I Remember You (Hello Monster): Episode 1 & 2 Recap


How can you refuse this?

Kap: A new guest recapper on board. I’m noticing a surge of interest in recapping and I’m pleasantly surprised. Is it because school is over for many? Anyhow, I always welcome new voices on this ship so don’t be shy to contact me!

Hello… er, little monsters! Since all my tissues are already soaked by My Love Eun-Dong and The Girl Who Sees Smell has filled my quota for fluffy rom-coms, I’ve decided to give Seo In Guk and Jang Nara‘s new cop drama a try.

Recaps written by Runaway for AVV. 🙂

We’ve seen a lot of cop and mystery dramas this year and one thing I’ve learned from watching a few (I’ve enjoyed Bad Guys, Pride and Prejudice, and Missing Noir M), it’s important to suspend disbelief. K-dramas has yet to execute grit and dark themes (even OCN’s excellent series) without overdoing it to the point being cartoonish, comical, and cliched.

With that, on with the recap! (I do apologize for the nicknames for the other characters as well as the side comments. I can’t remember names easily especially Korean ones.)

I REMEMBER YOU EP 1 Rambling Recap: Every child’s story begins with their parents

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A man named David Lee (Seo In Guk) is checking his email (with Internet Explorer… gasp! I told you, leave common sense at the door). Someone sent him a police report and some crime scene photos of a murdered woman. Emphatic voice over tells us, someone is restarting this man’s paused story and the mysterious sender has prompted him to reply.

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Our female lead, Cha Ji-An (Jang Nara), makes her entrance announcing there’s another murder and the corpse looks like the Bangbae-dong case, the same case sent to David Lee. She is part of a Special Investigation Unit and her team’s current case is a tricky one. No DNA or trace evidence has been found.

They rush to the new crime scene and speculate if this is a serial murder. As they enter the room, a man is standing in the middle. The group of detectives side eye each other if this is the new team leader they’re expecting.
Oh hello there…

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Oh hello there…

Cha Ji-An knows this mysterious fellow. While she stares at his smirking face, Flower Boy Colleague asks if he’s the team leader. As mysterious fellows go, he answers the question with another question then ala Sherlock goes on and on about the two cases confirming both are related and making our group of detectives look like elementary students.

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Homework.

Mysterious man asks for a suspect list and their clueless faces is what he got. Their team didn’t find any evidence from the first case so they don’t have any suspects either. Man in blue suit goes Sherlock mode again and does the work for them. He delivers a profile to their blank faces.

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Can we look anymore clueless?

Meanwhile, Cha Ji-An has finally stopped staring and identified our mystery man to the audience.

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Another character is entering the building of the crime scene while Lee Hyun started the Q&A portion for our clueless detectives. They immediately launched question after question and as usual, he answered them mysteriously. That is, he didn’t answer at all.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

The real team leader enters the room and introduces himself. Senior colleague wields his gun while Flower Boy colleague stutters and asks who’s the other guy they’ve been listening to.

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It’s Invisible Man!

While Lee Hyun walks out the building smirking, our group of clueless detectives check the room and reach the conclusion he has escaped. Cha Ji-An chases after him while the remaining trio took a moment to process the situation. “Is he the real team leader? Is the other guy a criminal?” Five seconds later Senior and Flower Boy Colleague chase after our leads while Nerd Colleague is instructed to check the team leader’s credentials.

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Resting Smirk face.

Cha Ji-An continues the chase on foot as Lee Hyun rides a taxi while Senior and Flower Boy Colleague gives up after 5 seconds. Ever the bastard, Lee Hyun toys with her and asks the driver to slow down then speed up as she continues to chase the taxi while it goes around. Panting, she shouts his name and yells at him to stop.

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You called?

Lee Hyun takes a good look at her and asks who she is. While she snorts at his ignorance, we flash back into her point of view 20 years ago. She was his stalker from their elementary to their young adult days. (lol) She realizes he doesn’t know her and doesn’t even know of her existence in his life. (ouch)

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It’s her time to smirk.

Tables have turned and now she’s the mysterious one. Lee Hyun thinks loudly if she’s the one who might have sent him the email. While he’s distracted, she comes closer and slaps handcuffs to his wrists.

They interrogate Lee Hyun and he reveals he was sent an email of the case. He then traced the IP of the sender and it was from the National Police so he boarded a plane ASAP thinking they want his help.

Senior Colleague presses him why he escaped the crime scene. Lee Hyun, smart ass extraordinaire, answers back that he was done with what he has to say and he finds it pointless to continue if they don’t even understand the basics of the case.

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While Senior Colleague is fuming, Flower Boy Colleague has his notebook out for another lecture and asks how did he arrived into the next crime scene and how did he figured out the first case just by the crime scene photos.

As usual Lee Hyun answers all his questions with another question then launching into another lecture with a backhanded slap at their lack of observational skills.

