The Game: Towards Zero: Episodes 5-6
The more we know, the more questions beg to be answered. This copycat case is far from over, and as it turns out, the connections between past and present are not at all what they seem. Our heroes are going to have to get very creative to catch a copycat with an agenda more mysterious than anyone — even someone with supernatural abilities — can predict.
After Mi-jin is rescued and taken to the hospital, Joon-young stays behind at the crime scene. She show Soo-hyun, another detective, where she found the kidnapper’s footprint next to one of Mi-jin’s shoes. In a flashback, we see that the killer deliberately placed the shoe and his footprint there. Even Joon-young feels like it’s too perfect not to be intentional.
Soo-hyun tells Joon-young that “Four Weeks” worked overtime and determined Oh SM’s cause of death as a heart attack, meaning that Tae-pyung was right twice in a row. Joon-young teases Tae-pyung that this (having a vision thwarted) must be a first for him, and he just sighs and stalks off.
Joon-young follows and tells Tae-pyung to stop sulking, because they actually saved Mi-jin’s life. He says he’s still nervous, since he doesn’t know why his vision was changed. Joon-young calls it a miracle and Tae-pyung agrees that he thought so at first, but he adds that all the others whose deaths he predicted were equally desperate to live, yet nothing they did changed anything.
Joon-hee stays by Mi-jin’s side at the hospital, looking guilty and ashamed of the way he never even knew she was the kidnapping victim. He steps into the hall where Ji-won is sitting, and she can see the anguish on his face. She hugs him while he whispers that he’s sorry.
He’s joined by Chief Nam and Team Leader Han, who ask if he’s received any threats, but he says he hasn’t. Chief Nam reminds Joon-hee that Jo Pil-doo’s seventh victim was also saved in time, but was murdered later while in the hospital, and Joon-hee looks terrified all over again. He says he’s increased security at the hospital, and that Joon-hee has Joon-young to thank for his daughter’s life.
Joon-hee recalls something from twenty years ago that he’s never told anyone. He’d snapped a picture of Pil-doo’s seventh victim in the hospital, and later, someone had crept into her room and strangled her to death. Her father had stormed the police station, screaming demands to know how the killer knew what room his daughter was in.
Joon-hee had been there, and only he had known that in his photo on his article, the girl’s room number could clearly be seen. Remembering this now, Joon-hee races to Mi-jin’s room and takes her name off the door.
Joon-young offers Tae-pyung a ride home, and when she mentions Jo Pil-doo, Tae-pyung admits that he’s never heard of him — he doesn’t watch TV or read the newspaper because it’s too difficult to witness the deaths of everyone who’s image he sees. Joon-young chatters about nothing much, and Tae-pyung stares at her, amazed at what it feels like to be able to look at someone and only see their facial expression.
When she drops him off, Joon-young thanks Tae-pyung for helping her today. She asks him if he wants to keep working with her and uncover the reason they were able to change Mi-jin’s fate. The offer makes Tae-pyung uneasy, though not for the reason Joon-young is thinking, so he says he’ll think about it.
The following day, Chief Nam holds a press conference to tell the reporters about the case. Joon-hee shows up to talk to Joon-young, who doesn’t look very happy to see him, considering the way he practically stalked her when her father died. Joon-hee shows her his article from twenty years ago and how the photo showed the girl’s hospital room number, which led to Jo Pil-doo finding her and killing her.
He believes that the girl’s father knows this, and carried out this copycat abduction to punish him for his daughter’s death. Joon-young disagrees — she thinks that the last thing the girl’s father would notice when seeing the article is the room number in the corner of the picture.
She says she knows, as someone who also read horrible details about a loved one in one of Joon-hee’s articles. She clearly remembers Joon-hee’s article on her father’s death, which included a picture of his broken body lying on the pavement and included gruesome details of his injuries.
Joon-hee looks deeply regretful now, and Joon-young says she understands why he did it, but she doesn’t think the girl’s father would wait twenty years to get his revenge. Joon-hee tells Joon-young that the girl back then was abducted after buying a cake for her mother’s birthday, exactly as Mi-jin was, and he gives her the father’s name: Hong Jung-ho.
Tae-pyung finds the door to his room chained by Yeon-hwa, who says the order came from Teacher Baek. He pretends to need the restroom so she lets him out, and he angrily confronts Teacher Baek. Teacher Baek refuses to say why he locked up Tae-pyung, but he tells him that if he helps the police, it’s the end of their relationship.
He’s guessed that the police have made Tae-pyung an offer, and Tae-pyung explains that he wants to find out why someone’s death changed. Teacher Baek asks if it’s because of a death he saw twenty years ago.
A flashback shows that some boys had forced Tae-pyung to predict how another boy would die. It’s the boy he sees in his nightmares (I was mistaken that it was his younger self), and the man in his dreams is that boy grown up. Tae-pyung had reluctantly told the boy, “You’ll kill yourself. You’ll fall and die.”
