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Voice: Episode 13

This episode skips around freely through flashbacks as we learn more about Jin-hyuk’s wife and her connection to Sang-tae, and whether or not she was as crooked as the evidence seems to imply. We also learn more about Tae-gu and his past, which only solidifies the fact that he’s a psychopath. Of course, we already knew that, but the villain can never be too evil — or too handsome.

 
Chapter 13: “The Birth of Satan”

 

Kwon-joo reveals the information she’s found about the homeless man Chul-han and his connection to Jin-hyuk’s wife, Ji-hye. She believes Ji-hye’s death has something to do with Chul-han, but Jin-hyuk refuses to believe it and steps outside to for a smoke.

As he does, Sang-tae calls him, offering him a deal. In exchange for his freedom, he’ll help Jin-hyuk catch the true killer, and even provide the evidence of all the other crimes the killer has committed. Jin-hyuk asks why he should trust him, and Sang-tae says they should meet at a guest house where Jin-hyuk and his wife used to visit — proving that he knew Ji-hye enough to know the location of her favorite weekend getaway.

At the same time, Kwon-joo receives a message from Tae-gu, politely asking if they could meet. She’s shocked he knows her name, but she’s distracted when she hears Jin-hyuk on the phone, and from the way he’s speaking, she realizes he must be talking to Sang-tae.

 

However, when she confronts him about it, Jin-hyuk denies it. She persists, and he finally admits that he’s agreed to meet with Sang-tae so they can find out more about the real killer. Kwon-joo is ready to call for backup, but Jin-hyuk reminds her that there’s a mole in the police station, so they have to be careful what they report.

Kwon-joo is still worried. He might not be the killer they’re after, but Sang-tae is still dangerous. Jin-hyuk knows that if Sang-tae has contacted him, then he’s run out of other options. Besides, he’s going to meet him not because he trusts Sang-tae, but to protect others from getting hurt. He also needs to know the truth about his wife.

 

He takes a taxi to the guesthouse and Kwon-joo gets in her car to follow him. She calls Dae-shik to let him know that Jin-hyuk, who’s also drunk, is headed to meet Sang-tae. Thanks to her super hearing, she knows the name of the guest house, and Dae-shik looks up the address for her before racing out of the station to go there himself.

She finds it strange that Sang-tae would know of a place that ought to have meaning for only Jin-hyuk and his wife. She puts in another call, this time to Hyun-ho, asking to do an unofficial search for Jin-hyuk’s phone GPS as well as the most recent number that called his phone. Hyun-ho confirms that the GPS shows he’s near the guest house, but the most recent phone number is blocked.

At home, Tae-gu speaks to someone on the phone, who tells him something about Sang-tae. Tae-gu seems both amused and irritated that Sang-tae seems so determined to protect his own “worthless” life.

Meanwhile, the land planning director calls CEO Mo, letting him know that he’s too nervous about being caught in a scandal if it’s found that he was at the club that night, which throws a monkey wrench in CEO Mo’s plan for his bus depot. Remembering his conversation with his son, when he tried to confirm where he was when he disappeared for those ten minutes, he asks his driver to head to Tae-gu’s apartment, knowing that his son isn’t there right now.

 

Sang-tae’s at the guesthouse, waiting for Jin-hyuk. He’s no longer going to be Tae-gu’s “dog.” Speak of the devil, though — Tae-gu calls him, but Sang-tae tells him he’s busy and will call him later. Except Tae-gu is there at the guesthouse, and points out that Sang-tae doesn’t look busy. He asks if this is where Sang-tae planned to meet Jin-hyuk.

It certainly seems like it, since Jin-hyuk’s taxi pulls up outside. As Jin-hyuk approaches the guesthouse, everything is dark and still, and he pulls out his gun as he tells Sang-tae to stop hiding and face him.

But the voice that answers him is his wife’s. She says that she misses Chul-han and she’ll be punished because it’s all her fault. Even in death, she’ll suffer due to her mistakes. As he races up the stairs to find the source of the voice, Ji-hye apologizes to Jin-hyuk. She wonders if she’s wronged Chul-han.

Jin-hyuk calls out for his wife, but the message starts to repeat. He sees the recorder lying on the floor, placed on top of a Bible with other documents surrounding it. With tears in his eyes, he stops the recording and then rifles through the documents, which show that Ji-hye was indeed a broker for GP Development who got consent from various homeless people to use their bodies.

Struggling with his emotions, he stands up, looking around for Sang-tae. But when he opens the curtains, he discovers Sang-tae hanging from the tree outside.

As he staggers outside to face Sang-tae’s body, Jin-hyuk, still reeling from what he heard and saw, furiously yells at Sang-tae to tell him what he knows.

Dae-shik and Kwon-joo arrive at the guesthouse, and they enter the room where the voice recorder and documents are. But Sang-tae’s hanging body causes Kwon-joo to gasp when she sees it from the window, and Dae-shik runs to stop Jin-hyuk from shooting at Sang-tae’s body. Jin-hyuk yells his frustration and grief as Dae-shik wrestles the gun away from him, but Sang-tae’s secrets have died with him.

Tae-gu washes the blood off his hands, remembering how Sang-tae told him that it’s time for him grow up. Sang-tae said that he’d been been protecting Tae-gu all this time, but now he’s done. Laughing, Tae-gu tells him that he’s actually the one who saved Sang-tae’s life. But this time, Sang-tae has deserted him.

As Sang-tae tells him that he’s gone too far and it’s about time Tae-gu sees a therapist, Tae-gu pulls out a rope and starts to choke Sang-tae. He wrestles against Tae-gu, gasping that he’s always thought of him like a little brother. He calls Tae-gu a bastard for this betrayal, but Tae-gu just gleefully grins as he strangles Sang-tae. He also pulls out a knife and stabs Sang-tae in the guts.

He then carefully set out the documents, Bible, and voice recorder so that Jin-hyuk would find them.

The blood now washed from his hands, Tae-gu sits down in his immaculate apartment. He sees that his closet is slightly opened, which is odd, and he goes to close it. We can’t see what’s in it, but knowing Tae-gu, it’s nothing good.

CEO Mo looks deflated as his driver takes him home. Over the radio, a news report reveals that Sang-tae has been found dead, and it’s determined to be a suicide, assumed to be due to the stress of being wanted by the police for murder.

