TL;DR: I am disappointed that you chose the least interesting answer for one of the grand mysteries.
So far my greatest disappointment in Circle is the fact that the future timeline is nowhere near as emotionally engaging as the present timeline. In fact, it serves more to provide disappointing answers rather than build something worthwhile on its own. The future timeline really stalled in this episode, with way too much screen time wasted on putting people into positions instead of getting to the action.
But let’s talk about part one first, which has rarely disappointed me. That’s not to say it hasn’t started doing some things that are making me a bit worried, though. Jung-yeon got comparatively little screen time, and her big scene with her “father” was basically a rehash of Woo-jin’s confrontation with him at the start of the episode. I am mightily displeased that she is now trapped in what looks like a hospital room—she will get out and survive to the future, obviously, but I’m annoyed that she couldn’t do much in the present.
That said, I Min-young was wonderful in this episode. She didn’t get much screen time, either, but I adored that she went to investigate Professor Han so she could find Bum-gyun (despite knowing she had a foreign object planted in her head that definitely needs to come out at some point) and then pulled the taser on Professor Park when she realized he knew something. I totally cheered at that part, and I’m happy that she was able to get in contact with Chief Hong and pass on Professor Park’s information about Bum-gyun’s possible location.
(Less pleased about the shady cop being a mook for Professor Han. That seems lazy, not clever, like the revelation that the asshole senior was the deputy chief. That one I liked.)
While I’m sad that we sacrificed some of Jung-yeon’s point-of-view this episode (especially since Woo-jin decided to keep her in the dark, even if she is his closest ally), it was nice to get back to Woo-jin. Poor Woo-jin. A professor he admires turns out to be a murderous scientist bent on illegal experiments to control all of humanity has kidnapped and experimented on his twin brother and is now blackmailing him over it. Woo-jin’s desperation to find his father’s decade-old experiment data led him to a some great places: an emotional confrontation (his grandmother still doesn’t recognize him and attacked him) and a physical confrontation.
Here’s the part where I admit that one of my absolutely favorite heroic traits is the Determinator, and Woo-jin’s fight with the black-suited mooks at his old home was full of it. I was so happy when he grabbed that shovel—and even happier when he got to stagger bloody through his old home and cradle his semi-conscious brother in his arms. Activating the super secret star was just the icing on the cake. And now that we know he’s not the Chairman, I am extremely concerned for him. WHERE IS HE IN THE FUTURE?
I am disappointed that Professor Park became the Chairman. Really? Of all the interesting unaccounted for people in the future (Woo-jin, his dad, Professor Han), you had to make this guy the ultimate bad? This decision completely sidesteps the opportunity to make taking down the villain an emotional crisis (Joon-hyuk taking down his brother or his dad or Jung-yeon taking down her “father”). Instead it’s the assistant professor who has barely any personality to speak of beyond Generic Assistant-Turned-Villain?
How on earth could they possibly make him interesting in the last four episodes when the future’s emotional stakes are now all firmly on the mystery of where the hell IS Woo-jin, then? I honestly wish it had been Woo-jin because maybe then we could have explored what made him turn from a young man who just wanted his brother back into a villain. Now we’ve got this second-rate puppeteer whose political takeover was totally foreseeable but completely nonsensical because this succession law was never mentioned before and was (for the viewer) pulled out of thin air?
Do better, part two. You’re seriously letting me down.
By the Numbers
- Flashbacks: 3
- Broken shovels: 1
- Frustrated hair ruffles: 5
- Hurried searches: 5
- New women with dialog but no names: 1
- Bechdel Test: 0 episodes passed, as normal