Memories of the Alhambra: Episode 5
Our gamer CEO realizes the terrifying realities of playing the game that had once exhilarated him with its magical possibilities. His past with his best friend-turned-nemesis comes to haunt him, and their hostility proves dangerous for both of them. Turns out that playing with
fire magic doesn’t bode well for game users who’ve created enemies that reincarnate in the AR world, especially when it becomes increasingly difficult to discern the game from reality.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
While packing boxes late at night for the move out of the hostel, Hee-joo realizes that Jin-woo may be cold on the 6th floor and grabs an extra blanket from her closet. Younger sister Min-joo notes that Hee-joo is being unusually extra friendly, so Hee-joo decides not to offer the blanket lest she overstep her hospitality.
As she cleans out her office, Hee-joo receives a call from an unknown Korean number. It’s past 1 a.m., and the drunk caller rudely demands that she put Jin-woo on the phone, even if Hee-joo needs to wake him. Hee-joo asks who’s calling, and the drunk lady chugs wine from a bottle before explaining that she’s Jin-woo’s wife (or soon to be second ex-wife).
Though Hee-joo seems irked by Jin-woo’s wife, Go Yu-ra — an actress who isn’t so crass on screen — she still heads upstairs to connect her to Jin-woo. While climbing up the stairs, Hee-joo hears some noise upstairs, and as soon as she glances up, a body falls to the ground from above with a large thud.
Frightened by this sudden fall, Hee-joo trembles as she looks down at the body. She calls out to Jin-woo above and hesitantly peeks inside the room to check if he’s inside, but nobody’s there. Convinced that the body was Jin-woo, Hee-joo runs down the stairs and slowly walks around the body. She recognizes Jin-woo’s expensive (now shattered) watch and cries in shock.
Hee-joo bursts into one of the dorms and asks one of the guests to help, since he’s a medical student. While the med student performs CPR, a crowd begins to gather around fallen Jin-woo, causing Grandma to wake up and respond with alarm.
Worried about Jin-woo dropping off in their phone call, Yang-joo calls Secretary Seo to ask that he check on Jin-woo because something seemed to have happened to him. An ambulance races by Secretary Seo on his walk back to the hostel, and he runs after the sirens.
In Korea, the news reports the death of Cha Hyung-seok in Spain, and Jin-woo’s name also joins the headlines because the two were former business partners. Director Park calls Secretary Seo about Jin-woo’s whereabouts and worries that the company will suffer from bad publicity during his absence. Then, Director Park receives the news about Jin-woo’s accident and looks unsettled.
Hee-joo accompanies Jin-woo in the ambulance, and he briefly gains enough consciousness to ask her if it was raining or if she was playing “Memories of Alhambra” on guitar. She denies both situations and tries to clarify the confusion, but Jin-woo falls unconscious as the EMT puts an oxygen mask on him.
In brief moments of consciousness, Jin-woo finds himself in the hospital receiving surgery, overhearing the speculations that he may have suicidally jumped off the top floor, and watching Secretary Seo sob at his bedside. When Jin-woo opens his eyes, he finds Professor Cha (Kim Eui-sung) gently stroking his face and promising to return after checking his son’s corpse.
After Professor Cha leaves, Jin-woo remembers a tense confrontation between father and son. Professor Cha slapped Hyung-seok in front of Jin-woo and Director Park, and he coldly told his son that he has no obligation to take his son’s side and let the company to go ruin. As Hyung-seok walked out, Professor Cha labeled him as the traitor, the one walking out on the company.
We also revisit the confrontation between Jin-woo and ex-wife Soo-jin, who cried in silence in front of him. Drenched in the rain, Jin-woo told Soo-jin that he should be the one crying, and from behind, Hyung-seok asked what business Jin-woo has with his wife. He notified Jin-woo that he and Soo-jin registered their marriage a week prior.
