Episode 1 of The Road: The Tragedy of One starts in the tranquility of a forest. As the camera pans out, a hunter pierces the air with a blinding shot, hitting a deer. Stepping toward his prey, Baek Soo-Hyun looks down at the devastation as Chairman Seo arrives too with his gun.
There’s no love lost between this Father and Son-in-law though, typified by Soo-Hyun grabbing the gun and holding it up to his face. He shoots a deer behind Seo but the intention is still very clear.
We then jump forward to a day before the kidnapping incident. Soo-Hyun is a respected anchorman and there’s a big case he’s currently working on. All of this stems from a tablet found in a locker. Within this there seems to be slush funds used to fund the campaign of Assemblyman Hwang Tae Seop. This single incident is essentially a war declaration, dropping a massive bombshell on the administration.
While most in the station are happy with Soo-Hyun’s work, Press Secretary Yeo-Jin Kwon is not. She’s unhappy that Soo-Hyun has defied her plans but given their channel is currently ranking number 1, there’s not much she can do. All she does, however, is paint a big bullseye on her own back as Soo-Hyun starts to suspect she could be involved.
All of this drama though rests on obtaining the original copy of the documents detailing misplaced funds we’ve been hearing about. As Soo-Hyun heads out, Kwon meets her contact, Cha Seo-Young. Seo-Young certainly has history with Soo-Hyun though, and after a frosty reception in the main lobby, our protagonist heads down to the basement and finds a red envelope on his car.
This was delivered by a former employee, who seems to have taken the blame for something that occurred between them in the past. For now, it’s not initially clear what that was.
After a busy day, Soo-Hyun heads home to his wife. They live up in a rich part of town, called Royal the Hill, complete with gates and security guards around the perimeter. Echoes of Sky Castle bleed through here, as we catch a glimpse of the rich elite, living in seclusion away from everyone else.
We then jump forward to the day of the kidnapping. Soo-Hyun receives a tip-off to collect the original documents and arrives at a secluded, run-down warehouse. There, he greets Yoon Dong Pil.
This man is living under a new identity because of the news breaking about the funds. The thing is, if these original documents leak then it paints a huge target on Dong-Pil’s back. In order to hand them over though, Dong Pil drives a hard bargain and asks for a substantial amount of money. He also decides to use Soo-Hyun’s son, Yeon-Woo, as collateral.
Just as things get heated, a whole bunch off goons show and start attacking Dong Pil. Soo-Hyun jumps in to stop this, which gives Dong Pil enough time to slip away.
When Soo-Hyun awakens, he finds out his son is at the baseball field. He races up and immediately scoops him up, taking Yeon-Woo back home. While Soo-Hyun is having a shower, his wife Eun-Soo rings a contact and tells them to wait.
There’s a big fundraiser coming up and all the main players are in attendance. Among those is Chairman Seo, who questions just where Dong-Pil is. Well, he’s there all right, just hiding in the background and puffing cigarettes like a chimney.
The place chosen for this event (for those keen k-drama enthusiasts) seems to be the same mansion we saw in Sisyphus: The Myth. Anyway, Seo steps up to the podium and greets everyone, admitting that he’s written up a will and blanketing an uneasy sense of dread over the whole evening.
While Dong-Pil slips away, Soo-Hyun tries ro find him. While this is going on, things grow heated between Eun-Soo and Bae Kyung-Sook. A glass is smashed on the ground and it takes Soo-Hyun’s intervention to avoid things getting ugly.
However, in all this commotion Yeon Woo goes missing. Dong-Pil blames Soo-Hyuk for almost getting caught and races away from the mansion. The sound of a car crashing can be heard but it doesn’t stop Soo-Hyun from racing back home. There, he receives a call from the kidnapper. Whether it’s really Dong-Pil or not at this point is still debatable. Anyway, he asks for 2.5 billion won in cryptocurrency within the hour.
This inevitably brings So0-Hyun to Seo to try and settle things. Now, if Seo hands over the money to free Yeon-Woo, Soo-Hyuk will be forced to go on the regional election in a few months and give up the scandalous story he’s pursing too. Begrudgingly, he agrees.
As Soo-Hyun takes off, a car follows in hot pursuit. With a tail, Soo-Hyun is given another location to travel to and instructions from the kidnapper to lose whoever is behind him. Unfortunately things don’t go to plan. Soo-Hyun makes it to his location but on his way down the stairs to see Yeon-Woo, he’s knocked out by someone and left unconscious on the ground.
Thankfully, Soo-Hyun kept his GPS tracker on, allowing Eun-Soo to bring the paramedics in to help. Soo-Hyun is rushed to hospital but Yeon-Woo is still gone. Detective Seok-hun (someone from Soo-Hyun ‘s past) shows up and has grim news. A young boy has been found out in the woods. Soo-Hyuk is beside himself with grief. Only…it’s not actually Yeon Woo. No, the boy that’s been killed is actually Yeon Woo’s friend, Ju-Yeong.
Yeon Woo is still alive though, and as the camera pans up from him quietly sleeping in bed, it shows Chairman Seo looking down at him.
The Episode Review
Thee Road: The Tragedy of One stats off with a pretty lengthy but gripping episode that immediately sets the tone and mood for what’s to follow. This thriller is certainly a bit of a slow burn but it works well in the context of the story.
The acting in this series has been fantastic so far and the whole kidnapping plot plays out perfectly on the back of a complicated web of deceit, gameplaying and shady characters.
Now, it would seem very obvious that Chairman Seo is the one who kidnapped Yeon-Woo and it makes sense given he wants the bury evidence. But is there more going on here? It could well be the psychotic Kyung-Sook too, especially after the desperation shown in her face on the back of the will announcement. Either way, this sets things up for a tantalizing follow-up tomorrow.
The actual story works quite well with a lot of interesting characters still to be explored. It’s way too early in the game to be making many assumptions but this one is definitely shaping up to be an intriguing entry on the k-drama calendar.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|