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Save Me, Episode 9

TL;DR: I understand that this is only episode nine and that of course the heroine can’t win at this point, but damn it I want her to win.

In many ways, this was the episode that finally cut off all of Sang-mi’s escape routes. She has incontrovertible proof that it is useless to seek help from the authorities in Muji County. Whether it is the bad guys’ connections or the simple fact that no one besides the boys is willing to believe her when she explains what she has been suffering, the only recourse she has for justice is to walk back into the fire and drag the evidence she needs (and her mother) back out with her. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 9”

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Save Me, Episode 8

TL;DR: We have officially hit a turning point, thank any deity except New Heaven’s Sovereign.

Sang-mi continues to be a resilient heroine, and I admire her balancing act. She resists whenever she can, whether that’s trying to leave during prayers or telling So-rin to run or snarking back at Wan-tae and Jung-ki, even though she is terrified and constantly under threat. I love her fierce defense of her mother and the way she continues to call out her father for being a trash human being. And I am so, so grateful that she knows she isn’t entirely alone anymore. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 8”

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Save Me, Episode 7

TL;DR: “Not for profane purposes” my ass.

Look, all I’m saying is that if Sang-mi’s first impulse is to leap to her feet, yell, back herself against the wall, smash some glass, and then grab a shard of that glass to threatens others and herself at the prospect of being made the Mother of Spirits, maaaaaybe there’s a small problem with your religion. On the other hand, I’m reluctantly intrigued by the idea that there might actually be some theology here beyond New Heaven apparently being a physical place, so that boarding the ship of salvation metaphor may not be a metaphor. (Yikes.) Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 7”

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Save Me, Episode 6

TL;DR: I hate this cult so much, and I’m not even the one trapped in it.

Sang-mi has traded one prison for another, and I’m absolutely furious on her behalf. Her own father put a padlock on her door and then hung up a cross right outside it while shouting prayers about her need for salvation. He has, at this point for me, crossed the line from tragically misguided to an outright antagonist, and I hope he goes down with the Guseonwon leadership.

All of this religious stuff is hitting way too close to home and it’s like watching my own personal slow-motion anxiety train wreck. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 6”

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Save Me, Episode 5

TL;DR: Just imagine me screaming in the background the entire time.

Every time I think we’ve hit rock bottom, this show reminds me that we’re actually still in freefall. Just about the only good thing that happened in this entire episode was that Sang-mi got to stab people, which, while momentarily satisfying (I laughed in utter delight, my friends), came at way too high a price. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 5”

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Save Me, Episode 4

TL;DR: Well, your god is an asshole.

I sure hope you’re ready to spend the entire episode in various states of rage, because Sang-mi’s family got swallowed up by the cult in this episode, and there are all sorts of injustices and awful things going on. I personally spent my time keyboard smashing and caps-locking swear words in my notes. Also? Warnings for sexual assault/rape, domestic violence, and violence against a neurodivergent kid. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 4”

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Save Me, Episode 3

TL;DR: I’m very disappointed this episode didn’t end with a triple homicide.

This, basically, is an episode of misery. Sang-mi’s family is falling apart in their grief, and basically all of the adults who aren’t useless turn out to be evil (or at least willing to look the other way while people sweep things under rugs). And even though I’m angry about all the injustices that are perpetrated in this episode, I have to admit that this is an effective way to get the good guys headed straight for rock bottom. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 3”

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Save Me, Episode 2

TL;DR: I figured you weren’t going to make it through the whole show based on the opening, but I really thought you’d last longer than episode two.

So this is an upsetting, distressing episode. We’ve got multiple sexual harassment scenes, bullying scenes, a hero fumbling his test of character, and ultimately a death from suicide. It took me about four hours to get through this episode because I kept getting angry for characters and/or wanting to chase the cult members off. Just so you know before you dive in. Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 2”

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Save Me, Episode 1

TL;DR: You’re all way too old to be playing high school students.

But I’m okay with that. You know why? Because the actress playing our heroine is also too old. The showrunners didn’t cast an adult male as the hero and a teenage girl as the heroine—Seo Ye-ji (the actress playing Sang-mi) is 27 to Ok Taecyeon’s 28. Two of the heroic quartet are even younger (can’t find a birth year for the third), and the actor playing Sang-mi’s twin brother is 26. The actors are all pretty close in age, so not only do I get to avoid behind-the-scenes age-squick, but I’m also way less distracted because they look like they could have been peers in an actual high school.

(Just, you know, a decade ago.) Continue reading “Save Me, Episode 1”

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4 Hopes for Save Me

Okay, I’m just going to be honest: I’ve grown increasingly fascinated by religious cults over the last couple of years, so the moment I heard about Save Me, I knew I needed to check it out. I also have a soft spot for Taecyeon, ever since Dream High, so it’ll be nice to see him again. I don’t know a whole lot about this show, the original webtoon, the cast, the writer, or the PD, so my expectations are pretty low. Nevertheless, I still have some:

  1. We get a ton of social commentary. I want to talk power, corruption, religious fervor, complicity, apathy, etc. Give me a vicious skewering of all the ways people turn a blind eye to evil for the sake of keeping the peace and holding on to their power and prestige.
  2. Sang-mi’s trauma isn’t played to motivate the boys. I’ve seen precisely two trailers, so I’ve got a fairly good idea of where this could wind up. Don’t go there, show. Sang-mi is the one who is trying to escape the cult—let her retain her emotional arc instead of just using it to upset the boys. Do I want them to care about her? Yes. Do I want them to help her? Absolutely. I just don’t want whatever happens to her to be taken over by manpain.
  3. Jung-ki is terrifying. I want him to be kind and charismatic in one moment and a hundred percent terrifying in the next. The actor, Cho Seong-ha, did a fantastic job of playing a two-faced character in the few episodes I watched of The K2. I want to see the charisma that is able to attract fanatical followers and the menace that keeps everyone else under his control.
  4. Give me an optimistic ending. The kids can suffer and have their illusions shattered about the world, but I still want them to pull off something other than a downer ending. I want them to triumph despite all the obstacles in their paths and resolve to do better than all of the people who failed them. Pretty please?

Will you be watching Save Me? What are your hopes for the show? Let me know!