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REVIEW: Awaken Episode 15

REVIEW: Awaken Episode 15
The prez and mommy dearest

Episode 15 of Awaken is a lesson in hiding things in plain sight. White Night’s president, Jung-woo and Jamie’s biological mother, and even the fourth child have been in front of us this whole time! This shows the drama’s commitment to “misdirecting” and the screenwriter’s knowledge of suspense/thriller fans. We get so deep into our theories, sometimes we don’t realize the most obvious answer is the correct one.

Shout out to a certain anonymous commenter from my last review though! They definitely had everything figured out when it came to White Night’s president.

The episode picks up where it left off with Jung-woo face-to-face with a nightmare wrapped in human flesh: Dr. Jo Hyun-hee. He’s then tranquilized and seemingly betrayed by Kim Min-jae. Oh Jung-hwan and his men surround him, so I’m biting my nails down to nubs when Jung-woo does what he does best: get himself out of sticky situations. I shouldn’t have even been worried. He knew the tranquilizer wouldn’t work on him, because he’s been hit with one before, so now he’s immune. And a flashback shows him asking Deputy Chief Hwang for backup.

Within minutes, Jung-woo has beaten up Oh Jung-hwan’s men, and the sound of police sirens sends everyone running. After the chief arrives and secures the scene, he drops Jung-woo and an unconscious Jae-woong at Soon-goo’s place.

I’m glad Chief Hwang turned out to be a decent human being. That’s more than I can say for Oh Jung-hwan, Dr. Jo, and Dr. Gong. This episode shines a light into the depths of their depravity, and how they use science as an excuse to play God.

What we learned this episode

  • Jae-woong does in fact have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), and it’s a side effect of the White Night experiments. Jamie suffered from it too at one point. In the last episode, the drug Kang Yoon-sung injected Jae-woong with (before drawing blood) was to minimize his DID among other side effects.
  • Jo Hyun-hee is Jung-woo and Jamie’s biological mother!!! Injecting herself with medicine she created from Jung-woo’s blood is how she’s stayed so young.
  • Jamie’s real name is Ji-hee.
  • On the night of the mass murder/suicide, Jung-woo poured a liquid that no doubt triggered the lucid dreams into some soup.
  • Jung-woo did go back to the beach, but by the time he returned (because he couldn’t find Jamie), Jae-woong and Yong-sik were gone.
  • Kim Min-jae is the fourth child.
  • Oh Jung-hwan is the president of White Night.

Yes to the drama finally talking about DID

REVIEW: Awaken Episode 15
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Jung-woo

Now that we know it’s a side effect of the experiments, it makes sense that the other surviving kids had tons of mental health issues, and frequently ended up in mental institutions. The fact that White Night has a drug to counteract it further explains why Kim Min-jae sticks with them. In addition to the brain lesions, they’re helping him keep his sanity.

When Jae-woong is injected with more of the drug that lessens side effects, he wakes up as his quiet, amiable self. But has the memories of his ruthless alter ego. They are one for now, but nobody knows what’ll happen when the drug wears off. Which brings me to once again ask what triggers the switch? Is it stress? The prospect of danger? The drama hasn’t made that clear yet.

As for Jung-woo, if both Jamie and Jae-woong struggle with DID, he definitely does too. But whatever’s in his lollipops helps keep it under control. We’ve caught glimpses of Jung-woo’s darker alter ego throughout the drama. In this episode, it’s when he goes to the bathroom after apologizing to Jae-woong for leaving him alone. The grin on his face when he looks into the mirror is bone-chilling. I’d even argue we see his ruthless side at the begging of the episode when he threatens to crush the skull of one of Oh Jung-hwan’s men. That doesn’t seem like something the Jung-woo we know and love would do.

All of this just makes me wonder if the mass murder/suicide at White Night really was an accident, or if it was the work of his alter ego.

Yes to Jo Hyun-hee being Jung-woo and Jamie’s biological mother

This whole time I figured she thought of herself as Jung-woo’s mother, because she essentially “created” him in her lab. But nope. She actually carried him and Jamie in her womb. That just makes everything she’s doing more sickening. I can’t believe she started injecting herself while she was pregnant. This does raise some questions about Jung-woo though. Why is his blood, and subsequently, the serum made from his blood so special? It’s why Hyun-hee has been able to stay young without as many complications as her peers. I hope we get more of an explanation on that in the final episode.

