K-Drama Review: “L.U.C.A.: The Beginning” Levies Thought-Provoking Arguments On What It Means To Be A Human

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Running an interesting biotechnology and genetic engineering premise, L.U.C.A.: The Beginning packed its 12 episodes with flawless storytelling.

All throughout, the underdog vibe yielded empathy. But as the narrative goes along, it touched on meaningful messages about human greed leaving an astounding picture.

L.U.C.A.: The Beginning presented the story of Ji-oh (Z-0) a man genetically amplified to have superior genes from various organisms with elevated features.

That makes him a mortal with top-tier strength who can generate electricity to burst or fatally shock humans. His cell-regeneration is also unrivaled. With his genetically modified features, he has been intended to generate profit and prestige to the group of people who work together for his experimental existence. However, he escapes through the help of another scientist who take pity of his situation.

Years later, he survives but without memories of who he is. When he encounters police officer Gu-reum, the daughter of the scientist who sneaked him out of the laboratory, they collaborate to untangle Ji-oh’s cryptic identity to give light to her parents’ disappearance.


  • Main Leads: Kim Rae Won | Lee Da Hee | Kim Sung Oh
  • Streaming Site: abbyinhallyuland watched L.U.C.A on iQIYI
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  • K-Dramas of Similar Vibe: Duel | Are You Human? | Circle | Rugal |

L.U.C.A.: The Beginning Peak Points *Spoiler Alert

Contemplative & Emotional Hero-Centric Story

Ji-oh’s story adapted the idea of “last universal common ancestor”. In science, it is a microbe suggested to have spurred the life on earth.
From there, the drama of how Ji-oh’s existence became the prime validation of a scientist and a creepy cult spiritual leader both playing gods added emotion to his arduous journey.

Given a life he did not choose, knowing his label as a monster; he persistently still wants to know why he reached that state. He is a flawed hero of his own life who opted to not give up in proving that his monster-like abilities do not define his pure heart as a human. Inescapably though, when he becomes a father his perspective change because his human nature took over with a yearning to protect his child.

A dozen chapter pumped with bait-and-chase scenes, the thrilling ride of L.U.C.A.: The Beginning is kept on an augmented level. You wont shed tears empathizing on the hero’s harrowing life, but the agonizing feel truly reverberates, cutting deep in your heart.

It made me want to find a genie and take Ji-oh to him so he can present his wishes to be fulfilled. If that won’t work, I have back up plans to plead any supernatural being with powers to protect him. That’s how Kim Rae Won’s portrayal of his character impelled me to be so emotionally invested.

luca the beginning


Stellar Villain Structure

Proportionately fitting to the lead heroes impressive portrayal, the villain structure of the series does not disappoint. The antagonist groups had a lot going on in their circle. Like they have a contest of who can be the most wicked of them all.

Contributing well to the satisfying tragic story are the wielded problems of these villains who made life hard for Ji-oh and Gu-reum. While some are pictured to be quintessential evil, others were packaged with identical off beam character framework like how the lead heroes were sketched.


Together, especially in the first half of the series, the allied villains had really induced so much hate. When their interdependence got shattered, it provided a more defined drive to the conflict resolution.

These characters and their quenchless selfish aspirations left a reality-biting nudge of what can lead to senseless and selfish human ambitions. At the same time, the substance of their science-based logic cannot be disregarded.

Additionally, the betrayals and redeeming moments of the main leads’ closest allies were remarkably conceived.


Superb Main Leads Chemistry

Kim Rae Won once again impressed me with his compelling portrayal – a kind of a déjà vu on how I fell in love with his characters in Sunflower and Punch.

Likewise, Lee Da Hee, in a role I never thought she would partake because of her stunning features, delivered persuasively. Even her last minute inhibition stayed true to her character.

With the limited power given to them, facing a trove of mercurial villains, their characters’ synergy brought out the best of the story. Pushed to the edge because of their connection that ran even deeper because of the child that binds them, their apprehensions and frustrations were explained with clarity.

luca the beginning


Explosive Action Scenes

An abundance of fight scenes is featured in each chapter of L.U.C.A.: The Beginning. The combat frames are often fist fights and bloody making you wince from virtual pain. If we will award the most badly beaten character in K-Dramaland this season, Kim Sung Oh would undoubtedly win.

At some point, I pity his situation just as I pity Ji-oh. Honestly, all the people moving in the story went to a burdensome life. Flagrantly disturbing, the series itself felt like a disaster movie where survival of the fittest emerged as a recurring catalyst of the storytelling.

luca the beginning


L.U.C.A.: The Beginning Series Musings

Traversing large scale manifestation of human atrocities, L.U.C.A.: The Beginning is not for the faint hearted. It also bravely touched on the prevalent and overlooked sad situations happening in spiritual organizations. That is specific to cult groups that are taking advantage of their influence to their members.

Accordingly, the layered biotechnology and genetic engineering concept incites interest with its possibilities. Opting to expound it with evil objective was a good way of presenting its pros and cons.

One of my favorite scenes in the series was Ji-oh’s confrontation with Captain Choi who succumbed to the easy route of selling himself to the devils. Ji-oh spoke about living earnestly as a man to the best that he can.

Down the stretch when Gu-reum and Ji-oh remain firm in their opposing views of handling their child pushes the viewers to feel problematic. Both have rational positions to what they perceive is best for their daughter, but they have been caught up to the evil intentions of the corrupt people wanting them for their own heartless and unprincipled interest.


On What It Means To Be Human

There was no ever-after in L.U.C.A.: The Beginning, so consider you’re forewarned. If it did, I would have not like it that much to be honest. The fading scene of how the beginning of the story becomes the eventual conclusion hints on one of the story’s key points of how scientific breakthroughs are equal parts good and bad news, depending on someone’s perspectives.

The series highlights its disclosed message defying religious faith, and in times when we just are experiencing COVID-19, it’s easy to consider the what-if’s of perfecting human genes.

Truly heavy to be absorbed emotionally and mentally, Ji-oh’s story nonetheless engrossed with its farsighted purport. It also left a lingering nudge on the relationship we build. That we only need a few functioning ones like how Ji-oh and Gu-reum who are both deemed orphaned have a couple trusting ones.

Leaving me an encouragement to not be the kind of the wicked people depicted in the series, this drama inspired me to let go of hopeless life battles when persistence seems to be not enough.


If There Will Be Season 2…

Ji-oh’s end-game cannot be questioned, considering he has a back-up experience on what it feels like to be ostracized. Likewise, Gu-reum’s sacrifice for her daughter to not experience the same fate as her father reels applause.

I’d be honest I was scared that all the characters will just die in the story. Thankfully, it didn’t. If season 2 will be planned, I’d be happy to be on-board. The part of me who wants happy-ending still wants to explore the story and frost it with an optimistic wrap-up.

If you are up for action-packed series with sensible storyline, don’t miss L.U.C.A.: The Beginning!

Photos: tvN

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