Edited by Young Jun Yang
Translated Yu Jin Kim
It’s breathtakingly dark and drab. Just about when we had enough of its slow plot and constantly spawning crazy incidents, the story takes a new turn and becomes something incredibly compelling. Maybe this is why Somebody is receiving mixed reviews, as some say it’s one of the most intriguing crime thrillers of this year, while others say that they can’t stand the series even for five minutes.
Kim Sum (played by Kang Hae Rim), who has Asperger’s syndrome, has difficulty in understanding others. Ironically, the app born from such a character becomes a popular dating app that ‘connects people differently.’ One day, Sum gets matched with a man on Somebody. She falls in love with him as she feels wholly understood.
Sung Yoon Oh (Kim Young Kwang), who stole Sum’s heart, is a seemingly successful architect who turns out to be the serial killer who murders people using her app. He meets her while looking for someone to kill next, and that’s when something strange happens. Yoon Oh’s interest in Sum grows as he sees they have similar interests and are like-minded. From then on, the relationship between the two Janus-faced goes in an unexpected direction.
The love story between a serial killer and a genius with Aspergers is undoubtedly unprecedented. However, Somebody goes more extreme with its plot. It presents hard-core sex scenes and terrifying murder scenes. Because the crimes in the series are not only subjected to humans but also animals, some scenes are extremely detailed and disturbing yet beautifully shot. Its subject matters and visuals are both very explicit and bold, so the show may pique the interest of those who love watching R-rated crime thrillers. However, it means the series contains many triggering aspects.
Kim Young Kwang’s acting transformation and the rookie actress Kang Hae Rim’s impressive performance stand out the most in the series. Kim Young Kwang broke free from his typical “romantic guy” role by playing the dark and twisted serial killer Yoon Oh in the series. Kang Hae Rim, who played several supporting roles in a few films and web dramas, successfully proved herself as a talented actress through her first starring role, Sum, the mysterious app developer. Moreover, Kim Yong Ji, who plays Mok Won, the shaman who closely watches Sum, and Kim Soo Yeon, who plays the cyber police officer Ki Eun, made the show all the more immersive with their excellent performances.
Unfortunately, something more than talented actors and their attractive characters is needed to recommend the series to somebody else. The characters’ incomprehensible behaviors and emotions sometimes distract us from focusing on what is happening at the moment. For instance, the scene where Sum defends Yoon Oh after her friend Ki Eun got almost killed makes us hard to understand her despite her given state of mind.
On top of that, although it was an admirable attempt to weave in different subjects together, sometimes the whole series felt a little too much. The series tries to deliver many different topics, including rapidly developing technology, the dark side of Deepfake Artificial Intelligence, heinous random acts of violence and the love story of someone with Aspergers. However, all the tropes together give us the impression that they could have been more well-organized. The provocative scenes catch viewers’ attention but fail to clearly deliver what it wants to say due to its overflowing themes and slow plot.
One thing that can be said for sure is that Somebody is very different from other existing South Korean crime thrillers. So it’s up to us to decide whether to praise or criticize the show for its bold and provocative choices. So, with that being said, am I the only one who has mixed feelings about the show? (6/10)
Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres.