Item: Episodes 7-8
For a bored and obscenely wealthy CEO, hunting down supernaturally powerful items is merely an exciting video game brought to life. Who cares if actual human lives are harmed in the process? Not the rich and powerful, that’s for sure. At least there are still some people who believe in truth and justice. But how long can a noble prosecutor withstand manipulation, when doing the right thing means possibly losing the one person he loves most?
EPISODES 7-8 RECAP
Recognizing the mark on Da-in’s wrist as the same one on Dae-soo, Gon sprints down the hallway to the other side of the hospital, where he confirms that Dae-soo does indeed have the same infinite-heart tattoo. It’s pretty odd, especially considering both Dae-soo and Da-in had unexpected heart attacks, which the doctors can’t explain.
Dae-soo’s grandmother is also at the hospital, and she starts to hit Gon, blaming him for what happened to her grandson. Gon just stands there and takes her abuse until So-young rushes in and calms the older woman down.
Gon asks if Dae-soo has always had that tattoo on his wrist, but Grandma says her grandson had a phobia of needles, so he would never get a tattoo. With her permission, Gon and So-young head to Dae-soo’s home to see if there are any clues.
He lives in a dump of a tiny room, and as they look around, So-young picks up a photo of Dae-soo, his parents, and grandmother standing in front of the entrance to Dream World. Gon once again remembers getting the infinite-heart stamp as a child, and recalls that in 2003 one of the janitors at the amusement park set the park on fire, which resulted in over a hundred deaths and hundreds more who were injured.
So-young is shocked that Gon remembers the stamp, and Gon simply explains that he went there frequently as a kid. She finds it odd that two people who suddenly fell into vegetative states due to cardiac arrests also suddenly have that stamp on their wrists, and predicts that they’re walking into a bigger mystery than they fully comprehend.
Gon stops by the gambling arcade, looking for the big gangster who runs the place. The surly teenage girl watching the desk tells Gon that her boss in the hospital due to a head injury — and he’s in a coma, so he’s not going to be any help.
So-young confiscates the arcade’s recent CCTV footage to analyze for clues. Gon decides to return to the hospital to be near Da-in in case she wakes up.
Hwawon Group sponsors the Tree of Life Foundation (the foundation that Chairman Nam used to run). The students in the foundation, considered the global future leaders, are invited to a event, where Se-hwang is one of the keynote speakers.
Se-hwang’s public persona is on full display as he dances into the room. He jokes with one of his assistants that they’ve been playing the same entrance song for the past three years, and the assistant looks terrified that he’s about to be fired, but Se-hwang is in full-charmer mode (that’s not to say the assistant won’t be fired later, though).
Se-hwang tells the kids that there’s only one thing they really need to know: “I am not ordinary.” He explains that anyone who wants to become special enough can achieve it. The important thing, though, is that you can never forget that you are not ordinary.
On the drive home, Se-hwang tells his driver to get home within a half-hour, which requires disobeying the rules of the road and speeding like crazy. The driver nervously agrees and does his best, despite the traffic.
But once they arrive home, Se-hwang accuses the driver of being two minutes late. The driver frantically apologizes and Se-hwang muses that when he was a kid and his father punished him for doing something wrong, Se-hwang was forced to repeat over and over, “I’m sorry, Father — please forgive me.”
Se-hwang tells the driver to beg for forgiveness, and the driver immediately drops to his knees and pleads with Se-hwang, apologizing. He can’t afford to lose this job.
Disappointed, Se-hwang bends down so he’s eye-to-eye with the terrified man. He sighs as he tells his driver that it would have been better if he spat at Se-hwang, refusing to beg. After all, that’s what Se-hwang did to his father, but even with Se-hwang coaxing the driver to defy him, the driver is too shell-shocked to do anything.
That seems like a mistake that will severely cost the driver, since Se-hwang silently nods at his security team to drag the screaming driver away. Hmm, I’m thinking that maybe it wasn’t just his job that he was worried about losing. I’d hate to think what kind of “exit interview” Se-hwang’s security team must perform.
When So-young returns home, her father is shocked to hear about Da-in’s comatose state, and anxiously asks if she had any injuries. So-young explains that the only markings are the tattoo that matches Dae-soo’s, which Gon has figured out is the same as the Dream World stamp.
Chief Shin looks mighty nervous to hear So-young say that, and remembers when he was still working as a detective. The boxes of belongings of those killed in the Dream World fire had been kept for years until the police chief decided they should be destroyed.
