This article contains spoilers of the show. 2/5 stars Sometimes you do not know how much you appreciate something until it’s gone. That turned out to be the case with L.U.C.A.: The Beginning , which kicked off with explosive chases and kinetic dust-ups and kept that momentum going throughout most of the series. But once it slowed down, the show began showing signs of a wobble and, as it picked up speed again, it veered off in bizarre directions that ultimately lead nowhere. L.U.C.A.: The Beginning ’s set pieces were undoubtedly repetitive and not terribly imaginative, but there was something to be said for the steady tension and reliable comfort they brought to the show. As it turned out, it did not have much else going for it. Alas, the show hit the pause button in very jarring fashion not long after the halfway mark, as Ji-o (Kim Rae-won) and Goo-reum (Lee Da-hee) escaped from the clutches of the law and the gene-splicing cult snapping at their heels. During episode eight, they played house with lambs in the countryside, suddenly became an item and got married as they prepared to welcome a child into the world. L.U.C.A.: The Beginning midseason recap – strong action, thin drama Naturally, this awkward lovey-dovey interlude was shattered when the pair was forced to go back on the run, but as the show dashed into its endgame over the last two weeks, it ran into a lot of dead ends. The pair circled closer to the mysterious cult that holds the secret of Ji-o’s creation and the death of Goo-reum’s parents. Yet the more time we spent with the cult, its scientists and its mercenaries, the more opaque it became. It turns out that the cult was funded by an even more shadowy organisation – we later discover that this is a government agency – yet this information lands with a distinct thud rather than a bang. All it tells us is that the show doesn’t really have an answer to the question of why these experiments were being conducted in the first place, it just passes the buck to a stock “evil government agency”. The show’s endgame includes other, similarly hollow conclusions. Death sentences are handed out like candy to most of the characters. The death scenes line up, one after another, each more emotionally sterile than the last as the story’s threads get tangled in a confusing ending. The greatest missed opportunity concerns the fate of the relationship between the mercenaries Yi-son (Kim Sung-oh) and Yoo-na (Jung Da-eun). We learned early on in the show that they were tricked into their current work, and there was a spark between them that always threatened to ignite. As the show packs up shop, Yoo-na is the first to go as she stubbornly and unnecessarily stays behind to confront her doom at the cult headquarters, which Ji-o attacks after receiving false information. Yi-son’s rivalry with Ji-o becomes vengeful after that and he quickly loses his focus and will to live, setting up his own demise. Six new Korean dramas to look out for in March 2021 Their unconsummated relationship rings far truer than the bond between Ji-o and Goo-reum, and some sharper writing might have rung something more emotionally resonant out it – the drama of a love’s flame extinguished before its time. Ji-o and new mother Goo-reum ultimately find themselves in opposite camps, as Ji-o joins his makers for reasons that are explained away through analogies about lions and hyenas. Ji-o is lifted up by the cult as some sort of messiah, a leader of a new generation. He seems happy enough to buy into his own hype, and just like that turns into a quasi-villain. Given everything he’s been through, it is understandable that Ji-o would be attracted by the talk about being part of a newly evolved species, but he was also a character that risked exposure to save someone in the opening episode and formed bonds with people along the way. His shift to the dark side, though still somewhat ambiguous on the moral scale, doesn’t really mesh with what we know about the character. Part of the problem is that we do not get a clear look at what motivates his actions toward the end of the series. By this point there are so many villains he is lost in the shuffle of goons chasing down Goo-reum and their daughter. Among the many antagonists, Kim Chul-soo (Park Hyuk-kwon) is the only one with a clear agenda: he has a grudge against the cult after being booted out and just wants to get his hands on Ji-o to hand him off to a big buyer. L.U.C.A.: The Beginning winds to a close in the same concrete structure it began in. We discover the child dropped by the hooded figure was not Ji-o, but his child, with Goo-reum being the cloaked figure. The sad part about this revelation is that it means the show always knew that this was where it was going to end up. Sometimes the end justifies the means, but in this case the beginning was the only thing worth tuning in for. L. U. C. A.: The Beginning is streaming on Viu.