Train: Episode 5
The smallest decision can change the future in very dramatic ways, as Train seems to be telling us. Our hero made one tiny choice in the past, and now he’s dealing with the aftereffects of what is, as well as what could have been. A strange shift in reality brings a lot of confusion, but it also brings hope that he hasn’t felt in many years.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
April 8, 2008
A teenaged Do-won gets a call saying that his father left his phone at a job site. On his way to pick it up, Seo-kyung bumps into him and he helps her pick up her things. Though they don’t know each other, Do-won seems a bit taken with her.
In voice-over, adult Do-won tells us, “The forked road envelops two worlds. That day, our two different choices changed our fate.” In one reality, Do-won just watches Seo-kyung then continues on his way, while in another, he chooses to approach her. This creates a split in reality that births two different worlds with two very different futures.
In one reality, Do-won’s father goes back to his customer’s home for his phone, unaware that inside, a man stands over his latest victim. Do-won’s father is very drunk, and he stumbles through the front door and briefly passes out. When he wakes, he’s lying next to the dead body.
He thinks the man is sleeping and tries to wake him, and a gold necklace falls from the dead man’s throat. Do-won’s father picks it up and sees that it’s covered with blood, and he finally realizes what’s happening. He flees the house, taking the necklace with him because it’s got his fingerprints on it. He slips at one point, dropping something which rolls under a table.
Do-won sees his father running down the street and follows him, and he manages to grab him out of the way just as he’s about to be hit by a car. The driver peels out, but Do-won’s father is alive.
In another reality, Do-won gives the pretty girl at the bus stop his umbrella then leaves without a word. It’s only a small moment’s difference from the reality in which he didn’t approach Seo-kyung, but it’s long enough that he gets stopped by a restaurant owner who wants to complain about his father getting drunk and making a mess at her place.
Because of these delays, Do-won is too late to save his father from being killed by the hit-and-run driver. He loses his father, but he gains a friendship with Seo-kyung, only to be devastated by her death twelve years later.
Present Day (World B)
While Do-won is sleeping in his alternate’s rooftop apartment, someone lets themselves in. Do-won tackles the man, but when he sees his face, he freezes to see his father, who died twelve years ago in his own world.
Technically he’s Alt Do-won’s father, and when Do-won stammers something about an accident, Dad thinks he’s referring to a bandage on his foot and says it’s a work injury. He was in prison for ten years for the murder of Seo-kyung’s father, so he can only get manual labor jobs, but he says he’s grateful to be healthy.
He says he’s seen (Alt) Do-won on television and doesn’t believe he killed anyone, but he came to check on him anyway. Do-won just stares at him with tears filling his eyes, which Dad takes to mean he’s unwelcome. He starts to leave, but Do-won asks him shakily what really happened twelve years ago.
He sobs that he knows Dad is innocent, and asks why he was framed for the murder. Dad says he doesn’t remember anything (he was too drunk), and that sometimes he wonders if he did do it. He tells Do-won to pretend he doesn’t have a father, but Do-won wails, “I did live in a world like that. I resented you for dying. I told you that you had no right to die and that you should never rest in peace. I lived my whole life resenting you!”
He takes Dad’s bag and tells him to stay, and they can talk more in the morning. While Dad sleeps, Do-won stays up late researching this world’s version of the Mukyeong Residential Murder, and he sees that in this reality, Section Chief Oh had arrested his father as the killer.
Dad is gone in the morning, and when Do-won runs outside calling for him, he sees his sneakers drying on the clothesline. Dad used to wash his shoes when he was younger, fussing at him affectionately that a man should have clean shoes.
At work later, Do-won is called to Alt Section Chief Oh’s office. On the way, he remembers his Section Chief Oh saying that even if he caught the killer, it still wouldn’t bring Seo-kyung back from the dead. Alt Section Chief Oh is disappointed that Do-won didn’t ask her for help while he was being accused of Lee Jin-sung’s murder, but she smiles serenely and says she’s glad things worked out well.
On the contrary, Do-won says that he needs her help now more than ever. He mentions the Mukyeong Residential Murder, and Section Chief Oh braces herself for more insistence that his father was framed — apparently Alt Do-won has been suspicious of the same thing. Do-won mentions the stolen jewelry from the case, and says that he’s seen it recently.
