Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Genius engineer and co-founder of the Quantum and Time company, Han Tae-sul, becomes embroiled in a secret world of time travel conspiracies after a mysterious woman saves him from an assassin!
So Han Tae-Sul (Cho Seung-woo), master engineer and inventor, is a bit of a jackass at the beginning of the show – rude and short with everyone less smart than him, which is pretty much everyone, slovenly and perpetually late, suffering from the loss of his admittedly strange older brother Han Tae-san (Heo Joon-seok) who died some while ago. Or did he? Because Tae-sul would absolutely swear that he saw his older brothers body go flying across the cockpit when he was using his enigmatic brains to save the sabotaged plane he was flying in from crashing. And that’s hardly the end to the strange occurrences that begin plaguing Han Tae-sul!
Kang Seo-hae (Park Shin-hye) is a survivor, a warrior, sent back from the future with a sacred mission to save Han Tae-sul no matter the cost, sure, but she’s also a girl from a nuke-filled future where Korea, at least, is empty and echoing and reclaimed by mother nature. She wanders the ruins of a beloved amusement park, dutifully adhering to Kang Dong-ki (Kim Jong-tae), her father’s, survivalist rules, collecting cute pink plushies to hang from her backpack; she paints the futuristic gun she defends herself with in shades of pink; she clutches an ancient (what else?!) pink journal as a lifeline to help in her critical mission of saving Tae-sul. And all that pink has a tendency to make Seo-hae a target for the militant survivalist groups of nuked-Korea’s bleak future, unless she and her father can make it to the Uploader, the machine of the future that inevitably sends people back to the past, trying to stop this terrible future from occurring. Which, as any lover of sci-fi films can tell you, is a horrible, paradoxical idea.
And then there’s the Control Bureau and its manipulative boss Mr. Hwang (Choi Jung-woo), who sends new recruit Jung Hyun-gi (Go Yoon) to assassinate Tae-sul; the Asia Mart tech crew who are by turns both friend and foe, led by Mr. Park (Sung Dong-il), and finally the psychotic shadow behind the whole end-of-the-world-but-also-Han-Tae-Sul plot, Seo Won-Ju, codenamed Sigma (Kim Byeong-cheol). All of them are personally, selfishly interested in the Uploader Han Tae-Sul built, or will build, or built but he can’t remember yet, whatever, screw you! This is why time travel gives us nosebleeds!
Kim Byeong-cheol, who plays the antagonist Sigma, also starred as the villain in another recent-ish South Korean smash hit, ‘Goblin’ or ‘Guardian: The Great and Lonely God’, and there is a very similar vibe to his character in ‘Sisyphus’. Greater detail about the glee for being bad Byeong-cheol tosses into every villain he plays would be nice, but that would be total spoilers for a epic time-travel sci-fi show like ‘Sisyphus’. Give it a watch, only on Netflix, try to count the time loops, and remember to choose: save the girl or save the world!