Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
OCN’s mystery drama met with warm fantasy. Missing: The Other Side (hereinafter referred to as Missing) is a story that takes place when Kim Wook, who can see the dead, appears in Duon Village, where spirits of missing, deceased people gather. Looking at the synopsis alone, it is expected to be another suspenseful thriller presented by OCN. The opening sequence, which shows someone moving a dead body in the middle of the night, also solidifies this belief.
But this wasn’t all. It starts with a familiar thriller-like sequence, but as the story progresses, it pays more attention to the stories of the dead and the living, and captivates the viewers with the earnestness intertwined within them. Just like Kim Wook, who accidentally stepped into Duon Village, continues to visit the place, Missing has the power to win the viewers to its side.
Duon Village, the stage of the drama, is where the missing souls stay. People who died but no bodies were found form a community and live with feelings of joy and sorrow. There is no more death, and wounds heal themselves, but these spirits feel the pain and can finally escape the village when their bodies are found in the outside world. It’s a sad and non-promising life.
Kim Wook, who happened to arrive at Duon Village, is a con-artist who has his own principles: commit fraud to help the victims who are falsely accused by vicious swindlers. The “commission” he gets is his bread and butter. After Kim Wook, who believes himself to be a righteous man, sees a woman being kidnapped by unidentified assailants one day, and soon he himself is chased and is taken to the hills. He manages to escape and wakes up in the house of Jang Pan Seok, who lives adjacent to Duon Village, and from then on, he gets associated with the world of the dead, who are invisible to others.
The drama, reached 6th episode, focuses on building a unique worldview of Duon Village and a relationship between the dead and the living, centered on Kim Wook. Like how Jang Pan Seok helped the dead by finding their bodies in the outside world, Kim Wook also steps up to make an effort for peace in Duon Village and the deceased. The way the story is told does not deviate from the nature of the genre, but the fact that the subjects are dead people makes the feeling of pity even greater even when the case is resolved. Even if they leave Duon Village and return to the family or lovers’ side, they will never be able to go back to the previous life.
Like how all the dead in the village have their stories, Kim Wook and Jang Pan Seok, who can see and visit the village, also have their own stories connected to a serial murder case involving Choi Seung Construction Company, the key mystery of the drama. With Kim Wook at the center, Missing densely intertwines the relationship between the living and the dead, suggesting that it is not a coincidence that he sees the dead. In Duon Village, Kim Wook finds Choi Yeo Na, the victim of the kidnapping he witnessed, and his mother, who disappeared when he was young, and realize that they are linked to the Choi Seung Construction Company case, which is also responsible for the death of his beloved orphanage friend.
As these knotty relationships rise to the surface one by one, the mystery becomes solid. The drama naturally draws attention to the stories of the dead and the living, such as what happened to Kim Wook’s mother for her to end up in Duon Village, will Jang Pan Seok be able to find his daughter, and will Choi Yeo Na be able to finally leave the village. As such, Missing makes you focus on the conversations and actions exchanged between the characters and predict the upcoming events.
The appeal of Missing is not limited to the fun of the genre. Even inside the dark mystery of death and disappearance, it strangely evokes heart-warming and consoling feelings. Duon Village, where the dead who failed to find their bodies gather, is more peaceful than anywhere else in the world, and the villagers live in respect and harmony rather than showing signs of misery. These dead souls are living the lives that even the living can’t achieve. Hoping that these good spirits finally find their peace, I will be watching Missing: The Other Side till the end.
Verdict: The mystery drama that blossomed humanism into a heavy and brutal thriller (8/10)