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Train: Episode 9

Our hero’s secret is out, but hopefully that means he’ll have more help catching the murderer now that he’s been identified. Events in this world seem to be trying to line up with events in his own world, but not in a good way, and time is running out for him to stop it before he loses the one thing in this life that still has any meaning.

 
EPISODE 9 RECAP

When Do-won arrives at the scene of the hit-and-run, he finds both his father and Alt Do-won dead. But he doesn’t know that he was not the first person there — Doctor Seok was there first, and he’d found his missing necklace on the pavement next to Alt Do-won.

Alt Do-won had been badly hurt but still alive, and he’d whispered, “It’s you. The owner of the necklace.” Doctor Seok had begun to strangle Alt Do-won, who defiantly gasped, “I didn’t get to catch you myself, but it’s not over. I will eventually catch you.”

Doctor Seok had throttled him until he was dead, then left the scene when he heard Do-won growing close. Seo-kyung arrives moments after Do-won, and she clearly sees both Do-wons, one dead and one still very much alive.

Do-won experiences another headache when Section Chief Oh asks him what happened, as he now has memories of his father dying twice, in two different worlds and times but in the exact same way.

Naturally, Alt Do-won’s death has to be hidden from everyone except Jung-min, who works with the coroner’s office. She’s devastated by his death (in the past, she and Alt Do-won dated seriously but broke up over his drug use), and Seo-kyung proves his identity by running his fingerprint through their system.

But that’s nothing compared to the shock of seeing another Do-won alive and well. Seo-kyung slams Do-won against the wall and demands to know who he really is, and he says in a flat voice, “I’m the dead Seo Do-won. And the dead Seo Do-won is me.” He runs his own fingerprint and gets the exact same result as when Seo-kyung ran the body’s print — he’s also Seo Do-won.

He has no choice but to tell the women that he’s from another world that split off from this one twelve years ago, and that on rainy nights at 9:35 pm, Train 8210 runs between the Mukyeong Stations in both worlds. He tells them that the killer uses the two worlds to cover up his murders by dumping the bodies from this world into his world.

They’re understandably skeptical, so Do-won shows Jung-min a scar he got on his arm when they were in school together. She runs off, but he follows her and tells her that in both worlds, she’s his only friend. Jung-min sobs that he’s a stranger to her, and that because Do-won is here, nobody will ever know that her Do-won is dead.

Seo-kyung asks for some time to understand the person she’s been working with and figure out what to do. She returns to the morgue to look at Alt Do-won’s body again, and she sees that his arms are covered in track marks from his drug use, making it clear that this is the Do-won from her world. It makes sense now why Do-won suddenly seemed like a decent guy, rejecting his crooked past and doing the right things — because he’s an entirely different person.

Seo-kyung skips Jae-chul’s funeral, choosing instead to check out Mukyeong Station, but everything there looks normal because it’s daytime. When she gets back to the police station, Doctor Seok is waiting for her. She tells him that Seo Jae-chul died, and as he leaves, Doctor Seok wonders why she didn’t mention Do-won’s death as well.

Back at the funeral, Section Chief Oh asks Do-won sadly if things might have been different if she hadn’t been in charge of the murder case back then. She wonders where it all went wrong, but Do-won just sends her home to rest.

Out of curiosity, Doctor Seok attends the funeral, and he barely controls his shock at seeing Do-won there. It triggers his Huntington’s tremor so that he has to switch hands to light incense, and he wonders how Do-won can be here when he’s certain that he killed him in the street that night.

Do-won leaves with Jae-hyuk and Joon-young when they get a call that the hit-and-run driver was found. When they get to the station, the driver is threatening to stab his own throat with a pair of scissors, yelling that he has nothing to live for. In a few quick moves, Do-won grabs the scissors and knocks the driver to the floor, and his eyes grow wide when he sees the man’s face.

It turns out to be Park Tae-kyung, who Do-won knows as the rapist that he was chasing on the night he found the bodies at Mukyeong Station in World A. Tae-kyung starts sobbing the name of Lee Ji-young, who was his girlfriend in this world until she went missing (her body showed up in Do-won’s world, though only he knows that).

As he processes the fact that Tae-kyung and Joon-young are connected in this world, and that Tae-kyung hit and killed his father, Do-won’s head starts ringing loudly again. He wonders if it’s all a coincidence, or something more sinister.

Tae-kyung admits that the police had called him and told him that Ji-young hadn’t run away from him after a fight as he believed, but that she is probably dead. Before driving that night, he’d taken some tranquilizers that had belonged to Ji-young.

