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Through the Darkness: Episode 2 Open Thread

Everyone else seems satisfied to have the case closed, but not our hero. He continues his sleuthing, seeking the opinion of a rather controversial advisor. There’s still a long way to go before his unconventional methods are given the green light, but his perseverance seems to be convincing the people around him, slowly but surely.

 
EPISODE 2 WEECAP

As if I wasn’t already in love with this show, this episode just cemented my awe of its storytelling. It’s so cerebral, yet so human in the way it delves into the criminals’ psyches. There’s stellar acting all around, not just from our main leads, but also from the supporting actors who portrayed the criminals with such intensity that it sent shivers down my spine.

In the wake of Kang-moo’s latest murder, Ha-young’s even more convinced that it’s the work of the same criminal that killed Hwa-yeon. Determined to track down the true culprit, Ha-young visits the convicted Red Cap, YANG YONG-CHUL (Go Geon-han) in prison. Ha-young’s of the mind that a criminal would understand a fellow criminal’s motivations, and he’s right. Yong-chul’s analysis of the killer’s M.O. serves as the basis for Ha-young’s sparks of insight, allowing him to further develop his profile of the criminal.

By some stroke of luck, Kang-moo gets caught trying to break into a couple’s house and is brought into the station. Eagle-eyed Ha-young notices that several of his characteristics line up with that of the killer, and he decides to act on his hunch.

The interrogation scene is definitely the highlight of this episode. Lulled into complacency by Ha-young’s quiet demeanor, Kang-moo’s soon unnerved by Ha-young’s incisive questioning that whittles away at his composure. He ends up revealing more than he intended to, and ever-observant Ha-young zeroes in on Kang-moo’s tells and how his handwriting matches the culprit’s. The slowly-building tension is so gripping to watch, and both actors’ nuanced facial expressions are definitely the icing on the cake. (And Ha-young’s small smirk when he realizes he’s caught Kang-moo! So satisfying.)

It turns out that like Yong-chul, Kang-moo’s crimes were also spurred by an abusive father; he stripped his victims of their clothes because that’s what his father used to do to humiliate his mother. I find it awfully chilling that Kang-moo focused on his anger at how his mother didn’t fight back, and that his twisted way of tackling his emotions was to exact that same humiliation onto other women, when the true evil was his father. I don’t know if it was an intentional commentary on internalized misogyny, but if it was, then props to the writer for that.

It’s Ha-young’s old schoolmate, Ki-hoon, that gives us another gem of an insight into Ha-young’s character. Fresh out of jail, Ki-hoon thanks Ha-young for clearing his name and comments that Ha-young’s still the same as ever — he pretends to have no interest in other people, but he cares about them behind their backs. He calls Ha-young a friend, and Ha-young returns the gesture (albeit in the form of a note left on the table, aw).

Ha-young’s method of consulting a criminal causes a stir, but it also provides an opportunity for Young-soo to successfully push for the formation of the Behavioral Analysis Team. Yay! Young-soo’s unfaltering idealism not only serves as a good foil to Ha-young’s stoic pensiveness, but I think it will also help to draw out Ha-young’s compassionate side.

Ha-young is jaded by the world, not by nature, so I do hope that a little more optimism in his life will go a long way in showing him that the world is not entirely frigid and callous. So far, Young-soo’s the only person we’ve seen Ha-young smile around, which speaks to how at ease he feels around him. I’m looking forward to seeing this partnership blossom.

I especially appreciate that the drama takes the time to linger on the understated moments that highlight Ha-young’s humanity. He’s not the ice-cold perfect genius we tend to see so often in dramas; instead, he’s realistically flawed, and he’s still learning as he goes. After the conclusion of Kang-moo’s case, Ha-young admits to Young-soo that he’d overlooked an important detail at the crime scenes. The toilet paper rolls in both homes were empty, because Kang-moo had used them all up to wipe away his traces. Just as there’s no perfect crime, there are no perfect detectives either, and I like that Ha-young has his shortcomings. (On a side note, I also adore the running gag of Ha-young having a sweet tooth, it’s so endearing!)

We end this week’s episodes in May 2000, with a foreboding introduction to the next criminal, and ugh, he gives me the shivers already. It’s the age-old tale of a stranger offering a little kid ice cream, and I am not looking forward to finding out what he’s done to the poor child. Ha-young, we’re counting on you!

