(Gone Girl spoilers ahead so tread cautiously if you haven’t read/watch Gone Girl, I will put up a warning beforehand)
I’ve been putting off writing the review for this show because I really want to get the feel of the first two episodes. As most people should already know, either from the synopsis or online media, the drama has been labeled ‘a rip-off’ from Gone Girl movie (Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike) which is based on Gillian Flynn’s novel. Though Gone Girl is not my favorite book of Gillian Flynn’s, (her debut, Sharp Objects is my favorite, highly recommend it!), it has received critical acclaim and mostly positive reviews. The movie as well. Thus, I have my doubts when I first watched the premier. It’s not officially an adaptation of Gone Girl per say, but the similarities are too conspicuous it’s just hard to ignore.
GONE GIRL VS YABAI TSUMA
Now, even though it’s clearly a Gone Girl rip-off, it actually seemed to me that the whole Gone Girl movie/plot is covered within the first two episodes of this drama. The pacing is surprisingly fast and they don’t waste time mulling over unnecessary details. In fact, I think they’re trying to show the aftermath of Gone Girl, if I were to describe it. Yes, the AFTERMATH. This is key to separate between Gone Girl and this drama, if we’re trying to define a distinction.
CAUTION: MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD
(This contains spoiler for the ending of Gone Girl so if you do not want to be spoiled, skip this paragraph)
If Gone Girl has a continuation, then this might shed some light to what ensues after Nick finds out about his wife, Amy’s plan. The book ends there, letting readers to imagine how Nick will continue to live under Amy’s constant pressure and control. Amy used pregnancy to her advantage and Nick can only submit to her, in fear of losing his own flesh and blood. So Amy gets away even after murdering her ex-boyfriend and plotting her own murder while framing her husband at the same time.
GONE GIRL ENDING SPOILER ENDS
EPISODE 1 RECAP
Kouhei and Maria live at a high-end neighbourhood, as seen from the size of their house. So they’re rich. Maria takes care of everything in the household for Kouhei and from their mannerism in the premier, you can see Kouhei is slightly annoyed but doesn’t complain. He also tries to convince Maria to loan him money for his cafe. Maria remains reluctant. In front of others, they look like a happy couple.
Kouhei is plotting a murder after being convinced by his mistress, Anna. Anna had a major in food science and experienced in research during university. So she finds out there’s a poison called adokishin that can be extracted from urushi beans. (I did some googling and it appears that both adokishin and urushi beans don’t exist as mentioned in this website. So they’re fictional.)
Kouhei inserts the poison into the red wine for disguise. He used a red wine both he and Maria had fond memories of, with which they made an oath to stay together forever until death do them apart. However, arriving home, Kouhei finds it empty, Maria nowhere to be found and a small pool of blood with a message demanding ransom.
He reported to the police promptly, while inside, thinking this is a win-win situation for him since he wants Maria to disappear. If Maria dies in the process, he gets to inherit her property too. Kouhei has been having financial trouble with his café and Maria’s reluctant to give him the loan.
The cop, Soma, is right away suspicious of Kouhei and finds plausible evidence against him (but not enough to truly convict him) – Maria’s blood in his car, his shoe track marks and an anonymous tip saying he inserted something into a wine bottle. However, despite his suspicions, the demand for ransom and a copy of Maria’s footage are delivered to the house, making Kouhei seemingly innocent.
When the neighbour tells the media about Kouhei having an affair, Anna called Kouhei to quickly dispose the wine with the poison. They also stopped contacting each other.Meanwhile, after pouring away the wine, Kouhei asks help from his ex-bro-in-law, who works as a private detective.
He then spots the guy who has been following him since the day of the incident. The guy tells him he’s Maria’s kouhai/junior, Ogata. He has met Maria by chance a while ago and has been keeping in touch with her. Maria has consulted her about the affair.
Kouhei’s niece passes a key to him, which Maria has asked her to keep until if something happens. Kouhei finds a recipe book in a locked drawer, which Maria has written everything down in detail about Kouhei’s favorite food and whatnot. This makes Kouhei guilty and realizes Maria’s love for him. He is now resolved to save his wife no matter what.
The kidnapper demands 200 million yen and Kouhei used Maria’s money. Things develop fast and the ransom exchange fails because in the middle of it, the kidnapper orders Kouhei to exchange the money with newspapers halfway, without the cops knowing.
Meanwhile, Anna is also suspected as accomplice. Someone also spread picture of both her and Kouhei on the net.
A tipster informs the police about seeing Kouhei inserting something into a wine bottle on the night of the kidnapping. So the police confiscate all the wines in Kouhei’s house, including the one he has been trying to rid off, but forgot to fully drain it.
So the money’s gone and Maria is still missing. Kouhei thinks he can’t escape from the police anymore (since they’re going to detect the poison in the wine) and Maria’s probably dead. He decides to commit suicide.
The police manage to revive him and tell him Maria is found. The money is taken to the bartender’s place by Maria. We don’t know what kind of relationship do they have yet but most probably an accomplice.
Episode 2 focuses on Maria’s perspective, how she carries out her plan. It is nice and rosy between her and Kouhei initially but after he opens the café, Maria finds out he is cheating on her.
Maria begins to stalk his movement, planting wiretaps at Anna’s apartment as well as the cafe. Hence, she overhears their plan to murder her. This pushes Maria to start plotting her own murder and frame Kouhei.
She gets closer to her junior and consults him about Kouhei’s affair. Over time, she convinces him to help her with the fake kidnapping. The junior is easy to manipulate and has always submitted to her since their university days.
