Whoa. I don’t even know how to preview this episode without giving anything away. Let’s just say the Big Bad wages his war, and he’s not messing around. You might want to cover your eyes for this. Now that we’re entering the final three episodes, I think it’s safe to say: The showdown has begun…
EPISODE 9: “Cold Blood vs. Bad Blood”
Tae-yeon goes tearing into the house and the team runs in behind him. They scan the house and the surrounding woods, but there’s no sign of Ji-ae.
We actually find out her name is Ji-ae because Dr. Jo is sitting in his office back in the city, filling out the adoption papers. Oof. He signs them with a smile… and then he gets the call.
He runs out in a panic, and we see that his desk is now adorned with a picture of the soon-to-be father-daughter duo, where he’s stuck the band-aid Ji-ae put on his forehead. I’m not gonna make it out of this episode without crying, am I?
Opening credits. The team reconvenes at the office, but each of them only has bad news to report: no sign of Ji-ae, reported missing, found, or otherwise. They reach the only conclusion they can – that she’s been kidnapped.
That’s the moment when Dr. Jo joins them, and he asks with bloodshot eyes why anyone would take Ji-ae, and if they even searched properly. To each of them in turn: “You said you would watch over her!” Oof, oof, oof.
He turns to Tae-yeon, “You promised me you’d watch over her. You all know what kind of heartbreak she came to us with. I’m not the only one who knew that.” Tae-yeon says it’s his fault, and Dr. Jo doubles over in a coughing fit.
He pleads with Tae-yeon to find her, his voice breaking, “She has suffered because of me. And there’s nothing I can do for her. Please, please…”
Tae-yeon says he’s the one who should be pleading for the chance to fix his mistakes, and promises that if Dr. Jo gives him the chance, he’ll do whatever it takes to find Ji-ae.
The air is somber when a familiar voice calls out to them cheerily – it’s fortuneteller Runa, who was in the country and wanted to stop and say hi. She immediately asks what’s wrong.
She takes out her tarot cards and asks Dr. Jo to pull out three cards – one for Ji-ae’s condition, her location, and her kidnapper. He pulls the first card: Death, but upside-down, meaning Ji-ae is still alive.
The second card indicates the strong presence of water wherever she is. And then he pulls the last card: Choice, and Runa says it must be a mistake. She puts it back and reshuffles the cards.
He picks another, and it’s the same: Choice. She puts it back and reshuffles again. I don’t know what it means but it’s freaking me out. This time Runa picks the card herself… and it’s the same one.
She thinks to herself, “Does this mean that depending on my choice or the doctor’s, Ji-ae might live or die?” She doesn’t share this thought with the team, and just suggests that tarot cards might not be the most helpful this time.
She asks for the things that Ji-ae was playing with around the time she disappeared, and senses her aura on the case of band-aids. She uses it to reconnect with the moment Ji-ae was taken.
Runa submerges herself under water, and it transports her to the vacation house. She sees Ji-ae, and then each member of the team as they run in searching for her. She deletes their auras one by one to eliminate them, but senses something strange…
She deletes Tae-yeon’s aura but still senses vampire. And suddenly in her vision, the vampire grabs her by the neck and prepares to chomp down. Dude, are aura-visions allowed to do that?
She screams in terror and the team rushes in. She and Tae-yeon relocate to his office behind closed blinds, and the team paces nervously down in the conference room. Runa tells him that she could sense a strong vampire, one whose aura was covering Ji-ae’s.
Tae-yeon knows right away it means Red Eyes, and Runa says there is one good thing about it – a vampire’s aura is strong enough to be singled out among millions of people. Time to do a locator spell.
They pinpoint an area and go tearing out of the office. The team obviously wants to come along, but Tae-yeon doesn’t want to endanger them, and leaves them behind.
Of course, that lasts about ten seconds before they all go running out after him. Dong-man adorably brings up the rear shouting, “Ji-ae, oppa is coming!”
Tae-yeon and Runa stop in the middle of a neighborhood, and she says it’s too difficult to be more exact than this. Tae-yeon goes to his car and hands her a bloody knife, “Will this do?” Dude, you kept the knife he stabbed you with in your glove box?
She closes her eyes… and when she opens them, she’s in a different part of the neighborhood. It’s confusing because we only see it from her perspective, but based on the thing she did on the last case, I’m guessing she sort of trance-walked over here.
She sees Red Eyes walk past, and follows him into an abandoned courtyard. He grabs her from behind in a headlock, but she uses the knife to stab him in the leg, and wriggles free.
He yanks the knife out and guesses right away that Tae-yeon sent her, and that she must be a shaman if she used the knife to locate him. And then he licks his own blood (I know he’s a vampire but that’s just gross), and dangles the knife in her face.
