Inferno At The Church
Episode 3 of L.U.C.A.: The Beginning starts with flashbacks in the past as we see Goo-Reum scared and alone in her house while her parents take Ji-O outside. Lightning crackles across the sky, strobing the black landscape with brilliant flashes of blue and white.
We then cut back to the present. Captain Choi finds the taser and immediately calls on his officers to close up the area and search everyone. Ji-O and Goo-Reum find themselves caught in the middle of this, as Ji-O uses his electrical power, supercharging a mobile and exploding it in a nearby bin.
Chaos grips the area as a fire breaks out. Ji-O uses this distraction to escape with Goo-Reum, fleeing to a secluded area. While this is going on, we cut across to the National Forensic Service, with two doctors confirming that Ji-O’s blood includes a whole mix of DNA. Human, jellyfish, electric eels and even flies are part of the composite mix. This sort of splicing is obviously illegal, but it brings them to discuss Joong-Kwon, the infamous scientist in this field who’s well-know to be a bit insane.
When Yi-Son heads back to the office, he’s given one last chance to catch Ji-O. This time, the soldier is given the incentive of taking one of Ji-O’s arms for himself… but only if he brings him back.
Meanwhile, Goo-Reum awakens and immediately lashes out at Ji-O, who eventually calms her down. Goo-Reum thanks him for saving her as he lets his guard down long enough to slip away.
Only, she waits outside the door and has second thoughts. Ji-O has lost a lot of his memories and doesn’t remember what’s happened. It’s here Goo-Reum discusses the past, and in particular his lightning powers and how he attacked her as a child. Ji-O hangs his head, admitting he has no knowledge of anything beyond fragments of different scenes. Midway through talking though, Ji-O’s hairs stand on end as he realizes someone has arrived. It’s Yi-Won.
Goo-Reum does her best to fight him off but he’s too much and easily overpowers her. When Ji-O starts banging on the door, she does her best to knock him down but the genetically enhanced goon is too much. She’s overpowered but just as things look bleak, Captain Choi and the others show up and rescue her. As they head on after Yi-Won, Goo-Reum lets Ji-O go but tells him to return at 7pm.
In his absence, Yi-Won turns his attention to Goo-Reum, and specifically how it seemed like Ji-O was protecting her. Well, Cheol-Soo mentions that all of this started back when the co-founder of Human Tech took off with Ji-O as a baby. He also grabbed lab notes on his way too.
In a brief flashback, we hear Cheol-Soo mention how he and wife both disappeared…although a flashback betrays that idea by showing Cheol-Soo threaten him and his wife. What’s the real story here?
Meanwhile, the NFS worker, Jong-Hwan, asks Goo-Reum for her help in tracking down Ji-O. He breaks the news about Ji-O’s test results and wants her to look into Joong-Kwon. He’s gone off the radar after his outburst in the past, claiming humanity needs to evolve and stop regressing.
Well, these dangerous thoughts caused him to be expelled, especially on the back of his experiments involving animals. Specifically, his end goal here was to create a sort of hybrid chimera. Learning this spurs Goo-Reum on to try and get some answers.
She returns to the hideout that evening with Ji-O, where he talks about a set of fragmented memories from the past. They’re only glimmers of the horror he went through, including that Academy Loan business card we’ve been seeing. Well, after throwing a French fry at his head, Goo-Reum decides to help him remember his past.
Back at work, Captain Choi questions Goo-Reum over what happened in the subway station and encourages her to take a half day, handing over a new phone. The only trouble is, that phone has been bugged which gives away her location to Yi-Son.
As she heads off, she joins Ji-O as they arrive at a secluded church that may hold the key to unlocking his past. She encourages Ji-O to keep quiet while they head in to visit Sister Stella. This used to be a children’s home but hasn’t housed children for quite a while. Goo-Reum asks about the past, specifically what happened 20 years prior involving Ji-O. Stella claims not to know anything… until the name of Ji-O is brought up.
Apparently Ji-O came on his own and was standing by a statue of the Virgin Mary. Repeating his own name like a mantra, Stella admits she doesn’t remember the exact date he arrived but does remember key pieces of his past.
He was adopted numerous times but every time he was taken away, they’d only keep the child for a day before bringing him back, terrified of his powers. It turns out Ji-O was responsible for blinding Sister Stella and also burned the church down too. Sister Stella claims he has a demon inside him, prompting Ji-O to suddenly speak up. She touches his face, shaking the entire time, and realizes that what he says rings true.
Sister Stella hurries out and prays, claiming again that Ji-O is a demon. When he looks at a stained glass window, memories suddenly come flooding back including flames consuming the church and the sisters all praying for the demon inside him to leave.
Constantly spraying him in holy water, Ji-O suddenly let his electric powers be known. And just like before, Ji-O loses control of his powers in the present and screams at Stella to stop, exploding and causing the church to set on fire again.
The Episode Review
L.U.C.A.: The Beginning bows out with another strong episode this week, one that starts to dive into Ji-O’s mysterious past and bring more of the puzzle pieces together. This cat and mouse game between Ji-O and Yi-Son feels quite similar to that in the Bourne Supremacy where Bourne is chased by a Russian madman.
Much like that film series, Ji-O continues to wrestle with his memory, unable to piece together what actually happened to him in the past. At a guess, it seems like Goo-Reun’s parents could be the founders of Human Tech but for a very different purpose than what it’s used for now.
The company may well have run into financial difficulties and relied on the strange cult of L.U.C.A. for funding, which warped the purpose of the project more to the liking of Joong-Kwon with his experiments. I’m sure we’ll find out more over time though.
For now, L.U.C.A. delivers another very good episode, with pockets of comedy sprouting up through the bromance between Captain Choi and Yoo-Cheol. The former is played by Kim Sang-Ho who I must admit, is one of my favourite actors right now. He has a knack for showing up in a lot of the more interesting sci-fi projects, bringing a unique charm and enthusiasm every time he shows up on screen.
That’s not to take anything away from the other cast members in this one though, as L.U.C.A continues to deliver a compelling mystery alongside its dramatic storyline. Quite what will happen next remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure – this one is far from over.