After what seemed to be months of teasing, Disney+ released its newest Kdrama “Vigilante,” let us talk about the premiere episodes.
Note: this article is a first-impression review, it doesn’t mean this is the writer’s final thoughts on the drama. This is a spoiler review.
“Vigilante” has gained attention for a lot of things including the star-studded cast that has a lot of senior respected actors in the industry, not to mention how its based on a popular webcomic of the same title.
I honestly had high expectations going in and, in a way, despite some far-fetched plot points existing, they were met. I was impressed and slightly puzzled by the premiere episodes. Lets talk about it!
So, I haven’t personally read the original webcomic this drama was based on, so this will be treated as a standalone project when discussing. Having said this, interestingly, this drama only has 8 episodes and the webcomic ran for 3 years. So having to condense it to 8 episodes, if no 2nd season is teased, is a bold move, that’s for sure.
I think the premiere episodes lay a good groundwork for the drama, for what its going to be and how it will likely get crazier as time goes by. Ji Yong doesn’t start off killing people but progresses into doing just that, very fast. His anger gets the best of him and he’s fed up with police and their incompetence. Having said this, I was legitimately surprised he killed two people in the premiere episodes. I wished the way his progression from severely harming people to killing them was explored more and explored slower, so we can see, in a way, his descent into madness.
If you kill in self-defense, it’s one thing, but to deliberately seek out and kill people, even if they’re bad people or legitimately horrible people, is a totally different thing because it means you’re intentionally seeking them out.
Even if you’re signaled by the screenwriter as a ‘morally Just’ person, Killing someone is not an easy thing to do, and it’s not an easy thing to come to terms with, especially if you have a shred of humanity left in you which makes me wonder exactly why is the characterization for Ji Yong like that.
Of course, I am just speaking based on the premiere episodes. This opinion can drastically change depending on the way that the screenwriter addresses the script and addresses the character and his progression moving forward, because I am pretty much sure that he will likely get even more violent with the methods he uses.
And even get more agitated as he sees more and more horrible people get away with murders. He seems to be impulsive in a way and it seems to a certain extent that he relishes in the fact that he kills those people. I know what people are going to say about how these criminals deserve whatever is coming for them, but the reason why police and generally government bodies don’t tolerate such type of behavior is because it’s easy to imitate. And everyone has a certain definition for what they consider to be justice.
My definition of justice will differ from your definition of justice and others definition of justice too. A person could be crazy and think it’s justice to slap people who just look at them in a different way, which is why we can’t specifically say that even if those vigilantes are doing society a service, that they’re not doing them a disservice too.
There are two sides of this argument, and it’s very easy for this to become a black and white issue when it’s not, when it’s something that is very much nuanced and deserves A lengthy discussion and lengthy a deliberation into exactly what made society the way it is.
Of course, this all comes down to the fact that police and the government bodies do not do their job correctly, meaning that people want and feel they need to resort to such violence in order to take out these people. So, the question becomes this, ‘how can you blame them?’
Now to talk about the things that I found did not make any sense with the premiere episodes that I hope would be addressed more soon. The first thing is the reporter’s character Mi-Ryeo, which I honestly dislike for a variety of reasons. Aside from its characterization and its boastfulness, the delivery of the actress for her lines is not to my liking. It feels like she Is giving a speech at 24/7 and the way that she delivers her lines feel very forceful. Now I don’t know whether this is a deliberate decision on the director’s side or whether this is how the actress decided the character should be expressed. Regardless, I do not like the way that she talks or the way that she charges forward with what she deems to be justice. So, there are two layers to this, a more-so personal opinion and then an opinion about the delivery of her lines.
Setting this aside, I was really surprised by how she hopped on the Vigilante so quick. Even if we consider that she is an absolute juggernaut, or that she is extremely smart or a genius, it would be very difficult for anyone, especially in a city as big as Seoul to conclude that all these crimes that happen differently where people were assaulted connect to one single person.
Even more so since there isn’t much that connects them together and realistically it would be very difficult for somebody like her, a civilian, even if she was a reporter who does not have a good rapport with police, to conclude that these very random crimes of people being assaulted somehow connected to each other, I found that part to be highly implausible.
I bring this up not to become nitpicky or what, but it’s because this is a huge part of the plot, and this is a base part of the plot. This means that a good portion of how the plot progresses depends on her character and the way that she behaves. She nudges the vigilante towards one side or the other, which I think is a very interesting thing to explore, however, the way that she becomes obsessed with him and the way that she latches on to a slight shred of what could be a serial assault case is very odd to me. I did not think that part was correctly fleshed out. Now I do not know whether originally in the web comic this was done similarly or not. If you guys know if you have read the webcomic, let me know.
The other thing that I did not personally like, which I’ve seen a lot of people point out, is how Ji Yong actually does not cover his face. It is a very odd thing to do. I don’t know if this character is going to try to connect that into him being some sort of a boastful character that wants to show its face to the horrible people he kills or that he’s legitimately dumb enough to go around walking without a mask on his face.
Aside from that, he seems like a very smart person who knows how to navigate streets, who knows how to avoid surveillance and such, and it pays the fact that he is a police officer in training. So for him to go through all this trouble to hide his identity, to hide what he’s doing, and to lead a seemingly normal life, but then to show his face when he’s assaulting These people, or killing them, is an odd thing to do.
Having said those things, I think maybe in future episodes, they will be explained by the screenwriter, so they are not something that I personally have issues with at this moment. They are definitely a source of concern to me, but I think that if accounted for correctly, with the screenwriter job moving forward, I think we can have what could become one of the best K dramas of the latter half of 2023.
So, have you guys seen the premiere episodes of The Vigilante? What did you think of them? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.