Before doing so, So-young’s father had taken a photo of all the belongings, believing that the family members should at least have the chance to see their loved ones’ items one last time if they wanted. And I don’t say “items” lightly, since among the random bits’n’bobs of toys, old phones, and clothing, are recognizable items, like the bracelet and Polaroid camera.
As the other detective carries out the items to get rid of them, Chief Shin sees something halfway stuck under an empty box — it’s the Dream World photo book.
In the present day, So-young asks her father, who was in charge of investigating the Dream World fire, to dig up the old files so she can see if there’s any connection. He nervously agrees.
Gon sits by Da-in’s hospital bed, remembering how he vowed he wouldn’t leave her alone again and that he would always protect her, no matter what. He holds his niece’s lifeless hand, quietly apologizing, his voice in agony because he broke his promise.
So-young and her father go upstairs to Gon’s apartment, which is sealed off as a crime scene. So-young takes a look around, convinced that Chairman Nam’s death, the judge’s death, Dae-soo, and Da-in are somehow connected. She still doesn’t understand, though, how it’s humanly possibly for one person to commit all these crimes.
Standing in Da-in’s bedroom, So-young tries to get a sense of Da-in’s attacker. She sits in Da-in’s wardrobe, piecing together what the attacker must have been thinking. She imagines Da-in hiding while Se-hwang smashes the glass in all of Da-in’s family photos.
So-young gasps as she realizes that Da-in’s family photos would have been precious to her, so the attacker purposefully used that knowledge as a scare tactic, for his own amusement.
At a private club, Se-hwang’s cronies — those influential lawmen and business men — toast to yet another successful day. Se-hwang fiddles with an old pocket watch. Hmm, another item, perhaps?
Se-hwang sighs because the cronies’ self-grandiose talk is boring, and he starts babbling about having an ant farm as a kid. He wondered what would happen if he poured water into the ant farm, and when he watched the water flood the ants, he suddenly realized the thrill of what it must like to be a god.
He tells the men that he wants the world to be just as exciting, and for them to do something that gives him the same thrill. If they do so, then he promises to give them anything they want in return.
Yoo-na’s working late at the prosecutor’s office when she gets a call from an unknown number. She answers, and, annoyed, tells the person on the other end of the line that she’ll take care of it. Who, or what, she’s referring to, we don’t know — yet. But she does stare at the graduation photograph, where she stands next to Gon.
Chief Shin arrives at the hospital with dinner for Gon, knowing the worried uncle hasn’t bothered to take a break from his constant watch over Da-in. Chief Shin also sees the tattoo on Da-in’s wrist, and has a sudden flashback to a moment at some point in the past when he apparently held the Dream World photo book — not in the police station where he first found it, but outdoors at night, as if he was showing it to someone. Oooooh, interesting.
He’s distracted when Gon asks if Chief Shin — with his experience as a professional investigator — has any opinions about the case. Chief Shin says the criminal is a professional, and that Da-in didn’t seem like the original target. He believes that the attacker is actually after someone — or something — else.
The two men take a walk outside the hospital, and Gon gently says that it must be difficult for Chief Shin to think about what happened to his wife, and how it left So-young motherless. Chief Shin admits that, even though people kept telling him to move on from the past, he’s never been able to forget.
That’s why he urges Gon to never give up his pursuit in seeking the truth about what happened to Da-in. This isn’t his advice as a detective or investigator, but as a husband and father who wants to be sure a family won’t be shattered.
While the two men are outside, Se-hwang enters Da-in’s hospital room. He stares down at the comatose girl, gently moving the hair away from her face. Then his hands shift to her throat.
Gon is in the elevator, slowly going back upstairs. Too slowly! C’mon Gon! Move faster!
When he enters Da-in’s room, she’s gone. Gon rushes to the nurse’s station, desperate to know what happened to his niece. The nurse informs him that Da-in has been moved to the VIP section of the hospital.
Se-hwang is pleased that he’s had Da-in moved to a nicer room. But it’s not out of the generosity of his heart (if he even has one). It’s because he plans to use Da-in as a way to force Gon to help him find all the items.
Gon rushes into Da-in’s new VIP room, surprised to see Yoo-na standing there (but no Se-hwang). Aha, so this must have been the reason behind her late-night call. Yoo-na explains that the hospital director is a friend of her father’s, so as soon as she heard about Da-in, she had her moved to the VIP room so the girl could receive the best care possible. Hmmm-hmmm. Suuuuure, that’s a convenient excuse so Gon doesn’t find out who’s really behind it.
