The Coming War
Episode 4 of Sisyphus The Myth begins in 2035 as we see Sae-Hae removing her gas mask and exploring a post apocalyptic Seoul. As the camera pans out, we catch a glimpse of this ruinous world, complete with hiccups of green shrubbery clinging to the side of long-abandoned buildings.
Seo-Hae checks out the remains of a body in a car before scouting the area further; urban tombstones of our civilization that serve as a reminder of a time long gone. It turns out she’s looking for batteries, and after exploring Seo-Hae’s radio crackles to life, as she receives instruction to head out and meet at Exit 2.
She evades two guards on the way who arrive on the scene. She watches them leave in their mud-spattered jeep, checking the sign on the front of the shop that encourages Uploaders to contact.
This then brings us back to the present as Tae-Sul and the others watch as the time traveler materializes on the ground. CEO Park mentions how there’s only 10% chance of surviving, with a lower rate of 5% for those who don’t get caught by the Bureau. Despite taking the medicine, it’s all too much for Tae-Sul who vomits on the floor.
Tae-Sul decides to head over and speak to the new arrival, intentionally not giving the key to Park for the time being. A gun is still held up to Seo-Hae’s head. Tae-Sul learns that the suitcase holds this person’s belongings, including some money. They certainly can’t arrive emptyhanded but have to be careful not to get confused in this time period.
The Control Bureau catch a ping on Tae-Sul’s phone and prepare to mobilize as Tae-Sul makes his move. He injects his captor with the syringe while Seo-Hae takes her opportunity to turn the tables and escape from CEO Park and his subordinate. With the Control Bureau closing in, Park is forced to leave emptyhanded.
The traveler grabs Tae-Sul and asks for his help, claiming to know where Tae-San is. Without much of a choice, he grabs the man and begins taking him outside. A cat and mouse chase ensues, as the Control Bureau do their best to capture Tae-Sul before he escapes.
Seo-Hae does her best to buy them some time, fighting off swathes of Control Bureau guards as they show up. Things look bleak for her, as she struggles to get the upper-hand. Tae-Sul takes control of the car though and takes off, leaving Seo-Hae captured for the time being.
Wel, this doesn’t last long as Tae-Sul manages to save Seo-Hae from her ordeal, causing a big car crash but dragging her away to his car – and safety.
Meanwhile, we cut across to see officer Hyeong-Gi with his associate out on patrol. After a touching moment involving Hyeong-Gi and his Mother, they’re called to the scene of a disturbance. They claim that a man appeared in his underwear and took off down the street. This, of course, matches the story surrounding Tae-Sul and his time traveler.
Hyeong-Gi heads off on the hunt to find out what’s happening. Only it’s not actually Tae-Sul, it’s actually the assassin from last episode. He pleads for water but this distraction is just what he needs to choke out Hyeon-Gi.
Suddenly, the Control Bureau arrive and take over, with numerous men in hazmat suits grabbing the assassin and bundling him down to the ground. Unfortunately they also take Hyeong-Gi with them too, given his exposure to this radiation.
Back at the company, Eddie Kim is met by Hyun-Seung who shows up and questions him about Tae-Sul. Specifically, when he spoke to him last. Eddie checks his phone but it’s completely empty, with no messages.
As Hyun-Seung leaves emptyhanded, he tasks his subordinates with making sure they track Tae-Sul’s phone and, in particular, his every move. As we soon find out, this man that Tae-Saul has in his car happens to bee Hyeon-Gi, the police officer from earlier on. He clutches a picture of his Mother and asks to go and check there first before disclosing information about Tae-San.
In the car, Tae-Sul talks to Seo-Hae about the picture he found of the pair married and admits she’s not his type. Eventually the trio make it to Hyeon-Gi’s house where he finds the key where he usually leaves it, under a flowerpot outside.
He heads up and meets his Mother, whose eyesight is pretty bad and can’t clearly see anymore. Hyeon-Gi apologizes for his late arrival and heads in to cook for his Mum. It’s a really touching moment, one that allows him to finally get some quality time with her before she passes away.
