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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Circle" Episode 11

2017/06/27 | 1215 views | Permalink

The end is almost here and episode eleven of "Circle" takes steps I did not think Korean drama writers would be bold enough for. In 2017, Woo-jin finds himself with few options for saving his brother and his friends. In 2037, Joon-hyeok and Jeong-yeon struggle with the truth staring at them on that stairwell. The titular "Circle" pushes everyone over the unknown edge of what defines us as individuals and as ourselves.

The episode is very much about different mindsets and their dangers. Gyoo-cheol put a stop to things and Jeong-yeon (Gong Seung-yeon) chose to forget, because they both understood the weight of her existence. The series presents three types of scientists with three different mindsets. One ethical, another chaotic and unstoppable, the third one greedy and narcissistic. Essentially, it poses a question. Can we trust such power to a flawed race?

Byeol finding out about the dangers of her technologyWoo-jin dying in 2017

As for the big elephant clone in the room, I could sit here for days and type out different thoughts and opinions, but at the end of the day it would not matter. Maybe you feel the person ends with their biological demise. Maybe you feel they move on. Maybe you feel the soul exists and can jump based on memories, giving it continuity. Maybe you feel the soul can only move on or reincarnate according to set religious belief. The series accommodates different views on the matter.

This is smart for an audience used to getting what it wants and it is also a better way to make said audience think, but it could go very wrong when dealing with the journey of two characters we have become invested in. The reason why our individual views ultimately do not matter, however, is because the two leading characters or their copies, if we consider the amnesiac Joon-hyeok (Kim Kang-woo) not-entirely Beom-gyoon (An Woo-yeon) either, are on the same page and feel like they have found each other.

Woo-jin/Woo-jin's clone and Beom-gyoon/Joon-hyeok deciding they are good enough for each otherWoo-jin and Beom-gyoon before it all started

Of course they are not out of the woods yet. Woo-jin Mk. III (Yeo Jin-goo) is called Circulate 3 for a reason and we know Dong-geon (Han Sang-jin) wants the cloning bill to be passed. Perhaps the clones have a limited life span. It would explain why someone fresh from stasis can jump up and walk. Whatever happens to the brothers, however, they have completed their narrative purpose of finding and saving one another in this peculiar form that this goal has taken.

Before the finale I want to say that this series has been a pleasure to cover and a surprise. I did not believe a Korean drama would dive right into existential topics as this has. While it has not done something novel for science fiction, "Circle" has done a lot for its medium with its genre, subject matter and more. Kill me softly, "Circle". I am (not) ready.

"Circle" is directed by Min Jin-gi, written by Kim Jin-hee-III, Park Eun-mi-I, Ryoo Moon-sang and Yoo Hye-mi and features Yeo Jin-goo, Kim Kang-woo, Gong Seung-yeon and Lee Gi-kwang.

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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