Dear Reader, we love that you’re on this ride with us through each and every episode, but after some discussion (and too many late night texts), we’ve decided to be smart about our recapping commitments here. Sisyphus: The Myth will get one weekly recap post from next week. We’ll still bring you our thoughts, but they’ll be on two episodes at a time.
Management Saya, Anisa, Paroma
Cute nerd mode: On.
We begin with a flashback to 2001, when 20-year-old Han Tae-sul, already a handsome ahjushhi, is struggling to get his machine to do whatever it is that got his company so big.
His machine finally does something and the entire city loses its power supply.
Meanwhile, at that exact moment, the underground station Han Tae-san is working in experiences flickering lights and then suddenly a man appears on the tracks. He has a suitcase and a picture of the two brothers in front of Tae-sul’s first lab. And behind the picture are scribbled records of all the dates of attack on Han Tae-sul.
(I see that the plane crash is being counted as an attack. But didn’t that happen only because Tae-san apparated downloaded 3000ft up in the air and straight into the plane’s windscreen? Did he cause the crash he was trying to prevent? … Is the whole story about people trying to save Tae-sul and inadvertently ending up being the ones to nearly kill him? <shock>)
Ahh, so this is when Tae-san starts “seeing” things. Because the man on the tracks, who limps away as a train fast approaches down the line, looks very much like Tae-san from the future. Dun dun dunnnnnn.
I’m really keen to find out why these travelers end up where they do. If the people operating the Uploader decide on the destination, then a fated meet between Tae-san and Future!Tae-san like this wouldn’t really be possible. But if the teleporting human decides where they’ll end up, then a familiar train station makes a lot more sense.
Back in the present, Tae-sul and Seo-hae leave his house the next morning to go crash Quantum & Time’s Chairman’s party, and we see that someone is watching them.
Broker Park looks contemplatively at a framed picture and visits the bank to send 3 million won to a “Park Jae-uk”. Ooh, a new mystery. But somehow I fail to care.
Seo-hae gets out of a car looking every inch the rich investor she’s pretending to be. Tae-sul reminds her not to hit anyone while she’s inside the party, and her gruff, “we’ll see,” is the first bit of this episode that makes me laugh.
Why oh why are they standing in the middle of the road while Tae-sul gently puts in a communication device into her ear and pats her hair? It’s super sweet, but weren’t they trying to stay unobserved?
Seo-hae enters the party as Grace Park with an invitation that Tae-sul had procured, presumably through hacker magic. (It’s engraved. Where did he print the damned thing?)
Meanwhile, Tae-sul gets into the house through a backdoor and snoops around the second floor. Though he’s mostly just peeking out at the party and bonding with Seo-hae over the earpiece.
As the Control Bureau arrives and gets into position, Seung-bok gets on the podium and declares that the future of the company will be synonymous with trust and stability. (Which sounds like the death knell for a cutting edge tech company’s growth tbh.)
Tae-sul doesn’t seem surprised by the fecklessness of his shareholders, or Seung-bok, for that matter. His matter of fact acceptance is kinda refreshing here.
Oh no, the Control Bureu are inside the party as part of the wait staff too. And they’ve jammed communications, so our duo can’t stay connected any more.
Seung-bok approaches Seo-hae and flirts while swaying like a hypnotic snake. Then suddenly gets super honest about how he feels like a disposable card in the hands of the shareholders, just like his (presumed dead) friend, Han Tae-sul.
This gets cut short as Seo-hae spots Tae-san and chases after him. Oblivious to this, Tae-sul comes across something explosive in the chairman’s office. A picture of Seo-hae and him right outside the party, while he was putting that ear piece in (I told you they were stupidly visible!), and a technology sharing agreement with “Sigma” – the same group Seo-hae has warned Tae-sul was trying to kill him.
Fortunately, we’re spared even a moment of suspense, as the chairman enters the office and our hero confronts him. Turns out that Sigma has been investing in his company from the very beginning. Tae-sul just didn’t know cause he never read any of the company reports or attended any of the meetings. (I know the point here isn’t to diss Tae-sul’s irresponsibility, but this felt like a definite older person smack down from evil grandpa.)
Anyway, the Chairman was in on it the whole time. And when Tae-sul loses his temper and attacks him, Seo-jin injects him with a sedative and incapacitate him. Then she calls the Control Bureau and tells them to start the operation. Damn girl, I thought you were a good one!
Meanwhile, Seo-hae finds Tae-san and he tells her to stay away from Tae-sul. “Gang Seo-hae, daughter of Gang Dong-gi,” he intones. “You’re putting Tae-sul in danger, do you know that?” (Oooh, is my theory right after all?)
He warns her that he’ll kill her if she goes near his brother again, and then runs off. While chasing him, Seo-hae is cornered by the Control Bureau, fights them off with a fork and escapes.
As she emerges outside, floodgates light up the lawn and a bullet grazes her calf. She falls to the ground and takes out the EMP device that Tae-sul had given her. Hyun-ki lines up his next shot to kill her, but she presses the button and all light go up.
And THIS is why Sisyphus has no tension whatsoever. First, they did that dumb thing where they flashed back to the scene where Tae-sul explains how the EMP device works, which we saw just 8 minutes before. And then! There’s an injured target on the ground, the sniper has already lined up his shot and is about to pull the trigger, but because the lights go out he doesn’t shoot. Instead, he pulls out a handgun to go after her in the dark. Just pull the trigger! Pull the damned trigger! Can she limp away from her fallen position faster than your bullet can hit her? No! Just… gah!
Deep breaths. If I get angry, I lose.