As Hyung-seok escorted Soo-jin to his car, she looked back at Jin-woo apologetically. Jin-woo watched his ex-friend and ex-wife ride away with his fist clenched in rage, and Director Park pulled up in his car to retrieve Jin-woo. In the car, Jin-woo admited that if Director Park didn’t call, he may have caused an accident. And if he had a knife, he may have stabbed Hyung-seok.
We see miserable drenched Jin-woo juxtaposed with victorious Jin-woo with his virtual sword slicing at Hyung-seok. Then, we jump to NPC (non-player character) Hyung-seok getting unsparing revenge and pushing Jin-woo off the 6th floor staircase railing. NPC Hyung-seok didn’t blink an eye while watching Jin-woo fall to the lobby.
When Jin-woo crashed to the ground, the AR game notified him that he was too far from his enemy to engage and put a hold on their fight. NPC Hyung-seok glitched out of existence, and Jin-woo fell unconscious.
In the hospital, Jin-woo wakes up to a thunderstorm and checks his eyes for his game contacts, but they’re not in. He tries to reach for his phone but grimaces in pain at the movement. He finds a bandage around his abdomen and remembers Hyung-seok slicing him there in the game. Terrified of the implications of these injuries, Jin-woo breathes heavily in his hospital bed.
Professor Cha checks Hyung-seok’s corpse and clenches his fist, trying to hold in his emotions. Secretary Seo steps out of the morgue to answer a call from Jin-woo, who asks if Hyung-seok really died. Secretary Seo confirms this and reminds him that Professor Cha is checking the corpse right now.
Confused by his fight with Hyung-seok last night, Jin-woo asks if everything was really the game, even his stab wound. Secretary Seo clarifies that Jin-woo never had a stab wound and explains that the bandage around his abdomen was for the rupture in his intestine, caused by the impact of the fall.
Secretary Seo wonders if this is about the AR game and mentions his call with a frantic Yang-joo, who suspected something went wrong during the game. When Secretary Seo returned to Jin-woo’s room after the accident, he found Jin-woo’s contact lenses in their case and confirms that Jin-woo wasn’t wearing the contacts when he went into surgery.
Jin-woo looks unsettled, and Secretary Seo quickly wraps up their conversation when Professor Cha exits the morgue. Secretary Seo assures Professor Cha that Jin-woo seems fine, and Professor Cha sighs in relief that he didn’t lose both of them.
In bed, Jin-woo remembers that he did take off his contact lenses that night and looks concerned as Hee-joo and Min-joo enter the room. Hee-joo seems to be talking to guitar shop oppa Sang-bum on the phone and explains that she needs to help Jin-woo recover, since he only has his secretary with him. Min-joo looks excited that Jin-woo has regained consciousness, and Hee-joo heads out to notify the nurse.
Min-joo explains that Jin-woo barely survived but lived to tell the tale thanks to the medical student and the crashing into the rails that slowed him down the fall. It’s a miracle that he didn’t hurt his head, but Jin-woo wonders if he did. He asks Min-joo if it’s really raining outside, and when she confirms this, he looks relieved. Jin-woo starts browsing on his phone, and when Min-joo tells him that he shouldn’t be on his phone, he insists that he’s fine.
Min-joo reports to Hee-joo that Jin-woo is on his phone, so Hee-joo storms in and snatches the phone out of his hands. She tells him that he’s restricted from phone use because of his multiple fractures and gets angry. Jin-woo looks confused by Hee-joo’s anger, and she says that his fall really shook her. She begins to tear up, and Jin-woo looks even more confused by her emotions.
Hee-joo walks out to find the nurse, and Min-joo shares her hypothesis that her sister likes Jin-woo. He finds this speculation too random, but Min-joo insists that her sister falls in love easily. She elaborates that Hee-joo has been sniffling all day likely because her heart hurts for Jin-woo, which is proof that she has a crush on him.
Min-joo tells him to trust her instincts and asks what he thinks about Hee-joo, since he’s going to be single again soon. She offers to play matchmaker and says that they would look good together. Jin-woo laughs, but that makes him cringe in pain. He reminds her that he’s still in the middle of his divorce lawsuit and is pretty sick of women at this point.
