Where Is Ji-O?
Episode 9 of L.U.C.A: The Beginning begins with Goo-Reum cradling her baby while Yi-Son threatens her, telling the girl not to act up and to do exactly as they say. A knock at the door brings in Captain Choi who brings baby clothes and toys. Only, Goo-Reum is not exactly happy to see him.
He dodges her questions and asks outright exactly where Ji-O is. When Goo-Reum tells him she doesn’t know, Choi admits that the two bodies found outside are definitely her parents. Goo-Reum is not so sure he’s telling the truth though, but Choi hands over a photo of her family.
She asks him to run a DNA test; if he can do that then she agrees to talk. Yi-Son loses his temper but does eventually agree to the test. It turns out all of this is being fabricated though, given the DNA test has been prepared in advance by Cheol-Soo to confirm it’s definitely her parents.
Meanwhile, Ji-O meets Won-Yi at a secluded, run-down apartment where he’s hiding out. He’s despairing in the wake of what’s happening and is determined to find Goo-Reum. He decides to stake out the police station, given it’s the only way to catch a lead.
Won-Yi decides to do it himself to save his friend from being put in harm’s way. It’s a touching moment, one that sees the two finally on the same page.
After the DNA test fraud, Cheol-Soo heads back to LUCA where he meets Jung-A and Manager Jung. It turns out Manager Jang is now Deputy Chief and she’s in line to take over his position.
Jung-A is doing some serious damage control, as we find out what happened that night. It turns out Ha Young-Jae joined the research team because he wanted to create a human being that never got sick.
Joong-Kwon didn’t have those same ideas, instead wanting to create a dangerous and unpredictable step forward for humanity in the form of Ji-O. Young-Jae actually took the child because he wanted to guarantee his family’s safety. He reached out to another NIS department, showing himself to be a whistleblower.
Cheol-Soo was the one who killed Young-Jae who was still alive and survived the electric blast that consumed the car. Cheol-Soo was the one to eventually kill him. In fact, on the back of this and the other mistakes he’s made, they’ve decided to pay Cheol-Soo off and get rid of him.
Goo-Reum obviously doesn’t know this, as Captain Choi turns up with all the evidence showing that Ji-O has killed her parents. She doesn’t believe it though, thinking that he may have been set up. When this doesn’t work, Choi changes his tactic slightly and turns his attention to the baby.
It’s here he suddenly realizes that Ji-O is the father to her child. Midway through talking, Jung-A rings and tells him that Cheol-Soo is off the case and no longer working with LUCA. This gives Choi an incentive to walk away, telling him to let Goo-Reum go.
Cheol-Soo instead turns his attention to Yi-Son and tells him to collect up as many ruthless guys as he can. They’re going to burn the villa and the lab down, starting a war against those who have betrayed him. Sensing that this could cause some casualties, Yi-Son arrives to see Yoo-Na and tells her to watch out.
Won-Yi immediately sets to work plotting against Kim Yoo-Cheol. He and Ji-O intend to kidnap Kim Yoo-Cheol. Only, Choi and the other officers show up and begin drinking with him, throwing a spanner in the works.
Ji-O decides to handle this himself and knocks out Won-Yi. While he waits outside, listening to the cops talk, Yoo-Cheol deduces that Ji-O may have killed the child and Goo-Reum with his electric powers. Just then, they check outside and notice Ji-O staring through the window.
They chase him up an alleyway as he tells them all that he needs to talk. After shrugging off the other officers he confronts Choi and asks outright exactly where Ji-O is. In fact, he even kidnaps the Captain and asks the same questions again, albeit in a far more aggressive manner.
Goo-Reum is currently with Cheol-Soo who spills the truth about the cult and the researching. He even breaks the news that Young-Jae and Joong-won were lab partners. He spins the story about Young-Jae and the car, claiming that Ji-O killed her parents that very night.
Cheol-Soo suddenly receives a call from Ji-O via Choi’s phone, demanding to know where she is. Instead, he gives a time and place to meet.
That place happens to be LUCA headquarters, as Ji-O bursts in purposefully and demands to know where his partner is. He holds Yoo-Na up by the throat but she stabs him through the stomach. Eventually he throws her on the ground, but not before smashing the back of her head hard against the table.
Bleeding out, Ji-O leaves her a crumpled heap on the floor. With Ji-O gone, Yi-Son shows up and see his old friend dying. He grits his teeth, determined to find Ji-O and make him pay.
Unfortunately this brings Yi-Son straight to Won-Yi, demanding he call Ji-O. Holding his fingers, Won-Yi tells Ji-O to run, as Yi-Son kicks him in the face several times. With a lead pipe in hand, Ji-O shows up and watches as Won-Yi is hit in the face. Ji-O can only grit his teeth and watch.
The Episode Review
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you never judge a book by its cover. What the heck happened to this episode? After the time jump, L.U.C.A seems to have lost some of its spark (no pun intended) and despite giving some crucial answers, loses the urgency that the earlier episodes had in abundance.
In terms of plot consistency and logic, both of those things have now gone. Goo-Reum plays up the damsel in distress, cradling her baby and not even thinking about escaping. Given how many blows to the head she’s survived, could she not have thrown herself into the glass and into the water below? I know it’s risky but surely better than being held captive. And it’s made even worse when Choi – the turncoat – shows up and tells Goo-Reum that Ji-O killed her parents.
Given how she herself has been framed by these people, there’s no way this would work and fool her. At the same time though I guess you could argue that Goo-Reum having a child gives her something to hold onto now. It still doesn’t quite excuse her personality suddenly doing a 180 turn though.
Meanwhile we have flakey Won-Yi who hasn’t exactly been a model friend up until this point. He was the one who took the first opportunity to phone the police, lying to Ji-O and eventually telling him to forget about his family and move on. And that ending, with Yi-Won hitting him in the face – why didn’t Ji-O just use his powers? The cycle of Yi-Won being hit with an electric shockwave may have been broken but it’s done so at the expense of logic.
Still, with 3 episodes to go it seems highly doubtful that this one will be wrapped up with a compelling outcome. It’s too bad that Yoo-Na had to die too as she’s far more interesting than Yi-Won. Still, we’ll have to wait and see what this one has up its sleeve but based on this showing, LUCA feels like more of a missed opportunity than it perhaps should.