Dr Brain – K-Drama Episode 2 Recap & Review


Episode 2 of Dr Brain dives into the cerebrally charged story in a big way. Unfortunately it also steers the story straight into the realm of ridiculous nonsense too.

We begin with Sewon awakening to find himself in bed with Jae-Yi and Doyoon. What starts as an idealistic dream soon turns into a nightmare as Doyoon heads outside with cat Mika. Jae-Yi demands Sewon stay where he is, as she screams at him. This house  soon dissolves into a bloody nightmare, as Sewon sees his wife crying and somehow old again while standing in a pool of blood.

Ripping the headset off, Sewon returns from her memories back into the real world. Now, it would seem that brain syncs on living patients is possible after all but highly unpredictable. At their worst, it’s outright dangerous. Sewon decides to set out and find another way of bringing Doyoon back to him.

Deciding to take a day off from work, Sewon instead is confronted by Soo-Seok and Sergeant Park at home. Given Jae-Yi tried to commit suicide in the past, they press Sewon on why he never mentioned anything. They even query whether Sewon killed his own wife.

As we know that’s not the case, and in a bid to prove them wrong, Sewon nonchalantly leads them into the basement where Jae-Yi is. This relieves the pressure on him for now but the subject of Jun-Ki Lim’s murder is still very much prevalent.

During his investigation, Sewon continues to experience flashes of the past, including that relating to Saera Children’s Clinic. Along for the ride during this tumultuous time is Lee Kang-Mu, whom Sewon meets that evening and strikes up an uneasy partnership with. Kang-Mu knows all about Sewon’s past, including the fire at his house. “It’s my job to know,” He shrugs, reinforcing his PI credentials.

Together, they ride up toward Jun-Ki’s house and begin looking around. There’s some pretty gnarly flashes that ensue, as Sewon sees red – quite literally – and sees visions of him being stabbed several times from Jun-Ki’s perspective. Kang-Mu helps calm our protagonist down and questions Sewon over what he knows.

Sewon is struggling though, with memories floating around that he can’t be sure are actually his own. However, he does deduce that certain objects and items seem to heighten his senses.

Over in the autopsy lab, Sergeant Park and Soo-Seok reinforce what we’ve found out – that Jun-Ki was stabbed numerous times. Interestingly though, a hole in the man’s head post-mortem hints toward some sort of surgeon being responsible. A brain surgeon perhaps? Like Sewon? Uh oh…

Meanwhile, Sewon heads into Hee-Jin’s bedroom, off the back of his earlier idea about jogging memories. Within a box under her bed he finds an address. However, outside he finds Mika, dead but still warm. So naturally Sewon decides to brain sync with the creature. Wait, what? How does that work?

Anyway, we’ll just go with it. Sewon heads back to the lab and encourages Jun-Ki to leave him as the lab is a restricted area. Leaving the car, Kang-Mu gets back to chasing up his contacts and digging deeper into Jun-Ki’s death.

The brain sync goes off without a hitch, better than that with Jae-Yi. Despite him mentioning it was dangerous, Sewon eventually wakes up on the floor after seeing flashes of Mika’s memories. Regardless of the visual and auditory systems for felines and humans being different (not to mention the brains being completely different too) Sewon deduces that the images he experienced are frazzled and may not be completely accurate.

However, Sewon’s reflexes are certainly a lot better now and he even catches a ball out the blue. He starts to see the world differently, more sharp and defined through his experiences with Mika. He deduces that cat traits seem to have been transferred onto him. Is Sewon due to be a sworn enemy of catwoman?

Either way, the flashes bring up a license plate, which he relays on to Soo-Seok at headquarters. “05 NA 2046.” Interestingly, this brings up a police academy graduate by the name of Kang-Mu Lee. The same Kang-Mu Lee whom Sewon is currently working with.

When Soo-Seok rings Sewon and lets him know, she reveals a strartling truth. Kang-Mu actually died four days ago before Jun-Ki’s death.

The Episode Review

From the unbelievable to the silly, Dr. Brain returns this week and dives into the cerebrally charged world of cat memories. Now, given we learned from the first episode that it’s impossible to do successful brain syncs with conscious patients (Sewon’s words, not mine) the jump to then using a comatose patient is pushing it a bit.

This follow-up chapter then sees a cat to human jump, complete with transferring special cat powers like enhanced reflexes and vision. Maybe it’s just me but this all seems a bit silly and farfetched to me. In fact, it’s made all the more bizarre when you consider the equipment. Sewon had only just started experimenting on rats with tiny headsets but yet, he seems to have crafted a cat-sized one and a human mold, along with rewiring everything in the matter of, what, days?

None of this is helped really by Sewon himself being such an enigma. We learned last episode that he’s very cold and calculating, rarely showing much emotion. It’s not until he’s started these brain syncs that he’s actually opened up a bit more.

I can’t help but feel a better way of handling this one is not to go the Mouse route but instead lean into the idea of Sewon being a very empathetic character and being driven to try and rekindle his own memories with his mum and past endeavours.

However, Dr Brain is undoubtedly a real visual treat, with some very trippy scenes early on. Those involving the blood inside the house is an easy stand-out highlight, and the show is littered with these neat visual cues. It’s just a shame that the script seems bathed in dull greys when it comes to the screenplay.

Despite that, there’s just enough to like here. I do appreciate that just is doing a hell of lot of heavy lifting in that sentence. The ending with Kang-Mu not actually being alive is a great hook and it feels very similar to Mr Robot in that respect. Again, no spoilers here for those who haven’t seen that masterpiece.

We’ll have to wait and see what next week’s chapter has in store for us because so far this one feels like a bit of a disappointment, especially next to so many other great k-dramas in 2021.

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