Alice is a sci-fi drama about a detective (Joo Won) who struggles with feeling emotions that discovers that his mother (Kim Hee Sun) who was murdered was a time traveler. While trying to find the truth, he meets a woman who looks just like his mother, and they get involved with other time travelers from the future.
Joo Won plays Park Jin Gyum. He suffers with a condition that makes it difficult for him to feel emotions which has caused him and his mother some trouble. His world is turned upside down when his mother is murdered, and he sets out to find her killer by becoming a detective. Along the way, he finds out there was a lot he didn’t know about his mother and what she was involved in.
Kim Hee Sun is Yoon Tae Yi who is a physics professor. She meets Jin Gyum who is confused by her resemblance to his mother. As they work to find answers, they discover time travel is possible and that it has affected both of their lives.
We round out the main cast with Yoo Min Hyuk (Kwak Shi Yang) as a time traveler who works for Alice and Kim Do Yeon (Lee Da In) who is a reporter that has been close to Jin Gyum since they were teenagers.
Anything involving time travel always gets my attention, so Alice was a must watch for me. For the most part I enjoyed the series, but that comes with some major caveats. First, the positives.
It has an interesting story presented right from the get go that makes you curious to know how time travel works, what the time travelers are trying to do, and the mystery behind it all.
The characters are also interesting, and I wanted to see how everyone was connected. The pacing for the show is also good with things moving along swiftly as well as having some decent twists and turns.
Now the problems…and there are lots of them. This drama takes some serious adjustment of expectations going in. The police work is pretty bad, the decision making is not always so great, and it has plenty of logic stretches.
Then the biggest problem is that the mechanics of the time travel story were a complete mess. The drama was already on shaky footing from pretty early on, but everything really goes off the rails in the last few episodes.
Now you all know me, I’m super forgiving of illogical stuff. I also have a big love for time travel stories which pretty much always have loopholes because it’s just the nature of the genre. I always enjoy coming up with ways to make time travel stories make as much sense as possible.
But Alice really felt like it had no idea what it was doing in the end. It mixed in time travel and multiple universes in a complicated way that the show just wasn’t able to handle. It seemed completely lost as to how everything worked as it constantly introduced new rules that frequently didn’t make sense and then threw them out the window.
Multiple times I was left just wondering why on earth certain things happened because they led nowhere. Things got pretty crazy with all sorts of random things being thrown into the story.
The ending also made no sense, and even I was left struggling to try to figure out a way to logically explain how everything happened. I honestly couldn’t. It was just a mess. And this was really such a shame because the core story and the big reveals at the end were very good. The concept was fantastic. It just seemed like the drama didn’t know how to execute things in a way that made sense. It tried to do too much which resulted in chaos. I think most people will be very disappointed with how things play out in the end.
There were a couple of other more minor issues too. I did find Jin Gyum to be a pretty bland character. His lowered expression of emotions gave him a bit of a robotic quality. This made a character with a really interesting back story and purpose feel kind of lackluster for a long while.
Joo Won was also very underutilized here for most of the drama. He does get more of a chance to shine in the latter third though. All of the craziness at least gave him the opportunity to do more with the character.
There’s also this sort of weird relationship between Jin Gyum and Tae Yi. Of course, Jin Gyum always looks at her in relation to his mother. Tae Yi on the other hand doesn’t know all of the details, and this creates a lot of moments that have a more romantic undertone to them. These were played up a fair amount, and it was just kind of weird.
Now having said all of that, I did still enjoy Alice. The most important things to me in a drama are an engaging story, interesting characters, and good pacing. The drama had these things, so I was always entertained and never bored.
But the drama was so messy, particularly towards the end, that it definitely had an overall effect because it was glaringly obvious that the show didn’t have a solid grasp on what it was doing. Thankfully, I realized early on that you really just kind of have to go with a show like this and not take it too seriously. Despite some massive flaws, it was a pretty fun ride.
My Rating: 7/10
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