K-Drama Review: Mouse

The emotional ballistics of Mouse has finally come to an end. I was shocked, pained, emotionally wrought but very satisfied.

I couldn’t ask for a better ending and how the showrunners wrapped-up the story. From the employment of the uniquely framed poetic justice for the main character to how the rest of the characters were given the hope and peace to move forward. 

Promotional Poster for the Korean Drama Mouse - Mouse the Predator | (Photo from TvN)

Lee Seung-gi in this Korean drama was phenomenal. The way his true character was revealed and how he executed that change was a thing to watch.

He delivered perfectly what was asked for the role. His tears, guilt, sadness, and regrets shown in the penultimate and finale episodes were magnificent. The way his emotions were expressed through the character was truly worthy of praise.

This certainly was reflected in the ratings that it got for the finale, garnering 6.246% (1st in its time slot) in Nationwide South Korea.

I was very happy that I got to watch this narrative unfold until the end. This was definitely a rollercoaster joyride. For a detailed analysis of the drama, read further below…

Plot of the Kdrama ‘Mouse’

Mouse is a story that narrates into a rebirth type of plot.

Jung Bareum, as the lead character of the narrative, was introduced as this kind and caring member of the police force trying to catch and put to justice the psychopaths in society.

All this, however, would be thrown out the window when finally his true character is revealed and he is finally unmasked. I actually made an article on how the show betrayed me when the revelations from the story were shown.

First, I liked how the narrative started. There were two very important flashbacks in the opening narrative – one that took place five years prior and the one that took place 10 years before. From these openings, we see the main subject of the drama being introduced, which centers on psychopaths (one that features the beginnings of one and the other that of a full pledge killer). 

As the story continued, we have seen the political discussion of the assemblymen concerning the proposed policy of aborting fetuses that may contain the psychopathic genes. This part of the drama posed the dramatic question for the whole narrative, that is, Could the possession of psychopathic genes dictate one’s life? Can one go against one’s biological traits?

The drama revolves around these two questions and we know that a good drama can provide scenes and along the way would help answer these dramatic questions as the story unfolds and Mouse did just that. 

The flow of the story, the pattern, was shockingly interrupted when Jung Bareum (Lee Seung-gi’s character) was constantly fighting to gain control of his consciousness as part of Sung Yohan’s brain was transplanted into him.

We were made to believe that the sudden changes in his personality were brought by the psychopathic brain of Sung Yohan only to be flipped over by the fact that it was Jung Bareum’s psychopathic brain struggling over the sanity of Sung Yohan’s brain.

The changing looks of Jung Bareum as he transforms into his real self | Kdrama “Mouse” (Photo from TvN)

This turning point in the story was so beautifully crafted that we were left shocked. It was definitely a jaw-dropping moment. I certainly did not see that coming. I still haven’t forgiven myself to have overlooked that twist.

But then again, Mouse is not a Kdrama without its twists after twists which made the plot all the more interesting. The deathly confrontation of Jung Bareum and Sung Yohan – the two who possessed the psychopathic genes, was already a huge highlight of the narrative that I thought this might be the climax. 

However, the narrative has other plans when they flip the coin of the story. The execution of the different points in the plot was great. How one event is logically connected with that of the next one is amazing. How the Kdrama Mouse continuously thwarted my expectations was definitely a thing of dramatic narration. 

Dynamic Conflicts

The existing conflicts in Korean drama Mouse were very dynamic. We have a plethora of external and internal conflicts making the flow really interesting and hooking.

The external struggles of the characters chasing and unmasking the real serial killer was juxtaposed with the internal struggles of these same characters and that of the serial killer himself. 

How the characters react to these struggles was really so human and real. From Detective Go Mu-chi’s trauma and how he transformed that into his driving force to put killers behind bars; Choi Hong-Ju’s internal struggles as that kidnapped child of the Headhunter to raising the son of the supposed serial killer Sung Yohan; and to Jung Bareum facing the truth and the utmost guilt developed from it. The intermingling of these internal and external conflicts provided Mouse that emotional train. 

Rebirth Plot

The framing of the poetic justice in this story created a dramatic symbolism that’s almost circular.

The early episodes of Mouse showed the young Jung Bareum, pleading God to not make him a monster. The finale scenes showed Jung Bareum conversing, comforting, and asserting his young self that their wish to the Divine was finally fulfilled.

The young Jung Jae-Hoon before he became the serial killer Jung Bareum pleading the Divine to not turn him into the monster that he became | Kdrama “Mouse” (Photo from Hancinema)

The story’s narrative is basically the journey of the main character undergoing rebirth – on his consciousness and conscience that is. He was a psychopath who hid his dark identities from the people closest to him. His betrayal was shrouded by his kind and meek pretense. The brain transplant changed his ways; he was able to develop the conscience needed for him to see the evil he has done. 

