Heartless City Episode 4 – comments [spoilers]

This episode was heart-clenching sad. Not that every episode so far had been full of rainbows and unicorns, but this one especially marks a turning point in all of our characters’ lives.

We’ve seen before that Hyeon-Min (the Special Team leader) deals with his pain and grief through having a single-minded goal that replaces his pain with anger. We’ve understood the reason why such a man idealistically dreams of making a world where the current children would grow up safe, and why he goes after drug circles so mercilessly, so obsessively. His own brother’s brain had been damaged due to a drug overdose and he feels that their existence is to blame.

I think credit should go to the writer, director, and actors for making the loss of a character we’d only known for three episodes so heart-breaking if only at seeing and feeling the palpable grief of the ones left behind after Kyeong-Min’s death during her undercover mission.

Both Hyeong-Min and Si-Hyun decide that they would fight each other. Hyeong-Min already wanted to catch Doctor’s Son before because he’s a major drug ring leader, but now he wants to kill him with his own hands to avenge Kyeong-Mi’s death. Si-Hyun mentally apologizes to Kyeong-Mi for having to go against the man she loved. And that’s how the main conflict is established, which I believe will carry us to the final episode.

It’s a to-the-death sort of fight and only the smartest and meanest will be the last man standing, or they could both kill each other. Whatever it is, I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel for this kind of story. At least not with how the drama has established itself as dark and bleak.

I believe Hyeong-Min would care little for moralities an ethics in order to achieve his goal of getting to Si-Hyun, as we saw him disregard those principles when he shot a guy’s thigh to scare him into telling him where Kyeong-Mi was held when her undercover mission went sour. He was cold, calculating, and incredibly terrifying then, and I believe Hyeong-Min would’ve tortured the truth out of him if he kept quiet.

The funny thing is, this could’ve been a story of a good cop gone bad but I don’t think our Hyeong-Min is really “good” in the sense of the word; he just feels like a normal person with a utilitarian mentality. And lots of anger issues. He needs to learn how to channel his hurt better instead of feeding his obsessions and allowing them to consume him whole.

We’re still discovering the hidden connections that tie all those characters together. It’s a little incredible (too incredible) how everyone is connected, from the police to the dark underworld’s bosses but the huge reveal at the end of this episode just blew me away. I never saw the twist coming, and for that, I salute the show.

So far, so good. I hope this intensity and feeling of tautness in the plot does not fade away.

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