All aboard! You’re in for a ride that is out of this world when you board OCN’s new crime fantasy drama, Train.
“Some scientists claim that because the universe is expanding indefinitely, another world identical to the one we live in exists. They also believe that there is a passage somewhere that connects the two worlds.” – a quote from Train
When female corpses are found stuffed in suitcases and buried at an abandoned train station, Detective Seo Do-Won is determined to find the killer. But before he can catch the person responsible for the deaths, the woman he loves becomes the next victim. Do-Won would like nothing more than to see the murderer rot in prison for the evil crimes committed but that might be impossible because he’s completely unaware of the fact that the criminal he’s after doesn’t even exist – in his world.
“Have you thought about this – that perhaps somewhere, there’s another world where we all live different lives, with different relationships?” Seo Do-Won
On a rainy night 12 years ago, Seo Do-Won went searching in the rain for his intoxicated father and found him laying on the street, the victim of a hit and run accident. Do-Won was crushed when he was told his father had passed away but the sadness quickly turned to horror when he discovered something in his father’s coat pocket that suggested he was the murderer Do-Won had heard about on the news. Since he was alone, Do-Won was taken in by Police Chief Oh Mi-Sook (the police officer he took the evidence to) and, in following in her footsteps, chose law enforcement as a career and is now a detective in the violent crimes unit.
One tragic night, Han Seo-Kyung came home to find her father lying in a puddle of blood, the victim of a brutal murder. She was devastated at the loss but relieved justice had been served when a man was caught and sent to prison for being the perpetrator of the ghastly deed. Soon after her father’s death, her step-mother began abusing her and she narrowly escaped being raped by her step-brother. When Seo Do-Won discovered the abuse he immediately took her to live with him at Police Chief Oh Mi-Sook’s apartment. With the encouragement of those around her she worked hard and became a successful prosecutor. Seo-Kyung has been in love with Do-Won for years and is heartbroken he doesn’t return her feelings.
“People who were alive are dead and people who were dead are alive. A forked road is harboring two worlds. And there’s another me in this world.” – Seo Do-Won
Over a decade ago, Seo Do-Won’s father became the suspect of a murder committed the night Do-Won saved him from becoming the victim of a car accident. After his dad was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison, things were difficult for Do-Won. Although he was thought of as the son of a murderer, he became a police officer and is now a detective and team leader in the homicide division. However, Do-Won made some bad decisions along the way which led him to become a corrupt cop as well as a drug addict.
A dozen years ago, Han Seo-Kyung came home late one night to find her father dead on the floor of their living room. Once he was no longer there to protect her, she became the target of her step-mother’s abusive rage and was almost raped by her older step-brother. Because her home life was unbearable, Seo-Kyung attempted suicide but luckily survived and entered the police force as soon as she graduated high school. She started out as a constable but became a lieutenant through a special promotion. She is now a tough-as-nails detective in the violent crimes division.
The last drama I saw starring Yoon Si-Yoon ended up on my least favorite list. I loved him in Me Too, Flower!, King of Baking, Kim Takgu, and Hit the Top so I knew he had just chosen a not-so-good drama in Psychopath Diary. Train, however, was a wonderful choice. He got to play two completely opposite characters (Seo Do-Won in-universe #1 and #2) with a wide range of emotions. I was very impressed. He just may end up on my favorite actors list someday. If you would like a little background information on this fine actor you can go to my Hit the Top review.
To learn a bit about Kyung Soo-Jin, the actress who plays the part of Han Seo-Kyung in both worlds, you can go to my review of Melo Holic.
I had a dickens of a time trying to decide how much of Train’s story I should reveal. The PLOT is simple – a cop accidentally finds himself in another dimension and discovers the person who murdered the woman he loved, as well as newly discovered corpses in his world (#1), is really part of an alternate world (#2) and he’s determined to find the killer. Boom, that’s it. Sounds simple enough. However, the STORY gets quite complicated at times. It’s very intriguing but you have to be paying close attention to everything so you won’t get lost. The whole thing is very clever indeed.
As you have probably guessed by now, the gateway between dimensions is an ordinary-looking K-Rail train, number 8210 to be exact. The fact that a train can be on one set of rails and end up on an entirely different track, when passing a switch, makes a train a great portal to an alternate universe. We even see the crossing/merging part of the tracks quite often as the story goes from one world to the other. Great symbolic optics! Other than the fact that the dimension-hopping train only works under certain conditions (having to do with weather and time), you get on at a specific station in one world and off at the same station in the other world. That posed a problem in my mind because tons of South Koreans would be able to go back and forth between different worlds all the time, and yet they only show it happening once before Do-Won does it.
One thing that really stood out to me was the fact that people spoke softly in this drama. The characters didn’t even shout when they were angry. The voices are very often barely above a whisper. It shows people can keep emotions in check and think rationally. A noticeable, unique character trait not often shown in other dramas.
Back in 2015, two different dramas about a man who suffered from dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities) were airing simultaneously – Hyde, Jekyll, Me (which made me cry) and Kill Me, Heal Me (which was wildly entertaining). This year two shows aired back to back whose characters get caught up in different realities/worlds – The King: Eternal Monarch (a romance/catch the killer mystery) and Train (a catch the killer/romance mystery). Although both shows can be categorized in the same genres, the first leaned more on the romance factor whereas Train’s emphasis is on the crime element. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can skip Train because you already saw The King: Eternal Monarch. Aside from the alternate reality aspect, the two dramas are vastly different.
Although Train’s ratings weren’t great (it aired on a cable channel), the last episode had more people watching it than the first one, which tells you it gained fans as it went along and the audience stayed with the drama to the end. That’s a positive sign.
In episode five a teenage Seo-Kyung is running to a bus stop to take shelter from the rain. Because she doesn’t have an umbrella, and stops to pick up some things after bumping into Do-Won who is waiting under his umbrella to cross the street, she is of course wet. However, when Do-Won approaches her to gallantly give her his umbrella, poof, her hair and face are completely dry. Magic or “oops”? You decide.
I Will Never, sung by Jo Won-Sun, is the main song in the show. “I’m going to find you… I’m still fighting for you. I’m going to find you… I will never give up on you.” Exactly what must have been going through Do-Won’s head as he daringly and desperately boarded that train for the first time.
There is a visual difference between world #1 and world #2, not in all aspects but in enough to notice deviation in the scenery. Like its characters, Train’s backgrounds were similar but different enough to be able to recognize the slight variations. A lot of Train’s scenes are dimly lit or take place at night. The director must have realized many people find things more unnerving when they take place in the dark (me included). Although it does serve a purpose in this tense thriller, I really don’t care for visually dark scenes.
For those of you who want to immerse yourself in a wild murder mystery, you definitely need to catch this Train. It’s one ride you don’t even need a ticket to enjoy.
Yoon Si-Yoon’s acting is excellent
The violence may be rough for some people
Lots of dim lighting