the rest of his lecture, to the ridicule of the students. Poor thing.
She follows him out after his lecture, and claims that she just coincidentally happened to be in the neighborhood. His you-are-so-full-of-bullshit look chastises her into confessing that she did in fact follow him here.
Still begging for his cooperation, her face falls when he admits that he still has no clue who she is. He refuses to cooperate until she comes clean with her true identity, and she proudly announces that she’s a fan. She pleads with him to cooperate under the name of fan-service (do you even know what fan-service entails?), but he’s stubborn as a mule.
Failing to bribe him with a coffee, she inquires about his trip to the Bangbae-dong crime scene. His observation? Both crime scenes had purple flowers.
In response to Ji-an’s futile attempt to find the buyer of the purple flowers, Hyun states that purple is sometimes used to express sadness or death, although the poor victim who accepted the flowers probably had no idea what it foreshadowed. Hence, his gut feeling is that the murder was carefully planned in advance.
That’s as much as he can gather from two dead bodies, and asks a little too excitedly if there’s a third body yet. According to his cycle theory, the crime should have already happened, and Ji-an is horrified: “Are you waiting for another person to die?” But to Hyun, more dead bodies means more information, and Ji-an mutters under her breath that he’s a monster. Eep, don’t trigger any unwanted memories!
Hyun puts forward his hypothesis that the murderer wants to keep his corpses free of blemishes. The cause of the first murder was suffocation, and there were no marks left on the body. The forensic investigation also revealed a trace of an injection, suspected to be the murderer’s doing to knock out the victim first.
However, the second murder victim (of the Donghwa-dong case) had evidence of violence used against her, even though the cause of death was the same. Hyun’s conclusion is that the murderer couldn’t suppress his momentary rage in the latter instance.
Both murder victims had similar physical attributes, except that the second victim recently had a haircut. Ji-an is left speechless at Hyun’s inference that the murderer used violence against the second victim just because of her hairstyle. But Hyun reasons that if infamous serial killer Ted Bundy killed women who looked like his fiancee, it’s no question that this murderer also has a type he was looking for. The murderer might be killing different people, but in his head, he’s killing the same person over and over again.
Ji-an relays all the information she heard from Hyun, first showing her colleagues the murderer’s semaphore code from the Bangbae-dong case, which was an overlooked hint for the second murder. Hyun noted that the murderer left it behind as a challenge for the police to solve the code. Instead, they were turned into a mockery since the police didn’t even know there was a code to be solved.
If they had successfully decoded it, it would have revealed the location of the second murder. Hyun stops mid-sentence during his impressive deduction: “This is the best time to use the phrase ‘Your brain is an accessory.'” Bwahaha, say hello to our new Master of One-Liners.
Ji-an fumes at his insult, but pulls herself together to get her colleagues to find a similar code in the second murder case.
His second hint is that there needs to be a common location that both victims were at, such that the murderer would have been able to spot them easily. Places like the spa are possible locations where women who share common characteristics can be found.
His third hint involves past unsolved murder cases which might have been the handiwork of the same murderer. Hyun delivers a small compliment that her brain is finally spinning a little, and her face lights up at the not-really-a-compliment.
Team Leader Kang proceeds to delegate the tasks to everyone but himself, and the detectives reluctantly drag their feet to follow up on Hyun’s hints.
Hyun has dinner with Dad’s cop friend Hyun Ji-soo (who’s now Ji-an’s detective section chief), and she is noticeably delighted at how the restaurant patrons are debating if she and Hyun are mother and son, or dabbling in a noona romance. Baha, somebody has been watching too many dramas. She sweetly acknowledges him as her son, even if they’re not blood-related.
She asks for his real intention for his sudden return to Korea in the middle of a semester, and he asks for a favor in retrieving the case file regarding his father’s death. She’s surprised at his request since he has never showed any interest in it, and assumes his memory is coming back to him. Apparently, his memory is returning in bits and pieces, but he believes it’s his role as a son and a hyung to be curious. She denies that such a file exists, and Hyun easily lets the issue go.
Alas, she was lying to Hyun since the file does exist, except she was instructed in the past to cover it up. She opens her safe now, only to find that the file is no longer in there.
And guess who has it? Ji-an. Wait, whaatt.
