Memories of the Alhambra: Episode 12
Even with the chance to take a break from the game that seems out to get him, our beleaguered hero doesn’t get a chance to rest. His enemies outside the game seem equally determined to take him out of the action, forcing him to take drastic action. He’s still determined to clear his name and save the game’s young creator, but it’s looking more and more like he may have to make a choice between the two.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Desperate for just one ally, Jin-woo tells Hee-joo to prove that she believes him about the game, and that he’s not crazy. She asks how, so he leans down, pulls her close, and kisses her.
Hee-joo tries to sneak into her house later (HA, her hair is a mess), but Grandma hears her come in. She complains that she and Min-joo waited for hours to cut Hee-joo’s birthday cake, and that even Sang-bum was looking for her, but Hee-joo says vaguely that she was with a friend.
She goes up to her room and texts Jin-woo, asking him to let her know when he gets back to his hotel room. He doesn’t reply, so later she texts again to ask if he got back okay, but again there’s no response. At 3 a.m. she tries calling him, but his phone is still in his empty hotel room, so Hee-joo runs out to go find him.
What she finds is Jin-woo, sitting in his car outside her house, and he looks pretty sheepish as he admits that he didn’t want to go back to his hotel alone. Hee-joo invites him to sleep in her workshop, and Jin-woo jokes that this is moving awfully fast when they’ve only been in a relationship for four hours.
He tells her to sit with him for a few minutes then he’ll go, but she slips into the backseat and swipes his keys, saying that she won’t be able to sleep if he leaves. She orders him to do as she says since he bought her a cheap meal and didn’t give her a birthday gift, and Jin-woo has no choice but to obey.
A while later, Hee-joo sneaks down to the workshop, where Jin-woo is still lying awake. She sits next to him and says the couch must be uncomfortable, and he says it is, and dusty, too. He whines that his car was more comfortable and that being her boyfriend is a chore, making Hee-joo pout, but he adds that he’s staying anyway because he’s her boyfriend.
Hee-joo calls him weird, and he says that since he’s no longer “CEO Yoo,” she needs to call him something else. She cheekily decides to call him “Ajusshi” since he’s so old, and Jin-woo grumbles that he’s already worried about his future in this relationship, ha.
She gets up to make tea, but she stops to say that she thinks Director Park is right about Jin-woo leaving the country for a while. He flat-out refuses, so Hee-joo backs down. Min-joo catches Hee-joo in the kitchen making two cups of tea, and Hee-joo literally tackles her before she can run to the workshop, sure that Jin-woo is here.
Alone, Jin-woo thinks about his conversation with Director Park, where he was warned that Professor Cha is coming after him. Then the thunder cracks and the guitar thrums, and NPC Hyung-seok shows up in the workshop. But… the servers are down…
Secretary Seo’s death has brought back all the speculation in the news about Jin-woo’s possible involvement in Hyung-seok’s death a year ago. We’re taken back to the day in 2014 that Professor Cha kicked Hyung-seok out of the company, calling after him that he was the traitor.
Hyung-seok had gone to see Soo-jin at her medical practice and had proposed to her right there, no longer willing to keep their relationship a secret. He’d argued that they’d been seeing each other for six months already, but Soo-jin had countered that her divorce was only a month past.
Hyung-seok hadn’t cared about gossip or hurting Jin-woo, and his pushing had made Soo-jin suggest they take some time apart, saying that she wasn’t sure what she wanted. He’d grown furious, assuming that Soo-jin regretted leaving Jin-woo, but his fury was interrupted by a call from Jin-woo.
Jin-woo had wanted to go for a drink with Hyung-seok and Director Park and talk things out, but Hyung-seok had snapped that he didn’t need his pity and was busy with the woman he was going to marry. He’d snarled Soo-jin’s name, deliberately destroying any chance of repairing the rift between him and Jin-woo, adding that Jin-woo stole his father so he stole Jin-woo’s woman.