He tells Section Chief Oh that he thought his father was guilty, too, because of the overwhelming evidence. He says that that murder was only the beginning of a serial murder case, but Section Chief Oh seems to have heard this all before from Alt Do-won. She asks him the same question she always asks… “Do you have evidence?”
Before he leaves, Do-won tells Section Chief Oh that his father showed up at his place and asks for her help finding him. She calls in a favor, though it’s not clear who she calls.
Meanwhile, Do-won gets on the train at the Mukyeong Station that exists in this world. He rides around, paying close attention when the time reaches 9:35 p.m., but nothing happens. He thinks about the first time he saw the train, when he was almost run over at the Mukyeong Station in his world, and realizes that there was one major difference — it was raining.
He asks someone at the station and learns that there’s a specific train, number 8210, that’s used when it’s raining. But he’s told that it’s an old train that’s being retired because the last time it ran, there was almost a big accident. Do-won recognizes that he’s talking about the night he rode the train into this strange reality.
It’s sitting in the rail yard right now, and a shadowy figure paces inside, noting the window that Do-won broke. The Stranger takes a pill from a bottle with shaking hands then continues on their way, dragging their right foot… um, wasn’t Dad’s right foot bandaged?
The Stranger finds a case file that was dropped during the commotion when Do-won was being chased by the police. Inside are photos of Do-won and Seo-kyung together, which means the file is from World A, Do-won’s original world.
Do-won goes to the rail yard to check out the train and calls the police station to ask why the cops were on the train in the first place, the night he rode it between worlds. He learns that there was a tip-off saying that he was on the train, which means that his alternate self was also on the train.
One of the doors was found open while the train was running, and Do-won imagines his alternate self jumping off at full speed. The logical conclusion is that, while Do-won was stranded in this world that night, Alt Do-won ended up in his world.
In World A, Alt Do-won wakes up in the hospital after a nightmare about a train. The television is playing a story about the sixth victim that was found at the closed Mukyeong Station over a week ago — he’s been unconscious for a while — and he’s confused yo hear that Mukyeong Station is closed.
Jung-min bursts in and Alt Do-won goes on his guard, not having seen his Jung-min in years. He asks her why the news says that Mukyeong Station is closed, and about the serial murders, making Jung-min worry for him.
Back in World B, Do-won finds fresh dirt on the floor of the train that leads him to believe that someone was there very recently. A phone rings, and he warily follows the chirping to the phone on the wall. He picks it up, and a distorted voice says, “All of us live many lives simultaneously.”
Do-won asks who the voice is, and elsewhere on the train, the Stranger asks in return, “Then who are you? You crossed over the boundary.” Do-won accuses the Stranger of killing Seo-kyung, and all the killings from twelve years ago to now. The Stranger just laughs and asks how he’ll prove it when the train is damaged and the passage between worlds is closed.
The Stranger asks, “Have you felt the pain of spewing blood as your guts are being twisted and cut? Live in silence, unless you want to lose something else you value.” They drop the phone, and Do-won hears the thump and rushes towards the sound, but the Stranger is gone.
Outside the train he finds a fire in a barrel, and the photo of himself and Seo-kyung on the ground. He tries to rescue the rest of the file from the flames, but he’s overcome by a wave of pain in his head.
Seo-kyung transfers to Mukyeong Police Station, and the cute maknae detective, JOON-YOUNG (Baek Jae-woo), invites Seo-kyung to dinner with the rest of the team. She abruptly refuses, telling him that there’s no need for a welcome dinner either because she won’t attend. Joon-young tells Jae-hyuk that he and Seo-kyung went to school together, and that she’s known as a sociopath, ha.
As soon as she’s alone in the office, Seo-kyung sidles over to Do-won’s desk for a quick snoop and takes pictures of his notebook pages. He returns just then, looking frantic, and Seo-kyung informs him that she’s transferred to his team. Do-won looks like he wants to say something, but he remembers the Stranger warning him to “live in silence” or lose something he values.
Instead of speaking, Do-won hugs Seo-kyung unexpectedly. She struggles, and he whispers, “Think that I’m crazy, that I’m out of my mind. The murderer’s son and the victim’s daughter, you said that’s our beginning. Wait for me, I will prove that that’s wrong.”
Seo-kyung talks to her therapist, Doctor Seok, about the night her father died and how Do-won’s father said in court that he can’t remember anything, while she can’t forget. Doctor Seok asks if there’s a reason she’s bringing up that night, so she says resentfully that the killer was recently released from prison.
