The team investigates a bizarre case at an all-girls’ high school, bringing out the ghosts, the scandals, and the drama. What better setting than going back to high school to develop a good old-fashioned crush on the cute vampire in your class?
EPISODE 5 RECAP: “Truth Game”
Late at night, a young girl swims alone in a high school pool. Someone watches her from the shadows. Yeah, that’s not creepy or anything.
When she gets out of the pool, she notices someone watching her and calls out, but there’s no one there. She rushes to her locker to change back into her school uniform and hurries out on her bike.
But coming down the slope to the street, she rides right past another girl who appears out of thin air, wearing the same uniform, but covered in shadow. It freaks her out enough that she goes zooming down the street and into a car, sending her flying artfully off the bike, and to her death.
Tae-yeon arrives on the scene and blue-eyes the final moments before the crash. He’s taken aback by the arrival of his boss, Prosecutor (also Professor) Jang.
Yes, what is he doing out at a crime scene? Possibly revealing a glimpse of his nefarious side? You know he has one.
But alas, no, he has a reason for being out here – the victim happens to be the only daughter of the Chief of Police. He’s been ordered to handle the case himself, along with Tae-yeon’s team. Oh, this should be interesting.
Soon-bum gets overly excited at being tasked with a case serving as a direct pipeline to the chief of police. (As the only one who comes from the cop side of this police-prosecutor task force, he’s alone in his excitement.) He insists on dragging the car’s driver to the station for questioning, despite her insistence that she’s the victim, because the bike came out of nowhere.
Tae-yeon declares the case a simple accident and nothing more, and Soon-bum protests doggedly. Jung-in pipes up that the bicycle’s brakes have been tampered with, which gets Soon-bum back on cloud nine. But then she adds that it seems like a kid’s prank rather than a murder plot, and he sinks back down, “What’s wrong with you people?!” Hahaha.
Tae-yeon ignores his friend’s pleas for promotion-via-murder-solving, and declares it an accident. They turn to go, when suddenly a body falls from a window a few stories up. Students who have gathered around the first crime scene see the fall and shriek.
The team runs over to find another student dead on the ground. They look up and see a girl peering out of the window where she fell. The girls down below freak out at the sight of her: “Park Hyun-joo? How could it be? She died two years ago!”
Soon-bum asks them to repeat it, and looks over at Tae-yeon knowingly. Oh, are there other creepy-crawlies in this ‘verse?
Dong-man hands over a blood sample from Victim #1, and then asks why Tae-yeon needs a sample from the crime scene. Tae-yeon just gives the silent you-deal-with-it smile to Soon-bum, who gives Dong-man a quick assignment to distract him. I love the all-knowing silent telepathy between Tae-yeon and Soon-bum.
He heads into a classroom to drink the blood, and sees a vision of the dead girl, er, the other, other dead girl, from two years ago – Hyun-joo. It’s the same girl he saw in the window, not two minutes ago. He gasps and struggles from the pain, and wonders, “What? Is it really a dead person?”
He meets Jung-in upstairs in the classroom, and they find that both the victims were in the same class. They find scuff marks facing away from the window, indicating that Victim #2 was either running away from something and fell by accident, or was pushed out.
Jung-in asks skeptically if by pushed out, he means by the ghost of Hyun-joo. Tae-yeon guesses that ghosts don’t exist in her worldview. She asks if they do, in his. He smiles and says that there are plenty of things in the world that can’t be explained by science.
He scans the room and adds, “…but this isn’t one of them.” He holds up a mask of Hyun-joo’s face. Jung-in finds some kind of residue inside — it’s enough for a DNA test.
They gather all the students who were already at school into a classroom for DNA swabs and fingerprints. Other personnel present: a principal, their homeroom teacher, a security guard, and an English teacher.
One girl, Yuri, comes in late, not knowing what’s going on. They find that she’s the only one who was friends with the two victims, and she cries when Soon-bum tells her what happened. He asks where she was, and she has an alibi that she says the English teacher can verify.