At the office, Eddie Kim stamps a seal of approval to confirm that the company is going to change hands and no longer belong to Tae-Sul. This promises to cause a lot of problems going forward for Quantum and Time.
In fact, that’s not the only problem. Seo-Hae admits that there are others after Tae-Sul alongside the Control Bureau. Sigma are another company and want to find him because he’s the one who created the uploader originally.
Seo-Hae has been sent back to protect him and vows to do her best to stop him from creating the machine no matter what. Of course, if that happens it would cause a time paradox and rewrite history, preventing everyone from the future arriving in the present – including Seo-Hae.
Hyeon-Gi arrives and apologizes to the others for what’s about to occur. It turns out Tae-Sul is going to be killed by a sniper and he has the exact date and place too. And just like that, they’re interrupted by the Control Bureau breaking in, with a planned attack to try and take down Tae-Sul and the others.
However, our heroes have their number and fire off a smoke grenade to impair their vision. Gunshots blast through the apartment as the soldiers are taken out one by one by Seo-Hae.
Tae-Sul soon uses his brilliance to turn coke bottles into projectiles, launching them across the lounge to take out the soldiers. Unfortunately Hyeong-Gi is shot and killed in the ensuing conflict. Just before he dies, he tells them that whatever he does now he hopes they’ll forgive him. Drawing his final breath, Tae-Sul and Seo-Hae manage to get away.
The Control Bureau close in on Tae-Sul and Seo-Hae, tracking the registration plate for the car they’re currently in. They use drones to fly overhead quickly, prompting the duo to engage in a high octane car chase, twisting and turning down streets and trying to avoid gunfire.
Well, they manage to do a pretty good job of it, despite four drones swarming around, and outsmart the Control Bureau by taking out each of the drones.
As Tae-Sul and Seo-Hae continue on, they make it to a large bridge but the Control Bureau have their number. They run out of road and find themselves cornered. Both of them make a bold decision and plunge into the water below.
Only, in doing so Seo-Hae is shot and loses grip of Tae-Sul. Both of them end up separated. As Seo-Hae begins to sink, we hear an extract from her diary.
A mysterious woman has written a letter to Seo-Hae, telling her that by the time she reads this she will be dead. She needs to take the Uploader to the past and save Tae-Sul. If he lives, the war can be stopped.
As she floats down, Tae-Sul tries to reach her in time before she drowns.
The Episode Review
Will Seo-Hae survive? Well, if you’ve watched the preview for next week then you already know the answer to that. Even so, Sisyphus has so far kept the tension going for its four episodes and this show is definitely becoming ever more interesting as the episodes tick by.
The idea of Uploaders and the Control Bureau caught in a bitter feud while immigrants jump through time and try to evade them is certainly a neat idea. It’s not wholly original, given last year’s Alice tried this same sort of story. Unlike Alice though, this story isn’t trying to imitate Dark and fall into awful paradoxes, although there are still some questionable elements to this plan.
In a way actually, this show is quite reminiscent of Travelers, although that show has a slightly different idea of sending people back. Even so, this show seems to take the best elements of both those aforementioned shows and roll them into one – and that’s certainly not a bad thing!
The whole idea of these men and women jumping back to kill Tae-Sul is a paradox unto itself if you think about it. If they kill Tae-Sul then everything is rewritten and undone, essentially starting a new timeline. But then if they’re the ones to do it then they themselves would fade completely.
We know the world there has been absolutely ravaged and that 10 minute opener, taking cues from 28 Days Later and letting a character walk through this eerily quiet, bleak landscape, helps to add some big stakes to what everyone is fighting for. There’s definitely a war coming but how bad was it if the world ends up this way?
For now though Sisyphus bows out with a solid episode and the preview for next week seems to hint that we’ll be spending some time with Hyeong-Gi and seeing him recruited to the Control Bureau.
I think it’s fair to say we’ve got a really compelling k-drama on our hands here but whether it can keep up this sort of momentum remains to be seen. Roll on episode 5!