The Game: Towards Zero: Episodes 13-14
Every time I think I’m starting to figure out what’s going on, another twist is introduced and I have to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about the killer and his motives. At this point I hate to even speculate, knowing that my theories will be smashed in short order. Meanwhile, our incipient couple grows steadily closer, though whether it’s to love or death is anyone’s guess.
Believing that Jo Pil-doo murdered her daughter, Ji-won goes to the hospital where he’s receiving treatment and stabs him in the torso. Joon-young had just discovered that Pil-doo was innocent and was there to question him, and she tries to save his life, but he ends up dying on the operating table.
Later, Tae-pyung tells Joon-young that it’s not her fault that Jo Pil-doo died. She says that Gu Do-kyung is Jo Hyun-woo, Pil-doo’s son, but Tae-pyung already learned that fact from Teacher Baek. He asks how Joon-young knows about it, but she tells him that she can’t say any more for now.
Chief Nam finds Joon-young, who says guiltily that she always wished Jo Pil-doo would die for killing her father. Chief Nam takes the blame for everything (since he falsified the evidence against Pil-doo twenty years ago). Joon-young says that if they want to find the real killer, they have to publicly tell the truth about Pil-doo’s innocence.
Yeon-hwa calls Tae-pyung to confirm Jo Pil-doo’s death, and to tell him that Do-kyung was released due to lack of evidence, because his DNA wasn’t found under Mi-jin’s fingernail. Tae-pyung does the math and guesses that the DNA was found to be Jo Pil-doo’s again, which would be why Ji-won thought he was Mi-jin’s murderer.
Mi-jin was arrested at the scene and is taken straight to the police station, where she sees on the TV that Jo Pil-doo died. She tells Team Leader Han that she stabbed him because she heard that he was Mi-jin’s killer, but Team Leader Han asks where she heard such a thing.
Joon-hee is back at the office, and Han-gyu approaches him to ask if he’ll do an exclusive interview about his daughter’s murder and his wife’s assault on Jo Pil-doo. He claims that the higher-ups want it, but Joon-hee flies into a rage and starts hitting Han-gyu until he has to be pulled off.
In a cruel twist of fate, Pil-doo’s body ends up on Do-kyung’s autopsy table. Joon-young is there to speak to him, and she says that she’ll right every wrong in this case so that everyone is treated fairly. Do-kyung snaps that it won’t change anything and Joon-young agrees, but she says that those left behind still have to go on with their lives.
After she leaves, Do-kyung pulls aside the sheet covering Pil-doo’s face, and he cries as he touches his father for the first time in twenty years. But soon, his sobbing shifts to an eerie, unsettling laugh.
That night, Tae-pyung has a dream in which he’s watching his own death in his reflection in the mirror, when his image morphs into that of Do-kyung. Do-kyung growls that Tae-pyung will be in pain every time he looks in the mirror, because he’ll make sure he never forgets what it feels like to lose someone precious. Suddenly Do-kyung is behind Tae-pyung, and he repeats his final words, “You’ll never find Seo Joon-young,” before Tae-pyung wakes up in a cold sweat.
The next day, Tae-pyung visits a black market dealer and buys several tiny surveillance cameras. He asks for a small tracking device, so the seller hands him a box full of trackers that look like jewelry. Tae-pyung opens one box, and he goes pale when he recognizes the necklace he’s seen himself holding as he dies.
Yeon-hwa reports to Teacher Baek that Tae-pyung is buying surveillance equipment, and Teacher Baek guesses that Tae-pyung failed to talk reason into Do-kyung and now means to wiretap him. He says that Tae-pyung won’t quit just because he tells him to, so he’ll find another way to stop him.
Chief Nam confesses to his superior that he falsified the evidence against Jo Pil-doo to make him appear to be the Midnight Killer, who is apparently another man named Kim Hyung-soo. He explains that Kim Hyung-soo went missing three years ago, so his superior tells him to cover it up to preserve the honor of the police force.
But Chief Nam insists that Do-kyung is Mi-jin’s killer and vows to prove it and lock him away. His superior reluctantly gives him permission, but he warns Chief Nam to make sure he gets conclusive evidence, and to keep this information away from reporters in the meantime.
Do-kyung makes it through Pil-doo’s autopsy, and when he’s finished, he removes the ID tag from Pil-doo’s foot. Tae-pyung follows him home at a distance after work, and puts a tracker on Do-kyung’s car as he heads inside. When Do-kyung enters in his door code, Tae-pyung watches through a camera above the door and gets his entry code (1109).
