A group of school children watch a rat snake in an enclosure while the teacher talks about the rat snake. Meanwhile, one boy separates from the group and walks to the other side of the exhibit. He takes a mouse from his bag and puts it inside the enclosure.
The rat snake attacks the mouse. All the children are alarmed and they run out except for the boy. He watches as the snake devours the mouse.
5 YEARS LATER
A boy walks into a church. He thinks this is the first time he is coming here of his own accord. He asks God if He too thinks that the boy is born different (like others say).
10 YEARS AGO
It is snowing heavily as a woman gets off a taxi late at night. She calls her home from her payphone. She says the taxi cant drop her home as it is snowing heavily. She tells the person on the other end to prepare for the exam tomorrow and she can make it home by herself. She hangs up and starts walking.
She stops as she hears a young girl call out to her. She walks over to the crying girl. The girl asks for help as their car skidded into a lamp post. The woman walks towards the car and tries to shake the girl’s father awake.
Suddenly, she is attacked by someone in the car. The young girl watches from afar as the person attacks the woman repeatedly. The woman begs for her life as she falls down terrified. The girl starts crying and covers her face asking the person to stop.
One morning, a group of divers dive into the ocean. One of them is shocked to find a headless human body in the water.
Later, the news reports that another headless corpse was found today. It says that this brings the total victims of the serial killer called “Head Hunter” to 18. The head hunter kills people and beheads them.
Detective Park Du Seok (Ahn Nae-Sang) is at the scene by the sea. He notices the same mark (that the rest of the victims had) on this body’s hand too.
The public is angered as the killings have been going on for more than a year and the killer hasn’t been found yet. The President blames the Police Department for not being efficient and decides to take direct control of the case.
Meanwhile, Dr Daniel Lee (Jo Jae-Yun) is giving a lecture at his class. He talks about the psychopath gene. He claims that the genes of notorious serial killers like Charles Manson, Edmund Kemper, Ted Bundy were a 100% match to the psychopath gene he found. He claims that soon you can know if the fetus in the mother’s womb will be a serial killer. Just then he gets a phone call and he cancels all his classes for next week after taking the call.
Elsewhere, government officials Choi Young-Shin and Assembly Chairman Shin Sung-Min walk down the corridor. Choi tells him that they should pass this bill (psychopath gene testing of the fetus) at any cost. Shin says this will turn the public sentiment but the opposition party should agree. Choi says a similar bill in the UK was rejected citing violation of human rights of the citizen.
The opposition party representatives Kim Woo-Sun and Jung Joong-Suk are on the way to the assembly. They say this is their chance.
Daniel Lee’s aircraft lands in Gimpo International Airport. He heads over to the Government meeting and pitches his study.
He says psychopaths don’t have MAOA genes (Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) is an enzyme that breaks down important neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine and serotonin; low levels of serotonin have been associated with impulsive and aggressive behaviour.) which are responsible for emotions. He claims the absence of the MAOA gene can be found through the DNA test. He says this test can stop psychopaths, war fanatics and serial killers from being born. He is asked how accurate the test is. He says it is 99% accurate. He says the other 1 % is the genius gene. he says the psychopath and genius genes are identical and you can’t tell them apart. Kim of the opposition says they maybe killing a fetus which might be a genius because if this test. Jung chips in saying abortion is illegal in Korea.
After a lot of debating the officials start voting on the bill. It ends up 4 against 4 and Chairperson Shin has to give the deciding vote. He votes…
It is snowing heavily as Dr Han Seo-Joon (Ahn Jae-Wook) walks into his house. His pregnant wife Sung Ji-Eun is making a special dinner as Daniel Lee is joining them. She wonders if Daniel will like Korean food because he grew up in London.
Daniel arrives and he says its been 7 years since he saw Han. Han asks if Daniel has been able to locate his younger brother. Daniel says he hasn’t been lucky.
Sung Ji-Eun (Kim Jung-Nan) goes to set up the table and she asks Han to show Daniel around the place. Daniel is pensive as he looks at the couple’s photographs by the cabinet before he follows Han into the house.
Han says his wife is a florist so he built a studio for her. Daniel comments that he is glad Han is happy.
