Train: Episode 2
As Faulkner once said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Our protagonists deal with that very issue this week, as a traumatic event from years ago rears its head in the present day.
EPISODE 2: The truth from 12 years ago
Do-won regains consciousness on the train tracks to see a train coming at him, even though the station has been closed for five years. He leaps off the tracks just in time, and the train speeds past him.
Inside, Sung-wook has found the body of a fifth murder victim inside a trash bin. She hears Sung-wook, her ex-stepbrother, coming and she hides, recalling that Sung-wook has suffered a bad head injury and isn’t sound of mind anymore. She calls Do-won but it takes him a minute to answer, and the call disconnects. He calls her back, and the phone’s buzzing tips off Sung-wook to Seo-kyung’s location. Crap!
Jae-hyuk and Jin-woo have been to Sung-wook’s home and learned that he isn’t there, so they call Do-won to let him know. He tells them to come to Mukyeong train station, because he thinks there’s a fifth victim. As soon as he hangs up, he finds another candy wrapper and realizes that Sung-wook is nearby.
Sung-wook has found Seo-kyung, and he whispers ominously, “You saw everything, didn’t you?” She bravely accuses him of killing those women and he attacks her with his shovel. Seo-kyung almost escapes, but Sung-wook grabs her hair and starts choking her. She manages to grab a broken bottle and stab his arm, and he lets go.
Outside, Do-won can’t find Seo-kyung, so he fires his gun into the air, alerting Jung-min and the cops who just arrived on the scene that there’s trouble. He finds Seo-kyung moments later with Sung-wook still looming over her, and he grabs Sung-wook and starts hitting him. Seo-kyung screams for him to move, and when he looks up, shes pointing her gun at Sung-wook.
She asks Sung-wook why he killed her father, but due to his head injury, he doesn’t even recognize the man’s name. Seo-kyung asks sarcastically if Sung-wook has lived peacefully with no memory of what he did, while she’s haunted every day by her father’s death. She tells Sung-wook that she’s going to kill him, and as he listens, Do-won’s eyes fill with tears.
Knowing that it’s time to tell the truth, he says softly that it wasn’t Sung-wook who killed her dad. He stands so that Seo-kyung’s gun is pointed at his chest and looks her in the eye as he tells her that the killer died while he was running from the scene of the murder – his own father: “The reason I stayed with you, and the reason I had to leave you… this is the real reason behind that.” A shot rings out.
Sung-wook is taken away by the police, and Do-won sits despondently as Jung-min processes the scene near the fifth victim. Jin-woo runs out (he’s so squeamish around dead bodies) and Jung-min tells Do-won that the body hasn’t decomposed much, so she’ll be able to identify this one. As she’s looking at the woman’s throat, Do-won notices a large burn scar on the left side of her neck.
But it’s Jung-min’s statement that the woman was strangled before she was hit on the head that has Do-won running outside to vomit – it’s the same MO as Seo-kyung’s father. Jae-hyuk checks in him, then gives him a bullet they found inside the building.
After his confession, Seo-kyung has begged him to say he was lying about his father killing hers, and that he only said it because he hates her for clinging onto him. She asks him to apologize, but Do-won just gives her this achingly painful smile and tells her how he found her late mother’s necklace (the murder weapon) in his father’s belongings.
The press turn out in full force to report on this fifth victim and Sung-wook’s arrest, and at home, Sung-wook’s mother (and Seo-kyung’s former stepmother) Young-ran paces and drinks heavily. Jae-hyuk and Jin-woo show up with a search warrant, but Young-ran screams over and over that her son isn’t guilty.
At the police station, Do-won is still so shaken by his unplanned confession to Seo-kyung that he takes some of his anxiety medicine. He reports to Section Chief Oh that in addition to the fingerprints on the bag, there was also DNA evidence of rape on the fifth victim’s body, so they can do a DNA comparison with Sung-wook. Section Chief Oh warns Do-won to be extra careful to follow procedure since the suspect is disabled.
Do-won tells Section Chief Oh that he told Seo-kyung the truth… ah, she also knows about his father. He guesses that Seo-kyung will go to her for answers and tells her to say that she had nothing to do with his decision to hide the truth.
Sure enough, Seo-kyung is waiting for Section Chief Oh when she gets home later. She tells Section Chief Oh that she learned that Do-won’s father killed hersa nd asks if Section Chief Oh knew, practically begging her to say she didn’t know. Section Chief Oh leads Seo-kyung inside and gives her a plastic bag holding her mother’s necklace, then kneels at her feet.
