‘Dr. Brain’: Episode 1 Complete Synopsis and Breakdown

Apple TV+’s first shot at a Korean drama holds a lot of promise, starting with episode 1. Dr. Brain entails a gifted scientist who has developed the technology to sync with another person’s brain and memories. When his family is struck by tragedy, he gets the incentive to use his work to look for the answers. Diving deep into the memories of the dead opens up a new world and a dark secret hidden from him.

Dr. Brain stars Parasite actor Lee Sun-kyun in the lead role as Koh Sewon. Episode 1 of the six-episode K-drama gives backstory into the character, his life, and what leads him to do the unthinkable. The K-drama might be Apple TV+’s first success at a riveting sci-fi thriller as other platforms venture into Korean content.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers about Dr. Brain.]

Lee Sun-kyun as Se-won for 'Dr. Brain' K-drama on morgue table
Lee Sun-kyun as Se-won for ‘Dr. Brain’ K-drama | via Apple TV+

Sewon was born extraordinary but lacking empathy in ‘Dr. Brain’

Dr. Brain episode 1 does the job is understanding why Sewon is different compared to the other characters. The K-drama’s storyline begins with Sewon as a child, he knew he was always different as he lacked the capabilities to socialize with other children and adults. But, he had a curious mind and always wanted to understand how things worked. His high intellect and barely-there social skills often led him into trouble with teachers. His mother loves her son but cannot properly care for his special needs and walks in front of a truck.

The events serve as a basis for Sewon that soon shifts into adulthood. Sewon’s inquisitive brain has led him to develop the technology to tap into the memories and brains of others to help with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other brain illnesses. Sewon’s intelligence is offset by his lack of feeling or empathy for others.

‘Dr. Brain’ Episode 1 jumpstarts Sewon’s journey to look for answers

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Dr. Brain gives Sewon an even deeper backstory with the tragedy that struck his family. Viewers learn he still managed to have an everyday life with a wife and child, but he admits he would never be the husband and father they deserved. When his child suddenly dies in a fire, his wife spirals into grief and refuses to believe their son is dead. Due to Sewon’s lack of empathy, he cannot sympathize or understand his wife.

The fate of his wife is left obscure in the first episode after she is admitted to the hospital after swallowing pills. Sewon then dedicates himself to his work. During a trial run, Sewon discovers the answer to perfect brain sync. One of the subjects must be dead for the sync to occur. He immediately asks for a human trial run but is rejected and takes matters into his own hands. With the help of his partner, he brain syncs with a dead body, and viewers see a montage of what could be murder.

Episode 1 of Dr. Brain takes a dramatic turn that adds an even higher level of intrigue. Sewon is met by a private investigator, Kang-mu (Park Hee-soon). He asks Sewon if he knows a man named Jun-ki (Kim Joo-hun), his employer. Having never heard of the man, Sewon sends him away. The next day, two detectives visit him home to ask the same question. Jun-ki was found murdered and had a connection to Sewon’s wife.

Sewon looks for clues to what really happened to his son

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Sewon’s need to know who Jun-ki is leads him to brain sync with Jun-ki’s brain. Sewon sees Jun-ki’s memories of his family and his daughter with his son’s cat in a series of memories and flashing images. Sewon also sees images of Jun-ki’s murder. After the sync, Sewon changes.

He starts to engage in conversations with his colleagues and acts friendly. Sewon starts to exhibit the habits and characteristics of the people he has synced with. At the same time, lieutenant Choi Ji-un (Seo Ji-hye) suspects Sewon is hiding something.

On the car ride home, Sewon’s inner monologue explains he is starting to see and feel things he has never felt before. After pulling over, Sewon panics and starts to hallucinate. He sees the figure of a young girl who tells him his son is not dead. Overtaken by the hallucination and perplexion of who the little girl is, Sewon looks for more answers.

Dr. Brain episode 1 reveals Sewon’s wife is in a coma and is taken care of in a medically equipped basement. Se-won’s inner monologue explains the little girl said the same thing his wife did about their son. Needing to understand, Sewon brain syncs with his wife. The events of the episode will have viewers wonder if “memories can be distorted and often misinterpret events. Can you really trust them?” according to Forbes.