Memories of the Alhambra: Episode 4
The more our gaming investor gets immersed into the “augmented reality” game, the more he begins to notice that all in the game is not as it seems. The program was created to merge game and reality, and at first, Jin-woo is excited by the possibilities. But what happens if the lines between game and reality become so blurred that it’s difficult to discern which is which?
EPISODE 4 RECAP
In her hotel room in Granada, Hyung-seok’s wife (also Jin-woo’s ex-wife) Soo-jin wakes and finds herself still alone in bed. She grows worried when she sees that Hyung-seok hasn’t checked his messages, and he’s not answering her calls, either. His secretary tells Soo-jin that he’ll look for Hyung-seok.
She can’t stop thinking about Hyung-seok asking her about running into Jin-woo, which also reminds her of an argument she once witnessed between Hyung-seok and his father. Hyung-seok had yelled that he’d never come back, adding, “Who would think you’re actually my father? Only when Jin-woo dies…”
In another memory, Soo-jin and Jin-woo stand in the rain, Soo-jin crying as Jin-woo asks her in a voice devoid of emotion, “Shouldn’t I be the one crying?” Yet another scene shows Hyung-seok smashing a glass of wine against the wall, scaring Soo-jin, then telling her that she’s the only person in the world who understands him.
Last night, Hyung-seok had called Soo-jin after leaving their room to tell her he was meeting someone, but he wouldn’t say who. She guesses that he went to see Jin-woo, so she gets his phone number from her sister.
In the early hours of the morning, Hyung-seok is found sitting on the same bench where Jin-woo left him, dead.
Hee-joo’s grandmother has a nightmare that their new windfall was stolen, so she wakes Hee-joo and frantically tells her to check the bank account. Hee-joo groans that Jin-woo is too famous to be a con man, until Grandma yells that all con men seem trustworthy.
Thankfully the money is all still there. Grandma grows tearful, telling Hee-joo that she knows how hard things have been for her, and they hug and sob with happiness.
In a great mood, Hee-joo invites the hostel guests to help themselves to the sirloin and alcohol in the fridge, on the house. She drives Min-joo to school, cheerfully turning away reservation inquiries about the hostel, which she says will be shutting down soon. She even decides to splurge on a new van once Se-joo returns from his trip.
She heads to work at the guitar shop, stopping to buy a huge armful of flowers on the way, just because she can. She thinks about Jin-woo’s advice to start playing guitar again and wonders how he knew she played.
When someone walks into the shop, the last person Hee-joo expects to see is Jin-woo himself, and she drops her phone in surprise. He picks it up to see that she’s been watching videos of him online, ha.
He’s vague about his reasons for being back in Granada so soon, and he tells Hee-joo that he needs her help with something. He leads to to his taxi waiting on the curb, and Hee-joo’s friend Sang-bum, who was on his way to visit her, sees them leave together.
Jin-woo tells Hee-joo that he needs a translator, and she chirps that she’ll even do it for free now that she’s rich. He gives her an odd stare, amazed at how much one day and ten billion won have changed her. She says she was joking as he finally tells her curtly that he’s back because someone died, effectively killing all conversation.
He takes Hee-joo to where Soo-jin is staying, quickly outlining that the deceased, his wife, and her sister were on a trip when Hyung-seok was found dead. He accidentally calls Soo-jin “my wife,” so he explains to Hee-joo that Soo-jin was his wife first. Evidently, Soo-jin fainted and a doctor was called, but there’s a language barrier, which is why Hee-joo is needed.
Soo-kyung bursts into tears as soon as she lays eyes on Jin-woo. He goes to Soo-jin’s room where she’s sleeping in bed, one hand curled protectively over her pregnant belly. Jin-woo volunteers to go to the hospital and find out what he can about Hyung-seok, planning to leave Hee-joo behind to translate.
But Soo-jin wakes and asks Jin-woo what he and Hyung-seok talked about last night (“What did you say to him that he ended up dead?!”). She seems half out of her mind as she cries that she sensed something bad would happen after seeing Jin-woo at the train station.
