“Dad is always with Geu-Roo”
Episode 1 of Move to Heaven begins with a horrific accident as a boy gets his leg crushed by a machine. Hobbling home, he tries to sleep it off.
Meanwhile, we;’re introduced to our protagonist Geu-Roo, who has Asperger’s syndrome. He stands at an aquarium admiring all the fish. He notices differences between them all, able to name every species and noticing the intricate details of their anatomies.
The aquarists there are incredibly impressed, which prompts Geu-Roo’s best friend Na-Moo to arrive. She picks him up, lavishing praise on him. Only, Geu-Roo doesn’t hear any of this since he has headphones on.
Anyway, Geu-Roo heads home and is greeted warmly by his Father, who makes a delicious breakfast for them both. He runs a company called Move to Heaven, which is used to arrange items left behind by the deceased at their houses. Their latest client is that of a hard-working guy called Seon-U, whom they pay their respects to before emptying out the drawers.
The pair work respectfully together, with Geu-Roo and Jeong-U both working out what sort of life this boy had. They pack away his most precious possessions into one box. Everything else is emptied out.
The pair intend to stop by the funeral on the way, as Jeong-U is clearly troubled by what’s taken place. As they start driving, Geu-Roo notices the convenience store Seon-U used to frequent. Now it becomes apparent that his intent to freshen up after work could well be linked to the cashier there.
As the pair show up at the funeral, Jeong-U notices Seon-U’s boss giving a small severance packet to his Mother, claiming it’s not their fault and they don’t have any responsibility for this. It turns out Seon-U’s Mum is actually deaf, and a translator hands over the box of possessions for them to go through.
Seon-U, as we soon come to learn, is the boy from the start of the episode. His texts confirm he got hurt in a work accident and his boss refused to let him have time off. It’s a heartbreaking turn of events and one that sees Jeong-U unable to listen to Seon-U’s boss berate the deceased and his family any further. It’s disrespectful, especially at the funeral, and Jeong-U grabs the man’s arms and forces him to face Seon-U’s Mum.
He translates her words for him; she hands back the envelope and tells him she doesn’t want it. She won’t trade her son’s life for money.
Meanwhile, Geu-Roo gets into a spot of bother when he follows a nurse into the hospital. It turns out he wanted her badge to give to Seon-U, but it takes Jeong-U arriving to clear up the situation.
When Jeong-U receives a call, he leaves Geu-Roo to watch the fish in the fish tank while he heads upstairs to talk to the lawyer. On his way back, Jeong-U suddenly collapses, clutching his chest in pain. People walk past him while he’s passed out on the ground as Geu-Roo waits patiently in the car.
Jeong-U rings though and apologizes to him. An ambulance races to the scene, taking Jeong-U to hospital. Geu-Roo tries to drive off but it all goes horribly wrong, as he stops on the bridge and holds up traffic.
A police officer knocks on the window but it takes Na-Moo showing to help calm down Geu-Roo. She throws her arms around him and sobs. Jeong-U has passed away.
We then cut forward to the funeral, where Jeong-U’s body has been cremated. Geu-Roo receives the ashes but finds himself frozen to the spot, unwilling to let go. Remembering the last words his Father said, this boy repeats the message: “Dad is always with Geu-Roo” as he tries to piece together his life without his Father.
Some time passes and Ge-Roo’s Uncle shows up. He’s rude, arrogant and smokes inside the house. He’s now living with Geu-Roo and as of this moment, things are about to take a turn for the worst.
The Episode Review
What an emotional opening episode. Move to Heaven delivers a really compelling and heartbreaking chapter, one played to perfection by Tang Joon-Sang. The mannerisms and the speech pattern is absolutely on-point and if there’s one thing Korea excels at it’s acting.
The story gets off to a solid start as well and it seems this drama is going to blend elements of slice of life and healing together to produce a must-watch Netflix original.
With 10 episodes seemingly the norm now for these Korean Netflix Originals, there’s a lot of scope for our character-driven ensemble to step up and deliver some show-stopping performances. From what we’ve seen so far, there’s definitely a lot of promise here.