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!