 
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Song Hayoung kinda reminds me of Han Taejoo from Life on Mars. I think they have similar characteristic? No?

It's such a shame the drama spoiled the culprit at the end of ep 1 cuz if it didn't, the interogation scene would be much much thrilling.
But still, the interogation scene is interesting and i'm looking forward for more such scenes.
And so far Hayoung and Youngsoo are both likeable which makes me easier to watch this drama.

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Ooh, that's an interesting thought! I felt that a large part of the tension stemmed from their battle of wits and their attempts to outmanoeuvre each other, so for me, knowing that Kang-moo was the culprit made it even more nail-bitingly intense. But I see what you mean, and now I'm wondering just how nerve-wracking the uncertainty would have been if we weren't as sure of Kang-moo's guilt as Ha-young was!

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I would've been really nervous for sure! When Hayoung was asking those questions, I would've yelled "You're crazy!" over and over.
I think it could also be a good test for us as viewers.
From my previous experience watching crime dramas, there were times I didn't really trust the hero/heroine (for instance (a strong one), Forest of Secrets).
If the drama didn't spoil it, it could be a way of conveying the message that we can trust Hayoung's decisions

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Haha, I think I'd be right there with you, doing the same thing!

Omg, Forest of Secrets! I love that drama so much, it's one of my all-time favourites. Now that you mention it, I do see some similarities between Shi-mok and Ha-young... You do have a good point that keeping us in the dark about the criminal's identity, with only Ha-young's observations to support his theories, could have further strengthened our trust in him through subverting our initial doubt. That would have been an interesting experience, for sure!

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For me, i see similarities between
Song Hayoung and Han Taejoo from Life on Mars. They both are sensitive but struggle to express themselves (but both manage to crack a smile one in a while), only have 1 friend (both consider as the only human interaction they need), had childhood trauma.
The difference between them are their expertise and Han Taejoo has bit of a temper.

But yes, Shimok and Hayoung also have similarities. So all three of them are in the same range.

The ability to keep viewers in the dark was what pulled me to korean crime dramas. So i was a bit disappointed with the end of ep 1. But thankfully, they didn't spoil anything for next case.
I hope we'll see more from Hayoung and things will get better cuz i like the format of this show

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@laeonni Oh, I have to admit I haven't watched Life on Mars yet! (It's on my way-too-long to-watch list, sigh.) If I get around to checking it out, I'll let you know my thoughts on their similarities☺

Ah, I see! That makes sense. Hopefully the show experiments with the way it doles out information; perhaps then the future episodes might be a more gripping watch for you? And yes, omg, I love the format and pacing so much!

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What a deft comparison! I just started Through the Darkness and finished the first two episodes. There was a moment when I was thinking about Life on Mars - similar lighting, the two male leads’ low key mannerism yet caring all the same. High five!

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Thank you very much @solstices for the beautifully woven episode 1 recap. I had no intentions of watching the drama at the first place even though this drama moved me to read about Profilers for the first time. But seeing the recap listed here, I just couldn't ingnore it and I'm glad I didn't.

I just finished watching episode 2 for the second time and this ongoing masterpiece reminds me of how Beyond Evil was interestingly good. I really hope they keep up with this quality because this is my first 19-rated drama. But I love it, I really mean it.

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Agree with you that @solstice's recaps pulled me into this drama. Took Beanie advice and watched in short spurts. The interrogation scene was masterful.

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Ahhh, thank you! It's definitely a drama that isn't afraid to delve into heavy (and disturbing) subject matter, so it's a relief to hear that watching in short spurts worked for you☺

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Ohmygosh, you have no idea how happy this made me! Thank you for your praise, and I'm so honoured that my recap convinced you to watch the drama🥺 It's really so good! I'm glad you're enjoying it so far☺

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Thank you and please do keep it up. I really love what you are doing.

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I completely agree regarding the interrogation scene. It was nothing short of fantastic.

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It was unnerving seeing Go Geon-han play a criminal; I didn't even realize it was him at first. I've only seen him in comedic roles but he nailed it as a criminal. Also Oh Seung-Hoon with his baby face was superb as well (can't believe he's 30!). I like the peeks into Ha-young's softer side. Even when he came home and quietly sighed in his room shows that he is not made of stone, he just pretends to be. Looking forward to how this plays out. NOT looking forward to the next case, though.