She says that Do-won gave the necklace to her after his father’s funeral, but that she stopped him from officially reporting his father as the murderer. Seo-kyung asks why, and Section Chief Oh admits that it was because she cared too much for Do-won. She’d known him since he was only ten, and even at such a young age he was always working odd jobs and bailing out his father, who drank too much. She says that when Seo-kyung’s father was killed, the murderer was already dead and the case would be closed anyway, and she didn’t want to see Do-won branded as a murderer’s son.
Seo-kyung asks, “But what about me? I just wanted to know who killed my dad, but because of that, I couldn’t let go of my dad’s death for ten years. I thought of that day over and over again. That’s how I lived my life. And you were always near to witness that. Why didn’t you stop Do-won until the very end? You should have stopped him so we wouldn’t end up like this. When he first brought me here, you should have told me to leave!”
Section Chief Oh explains that Do-won stayed quiet was so he could bring Seo-kyung here – he couldn’t leave her with her abusive stepfamily. Seo-kyung recalls how Do-won threatened to kill both Sung-wook and his mother after Sung-wook tried to assault her, then had taken her to Section Chief Oh’s house to live with them.
She says that she always believed her father’s last gift to her was Section Chief Oh and Do-won, and that she considered them her family and reason for living. Section Chief Oh doesn’t defend herself, but she asserts that Do-won devoted his life to Seo-kyung as his way of repaying her for his father’s sin. But Seo-kyung sobs that that’s the exact reason why she can’t forgive him, and she storms out.
She barely gets outside before she’s overcome by the memory of the night that Do-won brought her to live at Section Chief Oh’s house. He’d told her that she was very welcome, and Seo-kyung had admitted that she felt both grateful and sorry. Do-won had promised that she would never have to return to her stepmother’s house.
One night when they were older, Seo-kyung had caught Do-won playing hooky from his patrol cop job to change the burned-out lightbulb on Section Chief Oh’s front porch. He’d also made her dinner and told her to call him if she needed anything, awww. Seo-kyung had noticed that his watch was broken, but he’d said he was wearing it anyway because it was a gift from her. Double awww.
Seo-kyung had felt guilty that Do-won had become a patrol cop instead of going to the National Police University, in order to stay near her. She’d promised to repay him one day for everything he’s done for her, but Do-won had grumped at her not to do that.
As Seo-kyung sobs alone, Do-won sits at home staring at the broken watch that he still keeps safe.
A detective brings Jung-min the bag of jewelry that was found on the victims, letting her know that they’re ready to be returned to the families, though they have still only identified one victim. She notices that one earring doesn’t have a match, which is strange since all the other jewelry was intact.
As Do-won shows Sung-wook pictures of the victims’ bodies at the train station,. Sung-wook says his words for remembering their locations: “Danger, mirror, traffic lights, stop, Bukgyrungru.” Do-won asks if he admits knowing where the bodies were hidden, but Sung-wook’s lawyer objects that he’s not interrogating a man of sound mind.
She says that he’s only scaring Sung-wook, which will result in an inaccurate statement. Do-won just grabs Sung-wook and growls that he’s only still alive because he didn’t succeed in harming Seo-kyung, otherwise he’d have killed Sung-wook himself.
Seo-kyung and Jin-woo watch the autopsy on the fifth victim. Squeamish Jin-woo asks how long it takes to get used to seeing dead bodies, but Seo-kyung says she’s never gotten used to it. Jin-woo notes that Do-won never seems bothered by corpses, but yesterday, even he looked pale and out of sorts.
The fifth victim has been identified as 26-year-old Lee Ji-young. Unfortunately, her only family is a grandmother who’s in a nursing home due to dementia, but Seo-kyung sighs that it’s probably better that she won’t understand that her only family was murdered.
When the doctor finishes the autopsy on Ji-young, she reports to Seo-kyung that the young woman was strangled to death, then received the head wound and other fractures. She agrees that the MO matches that of Seo-kyung’s father and asks to see his case file again, but Seo-kyung says that there’s no reason to worry about that case anymore.
Meanwhile, Do-won grows more and more frustrated as he asks Sung-wook about Ji-young, but Sung-wook just shakes his head and says he doesn’t know. He intones, “Train… a train comes… chug-chug, puff-puff… chug-chug, puff-puff…”
Finally Young-ran, his mother, arrives, and she confesses that she was the first person to find the bodies at Mukyeong train station. She holds out a shaking hand, and reveals the missing earring as proof. She tells them that she was walking Sung-wook home from the community center one rainy night three years ago, when they found a suitcase that turned out to have a dead body inside.
Do-won points out that Sung-wook’s fingerprints were found on all the suitcases, and that he knew exactly where the bodies were buried. Young-ran says that Sung-wook buried them – ever since his accident, he gets scared and has fits when he sees anything that’s dead. She says he buries any dead animals he finds, and later she learned that he was burying the human bodies at the closed station.
