The Big Scoop
Episode 2 of Happiness begins with the infection spreading. A crowd of people gather at a homeless shelter, cornered off by soldiers. They’re worried but no more so than Tae-Seok when he sees the bloodbath before him. He learns that a pill was given – the same one from before – and that’s what caused one to become infected and kill the rest. Te\h trouble is, the country is starting to catch wind of what’s happening with the deaths and there’s only so much Tae-Seok and his people can do.
Sae-Bom returns to the force, bright and early. Seung-Young is there too and Sae-Bom nonchalantly shows and confirms she’s got new accommodation. She also confirms the reason for asking Yi–Hyun to marry her. It turns out she’s falling short of the right number of points for her application. If she gets married then that gives her a much better chance. Even Yi-Hyun himself is okay with this, persuaded by Sae-Bom’s “I’m a real nice person, there’s not many of us left” line to sweeten the deal.
Now, Seung-Young hasn’t actually told anyone that he was scratched by Jong-Tae during their training routine last episode. His words now make more sense, especially when Sae-Bom reflects on Seung-Young talking about how no one leaves the university dormitory after they enter.
At the Seyangsoop Le Ceil Apartment, Sae-Bom shows up ready to settle into her new apartment. In the elevator she runs into a man who encourages her to wear a mas while she’s indoors. Sae-Bom apologizes but doesn’t stick to her guns, instead greeting various neighbours without one. All of those floors from the sixth upwards are off-limits to those below, with a clear rich/poor divide going on. That doesn’t stop Sae-Bom though, who kicks the door in (moving a stack of cinderblocks in the way) and gives out rice cakes to everyone.
It’s a clever way of meeting the various different residents, who I’m sure we’ll see more of across the season. For now, we meet lawyer Yong-Cheol and his wife Seo-Yoon along with slimy Joo-Hyeong who’s currently cheating on his wife. As day turns to night, Yi-Hyun and Sae-Bom are awoken by strange banging coming from Joo-Hyeong’s room above them.
Yi-Hyun is awoken early on account of Tae-Seok who requests his help in deal with this infection case. He hands over Jong-Tae’s unlocked phone and a good amount of financial incentive, tasking him with investigating further into Jong-Tae’s past and ties to this drug. Given Yi-Hyun always used logic to solve his cases, Tae-Seok butters him up and calls him “The Sleuth.”
With Yi-Hyun out investigating, Sae-Bom is left alone and hears banging again. Heading up, she finds Joo-Hyeong who claims he’s been moving furniture. In the middle of the night? Not a chance. Anyway, she doesn’t pry too much further into this, instead deciding to go ahead and exercise. That is, until she receives a call from Seung-Young.
Her colleague is in a rough way and very clearly struggling. He rings Sae-Bom and tells her his wound isn’t healing and he needs help. She drives him down to the treatment center but things don’t look good. Only, all of this is a ruse. He cuts his wrist but his actual infection is on his chest, which he hides from the doctors.
At the compound, Tae-Seok’s right-hand woman, Lee Ji-Soo, mentions more about the infection. The most alarming part of all this though stems from the fact that there’s no cure for it right now. However, every patient infected has been turned save for Sae-Bom. Who else is betting that she’s patient zero and has the cure to infection?
Anyway Seung-Young’s true intentions are then revealed, as it turns out he showed at the facility in order to bag an exclusive for the reporters, despite signing a secrecy agreement. However, as he sneaks around, Ji-Soo mentions how they’ve moved the infected to a refrigerated truck out back. These are the most critical patients, moved to make way for new infected. The only trouble is, that’s precisely where Seung-Young is heading.
He breaks inside the truck and finds numerous beds full of people, piled to the ceiling. The patients are on drips and with chains from the roof to to the ground. Seung-Young winds up locked inside though, and that makes him desperate. He calls his contact, promising to send a huge video scoop his way if he wires the money. After hanging up, Seung-Young slowly creeps down the truck but finds himself in no man’s land as all the infected begin to wake up and stalk toward him.
Meanwhile, Yi-Hyun and Tae-Seok follow a contact to a warehouse where they claim to have pills in the trunk. Only, instead they actually have an infected patient who goes crazy and begins attacking Yi-Hyun. Tae-Seok shoots him though and questions the survivor, learning that the infected took a lot of Next, that drug from before.
As we cut back to Sae-Bom, she receives a call from Seung-Young who confirms that “they’re not human.” When he hangs up, Sae-Bom and the others open the truck doors and are immediately greeted by a whole group of infected. Sae-Bom is shocked and watches in horror as the soldiers struggle to shut the doors. Seung-Young is very clearly infected too.
The Episode Review
The second episode if Happiness starts to introduce the various different apartment residents with Sae-Bom. Now, I’d imagine the lady above Sae-Bom is probably infected and her husband is keeping her restrained for now. However, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s anything more to this story than that.
Meanwhile, Yi-Hyun and Tae-Seok team up and learn a little more about this drug, including its distribution and how dangerous it actually is. This works pretty well to give more context and depth to what’s happening as the infection continues to spread.
The way this is set up works really well as a slow-burn thriller,. with the infected still being contained for the time being. But how long will that last? In a way, it would appear as if the show is learning a lot of lessons from Black Hole, a similarly themed k-drama that tackled these infections. Unlike that show though, Happiness appears to have the balance between light and dark elements in-sync.
Either way, this chapter works to solidify the threat and the character relationships that are bound to become more prominent and important over the season to come. A good start to what promises to be a very intriguing series; Happiness looks good value so far, despite a slightly slower follow-up.