A Piece of Your Mind: Episodes 1-2 Open Thread
Well, this was an interesting start. The opening week of A Piece of Your Mind was nothing like the typical introductory drama set-up we’re used to. Instead, with our heroine and narrator, we stumble upon the story of two parted lovers. With her, we learn about the couple, their history, and we find ourselves caught in the middle of a tale we don’t yet fully understand.
EPISODES 1-2 WEECAP
I was looking forward to the drama for all the usual reasons one does — director, writer, cast, and premise — but I don’t think I was quite ready for the opening week that I got. That’s not to say I didn’t like it; it just perplexed me. It’s heavy and yet lyrical. It’s dreamy and ethereal, but also full of sadness and lack. It tells an intimate story, yet I feel like I’m watching it from the wrong end of a microscope. But I’m intrigued.
We first meet our hero HA WON (Jung Hae-in), jokingly (but not really) called the Mark Zuckerberg of Korea. He runs an AI firm, and is currently in the depths of trying to program a particular AI. It has his voice, and now he’s trying to get it to contain his soul (and use it for virtual therapy). Because that is what genius programmers and visionaries do.
It’s pretty impossible not to like Jung Hae-in in any role (or is that just me), so I’m automatically drawn to this character, his silence, and his heart that’s completely hung on a woman we learn quickly to be “Ji-soo.” Beautiful flashbacks and narratives tell us that this is no ordinary crush, though. KIM JI-SOO (Park Joo-hyun) seems to hold a part of our hero almost literally; a piece of him is missing with her out of his life (theme alert!), and somehow the drama is able to show us this lack through its long gazes, long takes, and long silences.
Our heroine grounds this very dreamy affair quite well. She’s recording engineer HAN SEO-WOO (Chae Soo-bin), and is clearly competent and loves what she does. When the recording studio where she works is saved from closing its doors by MOON SOON-HO (Lee Hana), our parallel stories start to intersect.
Without even knowing how it happens, Seo-woo quickly gets pulled into Won and Ji-soo’s story. It starts with something as simple as buying some dinner plates, but Seo-woo gets more than a little emotionally invested in the story of these two — and so do we.
All the characters we meet are interconnected, of course, but not in the typical way we are used to overlapping characters. In A Piece of Your Mind, it feels more like their stories are woven into each other. It’s less gimmick, and more poem. For instance, it’s Soon-ho that gets Seo-woo involved at the start, and the two are equally motivated to help Won see the woman he cherishes and misses so deeply (Soon-ho called him “uncle,” but they’re friends many years back). Similarly, the pianist that Seo-woo has been recording is actually Ji-soo’s husband, KANG IN-WOOK (Kim Sung-kyu).
Seo-woo doesn’t realize it while she’s hearing about Ha Won and Ji-soo’s story, and getting to know Ji-soo herself — but she’s already Ha Won, as well. She knows him as “Before Dawn,” or the guy that rents the recording studio overnight, and leaves a mess for her to pick up every morning. They develop a friendly bond over the story of Ha Won and Ji-soo… but it’s all so layered. Ha Won is both a player in the story, and a listener to it. He’s getting the connection to Ji-soo that he’s been craving, but also at a cost.
The drama tells a simple story, but it’s impressively dense and powerful. The characters and their emotional depth are interesting, but it’s the relationships between them that’s even more interesting. When Seo-woo first sees Ji-soo walking up a hill carrying a heavy box, she’s captured by her, and the moment. It’s fascinating to watch these women meet, and see the bond between them that presses Seo-woo to first help Ji-soo meet Ha Won, and later, to rescue her from him.
There’s so much to dig into here, but I think the thing that strikes me the most is the perceptiveness and authenticity of our heroine Seo-woo. Not only do we need this “reliable narrator” character to travel with as stumble upon this story, but the story itself is richer because it’s seen through her eyes. We watch her reacting to Ji-soo and her sadness; we see how much of Seo-woo’s heart becomes invested in the Ha Won/Ji-soo story as she becomes a bridge between the two of them.
A Piece of Your Mind has packed so much into its premiere week, and come to such a peak already, that I’m not quite sure where we go from here. The drama has done more than set the stage and introduce our characters — I feel like I’ve just read a novel about them. And not a chintzy novel, either — a huge, dense, Henry James-esque novel with layers, psychological depth, and questions. Lots of questions.
- Premiere Watch: 365: Repeat the Year, A Piece of Your Mind, Welcome, A Couple’s World, Unique Chef Moon, Rugal
- Jung Hae-in, Chae Soo-bin in new promos for tvN’s A Piece of Your Mind
- First script reading for tvN’s A Piece of Your Mind with Jung Hae-in, Chae Soo-bin
- Jung Hae-in, Chae Soo-bin, Lee Hana, Kim Sung-gyu to star in tvN romance