CEO Mo remembers Sang-tae telling him recently that Tae-gu is out of control right now, but CEO Mo reassured him that Tae-gu is resilient and can take after himself.

Flashback to twenty-five years ago, when Sang-tae’s father introduced a young Sang-tae to CEO Mo, promising him that he’ll be loyal and useful. CEO Mo points out how young Sang-tae’s jaw crackles, and his father just says the boy needed to be taught a lesson. Oh, so the crackling noise is due to a broken jaw?

 

CEO Mo is delighted to have someone to help keep an eye on the young Tae-gu, who also imitates Sang-tae’s crackling jaw. CEO Mo says if Sang-tae takes care of Tae-gu, he’ll treat him like he’s his own son.

Back in the (near) present, CEO Mo enters Tae-gu’s empty apartment. Nothing seems amiss until he leans against what looks like the wall, revealing the closet door. Cautiously, he opens it, but everything looks normal.

As he begins to shut the door, something catches his eye, and when he opens it and moves the clothes out of the way, CEO Mo backs up in fear when he sees the plastic-wrapped body in the corner.

 

That reminds him of when he found young Tae-gu at home, bludgeoning his pet dog with a hammer. Much to CEO Mo’s shock and horror, Tae-gu simply explains that the dog bit him, so he’s teaching it a lesson. Ahhhh, it puts the grown Tae-gu’s statement that Sang-tae is like a dog that bit its master in a whole new light.

The Violent Crimes Unit and the Forensics Unit are both at the guesthouse collecting evidence. Chief Jang wonders if it’s really suicide, and the Forensics chief says that, as improbable as it looks, it’s totally possible that Sang-tae hanged himself after stabbing himself in the stomach. Sure it is. Besides, his fingerprints were the only ones on the knife. Well, that’s interesting, since I don’t remember Tae-gu wearing gloves until after he killed Sang-tae.

Chief Jang warns his men not to spread any rumors about what happened, especially anything that pertains to Jin-hyuk’s wife. Then he asks to speak to Jin-hyuk in private, reminding him that he knows from personal experience that getting involved with these guys is no joke.

But Jin-hyuk can’t stop thinking about how he ignored Jin-hye’s phone call on the day she died. He was too busy celebrating catching a criminal. He despondently says he’s not the “mad dog” because he’s good at catching criminals — it’s because he’s crazy about catching them in the first place. He’ll do anything to get them, especially when it meant getting revenge on his wife’s killer. That’s what makes him a “mad dog.”

 

CEO Mo meets with Commissioner Bae, reminding him that it’s only thanks to CEO Mo that he became a commissioner at all. He thinks that Commissioner Bae has forgotten to whom the position really belongs, and that since CEO Mo bought him that position, he can easily take it away and give it to someone else.

He’d ordered Commissioner Bae to take care of Sang-tae, but it was his men who eventually pushed Sang-tae into a corner. He blames the Golden Time Team for Sang-tae’s suicide, and Commissioner Bae, knowing that he must appease the one who’s given him his wealth and power, promises CEO Mo that he’ll take care of it.

Dae-shik drives Jin-hyuk to the hospital so he can be with his son, reassuring him that the investigation will reveal the truth and show that Ji-hye isn’t the kind of person Sang-tae’s evidence says she is. Instead of going to be with Dong-woo, Jin-hyuk slowly walks through the alley where his wife’s body was found.

He remembers drunkenly barging onto the crime scene and falling down next to her body, his head by her feet. Stopping at the exact place where her body lay, he lies down in the same position he was that night, his hand reaching out to hold a phantom foot.

Kwon-joo, too, walks through the alleyways where her father died, reliving the sounds she heard over the radio. She tells her father that, for everyone else, the killer was found dead today. But she doesn’t believe Sang-tae is the real killer. The real killer is a monster who kills relentlessly and endlessly, and she knows that it won’t be easy to go against him.

But as she starts to cry, she vows that she’ll find the killer and arrest him. She’ll make him beg for forgiveness, and then, at her father’s grave, she’ll make him say he’s sorry for what he’s done. Nice sentiments, but I very much Tae-gu is the type to apologize for anything, ever.

Tae-gu relaxes in his bath and checks his text message. It’s from Kwon-joo, who tells him that there must be some confusion about needing his testimony from the club, and she’s passed along his message to Chief Jang. He pulls out a photo that’s stuffed in a book (a collection of Goethe’s poetry, notably containing “Der Erlkönig,” which definitely seems like something Tae-gu would read), and it’s the photo of Kwon-joo with her father.

 

Flashback to the night when he entered her apartment. No idea how he got in, but that’s not important. He makes himself at home, helping himself to some water and sitting down on her bed. He gently strokes her pillow, his eyes closing as he perhaps imagines her lying there. So. Creepy.

Slowly he wanders the small space, but he’s especially drawn to the the spotlight that’s shining on a closed set of curtains. He opens the curtains to reveal Kwon-joo’s evidence wall, and as he realizes that it’s all about his past murders and that Kwon-joo is investigating him, he jumps up-and-down in glee like a kid on Christmas who’s just been given the gift they’ve wanted most.

Back in the present day, Tae-gu sets down the stolen photo and then slowly sinks under the bath water (no blood this time, thank goodness).

One of the forensics guys gave Kwon-joo a copy of Ji-hye’s voice recording, and she carefully listens to it. Something sounds unnatural to her, and with her super hearing and the audio technology on her laptop, she realizes that Ji-hye’s words were spliced together from a different message.

The next morning, Hyun-ho and Eun-soo are at work, and really serve no purpose except to be cute and give exposition about information we already know. And apparently Hyun-ho was once good at sports. I dunno if that’s important, but I’ll take whatever allows them the few seconds of screen time they can get.

 

Commissioner Bae is determined to dissolve the Golden Time Team, but the other higher-ups in the station (but who are his subordinates) try to point out that the Golden Team Time has actually been helpful and should become a permanent unit. But Commissioner Bae refuses to budge, and the men have no choice but to agree.

How long has Sang-tae’s henchman been in the interrogation room? Jin-hyuk confronts him with the recording he made of Sang-tae’s phone call, and asks the henchman if he knows who the real killer is that Sang-tae is referring to.

 

The henchman refuses to answer, so Jin-hyuk shows him a photo of Sang-tae’s body, asking him if he really thinks that Sang-tae would commit suicide by both stabbing and hanging himself. The henchman grudgingly admits that Sang-tae’s wound was made by a left-handed person, and Sang-tae never uses his left hand.

