A Perfect Life?
Episode 1 of Glitch opens up with a young girl lying down in a field while listening to music on her headphones. She seems to be crying. Suddenly, mysterious lights wash over her and she gets up and looks at the sky in astonishment. She holds up a camera and takes a picture.
A kaleidoscope of lights and patterns takes us to a different scene. In her bedroom, a grown-up Hong Ji-hyo sits cross-legged on her bed, with her eyes closed, focused on something. She tells herself that just because she sees something, doesn’t mean that she believes it. The only thing she needs to believe in is herself.
Ji-hyo goes about her daily routine while learning English through an audio app on her phone. She goes to work in an office where a colleague hands out wedding invitations during lunch. Ji-hyo and another colleague, Oh See-hee, discuss marriage. See-hee says Ji-hyo doesn’t need to worry because she has Si-guk, her boyfriend. Ji-hyo nods.
Ji-hyo goes to a grocery store to buy an energy drink when she suddenly sees a green alien with a baseball helmet of the Unicorns. She ignores it and heads out, thinking about how it’s been three to four years since she started seeing them. She repeats to herself that everything she sees is not to be believed.
Later, she, See-hee and another friend go out to a pub. Ji-hyo doesn’t drink because it impairs the mind. See-hee openly says she is jealous of how easy Ji-hyo’s life is, since her dad got her a job, her stepmother’s business is going well, and she has a steady boyfriend.
At work, Ji-hyo has fallen asleep on her laptop when the screen glitches and shifts to a baseball game. It glitches again and starts shifting between different clips, including images of the aliens Ji-hyo sees. The words “I’m watching you” are repeatedly heard. She slams the laptop shut but then all the screens around her start glitching in the same way. As suddenly as it began, it stops.
Later, Ji-hyo can’t stop wondering why the alien is wearing a Unicorn’s helmet, even as she has sex with her boyfriend, Lee Si-guk. He is talking about his experience with a real estate agent when he reveals he bought a house for both of them. Ji-hyo doesn’t seem as excited as him but agrees to move in with him.
At her own house, she tells her father and stepmother that Si-guk wants to treat them to dinner on the weekend. At the dinner, Ji-hyo seems zoned out as her father talks about her childhood obsession with aliens. Her stepmother tells the young couple they should move in. Despite Si-guk’s prompting, Ji-hyo doesn’t say anything and suddenly gets up to go out.
While smoking her e-cigarette, her phone screen starts glitching again. All the screens on the buildings around her start glitching and she once again sees the alien. No matter where she goes, she can’t avoid it. All at once, a huge, building-sized alien is towering over her. She runs and it reaches a hand out towards her but she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a field, near a van. The voices of two girls can be heard coming from inside the van, as they discuss a UFO sighting. She opens the door and finds herself transported again, this time to the edge of a building’s rooftop. A voice asks her what she is doing there.
At a police station, a detective shows Ji-hyo security footage of how she was on the street, then entered the building lobby and stood there for a while, and then headed up to the rooftop. When he sees her crying he decides to let it go. Thinking she is suicidal, he tries to comfort her. Si-guk arrives and asks her for an explanation. Instead, she asks about Doctor Ma, a friend of his who is a counsellor. He gets frustrated with her lack of answers and asks if she is going to live with him. She tells him to drop it, but he retorts that he has been waiting for four years now.
Ji-hyo does go to visit Doctor Ma and tells him she is seeing the aliens again. They talk about her life and he asks if she is ready to be living with Si-guk.
At home, her father asks for an explanation too but she says she doesn’t know why she is like that. Frustrated, she leaves the house.
Si-guk finds her at a pub, drinking soju. She asks him if he can live with her even if she is crazy. He says she isn’t crazy so it doesn’t matter. She tells him they should break up.
Later, Si-guk sits alone on a bench looking at his watch which has L-heart-H engraved on it. All of a sudden, mysterious lights wash overhead and Si-guk tries to take a picture. The lights vanish and all that’s left is Si-guk’s watch on the ground.
Meanwhile, Ji-hyo is fast asleep at home.
We see a clip of a show called Mystery Battery on Moonhole TV and the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
Glitch gets off to a slow start by setting up Ji-hyo and her seemingly perfect world. While her life seems smooth on the work and personal front, Ji-hyo’s deadpan way of talking and general indifference make a nice contrast. It will be interesting to see how her character develops.
While most mainstream alien-related media portray a slow discovery of the extra-terrestrial, this drama seems to be turning the trope around by showing us the aliens from the very beginning. Doing it through the psyche of one character makes it all the more intriguing.
But the big question is what is real and what isn’t. It seems to be the central theme of the show and hopefully, the journey to answering that question will be an intriguing one.