Jung Bo Seok is at it again – the unrepentent murderous all out villain. The latest offering from the team behind Giant (which Jung also played a very similar character), Monster is delicious makjang (at least up till now), with a protagonist so wronged you’re compelled to root for and a villain that you hope his end will be really, really bad.
An ambitious prosecutor from the beginning, Jung is Byeon Il-jae, originally Lee Gook Chul’s uncle (Lee Ki Kwang). For some reasons not clearly explained, Il-jae is against Gook Chul’s parents decision with regards to some business dealings, and tampered with their car. It was Gook Chul’s birthday when the horrendous accident happened which killed both Gook Chul’s parents and made him blind, and effectively Gook Chul’s guardian becomes his maternal aunt, Jung Man Ok (special appearance by Bae Jong Ok), who is also Il-jae’s wife.
While Gook Chul mistakenly and adamantly thinks Man Ok single-handedly orchestrated the accident, Man Ok accidentally found out that her own husband plotted for the death of her sister and brother-in-law. She threatened Il-jae to expose it, but was equally threatened by Il-jae with the truth of her deliberately not operating on Gook Chul to leave him blind. With no choice, Man Ok tries to find other ways to bring down her husband, and gets her secretary Ok Chae Ryung (Lee El) to trail Il-jae. Thus Il-jae’s affair with Man Ok’s good friend Hwang Ji Soo (Kim Hye Eun) was made known, which also caused Man Ok’s death as the two women got into a cat fight and Man Ok accidentally gets pushed down the stairs.
It only served to escalate Il-jae’s plan to climb up the social ladder and gets a step closer to his ambitions, as Ji Soo is the daughter of the current President’s secretary, as well as the niece of the CEO of the biggest (?) pharmaceutial company in Show’s universe (with a funny name Dodo Group). Dodo Group wants to purchase the hospital owned by Gook Chul’s parents, as well as some vaccine they developed. Now that Man Ok is gone, Il-jae is Gook Chul’s guardian but all he wants is for Gook Chul to be dead.
Il-jae frames Gook Chul as the mastermind behind Man Ok’s death, not before he first lured Gook Chul to the ultra secret laboratory holding the vaccine and the mutated virus. The virus gets unleashed, and several casualties were caused. Gook Chul has a personal helper, Cha Jung Eun (Lee Yul Eum), who was also infected by the virus, as she was helping him to get into the laboratory. She decides to sacrifice herself and injects Gook Chul with the vaccine (as there’s only one vial), which makes Gook Chul the only person whose serum contains the antidote to the virus.
Now that makes Gook Chul valuable, as there’s also another shadow group that wants the vaccine as well, and Chae Ryung (as mentioned above) actually works for this mysterious group. So when Gook Chul ends up on the run, after he recovered from the infection as well as jailbreak, Chae Ryung was supposed to help him escape but Gook Chul ended up being cornered by Il-jae and jumps off some bridge at Han River.
The adult Gook Chul is played by Kang Ji Hwan, and Gook Chul lives on the streets as a beggar, no longer the rich boy he once was. Sung Yuri plays the adult Jung Eun, and both characters will get a different name in adulthood, so as to prolong the reuniting aspect. The teenage counterparts actually took a liking to each other, and Gook Chul is actually looking for her over the years.
The story is so complicated with all sorts of plots thrown in, and one critical detail: Gook Chul has super hearing thanks to his blindness! Suspension of disbelief is definitely needed while watching this, but it is so addictive because of the villain, and the way the writers are able to create conflict for each step our protagonist takes. I have faith in our writers here, as they have proven repeatedly their capability of coming up with crazy dramas, ie Empress Ki and my personal favorites Incarnation of Money and History of Salaryman. The cast here is awesome too, with Park Ki Woong and Kang Ji Hwan fighting each other from Episode 3 onwards. This is gonna be one hell of a ride for the next 23 weeks!