Back in his apartment, Hyun thinks back to the moment he found Dad dead. Joon-young approaches him softly: “There, it has finally turned out the way you wanted.” *creepy smile* And Little Hyun actually smiles back.
Wow, Ji-an actually fell asleep while brushing her teeth, for an entire hour. Her opened bathroom window gives her déjà vu and helps her realize that the window was also left open at the crime scene.
Seung-joo calls Ji-an to report a breakthrough in the investigation — both victims are members of the same hotel spa. He admits that Hyun is starting to grow on him, and Ji-an instructs him to hold a meeting with the team before acting on the lead.
When she gets to the Donghwa-dong crime scene, she’s scared out of her wits by strange sounds, and she begs the victim’s ghost to leave her alone. She spends the whole night piecing together ripped papers from the apartment, in hopes of finding the second code left by the murderer.
When day breaks, she strikes gold when she spots an out-of-place yellow piece of paper stuck behind a newspaper on the fridge. And what do you know, the code is written on that paper.
Ooh, shower scene already? Ji-an goes to visit Hyun after his shower, and proudly shows off the code that she found. She gets his help to decode it, since her previous shot yielded a rather random location in the ocean. It’s weird for the murderer to target the ocean after two murders in Seoul, and she thought to let someone with “a large brain capacity” figure it out. These two are cute.
He solves it in two seconds flat, and lectures her that the format of latitudes and longitudes have changed. What kind of equipment is this police station using?!
She reports the new location of Daebang-dong to her team, and Team Leader Kang is all: “Thankfully we haven’t left for the ocean.” The priority is to prevent the third murder, so the team sets off to find the list of spa members who reside in Daebang-dong.
They manage to narrow down the possible target to Ha Yoon-ji, who will be on vacation from tomorrow onwards. Seung-joo pipes up helpfully that the first two victims also went on vacation one day prior to their murders, and that pretty much confirms Yoon-ji as the third target.
We cut to a mysterious man (Little Bro?), painting one of those nightmarish paintings. He leaves the room, face still hidden, and another (or the same?) unidentified man heads to Yoon-ji’s place, bearing a bouquet of purple hyacinths aka youaregonnadie flowers. Whoa, this drama moves fast. It’s a race against time as Ji-an speeds to Yoon-ji’s place while repeatedly calling her. And thank goodness Yoon-ji bothers to pick up her phone, and Ji-an gets her to respond as if they’re friends.
With no time to waste, Ji-an gets to the point, asking if Yoon-ji received purple flowers. A shocked Yoon-ji answers in the affirmative, and that alone is enough to spur her to obey Ji-an’s instructions. She’s visibly terrified as she serves snacks and tea to the man, but her shaken nerves lead her to rashly attack him with a mug.
In his house, Hyun is listening to some of the old tape recordings again, and in the midst of one of Joon-young’s invented stories about his family, the recording abruptly shuts off. And then, a different recording by Joon-young starts playing: “Hyun, do you remember me being curious about what type of adult you would become? I want to see it. By the time you’re listening to this, I’ll be keeping our promise. I’ll probably already be by your side.”
At the same time, Ji-an bursts into Yoon-ji’s place and cocks her gun.
Well well well, will Hyun get his third dead body?
Firstly, can I just say how much I love that our hero is not just another genius profiler who maybe graduated from some Ivy League school at the age of 12? Yes, he has demonstrated superhuman observation abilities and delivers some of the best backhanded insults, but I really appreciate the effort the show has put into fleshing out his atypical childhood and fascinating backstory. His intellect came at a very heavy price — the suspicion of his father coupled with a relationship with a psychopath, which ultimately led to his father’s death. Granted that he has limited recollection of his past daddy issues, but if the show chooses to resurface that (which I hope they do), our dear hero might be in for some rather traumatizing times. There’s no way your dad suspects you of being a psychopath, locks you up for a few months, and you still happily move on with life, unless you’re a psy… never mind.
The big question here is, how many monsters are there and who are they exactly? So far, Hyun appears pretty normal (he just enjoys sketching brains for goodness sake), but is it a mere coincidence that the only memory he retains in the “critical period” of his life is the conversation with Joon-young, suggesting that this is probably the incident that impacted and shaped him the most? The conversations the two had clearly covered more ground than we can even imagine, and I love-hate it that the show is revealing it in drips and drabs, instead of showing their hand all at once. The information we receive is as splotchy as Hyun’s memory, and I’m already salivating in anticipation for some of the great twists the show is going to spring on us.