But the henchman can’t think of any left-handed person close to Sang-tae. He also hesitates to answer when Jin-hyuk asks him who Sang-tae met at the club that night. He finally admits that one of their sponsors is Sungwun Express — which fits since CEO Mo and Tae-gu were there that night.

Chief Jang interrupts, asking to speak with Jin-hyuk. As he steps outside the interrogation room, Jin-hyuk leaves behind the photo of Sang-tae hanging from the tree. Aw, I kinda feel bad, since Sang-tae’s henchman seemed truly fond of his boss.

 

Chief Jang has remembered that someone told him about GP Development when he was at the club (and then got filmed for blackmail). He also finds it odd that the only people who knew about Jin-hyuk going to meet Sang-tae were Kwon-joo and Dae-shik — even the chief didn’t know about it until afterwards. He warns Jin-hyuk to be careful because there’s a leak in the station.

Dae-shik suddenly appears, amazed that an “inside man” is talking about another inside man. Chief Jang leaves, and Dae-shik asks Jin-hyuk why he’s suddenly teaming up with Chief Jang when the chief is the most suspicious one in terms of who’s causing the leak. Jin-hyuk explains that the chief was a part of it by accident, and that there’s another betrayer in the station.

Dae-shik is astonished at how corrupt the police are, but he’s distracted by a phone call from his father. He’s happy to report back to Jin-hyuk that his father is enjoying his nursing home, and Jin-hyuk sadly tells him to be nice to his father while he can. Dae-shik tries to boost his partner’s spirit by suggesting he get some rest, but Jin-hyuk gets a message from Kwon-joo and excuses himself to meet with her.

Tae-gu and his father have lunch together, but Tae-gu just picks at his food, asking his father the real reason behind his desire to get together. CEO Mo informs Tae-gu that he’s hired a lawyer “just in case” they need to testify for the club incident, acting as though it’s a minor irritant.

Tae-gu wonders if his father was at his place last night, and CEO Mo laughs, asking his son why he’d visit if Tae-gu wasn’t home. He then asks if Tae-gu knows if Sang-tae committed suicide, and Tae-gu calmly replies that Sang-tae must have been going through a difficult time.

Unable to hide his emotion, CEO Mo suddenly slams down his bowl, his voice quavering as he asks Tae-gu how could he? Does he know about the countless bodies that were found when the lake was drained? He pleads with his son to start thinking about the future and stop living in the moment.

 

Tae-gu pities his father for becoming cowardly in his old age. He wishes CEO Mo would live a long life, though, since his own life was much more interesting thanks to his father. He stands to leave, telling his father that he’s heading to the police station. Smiling, he says that he should put a stop to things before they get out of hand.

Kwon-joo fills Jin-hyuk in on her visit to the bus depot this morning, where she met with the man who was closest to Chul-han before he disappeared. Driver Park tells her that he feels bad that they had to go different ways, but being homeless, they didn’t have much choice when they were looking for shelter during the winter.

 

He does know that Chul-han had a crush on one of the social workers at the center — Ji-hye. It was actually thanks to Chul-han that he got a job as a bus driver, because he’d been recommended through GP Development Human Resources, which is where Chul-han got a job.

He recognizes Sang-tae’s photo, telling her that he was the director of GP Development, and seemed very interested in Chul-han. A few days after he was hired, Chul-han told him that he was going to work for as a bodyguard or sparring partner for someone, which Driver Park thought was a little strange. But Driver Park doesn’t know who that “someone” is.

 

Kwon-joo also tells Jin-hyuk that she’s figured out that Ji-hye’s recording was manipulated and that the accusations against her are false. She plays the original message (I guess she re-edited it?) and Jin-hyuk listens with tears in his eyes as his wife tells him that something has gone wrong and that she’s worried GP Development will threaten him like they threatened her.

She reveals that GP Development keeps looking for homeless people, which she finds suspicious. Instead of acting as a broker, Ji-hye went around looking for the homeless people that had disappeared, recording her findings. Kwon-joo is convinced that Ji-hye found the same truth that they’re attempting to find now, too, and was killed for it.

 

Tae-gu arrives at Commissioner Bae’s office, showing him the general summons he received to testify in Gyu-ah’s case. Commissioner Bae reassures him that there must be a misunderstanding and that he’ll take care of it.

Meanwhile, Kwon-joo’s assistant shows her and Jin-hyuk the notice that the Golden Time Team is ordered to disband. The date says January 30th — so they didn’t even last a month. They go charging up to Commissioner Bae’s office to discuss this with him, but his assistant stops them, telling them that he’s with an important guest.

Commissioner Bae seizes the opportunity to scold them in front of Tae-gu, blaming them for wasting everyone’s time, especially the CEO’s of Sungwun Express. But Tae-gu tells him there’s no need for scolding. He stands to introduce himself, and Kwon-joo freezes as she realizes that this voice is the same as the one she heard over the radio that night.

Jin-hyuk half-heartedly shakes Tae-gu’s hand, but Kwon-joo balls her fist as Tae-gu holds out his hand. He’s not bothered by it, and invites her to ask whatever questions she may have (presumably about what happened the night Gyu-ah died), since he’s here at the station anyway. But she’s too distraught by the realization that she’s finally met the person behind the voice she’s sought for so long.

 

COMMENTS

AHHHHHHHHHHH. I knew this had to happen eventually, and with only a few episodes left, it had to happen soon, but I’m still as shaken as Kwon-joo now that she’s finally face-to-face with the killer. What’s worse is that she can’t do anything about it because so far there’s no proof — and she knows Commissioner Bae isn’t exactly on her side, either. It’s so stressful, but in all the best ways, since this considerably amps things up now that we’re finally figuring out what really happened that night Ji-hye and Kwon-joo’s father died.

It wasn’t just a random “wrong place at the wrong time” killing, at least not for Ji-hye (for Kwon-joo’s father, unfortunately, it does seem to be). Tae-gu purposefully sought ought Ji-hye and brutally killed her for something she knew about him. That definitely seems to fit his modus operandi a lot better than the original “attempted rape” spiel.

