The new mystery thriller on the block has finally aired!
tvN’s “Mouse” has premiered its first and second episode this week and I am here to discuss what I’ve just witnessed, I have a lot to say, so let us begin.
I am a huge fan of mystery thrillers, it’s the type of genre you can experiment with and come out with something interesting and a bit different, and lord knows we need that among the sea of similar content these days.
So let’s discuss what I liked and disliked about the premiere.
Note: this will be a spoiler review of the said episodes in the title. This is a subjective review.
The dizzying editing
Each “Mouse” episode was 1 hour and 30 minutes, that’s already a lot. Thankfully, it’s interesting enough to keep me tuned in but the editing was so confusing. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such dizzying editing.
It felt to me as if the people working on this drama are so excited to show me its potential so they’re all over the place telling me bits and pieces of the puzzle then switching timelines to keep things interesting, but here is the catch, I am not in on the script and I don’t understand a thing.
While watching the drama, I had to repeat the beginning scenes a couple of times, I had the Asianwiki tab on the side and would pause every once and a while trying to piece together who is who. I did that at least 7 times, I went through the character names to memorize and be able to figure out what just happened. but why you ask?
At least 20 characters were introduced in the first episode alone and almost all of them are integral to the overall arc of the story in one shape or another, each one is working towards a goal and the sum of those goals gets you to the conclusion at the end of the episode. That’s already way too many characters, the main plot connects together eventually but there are so many sub-plots all over the place to the point it becomes dizzying just attempting to figure out what you just watched.
Added to that, the present time characters have different names than the ones we saw in the first episode, three main characters [THREE] names are altered from the young child actors, I know, I know, this is intentional but due to the way they were introduced it almost ruined the experience for me.
I know the screenwriter is trying to surprise me and catch me off-guard. The plot itself is interesting and gore [I’ll discuss it in details later], but the way she went about it wasn’t the way I’d suggest.
If I were to fix it, I’d go by the initial timeline, I wouldn’t jump in time. The plot is very interesting and engaging there is no need to jump forward 5 years, then back 10 years, then forward again 5 years. I don’t know if this was her decision or if the editing team/director decided to do it like that, either way, it was a hasty decision.
The plot- intriguing but all over the place
The thing that sets “Mouse” apart from most similar dramas about serial killers is just how horrific the crimes are, yes, there is even a benchmark for that. I was surprised by how far they took it. “Mouse” episode 1 was rated 19+ for this reason.
I just wish they wouldn’t blur out everything, seeing is everything. It could be because I don’t easily get frightened, and I am not saying they should show everything in every single detail but when you blur out even the skid marks, it’s kinda difficult to know what’s what or to what degree the injuries are. It becomes difficult for me to picture how severe the issue is, I am told through narration and exposition that the crimes are horrific but I can’t see anything, how am I supposed to believe the crimes are horrific? Sometimes they blur the entire body, and sometimes they only blur the face…
If you’re going to do 19+, then commit to it. You don’t have to cater to everybody and these types of dramas already divide people into two categories: those who are willing to watch [scared or not] and those who won’t watch because it’s either too scary/not what they like.
I am not saying they should zoom in extra hard on every death or show every detail to just make us sick but at least don’t blur every part of the corpse to the point I can’t tell what’s happening. Not at one point in the drama was I even remotely scared of what was going to happen.
The distinction between the old and young Jung Ba Reum- what’s going on?
A lot of people are discussing if Jung Ba Reum [Lee Seung Gi] is Jae Hoon [the child actor Kim Kang Hoon]. However, I am confused as to why that became a question to begin with. tvN had already said that Kim Kang Hoon is playing the younger version of Jung Ba Reum. I went back and read Soompi articles and searched through Google, and many articles say that, so… I don’t understand what’s what anymore.
Depending on the site, you’ll either read that child-actor Kim Kang Hoon is playing a character named ‘Jae Hoon’ or a character named ‘young Jung Ba Reum.’
Does this imply that Lee Seung Gi is a serial killer hiding? we don’t know, because in the second episode it shows how passionate and kind-hearted he is, not unless he’s the most best-actor character in the drama, it’s kind of difficult to believe he’s the serial killer. This is made even more frustrating when you watch until the end of episode 2, because then, they reveal who the son grows up to be and Jae Hoon is not Jung Ba Reum.
Why are they purposefully trying to confuse us about who Jae Hoon grows up to be when in the press release articles its already stated that he’s playing the younger version of Lee Seung Gi? But then the newly released charts say he’s playing Jae Hoon? Who’s idea was it to go back and forth on this point? Above all, it feels confusing because the kdrama sites themselves don’t agree on what the character names are. I almost never see this happen. I wonder, was there a misconnection with the screenwriter and the marketing department?
At the end of episode 2 the original ‘head hunter’ finds out who his son was. Why did you go through all of that trouble with changing names and hiding faces to just basically give it away so soon? I know there is likely an explanation for this, but the introduction could’ve used more polishing, it’s been a while since I’ve been this confused by a kdrama mainly not because the situation is difficult to figure out but because the screenwriter and the editors are making it difficult to follow.
So far, I am intrigued by the plot, but I don’t like how the pieces are being thrown around. This is not about impatience but simple logic.
From what I understood so far, I believe that Jung Ba Reum will be that other son who the doctor said is a psychopath [the one with the pregnant mother talking about how kind the father was], and the doctor character is Jae Hoon but he’s changed his name to avoid being labeled the ‘head hunter’ son. He also has his mother’s family name.
If I came off confusing in my review of “Mouse,” it’s because the drama is confusing me. You could have possibly understood everything, if you did then I am happy for you but I am having a difficult time following. Also, I’d appreciate it if you could explain to me as well.
So these are my thoughts on “Mouse”, so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.