Jung-in asks some of the girls if the victims were outcasts, and they laugh – “they weren’t outcasts; they MADE the outcasts.”
They’re the trifecta: the three richest girls in school, from the three most powerful families; the top three ranking students academically; and the three meanest girls who ran the social order. In other words: the axis of evil.
Jung-in continues to survey the girls as they file out, and stops a pair of them. She tells them to fess up, and they deny any involvement, but she points out that they have creases in their hair from where they tied the masks. Busted.
The DNA results confirm the two girls, so Soon-bum and Jung-in divide and conquer. But all they can get out of them is that they were harassed by the mean girls, and so decided to play a prank on them, with the masks.
One girl went to the pool, while the other went to the classroom, armed with Hyun-joo masks. They admit to giving them a good scare, but not to tampering with brakes or pushing anyone out of a window. The girl swears that Victim #2 got so close to the window that she took off her mask to get her to calm down, but she fell out of it anyway.
Jung-in points out how much that sounds like a load of crap, but the girl adds that someone put thumbtacks in Victim #2’s shoes earlier that day, so maybe that’s what made her trip and fall. Tae-yeon interrupts her interrogation with a silent finger come-hither that just kills me.
The coroner tells them that Victim #2 has a tetanus infection, and Jung-in’s jaw drops. “It really WAS the thumbtacks?” Tae-yeon guesses that she had a spasm and lost control of her muscles at the window, causing the fall.
Once Jung-in leaves the room, he asks for a blood sample, and the coroner asks why, since all the tests are done. She pauses with a knowing look… and asks if he collects them for some kind of trophy case of all the cases he solves. HA.
Soon-bum sees Tae-yeon with the blood sample and worries that it’s tainted blood, but Tae-yeon brushes it off like it’s no big thing. Uh… haven’t you ever heard the expression, you are what you eat? Dude, let’s stay off of the dead, neurotoxin-infected blood, yeah?
Soon-bum stops to drool over Boobs McPhee, and then pays Dong-man a visit to see what he’s found on the security cameras. Dong-man insists he did this task first while ignoring all the others, to support Soon-bum’s promotion. He grandly promises to promote Dong-man from intern to official employee and they cluck in glee.
The security footage over the bike racks shows none other than Victim #2, snapping the brake cord on Victim #1’s bike. What the? Dong-man looks over at Soon-bum with a hangdog expression, supposing that the chief of police won’t be very happy about not having a murderer to put behind bars. There go their dreams of promotion.
Tae-yeon takes a swig of blood and sees that Victim #2 got a text just as she was falling to her death. He writhes in pain.
He joins the guys in the lab, already onto Victim #2 as the culprit. He asks for her cell phone data, where they find pictures of her working at a hostess bar. They wonder what on earth a girl from the wealthiest family in school is doing there.
Text messages reveal threats from someone who knew that her father had gone bankrupt. This person threatened to out her to her friends, complete with incriminating photographs. She received a text directing her to cut Victim #1’s brakes, and that tonight was her only chance, otherwise pictures would be sent.
Tae-yeon and Soon-bum sit down to try and suss out the case: Victim #1 is the original target, while Victim #2 was used to do the murdering, which leaves the field wide open for anyone who had a grudge against them. And that’s pretty much everyone.
But Soon-bum remembers that the surviving mean girl, Yuri, never mentioned the thumbtack incident – why? He decides that she’s the likeliest killer, because with academic ranks 1 and 2 out of the picture, who’s the head of the class now?
Tae-yeon wonders if it really could be that simple, but Soon-bum assures him that while it might seem simple to them, it’s a complicated matter to these girls. Tae-yeon shakes his head incredulously at the high school girl drama.
Jung-in goes back to the classroom and searches Victim #2’s locker. She finds a thumbtack inside and smiles. Just then, Tae-yeon arrives and peers in to see what she’s looking at, getting all up in her face to do so.