She accuses Jin-woo of wanting this to happen, screaming at him and demanding to know what he said to Hyung-seok. She wails that Hyung-seok cried every day, wanting to reconcile with Jin-woo, and that they weren’t always happy.
Jin-woo doesn’t react at all as Soo-kyung drags Soo-jin back into the bedroom. Instead, he asks Hee-joo if Sang-bum is her boyfriend. She says he’s just a friend, and Jin-woo tells her not to get married, because he’s done it twice and he can assure her that it sucks.
After he leaves, Hee-joo recalls him telling Sang-bum that his first wife left him for his best friend. She puts the pieces together and figures out that Soo-jin is the wife who left him, and that her deceased husband must have been Jin-woo’s friend.
Secretary Seo is already at the hospital when Jin-woo arrives. He tells Jin-woo that he actually jogged right past the park this morning and had recognized Hyung-seok. He’d been the one to identify Hyung-seok’s body, and he says there was nothing to indicate violence so the police are assuming he had a heart attack or something similar.
Jin-woo is allowed to view the body, and he thinks about the last time he saw Hyung-seok, as he was “killing” him in the game. Afterward, he’s introduced to the Korean consul, who tells him that the police want to talk to him since he was the last person Hyung-seok called.
He’s quick to reassure Jin-woo that they don’t suspect him of anything since there’s no evidence of foul play. Jin-woo tells the consul that he did see Hyung-seok last night just before his flight out of Spain, and he says that he’ll answer any questions they have for him.
He tells Director Park on the phone later that it’s best if he’s honest, and Director Park advises him to be back in Seoul before the articles about Hyung-seok’s death are released. But Jin-woo decides to stay in Granada a bit longer, ignoring Director Park’s concerns about how it will look if he stays.
After they hang up, Yang-joo tells Director Park that after the fight last night, Jin-woo said that he “completely destroyed” Hyung-seok, finding his wording disturbing. He’s worried that Jin-woo used physical violence on Hyung-seok while playing the game, which could get him in trouble for assault or even murder if discovered.
The consul had told Jin-woo that the doctor who examined Hyung-seok’s body found something strange — that despite the lack of external trauma, Hyung-seok’s body seems to have been drained of blood. The consul said that it’s unlikely, but and this might turn into a murder case and they planned to do an autopsy.
As Jin-woo sits at an outdoor cafe mulling everything over, he spots a man playing a guitar nearby. He ignores Secretary Seo advising him to go back to Korea right away, instead asking Secretary Seo the name of the song the guitarist is playing (the same one Emma was playing in the game). Secretary Seo recognizes it as “Memories of the Alhambra,” a song that only experienced guitarists are able to play.
Secretary Seo goes to put some money in the guitarist’s case and listen to him finish the song. When he turns back, Jin-woo is gone.
He ends up at the last place he saw Hyung-seok, where they dueled last night. He puts his smart lenses in, logs on, and looks around, and in the game Hyung-seok’s lifeless body is still sitting on the bench.
There’s so much blood that it’s certainly plausible that Hyung-seok died of blood loss in the game, but that doesn’t explain how he lost enough blood to kill him when there wasn’t a scratch on him in reality. Jin-woo reaches out, but Hyung-seok’s body glitches and flickers when he tries to touch it.
He recalls Soo-jin’s accusation that he wanted Hyung-seok to die, how Hyung-seok had looked haggard when he called him out to duel, and how he’d called Hyung-seok a coward and a traitor.
Suddenly, the game alerts Jin-woo to an enemy nearby. He sees that Hyung-seok’s body is gone, but when he whirls around, a bloody Hyung-seok is standing in front of him. Hyung-seok attacks, but Jin-woo manages to pull out his sword and slash him for a critical hit.
Hyung-seok falls, defeated; then disappears. Jin-woo gains Hyung-seok’s experience points again, which boost him back up to level four.
In Korea, Yang-joo learns that the tabloids are already reporting Hyung-seok’s death. Jin-woo calls to tell him that the game somehow turned Hyung-seok’s image and stats into an NPC (non-player character), and he asks Yang-joo to find out if it’s a game function or if Se-joo is somehow messing with him.
