Flower of Evil 악의 꽃 - Episode 1 (Recap)

kakashi: The older I get, the fewer weaknesses I have, but Lee Joon-gi remains one as does Kim Ji-hoon. I'm going to recap this drama anyway because they're both in it even though it's tvN (= very long episodes). With episode 1, we're off to a swift start, have no clue what's going on and meet a ton of characters. I'm intrigued.
JoAnne: That's funny - I find I indulge myself a lot more, return to things I liked as a child, even.  Dollhouses, sewn toys, all that. I don't have much time these days but I do love a good Joon Gi drama and Kim Ji Hoon is always a treat, and I have missed working on KDramas with my dear friend here.  The story could suck donkey (insert your word here, there are several) and I would still jump to participate. In fact, the bad ones are the ones we have the most fun on! (But this one is not bad.)

Episode 1

In case you didn't know we're in for a ride, we start this drama with Baek Hee-Sung (Lee Joon-gi) struggling against bonds under water - but he cannot get free and he cannot get air, so he goes slack, is probably dying... when someone jumps into the pool to save him. It's Cha Ji-Won (Moon Chae-won) who seems super surprised, almost pained to recognize him. After her initial shock, she presses her lips to his. "Should I tell you what kind of person I am?" Baek Hee-Sung's off voice asks. "I'll love you even more from this moment on," her voice answers cheerfully. "I'll be good to you. Before you know it, everything will change."
Well yeah, if you don't stop talking to each other, you're both gonna die.
Cut to another time, another place and to Hee-Sung and Ji-Won making out in Hee-Sung's shop. He's a metal craftsman, she is a detective and they are happily married (visual cue: matching wedding rings that he probably made). They're kissing and forgetting the time - though they have a dinner appointment with Hee-Sung's horrible parents for Hee-Sung's 39th birthday. Baek Eun-Ha, Hee-Sung and Ji-Won's cute daughter, is quite terrified of them. 
Have we ever seen him kiss like this before? I still had part of an ovary left after my Rain dream earlier in the week and I felt it explode...so we must not have.
Ji-won is trying so hard to please her in-laws, all in vain. It's obviously not the first time she clashes with them and she seems to feel guilty for not being the daughter-in-law they want. Well, it's so awkward and uncomfortable it's almost a relief that Ji-Won is called to work! When she's gone and little Eun-ha is asleep, the remaining adults drop all pretense. They're not Hee-Sung's parents and he's not who he pretends to be either. All three are keeping a secret, we don't know what it is and why they are doing it, but they are extremely careful around each other, they clearly have no trust between themselves.
Did you expect that? I did not expect that. Once again, I started a drama knowing only that someone I like is in it and having no idea of plot. I like living that way, though. If you think about it, it's how I live my actual life, too. It's got people I like in it and I have no idea what happens next.
Hee-Sung claims that he and Ji-Won are "made for each other". After ensuring the faux parents he isn't compromised by his "happy marriage", they express their opinion that his wife must be dumb: She's a detective and has never caught on to his deception? There's an interesting scene later in this episode about sometimes simply not wanting to acknowledge something horrible about the person you love but for the time being, we see Ji-Won at her job. The case is about a boy who fell down the stairs and he claims it was his father who pushed him.
I did like how organically they've introduced the idea to Ji-Won that possibility of your life not really being what you think it is.
Ji-Won's detective team consists of a loudmouthed, hyperactive senior detective who breaks the rules to solve cases and a youngling who sucks up to both his seniors in a somewhat endearing way. They tease each other like very good colleagues and are rather likable. Only their team leader is a charmless stick in the mud.
I like the three, and I think Mr. SourPuss will be okay in a bit, too. Maknae is cute as a button.
They always are. It's the Law-of-Korean-Detective-Teams.
The details of the case aren't too important. It turns out the boy lied because he found out by accident that his father cheats on his mother with a female doctor - and that the cheaters are giving the mother  medication that looks similar to her multi-vitamin pills in order to muddle her mind. So she'll sign the divorce papers, I guess?
That was kind of weird. Doc assures him the pills won't hurt her long term, but he is anxious about having to pay child support and says 'wife has grown dull.' Uh, yeah, dude, you're giving her pills that MAKE her dull. Once you divorce and move out, she'll be getting her own pills which will be actual vitamins, and she'll return to normal. So how does this help you with your child support problem?  Greedy Girlfriend wants you to keep everything and share nothing with wife - does she WANT your child, or are you planning to leave him, too? This part wasn't really well thought out. Plus they're cheaters so I'm going to want to punch them anyway. Losers.