As much as it disgusts me, I’m assuming that Sang-tae was using homeless people to help quench Tae-gu’s thirst for blood (er, not literally, I don’t think, but one never knows with this crazy killer). I’d kinda assumed that Ji-hye wasn’t the first person he murdered, but I’d never really thought about how she might actually be wayyyyyyyyyyy down on that list. Like, way, way, way down on the the murder list. What did his father mean by “countless” bodies? Over a hundred? Thousand? It seems ridiculous, but at this point I’d believe anything, depending on how large the lake was that Tae-gu apparently used to dispose of his bodies. And even then, I think the absurd logic of this show could persuade me that he hides them all under the tiles of his giant bathroom and I’d accept it provided the show kept delivering on the hair-raising suspense each week. Or would that be hair-scalping suspense?

It’s horrifying to realize that Tae-gu essentially sees other people as creatures to hunt for his amusement. No wonder he kept souvenirs of their hair, since it’s probably no different to him than someone keeping the antlers or pelt from an animal that’s been hunted for sport. Which is gross to think about, even though I feel like I now understand Tae-gu so much better. Not that I really want to understand him, but he’s a born psychopath and his father, with all his millions, has been desperately trying to contain in ways that won’t get them noticed. He’s used his money to buy the police, to buy Sang-tae’s loyalty, to buy his way out of all the problems that his son keeps causing.

But I think CEO Mo is finally reaching a breaking point, especially since I believe he was sincere about accepting Sang-tae as his own son. So now he has to deal with the fact that his flesh-and-blood son has killed the man who’s been a part of his family and the primary one to cover up Tae-gu’s crimes for the past twenty-five years. As smart as Tae-gu is (and even though he’s certifiably insane — isn’t cruelty to animals at a young age a textbook signifier of a sociopath? — he’s also very smart), I don’t think he’ll be able to kill, buy, or charm his way out of this in the end. Which is a good thing, because he’s the bad guy, and so he shouldn’t win. But he’s such a charismatically creepy bad guy that I want the final battle between him and Kwon-joo to be epic, making me bite my nails until the bitter end.

 
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How can a human being have those cheekbones seriously? They could cut glass, shred my heart and I'm pretty sure cure cancer...they are nothing short of a freaking miracle!

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I remember the dialogue from Sherlock that suits him in a dark creepy sort of way "I could cut myself slapping those cheekbones"

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Yeah I thought about that dialogue from Sherlock too. It definitely also suits KJW.

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@Agatha *solidarity fistbumps* :D

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@Niyati *fistbumps* farala ralarala! (Bringing in Disney into the mix)

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A research should be done on that.
I've been reading recaps since KJW's face popped up xD

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I've been watching since KJW's face popped up

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This has been one of the best kdramas of this specific genra forms that I think I have so far seen. Some of the story line is expected, but for the most/better part, it is not. Characters and actors have been steller, and evil has a good actor in Tae-gu's rendition. Will be sorry that it will be but a haunting/disturbing memory soon . . . . . .

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That hooded jacket that Tae-gu is wearing when he goes to see Sang-tae looks awwwwfully familiar. And even though we knew he was a/the killer, this is, I believe, the first time we've actually seen him kill and have actually been able to see his face. All the others, his face was covered and his voice sounded different, or it happened off-screen. But now, with Kwon-joo's super-hearing, it is like the absolute final, nail-in-the-coffin confirmation, he is the man our leads have been looking for. I can't wait for Mad Dog Jin-hyuk to find out. Oh this showdown is going to be EPIC!

Plus, who is the mole that possibly told Tae-gu about where to find Sang-tae. It seems that besides our leads the only other people who knew/heard of it were Dae-shik, Hyun-ho and Eun-soo. It can't be one of them! My heart couldn't take it. Let's just hope someone else was listening in and THAT other person is the mole.

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You gotta wonder though. Why do all killers insist on dressing like dementors? Is there some Secret serial killer dress code we don't know about?

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Yup, there's a dress code for serial killers, haven't you heard? They have this annual convention for baddies where they showcase the latest in creepy fashion, sponsored by no less than Sungwun Express. I think it's called Taegu's Secret. This year the kettlebell's the rave in killer accessories. lol.

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Lol
I can just see the taglines "Taegu's secret: check out what your neighborhood psycho is sporting today"

And the convention entry kit includes brochures like "blood stain removal guide 101: the trainee monsters' hand book"

And they'd have panels like "killers through the ages"

And their cosplay contest involves dressing like normal people.

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Lol! @cosplaying like normal people hahaha

Bestsellers include: "How to kill with your bare hands and not leave fingerprints", "How to kill, make that person's death look like suicide, and plant fake evidence in under 10 minutes"

New selection: "Bathing in Bloody Glory," "Killing for Idiots," and "Awakening your Killer Instincts".

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Also on sale:
Limited Edition hooded jacket and kettle bell combo pack. The first ten will also contain a personally autographed copy of "the art of red herring"

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I know in reality I wouldn't want to meet someone like Tae-gu ever, but in this drama it's satisfying to see a villain this crazy. Kim Jae-wook nailed his character to a K (for kettlebell, hur). That shot from inside the slightly opened closet was chilling.

In another note, now that we've witnessed how his father cultivated (through cover-ups and tolerance) the monster he has become now, I wonder if it could've been possible to curb the psycho in him had he been medicated at a young age.

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He will always be remembered as one of the most memorable psycho in kdrama more so very hot in the tub!

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Indeed! Right up there with Namgoong Min's "Remember" character.

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I wish NGM will act again as a psychopath, i miss him in that character l.

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@klurker
"That shot from inside the slightly opened closet was chilling."
But also hot and well shot. Damn, if I could be inside that closet for real, I'd die a happy camper.

Yes I know how creepy that sounds. My only excuse is that I've been possessed by the cheekbones!

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@Niyati, you're not the only one possessed. Lol!

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High five ;)

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Thanks for the recap. Decided to switch to reading instead of watching for a bit... the live version was creeping me out too much!

"But I think CEO Mo is finally reaching a breaking point, especially since I believe he was sincere about accepting Sang-tae as his own son"

After years of covering up his son's murderous acts, he only NOW comes to the breaking point?!? Talk about BAD and indulgent parenting...

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Add his name into the list of horrible chaebol parents. Though chairman mo is seriously in a whole league of his own. Reminds me of the bus driver ahjusshi in Signal, who protected his serial killer son as well. Denial and rationalisation on point.