After marrying Soo-jin, Hyung-seok had gone for drinks with Yu-ra one night, sure that Soo-jin and Jin-woo had met up and were going to reconcile. Yu-ra had claimed to be sure that Jin-woo was out with friends, but she’d told Jin-woo to stop living with so much anxiety and give up, like she had.
More recently, Yu-ra told Professor Cha that she’s not surprised Hyung-seok was so insecure — he married a woman who cheated on her husband and was scared she’d do it to him. Hyung-seok used to call Yu-ra constantly asking Jin-woo’s whereabouts, and had developed a serious drinking problem. Yu-ra said to Professor Cha that she told Hyung-seok he had nothing to worry about, but that she actually had no idea.
Now Professor Cha invites Soo-jin to his office to talk, and he openly calls her a whore. He tells her to stop acting like she’s so elegant and refined or he’ll teach her a lesson.
Hee-joo calls everyone who knows Se-joo to see if they’ve heard from him, but no luck. Grandma calls her into the living room to see that Jin-woo is on the news yet again, but Hee-joo insists that he didn’t kill anyone. Upset, she turns off the TV and storms back to her workshop.
Jin-woo calls Hee-joo and tells her to put on something pretty, because he’s taking her on a date. She takes her sweet time with her PPL lipstick and earrings, and on her way out of the house she narrowly misses Sang-bum, who came over for dinner.
Grandma is watching the news again, though she’s still positive Jin-woo is innocent, but Sang-bum growls that the police are investigating him for a reason. Grandma goes on and on about how pitiful Jin-woo is with everything that’s gone wrong for him, until Sang-bum blows up.
Hee-joo finds Jin-woo sitting in his car waiting for her, but he just stares at her blankly. He complains about her fancy earrings, saying that she’s prettier when she’s plain and that he regrets telling her to dress up. Hee-joo gets in the car but refuses to talk to him, then snaps that he gave her these earrings for her birthday last year. Oops.
Jin-woo doubles down, saying that they looked pretty when he bought them and suggesting they exchange them. Hee-joo pouts that he’s stingy and says she likes them and wore them for herself, an obvious lie, so Jin-woo laughs that he’ll buy her another pair.
Hee-joo asks if he shouldn’t be meeting with his lawyers, but Jin-woo says casually that the rumors are false so there’s no point. They’re delayed at a check point, and Jin-woo is automatically logged into the game again. When the cop asks for his ID, he’s alerted that an enemy has appeared, and he ducks to avoid an in-game gunshot. But the servers are down!
Jin-woo looks around frantically for the shooter, then takes a game bullet to the shoulder. He hits the gas, screeching off and causing the police to chase after him. Shots continue to be fired at him as Hee-joo begs him to stop, then he slams the brakes and skids to a halt.
The game tells him that the server was disconnected. What the hell is happening?? After making sure that Hee-joo is okay, Jin-woo calls Yang-joo to ask if he reopened the server. Yang-joo says they did for a little bit, just to run a test — whew, that explains that.
Meanwhile, Hee-joo talks to the cops, who recognize Jin-woo and let them go, obviously thinking that Jin-woo is cracking up. They tell Hee-joo to drive, and with the police still watching, Jin-woo is forced to hand over his keys. As she drives, Hee-joo says that Jin-woo really did seem ill while reacting to the game, but Jin-woo says with a weak smile that she’s mistaken.
Over dinner, Hee-joo is worried that Jin-woo should be at home preparing for his questioning. He says he has a plan, but that he doesn’t want to have to use it because it will break his heart. Hee-joo asks what that plan is, but Jin-woo deliberately doesn’t answer.
Min-joo calls Hee-joo sobbing — Sang-bum told Grandma that Se-joo is missing and his emails have all been lies, and Grandma collapsed. Jin-woo drives Hee-joo to the hospital, where she confronts Sang-bum for telling Grandma all that. Sang-bum argues that Grandma needs to know the truth, but Hee-joo snaps that that’s her decision and that she’s still looking for Se-joo.