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Somebody give this boy a sarcasm sign.

Nerd Colleague enters and validates Lee Hyun’s identity. His American name is David Lee and is an associate professor at a criminal college in New York. His alibi checks out that he’s on the plane during the time of the crime.

Lee Hyun decides it’s time to take his leave since they don’t have anything on him to keep him locked up. Nerd Colleague interrupts and asks again Flower Boy’s unanswered question of how did he ended up in the new crime scene.

At least they got a ‘straight’ answer this time.

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Are you tired of the smirking face yet?

While they walk out with him, they meet detective section chief who guarantees Lee Hyun’s identity and their new team leader. Team Leader attempts to continue his interrupted introduction earlier while Lee Hyun continues his escape. Cha Ji-An chases after him again while her three colleagues made their way back to their desks uninterested with whatever their new team leader has to say.

Riding the elevator, our leads continue to banter. She knows he lied that he went to the crime scene because of the National Police’ request and he has a different reason. She wants to know the real reason why he is in Korea but he’ll only consider answering her question if she tells him who she is. She doesn’t take the offer and continues to tease him her identity.

Lee Hyun takes another good look at her. He doesn’t remember seeing her before. She mocks him about his lecture earlier in the interrogation room about his above average brain processing power. He bites back that she must not have anything special for him to remember or there’s no reason for him to remember her at all.

Before Lee Hyun leaves the police building, he stops and remembers the day he received the email. What interested him in the crime scene was an artwork that reminded him of a drawing from his buried memories when he lost his father and younger brother. This artwork is the invitation someone sent him.

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He drops everything in America and flies to Korea. He mentioned something about the range humans can process information while he was interrogated by the detectives; 16 meters is the average and he alludes to him being above average while the clueless detectives are the opposite.

At the airport, he stops and we cut to a visual CGI of signs and symbols representing him processing some information. He has deciphered the meaning of symbols left at the first crime scene. They are coordinates of the next crime scene where he met the detectives.

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He ponders while on the way if a man and a kid is still alive revealing to us his real motivation for coming back to Korea.

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Lee Hyun enters his childhood home and he reminisces: Eating at the dinner table with his father and younger brother, reading quietly at their father’s study, and a man lying face down on a pool of blood while his younger self stares at it.

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Talk about normal childhood…

Flashback 1996, young Lee Hyun’s family moved into their new home. His father found him doing something in the dirt then his younger brother calls him to find his sketchbook and crayons. While his off to do the bidding of his brother, his father looks at what he was doing in the dirt. It’s a dead animal.

Worry etched on the father’s face, he quickly returns the grass and hides the carcass. He stands and turns around.

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What an innocent looking face…

Startled, the father steps back and Lee Hyun explains when he found it, it was already dead.

Father visits someone in prison, a young convict. The doctor found him opening the windows while the guard is writhing on the floor handcuffed because the guard refused to do so. Father quickly frees the guard and diffuses the situation.

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It’s Okay, This is Life.

Teenage convict talks about abuse and Father stops him and bring out last week’s interview recording. He is making up these stories of because he doesn’t have a family. He wants him to tell his real story. The convict tells him, there’s nothing much to his real story. Because it was ‘normal’. “Why do people hurt others? But then, why can’t people hurt others?”

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As Father returns home deep in thought, some patrolling policeman recognize him and we finally know what’s his job (I thought he was a psychiatrist) and name. Chief Superintendent Lee Joong Min. The friendly policeman apparently saw one of Father’s lectures. He also asked if they own a dog because there’s been a report of dog theft and cruelty in their area. (Cruelty to animals is one of the early warning signs of psychopaths.)

Father wakes up from a nightmare of Lee Hyun burying another thing in the ground and glaring at him menacingly. While he regains his wits, Lee Hyun is at his side and asks him if he had a nightmare. (Kid likes to startle his father lol)

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What’s scary about this face?

Father quickly recovers and put on a smile. Lee Hyun sets aside the coffee he brought him and sees the pictures of psychopaths on his father’s table. He asks his father why the people he is researching look normal and yet they’re really not normal. Father explains that ‘evil is hidden inside normal people’ and sometimes the ‘most cruel person can wear the face of an angel.’

The lecture continues and father instructs him to be careful of strangers and he wishes his son will be more like kids his age. Lee Hyun retorts that he’ll stop washing his brothers clothes, bring his brother to the kindergarten, stop paying the bills, stop bringing him coffee, and stop reminding him of his schedule. He’s going to stop being their butler and play toys and be stupid.

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Who’s the real evil here? He’s a 12 year old kid not a 12 year slave. heh.

Father sees the error of his comments and jovially praises his son. His little butler reminds him it’s time to leave and that he forgot his jacket and his bag. He thanks his son and was about to leave merrily when Lee Hyun utters what teenage convict said to him. The happy face is wiped from Father’s face in an instant.

