K-Drama Review: “He is Psychometric” Highlights Lingering Effects Of Trauma & How Decisions Impact Lives
It took fourteen years, but finally the mystery surrounding the Yeongseong apartment complex fire has been solved.
He is Psychometric took its viewers to an emotion-filled ride and it was fun to watch. Questions were answered, however, instead of feeling relieved as the truth came out, old wounds reopened, and painful memories resurfaced. Lee An, as much as he tried to deny the involvement of the person he treated as his brother, could no longer shield himself from the reality.
TITLE: HE IS PSYCHOMETRIC
THEMES: ROMANCE, DRAMA, MYSTERY, SUPERNATURAL, CRIME, INVESTIGATION
LENGTH: 16 EPISODES
BROADCAST DATE: 11 MAR 2019 – 30 APR 2019
MAIN LEADS: PARK JIN YOUNG, SHIN YE EUN, KIM KWON, KIM DA SOM
HIGHLIGHTS: ENGAGING CHARACTERS AND PLOT
DRAWBACK: UNNECESSARY CHARACTER DEATH
RELATED DRAMAS: COME AND HUG ME
He is Psychometric took on an emotional and darker second act. The secret that surrounded the residential complex fire not only carried the true identity of the instigator, but also involved a crime committed long ago and corruption from those in power.
Quick Plot Roundup
An apartment complex fire deeply affected the lives of Lee An, Kang Sung Mo and Yoon Jae In. Though Lee An lost his parents in the tragedy fourteen years ago, he formed a filial bond with Kang Sung Mo, the teenager who saved his life. He also discovered he has a psychometric ability, which he struggled to deal with. Meanwhile, Yoon Jae In mostly lived her teenage years with anxiety and panic attacks every time talks about her family came up. Her father went to jail because of the apartment fire.
After years of trying to figure out the events surrounding the tragic incident, Lee An and Yoon Jae In would have to face the hard truth. Their past is trying to catch up with them as more evidences are casting doubts on the guilt of Jae In’s father and shifting focus to another serious crime connected to Kang Sung Mo’s childhood.
Finale Week Quick Recap
In a surprising turn of events, Kang Sung Mo shows up at the police station. He wants the authorities to release his mother and he says he is going to give his statements regarding the situation. During the interrogation Kang Sung Mo admits Jo Eun Joo is his mother. He also reveals that he and his mom were victims of Kang Geun Taek. The man abducted his mother, got her pregnant with him and trapped them for nine years.
After telling his version of the events, Lee An confronts his brother. As soon as he touches him he sees visions of a wounded Kang Geun Taek. He wants Kang Sung Mo to disclose his location, but his brother only tells him they will talk once he gets home. Kang Sung Mo apologizes to Lee An for keeping the identity of his mother secret. He says that he fears for his mother’s life because Kang Geun Taek is still on the loose and he knew he is trying to find her.
After figuring out the whereabouts of Kang Geun Taek they inform the police. Lee An, together with Yoon Jae In and Officer Nam Dae Nam, go to unit 702 where the murders took place. They find Kang Geun Taek unconscious but breathing. As memories of that fateful night flood Lee An’s visions, he is devastated to finally find out who the real culprit is.
Kang Sung Mo surrenders and he will serve a 13-year prison sentence while the court hands out the death penalty to Kang Geun Taek. The ledger that Sung Mo hid in the painting’s canvas, exposes the corruption of YSS Construction. Commissioner Eun backs up the exposition, resigns from his post and apologizes to the public. He promises to cooperate with the investigation.
Jae In’s father got out of prison and she has become a full-pledged officer. Lee An is also taking the exam to become one. The other police officers who worked with them are aware of his psychometric ability. He finally visits Kang Sung Mo in prison. He and Jae In are also moving forward in their relationship as they decide to live together, with Jae In’s father and aunt.
The opening scene, where a woman tried to escape unnoticed and then the ensuing fire, held my attention. Because it opened mysteries the drama would solve as the story progressed. True enough, the writer managed to keep the narrative intriguing up to the biggest reveal. I have always known that somehow Kang Sung Mo has something to do with the fire. But I did not expect he had a hand with the murders as well. I enjoyed discovering his past and the way the drama reveled it, earned major plus points from me. The relationships between each character were given enough spotlight that my heart was breaking with Lee An when he finally found out the depth of Kang Sung Mo’s involvement.
