What would it be like if you could only see the world in shades of black, white, and gray? As if you existed inside an old black and white movie before the development of Technicolor, or all the Kansas scenes in The Wizard of Oz.
Welcome to Yeon Woo’s world, to the world of Monos and Probes, obsession and mystery. Welcome to Color Rush.
—Edited by TheFNGee
Choi Yeon Woo
Portrayed by Yoo Jun, Choi Yeon Woo is a Mono living with a form of neurological blindness that limits his ability to see colors.
Portrayed by Hur HyunJun, Yoo Han is a Kpop idol trainee who discovers he is Yeon Woo’s Probe.
Adapted from the web novel of the same name by author Se Yang, Color Rush is the story of monochromatic Yeon Woo, a person with neurologically-based colorblindness. He, like other Monos, lives in a world devoid of color unless he meets his Probe. Probes are a type of color soulmate, the one person in the entire world who can bring color into the lives of the Monos with whom they connect. For Yeon Woo, his Probe happens to be Yoo Han, a Kpop idol trainee going to the same school where Yeon Woo transfers. Set against the enigmatic backdrop surrounding Yeon Woo’s mother’s disappearance, Color Rush is a mystery romance with a touch of destiny.
The soulmate concept is not new to the romance genre, and it’s a trope of which I never tire. The idea that for everyone on the planet, there is a person who is the former’s complement, who understands them on an intimate, fundamental level, has always touched my heart.
No matter what word one wants to use to describe the events beyond human control, the idea that there is something bigger than we are is both overwhelming and intriguing. It’s nice to believe there is someone out there, one person who can bring light into our otherwise dreary existence. Color Rush quite literally gives viewers this experience. In the opening episode, Yeon Woo meets his Probe when he faces an unmasked Yoo Han in a potent rush of colors and emotions that concludes with Yeon Woo fainting.
This drama needs to be experienced to be understood. Although the story itself is not complicated—Mono boy bonds unexpectedly with Probe boy—it is the way it is visually told that is unique and satisfying. I could sum up what happens in the first episode in two sentences, but I would need much more time and space to delve into the details and symbolism behind each moment.
Three things will need to come together in this drama for the series to work, and the opening two episodes do a beautiful job of setting these things up.
From the moment Yeon Woo invites us into his black and white world, it is apparent he is full of pain and uncertainty. He has a defensive wall built around himself. His life is impacted by his missing “mono” mother and his jaded understanding of Monos. Everything he has been through—the bullying and sorrow—has left him with a negative impression of what people like him are. Monos tend to be loners with a penchant for obsessive behavior and violence should they ever meet their Probes. These facts are painfully obvious from the homicidal news story flashing across the television screen when the first episode opens. Yeon Woo’s woeful voice-over narration does a great job of showcasing his desire to avoid meeting his Probe and why. It will be interesting to see how Yoo Jun tackles the confusion and possible growing mental mania his character will face as this series progresses.
The viewers aren’t offered an in-depth look into Yoo Han’s character, leaving a blank canvas of endless possibilities. The mystery surrounding Yoo Han is further emphasized by how well we get to know Yeon Woo. However, Yoo Han’s most fascinating trait is his instant devotion to Yeon Woo’s appearance and his ardent desire to school Yeon Woo on colors. Rather than being frightened by the sudden realization that he is Yeon Woo’s Probe, Yoo Han seems buoyed by the excitement and thrill of danger. He appears to like keeping Yeon Woo on a color leash. By pulling his mask down, an unconcerned Yoo Han exposes his face to Yeon Woo, which rips down the defensive wall Yeon Woo has built around himself. Yoo Han is encouraging Yeon Woo’s obsessiveness, and I need to know why. We have yet to discover Yoo Han’s depth, and I look forward to peeling away the masking layers.
Color defines this series. While cinematography is an essential aspect of filmmaking, good visual storytelling is particularly vital to this drama’s success. Here the cinematography is as much a lead character in Color Rush as the actors involved. If Yeon Woo and Yoo Han are the passengers in this Mono and Probe world, then the cinematography is the driver. This drama is a push and pull between two very different worlds, a colorless universe and on awash in vivid color. Being inside Yeon Woo’s monochromatic world feels like being abandoned at a crossroads with no clear idea of how to proceed. Yoo Han is like a colorful lighthouse shining a beacon on the choice that has to be the correct one. I love how vital the cinematography is to the story in this drama. The way the characters are connected to their decisions depends heavily on how the color is utilized. With the cinematography helming the wheel, viewers are back seat passengers warily eyeing the road ahead. Will Color Rush steer us into a beautiful new direction or crash and burn before it crosses the finish line?
With longer episodes than the Korean BL mini-dramas that preceded it, Color Rush gets off to a strong start. While I found no flaws with the acting or storytelling, one scene in the first episode needed more attention. There is a defining moment when Yoo Han pulls down the mask on his face causing Yeon Woo to experience a significant color rush before passing out. When Yeon Woo comes to, he finds an intrigued Yoo Han hovering over him. At this moment, the viewer is suddenly aware that Yoo Han already knows what Yeon Woo is. I found this baffling. There is a fictional fantasy world laid out for this drama by the original book on which it’s based. However, some viewers who haven’t read the novel could have used a clarifying transition scene.
Color Rush reminds me of the Korean drama Pinocchio where the female lead hiccups every time she lies, making it impossible for her to be dishonest. Her Pinocchio Syndrome is not an abnormal condition to the world and characters surrounding her, making it a built-in component to the fictional world created for the drama. However, unlike Color Rush, Pinocchio had much more time to tell its story with twenty hour-long episodes. In Color Rush, although I assume Yoo Han saw the colors in Yeon Woo’s eyes when they connected, causing Yoo Han to realize what Yeon Woo is, it felt like a scene was missing between Yeon Woo’s color rush-induced faint and his waking up. An additional scene could better set up the world they live in and Yoo Han’s understanding of it.
I have high expectations for Color Rush. Should the drama continue to deliver the obsessive allure and emotional upheaval finding a spark of color inside a monochromatic world can cause, it will inevitably leave a poignant mark on the viewers and the BL genre.
The first two episodes set a solid framework for what could be a fantastic and emotional Korean drama.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]