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Back to the present, Team leader introduces himself for the third time while all four detectives stare into space and think about their know-it-all visitor.

Lee Hyun meanwhile is searching through boxes in his home. He finds the sketchbooks (full of disturbing drawings) in one of the boxes and leafs through them. One of the drawings match the artwork in the first crime scene.

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In the detective’s office, the team continues to discuss about Lee Hyun. Senior Colleague continues trying to discredit him while Flower Boy counters his claims. Nerd Colleague mentioned he even wrote a book on criminology.

Team Leader suggests they put their prides aside and ask for his help. Cha Ji-An volunteers to get his cooperation. The team doubts he will listen to her since she was a bit rough with when she brought him in for interrogation and will even use her feminine wiles if needed. The four guys looked unconvinced of said wiles.

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Lee Hyun is cleaning up the house when Cha Ji-An calls him to request his cooperation. He’s not interested unless she begs him to change his mind. She asks formally and he remains unconvinced. As they talk, Lee Hyun notices that the accumulated dust is different and someone might have invaded the house. He hangs up and she curses at her phone while an innocent policewoman passes by looking confused.

Lee Hyun investigates the house for any sign left by the visitor. His father’s diary is missing but tapes of Lee Joon Yeong, our teenage convict’s interviews are left behind.

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Breaking Dawn in 1996? *cue Doctor Who theme song*.

Another flashback, Little Lee Hyun dons the same apron and bandana and cleans the house. He realized with a loud sigh his father has forgotten his bag this time. He calls but receives no answer.

Father is chatting with a policewoman about their lives — the detective chief in the present that validated Lee Hyun’s identity to the detectives. Father asks her to bring the convict to the Central Office for an interview before his trial.

Little Hyun brings the bag to the police station but his father can’t find his father. While he waits, the other policemen distracts him by testing his addition skills. He answers correctly and comments his father can do that too. Another one tests him by asking how many matchsticks are in the box. He answers 571 immediately and they were taken aback. He tells the group of policemen to count it themselves if they want to know if it’s right. He leaves them while they count the sticks.

Father takes a break during his another interview with the convict and steps out of the room as Lee Hyun walks to the interrogation rooms to find him. He finds the door ajar and asks the convict of his father’s whereabouts.

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Lee Joon Yeong perks up when he realizes who the kid is and invites him inside to wait for his father. Little Hyun also recognizes the convict from the pictures on his dad’s desk. As he approaches the table, Joon Yeong asks him if he’s scared of him and Hyun replies he is not. He asks a question in turn.

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Joon Yeong explains to him about animals’ critical brain development period and that he calls it ‘fate deciding time.’ Hyun asks how was his deciding period like but Joon Yeong turns the question to him.

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Ah so this is where he learned answering a question with a question.

Joon Yeong bombards Little Hyun with questions about his uniqueness and his father’s trust. He expresses his desire to see what kind of adult Little Hyun will grow up to be.

Father finally knows Little Hyun is in the building when the policewoman he chatted with earlier asks about Hyun. He rushes to the investigation room while Joon Yeong picks the lock of his handcuffs.

As he looks into the door, Father sees the convict grasping Little Hyun’s hand. Joon Yeong’s smile widens when he see the father saw their secret exchange. As Father enters the room and grabs Little Hyun, Joon Yeong further rattles him with a farewell to Hyun to keep their promise and meet again.

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Father and son just stare at each other after they exited the room and was interrupted by the policewoman as she asks what happened. Father asks her to take care of him and returns to the interrogation room.

On their way out of the building, the policemen who tested Hyun earlier have finished counting the matchsticks and shouted he was right and fawned over how smart he is. Hyun just stares and walks along.

Meanwhile, Father cuts ties with the convict as that was their last session. Before he leaves Joon Yeong baits him with his worries and fears over Hyun and says Little Hyun is like him when he was young. He dangles their shared promise Father saw them exchange and plays on his fears and worries. Seeing red, Father attacks and punches the convict while he smirks at him.

Writing in his diary, Father realizes that while he was doing the interview Joon Yeong was also observing him and has planted these doubts and fears over Hyun. We see him rifling through his sons’ shared bedroom and he finds sketchbooks full of drawings of dismembered and mutilated people.

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Is this a hit list?

He asks Min who drew the pictures and the younger brother tells him Hyun drew them and asks his father not to tell his hyung he said it. Father asks if his older brother is scary and Min answers he is not but proceeds to warn his dad not to trust his hyung. (huge red flag for me.)

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Something smells fishy but he’s eating it up.

Hyun is sitting alone at the playground just observing the playing children and his father sees him and they stare at each other.

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Next, Father is in a psychologist’s office listing the Macdonald triad: Bedwetting, Cruelty to animals, and Firesetting. The doctor tries to assuage his worries and assures him bedwetting is natural to children especially those who lost a parent. Father remains unconvinced because there are things the doctor doesn’t know.

