Is Alice K-drama worth watching?

Alice (2020) is a sixteen part Korean science fiction drama that should have been a twelve parter. It starts out very strong and degenerates into an illogical mess. I think it would’ve been a much tighter story with fewer episodes. Having said that, I don’t regret watching it. I love the characters and appreciate the writers’ brave venture into time travel mechanics.

The story is about a woman from 2050 who stays in 1992 to have a baby son. By 2020 the boy is a police detective and the mother is 10 years dead. Then one day he meets a woman who looks exactly like his mum. Is she his mother’s younger self or someone else entirely?

I’m not sure I even have the strength to summarise the rest of the plot. It’s very complicated and full of holes, but the characters are good so perhaps it doesn’t matter.

The police detective’s name is Park Jin-Gyeom. He’s a decent, heroic sort of chap, and has alexithymia, a condition that makes it difficult for a person to identify their own emotions. You can read more about living with alexithymia at this link.

The woman who looks like his mother is Yoon Tae-i, a genius physics professor with a lovely mane of hair. Strangely, Jin-Gyeom’s mother is also a physics genius and played by the same actress. I’ll leave you to ponder that one!

This is a story about family ties, romantic love, and the small incidents that shape our futures. It’s also an interesting science fiction drama about the ways that time travel could be abused. And it’s about living with regret over past mistakes.

So, is Alice worth watching? Yes, but don’t expect perfection from it.

Plot holes aside, I am troubled by the way Jin-Gyeom’s alexithymia is used. It’s great to see a neurodiverse hero in a science fiction drama but some of the scenes feel heavy handed about it – almost as if alexithymia is being used as a novelty to make the story more interesting.

What I really didn’t like were the scenes where characters told the heroically noble Jin-Gyeom how to behave and even commented on his emotional reactions. I know Jin-Gyeom’s a fictional character, but he can’t have appreciated being lectured so often!

I guess awareness has to start somewhere. If the endearingly likeable Jin-Gyeom inspires viewers to learn about alexithymia that can’t be a bad thing.

Alexithymia: Do you know what you feel?

The complete first season of Alice is available to watch on Netflix.

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