There are a few new dramas that have premiered within the past month and ‘Move to Heaven’ was one of those I knew I had to check out the moment I watched its official teaser. It just looked so different and emitted such a mysterious but intriguing tone and had such an interesting premise. Although the drama dropped all 10 episodes a little over a month ago, I was only recently able to tune into the episodes a few days ago. Fast forward a few days later and I’m caught up on 5 episodes so far.
‘Move to Heaven’ stars Tang Joon-sang as Han Geu-ru, a 20-year old boy diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. He works with his father on their company ‘Move to Heaven’ where they describe themselves as trauma cleaners and clean up the living spaces and belongings of the deceased. Lee Je-hoon jumps into the picture by joining the company as Geu-ru’s unfamiliar uncle, Cho Sang-gu, and Geu-ru’s friend, Yoon Na-mu (Hong Seung-hee) also plays her part in helping out with the company. Together, the three work together under the name of ‘Move to Heaven’ and find themselves caught up in each individual case that they handle.
Upon watching the first two episodes, the drama started off like how I expected and thought it would. The first episode was primarily foundational and introductory; we learn a lot about our main character, Geu-ru, and his relationship with his father (played by Ji Jin-hee). We learn more about their work as trauma cleaners and how exactly they go about with the business. We even get a small glimpse into Na-mu and her dynamic with Geu-ru as his close (and only) friend. With the first and second episode, the drama tugged at our heartstrings by providing context and details behind the individuals who passed. As seen with the first episode, the young man was a poor victim who unfortunately passed due to a workplace accident. We learn more not only about who he was as we watched Geu-ru and his father clean up after the young man’s belongings, but we also learned more about him through his parents at his funeral. The second episode was a bit more touching by providing us a glimpse into an aging mother’s heart-wrenching sacrifices and unconditional love for her son who has changed over the years. The first two episodes was more familial and it was interesting to just sit back and watch how our characters go about with their business. The first two episodes was more of what I thought the drama was going to be by tugging at our heartstrings, providing context and background story into the individuals who passed, and causing us to shed a few tears of sympathy and sadness.
While the drama is a bit procedural with each episode (or each episode and a half) tackling on a different case or an individual, I found the cases more interesting and intriguing to watch as the drama progressed. Unlike what I thought and expected, each case wasn’t always a familial one or it wasn’t always going to be tears of sadness that you let out. As seen with the third case involving the teacher, the drama took a different turn and sort of reminded me of a crime drama of sorts. Thanks to Geu-ru’s photogenic and detailed memory, he was able to dig into the investigation behind the woman’s murder and noticed a hint that detectives were unable to find. A part of it stems from Geu-ru’s experience of learning from his father and having done this work of trauma cleaning for a while, but the other part of it is also Geu-ru’s personality and skillsets that sets him apart from everyone else. He should never be underestimated and as we have seen up to episode 5, he is most likely right 10 out of 10 times.
After watching episode 5, it finally dawned on me what Geu-ru and ‘Move to Heaven’ meant when they describe themselves as trauma cleaners. There’s the physical aspect of it which is when Geu-ru, Na-mu, and Uncle Sang-gu physically go to the person’s house or place to clean up after their belongings and the space. They’re literally cleaning up the place. The other aspect to the trauma cleaning concept that I didn’t really recognize and realize until episode 5 was the mental and emotional aspect to the term. As seen in episode 5, with Geu-ru’s quick thinking and detail-oriented mentality, he was able to help the cellist, Ian Park, cope with his lover’s death and learn the truth about how his lover really felt about him. Our ‘Move to Heaven’ team is helping those who were left behind be able to process, accept, and cope with their loved one’s death. There’s more to their work than just the physical aspect of it; the other side of it involves helping family and friends with that first step in processing any trauma that might come with a loved one’s death. In that regards, the ‘Move to Heaven’ team really are trauma cleaners like how they describe themselves to be.
Having watched 5 episodes so far, I’m liking what we’ve been given up to this point. Though unexpected, I’m liking the mystery component behind each of the cases and Geu-ru really digging into his experience and personality to uncover the truth behind each person’s death. I thought the drama would be a lot more straightforward with simply showing us the ‘Move to Heaven’ team cleaning up the rooms and providing us context behind each person’s life. However, there’s more to this drama than meets the eye and although it’s not something that’s going to keep you on your toes or on the edge of your seat all the time, there’s enough flavor that makes you want to keep watching it. Of course, Lee Je-hoon is great in this (as he usually is). I am intrigued with his background and his life and the brief flashes that we get of him as someone who grew up in an abusive domestic household. Although it does sometimes feel as if we’re watching two different dramas when the drama focuses on Uncle Sang-gu’s life, Lee Je-hoon is so good portraying his character during those darker and grittier scenes (such as the scene with the violent and aggressive husband abusing his wife). If there was a smoother way to combine and mesh the feel of Sang-gu’s life with the overall drama, it’d be even better and make for an even greater watch. Regardless, Lee Je-hoon shines in this drama, but his co-stars are also holding their ground respectively (especially Tang Joon-sang).
So far, ‘Move to Heaven’ is proving to be much more than I expected in a non-disappointing way. It’s not the most amazing drama that I’ve watched and it’s definitely not the most exciting either, but I enjoy the mysterious and sympathetic vibes that I get while watching this drama. I shed many tears in the first episode (I won’t say why for those who haven’t watched the episode yet) and I assume there will be many more tears to shed with the upcoming episodes. Overall, ‘Move to Heaven’ makes for a fun watch especially with the way that our three characters all work together with Geu-ru’s leadership to get down to the bottom of things with each person’s death. At the same time, our characters also have some trauma of their own that they themselves have to work through, work on, and process. As part of ‘Move to Heaven’, there’s bound to be adventures where ever you go and whatever you do.