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Sisyphus: The Myth: Episodes 7-8 Review

Friends, we have reached the halfway point, and…this week’s episodes were rather magnificent? I mark that as a question because while I am positive that I LOVED them, I am also feeling slightly uncertain about whether my opinion is to be trusted given that there’s a lot of naysaying for the show out there. Of course, that doesn’t get in the way of my fun: I really, really, REALLY enjoyed them so much, and we GOT so much, and I feel like this pair of episodes is the show’s tipping point. Its story has come together, the stakes are honestly nerve-wracking, and that floppy tension of the last few weeks has been replaced by a taut, harrowing kind of creature.

I think one of the real strengths of this week has been spending a lot more time with Seo-hae, and in Seo-hae’s world, whether that’s present or future. As Anisa said previously, Seo-hae has been not much more than a butt-kicking cipher, and that’s not a character arc.

But this. This definitely was. I am really appreciating the circling narrative structure of the show—which doesn’t always work: last year’s Record of Youth used a similar kind of technique and it fell flat-ish. The difference here (apart from, you know, everything), is that each rewind takes us through a different character’s perspective, adding something to our knowledge of them and their experiences. Apart from filling out the chronology gaps, it also adds meaning to their behaviour. By revealing those bonds and showing us how things connect, it effectively raises the emotional stakes for us as viewers, and heightens the tension.

This week was a lot less action-heavy, and a lot more introspective, and despite both episodes running pretty long, I didn’t begrudge it. (Sidenote: I think my natural fatigue point is around 40-45 minutes, and the show should have given in and gone with that length at a longer count, and also, there were multiple points in both episodes that felt like natural endings, so I had a moment of “oh, there’s more” when there was more.)

Can I start at the end? Because WOAH and HOW DOTH THICKEN THE PLOT SO?

This creeps me the heck out 😭

  1. I am of course talking about Seo-hae’s discovery of the diary AND HER OWN DEAD BODY W. T. F. And I assume Tae-sul’s beside her. I mean yes it is random how she found it and also how her diary has been protected from wind and rain between rocks, but that is legit her body, given that electric-shock moment she had when she touched the skeleton.

  2. A touch that seems to have transferred something of her future self’s memories to her, and some of those moments she witnesses are ones we haven’t seen yet—like the one where Tae-sul smoothes back her hair, and is close enough to kiss.

  3. I often think in shows that have strength in plot, you can kind of take or leave a romance/it is surplus to requirement, but Sisyphus is slowly but surely selling me this one, and moreover, I can feel in my bones that it’s going to hurt. Nothing like desiccated human husks to make it feel real and finished, huh—and therefore painfully precious and finite.

  1. And now I understand why her dad told her by no means to ever cross paths with Tae-sul. Though I wonder how much he knows/she told him for him to give that instruction. That’s the kind of thing he’d say if he knew she was going to die, but that does not seem like information she would disclose to him?

Sigma and other bad guys

  1. The latest promo on the show tells us that Sigma is the show’s arch-villain, and while we’ve learned that Sigma is a person (in the form of Kim Byung-chul), why is he?

  2. He seems to be one of the earliest time-immigrants (timigrant?) in terms of when he returned to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was among the first to leave…a detail that is neither here nor there, but just something to chew on. (Also, this is kind of puts me in mind of the Canadian show, Travelers.)

  1. How dark, yet compelling, is his origin story? The money-as-kindling idea left such a strong impression on me last week: what’s valuable in the future? Metal, the stuff of small change and intrinsic value. What’s worthless: the notes. Paper with no value because society no longer exists to ascribe value to it. Of all the things we do as human societies, money is surely one of the most bizarre.

  2. So it’s both fascinating and horrifying to see how Sigma racks it up—amassing it at the same time as having no emotional attachment to it at all. This imagery is so well done:

  1. And the jelly ear-people are Sigma’s people? Which means that he’s behind the assassination attempt in Busan…what does he have to do with the Control Bureau? Are they all at odds with each other? And the brokers?

  2. But I find it hilarious that the Control Bureau is always talking about not making a ruckus and “oh people are watching” etc, but totally ALWAYS MAKE A RUCKUS. Come on, you’ve got a battalion of highly armed suits swarming entire neighbourhoods and you think you are going under the radar? LOL no. But keep trying.

  1. Not at all surprised that Control Bureau Boss and Broker Boss have history, though, they act like high school rivals. 😂

  2. Also did anyone else feel a twinge of sadness for our broker turning himself in? I really enjoy cunning Seo-hae of the sardonic smiles, but I also kind of was rooting for the Asia Mart gang. (And is Bingbing, the cute little programmer, related to him?)