He says he warned Tae-yeon to stay away or people would get hurt, and gets ready to bite down on Runa’s neck…
But Tae-yeon FINALLY shows up and conks him on the head. Fight! At least this time Red Eyes is injured, not to mention the fact that Tae-yeon is fueled by anger and urgency.
Red Eyes swings with the knife, but Tae-yeon manages to get the upper hand and pins him to the ground. He hovers above him with the knife in his hand, screaming, “Where is Ji-ae?!”
Red Eyes just mocks him for playing with the knife when he can’t even use it, taunting him that he doesn’t have it in him to kill. Urg, he’s totally messing with his mind, Seven-style. And yet, I’m still like, STAB HIM!
Tae-yeon growls and lifts the knife, ready to stab…
…when his team runs in. DAMNIT. Red Eyes immediately turns into the innocent victim with his hands in the air, and Tae-yeon drops the knife with a sigh.
Runa comes running out of the house – no Ji-ae, but she did find her hairpin inside.
Red Eyes lets Soon-bum cuff him without any trouble, the whole time smiling at Tae-yeon and taunting him to bite.
In the interrogation room, the team waits and Jung-in says suspiciously that there’s something weird going on here. That man has torn clothes and blood stains making it look like he was stabbed, and yet no scars.
Soon-bum knows enough to guess that it’s something he should help cover up, and suggests it must’ve been someone else’s blood. But Jung-in asks if he didn’t see the way Tae-yeon was wielding that knife. Uh-oh, her suspicion-dar is pinged.
Tae-yeon joins them and sends everyone outside while he questions Red Eyes alone. Dr. Jo puts up a fight, but Tae-yeon pleads with him to go, and Jung-in follows him out. Soon-bum doesn’t budge, and asks if the guy in there is a vampire too.
He puts the pieces together – that Red Eyes was the killer from their last case. Tae-yeon stops him before he goes any further: “Hyung, sometimes I wonder – if we hadn’t met two years ago, how would you be living?”
Soon-bum asks what he’s talking about, out of nowhere. Tae-yeon: “Meeting you was good fortune for me. But was meeting me… fortune for you?” Awww, don’t say things like that!
He says with a wistful smile, “I honestly don’t know. I found someone with whom I could share all my secrets. But you met someone for whom you have to keep all secrets.” Soon-bum’s eyes well up with tears and alarm, and I love that even though he’s the hyung, Tae-yeon is actually much more of a hyung and father when he’s talking this way.
Tae-yeon says that Soon-bum has dealt with more than he should have because of knowing him, and asks him to just let him handle this one case alone. He promises to tell him everything the second he finishes the case.
Soon-bum blinks back tears and turns to go, and then stops at the door. “Just don’t go running around and getting yourself hurt. You’re my one good fortune, Tae-yeon-ah.” He pauses to look back at him one more time, and they smile. *TEARS*
Tae-yeon just bursts into the interrogation room with a kick, knocking Red Eyes out of his chair. He demands to know where Ji-ae is, and Red Eyes plays dumb, saying he has no reason to kidnap her.
He fixates on Jung-in, calling her the “pretty prosecutor,” earning him a violent punch. But that just makes him laugh, “Do you like her?” Aw crap. Stop giving away your feelings to the bad guy.
Red Eyes swears up and down that he doesn’t have any use for Ji-ae, and that he went to that house looking for someone too. Maybe they’re chasing the same person. Oh we’re supposed to believe that from you?
Is it wrong that I enjoy how many times Tae-yeon slams his head into the table? He uses the chair to choke him, and holds it in place as he takes a call from a mysterious man… who says they have Ji-ae. Er?
Red Eyes gasps, “See, it wasn’t me!” At the same time, the team gets a package in the mail, and Dong-man runs up to tell Tae-hyun. This is what he sees:
Ha, you’re gonna have some ‘xplainin’ to do after this case. Also, I thought once we got Red Eyes into the room we’d at least find out his real name, but no dice.
The team stares at the package, which has the message: “If you want to find the child.” Dr. Jo rushes to open the box, and the rest of team jumps to stop him. There could be a bomb in there, sir!
Dong-man gets to work x-raying the thing, and opens it to find a USB drive inside. It’s a recording of Ji-ae locked behind a glass door, screaming, “Ajusshi! Ajusshi! Save me!” Augh, it’s heartbreaking for everyone, and Dr. Jo crumbles at the sight.
The team gets busy trying to track the signal (it’s apparently a live feed), but they’ve covered their tracks. Suddenly Tae-yeon scans the room, “Where’s Dr. Jo?” Oh no.
Nononono – he’s in the interrogation room with Red Eyes. Why are you in there? Red Eyes plays the victim to a tee, saying in a trembling voice that he went there looking for someone too, and that he can’t say anymore or someone important to him will be hurt.