Father writes in his diary later that he has fallen into the trap of doubts the convict set for him and thus he thinks his son is like a monster. Little Hyun reads this words of his father’s journal the next day.

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Self-fulfilling prophecy, anyone?

As the sons sleep in their beds, Father approaches the slumbering Hyun and replays his exchange with Joon Yeong at the interrogation room. He remembers the convict’s promise that he will escape and meet his son so he vows to completely protect Hyun.

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By building a prison in their home.

Father explains to Hyun that he will be staying in this room from now on and can’t go outside as this is the only way he knows to protect him and mistakenly blurts out to protect the world from him. Hyun will also be home studied from now on.

As his dad rattles on, Joon Yeong’s words echo to Little Hyun’s mind.

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Hurt etched in Little Hyun’s face while fear and worry etched in Father’s, the episode ends.

FURTHER COMMENTS FOR EPISODE 1:

I really enjoyed this episode. I forgot the time and didn’t realize how long it was as the episode ended. It kept me on my toes thinking a million things. The mysteries revealed are set up well and it keeps us guessing. The joy of watching detective shows is guessing which is which and there’s plenty of questions the first episode has thrown at us both in the backstory and the present case.

I’m keeping my eyes on the younger brother. The dead carcass Father has seen is circumstantial evidence for now. Father didn’t exactly see him torture an animal but jumped to the conclusion that he did. More importantly, Little Hyun doesn’t really show the personality traits called the Dark Triad. There’s a thin line that makes an intelligent person to an intelligent detective or an intelligent psychopath. They can be two sides of the same coin.

The cast and ensemble performed great. D.O especially. I honestly didn’t know he was an idol when I watched It’s Okay, This is Love because I live under a rock. I see a chemistry between the leads but then again, they didn’t have much screen time yet. The other three detective and the team leader provide enough variety to the characters as well as some light humor amidst the dark themes. As usual for shows with a very intelligent male lead, the police are undermined for their incompetence.

One of the things I especially enjoyed in this drama is the cinematography and the framing of scenes like how they zoom out when Hyun takes in his surrounding and observes. Also, the background music helps a lot to build up the emotion of the scenes — from the light playful sound during the clueless detective scenes to the eerie piano during the convict’s scenes.

I REMEMBER YOU EPISODE 2 Rambling Recap:

We resume the conversation of the Father and son and this time, Little Hyun voices the hurt in his heart. The child knows of his father’s worry and his mistrust that Joon Yeong has planted to the father during the interviews then to the son during their chance meeting. He accuses his father of prejudgement and mistrust and reveals he knows why his father is shutting him out of the world because he concluded he is a monster.

Dad denies this and tries to appease his son that he just wants to protect Hyun and it’s for his best interest but the latter is not believing any word of it.

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In the (other) prison, we see two guards on their way to teach the convict a lesson. One of them was the guard Joon Yeong handcuffed earlier. They enter his cell and he was expecting them.

Meanwhile, Min (I’m watching you kid) is bored playing by himself and calls to the wall next to the secret room demanding his hyung play with him. On the other side of the wall, father and son are busy studying. Time flies as father focuses on his older son’s studying and the younger son is left alone with his toys sleeping in the staircase waiting for his brother.

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Exhibit B: The Neglected Child.

Back to the prison, Joon Yeong smirks at the two guards as he opens a book and pulls out a blade which he uses to cuts into his neck. He loses consciousness so one of the guards hurries to find a pulse in his neck and finds nothing. They panic and we see Joon Yeong’s body carried out of the prison to a waiting ambulance next. A medic tells both guards they’ll need to come with the ambulance.

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On their way, the guards hear another ambulance driving to the opposite direction towards the prison they just left and realizes this was all a ruse. Joon Yeong takes a deep breath and opens his eyes very much alive while the guard looks on scared for his life. (That’s what you get for not opening a window when he nicely asked.)

Another scene from Hyun and Joon Yeong’s secret exchange reveals the latter has an inborn defect where his neck pulse can’t be detected. (This condition really exists called Absent Pulse) Amazed, Little Hyun asks for other secrets but Joon Yeong wants Hyun to share his secret first before he tells him another one.

We return to the house and both Father and Hyun are busy in their desks. They both stop and listen to their surrounding.

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Father caps his pen and returns his diary in the bookshelf. Joon Yeong is behind him and he invites him to tea casually. Sitting at the dining table, Joon Yeong takes a sip and asks about Hyun. Father walks to the sink and answers he won’t be able to see him anymore. After which, Father grabs a knife while the escaped convict throws his teacup at him. Fight ensues.

Hyun hears the commotion, runs to the locked door, and slams his fists calling out to his father. Min is woken up by the noise and as he opens the door, he sees his father being attacked by the intruder. Min retrieves his shoes and escapes through the window.

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Exhibit C: A kindergartner who can calmly escape danger but not call for help.

