K-Drama Review: ‘Train’ A Serious Investigative Drama with an Attractive Setting of Parallel Universe

Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Credit: OCN

After watching a drama, you will notice another work that introduces a similar setting, regardless of likes and dislikes. So naturally, following The King: Eternal Monarch, I started watching Train, which also used the backdrop of a parallel universe. How will the drama melt parallel universe into the story?

Like any other mystery genre, the beginning starts as an incident surfaces, and it somehow feels distant from a parallel universe-like fantasy. After a pile of skeletons are found in an abandoned station, Seo Do Won (Yoon Shi Yoon) and Han Seo Kyung (Kyung Soo Jin) chase after the culprit. However, as the dead victim was found alive, the case falls into a mystery, and Seo Do Won faces a train running to the abandoned station. As the title of the drama suggests, trains that appear on rainy nights connect the two parallel universes, A and B. Gradually, the clues of the case are revealed, and from there, the setting of parallel universe blend in well with the serious investigative drama.

Centering on the murder case 12 years ago and the recent murder case, every story flows heavily in a dark tone without laughter, raising tension. They find the leads little by little through the investigation, and if the real culprit is likely to be revealed, a shocking twist appears, turning the table upside down. The parallel universe that emerges in this process is not a mysterious and fantastic element, but instead introduced as something that connects the leads, giving off more of a thriller vibe.

Credit: OCN

The parallel universe of Train begins 12 years ago when Han Seo Kyung’s father was murdered and Seo Do Won’s father was framed for murder. The night of the murder, Seo Do Won, who was wearing an umbrella, decides whether to approach Han Seo Kyung, who was running in the rain, and that momentary choice divides the two universes. In two similar but different worlds, the living are dead and the dead are alive, and the key figures involved take a slightly different path.

Han Seo Kyung, who witnessed the truth in the universe A and was killed by the criminal, is still alive in the universe B. Seo Do Won’s father, who was unable to clear his name as he was killed in a car accident in universe A, is also still alive in the universe B. A Seo Do Won, who had to live in guilt while keeping the secrets that his father was a criminal, and B Seo Do Won, who slowly broke down after getting stamped as the murder’s son, reach each other’s universe by the train. And when A Seo Do Won realizes that the real culprit of all events is in the universe B, he replaces B Seo Do Won and pursues the real murderer.

Credit: OCN

The slow-moving development in the beginning gradually accelerates, revealing the criminal’s track and evidence without any time to be bored. It may be confusing which world you are seeing, apparent differences in similar settings will make it obvious.

Actors’ passionate performances also highlight these two universes. Seo Do Won and Han Seo Kyung need to show a clear distinction, and as if to show off how much he improved since Your Honor, Yoon Shi Yoon plays two completely different people, while Kyung Soo Jin delicately expresses how someone can grow up as a different person in a completely different environment.

Train features a romance, which is indispensable in K-dramas, but it’s not there to flaunt the chemistry between the two characters. Rather, it’s used as a device that highlights the colorful relationship between the two. As the two universes are mixed, the drama carefully presents how the two people, who had different feelings for each other, change, but at the same time, it doesn’t harm the overall atmosphere as an investigation drama.

Credit: OCN

In the 7th episode, A Seo Do Won, who went into the universe B, went through Kim Jin Woo to find the real suspect Lee Sung Wook with Han Seo Kyung, and realized that there is a real murderer who is crossing the two universes. B Seo Do Won, who is now in the universe A, also noticed the existence of the real murderer, and soon the two Seo Do Won will meet. I will definitely stay with Train, which constantly raises questions like who is the real murderer or what will happen to Seo Do Won and Han Seo Kyung, till the very end.

Verdict: I finally found a satisfying parallel universe drama (7/10)

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