Entering The Abyss
I do love a good Korean drama. From the historical grittiness of The Crowned Clown through to the sci-fi mystery of Memories Of The Alhambra, Korea never fails to deliver some imaginative and interesting content, even if it doesn’t always have the most satisfying ending. Netflix’s latest drama, Abyss, is a fantastically bonkers affair, one that mixes comedy and drama in with sci-fi and fantasy to great effect. Although some of the tropes are a little cliche and the idea of using body switching not wholly original, there’s enough here to keep you watching to find out what happens next.
Abyss begins with a man attempting to commit suicide on top of a building. Overcome with grief, his girlfriend breaks up with him via text leading to him taking the plunge and leaping to his death. Only, he can’t go through with it and finds himself hanging on for dear life. Hanging on, that is, until a strange glowing cloud scoops him up and throws him down to the ground. As this swirling ball of magic solidifies into a glowing orb, two strangers show up and bring Cha Min back to life courtesy of what Cha Min refers to as the Dragon Ball; a nice little nod to the anime.
Only, Cha Min has a different face now and while he admires his new looks, the 2 strangers contemplate whether he’s a nut-job or not. They don’t get long to contemplate this though as another falling star sends them on their way, leaving Cha Min with a thin sliver of information about the orb being used to bring people back to life.
Having seen a few jumps forward in time before this, we cut to 15 hours before Go Se-Yeon’s predicted death to find Cha Min waking up in his apartment sporting his new face. After fruitlessly convincing his Aunt that he’s Cha Min’s friend, when his phone rings things get awkward. While this is going on, we catch up with Go Se-Yeon working on a case. Leaving the office and braving the pouring rain, she comes across Cha Min and instantly finds herself staring in awe at his handsome looks. After knocking him down, she brings him back to the office where every female appears to be infatuated with him in a hilarious bit of over-the-top comedy.
Cha Min does get dry and goes about his business though, leaving Go Se-Yeon to carry on with her investigation before cutting forward to 1 hour before her death. Cha Min wanders the streets and finds a man lying dead in an alleyway. He calls the police after trying to use the Abyss to revive him but unfortunately he has no luck. However, as he walks away the orb glows orange and follows Cha Min, nestling itself comfortably in his pocket. When the police arrive, the body has gone, leaving behind a pretty disgruntled paramedic team.
We then cut forward to the next day after Cha Min tries to get Se-Yeon’s attention at her apartment to find her dead and lying against the wall in a pool of her own blood. Cha Min rushes to the apartment upon hearing this news and breaks down crying. He heads home to find his Aunt still trying to get hold of Cha Min, unbeknownst to her that it’s actually him. However, the police show up and want to speak to him. As Cha Min sneaks out the building, they don’t recognize him thanks to his new looks.
The episode then ends with our main character making it to Se-Yeon’s funeral to say goodbye. Armed with the abyss, he attempts to brings her back to life but again, it doesn’t look like it’s worked. It turns out, it doesn’t work right away but she does show up donning a different face. After crashing the funeral and trying to speak to her family, she catches a glimpse of her reflection and gasps. Cha Min snatches her up and tells her he know’s what’s going on, revealing the orb to her and his true identity.
There’s an awful lot going on here and the time jumps between the past and present are a little disorientating to begin with. However, it’s worth persevering with because when this one settles down, Abyss really shines. It may not have the most original story and the narrative does revel in a few of the cliches you’d expect but the comedy and mystery should be enough to keep you hooked.
Plenty of questions remain unanswered here but Abyss has enough going for it to make it a ride worth sticking around for. Quite what tomorrow’s episode has in store for us is left up for debate but for now, there’s enough here to make for an interesting and intriguing opening episode to chew over.