Yes to Oh Jung-hwan being the president of White Night

This is another big misdirect. I thought Oh Jung-hwan was desperate to perfect the drug to prolong his father-in-law, General Yoo Kwon’s life. But it turns out he is the rightful president of White Night, and is more than likely General Yoo Kwon himself. What a great twist! The real reason he’s so desperate to get the drug to work is so he can stay young, and help the old woman in bed at the lab (who is clearly his real wife) get her youth back. His current wife is just for show, and Oh Kyung-min is probably the identity he’ll assume next since, as one commenter states, you can’t legally live forever. I feel like this also means the other two men (Baek Won-il and Ji Hyung-geun) on the piece of paper Jung-woo keeps looking at are alive too.

No to a few things overall

I wish the drama went into the White Night children’s special abilities more. We know they are usually super smart, but why do Jung-woo, Jae-woong, and Min-jae have superhuman strength, but Jamie doesn’t? She can fight, but she had a hard time taking on a “normal” human woman like Jung-woo and Ji-wook’s informant. In fact, sometimes it seems like Hye-won is stronger than her. I can understand Jamie not being as strong as Jung-woo and Jae-woong, but why isn’t she stronger than normal women? Why isn’t she stronger than normal men? Do only the male White Night children get the super strength? If so, fine, but I wish that was explained.

And so far, it seems like Jung-woo’s powers are bordering on telekinesis, because he’s able to crack mirrors and make lights flicker. I know he’s essentially “the chosen one”, but do any of the other kids have abilities that are unique to them?

My second no is the overall development of Jamie’s character. She’s such an interesting character, so I wish her relevance to the plot hadn’t been relegated to Jung-woo’s little sister, and the person who gets kidnapped in the next episode to lure him to Jo Hyun-hee. I had hoped she’d amount to more than that as far as the plot is concerned. I think it would’ve helped if she got her memories back a little earlier in the drama. Making it longer would’ve helped too. I think a more complicated drama like Awaken could always do better with eighteen or twenty episodes.

So, after another pulse-pounding episode, I’m glad to see that Min-jae didn’t betray Jung-woo, and they were working together all along. I still can’t believe I didn’t realize Min-jae is obviously the fourth child, but again, when something’s too obvious, I rarely look at it twice.

Now that Dr. Gong has Jung-woo’s VR glasses and formula, I wonder what’ll happen next? I have a feeling it’ll be a bittersweet ending, so hopefully Jung-woo put a fake formula in the glasses, and it ends up poisoning Oh Jung-hwan or speeds his aging up even more.

More Awaken reviews

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  1. WPB
    January 19, 2021 / 9:51 pm

    Adri, thanks for another great review. I can’t believe this show is coming to end this week. It has been so much fun to watch every episode and then exchanging comments about the show here with you and others every week.
    Misdirection – Isn’t the theme? It keeps happening again and again, starting from the very first week when they did the card and table cloth tricks on Ji-Hwan (and the audience). I don’t recall how many times I got fooled and I enjoyed it every time. Hat off to the writer.
    While you are pleased the Deputy Chief Hwang turns out to be a good guy, from the storyline standpoint, I prefer the money-loving Lee Tek-jo. They both ended up helping Jung-woo but the change of heart for the Chief is less convincing for me. Lee, on the other hand, her character is consistent.
    I was wrong that the tranquilizer wasn’t switched. However, Jung-woo and Min-jae did plan that ahead time and Jung-woo had immunity to the drug. So that’s cool.
    In the previous episode, they had Jo Hyun-hee showed up in red coat to meet Jung-woo. It intentionally made me thought she was “His excellency”, the person who is behind all this. But am I wrong.
    Ep. 15 is probably the best if not the 2nd best episode overall. Can’t wait to talk about the final episode!

    • Adri
      January 21, 2021 / 5:34 pm

      I thought Chief Hwang was pretty consistent, because they always showed him as being reluctant to do bad things. And after he did the bad things, he drank a lot because he felt guilty. So I thought it made sense that he went back to doing what was right. I really like Lee Taek-jo too! She was definitely more interesting.

      Episode 15 was definitely one of the best episodes! It’s been so fun talking to you and everyone else every week about our suspicions and theories. I’m going to miss it! My final review for episode 16 should go up tonight or tomorrow.

      But now that Awaken is over I’m curious about what you’re going to watch next?

  2. WPB
    January 23, 2021 / 9:44 am

    I agree. It’s been a lot of fun seeing other’s POV and getting to understand this complicated drama with the other’s help.

    I am going forward to watching Sisythus: the Myth by Park Shin-hye. I think it will be on Netflix. There is a couple weeks before it starts. So I will either take a break or rewatch some older series I put on my list.

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