Alice: Episode 4
As our professor becomes increasingly curious about the mysterious card, our hero no longer wants her involved. While investigating a case, he comes across someone he never thought he’d meet, causing tensions to run high.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
“Time unexpected will leave you with more time than you had anticipated.” – Horace
2010. The senior class of Sejeong High School celebrated their graduation day with their families. Do-yeon was looking around and her mom knew that she was worried Jin-gyum would be alone. Mom teasingly told Dad, “He’s the most handsome boy ever with the saddest personal story,” embarrassing her daughter.
Do-yeon was right though – Jin-gyum was alone in the classroom looking at a photo of his mother. Captain Go showed up to congratulate him on getting accepted into the police academy. Instead of bringing flowers, the captain treated Jin-gyum to a meal where Jin-gyum politely declined a shot of soju.
The mention of In-sook (Captain Go’s wife, who’s apparently scarier than any gangster, ha) got Jin-gyum wondering whether they had any kids. Having noticed that the captain answered in past tense, Jin-gyum bluntly asked how his son died. He barely reacted upon learning that it was because of a heart defect at birth.
Aware that Jin-gyum didn’t know any better, the captain taught him to offer his condolences after making someone remember something that they didn’t want to. Jin-gyum matter-of-factly said that he didn’t force him to answer and added that although difficult, Captain Go should continue to remember. He’s family, after all.
As the captain paid for the meal, a man watched him closely. The man followed Captain Go out and stabbed him as revenge for putting him in jail. Before he could do any more damage, Jin-gyum stepped in to disarm the attacker and was worried about Captain Go.
Sometime later, Jin-gyum graduated from the police academy with the Top Excellence award. Do-yeon was there to take photos of him with Captain Go and In-sook, who treated Jin-gyum just like a son.
We circle back to present day, where Captain Go lies unconscious after being attacked by Sun-hee. Jin-gyum confides in Do-yeon that he’s unable to discern his feelings despite his father figure being in such critical condition. She assures him that it’s natural and walks off to get him a bite to eat.
Do-yeon turns around when she hears Tae-yi’s voice, watching Jin-gyum break down in front of the professor. “Why do you cry every time you look at me?” Tae-yi asks. They relocate to the cafeteria where Tae-yi decides that he must be the sensitive type that cries easily. She comments on how emotionless he usually is, choking on her drink when Jin-gyum shares that kids used to call him a psychopath.
Changing the subject, Tae-yi takes out the Time Card. She figures that he was never close to his mom, because there’s no way she was a simple housewife like he claims. Although Tae-yi’s unsure what the card really is, she’s certain that it can’t be produced with current technology.
Tae-yi is sorry to hear that Mom was murdered, but is undeterred and asks to see her belongings for some more clues. Jin-gyum takes her to the apartment, and she’s fascinated by the typewriter sitting on his desk. Impatient, Tae-yi swats Jin-gyum’s hands away from the box of belongings and rummages through it herself, handling the items carelessly.
Jin-gyum has had enough when she drops a necklace, scattering pearls across the floor. He decides that he must’ve been mistaken. Even if he didn’t know Mom that well, it’s impossible she’d ever be this rude. Jin-gyum plans to get someone else to analyze the card and asks her to leave. She goes, unaware of the framed photo of his mom on the shelf.
At her parents’ restaurant, Tae-yi inhales a huge bowl of noodles. Her parents can tell that she got into yet another fight, suggesting that she either go to church or start dating. Pfft. After dinner, Tae-yi tells Dad that she won’t stay the night. She’s planning to visit her mom from the orphanage since she misses her. Oh, she’s adopted!
Jin-gyum fixes his mother’s necklace and puts her things away. He opens a drawer to look at a composite sketch of the suspect involved in his mom’s shooting.
The next day, Tae-yi shows up at the orphanage and happily hugs the nun that she calls Mom. They sit down for a cup of tea and the nun chuckles when Tae-yi asks if any of the kids are giving her trouble. Tae-yi was the biggest troublemaker she’d ever had. Unfazed, Tae-yi just brags that she’s probably the most well-educated of her children.
Jin-gyum learns that Sun-hee was most recently seen heading into an apartment complex. There, Eun-soo doesn’t seem to be doing any better. On the phone, Sun-hee promises that she hasn’t seen any Alice agents and urges the broker to hurry because Eun-soo’s very sick. A set of footsteps arrive outside the the door.
When Jin-gyum enters the apartment, he leaves the door propped open. He finds Eun-soo unconscious in bed and calls for an ambulance. Sun-hee’s nowhere to be seen, since Min-hyuk took her to the rooftop before she could get arrested.
