Eek, it’s the first episode this season to chill me to the bone. Don’t get me wrong—this show has been plenty scary before, but this time it’s a character and not blood and gore, that sends waves down my spine. The past and present finally converge, and our hero meets an adversary who makes the bloodsucking baddies we knew before seem like fluffy bunnies. Yunno… with fangs.
EPISODE 5: “Trap”
1994. A detective holds Park Hoon at gunpoint, insisting that the person they’re after isn’t a person at all. He trembles, saying that his wife and child will die otherwise, but Park Hoon talks him down, promising that they’ll catch the bastard.
He gets the man to lower the gun. But once they’re standing face-to-face, the detective apologizes that this is the only way… and shoots.
In the present day, our coroner Dr. Jo sits in the park happily watching over Ji-hye. In flashback he asks Tae-yeon if he can be the one to look after her, until she’s adopted. How adorable.
She skins her knee falling off her bike and he rushes to her side, and she says like a little trooper that she’s fine. Dr. Jo asks why she’s always fine, and Ji-hye says it’s because Grandpa hurts if she’s hurt. He tells her that with Ajusshi, she can say she’s hungry when she’s hungry and hurt if she’s hurt. Awwwww.
The team gathers at the scene of a fresh new murder – a detective, who’s sporting a giant gash in his neck, and curiously missing a lot of blood. What’s weirder is the lack of any blood at the crime scene, which leaves Tae-yeon sans vampy powers.
Dr. Jo arrives and figures it out right away: the man was hung upside-down and drained of all his blood, and the reason there’s no blood left at the scene of the crime isn’t because the killer was thorough, but because blood-getting was the motive.
Tae-yeon wonders how he’d know that blood-draining was the primary motive and death the by-product, and Dr. Jo says it’s the lack of a single drop of blood left at the crime scene that fits the bill – it’s exactly the same as a case he worked on twenty years ago. Hm…
But that story will have to wait, because Dong-man calls with a fingerprint match from the crime scene: a mobster. Tae-yeon and Jung-in go to bring him in, and she’s adorably excited to go bust some heads. They cute-banter on the way in:
Tae-yeon: You’d be more comfortable if you waited in the car.
Jung-in: Comfortable is boring.
Tae-yeon: Boring is safe.
Jung-in: Safe is no fun.
Hee. And that’s why we love you. Their suspect has no intention of being arrested easily, and his gangsters arm themselves with golf clubs.
Tae-yeon asks if Jung-in’s sure she still wants in, and she opens up her jacket to reveal the row of handcuffs she brought to the party. Haha. She’s Soon-bum Lite? Also, the way they’re flirting in tone while talking about handcuffs and gangsters is just making my day.
Tae-yeon: “You want it?” She nods. Rawr. He fights his way through the gangsters, tossing them down one at a time, while Jung-in cuffs them. They are having way too much fun with this, and I love it.
But the downside of all the fun is, the guy they’re after slips away in the scuffle. He races to his car and yells at his driver to hurry, and sighs in relief. He arrives and looks out of the car… only to realize he’s at the prosecutor’s office.
Tae-yeon and Jung-in thank him for being so kind as to turn himself in, and then smile at Soon-bum, who’s been driving the car this whole time. Hee.
Soon-bum interrogates the gangster, who calls the dead detective “hyungnim,” and says his fingerprint must’ve been there because he went to the house a few days ago. The team figures he has plenty of motive, since the cop was the one who put him in prison.
But Dr. Jo urges Tae-yeon not to jump to conclusions, clearly having cold feet after his last life-altering mistake. He says that there were two cases like this before, and he had jumped to the same simple conclusions following fingerprints.
In flashback we see the young Dr. Jo and the detective who opened the episode working on a case just like this one. He says to Tae-yeon now that it was the prosecutor on their team who figured out the proper lead to chase.
Tae-yeon asks who the prosecutor was, and if he’s still on the job. Eeee…
Dr. Jo says that one day, without explanation, he put down his badge and walked away. His name… was Park Hoon. Tae-yeon’s eyes widen. Dr. Jo: “Do you know him?” Uh, yeah, I think he’d recognize the man who turned him into a vampire.
He gapes: “Park Hoon was a prosecutor?” I KNOW!
He returns to watch the interrogation, and Boss Lady joins them in a chipper mood, considering this case all tied up with bows. But Tae-yeon says it’s not over, and this guy might not be their killer. That does not make her happy.
Tae-yeon takes up Dr. Jo’s line of reasoning, and argues that they have a duty to be absolutely sure before prosecuting – what’s a day’s work to them is a life-altering sentence for someone else.
