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Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2 (First Impressions)

Lee Jong-seok is back! And seeing his pretty face on my screen after a three-year drama drought is enough to have me in a tizzy. Unfortunately, his flawless face doesn’t stay unscathed for long as he’s reentered dramaland with Big Mouth — a noir crime thriller that features an underdog lawyer, a murder amidst the upper class, and a case of false identity. The show is darker than I was hoping for, but the conflicts seem real and the stakes are high, making it more watchable than I imagined.

Editor’s note: Coverage will continue with weecaps.

 
EPISODES 1-2 FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2

We enter the fictional city of Gucheon in the rain as a truck dumps bars of gold into a hole in the ground and then pours concrete over them. PARK CHANG-HO (Lee Jong-seok) narrates over black-and-white urban scenes that this city is rotten to the core. The wealthy love it (because they’re corrupt) and the rest don’t fight the injustices because they’re too busy trying to earn a living. Chang-ho is one of these people. His goal is simply to become successful and live happily with his family. The catch? He’s a lawyer — just the type of guy who should care about social justice.

As we lay our Gotham-like scene, a chorus of news reporters gives us details about the city’s most notorious resident: Big Mouse. He’s a con artist wrapped up in every form of organized crime who has also swindled investment capital from a group called NR Forum (we’ll come to learn this is a secretive elite organization). No one knows who Big Mouse is but he’s obviously the city’s most wanted criminal.

Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2 Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2

The drama’s action begins when we meet GO MI-HO (Yoon-ah), Chang-ho’s wife, who points out the couple’s sky-high debt and the fact that they can’t afford to eat out at expensive restaurants — like the one he’s taken her to for their three-year anniversary. They eat anyway, but Chang-ho gets called away to meet someone about the murder case he’s handling. Before he leaves, he quips, “Congrats on marrying me” (and every woman everywhere sighs dreamily).

On his way out, a staff member hands him a drink to go, which he happily takes and starts sipping (who in their right mind would accept that?). Of course, it’s drugged and causes him to crash his car.

We then slide back seven days to see what led up to this event and also get some backstory on our couple and their personalities. Through their daily morning routine, we learn that Chang-ho is kind of a doofus, screwing up everything from his alarm to his tie, while Mi-ho has everything under control, scolding Chang-ho and setting straight everything he messes up. This plays out on a larger scale as well, as it turns out the two are in debt because Mi-ho saved a nest egg that Chang-ho took without her knowledge and got scammed out of — so Mi-ho’s anger is rooted in more than his little mess-ups.

Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2

Chang-ho’s blunders aren’t confined to his marriage either. Behind his back, his clients call him Big Mouth because he talks a big game but loses 90% of his legal cases. Recently, Chang-ho took money from a loan shark, which he can only pay back if he wins his next case. So, when he loses that case, he’s out of favor with his clients, the loan sharks, and his wife — who says she wants a divorce. The tone of the scene tells us that Mi-ho doesn’t really want a divorce though, she just wants to be able to pay their bills, and it’s clear the debt is tearing their marriage apart.

Just as Chang-ho is about to succumb to depression, Gucheon’s Mayor CHOI DO-HA (Kim Joo-hun) calls to ask Chang-ho to take a case. It’s the murder case that we heard about in the first scene — the one Chang-ho leaves his anniversary dinner to attend to. The case is related to Gucheon Hospital: a doctor was murdered (found in the trunk of a car) and three upper echelon people are the prime suspects. Mayor Choi called Chang-ho on behalf of the three defendants precisely because Chang-ho has lost most of his cases — they want an obedient front man because they’ve already planned out their trial and bought off the judges.

Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2

However, the mayor is playing both sides. He tells the defendants he’s hiring Chang-ho on their behalf but tells Chang-ho he wants to find the missing dashcam from the car to get to the truth behind the murder. The mayor’s excuse is that the suspects helped get him elected, but now they are making demands and he wants to get rid of them.