Jin-woo changes the topic and asks if Se-joo has returned home yet. Min-joo says that he hasn’t returned or contacted any of them. She changes the topic back to Hee-joo and asks if Jin-woo is rejecting her because he doesn’t like her. Before he can respond, Hee-joo enters the room with the doctor.
Secretary Seo tells Professor Cha that Jin-woo’s chances of fully recovering use of his injured left leg are slim, even with surgery and rehab. Jin-woo doesn’t know this yet, as only Secretary Seo and Hee-joo heard this news from the doctor.
Hee-joo tells Min-joo to head home now, and before she leaves, Min-joo tells her sister that Jin-woo is sick of women for the time being. Hee-joo looks confused by the random comment and asks what she should make of that. Cheeky Min-joo says that it’s a simple FYI.
Hee-joo answers a phone call from Yu-ra and enters Jin-woo’s room as the nurse finishes redressing his wound. She shares that his wife had called last night asking to speak with Jin-woo. She also notified Yu-ra about Jin-woo’s hospitalization, and now future ex-wife is on her way because she happened to be in Spain for work. Jin-woo looks infuriated and demands help for his escape, since this is Hee-joo’s fault.
Jin-woo seethes that he’s already having a hard time and doesn’t intend on experiencing the depths of hell with his wife’s presence. He looks dead serious and demands his phone, which Hee-joo quickly gives up. Hee-joo follows the nurse out to ask for a wheelchair, but when that request gets flatly denied, she asks for a room change.
As Jin-woo looks through his phone, he hears the thunder outside followed by a guitar playing “Memories of Alhambra.” He looks around nervously and finds that his vision has changed into game mode. He checks his eyes, and once again, he has entered the game without his contacts.
The game notifies him that his enemy has arrived, and Jin-woo fearfully tightens his grip. He hears a knock on the door and asks who’s there. The door opens, and when he sees that it’s just Hee-joo, he sighs in relief. But then, he hears other footsteps approaching. It’s glitchy Hyung-seok with his sword, and Jin-woo looks petrified.
Jin-woo barks at Hee-joo to shut the door, and she follows his sudden orders. She asks what’s going on, and he asks if she can hear the guitar sounds. She looks around and can’t see or hear anything, but AR Hyung-seok is standing right behind her. She asks why he keeps asking about the guitar sounds, and Jin-woo seems convinced that he’s going mad because he’s the only person who can hear this.
The game tells Jin-woo that the battle can’t commence due to an obstacle and instructs him to find an open space. If the wait extends past the time limit, the fight will be put on hold. The 60-second countdown begins, and Jin-woo anxiously waits in his room.
Hee-joo tries to open the door again, but Jin-woo yells at her to keep it closed. She lets go of the door handle and steps aside to contact Yu-ra, but it’s too late. She spots Yu-ra walking toward her, so she frantically approaches them and leads them to another floor, lying that Jin-woo changed rooms earlier that morning.
Jin-woo concentrates intensely on the countdown, and just as it reaches two seconds, the door opens, prompting the game to announce the resuming fight. Jin-woo freezes as the door cracks open, but it’s just another patient who’s walked into the wrong room. As the patient walks out, the door opens further to reveal Hyung-seok awaiting their fight. Ahhhh!
Hyung-seok marches into the hospital room and immediately attacks Jin-woo, who just barely avoids the attack by hurling himself to the ground. Jin-woo winces in pain, and merciless Hyung-seok turns around to swings his sword at Jin-woo again. Jin-woo rolls to avoid the sword and snatches the other patient’s crutch when he offers help.
Outside, the thunderstorm continues to boom as Jin-woo limps outside and tries to close the door. But before he can close it, Hyung-seok’s sword slides through the opening and slices Jin-woo’s arm. Jin-woo cringes in pain, and the game tells him that he’s lost points for the attack. As Jin-woo forces the door closed, he narrates, “If there was a time that I was desperate to death, it would be now — having to acknowledge that I’m out of my mind.”
