One word to describe it — meh. It’s not the BEST of the installments, but it’s not tentative like GQ1 or plain boring like GQ2. GQ4 does have its shiny, bright moments — which unfortunately, are undercut by its overarching mystery that fails to deliver a punch like the other three series.
Imo, the “failed” ending mainly has to do with the shift from using the archetypical loony + genius nemesis against Dr Han to a corrupted corporation. The corrupted corporation is embodied in the wheelchair bound Seo Sang-woo, who possesses some smarts (he at least knows how to make big money to hire billions of lackeys, even a pro assassin from Thailand). But at the end of the day, Seo is juz a cardboard representative of yet another corrupted govt/ elite society/ (fill in the blank here).
Seo is not the geniuses of previous installations, who are very creative at killing or torturing their victims, and hiding their tracks along the way — which lends a nail biting immediacy to the story. You are not sure whether Dr Han will be able to trace down the loony psychotic genius before they kill their next target, given that they are juz as smart/ smarter than him. However, you can be sure a corrupted though powerful guy will eventually be brought down, because the underdogs are desperate enough and Seo isn’t on the same intellectual plane as Dr Han. Like I said, he is not particularly intelligent, juz someone with an infinite supply of monetary resources and who is a big bully at heart.
That reduces the big-closing “mystery” of GQ4 to almost a non-mystery. In fact, I was wondering why they took so long to solve it (at least a good 4eps). Researcher Han already has discovered the company behind the illegal dumping of waste, but the show makes him NOT tell his findings to Dr Han. And then, when Researcher Han gets kidnapped, NOBODY even panicked and start flipping through his files to figure out what happened. Only AFTER his death, does Dr Han “stumbles” onto the evidence which Researcher Han has been compiling. (argh…bad writing!)
On a slightly “brighter” side, OCN is trying to spice in romance into their crime thrillers. Although I won’t say it’s 100% successful, at least now we have some believe-able skinship between Dr Han and Detective Kang. (even an impromptu smooch) We also get a brief glimpse into Dr Han’s background, with the introduction of an aloof Dr Jang — his mum, and references to Dr Han’s dad — who is a poet. Dr Han clearly inherits his mother’s intelligence, and his dad’s EQ — something which Dr Han claims is an experiment on his mum’s part, since she is a genetical biologist and fanatic about genetic engineering. (i was wondering why she doesn’t juz produce a test tube baby then) However, Dr Han also points out that his mum has slight psychopathic tendencies — which chillingly brings to mind Dr Han’s (exorcised) mental evil twin, who is a 100% genius cos he is without conscience.
Maybe cos of the romance angle, more focus is also placed on Detective Kang in GQ4. In previous installations, she plays the capable detective but who generally tags along for the capturing bits while Dr Han is the main guy who solves the case. In GQ4, she manages to pull her own weight in deductive reasoning and interestingly, she is given feminine attributes — such as her musical abilities (she can play the cello and piano) and she can keep house plus play nurse. Previously, her image has always been more masculine, she is an ex-army officer, a sharpshooter and a kick-ass martial artist. The new feminine attributes don’t lessen her imo, but adds dimension to her character. Instead of juz behaving like a tomboy and someone who can’t seem to engage in a romantic relationship properly, the softer qualities give her a more rounded appeal.
GQ4 ends off with Dr Han on the run, though I’ve no idea why. Since Seo is killed by Dr Jang, who successfully disguises the murder as a heart failure due to the microchip implant. Maybe GQ5 has the intention to break Dr Han from the ME Office and turn him into a maverick proper?