Joon-hee is informed at the police station that Jo Pil-doo wasn’t Mi-jin’s murderer. Team Leader Han asks why Ji-won thought that Pil-doo was guilty, so Joon-hee explains that he received a report that the DNA matched, and she learned about it. Sighing heavily, Team Leader Han tells him that the evidence against Pil-doo was forged, and Joon-hee just looks sick.
He visits Ji-won in jail, and at first she refuses to speak to him. When she finally does, she tells him to cremate Mi-jin so that she’s not locked in a coffin a second time (oof). Seeing that Ji-won is in enough pain already, Joon-hee doesn’t tell her that Pil-doo was innocent.
At the station, Joon-young explains to her team that Tae-pyung didn’t foresee Pil-doo dying that way because he only saw the moments just before his death, when he was on the operating table. Chief Nam sits the team down and tells them that he’s going to assemble a new team for this investigation so that none of them get entangled if there’s a scandal.
The team discuss it, and they decide unanimously that they want to stay on the case. The tell Chief Nam that they won’t leave, and he accepts their offer gratefully. He explains that his plan is to apologize to Do-kyung, and hopefully maneuver him into confessing to killing Mi-jin.
Joon-young calls Tae-pyung, who’s staking out Do-kyung’s house. He says he’s at home, and Joon-young teases that he’s probably in the station parking lot again, hee. She belatedly asks why he was at the hospital, and he says he was going to tell her about Do-kyung being Jo Hyun-woo, but she already knew. He tells her not to stress too much, and that she’s the coolest detective he knows.
It’s morning before Do-kyung leaves his place again, and Tae-pyung lets himself in as soon as the coast is clear. He plants his surveillance devices throughout the house, at one point noticing what looks like a shrine, with an article about Jo Hyun-woo’s supposed suicide. When Tae-pyung is finished, he feels something underneath one of the rugs, but before he can investigate, Do-kyung unexpectedly returns home.
Tae-pyung hides under the stairs as Do-kyung comes inside with Chief Nam. The team is in a van nearby, and they watch through a hidden camera on Chief Nam’s coat as he gets on his knees and apologizes to Do-kyung for forging the evidence against his father.
He says he was upset about his friend’s death, but the DNA didn’t match even though all the bodies had been found at sites where Pil-doo had worked. So he called the forensics lab and lied that the wrong evidence had been sent for processing, then sent it in again marked as belonging to Jo Pil-doo.
Chief Nam tells Do-kyung that he even checked out Kim Hyung-soo after Do-kyung’s call three years ago. He’d decided to do the right thing if he turned out to be the real Midnight Killer, but Kim Hyung-soo had disappeared. He says they can stop all this now, offering to make a public apology if Do-kyung confesses that he killed Mi-jin.
Do-kyung sighs, then gets on his knees in front of Chief Nam. But instead of making a confession, he grabs the hidden camera from Chief Nam’s coat and speaks to Joon-young through it, knowing that she’s watching. He asks if this was what she meant by righting all the wrongs and seeing everyone treated fairly.
He continues, “But you won’t be able to catch the murderer anyway… I already cremated him.” He returns the camera to Chief Nam, and with tears in his eyes, he screams that he should have apologized twenty years ago.
Joon-young and Kang-jae rush to the morgue, but they find that Do-kyung switched Pil-doo’s body with that of an unidentified man. The man was supposed to be cremated, but a call confirms that Pil-doo’s body has already been cremated in its place.
Strangely, the knife that Ji-won used to stab Jo Pil-doo was found to have Kim Hyung-soo’s blood on it. It indicates two things — one, that Do-kyung was able to intercept the evidence and cover the knife in Kim Hyung-soo’s blood, and two, that Kim Hyung-soo is still alive somewhere and Do-kyung knows where he is.
Tae-pyung is stuck under Do-kyung’s stairs until late, when Do-kyung finally moves to a different part of the house. Tae-pyung sneaks out while Do-kyung lights the candles at his Jo Hyun-woo shrine. Do-kyung seems to hear something, so just in case, he burns the article about Jo Hyun-woo.
Back in his car, Tae-pyung watches Do-kyung through the surveillance camera feed on his laptop. Do-kyung dumps a can of cold baked beans into a dog bowl, then lifts the section of floor that Tae-pyung felt was uneven and disappears down a set of hidden stairs.
When Joon-young gets off work, Tae-pyung pulls up and offers her a ride. He takes her to watch the planes taking off from the airport and says it’s his place of comfort, because the planes remind him of his parents in America. He tells Joon-young that he came to Korea because he heard that Teacher Baek could see death like he can, before he lost his vision.