She says he’s probably leading a normal life as if he thinks he’s paid for his crime, but who has he paid to when she’s the victim and she hasn’t forgiven him? Doctor Seok asks why Seo-kyung transferred to Mukyeong Police Station, but she says it was more that she changed the people she was working with in order to keep an eye on someone.
Do-won spends the night writing down everything he knows about the murder cases. Only one of the victims found in World A has been identified, Lee Ji-young, so he checks to see if this world’s Lee Ji-young is missing, but nothing has been reported.
Another detective tells Do-won that instead of chasing down people who aren’t even missing, he should be investigating his team’s real missing person’s case. He finds Seo-kyung, who’s still disconcerted about his hug the other night, and she says that she’ll consider it just another hazardous event like being stabbed or hit by a car so long as it never happens again.
They drive together to the scene, which reminds Do-won of driving his world’s Seo-kyung to her classes. She’d complained about a guy who called and texted too much, and had told Do-won to pretend to be her boyfriend so she could turn the guy down. Do-won had obliged when he’d seen the guy approach Seo-kyung, and had secretly enjoyed how happy it made her.
But things are awkward with this different Seo-kyung, so Do-won asks why she became a cop. She says curtly that it’s to make money, but she returns the question, and Do-won says it’s to make money for someone. He says she was a little sister, his only family, and the woman he loved. Oof.
Seo-kyung notices that he refers to her in the past tense, but Do-won says that it’s not over: “As long as she’s alive in whatever form, that will be enough for me.” Changing the subject, he says that Lee Jin-sung was a witness to the serial murders before he died, and that they’ll talk about it after he’s collected more evidence.
They join up with Jae-hyuk and Joon-young, who brief them on the situation — an older woman named Jung Kyung-hee was last seen two weeks ago, but her daughter Sun-mi was away which is why it’s only now being reported. Seo-kyung blurts out that the “critical time” after disappearance has long since past, freaking out the daughter.
Jae-hyuk tells her that Sun-mi already feels guilty enough, but Seo-kyung snaps back that missing persons are rarely found alive and well two weeks later, so they should focus on finding the body and a culprit instead of giving false hope to the family. She stalks off, and Do-won tells Jae-hyuk to report new cases to him first from now on (Joon-young to Jae-hyuk: “They aren’t a crime team, they’re villains!” HA).
Sun-mi asks if it’s true that her mom is probably dead, and Do-won tells her honestly that it doesn’t look good. He spots a portrait of the family, and with horror, he recognizes the missing woman as the sixth victim who was found in his world. He recalls that they found dye from making car seats on her fingers, and Sun-mi confirms that Kyung-hee worked at an automobile parts factory.
Jae-hyuk finds a half-burned note outside, and Sun-mi identifies the handwriting as the tenant who rents her mom’s guest house. Do-won wonders why the tenant didn’t report her mother missing, and Sun-mi says that he thought Kyung-hee went on a trip.
Seo-kyung asks the neighbors, who say that Kyung-hee asked the tenant to move out because he wasn’t paying his rent or repaying the money she’d lent him. He wouldn’t leave, so they would often fight. He hadn’t disclosed that he was an ex-convict before moving in, and would regularly get drunk and threaten to kill people.
Do-won and Jae-hyuk reconnect with Seo-kyung and Joon-young, and Do-won says that Kyung-hee is dead but that they won’t find her body, so they’ll have to find the killer without it.
In World A, Alt Do-won looks over the case file on the sixth victim found at this world’s Mukyeong Station. There’s a note that no jewelry stolen from the Mukyeong Residential Murder was found on the victim, and Alt Do-won’s eyes go hard as he looks at a ruby ring on his nightstand.
In flashback, we see Alt Do-won slapping around the Lee Jin-sung from World B, and he picks up the ring which falls from Jin-sung’s pocket. Jin-sung had stammered that there was a woman’s body in the bag he’d found, and that the ring had fallen out of the bag.
Jung-min joins Do-won in his hospital room, worried about his state of mind because he keeps insisting that Lee Jin-sung is dead and asking to see his deceased father. She asks why he was found unconscious on the railroad tracks, but he just snarls that she wouldn’t believe him if he told her.
Do-won and Jae-hyuk head to the landscaping company where Kyung-hee’s tenant works. He hears them asking his boss about him and takes off in the company truck. Do-won and Jae-hyuk give chase, but they soon lose him.
