“That’s why you shouldn’t have come. That’s why you shouldn’t have returned.”
At this point, i frankly have no idea where this show is heading. I thought the focus would be on who did it but in episode 7~10 it’s more on who Hye-jin is, as in what her real identity is and who her birth family is. Twists and turns along the way are a given, but here we’re given what we thought are positive clues, leads, and answers, and after going so far, our characters are back to square one. Or are they?
Again, i don’t know. Because even after 10 episodes, we still don’t know a lot more about the characters’ aims and secrets, much less true colors, than what was let on at the outset. Instead, we’re only introduced to more characters whose relevancy to Hye-jin’s demise remains largely unknown. I’m sure everything shall make sense at the end (i hope so!) so i should really just sit back and merely watch the mystery slowly unravels instead of trying to read people and over-analyze things, cuz it’s more likely to be a miss than a hit.
This would be easier if only Achiara doesn’t end each episode with a cliffhanger that throws us off, and gives us second thoughts about everything we’re exposed to thus far. However, there must be some degree of truths in every spoken line, we just need to sift through the pretenses. Problem is, the large number of characters means we don’t get to spend enough time with anybody to figure the connection until it’s shoved right before our eyes. Furthermore, character development is minimal and some issues seem to get dropped along the way. For example, i feel like Yoo-na and Ba-woo got benched after telling So-yoon about the time capsule (have they served their purpose?). What about the iffy medication Joo-hee prescribes Ba-woo?
The same goes for Agassi and lumber mill Ahjussi. The next time we see them, they give off bad vibe. The walnut revelation may be a dead giveaway, but Agassi had them when he’s brought to questioning as a suspect episodes ago and nobody was alarmed by it. He’s been portrayed to be a decent person recently, even though his “I understand. That’s a tough thing to resist.” bothers me. Whatever it refers to, he appears to speak from experience… BUT i won’t jump to conclusion because in this drama, there are lots of false leads that a twist is only ostensibly so until proven to be a real twist. If anything, i wonder how the serial killing is related to Hye-jin’s case though, as it’s possibly not a random case just to keep our police on toes.
Speaking of Hye-jin, we continue to see her quite often, which is surprising given that she’s already dead, yet it’s interesting to note how far she’s progressing with her quest despite her short stay in Achiara. Nevertheless, i have yet to feel sympathetic toward her — or toward anybody, really. Since the beginning i’ve doubted adultery is the cause of her death; now, her identity seems to be the bigger sin, which is pretty obvious seeing how tense and rattled related parties are when the issue with Bengi Ahjimmae resurfaces. Furthermore, i got a feeling that she may not die in anybody’s hands, and the information about her health condition not only half-confirms this hunch but also explains her insistence on finding her blood family and/or getting reconnected with So-yoon who’s emigrated to Canada.
While it is still questionable that the researcher only looks for Hye-jin two years after she stops receiving treatment, when she herself mentions being untreated for that long can be fatal, i appreciate that we get some facts now than at the finale: her sickness and fear of dying alone with nobody knowing propelled Hye-jin to locate the family who had abandoned her; she managed to find a maternal kin among the village folks yet that person curiously didn’t step forward when she disappeared or when her skeleton was discovered. Deducing that the kin either had something to do with her death or knew how/why she died, So-yoon is set to track him/her down too. What i’m agog to know next is why Hye-jin got entangled in an affair and harbored so much rancor toward Ji-sook only.
10 episodes in, i’m obviously used to Achiara’s slower pace since it also comes with a benefit: there’s A LOT going on. Perhaps a bit too much. We’re in the thick of it, body count is rising, yet at times i feel lost as to where we’re at now. Are we making that much progress or are we just circling around? The question list is only getting longer; it doesn’t help that each revelation and answer only leads to even more questions… it’s not all in my head, i hope.
At some point, it hit me that this drama’s development is made through talking, not action. Except for the two officers who are constantly on the go and So-yoon who goes here and there, other characters really just talk, talk, and talk. Be it the talk to scheme, to provoke, to threaten, or to one-up the other(s), although everything is so veiled it’s hard to tell which is which. I think only the writer knows the definite answer.
What i know for sure is Achiara is far from the peaceful crimeless village it claims to be. It has its own share of incidents too, which invariably gets ruled out as accident or suicide. It’s populated by spiteful residents; at least nobody is completely guiltless: there are those who commit crimes and those who are complicit (knowing something but for whatever reason not speaking up when it matters). Therefore, at the end of the day, quoting Javabeans, “the problem with this town isn’t in figuring out who’s guilty of the crime, but rather, who’s guilty of which crime, since it’s starting to look like everybody’s got their fingers in some kind of shadiness.”