This transformation on his character is the drama’s way to employ the poetic justice necessary to punish the humongous evil he has done.

In stories such as this one where the character has committed crimes beyond forgiveness, the only way for the character to have salvation is for him to die or gain the conscience that Jung Bareum had to the point that guilt becomes utterly unbearable. 

It was effective; as what we have seen in the finale it was the guilt that Jung Bareum felt that became the heavy burden of his character. It was the perfect punishment for a character who thinks that he is god.

The finale was able to tie-up everything in the story. The ending was perfect. It actually felt weird that as an audience I felt sympathy for Jung Bareum in that scene. In fact, I wasn’t able to hold back tears. It definitely was an emotional ride.

Character Development

One of the reasons why Mouse was an interesting Kdrama is because of how the characters vehicle the storyline.

They were very dynamic and round (interesting and layered) making their responses and decision making more interesting as well. A story is a good story when the treatment of its characters are not 2-dimensional. The story showed characters that are humans, with vulnerabilities, pasts, goals, and strengths. 

Jung Bareum

His character is definitely dynamic. His transformation from a serial killer into that of a man who has acknowledged his evil deeds and has developed conscience and guilt is a strong internal change. His change was the medium of the plot’s rebirth type of narration. 

Lee Seung-gi as Jung Bareum | Kdrama “Mouse”

Go Mu-chi

Go Mu-chi is a downright round character. He is interesting and layered. He was pretty consistent throughout the narrative. His life goal was to put behind bars the existing killers and psychopaths. He was consistent in this resolve. 

Lee Hee-joon as Go Moo-chi | Kdrama “Mouse”

Oh Bong-Yi

Hers is a dynamic character. The incident that caused her trauma motivated her into becoming a fighter in life. Her overcoming that trauma is a clear manifestation of the dynamics of her character.

The tragic death of her grandmother even strengthened that resolve. Her not forgiving Jung Bareum was also a clear difference from her treatment of him in the previous episodes of the drama. The ugly truth did that change to her.

Park Ju-hyun as Oh Bong-yi | Kdrama “Mouse”

Choi Hong-Ju

Choi Hong-Ju is another round character – interesting and layered but not exactly dynamic.

Her past and her struggles as the mother of Sung Yohan’s child whom everyone thought was the killer added to the layers of her character but she was basically consistent throughout the episode.

Her decisions and her character personality are shaped by the circumstances surrounding her. There was not a major internal change in her character. 

Kyung Soo-jin as Choi Hongju | Kdrama “Mouse”

Thematic Pursuits

Biological traits do not shape our identities and fate

Jung Bareum and Sung Yohan’s characters exemplify this idea. Whilst Bareum manifested the evil effects of the psychopathic genes, Sung Yohan became the counter for that. His was a man who has completely gone against his biological nature; from his childhood to his adulthood, he was never psychopathic. He disapproves of the idea  that our genes can dictate our decisions in life.

One may come from a family of killers but does not necessarily make you a killer. We have sole authority on how we navigate our lives. The decisions that we make and how we decide to end them are what make us man; not our origins or the family where we came from. 

Guilt as the medium for salvation

The drama made it clear from the beginning that psychopaths don’t feel guilt. However, the punishment that Jung Bareum’s character had became the perfect irony for that justice. His character was saved through the guilt that he has felt towards the end. The unbearability of that guilt has forced him to change, thus, in a way salvaging his character. 

Whew! That was a lot of words. 😅 Mouse  was truly one of the best dramas I have watched this year. The plot elements and the dynamics of the characters were well thought of. If there is one thing that I can complain about the series was the scene transitions. The transitions happened so fast. One thing the character is in this scene and then suddenly he/ she is in that scene in a split second. But, I guess it was part of the suspense that the drama is gunning for.

Other than that minute detail, this drama is truly deserving of our viewing time. This will give you heartbreaks. It will shock you. It will betray you and all for the best of reasons. If you have not seen it yet, you better start streaming now. It won’t fail you. 

If you have thoughts apart from what I have explained, you are free to express them down in the comment section. Happy reading!

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Review: Korean Drama "Mouse", starring Lee Seung Gi
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HanaDulSes is a blog created by cousins Von and Mara who share the same enthusiasm to the Korean Popular Culture. This blog centers in three things: Korean Skincare, Korean Popular Music and Korean Drama. Thus, the name: hana, dul, ses! With the Korean wave being at the peak of cultural blending, we aim to provide a rookie guide to people who love similar Korean contents as we do.

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