Alice: Episode 5
An accident convinces our stoic cop that time travel is real, and gives him a chance to set the past right. Things don’t go exactly as planned, but now he’s got a better idea of why so many strange things are happening in his life lately. But a wise man once said, just because we can doesn’t mean we should, and our hero is going to have to decide between his personal goal and the good of the future.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Today only comes once. – Uncredited
Despite having decided to have nothing further to do with Tae-yi, when she calls Jin-gyum and tells him there’s a drone outside her office window, he rushes out of the police station and drives to the university. As soon as he arrives, though, his car is hit by a truck. The truck drives away, and when bystanders look to see if anyone was hurt, Jin-gyum’s car is empty.
He wakes up in 2010, according to the fall festival banner nearby, but Jin-gyum doesn’t notice. He barges into Tae-yi’s office only to find a stranger there, so he heads to the lecture hall where he first met her. She’s there, but as a student, and the professor tells her to take her boyfriend problems out of class.
Of course, the Tae-yi in 2010 has never met Jin-gyum, though she hilariously reacts just as offended as 2020 Tae-yi was when Jin-gyum asks if she’s older than she really is. She takes a call and turns down a date, saying that tonight is the lunar eclipse and she wants to watch it. It’s the night Jin-gyum’s mother was murdered, and he only now realizes that he’s gone back in time ten years.
He finds a pay phone and calls home, and his mother answers the phone. His face crumples and tears spill from his eyes when he hears her voice. Jin-gyum says he’s coming home and tells her to lock the doors and windows, then the line suddenly goes dead. Frantic, he runs on foot to his old home.
His concerned mother visits teenage Jin-gyum’s school, but he says he didn’t call her and assumes it was a prank. She asks him to tell her right away if he’s approached by anyone strange then sends him back to class.
Meanwhile, the Tae-yi in 2020 worries when she can’t reach Jin-gyum. She checks at the precinct and runs into Do-yeon, who accuses her of being the reason Jin-gyum is acting strange lately. Do-yeon tells Tae-yi that Jin-gyum was in an accident and disappeared into thin air, making Tae-yi even more worried.
Jin-gyum arrives at his old house after dark, just as Tae-yi decides to go out for more alcohol so teenage Jin-gyum can have his first drink. There’s a loud ringing in his head — is it because he’s too close to his younger self? He spots a red drone as it zooms away, then he sees someone looking at the house through the gate.
The lurker takes off, but Jin-gyum quickly catches up with him. It’s Oh-won, who warns Jin-gyum that he only has minutes to save his mother’s life. They hear her cry out and, looking desperate, Oh-won yells, “Go now if you want to save her. Hurry!”
Jin-gyum finds his mother’s scarf in the street, but when he returns to the house, she’s already lying on the floor, bleeding to death. He rushes to her side, and she can tell immediately that he’s a future Jin-gyum. He cries that he was too late to save her, but she whispers that it’s okay.
She asks about the Time Card so he gives it to her. Tae-yi activates it and puts it in his hand, saying weakly, “You’re not supposed to be here.” Jin-gyum doesn’t want to leave her and asks who did this, but she gasps, “Stay out of this fight. I got to see my boy all grown up. I’m really happy. Don’t come back here ever again. Live a happy life.”
Jin-gyum sees his younger self outside, but he’s gone by the time teenage Jin-gyum finds his mother dying. He wakes up back in 2020, in the same place where his accident happened outside the university, and he goes to Tae-yi’s lecture room where she’s teaching a class like normal. She drags him outside to give him a good talking-to about making her worry, but he just grabs her in a hug.
Back in Tae-yi’s office, Jin-gyum finally gets a look at the back of Tae-yi’s neck and sees that she doesn’t have the same mark that his mother had. He apologizes for the hug and asks her not to get the wrong idea, and she guesses that it was because she strongly resembles his mother.
She asks if he thinks of his mother whenever he sees her,and Jin-gyum says yes, but only based on appearance. He explains that their personalities are completely different, as his mother was kind and gentle. Tae-yi bristles at him, “What about me?!” so he stammers, “You’re also… you’re also… I’m sorry, I’m a bad liar.” PWAHAHA.
