I was consciously out of the loop with tvN’s first sci-fi thriller until yesterday, before the airing of its pilot episode. I had zero expectations although I both love Yeo Jin-goo and Ahn Woo-yeon in their previous works. I am so proud of Jin-goo for top-billing this major TV venture, and I think all the recognition for his performance is well deserved. I am also excited to watch this after seeing that Kim Kang-woo and Lee Ki-kwang would be part of the star-studded cast. Before I start my lengthy reaction to Circle: Two Worlds Connected, let me first explain briefly the premise of the mystery drama.
The show will be divided into two parts: a timeline for the present year 2017 called “Beta Project” and another one set in 2037 called “Grand New World.” Beta Project deals with the appearance of an alien on earth and the uncovering of the truth behind the cases of serial suicides plaguing the community. Grand New World sets up a dystopian city divided into two: Smart City and General City. As to how this two parts will co-exist in the story still remains a puzzle, although I have read backgrounders about this futuristic dramaverse. Overall, I really liked the pilot episode, specifically the melancholic undertone of the 2017 timeline Beta Project. This is a very challenging take on serial killings with an alien plot, so I hope the show would be able to live up to its full potential. I presume you have watched the pilot episode already so I won’t make this too recap-ish anymore.
Part 1: Beta Project (2017)
The show starts with a flashback of the younger versions of twin brothers Kim Woo-jin (Yeo Jin-goo) and Kim Beom-gyun (Ahn Woo-yeon) when a mystery woman clad in white dress (Gong Seung-yeon) appeared before them. Beom-gyun believes that the woman was an alien, naming bits of information as evidence. Apparently, they were abandoned by their dad after the incident, taking with him the mystery woman.
In the present (2017), Woo-jin is now a working student who acts as the breadwinner for the family. They were left under the care of their halmeoni (grandmother) after their father left them, but she is now staying at a healthcare center.
Beom-gyun was just recently his released on parole after serving his sentence in prison. He is following the tracks of the alien girl which he believes they both saw when they were young.
The pilot episode also introduces us to the suicide of Woo-jin’s sunbae. Although details about his death are still unresolved, Woo-jin is convinced that Beom-gyun has something to do with the student’s death. After trailing his brother, he was able to find his secret hideout, with pieces of information about the “alien’s” whereabouts.
The first part ends with the twins’ disbelief after seeing the mystery woman with their own eyes while she is crossing the busy street near Woo-jin’s university.
I love the bromance between Woo-jin and his older twin brother Beum-gyun. Although I am still giving Beum-gyun the benefit of the doubt, I really do hope all these elaborate investigation about the mystery “alien” will be upheld until they both uncover the truth. Ya Woo-jin-ah! Trust hyung this time, will ya?
Part 2: Grand New World
This one hits the comedy aspect in the series. From the action-packed chasing scenes up to the funny punchlines, I think Circle has been hitting the right notes. We open the second part with the introduction of our dystopian societies. In the year 2037, Seoul’s population has significantly decreased to 50-percent. The country is now divided into two cities: Smart City and General City.
Smart City is a new wave society resided by people with chips called calming care system. This chip controls its residents’ emotions, which stops them from feeling negativity and prevent them from committing crime. Smart City boasts off having zero crime in 5,000 days.
Next is the General City, which will be the future of every country today if we continue to neglect the alarming impact of climate change. It is a filthy, polluted nation with lawlessness and poverty. General City is where our hero lives. He is Detective Kim Joon-hyeok of the Gangnam Police Station Violent Crimes Dept.
The pilot episode focused on laying out the foundation of the series which is the murder case that happens in the supposedly crimeless Smart City. Joon-hyeok enters Smart City without the care chip implant in his brain to solve the case and find his brother.
I did not expect a revelation to be this early! So he is Woo-jin in the future? And he is ought to solve the mystery of the suicide-murder of students in the university, and the disappearance of his twin brother.
I am still puzzled by the alien premise of the story, because I think it can stand on its own even without the mystery woman in the scene. But I am open to give this drama a chance and take me to a new adventure in this dystopia.