As they have dinner, daniel says the house is pretty. Sung Ji-eun says she wanted a house like this so Han built it brick by brick. Ji Eun opens the present Daniel had given her when he arrived. She is delighted when she finds a baby dress that Daniel’s mother had made and embroidered. The shirt has the word “Bless” embroidered on it as that is the fetal name. She is extremely delighted. Han asks why Daniel is in Korea.
Elsewhere a couple with their two sons drive their rented bus through the snowy night to a camping ground.
Meanwhile, Jung Ae-Ri tells Chairperson Shin that the president is angry with Shin’s vote against the bill. Shin says during recess his wife called him saying that she is pregnant. He says they waited 10 years for the baby and he can’t think of killing the fetus if its genes were that of the psychopath’s. She congratulates him but warns that he deprived his child of growing up in a society without war or crimes.
At Han’s home, Daniel Lee says the bill was rejected. He says he doesn’t have any say in the matter as his job is just researching. Han chips in saying he is totally for the bill. Sung Ji- Eun shifts uncomfortably hearing Han voice his opinion.
Lee sips on his drink as Han escorts his wife out of the room to get some rest. Han comes back and congratulates Lee on being nominated for the Nobel Prize.
Han points out that he is sorry that they haven’t caught “him” yet. Lee says he knows how hard it had been on Han after what happened to Jennifer. Lee says it has been 7 years and he is glad Han is married and is going to have a child.
Later the two part ways and Han says he hopes to meet Lee in London.
Daniel looks out of his hotel room window solemnly. He sees a photograph in his wallet. The photograph has Jennifer leaning on Han as Daniel stands beside her.
Meanwhile, it looks like the family on the bus is lost. The husband stops the bus and walks up to a stationery car to ask for directions. The younger son is fast asleep while the elder song Go Mu won looks on. Mu won’s father comes back and drives to the camping ground only to find it deserted.
Mu won’s mother (Seo Jung-Yeon) instructs him to call the owner as she tries to keep the children warm despite the heavy snowfall. The father gets off the phone. He says the kitchen’s ceiling has caved in because of the heavy snowfall and the camping ground has been shut since yesterday. He says the owner asked them to stay free of charge but there is no water supply. He says they will have to get the water from the nearby lake.
The mother says they should head back but the younger son Mu Chi says they should stay. Mu Chi’s mom reluctantly agrees.
Later, the children play and their mother goes to get water from the mineral spring. After some time, the father follows after her.
He is shocked to find his wife a few feet away, lying on the ground, begging a hooded figure not to kill her. The figure draws out a weapon.
The father intervenes and distracts the figure for a moment. He tells his wife to run away.
She immediately runs up to her children and takes them inside the bus. She turns on the ignition but the bus doesn’t start. The children get scared upon seeing her in distress.
They watch in shock as the hooded figure walks in the distance with the father’s head in his hand. The mother holds her children close. The figure looks at the bus and the campfire next to it. He slowly walks towards it. The mother holds the children close and tells them to hide under the secret compartment below the seat.
She tells Mu Won to protect his younger brother Mu Chi. She instructs Mu Won to lock the door behind her. She then steps out of the bus telling him not to come out. A visibly terrified Mu Chi tries to follow her but Mu Won clamps Mu Chi’s mouth with his hand and holds him close. They hide in the compartment.
The mother watches from afar as the figure tries to open the bus. She runs out in an attempt to distract him. The figure pursues her.
Mu Chi breaks free from Mu Won’s hold and peeks out of the window. He yells in horror as he watches the killer catch his mother and brutally attack her.
The mother holds on to the killer pleading with him. The killer slashes his blade across her, killing her. He walks towards the bus.
Mu won clamps his hand firmly over Mu Chi’s face. He is shocked to see Mu Chi lose consciousness. He immediately puts Mu Chi inside a suitcase and pulls the zipper, closing it. He locks the suitcase and puts it away. Mu Won hides in the compartment.
Mu won is alarmed and hides in the driver’s compartment, as the killer breaks into the bus with a hammer. He watches as the killer pulls out the suitcase. He tries to break open the suitcase. Inside, Mu Chi regains consciousness.
Mu won remembers his mother asking him to protect his younger brother. He tries to run out of the bus but the killer catches him. He cries out loudly as the killer repeatedly mauls him with the hammer.
