Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Yu Jin Kim
Disney Plus’ Connect is the first Korean series helmed by Japanese genre-meister Takashi Miike. The grungy, gruesome picture and the cast of Jung Hae In, Ko Kyung Pyo, and Kim Hye Jun got us all hyped up about the series. But was it really worth the hype?
Han Dong Soo (played by Jung Hae In) is seen slowly dying on a surgical table after losing his eyes to organ traffickers. However, a moment later, strange-looking tentacles unfurl from his injuries and heal his wounds. The immortal man then manages to escape the room with only one of his eyes in his hand. A few days later, he feels a sudden pain in his eye and finds out that his vision is connected to a serial killer named Oh Jin Seop (Ko Kyung Pyo), who received his eye. Dong Soo begins to chase after him to retrieve his eye but faces a crisis as he becomes a murder suspect and the target of the organ traffickers. Just then, a mysterious woman named Choi Lee Rang (Kim Hye Jun) gives him a helping hand.
The first few episodes are good enough to attract thriller fans as Miike’s typical B-class gore and slasher elements are well-placed in the series. There are many scenes of blood splashing, body parts flying in the air, tentacles growing out of the Connect’s dismembered body and connecting them back together. The actors’ performance plays a significant part as well. Jung Hae In realistically portrays the pain he feels whenever his vision gets connected to the murderer’s. Kim Hye Jun shows her unique on-screen presence as an ambiguous character, just like how she did in 2021 as K in Inspector Koo, and some impressive stunt scenes. Ko Kyung Pyo did a fantastic job of depicting a terminally ill serial killer who wants a beautiful death.
However, the series fell short of its overall potential. Toward the end, the conversation between the characters becomes incredibly awkward as they begin to sound like poor Korean translations of a Japanese script. On top of that, many scenes give off the feel of Japanese live-action series adapted from mangas and distract us from connecting to the story and its characters. One example is the abrupt change in Lee Rang and Dong Soo’s relationship. Dong Soo gives Lee Rang the cold shoulder when she chases him around at the story’s beginning. However, he gives her a sudden kiss as soon as he realizes that she is one of his kind. This is where the plot’s development felt a little too awkward and random.
What’s worse is the lack of consistency in its characters. The first few episodes show Dong Soo as a benign man with special powers. He can regenerate his body but cannot fight. However, halfway through the show, he suddenly becomes a mastermind fighter and dodges attacks as if he has been hiding the ultimate secret powers. Dong Soo also mentions that his eye can only show what Jin Seop sees. However, the two later are seen conversing through their minds. It could be perceived as some kind of a cliffhanger, but it certainly was not a good one. The series seems a little disorganized as new clues and hints pile up without any explanation or resolution.
The story also has a sloppy end. While the organ traffickers search for Dong Soo, they get destroyed by Lee Rang’s company Ki Deun. Jin Seop tries to stop him with a petty gun but loses his eye back to Dong Soo. The show ends with Dong Soo and Lee Rang getting surrounded by a group of soldiers who are most likely working for the Jung Do pharmaceutical that made the immortal race. In other words, the series presents an incomplete ending by handing over the remaining questions to the next season, including the true identity of the new race and the unresolved conflict between Dong Soo and Jin Seop. As the series ended with a cliffhanger, let’s hope for a better story next season. (4/10)
Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart.