Many questions will be asked. There are few answers now but Episode 1 has the production value, layered sci-fi mystery, and cast to becoming one of the most promising k-drama series of the year.
This recap of Netflix K-Drama series Sisyphus: The Myth episode 1 contains significant spoilers.
After the end of Lovestruck in the City and Run On, Netflix has flexed their k-drama muscles and released a potentially mind-warping series to appease our next 8 weeks, and let’s be honest; we have been looking forward to this one.
Episode 1 begins with a father waking up Gang Seo-hae. The lights turn on, and they are in a warehouse. It feels like a dystopian future. Gang Seo-hae gets marked with a number. Her father tells her she can’t go with her, so she is clearly upset. He tells her to start running as “soon as she arrives” and “not to trust anyone”. As her father gives advice, Gang Seo-hae has tears rolling down her cheeks. Before she leaves, her father gives her one last piece of advice — stay away from Han Tae-sul. Gang Seo-hae’s number is called out, stating that she is ready to leave. In the distance, there’s a blue orb that shines bright and fills the room. This is a time-travelling experience to open up the series.
When Gang Seo-hae wakes up, she’s in 2020, and she looks around and takes in her surroundings. She suddenly grabs a suitcase and walks down a train track. She is consumed by a train passing by. Suddenly, a group of lights turn on, and there are people in front of her with protective masks. They appear to have been alerted to a radiation spike. Hurriedly, she navigates via train carriages to get away from the people in protective masks and hides. We are already intrigued by this character; why has she been sent to 2020? What’s her objective? What’s she trying to prevent?
Welcome: Han Tae-sul
The scene then flits to Han Tae-sul who is enjoying first class on a plane. He defends an air hostess who is getting berated by a passenger; he shows how relevant he is by revealing the front cover of a Forbes magazine — he’s a famous scientist who is the CEO for Quantum & Time. Tae-sul tells the passenger to enjoy his noodles, or he will share the video of him being rude on social media and presents his phone. As he sits back down, his brother talks to him nearby — however, the conversation is in his head; his brother is dead. Our other leading character is suffering from trauma. He’s a mad genius.
The man with solutions
And then a problem strikes; some unknown objects hit the plane, and the pilot is killed. The co-pilot announces “Mayday”, and the plane starts taking a nosedive; oxygen masks are released, and the passengers panic. Han Tae-sul is briefly knocked out, but he gets back up to face the chaos and enters the cockpit; he gives the co-pilot oxygen. He then seals the cockpit window, so they do not lose oxygen. The start of the series highlights how smart Tae-sul is and how he can quickly solve problems.
Han Tae-sul multi-tasks
Thinking at a fast pace, he plans to divert the power current with a magnet on the dashboard as the plane is suffering from an electrical malfunction. Seung-bok rings him while he tries fixing the plane — Han Tae-sul is late to a board meeting, and Seung-bok is furious. Han Tae-sul asks him to ring emergency services at the airport. He video calls him to prove the situation. Seung-bok records the call, and Han Tae-sul gives a breakdown of what will happen to his finances and assets in the likelihood of him dying.
Our leading character is sorting out his will while trying to fix a plane.
All passengers are saved
The plane nears a landing, and all hope looks lost, Han Tae-sul puts two wires together against the magnet. Flashbacks show a young Han Tae-sul and his brother working on projects together as they grew up. Scenes afterward reveal that Han Tae-sul managed to fix the electrical problem on the plane and land, saving all the passengers. The cause of the accident is apparently a bird hitting the plane. Meanwhile, Han Tae-sul rests on his bed. He’s given a letter from the board that warns him about causing problems. His advisor tells him to fix up and stop taking pills. He then brings up his brother’s (Tae-san) death that irks Tae-sul. This is clearly a soft spot for him.
Therapy time for Han Tae-sul
Sisyphus: The Myth episode 1 digs deeper into Tae-sul’s personal problems now that it is established that he’s extremely smart.
With the board on his back, Tae-sul needs to prove his mental health and take some actions, highlighting the usual corporate bullsh*t that devours companies.
Han Tae-sul sees a therapist (Seo-jin) to help him with his problems. She refuses to give him more prescriptions and the company expects a full report of his sessions. She wants him to cooperate and talk about his brother fully. Seo-jin brings up that they were not getting along before he died. This makes Tae-sul restless.
Their last encounter; Tae-sul and Tae-san
A flashback shows a Quantum & Time event, and Tae-san tries to get inside the conference. Han Tae-sul approaches him, and his brother says it’s an emergency. He claims other people who are not from this world are among them, and they are looking for him. Tae-sul tells him the company has just secured some investors and he gives his brother money and tells him to leave before pushing him over, causing a scene.
The co-pilot is shaken by something
As Han Tae-sul is driven home, a man walks in front of his car, and he looks beaten. His driver Bong-seon tries to get the man out of the way, but Han Tae-sul tells him to give him a second. He thinks he knows the man — it’s the co-pilot from the flight. He asks what happened to him and the co-pilot says “The Control Bureau” and states it wasn’t a bird that hit the plane and mentions a suitcase before giving Tae-sul a USB stick.
Tae-sul plays the USB stick at home, and it’s a recording of the plane incident. He slows the footage down and sees a suitcase, and a man hit the cockpit. When it pixelates, the man looks like his brother Tae-san. This is becoming a deeply layered sci-fi series already.
Gang Seo-hae is hungry
As for Gang Seo-hae, she navigates the alleyways, and a man sees her scouring through the trash. The man approaches her with a large knife, so she grabs his neck and asks for food. He takes her to a restaurant, and she eats a lot. The man rings the police about his experience. The lottery is on the TV, and Gang Seo-hae knows all the numbers before they are announced. However, when the news comes on, and they discuss Han Tae-sul, Gang Seo-hae gets emotional, and it looks like she glitches before collapsing on the floor.
Is Gang Seo-hae human? Signs suggest that she is not so far, or she’s at least a hybrid of something.
Gang Seo-hae wants her new friend to ring Han Tae-sul
Gang Seo-hae wakes up the next day, and she asks the man for her suitcase immediately. Inside it looks futuristic, and she’s relieved that everything seems to be in place. She suddenly asks the man to ring Han Tae-sul.
Han Tae-sul misses his brother dearly
Han Tae-sul heads out to fields and plants flags. He gets a call from Seung-bok, but he rejects it — they are worried he isn’t attending the board meeting. He remembers his therapy session, and Seo-jin tells him she’s worried about him as a friend. Han Tae-sul admits he regrets what happened between him and his brother before he died and he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about it since. He misses him dearly and regrets not announcing “he’s my brother” in front of the investors. He asks Seo-jin for the pills as it’s killing him inside.
We are witnessing a broken character that’s about to embark on an unexpected adventure.
Gang Seo-hae sends a warning
Gang Seo-hae rings Quantum & Time, and she asks if she can speak to Han Tae-sul directly. She tells the suggestions and complaints helpline that “they are coming to get him” and he must run. Meanwhile, the co-pilot has a phone call with a reporter, and he promises to tell them everything. However, when he turns the ignition in his car, it blows up, and he’s killed. This is a story that involves a massive conspiracy.
Gang Seo-hae continues relaying the warning via the complaints service, which is useless as she’s not speaking to Tae-sul directly; she tells him not to open the suitcase. She warns that if he does, they are all doomed. Meanwhile, Han Tae-sul is in a field — he’s calculated where the suitcase landed when it hit the plane. Tae-sul finds the suitcase, but a code protects it. Flashbacks show Tae-san taking photos of Tae-sul’s new business venture Quantum & Time. He needs a passcode to get in. The suitcase has the same code, and it opens.
Many questions will be asked. There are little answers now but Sisyphus: The Myth episode 1 has the production value, layered sci-fi mystery and cast to becoming one of the most promising k-drama series of the year.