Tears streak down Mu chi’s eyes. Mu Won’s blood trickles down the stairs.
Later the police come to the scene. One of the cops finds the blood-stained staircase of the bus.
Detective Park runs into the hospital. He is told that the camping ground owner had gone to open the water tank. The owner had found both the children but the parents’ bodies are missing. Detective Bok Ho name says the elder one is in critical condition but the younger one is waiting in the corridor. Park eyes Mu Chi but Bok says Mu Chi is in shock.
Park goes over to MuChi who is huddled up. He goes over and asks Mu Chi if he saw the killer’s face. Bok tries to stop Park but Park presses on. When he doesn’t get a response, he pulls Mu Chi closer. Bok pulls Park away as he is losing himself. Park says that the person took his daughter and he needs to find him. He says he doesn’t know if his daughter is dead or alive. he asks Mu Chi to try and remember. When Mu Chi doesn’t respond he shakes Mu Chi vigorously. The nurse comes over and separates them she holds Mu Chi close and tells them all to go.
Just then Mu Chi jumps up and starts screaming hysterically. He points at the photo on the wall and says he is the killer. Park rushes out immediately.
Meanwhile, Sung Ji-Eun wakes up (5 am). She goes over and draws the curtains. She is happy to see that Han has cleaned up all the work surfaces. He walks in commenting that she is awake. She says she couldn’t see Lee off because Han didn’t wake her up. Han says he dropped Lee at the hotel. Sung Ji Eun smiles as she looks at the snowmen outside the window.
Han and she sit down for some tea. She wonders how a mother would feel if the fetus has the psychopath gene. Han tells her not to think of bad things.
Just then, the police arrive at their house with the search warrant. Park manhandles Han and places him in handcuffs. He orders the cops to search the house. Park is furious as he holds his gun Han’s head and calls Han, “Head Hunter”.
In the hospital corridor, Mu Chi yells hysterically pointing at Han’s photograph on the wall. Later he quietly slips into Park’s car when no one is looking
At present, Han says it is a ridiculous accusation. He notices Mu Chi hiding in Park’s car.
Han tells Sung telling her to call his lawyer friend. She goes in and calls the lawyer as the cops tear their home apart. The lawyer says he will get her in touch with a lawyer who deals with criminal cases.
Park rushes into the house and urges the cops to find the murder weapon and the bodies.
After a long search and upturning the whole house the police return to the driveway empty-handed. Bok tells Park they should not have believed a child’s statement.
Just then, Mu Chi lunges at Han and cuts him across the face. Mu Chi gets out of the car and tries to attach Han again but Park pushes him away. Mu Chi crashes on the snowman and falls. The snowman breaks open and reveals something inside. Bok picks the black cover and looks inside. He jumps out of his skin and drops the packet as it has Mu Chi’s mother’s severed head in it. Mu Chi recognises his mother’s hairclip which has fallen out of the packet. He starts crying.
Meanwhile, Sung Ji Eun gets off the phone and looks out of the window. She looks at the broken snowman and Mu Chi crawling towards the black packet.
Sun Ji Eun wonders what it was and her eyes widen in horror as reality dawns on her.
The next day, the news reports that Han is the headhunter and two headless bodies were recovered from the greenhouse.
Han is taken to the courthouse. He denies killing anyone and says he doesn’t know how the snowmen came in front of their house. The court denies his detention warrant. It also questions the credibility of the witness and says Han won’t be held in judicial custody during the trial.
Sung Ji Eun watches the news with a stony expression.
As Han walks out Park punches him in the face. The cops pull him away as furiously asks where his daughter is. He pleads with folded hands. Han looks at him and walks away without a word.
Daniel Lee and Sung Ji won wait outside to pick Han up. She asks Lee if psychopaths can love someone. Lee says they cant. He says Han loves her deeply.
Han addresses the reporters outside. When asked about his injury, he says the officer is related to a victim so he acted out of emotion. He says he hopes they can find the killer. He again denies all allegations against him. He spots Ji Eun in the crowd and walks up to her surrounded by the reporters. He hugs her saying the misunderstanding has been sorted.
Ji-Eun tells him that he was the one who made the snowman.