Seung-pyo assures Sun-hee that Eun-soo will recover since they gave her some medicine. Sure enough, Eun-soo’s rashes are gone and she wakes up to see Jin-gyum standing next to her.
Min-hyuk explains that they waited to bring her in since they wanted to catch the broker who helped her settle here illegally. Knowing that he’s on his way, Min-hyuk asks for Sun-hee’s phone. However, she left it in the apartment and Jin-gyum finds it instead.
He dials the most recent number, and a phone rings from the hallway. Jin-gyum makes eye contact with the broker, Jung Ki-hoon. Ki-hoon attempts to walk away casually but Jin-gyum stops him, asking to see his phone.
Unable to weasel his way out of this predicament, Ki-hoon pulls out a switchblade. Jin-gyum easily overpowers him and demands to know where Sun-hee is. They’re interrupted by Eun-soo joining them so when Jin-gyum picks her up to comfort her, Ki-hoon sprints off.
Watching from the control room, Shi-young alerts Min-hyuk of the broker’s whereabouts. Min-hyuk prevents Ki-hoon from driving off in the parking garage, getting in a few solid punches. It seems that this isn’t their first encounter, as the guide demands to know where Ki-hoon’s boss is. Jin-gyum arrives and lands a good blow on Min-hyuk, taking the broker from his grasp.
As Min-hyuk and Jin-gyum fight it out, Ki-hoon makes his escape. The guys are evenly matched but when Jin-gyum takes out his gun, Min-hyuk grabs it and turns it back onto the lieutenant. Dong-ho comes to the rescue and socks the Alice agent in the face, handcuffing him to a car door.
Min-hyuk warns, “Don’t do anything you’ll regret.” Dong-ho gets tasked with keeping an eye on him while Jin-gyum looks for Sun-hee. When he gets to the rooftop, all Jin-gyum sees is the Alice drone flying away.
Dong-ho joins him on the roof shortly so Jin-gyum realizes that something’s wrong. The pair go back to the parking garage where Dong-ho explains that Min-hyuk disappeared but the handcuffs remain locked.
Back at Alice, Sun-hee sobs, thinking about happier times with Eun-soo. Cheol-am pays her a visit and explains that travelers can stay as long as they want in the past, yet only a single day would’ve passed in 2050. In other words, he can lock her up for as long as he wants.
Cheol-am asks for more information on the broker but Sun-hee keeps her silence. Ki-hoon had made it clear that if she spoke about him upon getting caught, he’d hurt Eun-soo. Cheol-am reminds Sun-hee that it’s her fault Eun-soo will grow up without a mother.
Jin-gyum exits the morgue where Sun-hee’s husband mourns over her death. Eun-soo waits outside, wondering when Mom will come out. Jin-gyum gives her a comforting pat on the head. Dong-ho’s nearby still thinking about Min-hyuk and wondering if he’s a ghost. Regardless of what he is, Jin-gyum’s sure they’ll catch him again.
In his office, Cheol-am tells Min-hyuk that Sun-hee’s too afraid to reveal anything. Min-hyuk doesn’t want to let this go because an agent is now dead and they’ve been exposed to the police. Cheol-am orders him to leave it alone, since Sun-hee’s their client after all.
Jaw clenched, Min-hyuk figures that Cheol-am must think he’s emotionless because he never tried to look for Tae-yi, nor was he sad about the baby dying (wait, another lie!?). He’ll follow Cheol-am’s orders, but advises him to reconsider if he truly wants to protect Alice.
Shi-young watches Min-hyuk from the control room monitor, swiping the screen away when Cheol-am joins her. He tells her to send Sun-hee back, and Shi-young announces that Lee Se-hoon (the guy who killed Dr. Jang) will be released from prison soon. Shi-young plans to bring Se-hoon to see Cheol-am soon so they can start looking for the Book of Prophecy. She’s choosing not to involve Min-hyuk since he’s reminded of Tae-yi every time he sees Se-hoon.
That night, Tae-yi observes the moon with her telescope. Tae-yeon wakes up the next morning and sees her sister in the midst of solving complicated calculations. Tae-yi has been up for days thinking about the card and complains that Jin-gyum’s rude for kicking her out that night. She gets frustrated at her office and wails, “I need the card!”
Do-yeon pays Captain Go a visit at the hospital. Thankfully he’s doing okay, so she jokes, “He was getting old and in need of a tune-up anyways,” which In-sook scolds her for. When Captain Go asks about Jin-gyum, Do-yeon pouts that he only cares about him when she’s the one who’s always present. Exasperated with her antics, In-sook just laughs.