Meanwhile, Joon-young finds an invoice at Kyung-hee’s house from a kitchen appliance store. Seo-kyung calls Do-won and lets him know that the tenant purchased a meat-cutting machine on the day that Kyung-hee disappeared.
She hears something and says that she thinks the tenant is back, then the line goes dead. Do-won heads back to Kyung-hee’s house at top speed while Jae-hyuk calls Joon-young and learns that he left Seo-kyung alone and went back to the police station for a warrant.
Seo-kyung sneaks back to the guest house, picking up an empty soju bottle on the way to use as a weapon (WHYYY does this woman never wait for backup??). The tenant bursts out of the door and crashes into her, kicking her viciously when she hangs onto his leg, and he gets away.
Seo-kyung goes inside the guest house and finds the place on fire and full of smoke, but Do-won arrives in time to yank her back outside to safety. She tries to go back inside to salvage any evidence of Kyung-hee’s murder, but Do-won gives her a direct order to stay out.
She pulls away and they all search for the tenant on foot. The tenant attacks Do-won when he sees him get close, and he pins Do-won down and begins to strangle him with his bare hands. Do-won sees his face for the first time and he freezes in shock.
It’s Jin-woo, only this Jin-woo isn’t the gentle, kind detective that Do-won knows — there’s murder in his eyes.
Awww, not sweet little Jin-woo! He’s such a softhearted, kind person in World A (and Kim Dong-young is one of my favorite character actors). I’d noticed halfway through the episode that he was conspicuously missing from the detective team, and I had this looming feeling of dread until we saw his face, and then my stomach just dropped. I really hope Jin-woo’s not the killer, or any kind of killer, but I’m getting an awful feeling that he’s involved in some way. It would be horrifically but brilliantly balanced if the guy who can barely be in the same room for a few minutes with a dead body in one world, turns out to be a serial killer in another world. And what on earth happened to make the two Jin-woo’s so very different?
I wasn’t able to cover a couple of episodes, so I got to just enjoy them as a viewer, and I’m even more impressed now at Yoon Shi-yoon’s acting prowess and versatility in this drama. It’s one thing for an actor to play twins or doppelgangers, people who look alike but are still essentially different people, but it takes a higher level of skill to play two characters who are the exact same person, but who have lived very different lives. Do-won and Alt Do-won are the same man at the core, but their life experiences have shaped them in different ways. Portraying that without the Do-wons coming across as too similar or too different takes a lot of finesse, and I think that Yoon Shi-yoon was the perfect choice for the role. The show does a good job in letting us know which Do-won we’re watching at any given moment, plus there’s the visual shorthand of their different hairstyles and Alt Do-won’s scar, but I would know who he was playing even without all the clues. The original Do-won looks exhausted and like his whole body is heavy with sorrow, while there’s something more wary and wild in Alt Do-won’s eyes.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m particularly fascinated by Alt Do-won and want to learn more about him. He’s been trying to clear his father’s name in World B ever since the murder of Seo-kyung’s father, which he wouldn’t be doing if he were the killer himself. Plus, when Alt Do-won ended up in World A, he was even more confused than the original Do-won, who at least had a hint of what he might be getting into when he got on that train. The one thing we almost certainly know about the killer is that they are aware of the two worlds and are using that knowledge to dump the bodies of their victims in another reality, which automatically rules out either Do-won.
I do have some suspicions about certain characters, though right now they’re just uneasy, “something ain’t right” feelings rather than any sort of fleshed-out theories. For one, something about Alt Section Chief Oh just feels wrong to me. In World A, she’s warm and caring, a surrogate mother to both Do-won and Seo-kyung, and her actions are motivated primary by that loving relationship. But in World B she’s more aloof and practiced, as if her friendly demeanor is a carefully constructed mask and that what’s going on underneath is very different. Frankly, she gives me the creeps.
There’s also Do-won’s father, who we didn’t see much of, but whose bandaged foot matches up with the shadowy Stranger from the train’s limp. There’s the fact that the killings have started up again recently, while he’s recently out of prison. It’s all circumstantial and none of it makes him the killer, but he does seem to be up to something. Like Section Chief Oh, Do-won’s dad seems just strange enough to make me nervous, not quite to the point that I think he’s doing something bad, but I do think he’s doing something. I’m not even convinced that the Stranger is the killer because it just seems too easy, though they are the only one besides the Do-wons who appears to know about the different worlds.