Episode 1 of Beyond Evil begins with Dong-Sik out in the fields with his colleague. Shining a flashlight, he calls out in fear as Dong-Sik races over to investigate. Buried in the ground are two skeletal hands clasped together, belonging to a murder victim.
We then cut back to the 14th October 2000 as a young woman named Yu-Yeon plays the piano in church. Her twin brother is actually Dong-Sik. He’s busy playing guitar at a live café though, but he’s called out for singing out of tune and scaring off the customers. To make matters worse, he’s told that his sister will always outshine him.
While he leaves, Yu-Yeon receives a message from someone telling her to meet outside. In the middle of the night, she creeps off down a long pathway. Isolated, it turns out she’s not alone as strange screaming picks up from a distance. All the lights shut off, prompting her to hurry off down the road.
Night turns to day and the camera pans across this field to show the girl tied down with pink ribbons around her ankles and wrists. Back home, her Mother heads outside to pick up the paper. Only, she finds all of Yu-Yeon’s fingers laid out on the side.
It’s a grim opening, and one that immediately introduces us to “Dream City” Munju. Time passes (20 years to be precise) and Dong-Sik is now a police officer. He’s called to the scene of a game of Go, Stop!, finding himself pulled about by the various different women. Eventually Dong-Sik snaps and decides to arrest them all for gambling and betting.
The officers at the station aren’t exactly happy, especially as this means clocking in extra hours after their shift. While all the officers bicker and try to convince Dong-Sik otherwise, a new man arrives at the scene.
Complete with a flashy car and a positive attitude, Inspector Han Joo-Won prepares to work after having been transferred to this law firm. He’s early too, although Station Chief Jung Cheol-Mun is having trouble with his computer. The other officers begin to discuss this newbie’s arrival, including how his Father is actually the superintendent back at the head office.
Joo-Won catches a glimpse of Dong-Sik’s know-how and make a reference of his impressive knowledge regarding the law. He’s pretty impressed, although he remains silent while leaving that day. Joo-Won heads off to visit his Father who warns him that he needs to lay low given what’s happened in the past.
The next day, Joo-Won arrives and speaks to Dong-Sik as the pair officially introduce themselves to each other. Only, he rejects Dong-Sik’s handshake, claiming he doesn’t like physical contact. Inside the station tensions continue as Joo-Won calls Dong-Sik a nutcase. Chief Nam decides to team them up to make them start liking one another.
Begrudingly, the pair head out on patrol together, with Joo-Won disapprovingly wiping down the surfaces with wet wipes. The pair immediately start bickering, with Dong-Sik taking personal reports on his phone. This first report comes in the form of Bang Woo-Cheol, who’s a 74 year old with advanced dementia.
Together, they find Mr Bang out in the fields. Unfortunately Joo-Won introduces himself as a police officer and it caused Mr Bang to begin freaking out. Together, the pair hold the man down and bring him back home. Dong-Sik and Joo-Won head back to the office where they clean themselves up. There, they tease the newbie and claim he has mysophobia, which is a fear of germs.
Despite his reservations and hesitation, Joo-Won shows up at the team meal at Manyang Butcher’s Shop, where Jae-Yi happens to be. Together, they discuss Joo-Won’s Father and his rank. This inevitably makes Joo-Won feel uncomfortable, leading to him heading outside alone to get some air.
When he does though, he spies Dong-Sik in the room next door cutting meat. Dong-Sik admits to liking the kid but watches him leave suspiciously.
That evening, Joo-Won meets his live-in tutor who classes himself as part of their family. This man is prosecutor Kwon Hyeok. He hands over a file for him, something he’s told to fix up in exchange for help.
This brings Joo-Won back to his apartment where he happens to have a whole massive file on the serial murders gripping this region.
We then cut back 9 months ago with Joo-Won leading the charge at work regarding the various different victims, all of which showing the bodies lying in a similar way. Dong-Sik is in the firing line for this, unable to explain how his partner died and consequently causing his whole team to being demoted. Dong-Sik was also the one person suspected of being the murderer too but something doesn’t quite add up.
Anyway, the next day Dong-Sik receives a call regarding Mr Bang, who has gone missing again. This catches us up to the moments at the start of the episode as a body his found in the fields, complete with a gold ring.
Joo-Won seems to know who this is, and as he staggers away Dong-Sik catches a glimpse of this. Before they can investigate further, Joo-Won asks outright whether Dong-Sik killed his sister. A strange, creepy smile crosses his face as the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
Secrets are abound in Beyond Evil as this intriguing psychological thriller gets off to a decent start. It’s clear that both Joo-Won and Dong-Sik are hiding things and it seems like Dong-Sik isn’t the killer. It’s way too early to be pointing fingers though so we’ll just have to wait and see how this one plays out.
The serial killings themselves are pretty creepy, especially the way the fingers have been severed. Although I must say the fingers looked pretty fake, like hollow prosthetics. I know that’s a design choice to make sure this isn’t too graphic but it’s still a little disappointing this wasn’t more convincing.
Whatever’s happening, there’s clearly a link between the past and present though but that link is obscured right now.
The chemistry between the leads is really good though, and this helps drive the drama forward. The whole idea of these two cops not liking each other is a common trope in crime thrillers but also one that’s played out pretty well so far here. We’ll have to wait and see how this develops over time but so far, Beyond Evil gets off to a solid start.