Chang-ho initially refuses, not wanting to be involved in such underhanded business. But Mayor Choi (after handing him a stack of cash) tells Chang-ho the case will make him famous, and then he can take whatever cases he wants. Chang-ho says yes, but develops his own plans to play double agent.

Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2

Chang-ho goes to visit the suspects in prison and finds them in a hidden room for wealthy inmates. They’re drinking wine and smoking cigars on comfortable couches. All three men talk down to Chang-ho who placates them by acting grateful to be hired. Before leaving, he places a bug in their room and finds out the wife of one of the suspects has the dashcam. He also learns there is a fourth (unnamed) accomplice.

Chang-ho and the mayor both go see the wife, who appears afraid of the mayor (and makes me think he’s the fourth person). However, when Chang-ho asks her who the other accomplice is, she names GONG JI-HOON (Yang Kyung-won) — the president of a media conglomerate and long-time friend of the three suspects.

Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2

Chang-ho watches the footage, which shows the suspects collectively kill the doctor inside the car in what seems like an accident. They wanted to almost kill him while trying to coax him to withdraw an unspecified paper.

We reach the present where Chang-ho totals his car and goes to the hospital. While unconscious, he thinks about how unlucky his life has been — his only luck is that Mi-ho has always been by his side. In other flashbacks, we see that she’s the problem solver in the relationship. Once, when the tenants upstairs refused to fix a leak, Mi-ho went up and caused a ruckus until they paid for repairs (and the tenants? Shoutout to Start-Up with cameos by Kim Do-wan and Yoo Su-bin).

Before Chang-ho can leave the hospital, he’s arrested for drug use. And after all the divorce talk, Mi-ho is still by his side. When push comes to shove, she tells him to trust in their bond and hold on.

Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2

But he has to hold on longer than expected. When the police come to search Chang-ho’s law office they find billions of won in the ceiling, along with guns, drugs, and gold bars stashed in the walls. Short story: he’s on his way to the most hardcore prison in Korea. Also, with that stockpile, he’s believed to be the wanted criminal Big Mouse.

In prison, Chang-ho learns he was drugged by the three inmates he was supposed to represent (they want the dashcam). He’s taken to their underground lair where he’s beaten and tortured. (Not gonna lie, it’s rough to watch. Uri Jong-seok!) At the last minute, Ji-hoon calls and orders him not to be killed — if Chang-ho is Big Mouse, he needs him alive to get his swindled money back.

With everyone a double agent and nothing as it seems, Mi-ho sets out to clear Chang-ho’s name, getting hired at Gucheon Hospital to uncover why the doctor was murdered. But the thought of Mi-ho in danger worries Chang-ho so much, he plans to kill himself to remove her from harm’s way. Realizing he’s in a place full of murderers, he decides to get one of them to kill him instead. He’s so overzealous in his mission to anger a murderer, though, he accidentally gains the fear and respect of the other inmates (this is actually kind of funny).

Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2

There is a lot going on in this drama and I hope it develops larger social themes since the setup is great with an everyday couple taking on societal elites. I was a little misled by the promos, which made me think there would be an actual mistaken identity. Big Mouse and Big Mouth are spelled the same in Korean as a transliteration from English, so I thought the nicknames sounding the same had something to do with how they got mixed up. Turns out, not at all. Chang-ho was framed! (I mean, assuming he’s not actually Big Mouse.)

Still, I like where they are going with the relationship dynamics between Chang-ho and Mi-ho. Early on, I was worried about how much the male characters were patronizing her, but we already know she’s the thinker in this story. It leaves space for Chang-ho to grow while Mi-ho outwits everyone, and our leading couple can (hopefully) come out on top as a team.

Big Mouth: Episodes 1-2
 
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The Vagabond writers reading the Vagabond recap comments, sh☠️tposts, and endless jokes about Cha Dal Geon’s invincibility, number of times he should've died per episode, the Monkey King, and secret Leprechaun Overlords... writing Changho: "That’s a good idea. Write that down, write that down.
... Okay, now, HEAR ME OUT, hear me out ok? what if, WHAT IF, it was on PURPOSE this time?" *Ecstatic face of joy*

And lo, behold, Cha Dal Geon’s second cousin, twice removed on his mother’s side- Park "I will live long but I will be unlucky" Changho, was born!

