While “Come and Hug Me” sounds like a welcoming title, this drama starring main leads Jin Ki Joo and Jang Ki Yong is far from the expected warm fuzzies and dreams of piggyback rides, confessional back hugs, and sweet kisses. Rather, the romance is laced with a steely string of horror as a serial murderer, a psychopath, haunts the lives of the main characters, chilling their blood despite their love for each other.
The first 14 half-hour episodes deliver an excellent blend of romance, thrills, and mystery, but those thrills are what keep us on our toes. When is a flashback going to rock the story? When will a memory debilitate a character? When do we find out certain bits of truth? These questions and more keep the drama ticking. Until now, there have been 12 spine-tingling, chill-inducing thrills. Grab a teddy bear and let’s check them out.
Warning: Spoilers lurk around the corner.
1. Jae Yi’s debilitating memory
“Come and Hug Me” doesn’t hit us with anything creepy right away. Instead, it gives a raw introduction to our leads before hitting the heroine, Han Jae Yi (Jin Ki Joo), with a paralyzing flashback complete with an off-kilter piano and percussion ensemble to set the unsettling mood during an audition. We don’t get to see much of the flashback as the scene is intercut with the introduction of our hero, Chae Do Jin (Jang Ki Yong), but it casts a sufficient air of unease over the rest of the episode.
2. When we first see the murderer’s face
A story of a psychopath who indulges in murder, this drama quickly reveals the killer as Yoon Hee Jae (Heo Joon Ho), who is Do Jin’s father. Similar unearthly music to Jae Yi’s flashback plays as we see Hee Jae fixing elderly woman’s sink. A chill crawls up her spine much later than it did mine, but he fakes her out with a charming smile and leaves. But he later returns with no smile on his face, a black ball cap on his head, and a weapon in his hand.
3. Seeing the murderer’s lair
The first time Hee Jae walks down into his basement of torture is a moment during which I held my breath and hoped that I wouldn’t see a victim in the confines of his cages. It is even creepier to watch him emerge from his lair to a house that is utterly unremarkable. The normalcy of the setting makes what lies beneath all the more chilling.
4. Learning about Do Jin’s family
Growing up is hard. But growing up with the knowledge that a murder announced on the 6 o’clock news was probably committed by your father is almost impossible to bear without cracking beneath its weight. When the news of the elderly lady’s murder (mentioned above) plays in Do Jin’s household, both he and his violent older brother know that their father is the culprit. Dripping with tension, tight shots, and faces wrought with fear, the scene is thrilling indeed.
5. When Jae Yi loses her dog
Whenever animals appear in a piece about psychopaths, I always fear for their lives because psychopaths are infamously unkind to animals. Early on, Jae Yi loses her dog and searches for him. Of course it is on a rainy night, and she is alone. And of course Hee Jae finds the poor pooch. At this point, I was sure the dog is dog meat. Luckily, I was wrong, but that didn’t stop my heart from pounding as Jae Yi climbs down into Hee Jae’s basement and finds her dog caged and hurt.
6. Learning the murderer’s methods
As kids, our mothers always tell us never to get in a stranger’s car no matter what he offers. It’s good advice, one that one of Hee Jae’s victims tried to follow. The young woman turns down Hee Jae’s offer of a ride in his swanky car, but she doesn’t realize that she should’ve hidden from the man who literally attacks her and tosses her into the back seat. The stretch of time from when she turns him down and he drives away to when he returns to kidnap her is technically short, but it certainly feels like ages. This scene held thrills and genuine scares.
7. Hee Jae lying in wait for Jae Yi
Finally made privy to the night of the murder that changed Jae Yi and Do Jin’s lives, we see that Hee Jae really is a nasty piece of work that enjoys torturing his victims. The entire scene is paced slowly, dragging us through Hee Jae’s cat-like teasing of Jae Yi, his prey. It is meant to foster tension, and it does it quite well to the point of wishing that the scene would hurry up and conclude already to put us all out of our misery.
8. Do Jin being haunted by his father
Although nothing like his father, Do Jin is haunted by his father’s cruel mechanizations and manipulative behavior. The damage done by Hee Jae to Do Jin is so strong that Do Jin sees his father whispering horrible things to him, encouraging him to do the unspeakable. These scenes make us doubt our hero momentarily, which is quite chilling. We don’t want to hate upright Do Jin!
9. The horrifying gift
A gift can say a lot about the giver, especially when that gift is a bloody hammer. Poor Jae Yi receives this hammer at the end of what otherwise would’ve been a wonderful night. The mood of celebration with which Jae Yi enters her dressing room is quickly banished when she opens her not-so-pleasant gift, making it one of the most effective thrills thus far. Poor gal just can’t catch a break!
10. Learning about reporter Park Hee Young
Although Hee Jae is the main villain, I’d say that Kim Seo Hyung as reporter Park Hee Young is a close second. While not a psychopath, she is driven and selfish enough to hurt people in search of a scoop and a step up in her ruthless career. In her pursuit of Hee Jae’s story, she happily exposes secrets best left in the dark. When she’s on screen putting together her story, her smirk of satisfaction is chilling and unreadable. We never know what she will do next.
11. When Do Jin’s older brother returns from jail
While Do Jin is an upright young man despite his blood ties to the murderous Hee Jae, Yoon Hyun Moo (Kim Kyung Nam) is a much more similar character to their father. When Do Jin’s older brother reappears after years locked up in jail, the look on his face is as chilling as the one often found on his father’s. His intentions are vile and his wicked smiles reveal his ill intent.
12. When Jae Yi relives the night her parents were killed
Jae Yi is forced to relive the night Hee Jae killed her parents when she walks onto a sound stage set up like her childhood home with childhood memories strewn about. From the moment she enters the sound stage, the scene is pregnant with tension that we are left with when the episode ends. It is such a magnificently cruel recreation of the incident that I felt rigid with shock as I watched!
Catch the first episode:
Which moment in “Come and Hug Me” gave you the chills so far? Let us know in the comments!
Raine0211 is a lover of all things Korean, especially K-pop, K-drama, and Korean food. When she’s not writing for Soompi, she’s playing the cello and singing. She happily indulges in all kinds of K-pop, but her biases are SHINee, INFINITE, and VIXX. She is currently traipsing around Northern California.
Currently watching: “Come and Hug Me” “Mistress,” and “Prison Playbook.”
Looking forward to: “Life on Mars” and “Dear Husband of 100 Days”
All-time favorite dramas: “Healer,” “Reply 1988,” and “The King 2 Hearts.”