Dr. Jo begs him to tell him what he knows, and leans dangerously close. Tae-yeon and Soon-bum arrive outside but find the door locked, and Soon-bum grabs a fire extinguisher and goes to town on the door handle.
I’m just waiting for Red Eyes to pounce, but it’s Dr. Jo who goes to make a move first. He grabs the pen on the table, and raises it to stab like a pen knife. He starts to cough…
Red Eyes smiles… I can’t watch…
They finally get the door open and bust in, and it’s just in time to stop Dr. Jo from stabbing Red Eyes. Oh phew. Soon-bum takes Dr. Jo outside, and Tae-yeon glares as Red Eyes just smiles calmly.
Dong-man reports on his analysis of the feed: there’s a reflection of a partial street sign and a red brick building, she’s on at least the second floor of a building, it’s raining (which narrows it down to a few towns that got rainfall in the last hour), and there’s some sort of blip in the signal that’s caused by something unknown.
They notice an opening for a tube or a hose in the video, but can’t figure out what it is. I have a terrible feeling about this…
The team loads up on guns (Soon-bum wears enough bullets for a one-man blitzkrieg), while Runa goes back to her map. Her eyes widen. She tells Tae-yeon that there’s another aura – one that isn’t as strong as Red Eyes, but definitely a vampire.
Is it the other vamp, the non-prosecutor that Red Eyes talked about? Tae-yeon goes to ask the same thing, but unsurprisingly Red Eyes isn’t very forthcoming. Tae-yeon has him locked up in chains, but he simply takes out a pen hidden up his sleeve and grins.
The team gets ready to head out, when suddenly Dr. Jo screams from behind the monitor. Water starts gushing into the box where Ji-ae is trapped. I knew that was bad news. Runa mutters the sign from the tarot card, “Water…”
They scramble to split up and start the search, and Tae-yeon asks Dong-man if the place that Runa picked out on the map had any rain today. It’s a no so he decides against it. Argh, is that a good idea?
Dr. Jo wants to help, but he’s still doubled over from coughing fits every few minutes, so they tell him to wait here. He waits with Runa and Dong-man, just sitting in agony as the water rises to her knees and Ji-ae cries, “I know Ajusshi will come. I know Ajusshi will come.”
The first locations are a bust, and they urge Dong-man to give them more direction. Well, Soon-bum yells and threatens him and his mother, Jung-in tells him to calm down, and Tae-yeon tells him to concentrate on the sounds one more time.
He takes a breath and listens again to just the ambient noises. And then it clicks – the signal interruption that he couldn’t pinpoint, and the noise – it’s a plane.
The team rushes to the location that matches, and back at headquarters, Dr. Jo finally caves and breaks down in his office. At the same time Red Eyes looks up at the clock and gets ready to make his move.
Tae-yeon finds the right building and Soon-bum and Jung-in join him. They hear Ji-ae screaming from inside, as the water gets higher and higher. They break down the door and run inside…
And all they find is a TV playing the same feed. Damn. How are they supposed to start all over again? She’s waist-deep in water and standing on her tippy toes… doesn’t that mean they have minutes at most?
Dong-man races out of the office to join them, when Red Eyes grabs him by the throat down the hallway, and throws him on top of the pile of guards he left behind. And then he slaps himself like he’s psyching up for what’s to come…
Dr. Jo decides he can’t just sit around anymore and Runa tries to stop him. But as soon as he steps out of the office, Red Eyes stumbles out and falls to his knees.
He pleads that his sibling will be killed just like Dr. Jo’s daughter, and that the same people have kidnapped both of their loved ones. He says they told him not to involve cops in any way, and snatches Runa’s phone away when she goes to call Tae-yeon. Crap.
I think Dr. Jo is the only one falling for the we’re-in-the-same-boat act, but Red Eyes knows to quietly threaten Runa out of earshot that Ji-ae will die if she doesn’t play along.
Thankfully Tae-yeon remembers the location that Runa pointed out on the map—the other vamp—and decides to go there as a last-ditch plan. He leaves Jung-in and Soon-bum behind and follows his nose into a creepy abandoned building. He pauses at the door…
Meanwhile Dr. Jo and Runa take Red Eyes to the neighborhood where he directs them, and they split up to search for Ji-ae. Dr. Jo can barely make it down the street before he falls over, coughing up blood. I’m terrified that he’s the one who isn’t going to make it out of this alive.
Red Eyes baited them with a reflection of a cross that was visible in the video, and so Runa goes looking for a church. But it’s Dr. Jo who finds Ji-ae first, behind a chained door. Wait, then where is Tae-yeon??
Dr. Jo breaks through the chains with a crowbar and finds Ji-ae completely underwater in the tank. Ohgodohgod. How long has she been under?
