“L.U.C.A.: The Beginning” is the new tvN blockbuster drama about a man named Ji-O (Kim Rae-Won) who has a special power and a secret, but he doesn’t know who he really is.
He is chased by unknown people while he attempts to find answers. There is a woman named Gu Reum, a detective whose parents disappeared when she was only a young child. She wants to find truth about their disappearance, she meets Ji O and her life changes forever.
Initially, I was scheduled to drop “L.U.C.A.: The Beginning” episode 1 and 2 review last week [as I usually do with newly released kdramas], but due to many reasons, it got delayed. Instead, I am releasing a review of the four episodes I’ve seen thus far.
Note: this will be a spoiler review of the said episodes in the title. This is a subjective review.
An interesting plot
So the idea behind “L.U.C.A.: The Beginning” is based on Charles Darwin’s proposition that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors called LUCA which stands for “last universal common ancestor.”
As someone who is deeply interested in such topics, I find their approach fascinating. It begs the question of how far scientists should go in their quest for human perfection. While it has many fictional aspects, there is some truth mixed to it, which makes it all that more interesting.
The ‘anti-hero’ troupe used here is to my liking, so far, I am loving Ji O as a character, I wish they continue to walk that fine line between what makes him a weapon vs. a human. I like that they didn’t shy away from presenting just volatile he can be and how much he hurts people; deservingly or undeservingly; when agitated.
His temper can cause death and its okay to explore that without trying so hard to give reasoning aside from the loss of his temper and his animal-like characteristics. I hope they don’t attempt to rationalize everything but leave up to viewers to judge for themselves based on how the story progresses.
I just found out that “L.U.C.A.: The Beginning” will only be 12 episodes and I must say, I am so happy to hear that. If you follow my reviews, then you know well I’ve been advocating for lower episodes counts. Many kdramas have solid or amazing ideas that get ruined because they tend to go on beyond their ideal runtime, you can tell that the screenwriter have splendid ideas but they end up stretching the plot so thin and end up compromising it.
This means that “L.U.C.A.: The Beginning” will be even more concise in its delivery and I am looking forward to how it pans out.
While I understand the use of what I am about to discuss, I can’t help but roll my eyes slightly at the continuous use of such plot device. The rich people/organization who fund a biological/chemical project that leads to the test subject/witness running away/dead and for the story to resume when the said test subject/witness’s offspring is an adult.
“L.U.C.A.: The Beginning” isn’t something that strikes me as shocking or unique, it’s rather a fun kdrama that’s similar to a popcorn movie. Thus far, I’ve been enjoying my time a lot; the drama doesn’t miss a beat and has been thoroughly entertaining. I don’t notice time while I watch it.
The most illogical thing thus far which has been also annoying me, is how Gu Reum is still alive…. she’s been beaten so much and tossed around like a bag of rice, I am so shocked her character is still alive. I hope they tone down that part, because at this point she feels rather super human, I can’t take any scene where she gets beaten seriously anymore because I know she’ll just bounce back like she’s never been scratched.
Not unless that’s intentional, which would be epic if true, if its not due to a reason, they should really tone it down, its starting to feel like a cartoon.
Koreans usually don’t do that, the fighting scenes they craft in kdramas/k-movies are so well put together and the injuries the heroes usually suffer are visible and stay there for a while. I’ve rarely seen this happen in kdramaland and definitely not at this scale, it just makes it so unbelievable and compromises the plot more than I’d it like to.
It makes me not take it as seriously as they want me to.
The performances and characters
Kim Rae Won is just…. *chef’s kiss*. He nails the role so well and he’s almost unrecognizable here. The tormented miracle biological weapon role suits him so well; it’s very difficult to ever imagine any other actor in this role after I saw his performance. I like how he’s tormented and often feels like a child, he’s done bad things but not at his own choice, it’s the adults and psychos who pushed him to the limits and the circumstances that brought him this far.
I like how they’re fleshing out his character too, how he’s stolen money and robbed jewelry stores to stay afloat as a teen and an adult. Even if he’s hesitant, he ends up doing it and hurts people in that process.
You can tell he’s put a lot of effort into the portrayal of this character, he feels desperate and his performance here is just amazing.
Lee Da Hee is a queen, I’ve been a fan for a while now and I really like her performance and her character as well. I expected her role to be a bit more typical and for her to be more ‘annoying/on the nose’ as a detective who doesn’t listen to her superiors. She does that not only with class but oddly sleekly, thus she doesn’t come off too show-off-ish or in search of causing a ruckus and a scene by boasting about how good of a detective she is.
Kim Sung Oh is an underrated gem and he has a special place in my heart, I just can’t hate his character so far. He seems to be tormented to me as well and we’re yet to find out why he’s doing this for real. I like his performance a lot too.
Everyone in this drama is doing so well; there is no weak link here.
So these are my thoughts on “L.U.C.A.: The Beginning,” I am enjoying my time watching this interesting drama, while I don’t expect to be shocked too much by any of what will happen, I am just having fun. I hope the drama continues to be this fun until the end.
Have you seen “L.U.C.A.: The Beginning” yet? what are your thoughts on it?