Voice 4: Judgment Hour, in its opening hour, promises to be as blood pumping, suspenseful, if not as violent as its predecessors, and it's what draws me to the Voice series. But, of course, not all crimes are violent. Still, most serial villains are, and it's that very element that Voice as a drama does very well and makes it realistic despite the many criticisms; it's what feeds the successes of the series a whole has garnered.
At first glance, the opening scene of the drama makes it appear to be just another average crime drama about a lost soul, traumatized by the abandonment of his parents and taking out his anger and anxiety on his grandparents. But as the scene goes on, it's quickly evident the involvement of a third party and that the grandson was manipulated into the situation. That something or someone more sinister was at work. The appearance of a random third party(ies) known as the Circus Man on the scene and the subsequent savage murder of the grandson followed by the grandparents confirms it fully.
The glimpse into Director Kang's (Lee Ha Na) real-like dream makes it quite clear there nothing about Voice 4 is going to be average and that we may be dealing with a villain, unlike anyone we've met in the series to date. The villains of the previous seasons were powerful as they were narcissistic, and that they were based on real-life events made them much more monstrous. This season's villains (they seem to be a team), though hit a lot more closer to home with the illusion that they are ridding society of broken family units that to them is the reason why social order is so completely eroded, which in turns makes me think they must be the by-product of that erosion as well.
I commend the screenwriter on the grandiose manner by which it chose to introduce Song Seung Heon as an LAPD Detective Derek Jo along with his team, especially Captain Chad (Han Jong-Hoon), who are all on a mission sanctioned by a U.S/S.K. agreement to capture a notorious criminal who fled from the U.S. to South Korea. And just as I wondered what makes Derek Jo stay behind in Korea and help Kwon Joo capture the Circus Man serial murderer, I quickly get my answer in the form of Derek's mute sister Lisa Jo who is also in Korea for a visit but gets murdered by the Circus Man villain for witnessing their murderous acts.
I liked this second episode even more than I did the first one; the twist with the silicon mask added a layer of suspense that elevates the drama, taking us from knowing to the unknown in one swift move. Kudos to the screenwriter; we've now gone from being a hundred percent sure Kang is the Circus Man Serial Killer to knowing nothing at all; brilliant. What I think I like most about the Voice series because many cases are based on actual events. It's what makes the drama so realistic. That's one thing Voice always had -- realism. I think the man with clinical lycanthropy is the lady's son, the one presumed dead; it seems like she at least knew he wasn't dead; if not, why come out to the forest; it seemed like he recognized her until she said he was scaring her. But that cliffhanger of an ending had me so frustrated; now we have to wait a whole week to find out what happens.
Indeed an impactful opening week. I've enjoyed the Voice series mainly for depicting real crimes through the series. So, in that sense, it is good to see Lee Ha Na reprising her role as Kang Kwon Joo; there is something very soothing about her as an actress. However, I am most interested in the badass female villain described in the synopsis, and as I say this, I am reminded of Baek Hyang Hee from the Uncanny Counter; now, she was badass. And this one appears to be as good, at least for now. Having Song Seung Heon is the bonus this season. I am not by any means a die-hard fan, but I've enjoyed some of his work and think he is one of the sexiest S.K. actors, and it doesn't hurt that he is pleasing to the eyes. With that said, I look forward to seeing what this fourth season brings -- OCN has yet to disappoint me in anything it has put out. And what an opening, ending scene, and OST -- Wow, I am very interested. I don't think I left like this since Voice season 1 with Jang Hyuk. Watch Episodes 1& 2 here.