He asks Joon-young if she would leave with him if he asked, and go to a place free of bad people where he wouldn’t see any deaths. Surprised, she doesn’t answer. Tae-pyung gives her the necklace he found, telling her honestly that it’s a tracking device.
Tae-pyung tells Joon-young that he even sees himself holding this necklace when he dies. He says he almost didn’t buy it when he found it, but he ended up getting it anyway, more afraid that he might die without giving it to her. He asks Joon-young sweetly to keep the necklace and make sure it never makes its way back to him.
Ji-won is allowed to attend Mi-jin’s funeral, and she and Joon-hee break down when their daughter’s body is cremated. Joon-hee finally tells Ji-won that Jo Pil-doo didn’t kill Mi-jin, and he vows to find the real murderer and kill him himself. But the fact remains that Ji-won killed a man, and she’s soon taken back to prison.
Meanwhile, Do-kyung attends a service for several unidentified people, knowing that one of the urns actually contains his father’s ashes. He gets a call from Tae-pyung afterward, who asks if getting revenge is worth throwing his life away. Tae-pyung walks up to Do-kyung, having been nearby the whole time, and he says he knows Do-kyung wants to live because he took on a new identity, and that he can still live a long life if he stops now.
He tells Do-kyung that if he wants to, he can change the death Tae-pyung foretold for him. He says that his father wouldn’t want Do-kyung to become a murderer, but Do-kyung just sidles closer to whisper, “You must have forgotten, I’m already a murderer.” ~shiver~
Ji-won is taken back to the hospital for a re-enactment of her attack on Jo Pil-doo. When she mimes stabbing Pil-doo, she shakes violently and collapses, making Joon-hee sob as he watches.
Tae-pyung lets himself into Do-kyung’s home again while Do-kyung is out, determined to see what’s under the floor. There’s a lock on the hatch, but luckily it’s the same code as the front door. Tae-pyung slowly makes his way down the stairs and into a hidden bunker, using his phone as a flashlight.
Suddenly someone lunges at Tae-pyung, startling him badly enough to make him trip and fall. The attacker is stopped by a wall of wire, and he growls, “Who are you?” Tae-pyung looks closer, and although the man is filthy and neglected, he recognizes the man from one of his death visions — Kim Hyung-soo, the real Midnight Killer.
Wow… Do-kyung just gets worse and worse. Apparently he’s been keeping Kim Hyung-soo, the real Midnight Killer, captive in a hidden bunker under his house for at least three years. This just adds more questions to my growing list — how did Do-kyung know who the real killer was in the first place? How did he catch him, and how long has Hyung-soo been down there? What was Do-kyung’s purpose in abducting Hyung-soo, and what will he do with him now that his father is dead? I have a feeling that Kim Hyung-soo is the missing link, and that if Tae-pyung can somehow get him to talk, he’ll solve a lot of the mysteries that have gone unsolved until now.
It’s the mark of a great actor when they can make you feel sympathy for even the worst villain, and I’ve always felt that Im Joo-hwan is one of those actors. He’s so versatile that he can play the most heartless killer or the sweetest guy in love, and his portrayal of Do-kyung is one of my favorite things about this drama. Mostly I don’t feel bad for Do-kyung, who chose to murder an innocent girl for reasons we don’t yet fully understand, and now we find that he’s had the real Midnight Killer locked in his basement for years. Yet despite all of the horrors he’s committed, it tugged at my heartstrings when he saw his father for the first time in twenty years and cried. For a fleeting moment, you could see that deep down, he’s still a little boy who just misses his daddy.
But Do-kyung is playing a bigger game than anyone understands at this point. He obviously has an agenda, one that he’s been planning for some time and that heavily involves Joon-young and Tae-pyung. I still don’t grasp the connections between the information we know about Do-kyung, such as how he knew who the real killer was, how he captured him, why he chose to kill Joon-hee’s daughter, and what he intends to accomplish with all this. And is it a coincidence that Do-kyung became a killer because of his father’s false imprisonment, or did the circumstances make him this way? He seemed like such a sweet kid in the flashbacks, but he’s completely different now, and I want to know why.
On a lighter note, I really like how Tae-pyung and Joon-young’s relationship is slowly developing. Tae-pyung knew as soon as he met Joon-young that she was someone special, someone he could love. But he’s kept his feelings private until very recently, and he has always approached Joon-young in a very respectful way, as equals. He doesn’t push himself on her, but he lets her know he cares by always being there in the background, and only coming forward if she needs him. They’re developing a genuine friendship and partnership, and it feels like the love will just come naturally for both of them when it’s time, and not a moment before.
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