Abruptly, Jin-gyum tells Tae-yi to call him if he sees another drone and stands to leave. Tae-yi asks where he went after his accident, but he just says it’s not her business. She demands to know where he was for a solid week, and Jin-gyum stops in surprise, because he was in 2010 for less than a day. His head rings again and he passes out cold.
At the Alice building, Min-hyuk and Shi-young talk about a wormhole that opened a week ago, then again an hour ago, and the fact that the traveler was Park Jin-gyum. The truck that hit him is a mystery — it was stolen, and the driver avoided CCTV cameras. Min-hyuk asks about Jin-gyum, and Shi-young says he’s in the hospital, probably from backlash of having traveled without going through the gate.
Tae-yi is still with Jin-gyum when he eventually wakes up. She tells him that his Time Card caused problems with his CT scan so she tested it, and its radiation level is twenty times higher than the natural radiation level. She asks where Jin-gyum was for a whole week, but he just asks where to find Oh-won.
He barges into Oh-won’s office to confront him about being near his home ten years ago. Oh-won claims not to know Jin-gyum’s mother and he suggests that Jin-gyum see a psychiatrist. He tells Jin-gyum that if he really wants to know what happened to his mother, he should try finding his father.
Feeling unsettled about Jin-gyum time traveling with an unregistered Time Card, not to mention that someone is trying to kill him, Min-hyuk broaches the subject with Cheol-am. Cheol-am tells him to get the Time Card back first, but Min-hyuk says that will only make Jin-gyum more suspicious of them. He wants to take the direct route — kidnap Jin-gyum and bring him to Alice.
Do-yeon still doesn’t know that Jin-gyum is back, and she asks Captain Go how much prison time she’ll get for killing him when he returns, hee. He reassures her that Jin-gyum will be fine, and he makes her laugh at how she once got him to arrest Jin-gyum. Dong-ho runs in with news that they’re heard from Jin-gyum.
Jin-gyum is at home contemplating his Time Card when Do-yeon lets herself in and starts beating him up. He apologizes for making her worry but only gives her the vaguest answers (that he was “very far away”). He says he doesn’t think that Tae-yi might be his mother anymore, because he’s seen with his own eyes that they’re two separate people.
She wants to take him to the hospital tomorrow to see for herself that he’s okay after his accident. But Jin-gyum says he needs to look for someone, “Not the suspect. My father.”
He starts by asking Captain Go if he learned anything about his father while investigating his mother’s murder. Captain Go wants to know why Jin-gyum disappeared for a week then came back looking for his father, but Jin-gyum says it’s only because he’s the only one with answers about his mother’s past.
He returns to his old neighborhood and talks to a shopkeeper who knew him and his mother. She once overheard Tae-yi talking on the phone to someone who sounded like it might be her husband, and notes that she was acting very nervous.
Min-hyuk is planning to kidnap Jin-gyum tonight, but first he suggests to Shi-young that they look into him further since he shouldn’t be able to time travel with just a Time Card. In the meantime, Tae-yi’s sunbae calls her to report that there have been two huge radiation spikes, once on the day Jin-gyum disappeared and again on the day he reappeared.
Jin-gyum returns to the station to look through his mother’s murder case file. Dong-ho gets cranky when Jin-gyum won’t tell him what he’s looking at, blaming Jin-gyum for his loss of muscle mass from a week of looking for him, ha. He wheedles Jin-gyum into telling him where he’s been, but when Jin-gyum says, “Would you believe me if I told you I was in Seoul, 2010?” the other guys sigh that they were in Seoul in 2010, too. PFFT.
Tae-yi corners Jin-gyum and tells him about the radiation spikes. She thinks that he really did travel though time, but he tells her to keep away from the matter. Tae-yi tells Jin-gyum that she became a physicist because her birth mother left her at the orphanage and disappeared. She remembers that when her mother didn’t return for her like she was supposed to, she decided to find a way to time travel to that day and never let her go.
