Warning: This post contains spoilers for all of SF8 Baby It’s Over Outside
I wake up in the morning and I wonderSkeeter, The End of the World
Why everything’s the same as it was
I can’t understand, no, I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it does
Why does my heart go on beating?
Why do these eyes of mine cry?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when you said goodbye
While Korea’s SF8 is technically a science fiction series, it is heavily influenced by Korean dramas. While this gives the anthology the deep characterisation, strong directing and rich visuals we expect from this part of the world, it also means the series has sometimes struggled to hit the right notes as science fiction.
In the case of SF8‘s fifth episode it has failed completely; even against stories like Joan’s Galaxy. The genre elements in Baby It’s Over Outside are entirely metaphorical and the episode thus fails as a piece of science fiction. It’s something you may expect me to take issue with. But the episode is so enjoyable and so well executed that it works. So much that I don’t care that it isn’t science fiction at all.
The world is ending.
NASA has found an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and all attempts to divert or destroy it has failed. Knowing the world ends in one week, humanity doesn’t panic or riot. All the humans simply go home to spend time with their loved ones.
All humans that is except Kim Nam-woo (Lee David); a lonely young police officer who has nothing else to do but to stick to his drudging routine. Nam-woo can barely remember why he worked so hard for so many years to become a public servant. But he has no friends, family or loved ones and so with a large object about to destroy his entire world he simply goes about his day.
The impending catastrophe has thrown up an interesting side to our species though: superheroes. People who have been hiding various abilities, both manifest and latent. Unlike everyone else who has given up, the superheroes want to save the world.
On patrol, Nam-woo meets Shin Hye-hwa (Shin Eun-soo); a superpowered human on the search for the elusive Mrs Jang (Hwang Jung-min) who can recognise latent abilities. With her they hope to identify the person who can save them all.
It’s not that Kim Nam-woo joins Hye-hwa on her quest. It’s more that he starts following her and cannot seem to stop. As she climbs mountains to achieve her goal, he stumbles along behind her. Eventually they find the solution to the end of the world: Hye-hwa has to fall in love with Kim Nam-woo.
You Can’t Be In Love After a Week
On paper, Baby It’s Over Outside has all the elements of a science-fantasy tale. Disaster, asteroids, super-powered mutants, time travel, a mystery to solve and a quest to save the world. But in this case, none of these things are meant to be taken literally.
Baby It’s Over Outside is instead a simple and timeless story about feeling like your world is over because you do not have love. With the alternative title You Can’t Be In Love After a Week it instead tells a story of a person who fell in love but whose feelings were never reciprocated.
The world ends. But only really for you.
“I knew this would happen one day. I had a feeling that at the moment I die everyone else would die as well,” Nam-woo says in voiceover at the beginning of the episode. Baby It’s Over Outside takes that feeling and makes it manifest; a giant meteor of death and destruction heading towards your life.
Nam-woo’s latent ability is time travel. In the case of an accident he is thrown back in time to live the years over again. His only way out is to remember the loops so he can warn NASA about the asteroid. Hye-hwa’s ability meanwhile is that anyone she loves can never forget her. The solution then is simple: if Hye-hwa loves Nam-woo he will never forget her even in one of his loops. The world is saved.
But love him Hye-hwa cannot.
Hello the End, the End
For viewers anticipating hard science fiction, Baby It’s Over Outside no doubt felt strange and even confusing. The ending in particular was obscure if taken literally. Like most people experiencing grief, Nam-woo is thrown back to relive the last four years of his life; experiencing the pain and loss of the end over and over again without respite.
Ultimately the story told is a simple one. His world began when he met her. It ended when she rejected him.