Prosecutor Joo fumes at his disobedience. Even though she’s a horrible person, I do see that from her point of view, it seems like Tae-yeon purposely chooses to disagree with her for the sake of being contrary. It’s just… you’d think she’d have some moral scruples.
She decides to test Jung-in and turns to her to pick a side. Obviously she backs Tae-yeon (as if that were a question), and gets reamed for being a mobster’s daughter who can’t even pick the right rope to climb. The boss relents that they can do it their way and storms out.
Jung-in: “What should we do next?” Tae-yeon smiles (with his back turned to her, argh): “We? We should meet our other suspects.”
Two cops chase a guy up and down streets, and Tae-yeon clotheslines him once, and he falls to the ground. But that turns out to just be a courtesy catch, because the person they want to talk to is the cop, not the criminal.
They ask the cop about the victim, Detective Ahn, who was the head of their homicide unit. He tells them about the detective’s solid reputation, and relays a recent incident in their precinct.
Flashback to our victim, being held up at gunpoint in the precinct, by another cop the others call a crazy bastard. He demands the file that Detective Ahn is holding in his hand, which he says has to be destroyed or they’ll all die. Detective Ahn argues that it’s time the truth comes out.
Shaking like a leaf, Crazy Cop echoes the same words as the detective from the opening of the episode – that there’s no other way, and that if he doesn’t destroy it, that bastard will do something. Ooh, I like that we’re getting an actual case link between Park Hoon’s story and our murder of the week.
Soon it’s a three-way standoff (I mean, you’re standing in a circle surrounded by other armed cops so it’s inevitable). It’s a little confusing since they’re all middle-aged guys who look the same, but there are basically three cops who matter: our victim Detective Ahn who wants the truth to be told, Crazy Cop with a gun who wants the file destroyed to save them, and a Third Cop who argues that they should just kill Crazy now.
Crazy Cop pulls the trigger but his safety is on, so he’s quickly overtaken, and promptly fired from duty. What’s more is that on the same day that Detective Ahn was killed, Third Cop was also shot in the street (wounded, not dead).
They say he was chasing a thief and it went sideways, but the cop telling the story thinks that’s a load of crap – what’s a homicide detective doing chasing a thief anyway?
Tae-yeon asks what his theory is, and he says that Crazy Cop must’ve killed them both for that file, because it’s now missing.
The team regroups and divides up duties, and Soon-bum stops to ask Tae-yeon if he doesn’t smell something funny about this case.
Go figure, it’s always Tae-yeon the vampire who’s most skeptical about a supernatural answer, but you can’t argue with Soon-bum’s logic: no blood left at the scene, blood as the motive… it points to something vampy.
Soon-bum points out that neither Prosecutor Jang’s nor his sister’s body has been found, on top of which Dr. Blood has been out of reach since that day. (Thanks for the update, ’cause we were wondering.) Tae-yeon remains skeptical, but Soon-bum says this case doesn’t smell very human.
Dr. Jo looks through his old case records to find the matching case from twenty years ago, and comes across an old picture of him with Park Hoon that makes him smile. Suddenly he has a coughing fit, and looks down at his hand.
Ack! He’s coughing up blood!
Tae-yeon goes to see Third Cop (the one who was shot), but he can’t answer any questions because he appears to be catatonic. His son comes in and asks if the prosecutor’s office is finally looking into his father’s case, and angrily accuses the murder victim Detective Ahn of being the one who shot his dad.
The son tells Tae-yeon that his father regained consciousness a few days ago and told him everything – that Detective Ahn and Crazy Cop were both taking bribes from the mob, and that there was a record of it.
Tae-yeon asks if he has any guesses as to who killed Detective Ahn then, and the son recalls a conversation he overheard: Dad screaming at “hyung,” asking if he knows what kind of bastards are the ones paying him. “They drain people’s blood and sell it!”
Meanwhile Jung-in and Dong-man go through the black box in Detective Ahn’s car, which reveals that he did come from somewhere covered in blood, right around the same time that Third Cop was shot.
They see that he changed his clothes afterward, and then drove around for a while, finally ending up at a convenience store. They figure that he must’ve gone to mail a package – the missing file.
Soon-bum goes to check out Crazy Cop, and enters the creepy dark apartment… to find an even creepier room inside, walls covered in photos and mad ramblings. The guy is inside, huddled in the dark, shaking like a paranoid loon.
So… they weren’t exaggerating about the crazy, were they? He freaks out when Soon-bum tells him that one cop is dead and the other shot, and when he describes the way Detective Ahn was killed, Crazy grabs a photo off his wall, “Like this?!”