This time, she’s the one to ask Jin-gyum if time travel is real. He says honestly that it is, but that he doesn’t know how the Time Card works. Tae-yi asks to have it back so they can study it, promising Jin-gyum that they might even be able to save his mother.
He takes Tae-yi to his place where she notices some of Do-yeon’s toiletries on a counter and asks about their relationship, but Jin-gyum says they’re just friends. Tae-yi asks cheekily if Jin-gyum has feelings for someone else, so Jin-gyum tells her that he doesn’t like women, then he has to clarify that he doesn’t like men either when Tae-yi makes an assumption, hee.
He says he’s never had feelings like that for anyone because of his alexithymia. Tae-yi yelps that he’s a sociopath so he says calmly that he follows the rules of society and isn’t violent, but she still gives her coffee the stink-eye and asks if he poisoned it, ha.
Tae-yi jokes that she’s so shocked every time she’s with him that she’s losing weight, only for Jin-gyum to deadpan that her face looks puffy, actually. Tae-yi asks why he cries so often if he has alexithymia, so Jin-gyum explains that his mother helped him, then cuts off further discussion of her.
He hands over the Time Card, and seconds later the power goes out. Jin-gyum notices that his phone is also out of service, so he gets out his firearm and goes to investigate. He stands at his front door, listening for any noises, while Min-hyuk is inches away on the other side of the door with his own weapon raised.
Just as Jin-gyum is about to step out and get himself killed, Min-hyuk hears a thump and calls for Hye-soo, his partner. She doesn’t answer so he goes looking for her, and finds her bleeding from a head wound in the stairwell. The power returns, and when Shi-young communicates that she didn’t turn it back on, Min-hyuk gets himself and Hye-soo out of there.
At Alice, Shi-young shows Min-hyuk the CCTV footage of the man who called the police. It indicates that he’s not another broker (a broker wouldn’t bring the police into this), but they don’t know who he is or why he’d want to save Jin-gyum.
Jin-gyum calls in Dong-ho to look at the blood left behind in the stairwell. He asks what the caller said, and Dong-ho says it was strange — he’d said there was a break-in at Jin-gyum’s apartment. Tae-yi joins them to see what’s happening, and Jin-gyum smoothly steps in front of the blood and offers to drive her home.
We’re shown that the caller was Oh-won’s assistant, who believes that they’ll keep coming after Jin-gyum. Oh-won says, “Park Jin-gyum must realize his destiny on his own. And we must protect him until then.”
As he drops off Tae-yi, Jin-gyum tells her to call him if anything comes up while she’s analyzing the Time Card and not to let Oh-won know about it. Tae-yeon bounces over to them and asks why Tae-yi is with “the pervert,” and Tae-yi sweetly chides her on calling people perverts. Tae-yeon reminds her that she called him that, and I swear Jin-gyum is trying not to laugh.
When they’re alone, Tae-yeon asks Tae-yi what her relationship is with Jin-gyum. Tae-yi says they’re just acquaintances, but Tae-yeon is skeptical since Tae-yi doesn’t usually give guys the time of day. Tae-yi plays it cool, but once in her room she looks up alexithymia.
Do-yeon is doing her own research — she finds her paper’s article about Jin-gyum’s mother’s murder and asks the writer for his notes so that she can look up information on the victim’s husband. She tells Jin-gyum that someone visited his home on the day of his mother’s death, though he says that Captain Go never told him that and it’s not in their case file.
Do-yeon says it can’t be Jin-gyum’s dad since the man was in his late 20s to early 30s, and Jin-gyum realizes that they must be talking about him. Do-yeon also learned that his mother visited a man in prison about a month before she died. It was Lee Se-hoon, the man Tae-yi and Min-hyuk fought when they procured the Book of Prophecy, but the name isn’t familiar to Jin-gyum.