She flinches uncomfortably, and he asks what she’s doing, when he notices her just staring blankly. Eeee! What’s this? Actual romantic stirrings? Are those… FEELINGS I see?
He clearly has no idea the effect of having his pretty face talking at you from two inches away. She finally lets out a breath after he leaves, like she was holding it in the entire time. Heh.
Soon-bum goes to question Yuri about the thumbtacks, and she says that she didn’t think it was a big deal worth mentioning. She gets a call from James the English teacher, which she hides from Soon-bum’s view.
Jung-in calls with the lab results from the thumbtacks, but Soon-bum can guess the culprit before he’s even told, and Jung-in quips at him to stop showing off and just bring her in.
It turns out Yuri was being blackmailed too – with pictures of her illicit affair with James the English teacher. She was sent the thumbtacks and told to put them in Victim #2’s shoes. She followed orders to keep her affair under wraps, and had no idea that they were rusty, tetanus-happy tacks.
They gape at her flippant tone, wondering if she doesn’t feel the least bit guilty that what she did led to her friend’s death. But she coldly wonders why she ought to feel bad about it when she isn’t to blame. They stare slackjawed at her sociopathic response. I love that the guys are more freaked out by the high school mean girl than they are by creepy serial killers. Ha.
Jung-in reports that Yuri was indeed receiving blackmail calls from the same number. Tae-yeon guesses that Victim #1 must have the same pattern, but Jung-in says they can’t locate her phone. He knows it was there, at the crime scene, but now it’s missing.
He recalls the text he saw in his vision when he drank Victim #2’s blood: “Well done. An impressive show!”
Soon-bum joins them, muttering about how Yuri lawyered up and got released on account of being a minor, which he points out is ludicrous, given that these so-called minors are running about with teachers and moonlighting at hostess bars. He supposes that Victim #1 will have an equally sordid secret. “I don’t even want to KNOW!”
Jung-in in turn yells at him for letting Yuri go, since she’s still their only lead. He yells back that it’s not like he wanted to let her go. Tae-yeon interrupts them with the sudden realization that if some third party was blackmailing all three of them, then Yuri could be in danger.
They rush out to find her before she leaves the building, and Tae-yeon finds her in the bathroom. But it’s too late, and by the time he gets to her, she struggles for her last breath, and dies.
They find that her birth control pills were replaced with a drug that basically made her suffocate to death, painfully and slowly. Jung-in reports that the pills have Victim #1’s fingerprints on them.
Damn, it’s an airtight murder-go-round, with 3 killing 2, 2 killing 1, and 1 killing 3. They marvel at the methodical planning. The coroner adds that Victim #3’s arm was reset. They split up to investigate.
Soon-bum goes to see the doctor who worked on Victim #3’s arm, and he says that her shoulder was completely dislocated. He was called in to take care of it quietly, off the record.
Jung-in goes to see two of the victims’ fathers, including the chief of police. She accuses him of removing his daughter’s cell phone from the crime scene, because he must’ve known about the blackmail. She throws out accusations mostly just to get a rise out of him and judge his reaction.
While Jung-in creates the diversion, Tae-yeon sneaks into the chief’s home, and finds his daughter’s phone. I was initially laughing at how fast he finds the sucker with zero digging around, but it still has her blood on it, so he must’ve sniffed it out like candy.
Soon-bum finds the detective who investigated the first death, from two years ago. The case reeks of foul play: the detective got a call from the chief of police to go handle a suicide case at his daughter’s school quietly.
He found that the victim, Hyun-joo, had marks of a struggle on her body, but everyone from the principal down to their teacher insisted that they saw her jump. It’s a big ol’ cover-up, complete with pay-offs.
Jung-in calls with news that she’s found Victim Zero’s mother, who works at a pharmacy, and that they’ll be shocked when they find out who it is. She heads there and finds a camera lying on the counter, complete with blackmail photographs.
A woman comes from behind the counter, having fully expected them to come for her. It’s the driver from the first crime scene – the one who hit Victim #1, or rather, positioned her car to be hit by the bike.
