Minor spoiler for episodes 1-4. Read at your own discretion
So… You’ve watched Stranger/Secret Forest and fell in love with Cho Seung Woo? Understandable, he is that good, after all. Or is it Park Shin Hye making a 180° with the role of Kang Seo Hae that piqued your attention? Again, very understandable, who doesn’t want to see Park Shin Hye kicking ass and doing stunts herself?
And that’s how you decided to add Sisyphus: The Myth to your list. No one will blame you. I added it too, looking at such a promising cast. But you’re still not sure what the plot is about? Come with me, catch up with the drama before its last episodes!
Sisyphus: The Myth tells the story of Han Tae Sul (Cho Seung Woo), a genius engineer halfway between Tony Stark and MacGyver, and CEO of Quantum & Time, a new technologies corporation. Guilt-ridden over the death of his older brother, Han Tae San, about ten years ago, a traumatic event makes him wonder if his brother might actually be alive. He then meets Kang Seo Hae (Park Shin Hye), a soldier from a future post-apocalyptic Korea, whose mission is to save Han Tae Sul. Why? That’s for you to find out but mysteries and secret agencies are at play in this chase for Han Tae Sul, the future and the truth.
As you can guess, Sisyphus is a fantasy and action drama. Expect a fast-paced plot with fights, sequences in both the present and the future, CGI and to have many questions along the road which, inevitably, will make you create theories. And that’s the fun part, right? To exchange, week in and week out, with the other viewers what you think might happen or what a specific scene meant or may foreshadow. You have all that with the community of Sisyphus!
MEET THE CHARACTERS
Han Tae Sul is the CEO of Quantum & Time, a new tech corporation he co-founded with his brother. Smart and famous, he almost looks and acts like your typical playboy millionaire. Truth is, however, that Quantum & Time’s stock fluctuates along with Tae Sul’s mood, haunted by the sudden death of his older brother ten years prior. Ingenious, he is capable of getting out of dire situations with nothing but tapes or coke and gas. But behind his confident façade, he hides a painful loneliness and the weight of his last (hurtful) words to his brother before he died.
Living and fending for herself in a post-apocalyptic Korea, Kang Seo Hae risks it all by travelling to the past illegally so that she may save the world. Her mission? Find Han Tae Sul and save him (and herself) from a mysterious agency, the Control Bureau. Fool around, find out is her motto and she is not joking about those fight moves. Yet, she is also considerate and genuine, discovering a world where she can breathe normally, where people are happily living their life and where she can eat as much as she wants.
Working as a delivery man in a chinese restaurant, Choi Jae Sun (Chae Jong Hyeop) is the first person Seo Hae meets upon arriving in the present. Though he is first scared by Seo Hae, he feels compelled to help her meet Han Tae Sul.
Han Tae San (Heo Jun Seok) is Tae Sul’s older brother, he co-founded Quantum & Time. It is understood he partially raised Tae Sul and worked a lot so that his brother could pursue his dream. Convinced time travel exists and that “travellers” are already living among people, he had an argument with Tae Sul and then suddenly died, ten years before the present action. But is he really dead?
Member of the Administration Committee of Quantum & Time, Edward Kim (Tae In Ho) is also Han Tae Sul’s best friend. Although tired of his friend’s antics, his desire to look out for him and his ambition soon come clashing.
A psychiatrist and Han Tae Sul’s ex-girlfriend, Kim Seo Jin (Jung Hye In) treats him for his depression and hallucinations following his brother’s death. Concerned for his well-being, she usually relents in prescribing him pills to help him deal with the pain.
The Control Bureau (or Immigration Control Bureau) is a secret agency who tracks travellers from the future (considered “illegal immigrants”) and lock them up in their Headquarters. Tracking down Seo Hae, they also begin to chase Tae Sul when he begins to uncover mysteries and truths about his brother’s death.
Asia Mart Market is but a forefront store for an unofficial embassy for the time travellers. They locate where travellers arrive and help them get started in exchange of the few belongings the travellers take with them. Their boss and Tae San seem to have worked together and now, they, too, are interested in Han Tae Sul.
WHY WATCH SISYPHUS?
Mysteries, twists and fast-paced action
The plot of Sisyphus is complex and unfolds with many mysteries along the story. Patience is of the essence with this one: answers are not given easily and you’ll have to imagine your own for a while, staying on the edge of your seat episode after episode. Thought the drama would go this route? Here’s a twist to surprise you and tie the previous episodes together. Bored of slow-developing dramas? Sisyphus sets the pace from the get go: “Run”. And run, the characters will. Fight scenes with hand to hand combat, chase scenes in cars, running, hiding, minds going miles an hour to uncover the truth: Sisyphus grabs your hand and makes you run with the show.
Cast & Chemistry
Our main duo is carried by Cho Seung Woo and Park Shin Hye delivering strong performances. If that may not be surprising, for Cho Seung Woo it is still a feat in and of itself as Han Tae Sul is a polar opposite to his previous characters like Hwang Shi Mok in Stranger/Secret Forest. He’s so good you will forget he ever played the stoic prosecutor from the TVN hit. As for Park Shin Hye, she manages to catch the subtle nuances of a tough woman who has lived hell and yet, is still innocent on many levels. Moreover, she did all her stunts herself and it’s clear she put a lot of dedication to this drama.
The rest of the cast has been well-chosen as well, with a special mention for Chae Jong Hyeop, Sung Dong Il and Kim Byung Chul. While the first one will probably make your heart melt for his genuine nature, the other two are a great fit for the characters they play (#spoilers).
And if that wasn’t enough, just look at the many behind-the-scenes videos JTBC has released for the many cute and heartwarming moments between our leads!
Narrative consistency with the Myth of Sisyphus
Drama titles are sometimes a mystery. Why such a name? What does it have to do with the plot? If some are self-explanatory, others still don’t make sense to me still to this day. But Sisyphus? A closer look at the construction of the narration, of the characters and of the themes will show it all revolves around the Myth of Sisyphus. If you thought the plot didn’t make much sense, take a harder look with the myth in mind. For further reading, I recommend this very detailed and well-written article by life-rewritten on tumblr that explains in more details how Sisyphus is fully exploring the themes of its source material to understand the narrative better. [Beware, the analysis is NOT spoiler-free]
As the show is drawing to a close, I am enjoying the story a lot. Sisyphus offers us an insightful journey into the choices we make and what their consequences might be, not to mention some great CGI work to recreate a post-apocalyptic Seoul. This is the first drama I follow as it airs and I am hooked, looking forward to Wednesdays and Thursdays every week.
What about you? What do you think so far? Will you tune in with Sisyphus’ last installments?
Image credits: All images used here are released by JTBC and Netflix. I made the characters graphic and the gifs.
Edited by: KimWanHee (1st editor)