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Kpop - EXO 02: Experiments, Dreams & the Escape


If you have not read the origin story or the first blog of the EXO story series, make sure to read that before starting this one. It will help you understand the whole picture better.

So let's start!

So, we left at OVERDOSE, during which the members were captured inside the maze and were trying to reach the centre of it. At end of the MV we see LUHAN and KAI reach the centre, which is Red Force's lab. Where all the next MV's are assumed to take place. The whole EXO is captured and is experimented on, inside this lab and the first sign of it we see in KOKOBOP MV.

KOKOBOP represents Red Force's experimentation on EXO, somehow their powers were damped inside the maze (as we could also see in OVERDOSE MV) and thus we don’t see any member use their power.

Lots of frames have (intentional) glitches throughout the MV and also shows members sleeping or falling asleep. Everyone seem almost lethargic in the MV (expect BEAKHYUN) as if they are under an influence of a strong drug, presumably the one that we see XIUMIN and KAI playing with and mixing at the start of the video. You can also see them interact with weird objects like Kai on floating cloud (not his superpower), flying burgers, basketball that explodes as fireworks, etc. that adds to the discrepancy or inconsistency of reality.

Next as per the timeline comes LOVE ME RIGHT, even during this MV like in KOKOBOP, members seems to be sleeping a lot. They again seem to be in dreamlike state and are playing American Football. The area where their locker rooms are and the passageway to the field seems similar to LUCKY ONE Mainly because of the way the hallway & windows looks like.

At start of another MV (POWER) way in future in the timeline, this instance is shown to labeled as #1563. So there are theories that might suggest that this is happening on another planet itself rather than in their heads. But I will stick to his spot in the timeline because rather than labelling it as Planet 1563 like other planets in that clip, this instance is labelled as #1563 which can just be a way of labelling this particular experiment in Red Force's archives.

So back to LOVE ME RIGHT, I think through this MV/ Experiment Red Force was trying to make EXO's subconscious feel like they are together in real and safe. Enjoying themselves so that they will loosen up and Red Force can unlock secrets to their powers. Another thing that makes me think that this is an experiment is, a lot of flashing images of people in gloves, bright liquid syringed into bottles, lot of screens around them representing surveillance. But during this mV you can also see members realising something is wrong, they try to wake each other.

Here I feel a little gap, but I have reasoning behind keeping TEMPO after LOVE ME RIGHT and before LUCKY ONE in the timeline.

TEMPO Teaser had a passage that said: Speed loving bikers enter the fragment of frozen time as they log into the red cube. Solving the given puzzle is the only route for all to escape. However, the bikers are unable to resist the temptation and re-enters the cube.

This teaser poster sets the premise to this comeback which as stated before, can also part of a parallel universe rather than this timeline. But we will try to think of ways why it would fit here rather than independent of the main timeline.

EXO in their dream state are speed loving bikes who enters the red cube for the first time when Red Force forces them to, in order to escape this red cube they have to solve a series of tasks, which they successfully do but are always tempted to go back in.

TEMPO MV is what is happening inside the cube for the first first time EXO voluntarily went in (and I think they are still in their dream state at this point, this is all part of Red Force's experiments to learn more about EXO and their powers). Again in this MV, we see a lot of glitches and there is an addition of scanning players, which can be because they are logging in into this cube world. Also the tasks that they are trying to solve when they all are inside like the chess pieces, escape room type of interiors etc. is so that they can escape after solving those puzzles.

At end of the MV, we see them driving they motorcycles away, now enters the EXO-CIRCUIT campaign, as part of the promotional campaign for the TEMPO comeback an website EXO-CIRCUIT was launched where the fans would enter code to unlock each member’s teaser picture. The process of entering the code and unlocking the pictures was the puzzle that we as EXOLs had to solve in order for EXO to escape the Red Cube they were in. After the teasers were released and each puzzle was solved, EXO escaped as seen at end of the TEMPO MV as well. But as they drive away from the cube, someone comes back to it and here they enter the red cube once again. In words of the teaser poster, they were once agin tempted to log in into the red cube.

In EXplOration VCR 01 (sorry about the quality, this is the best I could find) you can see them logging again into the red cube. If you listen carefully, you can hear the words login and reentry complete in the background. At end of this video they seem unable to stop and go through a portal somewhere, assuming again escaping the Red Cube.

When they reach the other end in the EXplOration VCR 02, they seem to land in a desolate planet with nothing but a small plant. And then an Eclipse occurs, giving EXO their powers back, then the plant seem to become gigantic leading them away from the Red Cube world (This can also be interpreted as Lay helping them stay from from that virtual world, but only SM would know)

All this time, when EXO are dreaming of this, the real EXO or say their bodies are trapped inside the white boxes. We even get glimpses of them throwing hands against the white boxes throughout the TEMPO MV. This escape from the Red Cube also might be how they start regaining their own consciousness. So Lay did not just help them get out of the red cube but also led them out of their subconsciousness.

In LUCKY ONE we see real EXO’s regaining their powers and trying to break out of the labs. We have 2 version of the members especially DO and Kai, where one version of them looks & sings robotically while other version is trying to get out the chains. DO is the first one to get back his powers. When the glass in the room shatters, only DO is unfazed while other members are bracing themselves against the impact. After this other members start getting back their powers as well, except Kai (who seemingly only dances to ward off the nurses who are following). But Red Force anticipated this breakout because nurses don’t really seem to put on any fight and just burst their heads open when EXO start using their powers. Also at the very end of the MV we also have a shot where we see 4 nurses were watching and monitoring the whole situation from above in some lab. My theory is Red Force through all the experimentation uncovered the secret of EXO's powers and thus let them go willingly. EXO's escape was all part of Red Force's plan.

The EXO members run free from the Red Force’s lab after this MV and even though they have not regained their powers completely, started living a normal life as humans on Earth. From here the timeline divides into what happens with EXO and then what happens with X-EXO.

I will conclude this post with the overview of this phase in the graphics below:

Let me know what you think in the comments. Do you have any other questions about the EXO timeline? Let me know and I will try to answer them. I will write about the next phase of the EXO timeline which is EXO 03: X-EXO Rise & Fall (LOVE SHOT, LOTTO, OBSESSION & ElyXiOn)

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