He pounds the glass tank with the crowbar until it cracks and shatters, and Ji-ae comes pouring out with the water. He grabs her in his arms to check if she’s breathing…
And she is. Ji-ae spits out some water to gasp, “Ajusshi, Ji-ae is fine.” Awwwww.
Runa sighs in relief as Dr. Jo hugs Ji-ae close, but then she starts to look around her and notices that everything has been set up like a prop. All the clues, from the cross to the street sign to the airplane noise – all planted.
She doesn’t even have the chance to ask the question before the place gets stormed by thugs in black suits, who beat the living crap out of Dr. Jo and take Ji-ae away. AGAIN. That is so cruel.
By the time Runa comes to, she finds Dr. Jo beaten so bloody he’s hanging onto his life by a thread.
That’s when Red Eyes saunters in, “Why’d you lose her again?” You bastard.
He answers his own question: “It’s because you’re weak. Do you know what the difference is between strong and weak? The strong will worry about what else they can take away, but the weak will worry about how they’ll protect what they have. Like idiots.”
He leans in, “If you want to protect what’s yours, be the one who takes away. I’ll make you strong.” And then he takes out a syringe. OH. SHIT.
He draws his own blood as Runa watches wide-eyed. He hands it to her, “You help him,” and he walks away.
She flashes back to the tarot card: Choice. She turns to Dr. Jo, “I can save your life with this blood, but if I do, you’ll spend the rest of it hungry for blood!” He whispers that if he can save Ji-ae’s life, it’s okay.
She shakes her head no, but he asks her to do it, and then slumps to the ground. Is he dead?? She tries to shake him awake, screaming and crying, but he doesn’t move.
She asks someone—Tae-yeon? The heavens?—not to hate her or Dr. Jo for their choice… and plunges the needle into his arm.
A moment of stillness passes, and then Dr. Jo starts to twitch. He growls in pain and his body starts to contort through the transformation. Runa backs away.
Tae-yeon finally decides to open the door. It’s some kind of mad scientist laboratory… Tae-yeon walks inside, “Hyung.”
Dr. Blood? He turns around. It is!
And then back in the warehouse, Dr. Jo completes the transformation and vamps out, his eyes glowing blue.
That is just not a twist I expected. I really thought he’d die, but that life-and-death choice is so in line with Red Eyes’ M.O. – we just expected that the choice would be Tae-yeon’s, not one of his people. And to add to the pain, the transformation itself was harrowing to watch. I’m dying to know how much Dr. Jo knows about vampires, because he didn’t seem the least bit confused or surprised by the question when it was posed to him. Or perhaps he was so driven by desperation to save Ji-ae that he didn’t care what it was.
To think, Tae-yeon feels this guilty now towards Soon-bum just for knowing him and having to carry the burden of his secret. What will he do when he finds out that Dr. Jo was turned, just to be another pawn in the game? We also don’t know what kind of vampire he’ll be, which is a whole other problem we’ll now be faced with. I’ve grown so accustomed to Dr. Jo’s quiet, dignified kind old soul personality that I’m not sure I could handle an evil bloodthirsty alter ego. But if Tae-yeon was able to remain good, he has a chance too, right? But… then even if he rescues Ji-ae, is he just going to raise her? And what, keep his blood packs next to her juice packs in the fridge?
I really hope Dr. Blood has been discovering something useful in exchange for ditching the hot bartender look. A way to kill Red Eyes? A weakness? A spot where he’s ticklish maybe? I’ll take anything at this point. It speaks to what a good adversary he is for Tae-yeon, that’s for sure, but everyone seems to be underestimating the sick and twisted part of equation when it comes to Red Eyes. What’s interesting about him is that he’s always trying to teach people to see the world the way he does, like a motivational speaker or crazy psychotic cult leader. Is he just lonely for a buddy who shares his worldview? Or is he trying to raise an army of like-minded vampires? Both are crazy; one is far more dangerous than the other.
I know we have the fallout to deal with and Tae-yeon’s big heroic save (already a lot to fit into two remaining episodes), but I hope we take the time to go back into Red Eyes and Dr. Jo, and even Dr. Blood’s pasts, because there are a lot of unanswered questions on the table. I already feel like getting closure on Park Hoon’s story is a pipedream at this point, but if it’s well-planned, perhaps all four storylines will converge at one point.
I think it’s time we lock the team away in a room and everyone shares what they know, because everyone working with their tiny piece of the puzzle just isn’t going to cut it anymore. I absolutely loved Tae-yeon’s exchange with Soon-bum in this episode (their scenes are always my favorite), but by the next episode, I want Soon-bum to say screw what you think is best and just bromance the truth out of him. If Dr. Jo goes Rogue Vampire Coroner on us, there’s not going to be much of a good guys team left to save…