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He even suggests to the son where to bury the bodies

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And CEO Mo doesn't even realise that by enabling Tae-gu he has signed his own death warrant. Sure, HE would never kill his own flesh and blood and so he believes the same when it comes to Tae-gu. But Tae-gu is not like that at all. Once CEO Mo ceases to be useful and starts being on the way, Tae-gu will finish him off without a second thought. By this point CEO Mo should have realised this considering Tae-gu just killed his own "brother", but obviously he's too blinded by his fatherly feelings.

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And the minute MTG eliminates his father he won't have anyone to cover his mess. MTG is not capable to control or protect himself because he is deranged. So his deluded belief in his "almighty" status will be his downfall.

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The mental callisthenics they performed to rule sang tae's death a suicide were quite frankly olympic worthy... that too when they hadn't even completed the on site investigation. You sir are a regular Sherlock Holmes.

Also @odilettante "Well, that’s interesting, since I don’t remember Tae-gu wearing gloves until after he killed Sang-tae." He wasn't. If he had, there would be no blood on his hands to was off.

And I'm more and more sure Tae Gu went to Hogwarts not some ivy league school. He obviously found out where sang tae was via his mole, after jin hyuk rushed off to get him. And still, he managed to get to the place first, kill him, stage his suicide, plant evidence and leave without a trace, in the time that it took jin hyuk to simply reach there!

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Hanging NST like that at least needs an hour, he did kill him then dragged him out brought a rope tied it on the tree then carried the body maybe he brought a chair or a ladder, ladder is more likely because he can sit on the top then tie the rope around the body neck then finish.

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I've been thinking about how Tae-gu could have suspended Sang-tae's body from the tree, and think that he tied one end of a long rope into a noose, and put it around the corpse's neck while it was still on the ground. Then he deployed his invisible Flying Monkeys (on loan from the Wicked Witch of the West) to throw the other end of the rope over and around the upper branch. Either that or he used his crossbow to fire a rope tied to a bolt over the limb. Then Tae-gu hauled the body into the air. He then recited an incantation to make the rope automagically knot itself, had a Flying Monkey cut off the rest of the rope, and skipped off for a relaxing soak.

He might not have needed a ladder if he were an expert tree climber. A ladder would be too big and bulky to hide. So I'm going with invisible Flying Monkeys. ;-)

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What if...
Tae Gu's an elf? No really.. think about it. It explains his agility in climbing the tree / skill in shooting a bow, then hauling up the body.
And... it also explains his hotness, his ability to hypnotize people into crushing on him regardless of being eeeeevvviiilll, and the cheekbones

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@grapes .. exactly.. therefore he's either a Hogwarts alumnus or the flash.

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Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if his body count was in the hundreds by now. Its very simple if he started killing at a young age. He could very easily kill nannies, house keepers, homeless people, low on the totem pole gangsters who worked for his dad. He killed a puppy as a child and he's at least in his mid thirties now. If his first kill was at even as early as ten he could easily rack up 40 kills a year. He truly can kill with no limit since he was taught at a young age his father will take care of it. He also apparently is very good at covering his tracks, that something that is honed over time not impulsive. Its sick to think about but truly he could kill without blinking because he knows he won't get caught. Who would suspect a child of murder?

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I've been thinking the same thing about Tae-gu's body count. Even if it were "only" one murder a week, that's 50+ annually. He must have had a field day in big, anonymous US cities.

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I love love love this drama.

And I'm very concerned that while I've always found Kim Jae Wook good looking, never have I been so attracted to an unhinged serial killer as I am now.

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Thanks for the recap and commentary, odilettante!

The literary references at the beginning of the episode blew my doors off. I cannot get over how Writer-nim tied in such a terrifying folktale. As soon as I saw the reference to "Der Erlkönig," I shuddered at the implications regarding what might have made Tae-gu into a psycopathic killer (although I think he's really the archetypal Bad Seed). Only later did his visit to Dong-wook in the hospital come to mind in a horrifying parallel to the poem.

To more fully appreciate the horror contained in the episode's opening title, here's a little background for those who don't speak German. Wolfgang von Goethe's famous poem is based on an old Scandinavian folktale that exists in many variations. Although it is often translated as "Elf-King," the title character is actually the "Alder-King," alder being a member of the birch family that, like its "queen," the willow, prefers to grow in wet areas. More on the symbolism below.

Text and side-by-side translations of the poem:

Der Erlkönig, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Erlk%C3%B6nig

I found the translations to be good. The original German by Goethe is straightforward and unadorned, but the urgency of the midnight horseback ride is conveyed by the rhythm.

The boy can see and hear the Alder King inexorably coming for him, but his desperate father discounts the child's feverish perceptions. It reminds me of Jin-hyuk's disbelief re: Kwon-joo's hearing -- as well as his desperation when he learns of the intruder at his son's hospital. And then there's that look Tae-gu gives the sleeping child. Dang.

In Irish folktales, faeries steal children and leave changelings in their place. So that's where Tae-gu got his otherworldly cheekbones.

"Der Erlkönig" was famously set to music by Franz Schubert and Beethoven, among others, but that is not what's playing in the background during the infamous bathtub scene that segues into the creeptastic visit Tae-gu pays to Profiler Kang's apartment. It sounded to me like a requiem (Roman Catholic funeral Mass, at that time written in Latin). Bingo! It's the "Lacrimosa" movement from Mozart's "Requiem Mass in D Minor," K. 626. The text comes from stanzas 18-19 of the ancient liturgical hymn "Dies Irae" (Day of Wrath). It ends with "Amen" as Tae-gu slides below the water -- in what looks like some kind of infernal baptism. It is the musical equivalent of Tae-gu's earlier bloody chapter-and-verse references to the New Testament.

Back to the Alder-King. At about 18:00, look at the illuminated branches of the tree outside the window just before Detective Moo pulls aside the drapes. They are reaching out like bony fingers grasping for the boy in the poem. (Note the parallel with Tae-gu pulling aside Kwon-joo's drapes to reveal her research on his homicidal activities and his "kid in a candy store" response, versus Jin-hyuk's shock at...

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@PakalanaPikake
Kudos, oh ye of the awesome ear. I thought the piece sounded familiar, but I couldn't remember where, and you nailed it. I first heard Lacrimosa when the piano guys used it in one of their covers and I've been a fan ever since. The video, if you ever check it out is a flat out magical edit. Damn you show for taking something I love and giving it creepy connotations.