The fight continues and Hyun keeps shouting for his dad. Father slams Joon Yeong to the table breaking it in half. The noise stops apart from the rain pouring outside. The door to Hyun’s room (prison) unlocks and as he makes his way to the living room, he sees his father lying dead in a pool of blood. Joon Yeong exits the bathroom after washing up and stands face to face with Hyun. Afterwards, Little Hyun rushes outside to look for his brother but he stumbles to the ground and loses consciousness. Present Hyun tells us this is the day his father died and his younger brother disappeared.

The child psychologist his father visited earlier explains to Hyun about retrograde amnesia when he said he doesn’t remember everything about the incident and before that. The doctor assures him there’s no need to force the memories back because it will return naturally. However, he does remember some memories of meeting the convict, his father thinking he’s a monster, and sitting alone in a locked room; these he keeps to himself.

Little Hyun finishes his session and we see that his father’s friend is the one taking care of him. While they walk holding hands, Little Hyun gives a small smile to his new guardian and he reflects on what kind of child was he and what did he do for his father to call him a monster.

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Is that s smile?

We return to the present with Lee Hyun pondering on the same question. He wants to meet a person that knew him as a child but the only person he can think of is Joon Yeong and he doesn’t have a clear memory of their conversation. This experience of memory loss becomes the topic of the book he published, The Memory of the Murderer.

He remembers at his office in America the interview with a Korean magazine for his book where he issues an invitation to the person ‘who taught him about the critical brain development period’ to contact him because he wants to patch the holes in his memories.

Soon after the interview is published, he receives the email of the case report. Hyun realizes that the person who restarted his unsolved story was not someone else but himself when he issued that invitation. (Maybe another person understood his message and answered eh?)

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Cha Ji-An returns to her home at night and finds her aunt has brought her some food. Aunt scolds her for her very (very) messy house and was about to leave when she shares the guy she has stalked, Lee Hyun, has appeared. Interest peaked her aunt sits down and asks if he remembers her. She’s left cursing and speechless as she remembers his rudeness and how he doesn’t even know she exists.

She’ll continue watching (stalking) him in the meantime when her aunt asked what she’ll do. Because she’s unsure if he’s a friend or an enemy, she doesn’t want to talk to him yet but what she knows with certainty is that he is the only connection they have to Lee Joon Yeong. (gasp) When her aunt was about to react, she quickly changes the subject.

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In the morning, Lee Hyun starts listening to the interview tapes of his father’s and Yoon Jeong and begins at their first meeting. He hears the convict assures his father that he’s not going to kill him there. Hyun scoffs at his deceit because Joon Yeong killed his father in the end.

He leaves the house with his mind preoccupied with the escaped convict and his whereabouts now. With his observational skill, he notices someone is watching him from afar (makes him forgetting/not knowing Ji-An even more mysterious). He continues walking and notices it’s the police that’s following him.

Ji-An goes to the medical examiner for the analysis of the second victim’s body. Aside from the blunt trauma to the face, everything else is exactly like the first case. She asks the examiner if he noticed something strange like a signature at the crime scenes but her explanation is interrupted when her phone rings. (Remember in the first episode, Hyun gives them homework to check if perhaps the forensics contaminated or took something from the crime scenes.)

Ji-An answers the phone and learns that Hyun has trespassed the first crime scene. She was about to leave when the examiner makes her promise to tell him more about this jerk.

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That friendly smile was wiped pretty quickly.

At the first crime scene, Hyun is staring at the two joined head artwork. He notices the artist’s signature at the bottom and remembers that this is the same signature Min created when he was still young. He ruminates if this means his brother is alive or it’s done by someone who knows their story.

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Exhibit D: Four sketchbooks. Who owns that purple one?

Hyun removes the painting and notices it’s been nailed in recently. The painting also clashes with the light and airy interior theme of the room. It might be a gift from the murderer.

Now Ji-An rushes to the room to catch Hyun on the act of trespassing another crime scene but he has already left. She tries to imagine and follow how he’ll investigate the area. The painting also draws her in and she recognizes it a little.

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Hyun enlists the help of a friend who’s an art dealer to find the artist. Art dealer asks him to speak formally since he is older and they’re now in Korea even though they’ve spoken causally while in America. Hyun retorts with speaking to him in English.

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Cheeky bastard is cheeky.

Thinking aloud, Hyun wonders why there’s still no news of the third murder yet and why the second signature is not yet found. Art dealer Hyung is not following where their conversation is going and instead asks him if he wants to do a lecture. Surprising his friend, Hyun agrees in an instant because he regrets not agreeing to the police’s request. Art Dealer Hyung sighs and gives up trying to understand what kind of conversation they’re having.

At the detective’s office, the team is still at a dead end with no evidence, no suspect list, and no signature. Team Leader asks Ji-An about Hyun’s cooperation while Senior Colleague pokes and asks her if her feminine wiles didn’t work on him.