Appealing and relatable characters
Though the drama involved crimes and has taken a darker tone in its second half, the characters remained engaging. Jae In’s intelligence complemented Lee An’s simple approach to, basically, everything. As a result, it made things easy for him to further develop his ability. Kang Sung Mo, despite his condition, somehow warmed up to Detective Eun Ji Soo, Jae In and Lee An.
As a viewer, it was easy to empathize with the characters and understand the motivations behind their actions. His traumatic childhood and inheriting his father’s condition, made it easy to understand Kang Sung Mo’s response. I just wished he chose a different path. Lee An’s reaction after finding out the truth was also relatable. Though I can only imagine how it must have hurt him deeply, Park Jin Young’s take on his character clearly shows the right emotions, given the situation.
That Character Death
It’s always a bummer when one of the good characters die, but I do understand that this particular move is necessary to up the emotional response. However, there are times when a certain character death is not essential. Such is the case with Detective Eun Ji Soo’s demise. She was the only character in the entire series who was not blinded or emotionally scarred by the tragedy.
She was not afraid to butt heads with her father especially when she discovered his father’s involvement in the Yeongseong Apartment fire case. Even though she has unrequited feelings for Kang Sung Mo, she was still the first person who ran off to save him. She treated Lee An like a brother and the moment she found out that Jae In’s father was not the culprit, she did not hesitate to ask for forgiveness.
The confrontation at the subway station was emotionally-charged enough, kudos to the actors, and having her injured elicited a strong response from Kang Sung Mo. I was glad that he was able to show her that he actually cared. She already knew that Sung Mo has a condition, but to see him cry in front of her as she clung onto life must have been quite a revelation. However, I would have been a much happier viewer, had He is Psychometric not killed off her character.
He is Psychometric is a drama not without faults. But it was one of the dramas this year that I truly enjoyed. Sure, the ending and the way the drama connected its plot points may have been unsatisfactory to some, but I am quite satisfied with it. The people who manipulated the investigation of the apartment fire have their reckoning. Kang Sung Mo got his punishment but with some leniency. This is due to his condition and because he committed the crime as a minor. Kang Geun Taek, for all his craziness deserved the sentence handed out to him. Lee An and Jae In, thankfully, were able to move on from their tragic past and are ready to move forward.
It was sad how the truth deeply damaged Lee An and Kang Sung Mo’s relationship. It was his actions that took the lives of Lee An’s parents. I get that Sung Mo did the things he did given their situation at the time. His desire for a peaceful life for his mother, clouded his reasoning. He did not include in the equation the consequences of his action.
I see that Sung Mo, though he appeared calm and collected, was full of fear. And with his back against the wall, there was nothing he could do but confront the person who drove him to do such deed. He knew he has to pay for his wrongdoings and the guilt must have eaten him from the inside. He tried to make up for it by at least raising Lee An and providing support for Jae In, though it was not enough.
After losing his parents, it was only natural for Lee An to hang on to his rescuer. Although he was grieving and hating his newfound ability, he still had someone he could rely on. It was heartbreaking when his big brother left, but he never lost hope that one day Sung Mo would be back. And although Sung Mo had a different agenda, Lee An was part of the reason for his return.
People have to live through bad experiences and traumatic incidents as a part of life. We may have to go through it in various manners, but the pain is still the same. It really does not matter whether it happened during childhood or as an adult, only one thing is certain – the scars don’t heal easily. Some learned to accept their dark past would not go away and wear it like an armor. There are those who pretend everything is okay even though they are not. There are also individuals who became the very monster they feared their entire lives.
He is Psychometric, beyond its supernatural/fantasy aspect, is really about the stories of people shaken by a tragic past and the choices they made that greatly influenced their present, and somehow, their futures as well. Just like the painting’s message in Lee An’s room, we should all learn from our past and must conduct ourselves properly in the present so we don’t destroy our future. Message well-received.
Photos from tvN.