Jin-woo limps away using the wall as support, but he’s far from safety. His room door opens again, thanks to the innocent patient who’s now dragging himself on the ground, yelling for help. Jin-woo looks petrified as Hyung-seok walks out and attacks him once more.
Meanwhile on the elevator, Yu-ra asks Hee-joo why she’s taking care of Jin-woo instead of Secretary Seo. She explains that Secretary Seo stepped out to escort a professor guest, to which Yu-ra disdainfully wonders what that old man is doing here when he should be tending to his widowed daughter-in-law.
As they exit the elevator, Hee-joo directs Yu-ra to the wrong room and rides the elevator back down to Jin-woo’s real room. When Yu-ra enters the room, she realizes that Hee-joo misled her and curses her for being on Jin-woo’s side all along.
Hee-joo calls Sang-bum on her way to Jin-woo’s room and worries that she may get punished by Go Yu-ra because she just lied to her in their first encounter. She’s distracted by the wheelchair entering Jin-woo’s room, so she hangs up and asks the nurse what happened as the other patient is wheeled out.
The nurse explains the situation and sounds irritated that Jin-woo continues to move against doctor’s orders. Hee-joo looks at the mess inside Jin-woo’s room and notices his phone left on his bed.
Jin-woo limps outside with his sword in hand and with Hyung-seok right on his trail. Hyung-seok slices Jin-woo’s back, causing him to fall over in the rain. Covered in bloody wounds, Jin-woo ditches the crutch and uses his sword to limp around the corner, and Hyung-seok follows.
When Secretary Seo and Professor Cha return to Jin-woo’s room, they find an unwelcome face waiting for them. Yu-ra greets them and accuses Secretary Seo of blocking all her calls. When they ask about Jin-woo’s whereabouts, she explains that he ran away with his completely broken leg because he hates his wife that much.
Secretary Seo runs off to track down Jin-woo, and Professor Cha warns Yu-ra about her attitude. He advises her not to joke about her husband’s broken leg because she may not get any of his inheritance — let alone any divorce settlement money — if he suddenly dies. He tells Yu-ra that she shouldn’t have visited, knowing that Jin-woo doesn’t want to see her.
Yu-ra reminds Professor Cha that she’s Jin-woo’s family, and he counters that Yu-ra is only family on paper while he’s known Jin-woo for twenty years. Yu-ra points out the hypocrisy that Professor Cha’s family is only related through paper — he only came to see his son after he died. Professor Cha simmers in anger while Yu-ra nonchalantly looks through her phone and suggests that they each take care of their respective families.
Secretary Seo reports to Professor Cha that they don’t know where Jin-woo disappeared to and runs off to search for him. Professor Cha is approached by the Korean consul and looks nervous.
Jin-woo continues to suffer attacks by Hyung-seok and falls to the ground, losing his grip on his sword. Broken and bloody, Jin-woo crawls to the bench as Hyung-seok approaches him. He realizes that Hyung-seok’s death was a homicide — that Hyung-seok was hacked by his sword and died of excessive bleeding. “I killed Cha Hyung-seok, and that evidence shows in how I’m about to die in the same way. Our deaths may remain an eternal mystery, but we know that we killed each other in revenge.”
Hyung-seok lifts his sword, and Jin-woo closes his eyes to surrender to his fate. But then, a voice calls out his name — it’s Hee-joo. She crouches down to him and looks upset by his condition. Jin-woo looks up to find Hyung-seok lowering his sword and the game identifying a barrier to their fight.
The 60-second countdown begins once again, and when Hee-joo tries to stand up, Hyung-seok raises his sword again and Jin-woo pulls her into an embrace. He begs her to stay there for just a minute, and he watches the countdown as Hyung-seok waits in front of him.