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Unleash the Kraken!

Ji-An plans to unleash her wiles during a lecture. She tries to capture his attention unsuccessfully. When she tries again, her squirming for attention caused her rolling chair to lurch down and she has caught not only his attention but of the entire class with her screeching. She was able to bump into a table midway and stop her descent to further humiliation if only she didn’t turn in her chair and flip her hair.

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Weeeeehhh

The class laughs at her as Hyun stops the chair when she reaches the bottom. He asks her the answer to the question since she ‘enthusiastically rolled down just to answer.’ Her answer is wrong to the further amusement of the class. She tries to nudge her chair and escape the humiliation but he holds it down.

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Let it go, Let it go.

He continues the lecture with a re-enactment of the murder. He mimics a gun with his fingers and shoots her. As she tries to stand and escape, he points the laser penlight at her forehead. The class continues continues to laugh at her so she resigns herself to the humiliation she brought to herself.

[Nerd Colleague Trivia Time: Because I’m a bit OCD, I actually fact-checked Hyun’s lecture and it’s accurate. The anterior cingulate cortex with functions such as reward anticipation and impulse control, disagrees on the plan to commit the crime because there’s a risk of punishment. However, the amygdala is the seat of emotions can hijack the rational part of the brain when it recognizes an emotional threat. The orbitofrontal cortex processes evaluates the problem by weighing the expected reward/punishment given the details of a situation.

If you want to read more on the Neuroscience behind crimes, here’s an article.]

After the lecture, they banter on their way out of the building. Ji-An explains she happens to be in the neighborhood but Hyun doesn’t buy it. She has an ulterior motive and he again tries to stare and get a good look at her for the third time. But like the other times, she just doesn’t ring any bells to him.

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She chases after him again and asks for his cooperation but Hyun wants to know her identity again in exchange. She laughs at his demands but quickly recovers and says she’s a fan. He sees through the lie and rejects all her begging.

Female wiles shelved, she tries to bribe him with coffee which he promptly ignores since he’s busy looking at crime scene photos. She drinks it instead and they start discussing the first crime scene after all that begging and chasing.

His first observation, both had purple flowers. Ji-An has already searched through the surrounding florists but couldn’t find who purchased them. The meeting of the victim and a man plays out while Hyun explains that the flower can symbolize sadness or death but the victim might have no idea on the meaning of the flower. Ji-An mentions a purple flower in some song but Hyun suspects the symbolism is taken from Greek mythology instead.

[Nerd Colleague Trivia Time: It’s Zephyr’s jealousy that killed Hyacinth when he saw the latter throwing disqus with Apollo and running after the disc to impress the other god. Apollo didn’t let Hades take the boy and made a flower from his spilled blood. From the Roman poet Ovid’s account, Apollo’s tears stained the newly formed flower petals as a sign of his grief. The mythological Hyacinth doesn’t resemble the true hyacinth but rather flowers such as iris. You learn something new everyday kids. :D]

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Lecture time.

The symbolism is clearly not a coincidence but instead alluding to the killer’s plans to murder the victim and turn them into another ‘Hyacinth’.

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Ji-An is left speechless but that’s all the clue Hyun was able to find because it’s hard to establish a pattern with just two cases. A third case should have happened by now according to the killer’s cycle. Ji-An is dumbfounded by his callousness to the victim’s lives and treats them more as objects to be analyzed.

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Well, you’re not the first person to say that…

Hyun ignores her comment and presents his hypothesis. The first victim died of suffocation; a needle mark was found during the forensic examination showing the killer drugged the victim first to knock her out then proceeded to strangle the victim. He doesn’t want the victim to struggle and cause any other blemish on the victim’s body caused by her struggling while he strangles her. The crime scene is left organized and tidy.

However, for the second victim, there’s a sign of violence both on the victim’s body and the crime scene because he couldn’t control his momentary rage. Everything else was done similar to the first killing apart from the violence.

Hyun finally realizes that both victims look exactly the same but the second victim recently had a haircut. Ji-An is shocked the killer is brought to rage because of a haircut. Hyun explains to her the pathology the killer’s mind.

In the serial killer’s mind, he is killing one person even though in reality it’s different people. That is his fantasy which is why targets victims that look like the person in his head and any deviation like in the second victim sets him off in a rage because it breaks his fantasy. (I’m not sure if the second victim changed her hair color too but serial killers that has a certain type and wants everything to be the identical to their fantasy even the hair color.)

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Ji-An returns to the detective’s office armed with all the info she learned from Hyun. She starts with the semaphore signature left by the murderer to mock and challenge the police. He is bold, arrogant, and disrespects authority. Hyun emphasizes that no one, not one of them, saw and realize it was a code. He explains how to decode it while Ji-An looks blankly at him and he can’t help but mock her, “This is the best time to use the phrase ‘Your brain is an accessory.’”

