Voice 4 (2021) Early Impressions

Spoiler warning fro Episodes 1 and 2

Maybe it’s just me (and I could be prejudging the show) but each new installment of the franchise seems to be nuttier than the last. Not that it really matters when we get down to brass tacks because I’m always entertained by all the bloodthirsty madness surrounding the call centre crew. So much so that I even completed the Thai version — my first ever Thai drama in fact. But that’s a story for another day.

The season opens with a spoiler-filled recap of what happened at the end of the previous season and an official commendation presented to the Golden Time Team for their outstanding achievements on the field. It’s about time that the team (a much diminished group compared to the first three) enjoy the accolades thrown their way albeit all-too briefly. Still it’s a long way away from when elements of the brass were giving Kwon-joo grief for (wasting time) setting up the system and being too good at her job. Before she (and the rest of the team) has the time to enjoy the bouquets — metaphorical or literal — a serial killer that goes by the moniker of Circus Man surfaces in dramatic fashion. It is something of a misnomer because Circus Man isn’t in all likelihood a man, nor is it limited to a single individual. But the one who does most of the talking for the trio seems to share Kwon-joo’s listening abilities which might explain the obsession with playing cat and mouse with Kwong-joo.

Enter Song Seung-heon. He plays Derek Cho, an LAPD cop who has returned to his native South Korea to be part of a collaborative effort between the two countries to arrest a notorious drug lord. His younger sister, Lisa, tags along with her own agenda and the siblings inadvertently becomes embroiled with the Circus Man fiasco.

All the various interests in this case are led to a tourist destination known as Vimo Island where Circus Man is likely to be. A fictional stand-in for Jeju Island where most of the new season was/is being purportedly filmed. The move to rural Korea is an interesting one which should hopefully bring new possibilities.

After the obligatory distrustful back and forth, Derek agrees to work with Kwon-joo and the team especially after finding out about her super-hearing abilities. The first call for help they receive comes from a terrified woman who was planning to camp on Mt Mosim a Brothers Grimm like forest area. Another woman who was with her has gone missing and apparently wild dogs are involved. What they all soon discover is that running amok in that forest is a man suffering clinical lycanthropy. In other words, the perp thinks he’s a wolf. Sceptical me promptly went to Google and I can confirm that it is a thing and has been identified in the medical literature as such.

Song Seung-heon is a good addition. The role suits him except for the fact that his English vacillates between decent and indifferent quite a bit for someone who has supposedly spent most of his life in the States. His 2IC, Chad is rather more convincing in that regard.

Still, everything that we’ve come to relish about the Voice franchise is present. Serial killers — check. Mental health issues — check. Smart leads — check. Police procedural elements — check. Heart-stopping rescue efforts — check check check. I’m definitely on board if no other reason than it is darkly entertaining telly. Whatever convoluted rabbit hole the Circus Man storyline takes us, I’m sure the show will be an adrenaline rush all the way to the end.