They drive together to the prison to talk to Se-hoon. Jin-gyum says he doesn’t want Do-yeon involved and pulls over to let her out. She tells him that this man he’s going to see is his mother’s age and went to prison the year he was born, so he might very well be his father. He says he doesn’t care, because the only father he knows is Captain Go. Awww.
Se-hoon is definitely the same man who fought Min-hyuk and Tae-yi, he even walks on a peg leg because Min-hyuk cut off his foot back then. Jin-gyum shows him a photo of himself and his mother, and Se-hoon recognizes her right away. Jin-gyum asks how Se-hoon knows his mother, but Se-hoon snarls at him to ask her herself, and he laughs uproariously to hear that she died.
Grinning, Se-hoon says it’s amazing that everyone who comes by the Book of Prophecy either dies or ends up like him. Jin-gyum asks about the book and how it killed his mother, but Se-hoon just leans in close and whispers, “Are you curious? The end of time travel.”
Meanwhile, Tae-yi studies the Time Card further, and when she plugs it into her computer program, the computer suddenly goes haywire.
I’m still so confused about so many things, though I’m trying to be patient and let the show explain in its own time (pun intended). Mostly I’m trying to figure out where the Tae-yi that became Jin-gyum’s mother originated, and how she fits into the overarching timeline. We know that the Tae-yi he’s working with in 2020 was left in an orphanage then was adopted, but I still think that she’s the little girl that Tae-yi and Min-hyuk saved from Se-hoon way back when we first saw them. So at some point I’m guessing that Jin-gyum’s mother created a paradox like Oh-won mentioned and split off to become a time traveler. But how did she get to 2050 in order to learn about time travel, go to work for Alice, and strand herself in 1992 when she herself was only in her early 20’s (she gave birth to Jin-gyum at age 25)? Likely it has something to do with her vow to use time travel to find her mother, so I’m assuming that she was somehow successful while 2020 Tae-yi was not.
Having seen Jin-gyum with his mother again, I’m less concerned about any romantic weirdness with him and 2020 Tae-yi, because it’s clear that his emotional response to her is prompted by his lingering guilt and grief for his mom. Previously, his mother was the only person he ever cried around, and now he cries in front of Tae-yi, which says to me that Jin-gyum feels emotionally connected to Tae-yi in the same way he was connected to his mother. Now that I’ve thought about it, I’m not quite as squicked out by the possibility of Tae-yi developing feelings for Jin-gyum because to her, he’s practically a stranger. All she knows is that she looks like his mom — she doesn’t have the same history with him as the Tae-yi who was his mother. That doesn’t mean I want it to happen, I’m just saying that I can accept it if Tae-yi catches some feelings for Jin-gyum because I know he’ll never ever return them.
In fact, I really just wish there weren’t a romantic element to Alice at all, but hey, this is a Korean drama. Do-yeon is definitely a better match for Jin-gyum, since she’s known him for years and is age-appropriate, not to mention she’s not a possible alternate-world version of his freaking mom. But I still can’t figure out what purpose she serves in the story. Jin-gyum has made it clear that he’s not interested in dating anyone, male or female, and it’s not something he can change about himself. So why are we forcing Do-yeon’s crush into his life? I like her as a character but she’s not really serving much purpose other than to be annoying and naggy, and I can’t help but wish she’d just been written as simply his loyal best friend.
But my favorite character right now is Oh-won — he’s so dark and brooding and mysterious, yet I get this feeling that he truly does want the best for for the world (though I worry that he’s willing to sacrifice Jin-gyum to that end). He doesn’t believe that people should time travel — I have to agree with him — and he’s doing what he can to end it. Oh-won is the current holder of the Book of Prophecy, so he knows that Jin-gyum’s time traveling is the beginning of the end. His purpose is to keep Jin-gyum safe so that he can do whatever needs to happen so that time travel stops, which puts Alice and its employees, interestingly, firmly in the role of antagonist. I’m sure that we’re heading towards a big final showdown between Min-hyuk and Jin-gyum, bad and good, father and son… I just hope that Min-hyuk can be enticed to the right side because I’d love to see them fighting together to save the future.