Now that they know about the code and how to decipher it, they’ll need to find the semaphore code hidden in the second crime scene.

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No need to rub it in.

Second, they need to figure out where the killer was finding his victims. Ji-An suggest he’s hunting in clubs and streets. The exasperated face of Hyun says it all. (gurl… you can’t find a specific type on a random group of people at a random place. I’ll share you my stash of cop dramas and serial killer flicks next time when you’re not busy stalking, k?)

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Third, they’ll need to search if there are other similar unsolved crimes if they’re lucky they might spot his earlier imperfect killings as he develops his method. Ji-An was particularly proud of answering his question while Hyun drops another diss at her brain power and it just flies by her. She finally realizes the insult as she mutters to herself during the meeting with the other detectives.

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Another sarcasm sign please.

The detectives reluctantly admit to Hyun’s assessment so Team Leader delegates the task to the four detectives and Ji-An was tasked to find the signature.

At a wine bar, Hyun and Hyeon Ji Soo, his father’s friend and now the superior of Ji-An, are drinking wine. She overhears a couple gossiping if her relationship with Hyun is familial or romantic. It delights her that she looks attractive enough for them to speculate rather than conclude she’s his mother. Playful, Hyun scoots closer and wraps his arm over her shoulder. She lightly scolds his arrogance.

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Changing the subject, she asks his real intentions for coming to Korea and dropping everything in the middle of the semester in America. He mentions the email and she was about to ask for more explanation but he redirects the conversation to ask if he can see the police report of his father’s death. Worry on her face, she asksif his memories are coming back because he has never been interested about his father’s case in the past.

He still hasn’t remembered everything but bits and pieces of memory surface so he believes it’s his duty as a son and brother to at least be interested of his father’s case and the disappearance of his brother at least once. Still worried, she asks if it’s because Joon Yeong’s case and the present case of murdered women are somehow connected and it prompted his strange behaviors. Denying any connection, he makes an excuse that he just wanted a change of scenery.

She also denies any existence of a file because the evidence room was still newly formed back then thus any file before it wouldn’t exist. (lol you’re kidding no one here ajumma) Hyun lets the subject go.

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Shit eating grin doesn’t look convinced. We’re onto you ajumma.

Well our suspicions are answered quickly. The file did exist but she was instructed by her superior to cover it up and make it disappear. Jokes on her because it really disappeared from her safe at her office no less. And it’s in the hands of Ji-An. (in what I assume is her stash of stalking paraphernalia)

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One door closes, another opens.

Hyun continues to listen through the interview tapes. After finishing an interview session, he stops and proceeds to go to bed and sleep. Next, we see Little Hyun in the living room again across his father’s dead body, Joon Yeong is saying something inaudible. He approaches Hyun and tells him to sleep because things have finally went the way he wants it. As Little Hyun returns Joon Yeong’s smile, Hyun wakes up.

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Is it a memory or a nightmare?

Ji-An falls asleep in the middle of brushing her teeth. She awakes and finishes washing up when the open bathroom window captures her attention and remembers the window at the second crime scene was also open.

While on her way to find the signature at the second crime scene, Flower Boy Colleague calls her to report a breakthrough. Both victims are members of the hotel’s spa. He shares his growing admiration on Hyun and Ji-An interrupts his chorus of praises to remind him to hold a meeting with the others before taking any action.

One task done, Ji-An stumbles inside the second crime scene scared out of her wits by strange sounds. She tells the room of her good intentions and proceeds to rifle through things near the window. She finds scattered pieces of paper all over the refrigerator and the victim’s office table. She falls asleep going through every piece of paper all night to no avail.

In the morning, she notices the breeze from the open window moving the papers stuck on the fridge. The semaphore code was hidden on a yellow paper between newspaper clippings.

She calls Hyun about the breakthroughs but he is busy showering. (hehe)

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Obligatory male lead shower scene.

Rushing to his hotel, she finds him in his bathrobe and asks for another help. The decoded coordinates the detectives solved is a little weird. It’s in the middle of the sea outside Seoul. She compliments his ‘large brain capacity’ to soften him up. Glancing at the code, he asks for her phone and types the proper coordinates.

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Who’s got time to math when google should have known about it?!

He mutters another insult to their incompetence and it flies right through again. He doesn’t even bother explaining the math behind it and pushes her out of the door to find the perpetrator. She calls the team for the new location while Team Leader breathes a sigh of relief since they almost sent a party searching through the vast sea. Flower Boy Colleague is starting to become Fangirl Colleague.

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They still need to find the specific target who lives in the decoded location. Ji-An rushes to the location while Senior and Flower Boy Colleague asks, threatens, the supervisor of the spa for their customer information. The spa cooperates and they found the person that fits the victim profile. Ji-An asks for the contact number so she can warn the next victim.

Another phone rings and the back of the artist that might be connected to Min is shown next.