(No but really this writer duo definitely has a thing for extremely fatal car crashes being not just survivable, but like, breezily walked off, don’t they.)
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post script: I somehow forgot/ had no idea that Kwak Dong Yeon was in this? already needs more screen time, obviously.

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@Sic, you are one of the institutional memory pillars of this place. And, is “Vagabond” worth watching then?

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Lmfaooooo NO.
Well, ok, it has its fans, and they'll probably tell you different and that's fine, but unless you really, really love Lee Seung Gi or Shin Sung Rok and have run out of literally all their other content to watch or rewatch (not including Mouse, the other Mouse that is), are a fan of extremely dumb action (and dumb just about everything else), with no point, and no ending, and no second season in sight, and read my shitposts and the riotously funny recap comments alongside watching it... then no, emphatically, no.
But you know what, drawing that
chicken
sure was fun...

(also - Listen, the only reason I remember it is because of the Mêmes ok, and because 2019 completely destroyed me to the point where its momentous points are burned into my brain. Thank you, Sh☠️tposting.)

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🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 completely the wrong hyperlink shared there but it's funnier if I don't change it lol.

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@Sic: I’m glad you shared the wrong hyperlink. I am going to read those posts!

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Oh it's an excellent thread I recommend it! But it's also very funny that you'll now maybe never know what I mean by the Chicken now 🤣😂😅

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@Sic: I can live with some mystery in my life.

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Also I can't believe it's been... frakking ... two and a half years since Vagabond... help.
There's no way I'm getting through this whole thing *still has PTSD* but I'll keep going for now.

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I loved Vagabond, it was so bad, lol. That being said I quit half way through the first episode of this.

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Lol. Yes, well our Bananapants Vagabond had the Monkey King at least 😅

I like our married leads here and that combined with KDY will keep me going for a wee while, but I'm not in love with any of the rest of it to write home about it. I'm quite tired actually, of this *waves generically* kind of plot; I feel like I've watched or started so much recently akin to it, it's all starting to feel too much the same, and no really good versions of the various tropes at play to keep me invested in them all.

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Yup, I think that is what it is. I have already seen this story too many times and I am over it.

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(and between you and me, for some reason, between Adamas and this, I'd prefer to watch Adamas...)

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@sicarius me too my friend, me too.

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I liked Vagabond. I found it entertaining and it truly was the definition of an action thing haha

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Nice observation there with how the city/set up was a little bit reminiscent of Gotham - it felt a little familiar while I was watching but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but you’ve solved that for me!

Idk what possessed Changho to think he could play double agent, everything about the situation screamed don’t do it. Like considering his own track record as a lawyer, his family situation and the fact that the players involved are the big wigs & are scary af, man was digging his own grave from the moment he decided that was a good idea. If this is the kind of rational thinking he employs on a daily basis, I’d be mad too if I were his wife.

Speaking of his wife, I really love Miho’s character so far (and I’m praying that I don’t jinx it)! The opening episode had me worried that she’d just be a one dimensional FL playing the caricature of an ‘angry & nagging’ wife, but they made it clear in episode two especially that she’s anything but. I admire her fierce sense of loyalty and love, and while she’s not a ‘powerful’ person in the sense that she’s not a high profile lawyer, a CEO or a rich chaebol etc, she’s got some incredible strength and definitely is the brains of her little family unit, so I look forward to seeing her arc play out the most.

Overall, I was initially a teensy bit disappointed at the start because I wanted a Flower of Evil type vibe and it was pretty clear from the first five minutes alone that this would be more Again My Life than FoE. I don’t mind high octane action thrillers but I struggle to get attached without some form of deeper emotional grounding, which came through for me in episode two after CH got beaten up and we got more insight into his relationship with MH through the flashbacks. The scene that really sealed the deal was when CH was watching his wife address him through the press and he’s struggling to support himself as he watches - both because of physical pain but also emotional. I’m glad I was able to get over my initial self made disappointment and keep up with all the set up in episode one because episode two was great and I’m in for the long haul now it seems!