Jin-woo gets a call from an employee at Granada Station asking if he left a bag on the train yesterday. He says that he didn’t take the train, then realizes that she’s talking about the train that Se-joo never disembarked from, so he says he’ll come pick up “his” bag.
That evening, Hee-joo talks to Sang-bum on the phone while making porridge to take to Soo-jin. Sang-bum finds it odd that Jin-woo would get Hee-joo involved in taking care of his ex-wife. He thinks it’s suspicious that someone as rich as Jin-woo would buy a run-down old hostel, thinking that Jin-woo is trying to seduce Hee-joo.
On Hee-joo’s end, Jin-woo hears Sang-bum on speaker phone and says that that’s not his intention, but he does admit to having an ulterior motive. He thanks Hee-joo sincerely for making Soo-jin porridge, then asks to borrow her computer.
He frowns at it and asks if she’s got one with better specs, and when she mentions her brother’s much nicer computer, Jin-woo asks to use that one instead. He casually asks after Se-joo, but Hee-joo says that he’s late coming home from a trip and she’s not sure where he is. She tells Jin-woo that Se-joo will be thrilled to hear who bought the hostel, and warns him that Se-joo’s room isn’t exactly clean.
Grandma goes nuts when she sees Jin-woo, even grabbing him in an impulsive hug against his will. She thanks him for his generosity, hugging him over and over again until Hee-joo manages to peel her away. Min-joo asks Jin-woo point-blank why he’s divorcing the famed actress Go Yu-ra, so he quickly escapes to Se-joo’s room.
It’s a pigsty, but Jin-woo is only interested in the computer and the notes and drawings all over the walls. He borrows Hee-joo’s phone, surprised when she just hands it over without any worry that he’ll snoop through it, then gives her a look that clearly says, “Thanks, you’re dismissed.”
As soon as Hee-joo leaves, Jin-woo locks the door and gets to work. He checks her text messages to see if Se-joo has said anything interesting, taking screenshots and sending them to himself.
He’d picked up Se-joo’s bag earlier, proof that Se-joo intended to go home, but it’s a mystery why he never got off the train and left his bag behind. He’d called Director Park, who speculated that someone was chasing Se-joo, and based on the things Se-joo said on the phone, Jin-woo wondered if it was Hyung-seok who was after him.
Flipping through a notebook, Jin-woo finds a note in Se-joo’s handwriting mentioning someone named Marco. He gets on the computer, and the real research begins.
He’s in there for quite a while, and when he returns Hee-joo’s phone, he warns her not to let anyone borrow it or they might take advantage of her. With a smile, she thanks him for his concern, which throws him off a little.
He stares at her for a long, charged moment, then grins and grumbles that she’s asking for trouble. He tells her, a little sadly, “Don’t trust me too much. I’m not as decent as you think. I’m worried you might hate me someday.”
On his way up to his room, Jin-woo calls “A” to ask him to find out what he can about this Marco from Se-joo’s notes. He tells A that Se-joo is missing, and A asks if Jin-woo thinks Hyung-seok’s death is related to the game.
Jin-woo says that he needs to find out why Se-joo turned down the ten billion won offer from Hyung-seok, because the reason may indicate that Se-joo is in trouble. As he lies in bed, he wonders if Director Park was right, that he should have waited until Se-joo returned to sign a deal.
He takes a call from Professor Cha, Hyung-seok’s father, who says wearily that he’s on his way to Spain now. Jin-woo asks if he’s coming alone, and Professor Cha says yes, that he “doesn’t need that woman” anyway, and that she’s probably happy about the Hyung-seok’s death.
He asks if Jin-woo saw Hyung-seok, and Jin-woo says he did, and that there were no visible wounds on his body, so they’re doing an autopsy. Professor Cha says that Hyung-seok was drinking a lot and wasn’t sleeping before he left for Spain, and that he recently threw a drunken tantrum at his father.
Jin-woo hangs up as it begins to storm, but the rain doesn’t seem quite natural as Jin-woo looks out the window. There’s a knock on his door, and at first Jin-woo can’t see his visitor’s face — until a flash of lightning reveals Hyung-seok, still bloody and holding his sword.
