Last impression counts more than first impression, so when it comes to dramas, it’s more important to have a good ending than a good start because while the former serves as the major deciding factor in how i’d rate the show, the latter determines whether or not i’d continue investing time in it. And while it’s rare for dramas of any genre to have a strong pilot episode or even a riveting first week, Remember: War of the Son easily captures my interest from the get go with a traumatic and brutal opening scene. That made me sit up right away it’s super relieving to know that was only a dream (or was it?). Eight minutes later, i was positively sold.
The opening scene and then the premise are pretty much a throwback to Miracle in Cell No. 7: the story of a father with mental disorder who is falsely accused of and charged with murder and his child who becomes an attorney to clear dad’s name through an appeal. The differences are 1) Dad, Seo Jae-hyuk (Jeon Kwang-ryul), is still alive in the present that it’s possible to have the family reunited and have a happy ending; 2) The son, Seo Jin-woo (Yoo Seung-ho), is gifted with an exceptional memory called Hyperthymesia although we’ve yet to see how this will be useful to his drive to exonerate Dad since he arrived late to the scene; and 3) The tone: Miracle is pretty lighthearted with some comedic bits at the outset before turning poignant at the end while Remember is straight-up somber and melo.
After the compelling start, the story rewinds to four years ago when the incident took place. From past experiences, i expected Show to spend only one to two episodes in the past, long enough to give us the necessary backstory before jumping back to the present since the real fight shall begin now with Attorney Jin-woo on the defence. Yet by the end of the second episode, the court battle seems to have just begun… as well as started to get really interesting and intriguing, because we all have seen that Dad is still serving his term in the present, which means whatever attempts they made then were futile to acquit him — where’s the fun, tension, and surprise factor when the end result is already known?
The result wouldn’t be that shocking given Dad’s helplessness and the public defender’s impotence during the trial (while i know the justice system depicted in dramas is overdramatized, though not entirely untrue, the case mishandling here is driving me bonkers!) yet Remember cuts episode 2 with a cliffhanger that the flamboyant lawyer with 100% success rate, Park Dong-ho (Park Sung-woong), agreeing to defend Dad, which should be quite a game changer. But then i’m reminded of Dad’s current status, which suggests that either something will happen to Dong-ho that he cannot fulfill his role to free Dad despite having seemingly acquired the smoking gun needed to win the case or this will be his first loss.
Either way, i’m looking forward to the development between Dong-ho and Jin-woo, and how the former will (hopefully) help the latter to toughen up and grow. Am i the only one anticipating Dong-ho to be Jin-woo’s benefactor or at the very least offers the kind of push and support to Jin-woo the way mob boss Suk Joo-il did to his younger self?
That possible happening sounds way more promising than Yoo Seung-ho’s forthcoming loveline with Park Min-young to me. Character-wise, Lee In-ah doesn’t look or feel that much different from her parts in City Hunter or Healer: eager, spunky, not so bright, although she may be a great sidekick and the emotional support Jin-woo will need during the hard times, particularly when he starts losing his impeccable memory to Alzheimer’s as well. Speaking of which, i totally can’t believe everybody completely glosses over Dad’s worrying condition — nobody brings that up to attention, not even Jin-woo! — or the fact that Jin-woo found Dad at the scene before the latter passed out. If that Dad were the culprit, the incriminating evidence and murder tool would still be with him.
We have yet to learn the truth, but i’m sure of Dad’s innocence since all signs point to Nam Gyu-man (Namgoong Min) as the culprit. And boy, is he loathsome. I abhor him the moment he appears on screen and am revolted by his extreme self-entitlement, snobbishness, and anger management issues. And the way his ‘friend’ asks if he’s responsible for the girl’s death speaks volumes about his disturbing personality and murderous tendency. I’m already looking forward to what kind of hell awaits him at the end. His being and the framing already make my blood boil so much it’s crazy.
To his defense, the villain together with the other key players is wonderfully acted. Coupled with the compelling plot, it’s gonna be an intensely emotional and insanely painful ride for the next…22 episodes (gasp! just realized it is a 24-episode series!), but i think i’m ready. Don’t make me take back my word, Show.