Jin-gyum arrives at a crime scene to find that Ki-hoon has been shot in the head while in his car. His last known location was tracked on his cellphone, so Jin-gyum plans to check it out.
Meanwhile, Tae-yi visits her friend at the lab and they’re stuck in terms of learning more about the card. Tae-yi brings up the possibility that the front part of the card is a screen, but her friend is skeptical about it. She tells Tae-yi to go ask for the card, but the professor is too prideful to do so. Tae-yi considers stealing it and her friend suggests appealing to the crybaby’s emotional side, ha.
Jin-gyum’s investigation brings him to the Kuiper research center where the lab is located. He runs into Tae-yi in the lobby and she’s full of questions for him. While he answers each one, he’s not curious enough to ask any of his own, which bothers her. Tae-yi learns that he’s carrying the card in his wallet so she sneaks up on him when he waits in the director’s office, attempting to steal it.
Of course, she gets caught so she gives in and asks him to let her continue analyzing it. When he refuses, she plops herself down on a chair, claiming that she’s here to say hi to the director. She’s pretty snarky when she speaks to him, so Jin-gyum asks, “Are you mad at me?” She snaps that she isn’t, but he takes her answer at face value and believes it.
Tae-yi eventually apologizes for going through his mom’s belongings, but he has already gotten over it. She hopes that they’ll catch her murderer soon. At that moment, Director SEOK OH-WON (Choi Won-young) enters the office and introduces himself to Jin-gyum.
He looks exactly like the sketch of the suspect connected with his mother’s death. In a fit of anger, Jin-gyum pins Oh-won to the wall by the throat while Tae-yi helplessly tries to stop him.
In 2010, Captain Go had shown him the police sketch and said that someone witnessed them together before she died. Sure enough, Oh-won was in the alley watching Tae-yi as she scrambled down the steps, running away from the drone that night.
They end up at the station and Tae-yi is livid, encouraging Oh-won to press charges. However, he can see how Jin-gyum got confused since even he agrees that the sketch looks like him. “The law presumes innocence, but people presume guilt when it’s personal,” he muses.
Unfortunately, they can’t detain him based on a sketch from ten years ago. Oh-won agrees to let this misunderstanding go if things end here. Seeing how Tae-yi keeps backing the director up, Jin-gyum asks how they know each other. He doesn’t get an answer.
During dinner, Dong-ho says he would’ve done the same thing if he were in Jin-gyum’s position. However, while he believes Oh-won may be connected to Ki-hoon’s case, he doesn’t think he has anything to do with Mom. Jin-gyum wonders why so many strange things are happening, and why they were seen together that night.
One day, Oh-won gives a talk at Kuiper about the butterfly effect. Jin-gyum’s in attendance and listens attentively as Oh-won explains that small changes have big consequences. He poses the question, “If the past changes, will the future change as well?”
Oh-won gives an example: He gets into an accident and breaks his leg. He then takes a time machine to warn his past self, who will then avoid the accident successfully. That means that in 2020, there’s the version of him who travelled to the past and has a broken leg, as well as a version of him that was warned about the accident and is fine. “That’s what you call a parallel universe,” he claims.
Jin-gyum meets with him after the presentation and Oh-won’s disappointed that he’s not getting an apology. Jin-gyum inquires whether he knows anyone by the name of Jung Ki-hoon, who showed up at Kuiper before he turned up dead. Oh-won calls to check if any employees or visitors went by that name, but the answer’s no.
He thinks Jin-gyum is using Ki-hoon as an excuse to see him again, but the lieutenant just continues in his steadfast way to ask if Kuiper conducts research on drones. Oh-won doesn’t answer since it’s classified information, and although outwardly pleasant, he’s clearly annoyed to be seen as a criminal.
Jin-gyum’s final question is about his thoughts on time travel. While the lieutenant doesn’t believe in anything he can’t see, Oh-won thinks that time travel is possible. Just because humans can do it though, doesn’t mean they should.
Next, Jin-gyum visits the university to ask Tae-yi whether Oh-won ever mentioned that she looks like someone else. He advises her to avoid the director for now and although she doesn’t understand why, Tae-yi agrees. She just wants the card back. However, Jin-gyum’s no longer comfortable with involving her any further.
Tae-yi follows him to the precinct in an attempt to convince him. She even offers to buy him lunch so they can talk it over, which annoys Do-yeon who was waiting for him in the office. The two ladies take jabs at one another, fighting over who gets to have lunch with him.