Oooh, speaking of which, it’s back to the fancy lair for some wizard’s chess! Se-hwang’s distracted from his game when the camera makes his eyes flash, but he triumphantly declares “checkmate” as he smiles at the new photo.
Despite Chief Shin’s thoughtful dinner, Gon doesn’t have an appetite as he sits next to Da-in in the new VIP room. He gets a call froma restricted number and wearily answers it. Someone using a voice modifier tells Gon that there’s a person with a special item, and Gon must find them before time runs out.
If Gon doesn’t, then the CEO of Pyeonghwa Law Firm, Lee Hak-joon, will die. Oooh, CEO Lee is one of Se-hwang’s cronies!
Outside the hospital, So-young sees Gon run outside and grab a taxi to Jeongjin station, as ordered by the mysterious voice. Hey, that’s the same station from the first episode, where Gon tried to stop the train. The taxi driver points out that subway station is still under construction and hasn’t officially opened yet, but follows Gon’s orders to hurry there nonetheless.
So-young also speeds after the taxi, but, unlike Se-hwang, she obeys the rules of the road and gets cut off at red light. She manages to catch up in time to see Gon sneak into the closed off station and run down to the empty platform.
A man’s strangled scream gets his attention, and the lights suddenly flicker and go out as the man yells for help. Gon grabs an emergency flashlight and runs down the tracks. So-young, with her own flashlight, hurries after him.
Gon sees blood on the tracks and a figure disappear in the subway tunnel. Gon stares in disbelief as he realizes that the man sprawled on the tracks is one of Se-hwang’s high-priced lawyers — and that the lawyer’s right hand has been cut off. “Hands that shed innocent blood,” I presume.
Yep, a page from the Bible is tucked into the man’s shirtsleeve, right where his wrist now ends in a bloody stump. But the lawyer is still somehow alive, so So-young and Gon carry him out as So-young calls for an ambulance.
Gon runs back down to the station platform, looking for clues. He suddenly realizes that this is the same station from his dream, the memory of which makes him physically sick.
After sending CEO Lee off in the ambulance, So-young runs back downstairs to check on Gon. She wonders how he knew someone would attempt to murder CEO Lee right at that moment. Gon ominously says that the cases they’ll be dealing with from now one will be unlike anything they’ve seen before.
He adds that this is the spot from his dream, pointing out the building where his dream-self saw So-young fall. So-young has no idea what to do with that information, but they’re interrupted as her detective team arrives on the scene.
Gon requests they look at CCTV footage for a tall, slim man — that’s all Gon was able to see of the attacker before he ran away. In the meantime, Gon hurries back into the subway tunnel.
So-young chases after him, and they stare down at the lawyer’s bloody hand that was left behind. As they continue to walk down the tracks, So-young points out that it would be impossible for someone to disappear in these tunnels without being spotted.
They catch a glimpse of a shadowy figure moving in the distance and cautiously approach. The figure suddenly emerges, throwing himself at Gon. The two men tussle, but it turns out it’s just Yo-han, who was searching for a murder weapon in the possible escape routes. Yes, “murder” — CEO Lee died on the way to the hospital.
Yo-han adds that the lawyer said something odd on the way there — when they asked if CEO Lee recognized the man who attacked him, the lawyer said it was the devil. I certainly can see how Father Gu, in his black raincoat and red whip, could seem like a devil.
So-young drives Gon back to the hospital so he can rest in Da-in’s room, but he insists on going back home to look for something. So-young’s worried that Gon isn’t taking care of himself, but Gon’s more concerned that time is passing and he hasn’t figured out what’s going on.
Father Gu — in his priest’s robes, not his murder coat — enters the orphanage and sits by the sleeping children, praying for their protection. He vows to take on all the sin if it means these children will be saved from evil.
Gon arrives at his apartment, which still has the crime scene tape covering the entrance. He sees the note that Da-in had been writing, thanking him for his promise to protect her. He staggers from another sudden bout of dizziness, causing So-young to worry that he’s suffering from acute stress disorder.
She worries that his condition will only get worse if he doesn’t rest and seek some treatment, but Gon is stubbornly determined to keep looking for clues. He enters Da-in’s bedroom and sees the melodica. He picks it up and stares at it, wondering if the attack was something that happened in the heat of the moment.
