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Circle -- Two Worlds Connected (Drama Review)

I loved the opening sequence of Circle. Its concept of a two-world, past and present that connect through aliens in the form of humans and how human being takes advantage of these aliens to develop emotionless humans was quite different and intriguing. The concept reminded me of several American movies Terminator in its opening scene and Equilibrium in its calming care system. I admired how the show balanced the two worlds from both the psychological and investigative aspects. The drama was thrilling at times, mind-blowing in its storytelling and fast-paced nature that at times I felt my head would split from how fast events kept spinning and changing from one world to the other.

From its opener, Circle had me interested in how it would answer or attempt to answer the myriad of questions it poses, from the long-term speculation of the existence of aliens to whether advanced new technological inventions were a blessing or a curse to humanity. But more than the opening scene, I liked how young twin brothers Kim Beom Gyun (Kim Ye Joon) and Kim Woo Jin (Jung Ji Hoon) handled what would’ve been a stressful situation for even an adult. More, the young brothers’ incident had me curious as to why aliens in the form of humans were on earth; what did they want and what did they expect to find, so many questions. In that sense, the time leap threw me off a bit, but at the same time, I was interested to see how the now-grown brothers’ experience with the alien life form shaped their lives throughout their 20 some year journey.

I was taken aback to see Beom Gyun (Ahn Woo Yeon), the once protective brother in prison, and Kim Woo Jin (Yeo Jin Goo), ostracized for not conforming to society’s expectations. It saddened me the treatment of his peers and how so many, through ignorance or fear, don’t know how to include those they perceive to be different. It was immediately evident the experience had definitely changed them. The one who believed in aliens didn’t, and the one that didn’t believe and not only that hunts them. I felt terrible for Beom Gyun; he believed the alien woman they experienced in 2007, Han Jung Yeon (Gong Seung Yeon), kidnapped their father, while Woo Jin believed he abandoned them. I have to say I wasn’t familiar with Ahn Woo Yeon nor Gong Seung Yeon but have since gained a lot of appreciation for both of them; as for Yeo Jin Goo, I adore him as an actor. He is super special.

Kim Kang Woo is definitely one of the reasons I decided to watch this series, and boy, am I glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed him as Detective Kim Joon Hyuk living in an emotionally rife future world where the general population lived versus a Smart City where the elite lives and believe their future depends on controlling and regulating their emotions. A city that boasted crimeless space because of a calming care system developed to control emotions. But a call for help and eventual murder in Smart City puts in motion actions that ultimately connect past, present, and futuristic events from 2007 to 2037.

I think the one thing one quickly grasps with this drama is that nothing is what it seems. Everyone has a secret they want to either keep hidden or protect, whatever that may be, from technology manipulation to memory repression to an emotional care system that tries to use the human mind to advance competing technology. I’ll admit I was fascinated by both worlds, but 2037 more. I am not sure if it was because of Kim Kang Woo or because of the slickness of that world and the many questions it raised. One thing was for sure nothing was what it seemed in either world. I guess the only thing I found lacking if one can even call it that, is that people still drove cars in 2037 I would have expected them to be in tripods or something like in the next generation.

Circle throws a lot at the viewer, and I don’t say this as a negative because it does it with the belief that its audience is intelligent enough to catch up with its storytelling. But it also explains a lot of its incidents in a convincing manner that flows, and more times than not, made sense. At its end, the drama does answer many of its questions, particularly in that technology is a blessing but can also be a curse. The continual advent of new technologies gives people access to more information faster than ever. Still, unfortunately, it’s the kind of information that most people lean toward, and how they use that knowledge is what’s concerning. And more that society takes knowledge for granted.

The drama clearly articulates that if one day our world were to come crashing down around us and our technology no longer worked for us, and alien life forms offered a technology that could propel us forward. But at the same time comes with a cost, what would become of us; would we freely accept it despite the consequences, and would we be able to cope with the price; the answer is probably not. True success in technological innovation cannot be achieved without accepting the responsibility of such power over information. So, in that sense, I appreciate the message Circle tries to impart in that we as humans must appreciate our past rather than just have a funneled outlook of our future.


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