Case in point: arrows are already pointing to Little Bro being the real dog-killer/artist-of-two-headed-beings in their childhood days, which leads us to wonder what he’s up to in the present. So many burning questions from Hyun and Joon-young’s few minutes of shared screen time: What promise did they make? Did Hyun really want Dad to die? Did Joon-young kill Dad for Hyun? (Are they secretly related?) What a pity that Joon-young’s appearance is a cameo, for he is the true mastermind here. Can we call him back for moarrr?
Since Hyun’s motivation for finding Joon-young is due to his assumption that there’s nobody else who knows his past, what better timing than now for our resident 20-years-and-counting stalker to show up? While the show promos characterized her as an infatuated stalker, there’s evidently much much more than that going on. She’s definitely in on the down-low between Dad and Joon-young, and somehow her obsession with the case led her to stalk Hyun. How does she come into play in this complicated past, and what’s her deal with Joon-young?
It’s hard to tell if she actually holds Hyun on a pedestal, or treats him as a mere means to an end, but honestly, thank goodness for Hyun being the mentor to this ineffectual investigation team with a heodang Team Leader. Have they even solved ANY cases before? It’ll be interesting if Hyun takes it upon himself to whip the team into shape, and the team all ends up developing an adoring crush on him.
The technique used for peppering the case expositions with snappy flashbacks actually work in favor of the show instead of dragging things out. Also, I appreciate how the show credits its viewers for being relatively smart by not dragging out scenes like Joon-young’s escape. Once we got the gist of what he rigged, the rest is left to our imagination. (Although seriously, undetectable pulse?!)
The drama is also thick on the symbolism, what with the monstrous drawings with bodies sprouting dual heads (literature lesson anyone?), and the rather extensive framing work. Literally anything and everything has been used as a device for framing the camera shots.
Everything converges on the three geniuses/psychopaths at the moment — Hyun, Joon-young and the murderer. While they each deal with their individual segregation of being “abnormal,” the biggest problem really is their disregard for human lives. Joon-young and the murderer undoubtedly feel little remorse for the murders they committed, reveling in the challenge of outsmarting the police. But Hyun, albeit the most normal one, revealed a little of his similar tendencies when he categorized corpses as mere information. To him, these murder cases are not about the human life, it’s about puzzles and solving them. In the same way, even when they’re in the presence of other people, they don’t really see them as people-people.
It’s ironic how Dad tried to teach Hyun to interact normally with other people by, I dunno, confining him from the world. It’s a misplaced move by the professor, but one can only imagine the desperation that drove him to such extreme measures. Protecting the world from his son was his main goal, but he did it at the expense of his son. In a way, his death was fortunate in freeing his son from the basement prison, although it leads to the question: Did he imprison the right son? Given Hyun’s elevated intellect, he was probably aware that Dad’s suspicions were misplaced, but he decided to take the rap for Little Bro, in which… aww.
So far, I’m really enjoying the interactions between our two leads. Ji-an’s not a fool, but she’s not the brightest light bulb either, and if he were anyone else, I could totally imagine Hyun facepalming himself all the time at her responses. It’s sweet that he’s even bothering to walk Ji-an through his thought processes, despite his initial gruff objection to doing so. Of course, our dear Sherlock can’t bring himself to resist a meaty case. I’m not sure how convincing a romantic relationship between the two will be, but for now, I’m fairly content with their bickering relationship along this path of psychopaths and murderers.
- I Remember You: Episode 1
- Press conference for KBS’s investigative rom-com I Remember You
- Another teaser and a half for I Remember You
- Oh Snap! Dating or investigating?
- Jang Nara and Seo In-gook’s icy partnership begins
- Jang Nara springs into action for I Remember You
- First stills from KBS’s I Remember You (Hello Monster)
- Hello Monster confirms leads and gets a new title
- Will Hello Monster finally find its profiler hero in Seo In-gook?
- Park Bo-gum in talks to join Hello Monster
- Lee Chun-hee in consideration for romance thriller Hello Monster
- Jang Nara considers Hello Monster opposite Lee Jin-wook