Jin-gyum’s not interested and peels them off of him, claiming to not have an appetite. He dryly comments, “You two seem to be very hungry,” suggesting them to eat together before locking himself in the meeting room. PFFT. When the girls leave, Jin-gyum’s colleagues grumble about how unfair life is.
Tae-yi returns to school and Oh-won drops by. She explains how she met Jin-gyum, and the mention of the ordinary-looking card that contains materials like liquid crystals piques Oh-won’s interest. Unfortunately, he can’t examine it because Jin-gyum has it.
The lieutenant tries to activate the card in the meeting room but can’t figure it out. He gets a call from Tae-yi who demands to know what she can do to convince him. Jin-gyum tells her to forget about everything but she complains, “How can I forget it when I’ve already seen it?”
As Oh-won walks down the hallway of the university, he looks out the window and smirks. Tae-yi notices the Alice drone hovering outside, which gets Jin-gyum to spring into action. He urges her to stay on the phone with him as he makes his way over.
He weaves through traffic and makes it to the school in no time. A truck rams into his car and flips it over before driving away. The drone flies off the moment this happens and people begin to crowd around the vehicle…but nobody’s inside the car.
Oh-won reads an excerpt from the Book of Prophecy. “The moment the child becomes a time traveler, the prophecy will begin to be fulfilled. But the moment of fate has not arrived yet.” Within the book is an illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland. There’s a hole in the middle of the Alice symbol that’s etched onto a wall.
When Jin-gyum opens his eyes, his surroundings tell us that he has travelled back to 2010. Despite it being daytime, a huge moon can be seen as the sky warps above him. He notices that the Time Card burned his wallet black.
On campus, a college-aged Tae-yi picks up her notebook filled with information on the “vertical tunneling phenomenon” and the drawing from the Book of Prophecy. As Jin-gyum faces the school worried about Tae-yi, Oh-won narrates, “The moment she reunites with her child, her child will gain control over time.”
With time travelling shows, it’s easy to get sucked into the mechanics of how things work. So far, while I’m curious about the rules of this world, it doesn’t take me away from focusing on the story itself. It seems that Oh-won will be a source of truth for us, and he has already introduced the fact that multiple versions of someone can exist. His example explained why Sun-hee was able to kill her 2020 self without it affecting her 2050 body. As we’ve seen already, living on borrowed time makes the time travelers greedy and crave for more. She wanted to see her daughter grow up again, but ultimately her actions did more harm than good, costing Eun-soo a mother.
Now that we’re back in 2010, I assume that it’s time to save the Tae-yi that lived out her life as Jin-gyum’s mom. I’m curious to see how they’ll tackle that when Jin-gyum himself doesn’t understand who he’s up against. It’s becoming clear that Tae-yi’s the author of the Book of Prophecy which we first saw in the hands of Dr. Jang. I do suspect, however, that she’s actually Dr. Jang’s daughter who should be in her mid-thirties in 2020. The Tae-yi that’s adopted and works as a professor fits the age range, and also ended up in a similar field of study as Dr. Jang. I’m forever awed that Kim Hee-sun plays characters ranging from their 20s to 50s so believably!
Like many of you guys, the one thing I don’t want to happen in this show is for Tae-yi to develop feelings for Jin-gyum in any way. No amount of “but this version of Tae-yi isn’t the one who gave birth to Jin-gyum!!” will be able to make that pairing work. To be honest, I don’t think this is a show that really needs romance anyway…unless it involves Min-hyuk. He’s clearly doing this for the greater good, and sacrificed his own happiness to allow others to heal from their past. He deserves a chance to heal too! This episode revealed another lie he was told, and it’s that he believes his child is dead. Although he seems to be all business on the outside, he lets himself wallow in his sadness when he’s alone. I’m really excited to see what he’ll do when he realizes that the very organization he’s been making sacrifices to protect has been lying to him this entire time. I still believe Shi-young is behind this, and I wonder if she’s doing it because she’s in love with Min-hyuk? She did watch him from the control room in her free time, after all. That’d be too cliché though, and I hope that she has a much better reason than that for messing with his life.
We were introduced to Oh-won this week, who seems mightily suspicious with all his little smirks and his interest in time travel. Not to mention, he somehow has his hands on the Book of Prophecy which everyone seems to be looking for. I found his comment about time travel interesting. The fact that he believes in time travel yet doesn’t think humans should do it leads me to believe that he’s not actually a bad guy. My guess is that he’s just really interested in the science behind it all and is protecting the book from those who will use the information in a way that will disrupt the world as we know it. This is all based on my own assumptions, and it’s probably just because I don’t want Oh-won to be a predictable villain in this story. Guess we’ll find out soon enough!