Oh wow, the lights come on almost immediately, Hyun-ki comes out to hold a gun to her head, and then just stands there glaring until a flashy silver car nearly runs him over.
The passenger door flies open and a laughing Sun yells at Seo-hae to jump in. Oh yay! The boy won his lottery!
Now, I really love his re-entry, but the improbability of his arrival within the grounds where a shady government arm is carrying out a killing mission is just… You know what? Never mind.
Tae-sul wakes up in a hospital, where Seung-bok and Seo-jin explain to him that he was shot during the conference and had been in a coma for four days.
Um, did they really send him back in time? What the heck is going on?!
Han Tae-sul has a very understandable breakdown at being asked to accept that he made up Seo-hae after a brain injury during the shootout.
He makes a break for it, but gets subdued. After some time, Seo-jin explains to him that he had sustained an injury on his frontal lobe and now he’s confusing dreams with reality.
Huh. It really does seem like he’s gone back a few days in time.
Eventually Seung-bok escorts him back home, makes him juice and hands him a couple of tranquilizer tablets. Tae-sul now wonders if he really is crazy, and the tablets seem to bring back his headache and hallucinations of his brother.
I’m seriously starting to wonder if those tablets he’d been on since his brother’s death kept the hallucinations away or if they were what caused it.
Ooh, I guess I was right. Seo-jin is evil through and through. She’s also the chairman’s daughter, which hadn’t been clear until this episode.
It seems that the father and daughter are cooperating with Sigma to get them the key Tae-sul has and keep the chairman’s wife alive with medicine that Sigma gives them.
Ah-ha! The entire time rewind thing was fake! Seo-jin had convinced Seung-bok that gaslighting Tae-sul about his memories was the way to “help” him recover. (I don’t think this guys is very smart.)
I’m not buying this motivation for Evil-ex. Seo-jin seems far too unperturbed by the clear distress Tae-sul is feeling to be doing all this only to help her mom.
Seo-jin feeds Tae-sul hallucinogens and questions him about the key. He falls unconscious and first dreams about the brokers asking him about the key, then the Control Bureau.
Timeout! A note about the Control Bureau’s padded room. Do you guys see the panels on the walls? They look like the type of acoustic foam that absorbs all sound waves in a room. Being locked up here for longer than an hour would start driving a normal person mad from the lack of sound. And they’re just using it as an all-purpose holding cell/interrogation room. At least have your prisoners show some discomfort! Why build the set with these walls if you’re not going to use it in the story at all?
Before waking up, Tae-sul has one last hallucination: Seo-hae stands before him to show him the moon outside and the time of the night. From this our smart boy calculates the moon’s azimuth (cardinal direction) and realizes that he’d definitely been lied to. The date was actually 15th September – a month from the day he met Seo-hae at the conference.
But is this a dream? Because as soon as the relieved Tae-sul figures out the real date, Seo-hae counts down to zero and Tae-sul wakes up to the sound of a broken mug. Seo-jin exclaims that the mug suddenly fell, and Tae-sul walks up to it, picks it up and says that it’s not his mug.
He then laughs to see the EMP device he’d given Seo-hae and the picture of their wedding – Seo-hae had scribbled behind it: “I don’t want to get married either.”
Here we have to sit through another flashback of Tae-sul explaining how the device works, in case we fell on our heads in the last twenty minutes and forgot what pressing the big red button does.
Sensing that something was off, Seo-jin calls in the guards, but Tae-sul detonates the EMP and escapes in the blackout.
As Seo-jin runs out after him, she’s approched by men dressed like they belong in Assassin’s Creed, who say that he couldn’t have gone far. Seung-bok sees them as he arrives, but when he confronts Seo-jin, she tells him to keep doing what he’s told, that way he can become the CEO.
Hyun-ki has a hissy fit about Seo-hae escaping and the CB chief shows him a report that says that the mission was expected to fail. Aha! Just as commenter jovialsaturnine had predicted, the Control Bureau knows that some things are foreordained.
The chief tells him that he’s destined to catch Seo-hae, so he just needs to trust in him and wait.
Tae-sul finds an old landline phone on the street and a convenient electrical board to hook it up to and call Seo-hae. She doesn’t seem too surprised by his call, and tells him that she’s too busy to come rescue him right now.
But then one of the Sigma henchmen get close, and she tells him to duck. He does, and the henchman is shot dead. Then Tae-sul looks around and see that the street is littered with fallen henchmen.
A freaked out Tae-sul runs to an over-bridge, where we finally see Seo-hae walking towards him with a sniper riffle.
He complains that she said she was too busy to save him, and she says, she had no choice – he said she was the only one he could trust, after all.
They look at each other sweetly and smile.
Then we pan out and see the same shot on a multitude of tv screens. A man in the shadows draws a cute cat on a notepad and comments to a bound up Tae-san that this is his favourite part – cause it’s romantic.
Okay, we’ve had several hints by now that Sigma may be a corporation, but it also may be one person. And this man in the shadows seems to be it. However, the neat transition into this Trueman Show level oversight on Tae-sul and Seo-hae just ruined this revelation for me. Who is holding the camera so steady? How is our apocalypse survivor who is very familiar with drone surveillance completely unaware of being monitored so closely?
I have just one question for jTBC. Why are they forcing this poor director to shoot a Sci-Fi thriller? WHY? The man clearly just wants to be allowed to direct a big-budget romantic fantasy and they’re threatening or blackmailing him into working on this instead.
*It’s a reference to the mighty Hwang Tae-Kyung from You’re Beautiful. Couldn’t find a link to this clip, but just do yourself a favour and watch the drama.