As Jin-woo rounds the corner, Sang-bum says loudly that Se-joo is probably dead, just like others near Jin-woo have died. He accuses Jin-woo of killing Se-joo to get control of his game, then covering up his tracks while claiming to look for him.
Hee-joo tells Sang-bum to leave, repeating that he overstepped in telling Grandma the truth about Se-joo. After she goes in to see Grandma, Sang-bum sees Jin-woo, who tells him to keep walking and not fight today.
Hee-joo reassures Grandma that Se-joo is probably just fine. Grandma is heartbroken that she didn’t know the truth for a year, and she’s terrified that Se-joo is dead, but Hee-joo promises that she’s trying her best to find him.
Hee-joo calls Min-joo and tells her that she’ll be home in the morning, then sends Jin-woo home as well. Later, Min-joo is watching TV (100 Days My Prince, hee) when the doorbell rings. Awww, Jin-woo went to their house to keep Min-joo company. I love their friendship.
Min-joo (all smiles now that her favorite person is here) brings Jin-woo blankets so he can sleep on the couch, then heads up to bed. She stops to ask him if Se-joo is dead, but he doesn’t have an answer to her question, so he just doesn’t say anything.
In the morning, Hee-joo arrives home to find Jin-woo still there. He’s making toast, the only thing he can cook, and he quips that mornings must be hard since Min-joo isn’t easy to wake up. Hee-joo stares, surprised by the sight of Jin-woo taking care of someone else, and he jokes that she can imagine how he must feel, ha.
Hee-joo asks Jin-woo if he’s supposed to be at his questioning today. He just reminds her that he has a plan and that he feels like he shouldn’t hold back anymore. His plan seems to involve not showing up at all, which works the reporters into a frenzy.
Professor Cha is teaching a class when Jin-woo walks into his classroom, causing a minor uproar among the students. Professor Cha dismisses the class and asks Jin-woo how his defense is coming along, lying through his teeth as he says that he told the company he doesn’t want to be involved.
Jin-woo sneers that he’s heard about false evidence claiming that he’s been begging Soo-jin to come back to him, an that he talked frequently about killing Hyung-seok. He asks if Professor Cha offered Yu-ra shares of the company in exchange for her testimony, and chuckles that Professor Cha is so prepared, he’ll likely end up in prison.
Professor Cha asks if Jin-woo wants him to stop, but Jin-woo says that actually, he’s here to prove, right now, that he’s not insane or lying. Professor Cha asks haughtily why he didn’t prove it sooner, and Jin-woo says that he didn’t want to go that far so he’s been trying to find another way.
He tells Professor Cha to log into the game and form an alliance with him. Oooh, smart! He says that Professor Cha can verify the truth right now if he does this, and that he’s only been hesitating to do it this way for fear that Professor Cha would end up like Secretary Seo.
He continues with a resigned sigh that he’s now willing to prove that he’s a victim of the game. But proving it to the police would mean bankrupting J.One, so he decided to show Professor Cha in the hopes that he would drop the charges against him.
He tells Professor Cha that since he doesn’t believe him anyway, then there’s no reason for him to be unwilling to try it. So Professor Cha calls the company and orders them to turn the game server back on. He puts in his own smart contacts and logs on as the server goes online (it’s his first log-in, interestingly, and Jin-woo’s 3,494th).
Professor Cha requests an alliance, and Jin-woo hesitates for a moment. Professor Cha taunts that he should just kneel and beg forgiveness, but Jin-woo only says that he regrets that it’s come to this, then accepts the alliance. He says with a note of regret in his voice, “Starting now, you and I will share the same fate, since we are allies. We’ll die and survive together. Stay with me to the end.”
The smug expression on Professor Cha’s face drops as he suddenly sees the storm outside, and Jin-woo says that to stay alive, he should get as far away from him as possible and delete his user ID. He tells Professor Cha not to shut down the server until he completes his quest, and that until then, nobody is allowed to log onto the game besides himself and those he allows.