The man in the dream always warns Tae-pyung that he’ll see how it feels to lose someone precious, so he’s isolated himself for the past twenty years. He had come to Teacher Baek from the U.S. because he couldn’t bear seeing the deaths of everyone around him, and has never made friends or loved anyone.
He says he’s tired of being afraid, but Teacher Baek retorts that learning how to stop a death he’s seen won’t keep him from being afraid, because fear of the unknown is part of life. Tae-pyung blurts out that there’s someone he wants to see again, because he feels normal when he’s with her, and he wants to see if anything could happen between them. He asks Teacher Baek for help, but Teacher Baek just walks away.
At the station, Joon-young looks up Hong Jung-ho, the father of Jo Pil-doo’s last victim. His home seems abandoned, but a search of the neighborhood turns up a man who knows him. He tells them that Jung-ho has been in the hospital, but when they arrive, they learn that he died only that morning.
Joon-young and Kang-jae switch gears and head to the hospital to talk to Mi-jin, while Bong-soo and Soo-hyun stay at the station looking up shoe prints. A hair sample was found inside the coffin with Mi-jin, and that’s also being tested.
Tae-pyung has difficulty when he tries to look up articles on Jo Pil-doo, because they’re all filled with photos of his victims and he can’t help but see their deaths. He gives up when he gets to the article on Joon-young’s father’s death because it’s too gruesome (he says the description is worse than the actual vision, damn).
It makes him worried for Joon-young, who he’s sure saw the article, and he mentions her mother’s death. Yeon-hwa asks about it and he confirms that it was her own mother’s picture that Joon-young left behind the other day. He doesn’t tell Yeon-hwa what he saw, only that she died not long after Joon-young’s birth.
Yeon-hwa finds the article about Jo Pil-doo’s seventh victim who was rescued, then killed later at the hospital. Tae-pyung looks at her picture and is drawn into a vision, seeing the girl’s last moments as a man choked her to death in her bed.
The man finishes the job and turns away with an evil grin so that Tae-pyung can see his face — and it’s her father, Hong Jung-ho. What?! Shaken, Tae-pyung says he needs to see Mi-jin’s picture again, because she’s still in danger if this is truly a copycat.
Joon-young brings Mi-jin a kitten lamp as a gift, and she asks her if she remembers anything about her kidnapper, even just his clothes. Unfortunately Mi-jin doesn’t remember, so Joon-young asks her parents to consider letting them try hypnosis.
Joon-hee pulls her aside to discuss Hong Jung-ho, since his wife doesn’t know how the seventh victim died. Joon-young tells him that Jung-ho is dead so he can’t be the copycat. She recommends he tell his wife soon because the copycat probably followed Mi-jin for a long time and Ji-won may have seen him. She also advises him to take Mi-jin home as soon as possible, and as she leaves he calls out, ‘Thank you, Detective Seo Joon-young.”
She passes reporters Ye-ji and Han-gyu on her way out, who are being kept away by the police. Ye-ji asks if Mi-jin is okay, and when Joon-young nods, Ye-ji sighs in relief.
Worried about Tae-pyung, Yeon-hwa asks Teacher Baek what they should do. Teacher Baek admits that he can’t stop Tae-pyung from seeing Joon-young: “If we can’t stop him, he’ll just have to find out for himself.”
Joon-young talks to a photo of her father while sitting on the hospital roof. She remembers him as a loving man, and she cries that she misses him. The wind yanks the picture from her hand, and luckily, someone on a lower level rescues it. It’s Do-kyung, who knows her name from hearing Joon-hee thank her.
They sit to talk, and Joon-young tells Do-kyung how he got the nickname “Four Weeks” — because it always takes him four weeks to release autopsy results (he jokes that he should start making them wait six weeks, ha). Do-kyung guesses that she’s there for the copycat’s victim, since the case is all over the news.
She thanks him for working overtime to finish Oh SM’s autopsy, and he thanks her for saving Mi-jin, saying the same thing he said to SO… it saved him from having to do her autopsy. Joon-young asks him to expedite the hair sample she sent in, but Do-kyung says that’s not his department.
Tae-pyung heads to the police station, and he learns that Joon-young isn’t there. When Chief Nam walks past him, Tae-pyung gives him the same horrified look he gave the other guys when he met them for the first time. Chief Nam isn’t happy that Tae-pyung is there, and he accuses Team Leader Han of sabotaging his case by believing Tae-pyung’s predictions. He says that if Tae-pyung knew when and where the victim would die, then he’s either an accomplice or the culprit.