He swears he didn’t kill “both of them” — he had gone back to check the victims and had seen someone strangling one of the people he hit, though he hadn’t seen his face. The police assume that Tae-kyung was hallucinating from the drugs, since there was only one victim.

Jung-min is at the morgue thinking of Alt Do-won… the last time they saw each other, he had asked her to start over with him (oh dear, that’s so sad). Do-won interrupts her to check Alt Do-won’s body, which they see now has clear strangulation marks on the throat.

He tells Jung-min that the only person who would do this is someone who wants to cover up the case from twelve years ago. He says that, then and now, it’s all connected to the real killer.

Later, Do-won returns to his father’s funeral and admits to Alt Do-won (but really, himself) that Alt Do-won was right and he hasn’t managed to save anyone. Seo-kyung shows up, and the compassion in her eyes starts Do-won crying. Seo-kyung almost pats his shoulder, but instead she sits with him as he sobs.

When he’s calmer, Seo-kyung says that however many worlds there are, or however many Do-won’s there are, she’s decided to trust in the person she knows him to be. She asks why he came to this world, so he tells her that the killer murdered the person he loved because she saw his face.

He continues that making sure she was safe and happy was his reason for living, but he failed to protect her. He tells Seo-kyung that the same things keep happening in this world that happened in his, and that it scares him because he’s afraid he’ll lose everything all over again. He vows to stop the killer this time, no matter what it takes.

Jung-min returns Seo-kyung’s mother’s jewelry now that they’re finished analyzing it. She asks if Seo-kyung believes that Do-won is really from another world, and Seo-kyung says that if there’s a world where her parents are living safe and sound, then she’d like to see them again.

With tears welling up in her eyes, Jung-min says that she doesn’t know if she can accept Do-won. Seo-kyung guesses that this Do-won doesn’t know about Jung-min and Alt Do-won’s romantic past. Jung-min says that she’s the one who broke up with Alt Do-won because he’d changed so much, but that she still loved him.

She knows that this Do-won doesn’t have the same memories, and that he isn’t her Do-won. Seo-kyung tells her that the new Do-won once said that as long as his loved one was alive in any form, it was enough for him.

Do-won surprises Doctor Seok by showing up at his office and informing him that his father’s death wasn’t an accident. He says there’s only one person who wouldn’t want his father to regain his memories of the night Seo-kyung’s father was killed, and that the only people who know they were trying to retrieve those memories are himself, Seo-kyung… and Doctor Seok.

Doctor Seok shows Do-won a news article about the case and says that lots of people knew about it. He asks if Do-won has any siblings, saying that he saw someone who looked like him, but Do-won immediately knows that Doctor Seok must have seen Alt Do-won.

Bleeding from a gash in his hand (he apparently had a bad tremor and hurt himself), Doctor Seok calls a specialist in Huntington’s disease. He tells them that “the patient” is young and has had symptoms for only three years, and asks if it’s too soon for dementia to set in. He’s told that the disease develops faster in young people, but that dementia doesn’t usually develop until sufferers are in their 40s.

While looking over her mother’s jewelry, Seo-kyung realizes that one piece is missing. Do-won calls to awkwardly ask if she’s okay, so she tells him about the missing piece. Growing worried that she’ll act on her own and get herself killed like his Seo-kyung, Do-won makes her promise not to do anything without reporting to him first.

Seo-kyung asks Do-won if he ever met her in his world, and if anyone took care of her when she needed it, unlike in this world. Do-won replies, “Perhaps you might have been there for someone in that world, so that person didn’t get lost.” Seo-kyung says it’s nice to think that she’s living a happy life somewhere else, and Do-won says sadly, “I’m sure you are.”

A woman walks home nervously, seeming to sense something ominous, and she walks right into Doctor Seok’s path. He drags her to an abandoned room, and he records her screams as he strangles her. He asks her how it feels to die: “That’s how I’ve felt all my life. I saw my end.”

We see him as a small child, watching as a woman (his grandmother?) is wracked with tremors. Another woman (his mother?) gives him the locket that he still wears, then hugs him, but he just smiles.

In the present, his victim finally dies, and Doctor Seok tells her, “Don’t be so sad. You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last. There’s one more person left. Someone I should have killed first. But that person will become my last.” He picks up a hammer and calmly smashes her head in.

While still covered in blood, Doctor Seok takes a small box from a drawer and opens it to reveal a ring inside (the missing piece of jewelry?). He calls Seo-kyung with a giant smile on his face.

At the police station, the team goes over what they know about the suspected serial murder victims. They notice that there’s no pattern to the disappearances, and that other than all being women, they seem to have nothing in common. But Do-won realizes that they all went missing near their homes or houses, which means the killer must have known a little about their personal lives.