Ji Eun wakes up in the morning and draws the curtains. She looks out of the window and sees Han making the snowmen. She goes over and clicks a few photos of Han building the snowman.
At present, Ji Eun holds up the photo of him building the snowman. The reporters immediately start buzzing and Lee’s eyebrows are raised. Everyone starts speaking in raised voices as Han let out a curse.
In a montage, we see Han in the car. Mu Chi’s father approaches him asking for directions. He watches the entire family and thinks it is a good day to go hunting
At present, Han comments that his wife is clever. She holds him by the coat and asks him why he married her when psychopaths can’t feel emotion. He says it is because of his will to reproduce. He says he requires offspring- Han Seo Joon Junior. She yells hysterically as the cops drag Han away.
Lee follows the cops. He pushes the cops away and locks himself in a room with Han. He asks what Han did with his sister Jennifer. He asks if Han killed Jennifer and staged it as a random mugging. Han calmly sits in a chair.
Han says Jennifer still ran away after being stabbed 20 times. He says he threatened to kill her mother and brother of she doesn’t come out. He says it was hilarious how she came crawling from behind a rock dripping in blood.
Lee loses his cool and demands to know why Han killed Jennifer. Han says he killed her because she erased their baby without his permission. Before the police break in and escort him out, Han tells Lee that Jennifer made him promise he will never hurt her family. He says the pleading look in her eye was sexy.
Daniel collapses on the floor crying.
Sung Ji Eun wakes up in the hospital. Lee asks her if she wants to run the test and see if her child has the psychopath gene.
After giving it a lot of thought she decided to take the test.
Later, she visits Lee’s office to check the results. Another pregnant woman comes out of his office as Ji Eun walks in.
Ji Eun learns that her child has the psychopath gene. She breaks down and says she doesn’t want to have the child. He says she is too far in to have an abortion. She asks what she can do. She cries saying the test is 99% accurate and it is Han Seo Joon’s child.
Just then Daniel gets a call and he heads out. He walks up to a black car and gives the person an envelope.
Outside Lee’s office, Ji Eun comes across the other pregnant woman who had walked past her. She says her husband worked with Dr Lee and wanted to help with the experiment so she got tested. She says her husband had lied to her that the results were fine. She says her child has the psychopath gene. She says she is 23 weeks pregnant.
Ji Eun says the woman can get an abortion and try again for another baby. The woman says her husband died due to an accident. she says she loved her husband with all of her life and the baby is the only reminder of him. She says her husband was a compassionate man so there is no way that the child will be a murderer. She says she will have the baby and prove that Lee was wrong. Tears trickle down Ji Eun’s eyes as the woman asks what Ji Eun plans to do.
The news reports that Han has been given the death penalty.
5 YEARS LATER
Han is on the prison grounds reading the newspaper. He reads about detective Park’s case and also about Daniel Lee visiting Korea. Han watches a mouse trying to get out of the fence.
Lee is in his office when he receives a parcel without a label. He opens the parcel. He is startled and falls from his chair as a mouse jumps at him from the box. he watches as the mouse makes it out of the room. Lee sees another mouse in the box which stays inside.
Elsewhere, a young boy (seems to be 5 years old) wears his yellow raincoat and walks outside is house. (The boy from the opening scene) He picks feeds a mouse and puts it in his bag. Later he puts the mouse in the rat snake enclosure and smiles watching the snake feed on it (while the rest of the children run away yelling).
A few years later (the boy seems grown-up) the art teacher notices him scratching his arm. She goes closer to inspect and is shocked to see his drawing.
Later, the children yell as he kills a rabbit during recess.
After school, the teacher sits him down and asks why he killed the rabbit. He says he didn’t kill it. She asks why he cut open its belly. He says he wanted to know if the rabbit had gained weight or gotten pregnant. He continuously scratches his arm. She asks why he is scratching his arms. He says he is annoyed with other children and he can’t take it out on them. He says he takes it out on himself instead. The teacher says there are no children here. He says he is annoyed at her because she looks at him cos he is weird. She tells him to leave.
The boy (Jae Hoon) walks out and the rest of the children look away in fear. The boy watches another boy who looks away. The boy walks out as the other boy looks up and stares after him.
