Circle finished today, and I am so excited with the end. So, I decided to dedicate some final words about this drama to celebrate it.
– the text contains minor spoilers; the relevant spoilers are signalled.
I think that choosing the short format – only 12 episodes – was the right decision. It can be polemical because it’s shorter than a regular drama and longer than a minidrama. It was different, but I’m glad that TvN decided to invest on this project.
I defend shorter dramas, sometimes this format can be the right decision to tell us a good story. This was the case of Circle, so it worked perfectly. Because of the short format, Circle hadn’t much filler and, consequently, the narrative was precise, objective, intriguing and well developed. I considered that Circle was a very well written drama.
Watching Circle was a pleasant since the beginning until the ending. Each episode made me more and more curious to discover what was happening. It because I could follow the step of Woo Jin (in the Brave World) and detective Kim Joon Hyuk (in the New World). Each one had a piece of the information that I had to put together to figure out the truth. Each information was being revealed on the right time and the mystery was increasing. The rhythm was perfect to keep me interested in the drama every episode.
[Spoiler] Everything was solved on episode 11, but that wasn’t the end, they had to destroy Human B and there was a last question: how to do that? [Spoiler]
I think it was very creative they used the new division of the drama into two parts to tell us two different moments of the story. Also, it was necessary because there was no way of everything being connected since one character was missing (Woo Jin) and another hadn’t his memories (Bum Gyun). So, it was smart and practical decision.
I liked almost everything, but let me explain why…
- Yeo Jin Goo & Gong Seung Yeon – Woo Jin and Han Jung Yeon.
They are young, but they did good performances. I liked that, the more story developed, more the romantic tension between them grown up.
Jin Goo’s character was very complex, because he was going through many difficult situations and he was responsible for saving his brother. Despite of all difficulties of his character, he could manage angry, fear, desperation and sadness very well. I could feel Woo Jin frustration with his brother at the beginning, his guilty for distrusting him and then his desperation to save Bum Gyun. Also, I wished he could find peace with Han Jung Yeon.
Gong Seung Yeon played 3 characters: Byun, Han Jung Yeon and BlueBird. In my opinion, she played all of them very well, specially the last two which had more time on screen and more layers of emotions. I also cheered her to find Woo Jin and be happy with him. I understood her love for her “father” too, their last scene was tender.
- Kim Kang Woo (as older Bum Gyun) & Lee Ki Kwang (as Lee Ho Soo)
I enjoyed the bromance between them.
At the very beginning, I confessed that I hated Lee Ho Soo, but, then, he redeemed himself and I started thinking that his trajectory was very nice. He started as someone who blindly believed in Human B and he became someone who understood the importance of the memories and the complexity of being human.
So, I could forgive his initial stubborn because
he could finally accomplish some goals inside the drama. [I told you, here, nothing was missing or exceeding. All characters had an objective]. For an idol, without many acting experience, I think his performance was ok!
Kim Kang Woo played the adult Bum Gyun. I don’t have much to say about him. I liked his performance! He is a good actor and I will wait for his new project in the future. However, I haven’t seen him in other dramas, so I can’t give you a comparative perspective. Anyway, he convinced me as Bum Gyun, who had to become a tough detective to find his brother and suffered a lot during this process. I liked when he was doing actions scenes too. So, I have nothing to complain.
- Well done twists. The story had two of them: when professor Park Dong Gun was revealed to be the real villain and the fact that the alive Woo Jin (in New World) was a clone of the real Woo Jin, who died in 2022. Both twists were consistent and coherent with the plot. More important than that, they made me feel surprised and, at the same time, I think they were cleaver.
The author of W- Two worlds failed in this aspect and the drama became very boring after the middle of the plot because of the badly executed twists. So, it’s not an easy task to do a good twist, but they could do it in Circle and the authors deserve the credits and applauses for their skills.
[Spoiler – end]
The adequate mixture of sci-fi subjects: alien, robot, chips and clones. They were used not just to make the story more complex but these details explained how the Human B was created. They were combined in smart and persuasive way. Maybe it was too soon to place the story in 2017, considering that the father of the children let behind a super-modern computer in 2007, and this was almost unreal. However, I understood that decision, which was related to how represent a convinced and relatable story for the viewers. In this case, that option was better than create another future.
I don’t like…
- Han Sang Jin acting as professor Park Dong Gun and Human B president. He was very caricatural and exaggerated. How they tried to make him older failed too, because the make-up used was transmitted an artificial aspect to him.
If I were the producer I had change the actors: Han Sang Jin should play profesor Han Yong Woo and Song Young Kyu should play professor Park Dong Gun. Both are not that great, but – in my opinion – this would be a better choice to use better the skills of each one.
- What did happen to the mysterious corporation which financed the project of Kim Kyoo Chul and then Park Dong Gun? – This is a question without answer at the end.
- I think they mixture the technology of memory created by Byul to help Woo Jin to see his mother and the Care System, used to control the emotions of the people on Smart Earth. They didn’t say that Byul had created the Care System, but they said that the memory technology was necessary to connect the Care System. However, how exactly the two thing were related is no clear.
The end: my comments!
I loved the ending! It was perfect! Woo Jin threw away the cube and professor Park Dong Gun, in the ultimate moment of his craziness and obsession, jumped in the empty to try catch the cube. He even thought about his gesture and its consequences, he just jumped. His attitude represented his trajectory in the drama. He pursued that technology no matter what he had to do and, at the very end, he did the same, blinded by his greed and ambition he jumped to grab it.
The speech of Lee Ho Soo also was amazing, he explained what the Circle was about and elucidated the moral importance of our memories. We need memory to feel regret, then, assume our responsibility for our actions and find redemption or learning from our wrongdoings.
Circle also said that without moral progress the technology just can harm us than make us happier. Also, the drama defended that happiness is not the main feeling of the human being. Without memories, we can feel true love or feel sorry. So, happiness isn’t what make us human. Our experiences and all our emotions make us human. At the end, the perfect world can’t be perfect just suppressing our bad emotions, because all emotions are needed. Even if the perfect world doesn’t exist, it’s ok, because there’s beauty, reason and affection inside the imperfection. I like this perspective, it’s less hedonistic then our current society is.
In this sense, the trajectory of Lee Ho Soo represents the real meaning behind Circle. He went to believe on Human B, he wished his memory to be deleted; but, then he realized the effect and consequences of the memory loss and he started to fight against the Human B. He realized what are the memories and their purpose.
The last 2 minutes gave us an open ending: what kind of result can come with other alien between humans? What will be the next technology to threaten the human being? But, I hope they don’t try to do another season of Circle. I think they told us the story which needed to be told.
What is my grade? 10/10, of course.
Finally, the OST was simple, but lovely: Walk With Me by Kwak Jin Eon