Also whoever is styling LJS needs a raise, he looks adorably ruffled and hella fine at the same time with the vintage Ivy League type outfits he was wearing as a lawyer (and he works a prison jumpsuit pretty well too) 😍

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I’ll watch this, I’ll watch it not, I’ll watch this, I’ll watch it not… just not sold yet. I'll camp out on the wee-cap page until I decide, I guess. I do like a female character with agency. And I’m glad Yoona can play her. Anyone else notice that 3 SNSD girls are headlining 3 different kdramas right now? #girlpower #morethanaprettyface #morethananidol

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where can I ask for a kwak dongyeon cut, with only his scenes?!

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Ep 1 had me a bit worried, Ep 2 got me excited.
🙂

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Oof, they’re giving our ML a heck of a first week. He definitely went in over his head trying to sell the information he had to an evil chaebol.

Lee Jong-seok back means I’m here for it. He’s always great and he usually picks pretty good shows and this seems like a strong start. They’re going pretty hard right out of the gate but it’s filled with strong actors, and an interesting hook. Yoon-ah is usually so/so in the few roles I’ve seen her in, but she’s charming here with a fun dynamic that looks like it’ll be the cliche wife character, but veers against it when it comes to her husband and important matters. Kdrama tsundere?

I have high hopes for Jerry, and I hope he becomes a large part of the show as I think this duo has some great potential. Someday you’ll get a great ML role Kwak Dong-Yeon, but until then, keep crushing it in everything you appear in.

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It's unfair that I can't upvote this more times.

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@jls943: Everything came together in that pic. I think it is a ‘magical’ capture of that brief moment in time when a conventionally attractive person turns into an other-worldly beauty!☺️ I mean who looks like that in RL?

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Unfortunately long haired LJS can only be found in The Witch 2. He was there as a cameo

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Also in Pinocchio but that is an image I wish to forget ASAP.

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That was a terrible wig, wasn’t it?🤭

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I still haven't made it more than 15 minutes into Pinocchio because I can't FF on Viki and I can't bear to look at it.

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That was a criminal offense! I was so shocked watching it. I went to watch it almost immediately after watching "I can hear your voice".

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I thought Kang Chul has suffered enough but now i have to see Park Changho suffer more🥲
I have never imagined to see some comedy here. It's nice to have it, i guess.
But that hanging scene though... that was dark. I was really surprised.

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Super love the first 2 episodes. Kdramas usually serve us with high competent lawyers with high winning rate. But this show gives us an incompetent, very naive and big mouth lawyer.

I love that he's happily married [I'm married and it's very rare to find kdrama with married young couple who are happy (them bickering were so fun to watch. Haha) and facing the hardship together]

Plus he's in good terms with his father-in-law! They make a fun pair!

This show is very opposite to Adamas. It is both light and dark at the same time; I love it! I hope they keep this pace to the end.

At this moment I don't really mind if they dragged to reveal who's the real Big Mouse and what's his deal with Park Chung Ho. But can't wait for next episode!

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I'd love to watch Big Mouth, if only it was on a network other than Disney. (Outside of Asia, Disney is not airing it. Not even in the country Disney originates in.)

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Is it just me or anyone else thinks Jerry (THE MOUSE) is the Big mouse?

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And while I agree with other beanies that this feels like an all familiar kinda trope. I especially like this premise because of the way our ML ends up in his situation. It isn't like -ahem ~again my life~ or ~insider(which happens to be one of my fav dramas)~ kinda vibe that throws our hero into a scheme when he was just in his lane fighting for justice.

Instead, our ML turns out to be the architect of his own misfortune and he learns the hard way that not all that glitters is gold - except for Big Mouse, apparently. The name saved him!

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