[Mid-Series Review] Mouse

[Mid-Series Review] Mouse

Since I can’t sleep, I might as well finish this mid-series review stewing in my draft for quite awhile. This review is riddled with spoilers, assumptions and thoughts about the show. I split it into four parts:

Quick Summary

For the confused people, here’s a relationship diagram. I wanted to create one but I figured someone probably already did that. I was right.

Source:@korean___dramas

Let me start with this: Ko Moo Won was alive (for a few episodes)! Man, I really thought he was dead. He managed to survive with lifelong injuries and became a priest. Ji-eun anonymously sponsored the brothers, Ko Moo Won and Ko Moo Chi, out of guilt. Perhaps, it was atonement on a few lives her husband ruined.

Ko Moo Chi became a detective. Though he was great at his job, he had problems with alcohol and controlling his temper. He wasn’t on speaking terms with his older brother because Moo Won forgave Seo Joon, the Head Hunter, the man who killed their parents.

On to the premise of the show, a serial killer was on the loose. All the victims were found with their middle finger up and pointed to a crucifix. On top of that, these victims were killed if they had not committed any of the seven deadly sins.

Jae Hoon prayed relentlessly to be able to feel emotions. However, that never happened. Hence, a series of murders began to surface 30 years later. The question is, who’s Jae-hoon? Yohan was in every crime scene where the murders happened. He had a full wall of the victims’ photographs.

Yohan was a strong primary suspect due to the evidence surrounding him. It didn’t help that he’s known as Han Seo Joon’s son.

Jung Bareum was entangled in this whole mess as a local police officer. Eventually, Moo Chi invited him to join his task force of investigating murderers.

Plot Review

I’d say the pace of the show is fairly fast. There were enough details along the events which prevented me from getting bored with an info dump. For example, the first episode covered the gist of Han Seo Joon’s murder history. However, it didn’t really narrate the problems at the present timeline. The succeeding episodes did that. The serial killer on the loose has a flair for theatrics and it showed the way the characters think, what was important to them, what they overlooked and how the present chaos looked like.

Young Jae-hoon’s motivation was to feel something. As what Jake Peralta would say, “cool motive, still murder”. The development of the plot took a serious turn when Yohan hammered Bareum’s head. Somehow, it started to verify my theory that Jae Hoon is Bareum. The only improbable detail was he couldn’t have possibly switched moms at nine years old. I’m looking forward to the next half of the show!

The term “psychopath” was thrown loosely all over pop culture as some weird dude who murders during his free time. However, in this show, the “psychopaths” were borderline geniuses who were emotionally intelligent. They were adept in dealing with all sorts of people. Hence, the manipulation of the people around them.

Characters

Jung Bareum

I had mixed emotions when Bareum was introduced in the second episode. Though all the signs and evidences pointed back to Yohan, I still stood my ground that Bareum was the serial killer. Some clues I had were:

  1. Jung Bareum, he was never captured alone. He’s always around people. Meaning we, as audience, see him as how he was perceived by people around him.
  2. Yohan’s mom was terrified the minute she saw him in the hospital
  3. Bareum had the “perfect” image akin to Seo Joon prior to his capture. Sure, he’s not a hotshot surgeon but he is a model citizen. He’s even considered the “national son”. And when he goes out of his way to do good, I chucked it out to manipulation.
  4. But the most important clue of all? There’s no way in hell Lee Seunggi, an actor of that caliber, would play a weak neighborhood police officer hunting for the notorious serial killer who was literally the focal point of the show. I mean, look at that poster.

The first time he was by himself, without anyone watching, was in the hospital after his coma. When Bareum crushed a bird with his bare hands and threw it outside the window for chirping, that verified my theory. A tiger doesn’t change his stripes. After his coma, his punches were heavier, he was sharper and he stood taller. Could a brain transplant do this to him? Perhaps? I’m not a neurosurgeon. How should I know? The doctor tending to Bareum said it wasn’t possible.

I’m leaning towards a different theory. This was his unadulterated self. He didn’t feel the need to act because he could not remember his motive.

He kept hallucinating about and “acting like” Yohan. Apart from the fact that the doctor said it wasn’t possible, my theory is Yohan could be reappearing in his imagination to absolve Bareum of the guilt he felt. His moral compass was guided by people’s stories about him simply because he couldn’t remember everything. He thought he was a normal person who ought to do good to the people around him and be a contributing member of the society. Every now and again, his true self slips. For example, when he’s annoyed with people around him, he would cuss under his breath. And of course, the pure delight in his eyes when he strangled and beat Moo Chi and Hyung Chul. I think Hyung Chul’s dead by the end of episode 10.