Soon-bum’s eyes widen and he demands to know what this is from. Crazy says it’s a case that the three detectives worked on together, and flips a loony lid as he says he’s next.
Soon-bum fills Tae-yeon in on the case that the three detectives worked together – almost a carbon copy of their murder case. His theory is that the original murderer is coming after the three detectives who were chasing him down, using the same method to kill them.
Tae-yeon asks if there was any mention of selling blood, but there wasn’t, so he tables that for now. He asks what hyung thinks, and Soon-bum asks, “Honestly?” Tae-yeon laughs at the need for specifying that between them, and then pauses, “Wait, have you ever lied to me before?” Hee, so cute.
Soon-bum says he honestly thinks the murderer isn’t human, and asks what Tae-yeon will do if it’s Prosecutor Jang. He says he’ll catch him. And if it’s Little Sis? Tae-yeon doesn’t answer.
Jung-in traces Detective Ahn’s steps the night he died, and goes to the convenience store, where the clerk fetches the record of the package he sent… to the mobster they arrested at the outset.
Crazy Cop calls Soon-bum and says he figured it out from “him,” the way out of all this. He tells Soon-bum to come over and he’ll tell him. No! Don’t do it!
Jung-in saunters into the mobster’s office alone that night. I love that a room full of gangsters doesn’t scare her in the least, and she just fires her gun into the air once and they all back away.
Tae-yeon and Soon-bum race to Crazy Cop’s house and burst in… to find his wife dead on the floor and Crazy just sitting in the corner, covered in her blood. Whoa. Did you kill her yourself to prevent her from being killed by the killer? Because you’re crazy?
They get him into the interrogation room, and he says if they promise to lock him up in prison, he’ll talk. Did you seriously kill your wife so you could feel safer… in prison? Obviously not a difficult promise for our boys to make, and they assure him he’ll be locked away.
He says that a few months ago, someone approached him with a knife to his throat (or what looks like a shaving razor). He threatened his wife and child and told him to stop his investigation, and then vanished into thin air.
But then the threats kept coming, and everywhere he turned, there were photos and razors and messages that he’d kill everyone. Finally one day, the man kidnapped his little daughter… right in front of him.
And then the calls started coming, telling him what to do to keep her alive. Oh. Now I see why you went nuts. He wails that he didn’t want to, he didn’t want to. Tae-yeon: “WHAT DID HE TELL YOU TO DO?!”
Jung-in gets the package that Detective Ahn sent to the mobster—he entrusted it to him because they were friends, and it’s labeled for him to give it to anyone investigating his death.
It’s a file of all his records on that case of the blood-drainer, and photos of the suspect indicate that it’s the same person who kidnapped Crazy’s daughter.
Back to the interrogation. Crazy admits to what he did, following the kidnapper’s orders: He killed Third Cop’s son—his only son—with his bare hands. Wait. Wut. His son? Is dead? Then who was the guy in the hospital?!
Okay, proper shivers. Holy crap!
Tae-yeon races out of there and calls the hospital, and they tell him that the son checked the cop out of the hospital earlier today. He arrives at the cop’s house, where Not-Son is coming out of the shower. Well you’re being awfully leisurely for a killer.
Tae-yeon plays along and says he had another question for Dad, and Not-Son says Dad’s sleeping and shuts the bedroom door. Cut to: Third Cop hanging upside-down in the room, as his blood drains into a bucket.
He suggests coming another time, and when Tae-yeon doesn’t budge, he says it again, “Or you’ll regret it.” Tae-yeon: “I don’t think I will.”
The killer says with this deadened look in his eyes that human beings are all the same. He says that all he had to do was lay the seed, and these cops just tore each other up to save themselves—what all humans do because they’re inherently selfish.
The way he keeps saying “human” makes me think he’s decidedly not. Tae-yeon counters that Detective Ahn passed the case to them just before he died, so doesn’t that mean he wanted truth and justice to prevail?
The killer laughs and says all he did to get the ball rolling was kidnap one of their kids, and then like dominoes, they fell in line.
So the events in order: Killer kidnapped Crazy’s daughter, Crazy killed Third Cop’s son, Third Cop pulled a gun on Detective Ahn… and Ahn turned the gun around on him in defense. Thinking him dead, Ahn sent the package and then committed suicide in his apartment.
The killer chuckles over it, like it was an experiment in the human condition, and seems to find it all very amusing. He asks if Tae-yeon still doesn’t regret leaving when he had the chance, and then opens the fridge…
It’s stocked with rows and rows of bottles filled with blood. Awwww yeah. I mean gross, obviously, but yay for a new vampy enemy for Tae-yeon.