He warns Professor Cha to obey his instructions unless he wants to go bankrupt, and to pass this along to Director Park as well. Professor Cha looks terrified, flinching at every thunderclap, by the time the game gives the alert that an enemy is near and the guitar starts to play.
Nearby, NPC Hyung-seok appears and starts towards Jin-woo. Professor Cha breathes his son’s name, and Hyung-seok pauses, then turns towards the new player. As Hyung-seok nears, Professor Cha’s expression changes from awe to fear, and Hyung-seok raises his sword to strike.
Hee-joo goes to Jin-woo’s hotel room, but he’s not there. She sits on the couch, recalling that he said his plan is to keep looking for Se-joo, and that he needs her help. After a moment, she hears the strumming of a guitar, and she turns around in surprise.
Behind her is Emma, playing her guitar the same way she does in the cafe in Granada. Hee-joo approaches Emma as Jin-woo’s voice tells us, “Now my last quest begins. We are getting closer to the end of this story. Memories of the Alhambra.”
Emma looks up at Hee-joo and smiles.
Holey moley, but I love how every episode of this drama leaves me guessing! How did Emma get into Jin-woo’s hotel room, and how is Hee-joo seeing her? My guess is that Jin-woo’s request for help was for Hee-joo to go there wearing the smart lenses, and that he somehow arranged for Emma to appear there once Professor Cha turned the server back on. I’ve long since believed that Emma holds some critical key, an important piece of information or clue that will help bring Se-joo home, and maybe Hee-joo is the only one who can unlock or understand it.
The change in Jin-woo from the confident, almost arrogant businessman to this scared, small man in the last few episodes is just heartbreaking. I don’t know that I’m really “feeling” the romance any more than dramallama is, but intellectually I can understand why Jin-woo is drawn to Hee-joo and her to him. Jin-woo liked her a year ago for her spirit in the face of opposition (not to mention she’s super pretty), and now he’s in a place where absolutely everyone he cares about is either dead — probably at his own hand — or thinks he’s lost his mind. Hee-joo is the one person who treats Jin-woo normally, not like he’s a pitiful cripple or a dangerous madman, and there’s a lot of comfort and security to be found in that belief. And Hee-joo sees a man who needs to be loved, who needs someone on his side, and there’s just enough of a connection between him and her old life (and her brother) to spark that interest in her. Sometimes love isn’t about grand romance — sometimes it’s just about finding someone who’ll be by your side when you need them, and that’s all.
It’s so heartbreaking to see that when Hyung-seok was kicked out of the company by Professor Cha, Jin-woo tried to be a good friend and smooth things over. It probably would have gone bad between them once Hyung-seok and Soo-jin revealed their relationship anyway, and if it hadn’t, Hyung-seok’s descent into anxiety, paranoia, and alcoholism certainly would have. But things might have gone so differently if Hyung-seok hadn’t, in his anger and in that moment, thrown a bomb called I’m marrying your ex-wife before the ink is even dry on your divorce papers into the friendship and blown everything to smithereens. That’s what made the anger and hatred two-sided, and led to the confrontation in Granada that ultimately cost Hyung-seok his life.
So having said all that, it makes me incredibly happy to see Jin-woo fighting back, and his plan to prove his innocence is pretty incredible. The only way that anyone will believe him about the game is if they experience it for themselves, and using the game’s glitches to pull Professor Cha in and make him see the terror and helplessness that Jin-woo has been feeling is brilliant. Still, I appreciate that Jin-woo didn’t want to have to hurt Professor Cha or put him in danger to prove his sanity, and that he made the game alliance entirely Professor Cha’s choice so that he can’t say later that Jin-woo coerced or forced him into it. It proves that underneath his former arrogance and posturing, Jin-woo really is a decent man who cares about others, even those who have turned on him.
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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