Later the teacher meets Jae Hoon’s father. She says Jae Hoon wants to be a doctor and his IQ is above 160. He smiles.
She asks if there is any problem at home and shows him Jae Hoon’s drawings. She says he needs therapy.
The father loses his temper and shouts at the teacher. He says these drawings are just unique and he walks out. Jae Hoon follows him.
He stops in the way and asks if Jae Hoon killed the rabbit. Jae Hoon nods. The father slaps him and calls up Jae Hoon’s mother. He tells her that her son did something which humiliates him. He calls her home.
Later Jae Hoon watches his father feed his pet fish and carrying his pet dog Choco. Jae Hoon scratches his arm.
After some time, Jae Hoon pours ammonia into the fish tank. He tells his younger brother Jae-Min that this will kill all the fish. Jae Min tells him not to do that. Their sister Jae Hee plays silently in the background. Jae Hoon pushes him away saying that he is killing the fish because their father likes them. He pushes Jae Min away, who starts crying. Just then Choco runs over to Jae Hoon growling. Jae Hoon lifts it and walks away. He warns Jae-min not to tell their father that he took Choco and about the fish.
The father returns home to find the fish dead. He asks Jae Min what happened but doesn’t get a response. He asks again and Jae Hee responds by reciting the full conversation between the brothers.
The father is furious as he finds the ammonia bottle. Later, he finds Choco dead in the nearby pond.
He brings Jae Hoon home and beats him up. His mother tries to shield him as the father keeps beating him.
Later, Jae Hoon takes Jae Min to Choco’s grave (which is marked with a cross). He tells Jae Min to close his eyes and pray. As Jae Min closes his eyes, Jae Hoon pushes Jae Min into the grave hole next to Choco’s grave. He calls Jae Min a tattle tale. Jae Min cries that he didn’t say anything. Jae Hoon starts to close the grave by shovelling mud into it.
Just then, his mother grabs him and shoves him away. She lifts Jae Min out of the pit and asks him to run home. She then strangles Jae Hoon saying she shouldn’t have given birth to him. She tells him to die. Jae Hoon’s vision gets blurry.
Jae Hoon goes to the church and asks God if he seems different to Him too. He says people say he was born different and that he is a monster.
Jae Hoon’s voiceover says, “That day, I prayed to the almighty so that I wouldn’t become a monster.”
15 YEARS LATER
The news reports that a college student’s body has been found. The victim has been missing after going for a walk.
Adult Jae Hoon stands facing the wall where he has put up pictures of his victims. He is in a black jacket and black cap. His childhood photo in the yellow uniform (when he put the mouse into the rat snake enclosure) is on the table.
Jae Hoon’s voiceover continues, “But the almighty never answered my prayer. I ended up a killer.”
We see a montage of the other boy (Jae Hoon’s classmate) walks down the road.
Jae Hoon stands over his father’s bloodied lifeless body on the staircase. Jae Min and Jae Hee are huddled in a room upstairs. Jae Hoon pulls the knife from his father’s body and walks up the stairs.
Image Courtesy- TVN
That was a gripping start to the series.
The pilot episode has set a strong foundation for the drama.
The scenes with the head hunter are thrilling. Ahn Jae-Wook has played the role of Dr Han/ head hunter well. His steely resolve despite being caught and smooth lying shows him as the cold-blooded murderer that he is.
The head hunter traps his victims by threatening to kill their loved ones (Jennifer and Mu Chi’s mother).
This episode had heavy content where the characters had to face tough situations and make decisions.
Finding out the psychopath gene when it has a fail rate (genius gene) of 1% is a debatable subject. It is interesting how the drama shows a probability of 3 possible children who have the psychopath gene. It looks like there might be both a genius and a psychopath among them.
Daniel Lee gave a folder to someone in the black car. I wonder if the reports were switched reports or if it was one more person with the psychopath gene.
Jae Hoon has grown up to become a serial killer. From the looks of it, Sung Ji Eun maybe his mother. The first episode followed the childhood of Jae Hoon-the serial killer. His absence of emotion is showcased very well. I am curious to know what happened to the other children in the plot.
This episode had quite a few unnecessary time jumps which make the timeline difficult to follow but in the end, it held up together.
The first episode was interesting and thrilling and series looks promising.
-By Soul Sword-