Jae-hyuk agrees, adding that the first murder twelve years ago was unplanned, and the fact that the killer waited nine years before killing again means that he chose his victims for a reason. Based on the other information they’ve gathered on the killer, Do-won says that he probably has a white-collar job and suffers from a rare illness.

Kyung-hee’s daughter arrives to collect her mother’s belongings, and she’s distraught that her mother’s body hasn’t been found yet. Do-won notices a small bag of medicine in Kyung-hee’s purse, and her daughter explains that the medicine was for a panic disorder.

Recalling that Ji-young was on a similar medication, Do-won asks Jae-hyuk to check if any of the other missing victims were taking psychoactive drugs. Jae-hyuk reports later that all the victims saw the same psychiatrist — Doctor Seok.

Doctor Seok had asked Seo-kyung to come to his office, and she’s surprised that there are no patients there in the middle of the day. He asks her about the investigation and she sighs that getting revenge has become her reason for living. She vows to make sure the killer pays for what he did, as it’s the least she can do for Seo Jae-chul after believing him guilty for so long.

Doctor Seok agrees, adding creepily that it’s because of Jae-chul that she’s still alive. He asks Seo-kyung to tell him what happened before she arrived home that night, so she says that it was raining and she didn’t have an umbrella (because Alt Do-won didn’t stop to give her his), so instead of going to the bookstore as she’d planned, she decided to go home.

But Doctor Seok notes that she didn’t go straight home, because if she had, she’d have been killed along with her father. “That’s what I would have done,” he says, “if I were the killer.” We see that while Sung-wook was stealing the jewelry that night, Doctor Seok was studying a picture of Seo-kyung and her father.

Meanwhile, Do-won goes to the lab to ask about the results of a DNA test he ordered to compare a clipping of Alt Do-won’s fingernail to Doctor Seok’s sweat from the incense stick from his father’s funeral. The lab worker had found traces of a medication used to treat Huntington’s disease in the cells under Alt Do-won’s fingernail, and it’s a match to the DNA Doctor Seok left on the incense.

Do-won jumps in his car and calls Seo-kyung, and as soon as she picks up he blurts out that Doctor Seok is the killer. But it’s Doctor Seok on the other end, and he chuckles that if Do-won had found out who he is a bit sooner, his father wouldn’t have died. Do-won demands to know where Seo-kyung is, but Doctor Seok only taunts him then hangs up.

Beginning to panic, Do-won calls Jae-hyuk and tells him to trace Doctor Seok’s phone. He follows the moving tracer and ends up at an art gallery, where Doctor Seok is waiting in an empty room. Do-won’s fear for Seo-kyung gives him flashbacks to seeing her dead body and makes his head ring, but he pushes through and finally locates Doctor Seok.

Aiming his gun at Doctor Seok’s head, Do-won orders him to tell him where Seo-kyung is. Doctor Seok just grins, then holds up his hands in surrender. He confesses, “I killed people. Lots of people.”

 
COMMENTS

Until now, I’ve been under the assumption (unfounded, I realize) that the killer knows about the alternate worlds, because his victims were being disposed of in the other world. But seeing Doctor Seok’s confusion at Do-won still being alive when he believes he’s dead, to the point that his first thought is that his illness is progressing into dementia, I don’t think Doctor Seok does know about the other world. It’s possible that only the Sung-wooks knew, since one was doing the disposing and the other was burying the bodies, and that Doctor Seok never had any idea what Sung-wook was doing with his victims after they were dead. It’s still kind of unclear, but based on Doctor Seok’s behavior in this episode, that’s what I think was happening.

Do-won is starting to think that all of these connections might not be coincidences — it does seem strange that he keeps encountering the same people he knew in his world, but with different relationships and lives. I’m with him in that there seems to be something that’s bringing these people into his life here in World B but in different configurations, though I’m not seeing the pattern yet. His headaches might be a clue, since they seem to happen whenever he comes to an important realization, so he needs to pay attention to when they happen.

I’m glad that Seo-kyung knows now that this Do-won isn’t the same one she’s “known” all these years, the drug-addicted crooked cop whose father (she believed) killed hers yet showed her no compassion. The Do-won she’s gotten to know is kind, and good, and cares about her even if she doesn’t know the details yet. Because she knows he’s a different man, she can let herself open up to him, and even if they don’t have any sort of romantic future together, they can help heal each other. I do feel bad for Jung-min though, because she did love Alt Do-won and was hoping to start over with him, and now he’s gone.

