Parasyte: The Grey – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Su-in’s Struggles

Episode 1 of Parasyte: The Grey begins with a big question about the population decreasing. If it could be dropped in half, would the environment and our impact on the planet diminish? And is this guy Thanos? The answer is no to the latter, it’s actually the sporadic thoughts about humanity, as a whole bunch of strange alien spheres drop from the sky to the ground.

We then cut to a rave, where a woman is up throwing EDM music out to a crowd full of people. One of these orbs finds its way onto the balcony and it opens up, revealing a strange grey parasite inside. It heads backstage and infects the DJ’s brother sitting on the side. It enters his ear and controls his movements.¬†Once it gains control, this alien turns the rave into a bloodbath, bursting out the guy’s head and turning him into a tentacled creature, killing everyone in sight.

We then get a look at our protagonist of the show some time in the future, Su-in. She works behind the counter at a check-out and after a rude customer reprimands her, he ends up following her home. In fact, he smashes straight into her bike and then proceeds to stab her constantly with a knife.

Su-in tries to stumble away, but she passes out on the ground. As she does, another of those spheres drops just next to where Su-in is. And as this crazy murderer stalks Su-in… he’s suddenly sliced in half by an invisible force. The man cut is Lee Kyung-chun and he’s not only got priors for violent crimes, he’s also schizophrenic too.

However, the detectives at the station are unclear exactly how he died. He’s been cut clean in half but given Su-in was passed out at the time, they can’t explain it. Things soon become stranger though. Su-in is actually okay and her wounds have healed up into scars. She’s been brought to the hospital and when she awakens, she seems to be in full health. So what’s happened to her? Well it seems like this alien parasite has gone inside her, evidenced by flashes to Su-in spasming on the ground that night.

We then cut forward a few months later. A man named Seol Kang-woo is part of a gang called the Mangnanis and is tasked with killing the leader of the rival gang, Yeongdeungpo. He shows up at a club, brandishes a knife and looks set to kill him… but the whole plan goes awry and he’s forced to flee.

As a result of this botched operation, Kang-woo is forced to lay low. He ditches his cell phone and shows up back home, a house in a rural area. His sister, Kyung-hee, is acting really strange, while she says that their younger sister Jin-hee is “around” but is intentionally vague about it. However, Kang-woo does find Jin-hee’s phone in the top drawer of the dresser and a flyer on the mirror for something called the Saejin Church Revival Prayer Meeting. This is connected to everything, and the parasites appear to be forming some sort of cult together.

We get confirmation of that not long after, as they lure an unsuspecting guy who hires an escort into an abandoned building. The parasites reveal themselves and look set to hurt him. However, armed guards suddenly burst into the warehouse and a big fight breaks out. These parasites are incredibly strong and throw filing cabinets across the hallway at the soldiers but the guards are well-trained and manage to subdue the aliens.

As we soon learn, the parasites can also detect their own kin through their ears ringing, which is worth noting for what happens next.

For now, the attack ends with the head of the operation surveying the damage. This is Choi Jun-kyung and she realizes that the parasites are working together. She finds a locked door and has her subordinates break it open. Inside, they find body parts and a symbol for that church we’ve seen earlier in the episode.

Meanwhile, Su-in is back at work as usual. Her scars are healing up and she’s in contact with Detective Chul-min too, who happens to be the guy we saw earlier on investigating her case. Su-in is also experiencing strangeness, thanks to that parasite. Her ears ring in alarm and she starts to see the people around her in a different light. She’s now on the radar for the parasites, who communicate with one another and corner her late at night. Kyung-hee is among them, and she confirm that Su-in is kin. She hands over a flyer for the church, telling her to come visit.

Kang-woo happens to be listening to all of this but unfortunately, Su-in’s parasite hears too and threatens him. The parasite forces him to play ball or suffer a painful death. When Su-in awakens, Kang-woo explains hat this larvae wormed inside her and spent its time patching up her wounds, meaning it couldn’t eat her brain. Su-in is basically two different people and a mutant. After telling her what the parasite wants, he heads back home.

Su-in heads home and writes in her diary “Is there really someone else in my body?” and after losing 5 minutes in the blink of an eye, she awakens to find that the parasite has answered her. Yes, there is someone else and the parasite needs to explains their condition in detail. Ask your questions, it says, and I will answer.

Of course, this is very different to the anime, where little migi is actually sentient and alongside our protagonist, but the diary will suffice for now. Now, this parasite can only take over her body for up to 15 minutes a day, and it wil use that time to protect her no matter what. She needs to be careful though because if her kin suspect she’s a mutant, they will try to kill her. And she’s also got a video of the parasite on her phone too to validate all of this.

Meanwhile, a Special Task Force from Seoul show up in town. They have scanners to test for parasite infestation and security has been beefed up in the area too. Jun-kyung is not messing about, and perhaps it’s only a matter of time before Su-in is caught out. A special briefing takes place, with a live subject and word of “body snatchers”. Jun-kyung is head of the task force to track them down and eradicate them. It would appear that the aliens all appeared at the same time so given the scanners have reported back no parasites here, everyone is in the clear.

This Task Force has been strictly controlling all information in regards to the parasitic organism, being sure that this doesn’t leak to the media. They explain that these aliens have actually appeared all over the world but we’re only focusing on Korea for now. In order to kill these parasites, they need to destroy the heart completely and a small pistol won’t do the trick. Remember this, as it’ll come in handy later in the series.

The group need a big shotgun or a special knife to take them out. In order to test for people they suspect may be parasites, all they need to do is pluck a hair and it should disintegrate. Given Chul-min is in attendance, he starts to suspect Su-in.

To make things even more crazy, Jun-kyung’s husband has actually been infected by the parasite. She’s using him as a sort of sensor, given his super hearing, and keeping him alive to root out the place where the parasites are congregating. This explains how she managed to find the parasites in the apartment building. Jun-kyung is blinded by revenge and that could well lead her on a collision course with Su-in.


The Episode Review

Trying to compete with Parasyte: The Maxim was always going to be tough. That anime is so well constructed and has a lot of intriguing elements to it that makes for a riveting watch. As for Parasyte: The Grey, the basic lore is still the same but the story is very different. The way Su-in interacts with her parasite is, perhaps, a little disappointing given what we know about Migi in the anime, but it does work rather well in the context of a more serious storyline.

The drama involving Saejn Church is a nice touch, and adding in this wildcard of Kang-woo could be a nice way of tying the storylines around the church and Su-in together. It’s certainly not perfect, but the first episode does an okay job and it’ll be interesting to see what direction this one takes next.

 

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Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!

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