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Hi, Niyati...

Aw, shucks.

It was actually a fluke that I was able to identify Mozart's Requiem. I'm not very knowledgeable about classical music, but had seen AMADEUS years ago. I scanned through the only requiem I could think of after checking out Franz Schubert's and Beethoven's settings for “Der Erlkönig,” and eureka! "Lachrimosa" caught my ear.

Thanks for the pointer to The Piano Guys' mashup with "Hello." The cinematography is nothing short of amazing. Their piano and cello rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is simply gorgeous.

Here's a nifty animation of Schubert's “Der Erlkönig.” English subtitles can be turned on. I prefer the translations above. -- The differing pitches differentiate the narrator from the voices of the boy, his father, and the Alder-King. Very cool.

Franz Schubert: Erlkönig
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS91p-vmSf0

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Creepy connotations? Lucky you. It's the funny connotions I can't cope with because of their darned bathtub. Now I keep hearing Paul Dukas' Sorcerer's apprentice in the background when the Lacrimosa comes up!

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Also double kudos on the breakdown of the narrative.
I also like how the director has put so much thought into the story telling and the subtle visual cues. Encourages me to overlook the plotholes.

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-- continued --

Back to imagery of the Alder-King. At about 18:00, look at the illuminated branches of the tree outside the window just before Detective Moo pulls aside the drapes. They are reaching out like bony fingers grasping for the boy in the poem. (Note the parallel with Tae-gu pulling aside Kwon-joo's drapes to reveal her research on his homicidal activities and his "kid in a candy store" response, versus Jin-hyuk's shock at seeing Sang-tae's corpse.)

Tae-gu hunts his prey the same way the Alder-King pursues the human child. He reminds me of the badger in THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY. He plays cat-and-mouse with his targets, but never gives up once he starts an attack. He's become a master at picking deserted locations for doing his dirty work, but I honestly don't understand how he can work so fast when it comes to removing bodies and staging them. As menacing as he was at the hospital, I did not think that he would actually harm Dong-woo, although now I'm not so sure. Sang-tae and Chairman Mo agreed that Tae-gu is now out of control.

How did he become such a monster? Was he traumatized when no one heard something bad happening to him as a kid? For some reason, Tae-gu is fascinated -- even fixated -- on Profiler Kang's acute hearing. I wonder if his hearing is similarly acute. It would certainly be an advantage in practicing his hobby.

More on “Der Erlkönig” and the Alder-King:

In Celtic folklore it was believed that doorways to the fairy realm were concealed within the Alder's trunk.

The esoteric aspects of alder are further discussed in The Spiritual Elements of Trees, with thanks to its author, Lotus:

http://spiritlodge.yuku.com/topic/1073/The-Spiritual-Element-of-Trees#.WLtRuPLavZ4

The water element also comes into play in relation to the site of Tae-gu's body dumps, which his father mentions over lunch (thanks, Chairman Mo, for that appetizing topic!). Not to mention Tae-gu's strange bathing habits.

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Wow @PakalanaPikake, thank you for putting it out like that. I went back to the scenes you mentioned and had a better understanding of the seemingly mundane scenes. Not that the bathing psycho scene was mundane. lol

Despite the flaws, I have come to respect writer-nim this way. ^_^

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You're welcome, Klurker!

I was jumping up and down like Tae-gu in front of Kwon-joo's wall of evidence when I recognized the literary references and parallels. I've had to contain myself while awaiting the recap. ;-)

It occurs to me that fairy tales and ancient folk traditions are often not the sugar-and-spice Disney-esque confections many of us grew up with. The Brothers Grimm recorded tales very much in keeping with their surname (stern, severe). Faeries, elves, and other supernatural beings can be downright malevolent, just as the gods can be capricious and vindictive as well as benevolent. As someone with both Celts and vikings in my family tree, I'm acutely aware of this. And I love to see the analogues in Korean traditions (which are more apparent in REBEL). ;-)

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to @pakalanapikake, thank you! and writer-nim, thank you. @pakalanapikake, I don't know if you get notifications that I'm replying to year-old comments because I'm a DramaBeans newbie and don't know if notifications are sent if the @TK doesn't come up as link.

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@isbjorn,

I do indeed get notifications. I'm logged in most days. ;-)

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badger in GODS MUST BE CRAZY? The South African film? @pakalanapikake, sorry won't bother you again over MTG-Goethe-etc. notion, but I must be missing something here. Re "badger" as metaphor: Don't remember anything/anyone hunting the Kung tribesman in GMBC; re "badger" literally: Don't think they are indigenous to Africa

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@isbjorn,

The honey badger in THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY relentlessly pursued the white biologist who was doing field work, but I don't recall why it targeted him. At one point it caught up with him and clamped onto his boot. The biologist continued to stagger along with the honey badger in tow. It was hilarious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQE44ojeAso

The honey badger's persistence was extreme, and that's why Mo Tae-goo reminded me of it, and vice versa. ;-)

Dang, I didn't realize the movie came out in 1980. No wonder I don't recall the details. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake, you have the most nimble mind & spirit! To be able to switch so easily from the very detailed, complex, and horrifying comparison of The Alder King to scenes in Voice to the slapstick honey badger scenes in TGMBC is a feat indeed.

Thanks for the reminder re the scene; btw it was TGMC ll.

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@isbjorn April 3, 2018 at 6:56 PM

Thank you. My mind works in strange ways. Sometimes I get inspired, especially if emotionally-moving subtext is involved. And in the case of VOICE, I badly needed some comic relief. That daffy honey badger killed two birds with one stone. ;-)

By training I'm a German translator, so seeing Goethe referenced in a Kdrama got me very excited. One of the things I learned as a translator is to pay close attention to sources. That's what I did with the poem. It amazed me how Writer-nim worked it into VOICE on so many levels. As a visually-oriented person, the imagery of the poem grabbed my imagination. I have to say that VOICE's cinematography replicated that of the poem in a starkly haunting way.

Thank goodness for YouTube and Wikipedia. When I looked up the film's release dates, I realized that I hadn't seen THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY when it premiered in the USA in 1984. Years later, there was an excellent video rental store near where I lived that had a wide selection of foreign movies. That's how I came to see both installments of the THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY in the late 80s or early 90s. I conflated the two films. The scenes of the honey badger clamped to the guy's boot will be forever engraved in my memory. That and the Coke(TM) bottle falling to earth in the first movie.

