[REVIEW] SISYPHUS, THE MYTH: Behind Every Fearless Woman Is An Empowering Father

“Once you get soft, you will lose something even more precious,” the father instructs his daughter amidst the battle. 

SPOILER ALERT!

Sisyphus: The Myth is a Korean science-fiction genre combined with action, drama, adventure, and romance which was aired on Netflix in February 2021 and wrapped up in April. The gist of the story aims to fix the past and alter the ruined Korean peninsula through the collaboration of Gang Seo-hae (Park Shin-hye), a trained warrior who came from the post-apocalyptic future, and Han Tae-sul (Cho Seung-woo), a brilliant Engineer who was the key to high-technology’s time-traveling machine.

Review In A Nutshell.

RATING: 8/10

The show is great overall despite the loopholes in the storyline, pitfalls, and imperfections in a few technicalities. Action scenes such as the sloppy gunfight where the armed men cannot pull a trigger in the perfect opportunity or run fast to chase the target are just illogical and unrealistic. Ideas such as the refrigerator that is undamaged by several bullets and where the female lead was falling down the forest but suddenly landed in an abandoned building are too hilarious and surprisingly terrible, compared to the excellent plots, directing, and editing of the action-packed Vagabond, Arthdal Chronicles, Kingdom, Mr. Sunshine, to name a few.

However, steady viewers are captivated by the unexpected twists, complexities, and mysteries that each episode brings excellently performed by Park Shin-hye, Cho Seung-woo, and the rest of the cast. Each supporting role has a powerful story and moral lesson that revolve around life regrets, chances, and sacrifices. Despite the drop of viewership ratings in Korea, it remained one of the top 10 most viewed in Netflix Asia for weeks.

Putting aside the minimal flaws, the drama stayed true to the myth of Sisyphus, a Greek legend who was punished by the god Zeus for trying to cheat death. He was forced to face the impossible task of rolling a boulder up a hill that rolls back down repeatedly. In the drama, the cycle of trying to fix the past and changing the future pushed the genius, Han Tae-sul to sacrifice his life, to which the fighter, Gang Seo-hae took chances not to happen. It requires one to think, analyze, and perhaps mentally compute the entanglement of the past, present, and future well-executed in a perfect amount of humor and heart with moral lessons.

The antagonist, Sigma, serves as one of the highlights and best roles in this drama. Viewers will hate him as well as feel sorry for him. His background story is a satiating one that has psychological depth and evokes both empathy and annoyance to his manipulative and psychopathic behavior. To disregard the details and development of his character would bring the series dull and uninteresting. The villain role was a top-notch performance by the actor, Kim Byung-chul. His character and the great chemistry between the father-daughter relationship, siblings, colleagues, and the main leads keep the show fun, entertaining, and worth watching.

It Illustrates Women Empowerment.

Women have always been generally perceived as inferior to leadership, influence, and power, or resembled as a princess waiting to be saved by her prince charming. Eventually, heroines are being produced on-screen, featuring fearless women that defied gender norms such as the famous Katniss Everdeen, Mulan, Captain Marvel, and a lot more. No challenge is too great for these empowered women in the film. 

The brave character of Gang Seo-hae, portrayed by Park Shin-hye in the drama, Sisyphus: the Myth, is another spunky female journey that inspires. She is not the one to be protected and saved. Nope. She will protect and save.

The plot begins with Seo-hae and her father, Gang Dong-gi (Kim Jong-tae) conversing about the rules of navigating the past. As the story progresses, Seo-hae is seen as one gutsy warrior, strong-willed, and full of courage, surviving the war and protecting herself and others from the armed thugs and military cliques. Armed with the right skills and tools, she illustrates women empowerment in the face of desolation and combat.

Her Character Teaches Courage in Vulnerability.

“Once you get soft, you will lose something even more precious,” the father instructs his daughter, Seo-hae, amidst the battle. 

Despite her fierce and badass character, Seo-hae displays an innate warmth towards others that she refuses to shoot the ones whose eyes speak deep of a broken story. She gives her foes chances to live and lets them go.

Furthermore, she is not ignorant of her own weaknesses. Her courage arises from the vulnerability of needing an ally. She knew she needed her father to get to the Uploader. She knew she needed a buddy in Choi Jae-sun (Chae Jong-hyeop) to look for and protect Han Tae-sul. She knew she needed the wisdom and partnership of Tae-sul to stop the nuclear war and destroy Sigma.

Realistically, she did not face the combat all by herself in all her power. She was willing to expose her vulnerability to work hand-in-hand in courage with her trusted comrades.

“Don’t look back. You should keep looking forward.”

Seo-hae is well-raised and closely trained with survival skills by her father. In episode 8, we see a warmhearted father teaching the little Seo-hae how to bike independently. 

He assured her of his presence, “I won’t let go.” He picked her up when she fell and affirmed her feat, “You’re doing great, Seo-hae! You’re the best!” He constantly reminded and guided her on how to survive, “Don’t look back. You should keep looking forward.” 

Her father’s presence, guidance, and affirmation prepared the little Seo-hae to handle and manage crisis into adulthood. 

Indeed, behind every fearless and confident woman is an empowering father.

“I can.”

The survival skills she gained with her father from the war, hunting for food in the ruins, living in the bunker for fifteen years, and training as a sharpshooter molded her the strong will to say, “I can,” in every fight.

Flashforward to 2035, Seo-hae was discouraged by her father to travel to the past and she bravely insisted that she could manage to survive and thrive, “I can succeed this time. I can change everything.”

Despite the father’s tension between apprehension and protective love for Seo-hae, he supported her dangerous journey to the past to break the cycle.

“You said I’m going to fail, but I’m still going to try because I haven’t done anything yet.”

Tenacity. Boldness. Seo-hae is not easily distracted by disputes and contradictions. She knows her strength well and is bold enough to take the risks. 

The experience of getting injuries here and there for survival prepared her to face defeat, “I’m not scared. I’m only scared of giving up before trying anything.”

In fact, she was the only one who truly cared enough and was determined to change the future for everyone’s welfare despite the hindrances around her.

“She was running around everywhere trying to save the world.”

In one episode showing the present time, Tae-sul personally met Seo-hae’s parents and described their daughter as one running around everywhere, protecting him, and trying to save the world.

Seo-hae represents the brave women of today who play significant roles in trying to protect and save the world from corruption, racism, violence, inequality, poverty, and pandemic. They may not carry the pink gun Seo-hae has in the drama, but these women carry knowledge, love, skills, faith, and a strong voice to fight for world peace and change.

Some of them are covered in masks and personal protective equipment, doing their best every single day, to save patients from COVID-19 and other illnesses. Some of them are educators, counselors, mothers, architects, engineers, designers, directors, and leaders in politics, technology, entertainment, and religion. These women are involved in the front lines of movements and today, we take pride and appreciate them for the heroine that they are in their respective roles and fields.

May our homes continue to raise up empowered daughters and our nations united to stand up for all women for a better world.

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