Meanwhile, Tae-pyung asks Bong-soo for a picture of Mi-jin, but Bong-soo says she’s fine with so many police guarding her. Bong-soo asks him to tell them how he’ll die, and Kang-jae gets curious when he can tell that Tae-pyung is watching Bong-soo’s death in his eyes. Tae-pyung keeps his mouth shut, but he wonders, “Why does everyone here suffer terrible deaths? And they’ll die on the same day at the same time…”
Team Leader Han emerges from Chief Nam’s office and announces that they’ll be using science to solve their cases. Kang-jae whispers to Bong-soo to show Tae-pyung a picture of Mi-jin anyway, and what Tae-pyung sees is horrific. Mi-jin is in her hospital room, being strangled by a man wearing a surgical mask.
Do-kyung is still with Joon-young, and he asks how she knew Mi-jin was buried. He offers to get her analysis on the hair sample quickly, so Joon-young admits that she had special help from someone who can see death, and she even tells him Tae-pyung’s name.
Tae-pyung’s vision continues, and Mi-jin reaches up and pulls the mask off her attacker’s face… it’s Do-kyung. He speaks as if he knows Tae-pyung is watching him: “Why do you think I’m doing this? Tell me. You saw this, so you would know.” Mi-jin eventually stops breathing, and Do-kyung drops her body, looking like he wants to cry with frustration.
Tae-pyung recognizes him as the man from his nightmares, whose face bears a mangled scar on his right cheek. He asks Tae-pyung, “Do you think you’ll be any different? Try losing someone you deem the most precious. Then you’ll understand.” Do-kyung then falls backwards, fulfilling Tae-pyung’s childhood prediction that he will fall to his death.
Still locked in his vision, Tae-pyung watches Do-kyung walk out of the hospital room, leaving Mi-jin dead on the floor. The clock on the table says that it’s exactly 7 p.m. When the vision ends Tae-pyung checks the time, and it’s a few minutes after 6 p.m. — not much time left. He tells Team Leader Han that Mi-jin will be killed soon, and that the culprit is someone he knows, though he only met him once, twenty years ago.
Team Leader Han looks angry so Bong-soo slips out to call Joon-young and tell her to come back to the station, because Tae-pyung saw Mi-jin’s death again. She ends her conversation with Do-kyung, who seems very interested in what’s going on.
I knew it! I had half convinced myself that I was being paranoid, pinning Do-kyung as the killer with very little evidence, but I just knew there was something shifty about him. But kudos to the show for managing to shock me anyway – I was expecting Joon-young and Joon-hee to be the connection between the original murders and the copycat case, but it turns out, it somehow relates to Tae-pyung’s past. I’m actually excited that we learned who the copycat is so early, because now we can really dive deep into the hows and whys of the situation. I can’t wait to find out more about Do-kyung and why he’s doing this… it seems to be a message, considering how he spoke to Tae-pyung in his vision of Mi-jin’s death. But why? Why would a little boy who hears that he’ll kill himself grow up to be a murderer?
The best mysteries use their reveals to pose more questions, and The Game is doing that so well. I have more questions after every episode, and this episode probably raised the most concerns for me. First and foremost is, what’s Do-kyung’s deal and why is he recreating a murder that seemingly has no personal connection to him? Does Do-kyung even know why he’s doing this, since he asked Tae-pyung in his vision to tell him why? What does Teacher Baek know about Tae-pyung’s ability and what did he mean by “he’ll have to find out for himself”? Was being killed twice (according to Tae-pyung’s visions, anyway) always Mi-jin’s destiny, or was she supposed to die in the coffin and now fate is trying to reassert itself? And what about the past… why did the last victim’s father kill her? Maybe Tae-pyung isn’t the only supernatural element in the show…
I love it when characters show true growth, and we’re already getting a great example of this in Joon-hee. We know that he’s always been arrogant and put the story above anything, since he saw the effects of his overzealous reporting twenty years ago (both on Joon-young, and in — he believes — getting the seventh victim killed) yet he didn’t change his tactics. But now that his own daughter went through such a nightmare and he never knew because he was too busy chasing the scoop, he seems to truly get it, how he’s let reporting take over his life. I’d love to see him have a true change of heart, and team up with Tae-pyung and Joon-young as a three-pronged weapon against Do-kyung and whatever he’s trying to do.
I’m frightened that this time, Do-kyung will manage to kill Mi-jin, and it’s going to really break Joon-hee. Maybe what they need to do is get Jo Pil-doo involved? I’m not sure if he’s going to be an actual character in the show, but Joon-young and Joon-hee may actually need his help in uncovering the copycat’s identity and catching him. I’m not certain, like Joon-young, that Tae-pyung’s visions are enough, since he can only see what’s in the vision and doesn’t even know date and time of death without a clock and a calendar. He doesn’t even know who Do-kyung is other than the guy from his nightmares, and a visual accusation based on a dream won’t hold up in court. Maybe Jo Pil-doo can give them some real clues to follow — at least it’s something to try.
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