Anyway. Back to what is important: there is an investigative journalist called Kim Moo-Jin (Seo Hyun-Woo). Ji-Won and him know each other, it's a friendly acquaintance. When his pen doesn't work, the youngling detective gives him his - Ji-Won's husband made it, he is informed. At the word "metal craftsman", he turns thoughtful. Hmmmm. Later he mentions a serial killer case (Yeonju City Serial Murder Case, one he investigated) where the main culprit was a metal craftsman as well. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.
Hmmmmmmmmmmming right along with you. Let's hope we're in harmony.
While Ji-Won solves the boy's case and the reporter pokes his nose around (he's still investigating that old case, it seems! I think it's personal for him, we get a flashback to a young girl whose broken necklace he carries around), Hee-Sung charms everyone (the kindergarten teachers are all heads over heels for him when he brings them food). Well, he does look like Lee Joong Gi. But he also orders his "mother" to call his wife and scare her away for good. He's ice-cold. I don't understand the kind of relationship "son" and "mother" have! The shame mother seems very emotional at the prospect of never seeing his wife and kid again but she does as told.
Is he paying them? Or does he have something over them? Maybe both. If it was just a job and they didn't like it they'd stop.
Kim Moo-Jin decides to pay Ji-Won's husband a visit - to fix that necklace he fondled while flashbacking. However, when he sees Hee-Sung, he freezes... oh shit. He knows Hee-Sung... by the name of Do Hyun-Su! He is a man who Moo-Jin has been tracking (earlier he wanted to meet a restaurant owner to confirm a sighting)!
You're gonna regret this, dude. Let sleeping dogs lie!
They're from the same town, we learn - and I wait for the moment Hee-Sung/ Hyun-Su will kill the reporter because we know to what length he has gone to live under a false identity. Apparently, there was a murder right when Hyun-Su disappeared from his home town and he's a prime suspect, to this day - the murder weapon was found in his backpack.  Moo-Jin is so goddamn nervous when they talk ... the exact opposite of cool and collected Hee-Sung who serves him tea.
Hee Sung. Hee Sung, pretty man. Listen. You get rid of the EVIDENCE. Not yourself. Readers, what do we do when we murder someone? Repeat after me: We throw the knife in the river with the fast current. We burn our clothes. We return home, we take a shower, we act normal. The next day, we go to a town several hours away and buy a replacement knife and put it in the rack with the others. Maybe buy two, one nearby and one far away. The one you buy nearby you scuff up and break somehow, so you can explain why you bought the other one if anyone says oh, new knife? Because the cops will see the new knife and go to the knife shop and ask when you bought it, but if you bought it at the neighborhood shop all out in the open, they won't look farther away and realize you bought two. Got it? Good.
A while later, Hee-Sung prepares a gift for Moo-Jin and tells him to write down his address... in the meantime, he closes the blinds and locks the door, then turns the music way up. Oh no. The reporter is still asking where Hee-Sung is (he hasn't caught on that it's ex-Hyun-Su who is married to Ji-Won even though we see his matching wedding band several times!) when Hee-Sung attacks and strangles him until he's no longer moving. From the desperate look in his pretty eyes, Hee-Sung didn't enjoy this at all.
Well, they did say it was hot that day. The exertion was probably uncomfortable.
We end the episode with a few nerve-racking minutes. Ji-Won returns home - we realize the metal shop is downstairs from where they live. Hubby is home, being ultra sweet with Eun-Ha. Ultra cute family time... while the camera drops and drops, into the cellar underneath a trap door... where Kim Moo-Jin lies bound and gagged... but alive.
Maybe Hee Sung likes to drag things out.


That was a very clever first episode! Enough mystery and confusion to keep me engaged. I don't think Hee-Sung is a mere psychopath - he wouldn't have two people posing as his parents if it weren't something more sinister. Could be organized crime, could be government... we have no way of knowing yet. It's interesting that the guy from the serial killer case that was mentioned is called Do Min-Suk. We know he had a son... could it be Do Hyun-Su/Hee-Sung? That would also explain the metal craftsman connection: the son learned it from his father.

The relationships so far are very interesting. What does Hee-Sung feel for his wife and daughter? He tells his fake parents it's all show... but is it really? I can't believe there is no affection there. And still, he says about his wife "she only believes what she sees - and I only show her what she wants to see". She tells her colleagues that certain truths can destroy a life in an instance. Even if she knew such a truth, she would hope to delay it from coming out. So I think she knows... deep down at least. 

I'm in the 'he didn't really do what we're being made to think he did, but there's a twist about something else that causes him to have to hide' camp. And I think he sincerely cares for his little family, but he has to keep that from the fake parents for some reason. I do think that on some level, his cop wife has to know something is fishy, though.