I still have so many questions, and only three episodes left in which to get them answered. Why is Doctor Seok killing these women… maybe they remind him of his grandmother, who died of the same illness that will eventually kill him? Is Seo-kyung his final victim, and if so, again, why? We still don’t know the connection between his victims and Seo-kyung’s mother’s jewelry, which he’s been leaving on the bodies. What made Doctor Seok stop killing for so many years then start up again, and why is he connecting the murders with Seo-kyung’s mother’s jewelry? And I hope that we get to travel back to World A at some point, because there are a lot of things I still want to know about that world… most importantly, what happened to that world’s version of Doctor Seok? Did he die in the accident that left Sung-wook mentally impaired (we know he was in the car), and that’s why there were no murders in that world? I’m anxious for some answers!

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I think you mean you feel bad for jung min

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Yes. Either some of the names are confused or I'm very confused. Edit button, anyone?

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Yikes, thanks for the heads up! Stupid Find & Replace...

I'm working on getting it fixed!

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Thanks for the recap @lollypip. Just a minor correction - the forensic specialist is called Seo-kyung throughout the recap but her name is Jung-min.
Won't comment too much on the events of this episode since I've seen Episode 10 and that colours my perception of everything that happened here but I thought this weekend's episodes were probably the weakest and quite a few scenes and actions seemed unnecessary/ repetitive.

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While still covered in blood... He calls Seo-kyung with a giant smile on his face.

Imagine how much kdramaland would be disrupted if everyone switched to video calls all the time.

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Every time someone mentions alt-anyone I can't help thinking control-alt-delete. Yes, I've spent a lot of time with computers, why do you ask?

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Wait, so if I'm understanding this right, the Doctor is killing the women because he wants them to know the pain he's going through constantly knowing that he's dying?

I agree with everything LollyPip said about how little we know about the Doctor. Honestly, besides a small bit about his past and his family member having Huntington's, we just know that he is the killer. Like many, I also assumed that the Doctor knew about the two worlds and that idea about Sungwook being the one delivering the bodies does make sense. All I hope is that the drama can answer everything for us within these next couple eps and not leave gaping plot holes. Plus, I really want to know what happened to World A Doctor because he is the only one that we've met in World B that hasn't been talked about or seen in World A. What was his role there? Is he even alive?

The way this ep ended and the fact that we're nearing the end makes me think that at some point both worlds are going to mesh together. There have been way too many coincidences on who is meeting who and what is happening to each other that I feel like it would be hard to maintain the balance between the two worlds. So, if that happens, does that mean that Seokyung will die again?

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I think your understanding for Doctor Seok reason for killing is correct.

If OG Seok is even alive, what is his profession or what he is currently doing now? Is he repenting after he killed Seo Kyeong's father and he is a good person in OG world? I'm really curious about him too.

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Okay thanks!

I'm hoping the drama thoroughly addresses all of these concerns!

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The shock on the girls' faces after they found out. Even if I was in that situation, I would not believe Do Won. Jung Min lost Alt Do Won. Do Won even said "Let's start afresh" but never came back. That was so sad. It was like the same scene where OG Seo Kyeong said her last words to Do Won "let's talk again" before she died.

I agree that now Seo Kyeong knows who Do Won is, she can be more open to him now. But I'm wary that this closeness will only result to heartaches </3

It looks like Doctor Seok kills to place his rage onto his victims. What's with the voice memo and text message? Creepy

Do Won's headaches is getting worse by the day. Does it mean he is running out of time?

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Im suffering from a headache too when there’s so many unanswered questions. Like can they squeeze all the answers in 2 eps if they kept repeating same stuffs over and over again. Im sure we the audience dont have a memory of a gold fish to not remember those important scenes. Come on Train, dont derail on us now.

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That's Dowon's fake blood makeup on his face.

I really love the ending scene of fake background and also in the beginning of episode 10. I think it's CGI.

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What's the thing with this writer.
1. Kills SK because she was close to the truth. So we are left with alt SK who isn't really helpful (funny thing SK figure things out the first time, since SK was a precursor not a detective like alt SK, or DW).
2. Makes DW obssesed with the alt SK, insted of letting him grieve properly, making him creepy AF sometimes.
3. Shows alt dad -his alive wii- just to kill him off. AGAIN. FOR NO GOOD REASON.
4. Makes a pointless kind off plot in alt world where alt JM and alt DW have romantic feelings, but doesn't show us scenes of that, ANYTHING. And now alt DW is dead, and alt JM is sad.
JM deserves better, in both worlds.
5. Again. Why did writer-nim kill alt DW? Why he keeps killing the smart ones? because the drama is 12 episodes and so far are 8 (I haven't seen 9 or 10)?
Well, SK and alt DW we're that smart, they were after a serial killer by themselves. lol
Oh, and let's not talk about how the alternative w started, because that didn't make sense at all.