Jin-woo acknowledges that he must seem very strange and inapprehensible, and Hee-joo confirms this. He says that he thinks he’s going crazy. The countdown finally runs out, and the battle is once again delayed. Hyung-seok dissipates, and so do Jin-woo’s battle wounds. Jin-woo releases Hee-joo from the embrace and then faints.
The doctors rush out of the hospital, and Secretary Seo notifies Professor Cha that they’ve found Jin-woo. They rush outside to retrieve him, and Professor Cha watches from afar, thinking about his conversation with the consul and police.
The consul had told Professor Cha that Jin-woo admitted to grabbing Hyung-seok’s collar in a grapple, and now the time of death aligns with Jin-woo and Hyung-seok’s meeting. The police also suspected that Jin-woo’s fall from the 6th floor wasn’t an accident. Professor Cha gets upset at the assumption that his son was killed by his son’s friend, and the consul says that the police need to investigate further about these suspicions.
As Jin-woo gets carried back to the hospital, Professor Cha stops them to address Jin-woo. Weak from the injuries, Jin-woo barely lifts his head and apologizes to Professor Cha.
The police ask Hee-joo what Jin-woo was doing when she discovered him, but she admits that she doesn’t know. She cries in distress, and Jin-woo narrates that there are some things that require you to mutually lose your mind to understand. He finally understands that why Se-joo hasn’t returned and what he’s afraid of. Jin-woo presumes that Se-joo was also under pursuit by someone that only he could see.
We return to when Jin-woo searched for Se-joo at the Granada train station, passing by the cabinmate — the last person to see Se-joo. Jin-woo looks around the station, and we see that he missed something in his search — not because he didn’t look thoroughly enough but because he couldn’t see it then.
A limp body lies on the train platform — it’s unconscious Se-joo with a gun that glitches in his hand. Jin-woo looks around, unaware of the body that cannot be seen with the naked eye, and wonders, “Did Se-joo die, or…?”
Woahhh this blending of multiple dimensions is blowing my mind. That ending with Se-joo actually at the train station with no one in the realm of reality to realize that he’s there — that freaks me out, but it’s genius. He’s a real person who can’t be recognized in the real world, and that’s exhilarating in a twisted way. To answer Jin-woo’s question with more questions: If Se-joo really did die, would he reincarnate in the realm of the game, like Hyung-seok? Or if he didn’t die, why couldn’t Jin-woo or anyone else notice that he was there? Do the circumstance of the death determine the type of NPC a person becomes?
Based on our understanding of Hyung-seok’s crossover into the game as an NPC, my bet is that Se-joo is also dead and now exists in the AR dimension. But we never quite know because the rules of the overlap between virtual and reality are still a bit unclear. Despite this ambiguity, I’m actually enjoying this lawless game going rogue because it infuses the drama with an element of mystery that makes everything so unpredictable. The twists and cliffhangers slap me in the face because they come out of nowhere, and the solid creative writing ensures that the cliffhangers keep me engaged and not infuriated. The cliffhanger endings don’t feel choppy; rather, they leave us with a taste of what’s to come, making me intrigued by the unknown elements of this AR.
I’m loving the unexpected surprises, even though they’re mostly terrifying. The way that Hyung-seok just appeared behind the door and ruthlessly attacked Jin-woo made me squeak in fear and pain for all the broken bones that Jin-woo probably just broke again. Though I was half expecting Jin-woo to actually die and navigate the AR universe alongside Hyung-seok, I was relieved when Hee-joo saved him. Relative to Jin-woo and others aware of the AR game, Hee-joo hasn’t been a major contributor to this story so far, and I’m hoping that she somehow joins this mutual understanding that game users share. Surely, Hee-joo’s game alter ego Emma will play an important role in the upcoming episodes, and I hope that Hee-joo’s character will also catch up to the show in building dimension and showing us that she’s full of surprises as well.
Editor’s Note: Please don’t discuss spoilers because we’d hate to delete your comment! This includes anything shown in previews.
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