If there are other aspects of VOICE that I can help you with, give me a holler and I'll see what I can dredge out of my memory banks. ;-)

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Here's another take on "Der Erlkönig," this time by Beethoven. He composed a partial setting for Goethe's poem in 1795, which was completed by Reinhold Becker a century later. You can really hear the urgency of the galloping horse attempting to outrun the Alder-King. The singer has a great voice.

Unheard Beethoven : Erlkönig (Robert-John Edwards)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSXZ1GhS6w0

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@pakalanapikake, OK , I'm a liar; I can't let this go, so here's a thought I had while listening to Beethoven clip: The father in The Alder King may be as cruel as Mo Tae-Goo's father. Like MTG's father, he ignored what his son was saying. OK, so MTG may not have used his words like the child in the poem, but he sure used his actions (stabbing dog, etc.--& maybe he did use his words as well). And as you mentioned, his father rather than getting him help--though true change was probably not possible if he was already at torturing animal stage--tried to hide/ignore/bury what he was doing thus enabling him. Perhaps the father in the poem did the same by not listening, by rationalizing what the child was saying, by turning it all into fantasy. What if he had in fact listened to the child (or if MTG's father had listened, really listened much earlier & cared)--could he have kept the child away from the Alder King's touch? Did each father's shielding lead to his son's death (metaphorically w MTG)?

And then there's the absolutely horrifying thought that Jin-Hyuk's son was also the child--but due to his father's listening ("keep the phone on, I'm almost there," did I imagine that or did he say that racing to his son?), he survived. And in one of the sort of cartoonlike paintings accompanying Beethoven's work above, the King looked so much, so creepily, like Kim Jae-Wook (one of my favorite actors) in the Dong-Woo scenes.

May have gone on to long here. Will reply to badger above.

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@isbjorn, April 3, 2018 at 6:45 PM

When I attempted to reply, the site was down for maintenance.

A few more notes on this version of "Erlkönig" by Beethoven, with German lyrics. In this piece, the singer differentiates the three speakers by pitch.

Unlike the wayang kulit-like shadow puppets that animated Franz Schubert's setting of the poem, the vintage illustrations show the boy in his father's arms as they ride, as per the lyrics, instead of mounted behind him. The ghostly, pollarded trees are likely willows whose withes are harvested for basket-making and constructing fences and daub-and-wattle walls.

I know the feeling of becoming so engrossed in analyzing Kdramas and their meta references that it's easy to get carried away. Once the parallels start popping out of the woodwork, I cannot un-see them. LOL.

While the father in "Der Erlkönig" may be as bad as Mo Tae-goo's father, I've also gotten the sense that he is desperately trying to get his sick child to safety at the Hof, which could be a farm, a courtyard, or a noble's or king's court; the exact meaning is ambiguous. The child seems to be hallucinating, but he might be in the throes of a spiritual illness, not just a physical one. Maybe even a soul sickness.

When it comes to adults not believing or listening to children, there's a famous mantra: "Children should be seen and not heard." The late Swiss psychologist, Alice Miller, wrote about such damaging forms of mistreatment in her books and discussed it in a published interview:

Connors, Diane, "The Roots of Violence," interview with Alice Miller, in: OMNI Magazine, March, 1987. http://www.naturalchild.org/alice_miller/roots_violence.html

It speaks directly to Mo Tae-goo's "soul murder" at the hands of his father, and delineates how victims become perpetrators themselves. It and the books it mentions make for rightfully disturbing reading.

The dramas TEMPERATURE OF LOVE, BECAUSE THIS LIFE IS OUR FIRST, and ANOTHER OH-HAE YOUNG are some of the shows that deal with abusive, dysfunctional families. I watched the 2007 Kdrama MAWANG / THE DEVIL / THE THE LUCIFER a couple of months ago. It is an example of social abuse that marginalizes wangtta, with dire results. I've posted comments on all of them in the recap threads. I found the first two to be particularly realistic, and thus especially disturbing. BTLIOF triggered quite an exchange in the ep. 15 recaps. MAWANG wasn't recapped, but several Beanies commented extensively on the show prior to my comment in the thread:

http://www.dramabeans.com/2007/04/devil-mawang-wave-of-japanese-support/#comment-3160308

Oh, right! MAWANG finds the mysterious public defender reading a copy of M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie, which deals with the nature of human evil. It most certainly applies to Mo Tae-goo and his father.

I think I just slipped you a bunch of pointers as more grist for the mill when it come to Cheekbones O'...

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- continued -

I think I just slipped you a bunch of pointers as more grist for the mill when it come to Cheekbones O'Doom. ;-)

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Is the writer trying to mislead intentionally or am I the only one who find Dae Shik suspicious again..

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Had the same thought

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You're not alone, I hate to say. Something is indeed rotten in the state of Denmark -- or the Sungwon Police Department.

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The scene with Kim Jae-wook soaking in bathtub is so precious! If my hands could move through my laptop screen and caress that cheekbones!

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Taegu makes Cha Min ho (Defendant) seem saner by comparison.

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Hahahaha. This is true. I watch Defendant too

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Cha Min-ho is definitely less of a psychopath than Tae-gu. You can still see his human side when it's about his love and and his son. But Tae-gu was a murderer at a young age already, and he has a fetish for his victims' hair and bathes in their blood. At least Cha Min-ho ain't THAT creepy and disgusting lmao

Cha Min-ho also has a teeny bit of guilt when he kills someone in the beginning. But Tae-gu just sttaight up has no mercy

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Each one of Cha Min-ho's crimes is driven by need - twisted, yes, but purposeful. He doesn't kill for lols. He's nowhere near being a psychopath. Not every murderer is a psychopath. I remember reading somewhere that the majority of murders are fuelled by strong emotion, and Cha Min-ho is no different. He kills to achieve some end, not as an end in itself. His murders, while cold-blooded, don't have the emotionally-detached, endorphin-driven brutality of Tae-gu's.

Tae-gu is a whole different level. As this episode made horribly clear, for him, killing is an end in itself. Even where the murders served some further purpose for him (i.e. Ji-hye's), he still extracts maximum pleasure from it. I don't see Min-ho and Tae-gu as similar at all.

