Revenge of Others: Episode 2
Things get turned up a notch (okay, a giant notch) in Episode 2, as the plot thickens in ways we didn’t want, and probably didn’t even think of. This drama is shaping up to be deliciously unpredictable, and though it’s much darker and violent than the typical fare, there’s something addictive in the storytelling.
Editor’s note: Coverage will continue with weecaps.
EPISODE 2 WEECAP
To say “the plot thickens” is surely an understatement. As we get more eyes on our characters and setup, things are not what they seem. What was presented as a pretty simple story (sister tries to find out about her brother’s death) has become a multi-faceted tale that I quite honestly don’t know where it’s going. And I love it for that.
Chan-mi seems to be settling into her new school just fine, but her investigation isn’t that simple, and the introduction of several new characters proves it. First is the return of the school bully SA JUNG-KYUNG (Jin Ho-eun) who has a hairdo that would be hilarious if this kid weren’t so scary. His parents bought him out of his last bout of trouble: he raped a student there. She cowers in his presence, and he lords it over her. It’s so awful I’m tempted to turn the drama off, and yet I don’t. (Aside: This bully role is a testament to the promise of actor Jin Ho-eun. He last played the adorkable manager in Shooting Stars earlier this year and I had to forcibly convince myself this was the same actor. Touché.)
As Chan-mi learns about our violent bully, she’s naturally suspicious of him. In class one day, she overhears some grandstanding: a student says that now that Won-seok is dead, he can be the top dog. Huh?! Before Chan-mi can even process that statement, though, she confronts Jung-kyung on the heartless way he’s talking about the deceased (without giving away her personal connection, of course; it’s her trump card and she’s keeping it close).
It looks like Jung-kyung is about to crush Chan-mi like an ant under his shoe when our amnesiac student Jae-bum steps in to calm things down. It’s quite fascinating how the room responds to him, and how the other students treat him. Is it kid gloves? Is it fear? I dunno, but it’s something, and this reveal is going to be a heavy one for sure.
Chan-mi and Jae-bum get thrown together again later when she’s tapped to coach Jae-bum on some target practice. She’s as tough a trainer as you can imagine, and Jae-bum can barely manage to keep the pistol from shaking in his exhausted arm. It’s not until later that she softens towards him: she learns that she’s training him as a part of a joint therapy effort to get him to regain his memories. We learn he was in an accident and a subsequent coma for six months. It’s a miracle he survived. (I’m not sure how that fits into our timeframe, but let’s store that clue for later.)
And actually, Jae-bum seems like a total puppy. He likes Chan-mi right off the bat, and gets her number (you know, because training), and later, he even has his driver pull over on the way home so he can get out of his car and greet her. He’s so precious and likable that I’m worried he is actually neither of those things. But for now, we don’t know much for sure, except his wealthy family and the past accident.
Speaking of puppies that are not exactly puppies, we have to catch up with Su-heon, who’s at first doing more of the same — running around working and trying to pay his mother’s hospital bills. An important clue, however, comes during another consult with his doctor. “Have you had any sudden personality changes?” he asks. “Any bursts of violence?” (Store this clue for later, too, guys.)
One day in school Chan-mi notices that Su-heon is in agony at his desk, and when he runs out to the bathroom, she follows him, worried. This leads her right into the men’s room, and the two inadvertently find the rape victim mentioned earlier, who attempted suicide. Gosh, this show. This is the next time I debated turning it off because of the violence and overall harshness. But there’s so much goodness too!
Su-heon jumps up and over the bathroom stall like a hero and they wind up saving the girl’s life. Importantly, the detective that Chan-mi previously met was called to the scene. The detective warns her not to investigate on her own, and Chan-mi basically ignores that and asks the detective to not reveal her relationship to Won-seok.
Chan-mi and Su-heon’s paths are still entangled, though, and first we see him return the phone to Won-seok’s supposed girlfriend HONG AH-JUNG (Wooyeon). She seems to be friends with the silver-haired girl that we’ve seen hovering around: TAE SO-YEON (Jung Soo-bin). So-yeon seems quite shifty at first, but as we learn her backstory, the sympathy goes up, as does the trust (well, as much as one can trust any of these characters).
So-yeon not only goes to see the rape victim, but meets with Su-heon — the two have seemed quite friendly — to ask him to get vengeance for the rape victim (AKA, let’s get Jung-kyung expelled from the school for good and get money from his family). Why is she asking this of Su-heon? Why are they acting like this little vigilante unit? Well, turns out, that’s kind of what happened once in the past.
We get another horribly violent set of scenes where we see how So-yeon herself was once brutally bullied. She was on the verge of death when Su-heon saved her, and forced her bullies to apologize to her. How did he accomplish this, you ask? By beating them just as brutally. In flashback, we see him march into their noraebang room, and with the emotionlessness of a Terminator, beat them like they were rag dolls. It’s violent, and the message is that bullies will only stop when you beat them within an inch of their lives. I’m not sure I like this message, but I’m sure there’s more to it as we get deeper.
So, Terminator-mode Su-heon is apparently a thing, because we see him do it again when he sneaks into the school at night and terrorizes Jung-kyung and beats him with a hammer. All the while, the words of his doctor about personality changes and bursts of violence playback in his head (and mine). Oh boy, this is literally nuts! I wasn’t sure why the brain tumor thing even needed to be in this story, but this is where they are going? It’s half comic book and half horror movie, but for some reason it’s working for me.
Anyway, Su-heon’s violent tendencies are not the worst reveal of the episode. The worst reveal – for me and for Chan-mi — is that her beloved twin brother wasn’t always the kind smiley face on the other end of the video call. Indeed, he was the top bully at the school. We not only get the harsh truth from a girl who used to go to their school (who agrees to meet with Chan-mi while Ah-jung refuses), but we see it all in flashback too. Ugh, he’s awful, and I’m sad.
But also, well-played, Show! This drama has such an edge of unpredictability to it. If the story weren’t so well-told, layered, and full of all these clues, I would have tapped out by now due to the violence — but there’s something about it that has me totally hooked. It’s a brutal world — even more so than I expected after Episode 1 — but the writing is so tight and interesting that I’m willing to follow where it leads. (But please, can at least one of these characters be innocent?)
- Premiere Watch: Behind Every Star, Revenge of Others, The First Responders
- News bites: October 26, 2022
- Shin Ye-eun hunts for her brother’s killer in Revenge of Others
- News bites: September 7, 2022
- Seo Ji-hoon and So Joo-yeon reminsce amidst Seasons of Blossom
- All of Us Are Dead: Episode 1 (First Impressions)
- More Than Friends: Episodes 1-2 (Review)