Keeping calm, Jin-woo turns away to get his phone and call Yang-joo. He quickly tells Yang-joo to check his monitor and find out how this new Hyung-seok NPC can show up whenever he wants, but Hyung-seok swings his sword and slashes Jin-woo’s arm, interrupting him.
Jin-woo drops the phone, writhing in real pain, and Hyung-seok swings again, this time connecting with his abdomen. Jin-woo manages to avoid Hyung-seok’s next few attacks, stumbling out to the landing as he finally summons his sword. He counters Hyung-seok’s attacks, but Hyung-seok pushes him until he’s bent backwards over the railing, nothing between him and the floor six stories down.
Hee-joo is down in her office when she gets a call from an unidentified number. She listens to what the caller has to say then goes to the lobby to look up the stairwell, but she doesn’t see anything. She heads up to the sixth floor, getting about halfway up before something heavy falls past her.
Suddenly terrified, Hee-joo slowly looks down, then up to the sixth floor. She calls out to Jin-woo in a scared voice, then looks back down to see Jin-woo’s body lying on the lobby floor.
I know I ask this a lot, what, WHAT the heck is happening?? How did Jin-woo manage to kill Hyung-seok in the game when he himself suffered no ill effects from their duel? How is the game reviving Hyung-seok and sending him after Jin-woo over and over again, even when Jin-woo isn’t logged in? Was it Jin-woo that fell (it looked like Jin-woo in his white shirt, in which case, oh noooo)? And most importantly, why is all this happening?! I suspect that Soo-jin was onto something when she accused Jin-woo of wishing Hyung-seok dead, and although Jin-woo would deny it, I’m guessing that part of him did wish Hyung-seok dead for stealing the woman he loved. So are Jin-woo’s secret desires affecting the game? If they are, how did the game manifest his in-game desires into reality? I’m incredibly confused, but it’s fantastic, and I’m so excited for next weeks’ episodes so that we can learn even more.
I love the theme of magic that runs throughout this show — it’s been mentioned by Jin-woo in every episode so far, but referring to different things. He’s called the game magic, but he also called it “magic” when Hee-joo received the life-changing sum of money for selling the hostel. He’s not talking about magic as in potions and spells, but the kind of “magic” that happens when someone’s life is irrevocably changed. The money is magic to Hee-joo because it will allow her and her family to vastly improve their circumstances, and even go home if they want, after being stuck in Granada for over a decade. The game is magic to Jin-woo because it’s a technological breakthrough that will bring him and his company fame and fortune. And the game (if it functioned safely) would be magic to the world, because the kind of things that can be done with augmented reality, including but also in addition to gaming, could change the world in ways we can only imagine.
I rewatched the first two episodes and I noticed a few things that escaped me on first watch, particularly in the scene where Jin-woo fights on the train a year from now. The most important thing I realized was that when the storm kicked up, Jin-woo was surprised because he wasn’t logged into the game — just as Se-joo didn’t appear to be logged in when he disappeared. Combined with Hyung-seok’s death after dying in-game, I’m forming a theory that somehow, the game is actually pulling people into itself, and that future-Jin-woo is the game’s latest victim, but how and why this might be happening are still unclear. And it still doesn’t explain a lot, like why Se-joo’s body wasn’t found when Hyung-seok’s was. So many questions!
So far, I’m still enthralled with this drama and the incredible story it’s telling. It’s unique and exciting, and I love how, every time we get some answers, something happens that just leads to a lot more questions. The deeper we go, the more excited I get. The writer’s storytelling style is confident and detailed, and I feel assured that she knows exactly where she’s taking us and how she wants to get there. I’m along for the ride, wherever this train is going!
- Premiere Watch: Clean With Passion for Now, Boyfriend, Memories of the Alhambra
- More teasers for Memories of the Alhambra
- Promos for suspense romance drama Memories of the Alhambra
- Reminiscing about Spain at sunset in tvN’s Memories of the Alhambra
- Park Shin-hye up to join Hyun Bin in Memories of the Alhambra
- Hyun Bin offered new sci-fi drama from W–Two Worlds writer