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Omg, he's 30?? I just searched him up and I'm in shock — I watched him in Method, but I didn't recognise him here at all! I agree, both he and Go Geon-han were phenomenal and absolutely chilling in their roles. And same, that was one of my favourite moments too! Ha-young's so quietly empathetic, despite all his efforts to hide it :")

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Kim Nam Gil so fine!!

I apologize for my fangirling. Jokes apart, the interrogation scene is absolutely one of the best writing I came across in k-drama in recent years. It was electrifying to see that Ha-young pulled everything from the culprit doing ......... nothing. Just a few easy questions. His performance was so subtle that the culprit did not even realize what he was giving up. Absolutely brilliant!!

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Haha, no need to apologise for fangirling — I'm right there with you😉 I keep having to remind myself not to gush too much in my recaps, lol.

You took the words right out of my mouth! That scene really was crafted so masterfully, and played to perfection by the two actors. Simply amazing all around. If that's the standard we're getting treated to in just the second episode, I'm definitely looking forward to what the rest of the drama has to offer.

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I am fangirling with you and I realize I appreciate him far more in serious roles than comedic.

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I think Kim Nam Gil and Nam Goong min are those actors who can nail both serious and comedic roles and I am a proud fan of both of them ☺️

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My dear twin, I'm here just because I can't take my eyes out of him.

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Seeing people sing praises for this drama when I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch another procedural drama, made me watch it. And I'm glad I did. Week 1 was amazing! Acting, direction, writing, etc were all so on point. No flaw found.
Also, as a viewer, in terms of character, I really felt Hayoung's style of interrogation terrifying. In EP 1, we saw how the captain beat people up to force them to talk, it was terrible but honestly, the quiet way Hayoung does it, its terrifying to see people give answers without realizing just coz they were brought into a false sense of security. And I'm sure that is what the drama wanted us to see coz it is a very detailed oriented drama rather than a loud one.

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Yay, I'm so glad you're on board, and that you enjoyed it!☺

I definitely agree — since Ha-young's the protagonist, it's so exhilarating to watch, but I think I'd want to shrivel up and melt into the ground if I was on the receiving end of his interrogations, haha. He's definitely adept at reading between the lines and manipulating people into revealing the information he wants them to give, so I'm very glad he's using those skills on the side of justice and not evil.

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That interrogation scene was straight-up one of most well-executed, brilliantly written scenes I’ve seen in a while. The nail-bitingly tense atmosphere and the slow, methodical way Ha-young whittles away at Kang-moo’s increasingly unconvincing answers…just perfect. This is going to become iconic. That I’m sure of. If this is the quality we’re getting from the very beginning, I cannot wait to see how the show improves. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

I love that Ha-young isn’t some perfect dramaland geeenius who’s automatically better than everyone around him. He’s a deeply compassionate, hard-working man capable of making mistakes and overlooking things just like a normal person might. He isn’t solving these cases just because he’s smart (although he’s definitely that too) but because he actually cares about people. I love that about him. I hope him and Young-soo continue to be besties because I’m already very attached. Protect Ha-young at all costs!

On a more superficial note, Kim Nam-gil is so fine. He’s always been very hot but he’s somehow even more attractive here. It’s so freaking distracting.

Thanks for the great weecap @solstices! You’re doing an amazing job here.

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"On a more superficial note, Kim Nam-gil is so fine. He’s always been very hot but he’s somehow even more attractive here. It’s so freaking distracting."
I know right? I mean I had to force myself to concentrate on the interrogation scene than to gush on his face and body language. Kim Nam Gil is so good on what he does.

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Ahh, thank you for your kind words!☺

I honestly have no idea how to reply to your comment, because you took the words out of my mouth — I couldn't have said it better myself! So I'm just going to sit here, nodding my head in agreement🤣 (And omg, Kim Nam-gil really is so distracting, I have so many pretty screencaps...)

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This show gives me Tunnel vibes in the best way possible. Predictable, but great punch.

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Ooh, I enjoyed Tunnel too! I agree — even when you can see what's coming, the execution really elevates it to a whole other level.