Do-won is disgusted that Young-ran knew about the bodies, yet she didn’t tell anyone because she stole an earring. She swears that she didn’t know about the other bodies or that Sung-wook had buried them. She keeps defending her son as Do-won takes a call from Jin-woo, who says that Sung-wook’s DNA isn’t a match for the DNA found on the fifth body.
In addition, nothing connecting Sung-wook or Young-ran to the murders is found at their house, and Sung-wook is consistent in saying that he buried the bodies but didn’t kill anyone. Jae-hyuk decides that there’s no reason not to believe Sung-wook’s strange claim, and Do-won says they need to focus on catching the person who’s dumping the bodies at Mukyeong train station.
He returns to the defunct station after dark, thinking through the problem – the killer puts the bodies in suitcases to transport them, but the wheels look clean and new, so he can’t have walked. Driving here in a car would defeat the purpose of the suitcases, so he must be using a method of transportation where it would look normal to have a big suitcase… such as traveling by train.
Speaking of trains, Do-won asks his doctor if his anxiety medication could cause hallucinations, and she says it’s uncommon but possible. He’s relieved, finding hallucinations preferable to going crazy, ha. The doctor warns of the dangers of taking the meds long-term and suggests Do-won also get therapy for his workaholism. He counters that maybe it’s his work that’s keeping him from losing it, though he does promise to try to cut down on the medication.
Jae-hyuk and Jin-woo visit the nursing home where victim Ji-young’s grandmother lives, and the nurse confirms that she hasn’t seen Ji-young in a couple of months. They deliver the bad news that Ji-young was murdered ten days ago, but the nurse says that she was wired her monthly pay just two days ago. Strange…
Seo-kyung enters the evidence room at the Mukyeong police station and finds a box marked “Seo Do-won, April 15, 2020.” Inside is the jewelry from the murdered women, which she compares to photos of her mother’s old jewelry box… and it’s the same jewelry.
Do-won and Jae-hyuk meet up to check out the CCTV footage from the convenience store where the nurse’s pay was wired. They can’t clearly see the person who did it, but they left behind a used coffee cup. After, Do-won returns to the police station where Seo-kyung is waiting to ask him if his father had any other pieces of jewelry in his possession when he died.
She explains that all of her mother’s jewelry disappeared on the night her father was killed, not just the necklace, so if his father was guilty then he’d have had everything on him when he died. Do-won tells her that her father called him that night from his father’s phone, which he’d left behind after his repair job.
When he found his father’s body, he had his phone on him, which means he’d returned to her house around the time of the murder. There were no signs of forced entry, and he was drunk. Do-won tells Seo-kyung that this is the unvarnished truth, so she should never forgive him.
But Seo-kyung stops Do-won with a gentle hand and asks why he stayed with her all those years… was it love, even for a moment? Tears fill Do-won’s eyes, but he says that the only thing he wished all those years was that his father had lived to pay for what he did. He says he felt indebted to Seo-kyung, and that he wanted to be free from that feeling.
He begs her to leave him alone, so Seo-kyung lets go of him. But first she tucks something into his hand and says she thought he’d lost it, and that the next time they talk, she hopes he tells her the truth. Do-won doesn’t need to look to know that she’s returned his broken watch.
Outside it’s started to rain, and Mukyeong police station appears to be flickering between two realities the same way the Mukyeong train station does (~shudder~). Seo-kyung runs across Sung-wook as he’s being moved back to his cell, and he’s freaking out because it’s raining.
She pulls him into a private room and slams him against the wall. She snaps that Do-won’s father can’t have killed her dad, because her mother’s missing jewelry was found on the victims at Mukyeong train station. She demands that he confess to the murders and to killing her dad, but he just repeats dully that the train is coming, “That person is coming on the train.
She goes to talk to Section Chief Oh and tell her that she doesn’t think Do-won’s father killed her father. She thinks that whoever killed her dad is the same person who dumped the bodies at Mukyeong train station, and she says she’ll return when she has more information.
Jung-min has done tests on the coffee cup, and the results have her thinking that it may have been contaminated, because the DNA matches Lee Ji-young’s even though she died eight days before the cup was left at the convenience store.
Do-won carefully stores his watch and calls Seo-kyung. As he waits for Seo-kyung to pick up, a young woman walks in and introduces herself to him, “My name is Lee Ji-young…”
At Mukyeong train station, Seo-kyung is walking along the tracks in the rain. She reads a sign at that says it’s been out of use since 2015. That triggers her memory and she pulls out the discarded train ticket she found for February 14, 2020. The clock strikes 9:35 p.m. and the train signals begin to chime. Seo-kyung stands confused, as a train suddenly appears and whips past her, ripping the ticket from her hand.
