Moving: Episode 1 (First Impressions)
With an all-star cast, Disney+’s newest offering Moving spends its first episode introducing us its many characters and setting up the story. It feels like the calm before the storm, settling us in before the action really starts and giving us glimpses of the mystery and danger to come. Our story centers on a particular high school where some students are showing signs of being superpowered. While it’s unclear what exactly this means for the kids, there are hints that their powers might bring more trouble than they’re worth.
Despite the plethora of character introductions and setup, I found myself engaged during the premiere episode. Maybe it’s the 40-minute runtime that kept things moving (heh) rather than feeling bogged down by all the introductions. So while we haven’t gotten a whole lot of plot yet, the hints of what’s to come, the tension, and the strong cast held my interest and made me curious.
I expected the filmmaking to be more stylistic given the whole superpower premise, but it skewed more realistic than glossy. Something about the less stylized look made it feel more grounded and had me more apprehensive for the characters since they come off as regular people — some of whom have extra abilities — not superheroes. I liked that the straightforward, unpretentious style kept the focus on the characters and their movements, which felt appropriate for this story.
We’re dropped right into the first day of the second semester for the local high school as students rush to get there on time. First up is KIM BONG-SEOK (Lee Jung-ha) who is sweet and a little (endearingly) awkward. His awkwardness only intensifies when he meets transfer student JANG HEE-SOO (Go Yoon-jung) on the bus (driven by JEON GYE-DO (Cha Tae-hyun)) and can’t stop himself from staring at her. I like Hee-soo right away. She’s confident and no-nonsense, but she also seems kind. It’s not hard to see why Bong-seok looked immediately smitten with her.
At the school, PRINCIPAL JO (Yoo Seung-mok) meets with teachers CHOI IL-HWAN (Kim Hee-won) and YOON SUNG-WOOK (Jeon Suk-ho) about “security measures” surrounding some unnamed semester-long project. Sung-wook is all sunny smiles and acquiescence, but Il-hwan seems more reserved and less fawning. Principal Jo gives off bad vibes, and the whole situation feels off. Something sketchy is going down at the school.
We then meet a few other students in Bong-seok’s classroom. There’s blogger HAN BYUL (Park Han-sol) and the obligatory bad boy BANG KI-SOO (Shin Jae-hwi) who’s smoking and posturing up a storm. But class president LEE GANG-HOON (Kim Do-hoon) is of the most interest. He’s touted for his athleticism, academic genius, and good looks.
Oh, and he’s also superpowered. Not that his classmates seem to know. His homeroom teacher Il-hwan does, though. They talk about the new girl Hee-soo who they believe has powers like Gang-hoon’s. Il-hwan encourages Gang-hoon to get close to her.
Little do they know there’s already someone in the school whose abilities have been kept successfully under wraps. Bong-seok has a little floating problem, as in he sometimes just ends up on the ceiling when his emotions get out of control. His mom LEE MI-HYUN (Han Hyo-joo) loads his backpack with weights, and he has learned to keep himself grounded (literally) by counting to bring down his heart rate.
Meanwhile, ominous music announces FRANK I’m-too-badass-for-a-last-name’s (Ryu Seung-beom) arrival. He’s tatted up and ready for a secret mission that involves encrypted phones and reports from the Supernatural Control Agency or SCA. His current mission is the politely termed “deletion” of a superpowered man sporting a mullet who can bend metal golf clubs. But that’s not enough to stop badass Frank who kills him with a well-placed pen to the heart and a shove out of a high-rise window. I’m not sure why this man was assassinated, but he didn’t seem on the up-and-up, so I’d guess there are a number of reasons someone might want to off him.
The SCA might be an agency, but it’s not associated with the National Intelligence Service. The NIS ensures the recent murder is publicly deemed an accident to keep the press from getting involved while they investigate who is offing supernaturals. Of course, there’s little controlling social media, so posts about the mysterious death circulate.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR MIN (Moon Sung-geun) has other things to worry about like the progress of the breeding program they’re running. Well, that took an unexpected and dark turn. I’m assuming this has something to do with the supernaturals, but we’re given no details yet.
Elsewhere, Mi-hyun monitors social media for mentions of mysterious deaths and sees a post with a photo of the grisly murder Frank committed. She’s clearly a trust-no-one type who’s somehow managed to keep Bong-seok’s abilities a secret until now. We end as she cleans and assembles her hidden gun at home, looking ready to take matters into her own capable hands.
Color me intrigued. The drama gave just enough to tease the mystery and struggles to come. I want to know what’s up with these abilities — like where did they come from, and does everyone know about them? We know from Bong-seok that some people are born with them – or at least gain them very young – but is that always the case? Right now, it doesn’t seem like the world is teeming with superpowered individuals, so maybe it’s been kept from the public. If so, that raises questions for what the government (or whoever has the power here) does with the superpowered people it locates.
That breeding program sounds terrifying, so I’m putting the NIS on the list of bad guys right now. I’m less certain about the school. Are they in cahoots with the government, or are they running their own scheme? Principal Jo has a villainous air, which makes me think the school is using the kids rather than helping them. There seemed to be some tension between Il-hwan and his colleagues about the project, so maybe they’re not all on the same page about whatever it is they’re doing. All I know is with this capable cast and intriguing start, I’m ready to dive into this world and learn what the heck is going on.
Tags: Cha Tae-hyun, first episodes, First Impressions, Go Yoon-jung, Han Hyo-joo, Jeon Suk-ho, Jo In-sung, Kim Do-hoon, Kim Hee-won, Kim Sung-kyun, Lee Jung-ha, Moving, Ryu Seung-beom, Ryu Seung-ryong