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So, I'll be honest here, I don't think this is a great show, unless it rights itself in the coming eps. But ignore me. I'm still watching because of KNG and his perfect hair. I'm putting this one down as "my discovery of KNG".

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Same here. As we have already discussed, I feel like this drama adds nothing new, and even if I'm not disliking it (I always love a crime drama, and this one is being done correctly so far), it's not that I am hooked.
But then it his KNG's hair and I am doomed.

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I didn’t plan on watching this other than the fact that it was Kim Nam Gil and 12 episodes but wow I loved it.

I was on edge during the interrogation scene and both oh seung hoon and Kim Nam Gil nailed it with their back and forth. Apart from the dramatised crime, this drama feels different in the way surrounding characters act in a non dramatised way, such as the captain not dismissing ha young when he was suspicious of Kang moo and things not ending horribly for him because of his involvement with the red cap killer.

This show proves to me execution matters more than plot because I was yawning when I read the synopsis and even the trailers weren’t the least bit intriguing but If the rest of the drama is anything like the first two we might be in for a great thriller.

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Yes! I love that the characters aren't reduced to one-dimensional caricatures. They have their distinct traits, but they aren't shackled by them, and when their perceptions are challenged, they're able to act reasonably and rationally rather than double down on their own assumptions. It's so refreshing to watch!

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At last, a meaty drama based on rl events. It reminds me a little of the British drama, Code of a Killer, about the first time DNA was used in the UK to track down a killer. KNG is at his nuanced and most handsome best. I'm looking forward to seeing how the idea of a profiler was developed and also to seeing the contest with more entrenched and traditional approaches to policing. I love watching shifts in ways of understanding like this that have huge flow-ons.

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I heard this drama similar and an inspiration from the Netflix series "Mindhunter". I can see the similarities and I am very much surprised how well and maturely executed this kdrama is. It's not copied frm Mindhunter but a separate formation based on the real incidents in Korea.

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I haven't seen Mindhunter, but is it based on the book with the same title that KNG's character is given in ep 2?

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Yes it is. That is where I was sure this drama was inspired by the series. But I don't know if it is an official korean remake.

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drrama is adapted from the 2018 non-fiction book of the same title co-written by Korea's first criminal profiler Kwon Il Yong and journalist-turned-author Ko Na Mu, which tells the story of Kwon's field experiences.

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Drama is based on Korea's first criminal profiler Kwon Il Yong.

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This is the main reason I am watching.

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I really liked this episode. I like how the story, the characters and the action are credible, it's so rare in investigation dramas.

I'm really curious to see how they will try to make profiling a thing in police investigation.

Kim Nam-Gil looks so good without trying...

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Agreed, you can tell they really put in the effort to research and depict the investigations as accurately and sensitively as they can. And omg, right? How is he aging like fine wine, it's not fair!😆

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Thank you @solstices for the episode one recap and episode two weecap. Just a quick to say I love THROUGH THE DARKNESS. I am going out on a limb but I think that TTD (so far) is right up there in quality with NOBODY KNOWS (2020) and BEYOND EVIL (2021).
I am rewatching episodes 1 & 2 before going on to 3. I haven’t done that in a long time but I don’t want to miss anything and I want to savor the great acting by Kim Nam-gil once more.

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Thank you for reading!☺

Whoa, that's such high praise! I definitely agree, though — both those dramas were absolutely masterful and TTD is shaping up to join their ranks. I really hope TTD manages to maintain its quality to the end!

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This is my genre.. so it was a given I'd like this, bonus is KNG. The interrogation scene was indeed good, almost as riveting as the Criminal series that I love (UK, Germany, France etc). That one only had one set : the interrogation room and yet unloads great stories (without flashbacks!). If this was indeed written according to the experiences of the first profiler in Korea then very much like the story setup for Mindhunter, which I also love. So am all-in with this one.

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This drama doesn't feel rushed. It is purposeful in its pace, matching along with its main character. I had to try not to be impatient and let things play out.

The interrogation scene was seriously the best part. I had to replay it a couple of times to absorb all the subtle movements and reactions from both the culprit and Ha Young. Ha Young showing a rare smirk was soooo satisfying.

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The interrogation scene was so satisfying to watch.

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