So-young explains that, based on the evidence and her profiling expertise, the attack was premeditated. She believes that the attacker had a very clear agenda, and that Da-in must have had — or knew about — whatever it was the attacker was looking for.
Outside, Mr. Yoo sits in a surveillance van, listening in on So-young and Gon’s conversation. He reports back to Se-hwang, revealing that Gon doesn’t have the item.
Back in her room, So-young studies the infinite-heart symbol, wondering if it’s just a coincidence that it’s the same shape as the Dream World stamp. She pulls out her old phone, but instead of rereading the text messages from her mother, she plays a voicemail.
It’s from her mother, who coughs as she desperately tells So-young that she loves her. In the background can be heard kids screaming and people shouting for help. That must have been the day of the fire, and the last message So-young ever received from her mother.
But So-young wipes away her tears to focus on her work — the CCTV footage from the gambling arcade has been analyzed and is ready to be viewed.
Gon returns to the hospital with Da-in’s melodica, wishing he could hear her play it again. He picks up the mouthpiece, but stops when he hears something stuck inside the tube. Taking apart the mouthpiece, the bracelet falls out into his hand.
Gon realizes it’s the same bracelet from his dream — and the item the mysterious attacker has been looking for. But Gon assumes the attacker is Father Gu (or at least the mysterious man in the rain coat and laser-whip).
Furious, Gon slams his fist into the bathroom mirror, shattering it.
Ooooh, so the items are indeed connected to the Dream World fire! I’m wondering how many items are out there — it can’t just be the ones that Chief Shin photographed, because I don’t remember seeing the perfume bottle, lighter, or the ring. There could be hundreds of items! That makes the item-hunt much more interesting and understandable — I might feel a Pokémon-like urge to “catch’em all,” especially if I had nothing else in the world to keep me entertained except for all my fancy holographic games. I’m wondering if there’s also an underground-type movement connected to the items — Chief Shin obviously knows about them and I’m pretty sure Yo-han must have one, even though we don’t know what his ring can do.
Chief Shin also knows about Father Gu (and I’m now wondering if Yo-han knows, too, since he was the closest to Dae-soo the night Father Gu attacked the gangster, and then Yo-han was found in the tunnels — chasing after Father Gu, or helping the priest escape?). Maybe Yo-han was a part of the support group, or maybe was even an orphan, having lost his family in the fire — it would at least explain how he’s so familiar with So-young. Maybe Chief Shin (and possibly Yo-han) are protecting Father Gu, since the priest seems to be taking justice into his own hands (thanks to the laser-whip). Father Gu seems to be focused on all the powerful people connected to Hwawon, and probably feels like he’s sacrificing himself to save those lives that were ruined by the secretly corrupt corporation. It’s not exactly the way I’d go about it (murder is bad, guys! Don’t do it!), especially since Se-hwang doesn’t seem to care what happens to anyone else, but I suppose it’s scandalous enough to gain attention for his cause.
Now that I’m no longer distracted by the awkward production quality (which still isn’t where I’d like it to be, but then again, I’m probably just spoiled by all those gorgeously-produced cable dramas), I can no longer ignore the other slightly bothersome aspects of this drama.
I don’t generally like to complain about an actress, since so many of them seem to be unfairly judged for various petty aspects while their male counterparts inexplicably get a free-pass despite being no better. But Jin So-yeon is testing me. I’ve only previously seen her in Gaksital, where I remember thinking she wasn’t quite up to the level of the other leads, but she wasn’t outright terrible. Right now, though, I’m struggling to connect to So-young, which is mildly infuriating because this character sounds pretty awesome: an independent woman who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, and only wants to make sure her job is done well and to save lives; she loves her father and adorably dotes on him; she’s unfazed by the idea there might be some supernatural element — more curious than anything else.
But the character is just not connecting, and I think it’s largely due to Jin Se-yeon’s superficial line-readings and one-note reactions. There also isn’t much chemistry between her and Joo Ji-hoon, which isn’t just troubling from a storytelling perspective, but because they’ve previously been the leads in another together, so you’d think they’d seem more comfortable with each other. But there’s no spark, no zing, nothing to help keep my attention when they have their expository conversations. (yet I’m riveted during the scenes between Gon and Da-in, and Da-in doesn’t have any lines!) I really wish this role could have gone to an actress that is capable of showing a little more depth and emotion, to make me root for her and be excited about partnering up with Gon to solve these supernatural mysteries, but I guess we get what we get. Hopefully the mystery will at least continue to remain compelling through until the end.