Circle: Two Worlds Connected, Episode 4

TL;DR: Hear that high-pitched noise? That’s me shrieking. (With a couple of don’t fuck this up chants thrown in the background for good measure.)

I am so close to trusting this show with my heart. It is a delight to feel on the edge of my seat again and even to be happy when I’m wrong about something. These little details, these plot twists—these are the kind of things I like to be surprised by.

Once again, the present-day timeline is the most compelling by far. This is in no small part due to Jung-yeon and the revelations connected to her. It’s great to finally have a name for the alien version of her—Byul—and also to find out that she is a victim of blocked/suppressed memories, just like Joon-hyuk is in the future. This isn’t just plot-convenient-pointless-drama amenesia: this is plot-relevant-sci-fi amnesia, and that makes all the difference to me as a viewer.

I really grew to like Jung-yeon’s character this episode. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I was surprised that they bothered to flesh her out considering how 90% of the other female characters don’t have personalities, backstories, names, or desires of their own. It was nice to see her act friendly with Woo-jin, familial with her evil adoptive father, and even mistrustful of Woo-jin and Bum-gyun. Her motivations and actions make sense in the present, and I’m fascinated by the gaps in her memory and whatever happened between 2007 and 2017 that made her finally figure out how to blend in—especially since she has no memories of the bulk of her life on earth.

I was really worried after the first two episodes that Jung-yeon would be the key to solving the mystery instead of a character in her own right, but this week’s episodes have done a lot to assuage my fears. Yes, she absolutely is at the center of the mystery—but she wants to solve herself. Why does it look like she hasn’t aged a day in a decade? Or in the future timeline? She appears to be Bluebird in 2037, but was she also Bluebird in 2017? If she was, why did she hold that back from Woo-jin? If she wasn’t, who is Bluebird in 2017?

I’m fascinated, too, that Bum-gyun doesn’t seem to be working alone on this whole tracking down the alien thing. Who is this lady with the taser and the excellent mid-distance running pace? Why did she visit Nan-hee before Nan-hee’s suicide? Where did Bum-gyun even meet her? Will she reappear and actually get a name? She’s not In-young, is she?

We’ve finished act one, roughly, and it looks like we’re finally getting more solid connections between the present and the future. Professor Han’s memory research (and experimentation on Jung-yeon) could have put him in the ambigious-to-good camp, but the fact that he’s the guy who drugged Bum-gyun and shoved a robot up his nose means that he is definitely evil. What we’re missing are the leaps between what he is doing now and the Human B system in the future. Why is Woo-jin essential for Professor Han and the design of the chip?

And what the hell is going to happen to Woo-jin?

Now that we know that Bum-gyun and Joon-hyuk are the same person, it’s going to be a messy ride. On the one hand, it’s good to know that the robot in your brain isn’t a death sentence, but why did Bum-gyun survive when so many others didn’t? (There were some names skipped on Bum-gyun’s suicide/potential suicide list, so it’s possible others didn’t succumb to whatever the hell it’s doing.) Is it still inside his head?

At this point, I don’t know what to do with Jung-yeon as the future Bluebird. What is her agenda in unblocking memories and setting herself up as a thorn in Human B’s side? At what point did she lose track of the twins? She was utterly surprised at Joon-hyuk declaring himself to be Bum-gyun. Is that because she knows he’s wrong? Or because she was wrong about his identity? Why would she go to such lengths tracking one of the twins down when she’s been out of their lives for roughly ten years? Has she been part of some kind of Resistance for the last decade?

I’m hoping with this series of revelations that the future timeline will become more interesting to me. It has lacked the emotional depth and general interest that the present timeline has had. I want the second half to start pulling its own weight in those departments ASAP instead of constantly being in second place.

Ho-soo may be shaping up to give me an extra, but welcome, dose of tragedy as he has stepped onto the path of upholder of the dystopia. It’s probably as close to a literal deal with a devil that I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s an effective one, too. People will go to terrible lengths to make themselves feel safe, no matter reality. He wants his terror of the unknown safely stored away, and he doesn’t care all that much right now that Joon-hyuk may have to pay the price for it. After all, Joon-hyuk is the one that is directly threatening Human B and, by extension, Ho-soo’s equilibrium.

The question is, how far down that path will Ho-soo go? Will anyone be able to stop him this time?

By the Numbers

  • Coffee cans: 2
  • New bugs: 1
  • Awkward cleaning rushes: 1
  • Previous women who finally got names: 1
  • New women with dialog but no names: 1
  • Bechdel Test: 0 episodes passed, someone remind me to look up essays re: representation in sci-fi and how writers need to do so much better

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