Anyway, I hope that DW doesn't stay in alt world, it wouldn't be healthy and it wouldn't be fair.

Thank you for the recap!

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"It looks like Doctor Seok kills to place his rage onto his victims." Originally, half jokingly, I thought it was part of his therapy for his patients because he said to Seo-kyung and someone else, you can kill the person who has given you so much pain (or something like that). Although it seemed that he meant you could kill them in your memories, it did sound ambiguous, as if he meant for real. I know crazy, but ...
Then I though that he was killing because he was trying to find a cure for his illness, but that's too far fetched - nothing as complicated as that. Instead, it does seem as if he kills to externalise his rage for his condition. He is facing a horrible death as his disease progresses and so he inflicts his fear and resentment on his patients. It's one way to reduce your waiting list, I guess.
I was surprised too that he doesn't seem to know about the other world. What does he think is happening to the bodies? It is also intriguing that we don't know about him in world A. Where is he? What is he doing? Is he a better person? And what has the jewelry got to do with it?
But once again, so much has shifted in the next episode that it is hard to say much, but I do want to say, "I knew it, I knew it!!!!"

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LollyPip, thanks for the recap and sharing of your thoughts of this episode. I don't think the victims have his disease. He picked those victims because they are his patients and therefore he already has their information - where they show up, etc.
The first murder was 12 years ago. He didn't start killing again until after a few years. I assume he was finishing his study to become a doctor at that time. Also, it is also possible that his symptom starts to show more and more frequent and trigger his mind to kill.

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I'm in a weird contradictory position whereby I love everything about OCN dramas except the plotting. To what extent do I let the ambience wash over me and ignore what's happening?

In the case of <train , the characters are good and the emotions are good and the PD and Director have nailed the feel of the drama. But the antagonist feels like they’ve been plopped in the text from a different drama. More importantly than that, the execution of their involvement in the plot breaks several dictates of writing.

In the context that World A and World B are mirrored, separated by a single event, then that single event should dictate the extent to which the two differ. That is, you can’t suddenly introduce an antagonist in World B that we never saw in World A and then retrospectively insert him into events from the original narrative we saw unfold. This is a very clear attempt to stretch the plot and artificially insert a sense of menace. This plot didn’t need menace. It had pathos. The stepbrother plot brought that pathos and it is clear that he was intended to be the true antagonist; one that was organic and fit the show’s themes.

As a consequence I do not care about this antagonist. I don’t. He’s a walking cliche, but worse than that incorporating him into the natural flow of the story takes work. He simply doesn’t fit. People go to talk to him for no reason, they call him into scenes for no reason. He’s in places where he shouldn’t be because the writer needed him there and had to contrive a reason for it. We can see these contrivances. What we can’t see is his motive because he’s just a catch-all manipulator. He monologues with blood on his face like a crazy person and pours tea with menace but that tell us nothing. Not about him as a character, not about the parallel worlds, not about our other characters, not about any of the show’s themes about found family or finding a reason to live through the people around us. It’s just empty air.

I can take issue with the typical embedded gender issues that all Korean crime dramas have (hell, all crime dramas from everywhere if we’re being honest) but I can live with them because I have to really or I wouldn’t be able to watch anything. But an antagonist shoe-horned in that I don’t care about? This is a problem.

And while I just said I can waive the show’s gender issues, this genre’s determination to portray women only as damsels or victims is a serious problem. Seo Kyung has textually been reduced to somebody whom Do Won needs to save or whom he regrets not saving. Her existence has become about whether he is or is not able to save her and that reduces her to something less than a person.

Women in these texts exist to provide insight into a lead’s masculinity whether as love interests or as objects to be protected not as characters in their own right. The antagonist is framed in opposition to him and his relationship with the female lead is also about the male lead. She is merely...

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She is merely an object between them to define their relationship to each other. This is true also of the two Do Won’s for whom Seo Kyung merely becomes a point of difference between them; a catalyst for the two different paths their lives took. (Not that this even matters anymore since they inexplicably killed off the other Do Won like the writer just didn’t know how to deal with having both of them - or the production house ran out of money for the special effects).

In this case the male lead is defined by who he can or cannot save with Seo Kyung being an avatar for that motivation but Seo Kyung needs to have an existence beyond that. Once again, this is the male lead’s world. Everyone else just happens to live in it.

And that is why I’m struggling to continue watching Train

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