He takes a bottle and says sometimes it takes time for regret to settle in… and gulps down a liter of blood like it’s an ice-cold beer. Omo… is that a glint of RED I see in your eye? Are you THE Red Eyes who turned Park Hoon?!
Red Eyes vamps out and attacks, throwing Tae-yeon into the bathroom sink. He strangles him up against the wall thinking it’ll be over in a few seconds… when Tae-yeon growls and vamps out.
Hell yeah. Vamp fight! This is so badass. They both move so fast, and Tae-yeon matches him punch for punch. But Red Eyes seems stronger than him, and lifts him up by the throat again.
Tae-yeon’s barely keeping his throat from being ripped out, and grabs the shower head to wrap around Red Eyes. He strangles him, until Red Eyes knocks him down with the toilet tank cover. I love the use of bathroom fixtures as deadly weapons.
He body-slams Tae-yeon out into the living room, and then stops to catch his breath. “This is fun.” And then he wonders aloud, “Why are all of you prosecutors?” *gasp* ALL? How many is “all”?
He takes another swig of blood and says, “Other than [him/her] and me, are the rest all prosecutors?” Who’s the other one?! That’s what Tae-yeon wants to know, but he doesn’t answer.
Sirens wail just outside, and Red Eyes slams the bottle of blood over Tae-yeon’s head and saunters out, calm as you please. Damn.
Soon-bum and Jung-in burst through the door with cops behind them, and find Tae-yeon lying there covered in blood. Jung-in runs toward him, but Tae-yeon shouts at her not to come close.
With his back to them, he struggles to de-fang and then sits up, while Jung-in and Soon-bum stand frozen in place.
Back to the opening scene. Park Hoon is shot, and vamps out. The detective screams in horror and backs away, when Red Eyes grabs him from behind. He has scraggly hair back then, so this is definitely Park Hoon’s sire.
He says this guy knows that Park Hoon is a vampire, so he probably shouldn’t let him go. Besides, he’ll need human blood to survive that gunshot. He offers a choice: the cop dies, or he dies.
He says he’ll make it easy—he’ll do the killing, and all Park Hoon has to do is drink. He gives him a chance to say no. Park Hoon gasps and cries… but no sound comes out. He breaks down, but can’t bring himself to say no.
Red Eyes counts to three and smiles. He delivers the killing bite, and tosses the body on the ground. Park Hoon finally lets out a waaaaaail. Red Eyes caresses his face like a demented father, “Life is hard.”
He walks out and then Park Hoon crawls over to his partner’s body… and drinks. Oof.
Okay, now I’m officially terrified. Can you imagine if Demented Sire Boy decides to play the same game with Tae-yeon? I can’t even think about what I’d do if Soon-bum or Jung-in were put in that place. I’m really thankful that we finally caught up to a real introduction to the Big Bad, and brought our past and present storylines into one clear story space. Thank ye gods.
This show is so much better when they’re actually making their parallels clear, rather than leaving us treading water in some indeterminate past with a mysterious whozit. Now we know we’re after Park Hoon sire… who’s now after Tae-yeon. Eep! (And yay for casting Kwon Hyun-sang to play him. He was such a sweet goofy guy in The King 2 Hearts, but man is he creeptastic here.)
This case brought to light so many of the various overarching conflicts in the series, like the possibility that Tae-yeon would run into Prosecutor Jang or his sister any time they have a remotely vampy case, or Tae-yeon having to keep Jung-in away when he’s covered in blood and a danger to her (breaks my heart every time he has to do that). But the best is finally seeing Park Hoon and Tae-yeon in parallel, working on the same case no less, and Tae-yeon discovering that connection through Dr. Jo.
Ever since we discovered that Park Hoon was a prosecutor, likely a very good one, who was also seemingly a good guy, it made his character so interesting. Dr. Jo seems to still hold him in high regard, and I love that he was taught things by Park Hoon, and is now passing on those same lessons to Tae-yeon. NOW (finally) I feel fully invested in the overarching mystery, and I love the questions we’re left with, now that we have a sense of where to direct them. Was this case (and the drinking of human blood) the thing that made Park Hoon quit his job and leave the law behind? Is there a connection between Red Eyes and Prosecutor Jang? And who is this other vampire that Red Eyes knows?
I can’t wait till Tae-yeon goes digging into his sire’s past, and I’m really excited by the new Big Bad. A scary villain means our hero has a worthy opponent and an epic battle ahead.