K-Drama Premiere: “Search” Sets A Pretext For A Bloody Encounter Against An Unknown Target
Intriguingly wrapped in a mysterious identity, an evil nemesis thrives in asserting its power. OCN’s Search heroes lay everything on the line without any clue yet.
Search’s premiere week frames the story’s mystery with a puzzling prologue. The story goes back as far as the year 1997 with a bloody encounter. However, something is being kept as a secret about that incident.
Meanwhile, the number of inexplicable death occurrences continues to rise. It implies that the enemy possesses extraordinary capabilities which our heroes cannot measure yet. What awaits the bewildering turn of events at the DMZ?
Premiere Week Recap
Twenty-three years ago, a North Korean woman, with a baby in her arms, crosses the border. She wants to escape the cruelty that awaits her in the hands of the North Korean soldiers. As she meets the South Korean forces, she pleads them to accept her as a defector.
However, the North Korean troop warns their counterparts about their disagreement with the defection request from their comrade. The woman bargains to, at least, allow her child to be freed. Fortunately, her request is granted.
Just when things are about to end peacefully, a South Korean soldier fires his gun to fatally shot a North Korean soldier. A bloody encounter ensues. The woman dies but her child, luckily, survives.
The Mysterious Powerful Enemy
Fast forward to the present time, the baffling deaths and disappearances take place at the DMZ area. The military plans to create a special search party to investigate on this bewildering events.
As they lack evidences on hand, they suspect that killings are done by wild animals roaming around the area. But the disturbing death of a soldier, whose body was found in the woods, makes the situation even more inauspicious.
The autopsy report found a strange bite on the cadaver’s neck. But the bite is too peculiar to conclude that it came from a wild dog or wolf. Rabies is also ruled out as the cause of the soldier’s death.
Meanwhile, Yong Dong-jin (Jang Dong Yoon) is excited about his nearing discharge. Dong-jin is a military dog expert with the rank of a sergeant. He pets and trains, Leo, a German shepherd dog whom he has a special attachment with.
One of his final assignments is to patrol at the Sector 21, an area within the DMZ. The reconnaissance task is to uncover the culprit behind the killings. One of the officers assigned to lead the operation is First Lieutenant Son Ye Rim (Krystal Jung). She is part of the intelligence unit of the military.
The Start Of A Tedious Battle
As they deploy and position themselves, the mysterious enemy begins to appear. However, it is too far from their vantage point that they fail to determine what it is. What is certain is that the enemy is of extraordinary strength. It has the speed and power capable to massively destroy anything.
The military dog, Leo, instinctively runs towards the enemy. Unfortunately, he is fatally attacked by the heinous creature which kills him on the spot.
The troop retreats upon realizing that the enemy is beyond their power. Dong-jin is inconsolably devastated by the death of Leo.
Back at the camp, Dong-jin, who is just three weeks away from discharge, is in danger of being tried at the court martial for a case of mishandling a military asset. The asset being referred to was Leo who died at the battle scene. Having a deep affection for Leo, he feels offended as the dog was deduced to a mere asset than a living thing.
He strongly denies the accusations about his negligence. Speaking rudely to his superior, it, however, leads him to a temporary detainment .
There he meets Captain Song Min-kyu (Yoon Park) who is also facing a separate trial and is in danger of being dismissed from service. Out of frustration, he speaks proudly towards Captain Song unaware that he is talking to a superior officer. But Captain Song indirectly asserts his superiority and calmly warns Dong-jin to never look down on him.
An Undisclosed Truth From The Past
A hint is given that there is a secret behind the fatal encounter at Section 21 of the DMZ in 1997. The concealed truth is kept between the Commanding Officer of the military and the National Assembly man, Mr. Lee Hyuk.
They are referring to something that needs to be protected at all cost. Both men were soldiers who were present during the battle in 1997.
In connection to that event, the baby that was defected by the North Korean mother turns out to be Lieutenant Son Ye-rim. One of the soldiers adopted her as his own daughter.
The Commanding Officer finally orders to formally organize a search team. As nobody wants to participate in the special operation, he chooses Captain Song Min-kyu to lead the team. The commanding officer is certain that he would abide by the order in exchange for the absolution of his case before the court martial. As expected, Captain Song gladly accepts the challenge.
In addition, Dong-jin, against his will, is also handpicked to be part of the search team. This means that his military service would extend indefinitely.
Meanwhile, Ye-rim is so immersed in understanding the cause of the soldier’s death. She goes inside the autopsy room to check on the corpse, which to her surprise, is gone.
What happens next is a horrifying scene as the dead soldier comes back to life. But this time, he appears as a zombie-like creature which chases Ye-rim to gruesomely attack her.
Engrossing Suspenseful Scenes
Adrenaline-pumping scenes were already shown in the premiere week of the series. The idea that the protagonists are still blinded about the identity of their enemy while it ceaselessly asserts its evil dominance heightens the thrill.
Tracing the root of all the evilness is not just a long process but also a dangerous one. It was especially true when Dong-jin’s beloved dog, Leo, has been killed on the spot by the unknown creature.
Moreover, the uncanny enemy has its way of keep itself from humans that it’s almost impossible to gauge its strength and identify its weakness. In such sense, too many lives could be sacrificed.
While Search heavily threads on thrill and mystery, it also offers a romantic arc as its sub-narrative.
It was revealed that Dong-jin and Ye-rim had a romantic relationship in the past. The reason, for their parting, however was not disclosed yet. Interestingly, they have maintained a respectful casual relationship. Even so, every interaction between the two is worth watching.
More Sinister Things Unfolding
The premiere week ended with a creepy scene where the dead soldier shockingly woke up but transformed into a monstrous creature. While the reason is still unclear, it signaled the advent of a more ominous things ahead. All the questions are mounting while the Search heroes are oblivious that the enemy’s power is just within arm’s reach.
Premiere Week Afterthoughts
Search‘s opening week showed a promising action-packed thriller. The first two episodes already dropped attention-grabbing scenes just enough to rouse curiousity for what to come.
The pacing is quite fast which is one of the drama’s strong point. The performances of the actors are commendable as well. Each character easily made a positive impression- from the leads to the supporting roles.
One of the things that I look forward to in the premiere episodes of mystery thrillers is the proper framing of the issues to be uncovered through the course of the story.
With Search, I’m glad that they have laid down the framework of the conflict at the second episode. It begs the question about the secret behind Sector 21. What transpired on that day besides the bloody battle?
Does it have something to do with the present murderous occurrences at the DMZ? What kind of creature is the target enemy and what are its capabilities?
With two completed episodes, I’m glad to say that my enthusiasm to follow the story until the end did not waver. It would be thrilling to see what lies ahead for our Search heroes.
Search is aired every Saturdays and Sundays via OCN. It also available for streaming through iQIYi
Images and videos: OCN
Streaming platform: iQIYI