On the day she gets confirmation that Kouhei plans to kill her, she carries out her own plan too. She deliberately waits for Kouhei’s return and if he doesn’t call the cops, instead pays the money obediently as told in the message, she’d probably have forgiven him. But Kouhei calls the cop so she doesn’t hesistate anymore and set her plan in motion, without looking back.
She is nearby monitoring Kouhei’s movement during the ransom. When Kouhei obeys the order to switch the ransom money, she’s somehow touched because Kouhei actually values her life more.
So after taking back her money, which she delivered for safekeeping at the Quiet Woman bar, she’s now rescued and recuperating. The act must continue of course. She tells police she hasn’t seen the face of the kidnapper and has no idea who would kidnap her too. As for the cup explanation, she simply says she has made extra coccoa drink so she used Kouhei’s mug.
Not very convinced, Soma still suspects Kouhei and won’t let him off easy. However, when they can’t detect any poison in the wine bottles they confiscated, (much to Kouhei’s surprise too!), he doesn’t have anything concrete to substantial evidence to arrest Kouhei.
Meanwhile, Anna is pissed because of the whole ordeal she has to go through, suspicion by police and all the media attention. Having no evidence to pin her, the police lets her go. She can’t return to her house as it’s still hounded by media. She then goes to the cafe and Yokoji (Kouhei’s ex-bro-in-law) comes. He confirms that Anna has nothing to do with the kidnapping since if she got 200 million yen, she wouldn’t be sitting there eating cheap spaghetti and looking pissed.
However, he has a proposition for her. He hints on finding the real culprit and take the 200 million for themselves. Anna won’t hear anymore and chases him off.
Kouhei apologizes for the affair and makes up with Maria at the hospital.
Still trying to find the real culprit, Soma suggests that someone is trying to frame Kouhei by planting evidences that points to him. He thinks the culprit stays at the his house, awaits his return and only after confirming he has called the police, the culprit plants the blood and delivers the letter to Kujirai (Kouhei’s neighbor). The culprit should be someone who knows the husband and wife’s daily lifestyle and continues to investigate their contact.
The police doesn’t take long to find Ogata’s house but he pretends to be not home. After that, Ogata visits Maria and says he’s worried he might be found out. He says he’s afraid he might not be able to protect Maria any longer.
Meanwhile, Yokoji pays Kouhei a visit and prompts him to tell him the truth. So Kouhei tells him about the plan to murder Maria, which never happened. Yokoji suggests to find the real culprit and take back the 200 million. But he wants to share it 50/50 with Kouhei. Kouhei tells Yokoji about Ogata who was following him. So Yokoji says he will check him out.
When Anna breaks her clock after seeing the news of Maria’s return, she finds the wiretap.
Back home, initially, in celebration mood, Maria gets carried away and while she’s trying to remove the wiretap in their bedroom, Kouhei catches her red-handed. He says Yokoji has already found the wiretap the night before so he has his suspicion. When Kouhei threatens to call the police, Maria tells Kouhei why the poison was never found in the wine.
That’s because she replaced it on the night of the kidnapping. So she uses it to threaten Kouhei. It would be over for him too if she passes it to the cop.
Kouhei tries to take the bottle, they struggle, fell down the stairs but he manages to take it and is about to drain it when Maria taunts him –
You’re really an idiot, aren’t you? There’s no way I’d keep the wine with poison with me. I have it kept somewhere else.
Suddenly Yokoji calls Kouhei to tell him Ogata’s place is burnt down. Whoever it is is trying to silence him maybe and may have killed him.
This piece of news obviously makes Kouhei even more frightened as he wonders if Maria really has killed Ogata. Maria pretends to not understand what he’s talking about and serves him the wine from the bottle they’ve been struggling with.
She prompts him to drink and tells him it’s not poisoned. Kouhei doesn’t believe her until she drinks it herself. He then takes a drink cautiously.
Later Maria says they should continue celebrating her return LMAO
I’m 100% sure the screenwriters took the main idea from Gone Girl or influenced by it, one way or another. You can not watch this show and NOT think of Gone Girl. I was constantly reminded of it while watching the first two episodes. If you have not watched Gone Girl/read the novel, then it’ll probably be better as you will go in and won’t see scenes resembling Gone Girl. Trust me, at times, it can drive you mad lol
But I’m happy they’re probably going to move away from Gone Girl plot soon. In fact, like I mentioned before, they covered the entire movie/book within these two episodes. So what ensues should be original content from the screenwriters. I’m intrigued to know where they’re going with this. Now that we have extra characters – Yokoji and Anna might work together (who knows) to find the real culprit and take the 200 million. Anna’s probably doing it for revenge more so than the money. Kouhei will be under Maria’s control and seeing him scared shitless in that final scene in episode 2 is nothing short of AWESOME.
I didn’t expect much when I started this show, I really thought it’s going to be a literal Japanese version of Gone Girl but I’m now convinced they have more to offer down the line.I didn’t expect the pacing to be THIS FAST and a LOT of things went down in just 2 episodes, so it makes it less boring. I also didn’t expect Kouhei to find out about Maria’s plan that quick either so the final confrontation was a pleasant surprise and a really satisfying one too.
I think Ito Hideaki is doing great so far, he really looked as if he shit his pants during the confrontation with Maria, and Kimura Yoshino … It’s still early to say, but she might be best villain of this season. Like how Nanao owned that title for Siren.