The biggest thing that confused me was Bareum’s childhood. I really couldn’t piece it together. I’m still unsure how he could be Seo Joon’s son. If he killed his half-siblings and stepdad, he can’t possibly switch moms at 9 years old. He’s old enough to remember things. What really happened? Was he not the child in all the flashbacks? The mouse and the snake drama? How come the neighbor had a different picture of him as a child?

Ko Moo Chi

As a survivor of the very last Head Hunter murder, he became a highly functional alcoholic detective. Despite the trauma of that tragic night reverberating all throughout his adulthood, I could say he’s really trying his best. A for effort.

His face has been all over the news for hunting a new serial killer 30 years after Head Hunter was caught. Alcohol and anger issues caused him various problems with management at work and worst of all, cost him his brother’s life. This was the lowest point of his life.

After all that’s happened, I’m quite surprised how he was allowed to continue working as a crime detective. I’m not saying he shouldn’t work. He was great at what he does. However, survivors like him need to be at least in PTSD therapy. How come nobody looked out for his mental health? Are we just sweeping it under the rug?

With the way he was working, he hasn’t processed his trauma in a healthy way, yet. He was too emotional. He had a soft spot for innocent and weak civilians, he would even act recklessly to obtain justice for them because deep down he could relate to them. Weren’t there any psych eval to determine if he was fit to work? He may be brilliant but he needed help. On several occasions, Moo Chi threatened to murder Han Seo Joon and other prisoners. He promised to kill Oh Bong Yi’s attacker. It’s unprofessional. I get that he meant well but that dude’s broken. He’s got to fix himself first or it would continue taking a toll on his mental health. It already affected the people around him and c’mon! He’s not ok. He needs therapy.

Sung Yohan

My two cents on Yohan was that he couldn’t possibly be the main murderer and at most, he could be an accomplice. I mean, he had an entire wall of all the victims in his basement, literally beat Bareum with a hammer and we saw him climb the gates during the murder of Daniel Lee but my gut says no. It can’t be him.

  1. The dead giveaway for me was how he lacked the cold confidence Seo Joon had. Sure, he was confident in the hospital when Daniel Lee observed him being threatened by thugs. However, it was all a front. There was this scene where he was waiting for Hong Ju. He was alone and didn’t know Moo Chi was observing him from afar. Yohan looked scared. It stuck to me. That was his true self. If we compare that from Seo Joon decades ago, they weren’t the same.
  2. The second was charisma. In the first episode, Moo Chi literally identified Seo Joon through the posters because he’s a hot shot doctor. He also had a happy life. Seo Joon was the epitome of perfection and he had charisma. Even as he was getting arrested, he didn’t look bothered. Not one bit. Yohan maintained a pretty low profile compared to Seo Joon. Based on past experience (watching Korean drama haha), it’s highly possible Yohan got bullied for being Seo Joon’s son. Apparently, these kinds of people didn’t get the memo that he didn’t get to choose a father before being born. Nevertheless, Yohan gave off an aloof and mysterious vibe.

TL;DR — Yohan neither had the cold confidence nor the charisma Seo Joon had. Hence, I strongly believe he’s not the mastermind out of all of these murders.

Is it possible for an aloof and mysterious guy to be a murderer? Absolutely. Why do I keep comparing Yohan to Seo Joon? The premise revolved around genetics. Hence, I’m looking for someone close to perfect.

Oh Bong Yi

She would make the perfect victim. She had no family left. Nobody would look for her in case she went missing. No one kept a lookout for her when Jung Bareum went into a coma. Sure, Moo Chi drops by every now and then to check on her but it’s different when someone checks on you regularly.

Bong Yi tried so hard to make sure she could defend and feed herself. She had to learn to survive at a young age. She’s tough and she’s a fighter and I wish she had more screen time.

Overall Review

I normally watch dramas because there are good looking actors in it and the plot was good but this was different. I’m purely invested in the plot. What do I love about this show? Stellar acting skills and well-written plot. What did this show give me? ✨TRUST ISSUES✨

I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the show. I’m very curious as to what else Bareum would do now that he remembers nothing. I’d say it has the potential to be my all-time favorite this year, provided they tied the loose ends neatly by episode 20.

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