At the police station, Do-won stands utterly dumbfounded. The Lee Ji-young standing in front of him even has the same scar on her neck that the dead Lee Ji-young had. She explains she’s there because the nurse at her grandmother’s hospital told her the police had been by — to inform them that she was dead.
At the sight of a passenger train appearing out of nowhere, Seo-kyung can’t believe her eyes and she reaches out to touch the train. The train is completely empty apart from one person, dressed entirely in black; wheeling a large suitcase through the cars.
The thump of a suitcase being tossed out of the train catches Seo-kyung’s attention and she walks over to it in a daze (without checking her surroundings!). She starts to unzip the bag when the cocking of a gun turns her head and she’s staring down the barrel of a gun. A shot rings out, heard only by the sole patrol officer on duty.
Do-won and Ji-young sit in a private room, and she’s shown photos of her dead self. While she tries to process what she’s seeing, a call from Jae-hyuk further complicates things. The dead “Lee Ji-young” has the same exact fingerprints as Lee Ji-young, which means it can’t be a case of unknown twins or mixed identities.
Another call to Do-won has him running down to the train station. The phantom train reappears at another station, this time full of passengers. A suited man disembarks with a gun in hand, which he stows away in his breast pocket.
The patrol cop discovered the new suitcase, with yet another dead woman inside. The cop can’t understand it, no one entered the premises except for a woman detective. Thoroughly panicked, Do-won calls Seo-kyung as he follows a trail of blood splatters.
Not far from the tracks, he discovers Seo-kyung’s limp body, shot through several times. He pleads with her to wake up, as he sobs and calls out her name, over and over as he holds her tightly.
In the other world, we finally see the face of Seo-kyung’s possible killer…Do-won?
Oof, I knew that the Seo-kyung from this reality would be murdered at some point (it’s the whole premise of the show), but that was so painful to watch. It’s so obvious that Do-won and Seo-kyung love each other desperately, but because of their past, they’ve never felt free to be together… well, at least Do-won has kept Seo-kyung at arm’s length. The fact that he’s still dedicated his life to taking care of her made it that much harder to witness his reaction to her death, because it was more than just the death of the woman he loves – he’s suffering the loss of everything he’s devoted his life to, including, I’m sure, his decision to become a detective and catch criminals.
As for that glimpse of Alternate Do-won at the end, and the fact that we’re made to believe that he killed Seo-kyung, I’m not sure what to think! I wasn’t expecting the show to go there so quickly, but at some point during this episode I had started to fear that Do-won’s alternate from another reality was going to get involved somehow. I don’t know enough about the show to know whether we’re supposed to think he’s the serial killer as a red herring, or whether the show just straight-up told us who the killer is to up the stakes, but either way, I’m here for it. The first episode seemed a little bland, considering that I came for a supernatural thriller, but now that we’ve seen more of what’s in store for us and for our poor Do-won, I’m exciting to see what happens next.
Even before this tragic turn of events, I felt so bad for Do-won and Seo-kyung and their complicated relationship. It’s obvious that they love each other desperately, but for Do-won, it’s all so wrapped up in their fathers’ deaths and the fact that (he believes) his father killed Seo-kyung’s father, that it’s no wonder he just wanted some peace even if it meant being away from Seo-kyung for years. Now Seo-kyung is dead and he never got to tell her how he felt about her, which lends a whole extra layer of love and guilt and loss and explains why he’s going to be willing to travel to another dimension to get justice. I love it – the show is proving to be so much more nuanced than a simple “man’s girlfriend is killed so he dimension-hops to find her killer” that the promos teased. This isn’t going to be just about revenge for Do-won, not by a long shot.
At this point it looks as though someone has discovered this wrinkle between dimensions, and is using it to dump the bodies from their side onto this side (and I’ll bet that if the bodies are coming from the other dimension, the other 4 unidentified bodies may also have doppelgangers on this side that are alive and well). There’s definitely a connection to the murder of Seo-kyung’s father, since he was killed in the same way as these bodies (strangulation, then vicious beating after death), and now Seo-kyung’s mother’s jewelry that was stolen on that night has been found on the bodies. In addition, the dimension-switching appears to be linked to rainy nights at 9:35 p.m., the same conditions and time as Seo-kyung’s father apparently died. It does all appear to lead back to Do-won, and we’ve seen an Alternate Do-won disembarking the train on the other side. It’s going to be so upsetting if Alternate Do-won is the murderer, so is it strange that I kind of want that to be the case? It would be so interesting if Do-won turns out to be hunting himself in another reality.