Tae-yeon questions her, and she denies nothing, ready to pay for her crimes in full. He asks why she did it, when she could’ve just gone to the authorities. She asks if he thinks that’s a fight she would’ve won, against “eye-witnesses” who would claim that they saw Hyun-joo jump.
In flashback we see Hyun-joo’s last day, complaining to her mom that she didn’t want to go to school, that the other girls were mean to her. Mom was busy and promised to talk to the principal tomorrow. But that day, the mean girls pushed her around on the roof, and Victim #1 shoved her too hard, right over the edge. Victim #3 grabbed her, dislocating her shoulder in the process, but Hyun-joo slipped out of her grasp and fell to her death.
Mom says she only started out seeking the truth – she wanted to know what happened to her daughter, and if she really committed suicide. She went to talk to her classmates, and ran into the Axis of Evil. They treated her like a bug for bumping into them, and they quipped to each other as they walked away, “We could just push her off the roof like Hyun-joo.”
The more she saw, the more horrified she was. “They were monsters. Not students, not human… just monsters.” He asks why the elaborate game, to make them kill each other. She says that the point was to show the world what trash they were, and that by following her instructions, they were admitting their guilt.
She says that she didn’t want it to end up that she was just the murderer of three innocent girls. Tae-yeon: “Well, whether innocent or trash, the fact that you killed them doesn’t seem to change.”
It sinks in that she’s still a murderer, and she confesses that truthfully, she wanted to make sure that she was the one to finish off Victim #1.
They wrap the case and the chief of police gets indicted for his crimes. Prosecutor Jang seems pleased with Tae-yeon, and mostly surprised. He asks how a person could be so different – he never expected much out of Tae-yeon and his team, and points out that he seems really different lately. Tae-yeon claims to be the same as always.
Jung-in goes to the roof to look for Tae-yeon (Oooooooo~~) but Soon-bum comes up looking for him too. He asks if she frequents the rooftop too, not putting two and two together.
Dong-man complains that Tae-yeon never takes their team out to eat, and Soon-bum jokes, “He eats every time there’s a case!” Uh… He darts his eyes back and forth and covers up the slip by announcing that he’s buying drinks tonight.
Tae-yeon asks Prosecutor Jang if they can reopen their last case, because of the judge’s involvement. He says that he already looked into it, but there’s a problem. He hands him the newspaper – the judge has been missing for five days.
He heads to his vamp bar, and his friend asks what he’s so engrossed in. Tae-yeon thinks aloud about the Big Bad vampire, who seven years ago, killed someone new every two days.
He points out that seven years have gone by with no trace. Is it possible that he isn’t drinking living blood anymore? The bartender says no – once you’ve tasted living blood there’s no going back.
Tae-yeon: “One every two days… seven years… Do you know how many people that is?”
The bartender looks up at him. Is that evil in your eye? Sympathy? Math hate? I NEED TO KNOW.
Aaaaargh. They are So. Stingy. with the overarching mystery. It’s just infuriating sometimes to get these little trickles that you think will lead somewhere, but don’t get picked up again until the next episode’s final minutes, and then poof! It’s gone again! I love Tae-yeon’s character, his levity, his darkness, his unwavering sense of justice. I just can’t help but want more conflict thrown at him, not in the long-term in bits and pieces, but now, and all at once. I want MOAR.
I liked the murder of the week, despite it playing out fairly as expected. The high school drama had enough of a draw to pull me into the world, and I loved each prosecutor’s different reactions to the mean girl world.
But what I really took away from the episode were the teeny tiny baby steps in various relationships – seeing more of Tae-yeon with Prosecutor Jang, Jung-in developing a crush on her once-infuriating boss, Soon-bum and Dong-man forging a bond. I could really use much more of this, all around. Maybe next week we could trap the team in a room, or give them a case where they have to go undercover, forcing them to interact awkwardly in social situations?