Who Am I?
Episode 1 of Open Your Eyes Season 1 begins with a young woman waking up in bed. Sporting wrist bands and a strange patch of burned skin, the time turns 7am and exudes some crucial exposition.
This girl is 17, both her parents are deceased and she’s suffering from a nasty bout of amnesia. There are tidbits of other information here, spilled by this cold, monotonous voice rising up from the black boxed alarm clock. This girl has no name and is simply referred to as “NN”.
Well, NN has spent the last four days in the Second Chance amnesia clinic. How did she get there? And why? It’s certainly an intriguing mystery, and as NN steps out her room, she begin exploring her surroundings.
NN soon runs into a number of other kids, they too seem to be unsure how long they’ve been in this place. They’ve all chosen their own names for now, as the doctor, Zofia, finally shows up while the other kids are playing ping pong. She speaks to NN, telling her she’ll see her in therapy.
There are a number of different people here, and each are encouraged to take a pill with their meal. NN is suitably sceptic as a recurring motif of ravens outside continues to be teased across the episode.
NN’s therapy session finally goes ahead but Zofia refuses to disclose our protagonist’s name. She does, however, confirm that each day is like starting anew but with tiny snippets of NN’s life confirmed. It seems like her brain is blocking off her memories – but why? What happened?
Well, Zofia and this facility seem to be there to help extract this information. When NN spins the mug around to hold it by the handle, it brings back small flashes of her past. Specifically, memories of NN camping with a woman who could well be her aunt. Just as they’re starting to make progress, a cry from outside see security rush off to pin down a girl named Magda.
It takes three men to hold her down, leaving NN to look through Zofia’s notes about her amnesia. It seems our protagonist is suffering from a particularly complicated case with retrograde (long-term and short-term memory loss before an accident in her past) as well as anterograde amnesia, which means memory loss for things that are happening right now.
That evening while lying in bed, NN hears whispers calling out for a woman named Karolina. It’s a brief moment but it could well be a crucial clue. Asking Zofia, she claims there’s no one there by that name. It’s hard to tell if she’s being truthful or not though.
Still, NN is more interested in an inmate named Adam, who happens to be playing a classical song on a piano she recognizes; Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune.’
These concerns follow NN to lunch, as she sits with the other kids. The attention here turns to a small girl whom NN seems to know from somewhere. Her name is Aniela and she has no home. In fact, she sits alone at the table and raps her fingers.
This song eventually manifests itself later on in the evening again when NN first meets Adam. She helps NN to play, and it’s here she instinctively says her name too – Julia. It does seem like Adam could be the key to everything but just as things start to make sense, Magda bursts into her room later on, telling Julia to find Karolina and that everything here is an illusion.
As we cut across to Zofia, she holds a case file on Julia, listed “arson”.
The Episode Review
Open You Eyes is certainly intriguing and takes the age old trope of amnesia and spins that with the concept of something like Promised Neverland, with drip-fed bits of exposition across the run-time.
It works well so far and the reveal that there’s more going on here than first meets the eye is certainly interesting. On a slightly different note, it’s a bit mystifying why Netflix chose to spoil NN’s real name being Julia in the description for the episode. It sounds silly but it’s a bit disappointing given it spoils one of the major revelations this episode.
Still, it seems like Julia may well have a history of arson but how deep this rabbit hole goes remains to be seen. For now, the episode bows out with a promising sign of things to come.