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I love the small amused almost laugh when tae gu saw the wall of the thread.
Oh, I also surprised to see kim jae wook beside jang hyuk, and he is freaking tall.

Hah, he just so handsome, that's the only things that left me after watching ep 13, seriously, how can someone look so attractive?
I am glad this is a drama cause he just looks so divine, hah I think my priorities screw ever since kim jae wook appears on screen

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Pakalana Pikake posits above that Taegu is a changeling, based on how divinely perfect he is, masterfully chiseled in the right places. Lol

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It's a weird things for me cause I don't really find him that attractive in picture, he still handsome but when I watch him in many of his drama,
he looks attractive and it catch my attention,
sometimes I think it's the angle and the way he looked at the camera, it's captivating for me

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I really meant it when I wrote "otherworldly cheekbones." ;-)

I just don't think the world he's from is all that nice. A commenter over at KissAsian made the very good point that the world in which VOICE takes place is like Gotham City. When I read that, a light bulb went off. It is like the setting of a noir detective movie, all gritty, dark, dystopian, and corrupt.

As for the changeling business: If the Alder-King stole a human child, he could well have left a faery child in its place. According to the folklore, changelings don't look like normal humans, and are in many cases kind of sickly. If the changeling is not treated well by its human parents, their stolen child will be similarly mistreated by the faeries. But if the changeling thrives in an environment of human care and love, in many cases its faery parents take it back and return the human child.

For the down side to this scenario, see comments above on spiteful, vengeful elves and faeries.

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I'm in the minority that is not as fascinated with the killer. In fact to me all the characters are underdeveloped here. He is amusing yes, but a cliche psychopath nonetheless. And this drama, aside from cheap thrills, is more about the corrupt society that alllowed this kind of momster to thrive. It's not about him or his motivations but about those who allowed him to be. At least to me, he is not "that" fascinating. The final battle between KGJ and MTG? I guess some people forgot MJH exists in this drama? I don't see MTG any more interested in one "toy" more than the other but maybe that's just me. I haven't loved this drama at all but I havd been entertained and I hope the final two episodes are at least fun. Hopefully the killer will die. No open endings please.

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ah yeah I feel the same it, as a serial killer in cinema, I think mo tae gu is not that fascinating,

I think the spike interest is because the drama finally give more description in other characters after the leads.
For 12 episode we've been getting the same characters and now we have other with backstory and will be there for more episodes.

Me personally don't like Mo Tae Gu but I can't deny that he is so attractive in visual and also the way the characters portrayed by the actors.

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I agree and unfortunately our leads remained flat therefore anything "new" would be welcomed. I think the actors have done a great job with lackluster writing. They have managed to seem "human" despite the characters being repettitive. I think most criminals and victims have done a really good job too and honestly Ive found them more interesting than the leads in many cases. But, I do like KGJ as a strong female lead, I wish they had developed her more. And as a fan of Jang Hyuk Im disappointed he wasn't given much more to work with either but I have appreciated the emotional moments with his kid and wife. In fact, I really like the little we learned about his wife. It allows me to imagine their relationship and I appreciate the fact that he feels guilty about neglecting her while at the same time one can perceive that they truly loved each other. In general Ive enjoyed more what this drama has suggested, than what it has actually shown.

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Is it just me or does it seem like Tae-gu is attracted to Kwon-joo in a really perverted and disgusting way? Both Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk really got to beat the sh*t out of this guy. I hope the tables are turned in next week's ep coz Defendant is finally turning tables too.

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I believe he is,
I think he personally feels acknowledge and get the attention after need to hide himself so long.

Gwon Joo have all the things related to him and it makes him inside someone's life, he is important for her and probably the 1st experience for him,

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I think he was flattered that she has been chasing him all these years. And yes, he was interested in her because she didn't show fear when they spoke on the phone that first time. He has expressed contempt for the weak and fearful and admiration for the brave. Hence both KGJ and MJH represent fun and challenging toys or prey to him. But I don't think its much more than that, unless they show it in the final episodes. He seems to still be that evil 10 year old and probably gets aroused only when he kills. Ew, I hope he dies. Not so much for what he is, but for what he represents (that corrupt cruel society, the power that preys on the weak and innocent, etc etc, etc)

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yeah I agree that MTG need to pay for his crime even until the after life

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The camera operator did a great job on the scene at the resort in which Nam Sang-tae stands looking out the window into the boughs of the tree. As he answers the phone call from Tae-gu, the latter's reflection in the window emerges in front of NST's eyes. It's like "Mirror, Mirror on the wall."

As I suspected, Sang-tae was never going to make it out of Korea alive. Seeing the flashback to his first meeting with Tae-gu was weirdly touching. The older kid never stood a chance with his adoptive kid brother, who got such a kick out of his hyung's clicking, busted jaw that he mimicked the sound -- and did so more recently to frame him for the murder of the two police officers' relatives. Sang-tae may have been a cold-blooded killer and all-around despicable criminal, but he faithfully rode herd on Tae-gu for half his life, and was treated abysmally by Chairman Mo, who had a twisted way of expressing gratitude. Kim Roe-ha turned in a fine performance as Sang-tae. His death scene was very well done. The way his hand reached upward and then went limp as he fought to breathe. Dang. -- And that look on Detective Moo's face when he realized that his last, best hope of learning the truth behind his wife's murder had been silenced? Total devastation.

It would not surprise me if Tae-gu bumps off his father now that he suspects him of having violated his home.

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Kim Roe Ha was great.

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It would not surprise me either.
I just hope they don't end the show with some sort of hackneyed, sloppy explanation for TG's mental condition. Something like .... he is the way he is because his mother was murdered (executed by a hit man for being unfaithful?) in front of his eyes when he was a kid or she was driven to suicide by an abusive/jealous Chairman Mo and he found the body.

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But, there is no need for explanation. Didn't they make a point that he was a psychopath since childhood?. That and his father's "education" and complicity is all that is needed to create a monster. I think he was just born a psychopath.

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@DramaFan
So do I. That's precisely why I would hate a trite explanation.
It's just that I don't remember hearing anything about a mother or a stepmother and he has that hair fetish.

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I think it is never too late write a comment on this show and how I have been slowly catching up on the backlog of dramas airing on OCN. Always it seems psychopaths start with killing defenseless animals. Mo Tae Gu is the craziest of all crazy killers I have seen Korean drama depict.

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