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As the detectives rush to the location, the victim welcomes the killer and he hands her the purple flowers. She finally answers Ji-An’s calls and learns that her life is in danger. The victim hangs up and pretends she remains ignorant of her visitor’s plans. Ji-An is slowed down by traffic however and our victim’s calm facade is falling at the seams. She cracks and attacks her visitor with the mug as Ji-An arrives alone at the location, backup nowhere in sight.

Meanwhile, Hyun continues to listen to the interview tapes in his hotel room when the voice suddenly stops mid sentence and we hear Lee Joon Yeong’s voice addressing Hyun directly: “Hyun, do you remember me being curious about what type of adult you would become? I want to see it. By the time you’re listening to this, I’ll be keeping our promise. I’ll probably already be by your side.”

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Ji-An has arrived at the third victim’s house and points her gun at the man.

FURTHER COMMENTS EPISODE 2:

Like the first episode, Hyun’s backstory remains the most interesting point. The two episodes did well weaving in the flashback to the present time without the other acting like an unnecessary filler. The past gives insight to the present and the present clarifies the past.

The first case is quite a typical serial killer case if you’re used to watching procedurals but it still remained interesting with their use of symbolism and shifting the focus to our leads interacting as they solve the case rather than the crime itself.
This episode gave us more opportunities to see how both leads interact and although the cliche of the girl being clueless while the boy is smarter is there, it still draws us in. How can you resists to smile when Ji-An uses her feminine wiles to appease Hyun’s exasperation over her slow wit?

We know a lot about Hyun by now but Ji-An’s real identity is even more intriguing this episode. Was she stalking him because he was connected to Joon Yeong? Or there’s a certain admiration and feeling behind it?

Let’s talk about the three suspicious characters in this episode:

First, Min. His bit in the first episode really raised an alarm for me and we see more evidence that he really might not be that innocent. As I shared before, the MacDonald triad which a lot of Father’s suspicions to Hyun lies doesn’t necessarily mean a monster. Of the two brothers, Min’s personality fits what’s called the Dark Tetrad (lack of empathy, deception for self-interest, selfishness and remorselessness, and sadism). Sadism is the key dark trait that makes killers. These traits taken together, capture the worst of humanity.

Maybe it’s because brilliant jerk profilers are so common in Western procedural that I didn’t find Hyun’s casual question why the third body has not turned up yet that disturbing or different. Hyun as a profiler is practically Sherlock and Ji-An is his Watson.

His brother’s disappearance is one of the biggest mystery. How can a kid disappear without a trace unless someone takes him? Perhaps the secret Hyun shared to Joon Yeong was about his brother and criminal’s interest doubles on both brothers, kidnapping one and leaving behind another.

Second, the Medical Examiner. That plastered smile is wiped so easily that it’s of course very suspicious. Also, Hyun’s remark that maybe the forensics team contaminated the first crime scene already brings if he indeed tampered with the crime scene. He’s also very earnest knowing about Hyun. He’s probably Joon Yeong hiding in plain sight to the police.

Third, Hyun’s adopted mom/Ji-An’s superior. It’s probably for her career that she agreed to cover things up but the victim was her friend and she lets the issue go quite easily and covers up the case.

As I said last time, the camera work is just too good. I’m enjoying my first foray into recapping because each shot is just beautifully framed. Of course the set design also adds to the eye-candy shots.

This drama is off to a good start. Engaging story, visually stunning, and great acting from the ensemble so far. I’m hooked. It’s a bit late and by now 4 episodes have aired but I hope you still enjoyed this recap. Thanks for reading. – Runaway.

  1. 4 thoughts on “I Remember You (Hello Monster): Episode 1 & 2 Recap

    lol…. the brother played the younger jo in sung in its okay that’s love, took me a second to realize the reference. clever!!!

    seo in guk looks mighty fine in here with styled haircuts. handsome hubby of keane!!

    thanks for the recap runaway and welcome to the family!

    • 4 thoughts on “I Remember You (Hello Monster): Episode 1 & 2 Recap

      Thanks! Yeah Seo In Guk looks really real good here smirking and staring like that.

  2. 4 thoughts on “I Remember You (Hello Monster): Episode 1 & 2 Recap

    I’m actually proud that I got most of the references!! I think I watch too many nerd shows. Big Bang Theory is on repeat every night at my place. =P

    The kids’ storylines in Kdramas are so crazy sometimes….it makes me wonder how they explain the whole setup to the child actors?

    • 4 thoughts on “I Remember You (Hello Monster): Episode 1 & 2 Recap

      Nerds unite!

      Too bad it’s the only sit com that I like that’s still airing. Community and Cougar Town finally got the boot. Probably not Community but then again the 6th season wasn’t much.

      I don’t know how kdrama’s do it but more often than not the kid story line is seriously the best and most engaging parts. The worst is when they grow up and the actor can’t live up to the acting of the kid.

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