Despite not having the typical ending of a police procedural where the baddie gets caught, Remember will be remembered as one of the better shows in 2015. I love how Remember takes the concept of the psycho murderer and tries to humanise him. Although Joon-young doesn’t end up being “loveable”, at least we empathise with him and see his reason(s) for killing people. That’s the other aspect which Remember does well: contrasting human Emotions with Logic.
When Logic reigns supreme, and Emotions…are juz excessive
Hyun and his strong analytical skills as compared with the bunch of rather clueless and bumbling detectives places Logic (and intelligence) as something “better”or “superior” early on in Remember. And Hyun comes across as haughty, aloof and arrogant since he is well aware he has an over abundance of logical thinking skills.
Well, he does have the rights to claim superiority over the detective team, after all, those cases where they have difficulty even looking for clues, Hyun has already solved them in his mind. However, his superior intellect also made him a little “inhuman”. The stuff he says is similar to that of a psychopath, such as wanting to have more dead bodies in order to verify the murders as being carried out by the same person. And that’s probably why he doesn’t really have many friends earlier on in Remember. Hyun was always alone then, and had always been like that, shuttling between the States and Korea without really settling down in any place.
In contrast, we have Cha Ji-an, who is initially introduced to us as Hyun’s counterfoil. She does things on the spur of the moment, without thinking of the (negative) consequences: very much like her free wheeling trip down the lecture hall’s aisle straight into Hyun’s foot. And her spur-of-the-moment actions mainly bring her quite a fair bit of embarrassment, like deciding to pursue young Hyun (juz because she thinks they “share” a commonality in Joon-young), only to get rudely rejected every single time.
And yet Emotions turn out to be the winner in the long run…
As Remember‘s storyline progresses, big gaping holes can be felt in characters who have plenty of logical thinking ability and near zero empathy. Yep, that’d be Joon-young. He probably epitomises Logic, since he plays the classic psychopath who is unable to properly empathise with his victims. However, he isn’t those sickos who cruelly mutilate their victims juz so to can enjoy their pain — his psychopathic tendencies are portrayed as having a strong reasoning behind them.
Joon-young assigns himself the role of a saviour for children who had been badly abused by their parents. His reasoning is: since he has gone through such abuse in the past, he is well placed to know the damage done to the kids, and why they should be saved. Imo, nothing wrong in his beliefs. The problem is in the execution — he assumes that the best and only way is to get rid the parents. In a cold, logical way, yes, this method is foolproof, since the abuser has zero chance of returning to torture the kid. As compared to say, locking the abuser up for a period of time.
However, what he fails to realise is that his calculated solution may not be the most ideal. Juz like how he thinks extracting Min from Hyun will “help” Hyun, since Min (with his psychopathic tendencies) will be a hindrance to Hyun becoming a normal, healthy adult. I bet he is still puzzling over what went wrong since the results didn’t turn out as he expected. Hyun resents him for stealing Min and the children whose abusive parents were murdered by Joon-young appear to avenge their parents’ deaths.
Back to Hyun again: near the end of Remember, his thought processes actually become a little…slower. In ep14, Min defends a young man accused by his uncle (the rapist) of raping and murdering his girlfriend. It took Hyun a long moment to understand why Min (and Joon-young) appear non-plussed when it is clear the criminal is the uncle — cos they already know that the young man will exact justice by murdering the uncle later at night. Also, remember that small detail where he has the phone number of his stalker (the one who stabbed Min) and forgot to pass it on to the investigative team?
While Hyun becomes a little less sharp (as compared to the robot-like psychopaths, Min and Joon-young), he also becomes more human. He gains new friends, gets his kid brother back, and his interactions with the art gallery ahjusshi also appear less commanding, and more bantering. Most importantly, he gains a girlfriend, and a strong reason to root himself in a community (he returns home again to Ji-an after chasing Joon-young and locating injured Min).
As for Ji-an, well, she remains faithful to her do-first-think-later character. She barges into Joon-young’s secret room and later confronts Joon-young alone — without any plans. Both times, she is plain lucky to escape from the lion’s lair. Even then, her attitude also makes extremely courageous and decisive, both trademarks of a good policewoman. Plus, she isn’t exactly stupid and proves herself to be a worthy detective, being able to intuitively leap to the correct conclusion.
If only ALL policewomen in Kdramaland are Cha Ji-ans. Ok, we have a strong contender in the form of Young-jin from Mrs Cop.