Alice: Episode 7
When concepts like time travel and alternate universes are involved, getting answers can often lead to even more questions. Our stolid cop and his professor are getting closer to the truth, but the closer they get, the more confused they are. Someone is after them with the intent to end time travel, and they’re not afraid to do anything — and I mean anything — to get their wish.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Jin-gyum takes Tae-yi home, and she enters her apartment alone even though the door is open and the lights are out. She finds a large equation written on the wall in cat’s blood (as well as the dead cat), and in horror, she backs right into the bearded man. She screams, then he claps a drug-laced cloth over her face and knocks her out.
He makes a call to someone he calls Teacher, speaking to them with such deference that he even bows. He says he will get “it” done immediately, but a voice behind him asks, “Who is Teacher?”
It’s Jin-gyum, who kicks the bearded man to the floor and demands to know who he is and what he’s doing. The man snarls, “We have to kill her for the future,” then leaps up, activates his own Time Card, and runs out.
Tae-yeon comes home, and she and Jin-gyum get Tae-yi to the hospital. In the morning, Tae-yi tells Tae-yeon that she feels better and sends her home, but she’s haunted by memories of the attack that make her hand shake so badly she drops and shatters her glass of water.
Jin-gyum takes her to the police station to make a statement, and she purposely sits beside him instead of across the table. She thanks him for saving her life, but he just asks how she was acquainted with Seo-jin. Tae-yi is upset that he hasn’t even asked if she’s okay, so he explains that he just wants to catch the culprit as quickly as possible.
He takes out his phone and pulls up some music, knowing that she likes it, but the song is hilariously perky and completely wrong for the moment. Tae-yi snaps at him that she doesn’t want to listen to music anymore, and he sheepishly turns it off, ha.
Dong-ho is with the forensics team at Tae-yi’s apartment, where they found another box like the one Seo-jin was killed in. They have no concrete evidence of the attacker other than the equation on the wall and Jin-gyum’s glimpse of his face.
When Captain Go arrives, Dong-ho informs him that the intended victim was Tae-yi, who worked with the first victim. There are five more people on their research team, so Captain Go asks his guys to look into their currently research. Dong-ho says that Jin-gyum found the bearded man’s phone, from which he’d only called one number, so they assume there’s an accomplice.
At the station, Jin-gyum asks if Tae-yi recognizes the number that the bearded man called, which no longer exists. He doesn’t tell her that after his mother was killed, Captain Go had told him that she’d called that same number three times in the past, and on the morning of her death she’d received a text: You brought this upon yourself.
Jin-gyum drives Tae-yi home, and on the way he promises to catch her attacker. She peppers him with specific questions like how exactly he’ll do that and what she should do if he shows up when Jin-gyum isn’t around. Jin-gyum tells her to run, but she complains that she’s got weak legs, so he awkwardly offers to play some music, HAHA. Dude needs to learn to read the room.
Do-yeon corners Captain Go while he’s eating lunch with Dong-ho and tries to wheedle the name of the second victim out of him, but he refuses to tell her. He leaves, so Do-yeon switches to flirting the answer out of Dong-ho. She succeeds in tricking him into revealing that it’s Yoon Tae-yi.
Dropping Tae-yi off at her parents’ restaurant, Jin-gyum tells her to call him if she wants to go anywhere and he’ll take her. She counters that she’s fine — her father’s dream was to be a cop, which is why the restaurant is named Crime Squad (Tae-yi: “You can laugh.” Jin-gyum: “Yes ma’am.” LOL).
She asks if the killer is a time traveler, assuming that she and Seo-jin were targeted because they’re researching time travel. Jin-gyum says honestly that there’s no reason to target a team that isn’t making progress, but Tae-yi brings up the cosmological constant (the energy density, or vacuum energy, of space).
She says it was the only physical constant that Einstein admitted was a mistake and was abandoned, but in 1998, it was revived. She tells Jin-gyum that that’s how science works — it takes time to be proved. She believes that Oh-won will succeed in his research, because he’s dedicated his life to studying time travel.
Jin-gyum asks if there was ever a researcher on the team named Park Sun-young (the name his mother lived under), but Tae-yi has never heard the name. However, we see that in 2010, Shi-young went to see Oh-won with the Book of Prophecy. He’d laughed at her claim that it was written by someone from the future, until she’d showed him that his name was in the book (When the world was overcome with haughty desires, those who were afraid stepped in. Seok Oh-won and the scientists tried to close the door of time in order to re-establish order.).
Unsettled, Oh-won had invited Shi-young to leave his office. But he’d stopped short when she’d asked if he would believe her if she said she could create negative energy.
In the present, Oh-won wilts with relief when his assistant reports that Tae-yi is safe. He takes a call from Jin-gyum, who wants to know why the researchers are being targeted, so he says that it all began when Jin-gyum’s mother visited him ten years ago and asked for his help to stop the terrible things that would happen due to time travel.
He says that after her death, he assembled a team to research time travel, which is why he thinks they’re being targeted. He tells Jin-gyum that everything he needs to know is in the Book of Prophecy, urging him to come quickly. When he hangs up, he recalls that Shi-young had been the one to suggest that he hire Tae-yi, her younger doppelganger, to continue her research if anything happens to her.
Oh-won takes the book from his safe, and as he’s reading, the lights begin to flicker. The bearded man shows up in his doorway and he starts to put the book back in the safe, but the bearded man attacks him. Meanwhile, Jin-gyum thinks over everything he’s learned then speeds to the Kuiper building, but he’s too late — Oh-won has been abducted.
Over at Alice, Cheol-am knows the identity of the bearded man — his name is Joo Hae-min. But he’s not a client of Alice, so they assume he took the same route that Se-hoon used back in 1992. Shi-young asks if Cheol-am thinks this “Teacher” is behind the recent attacks, and although they don’t even know if Teacher exists, Cheol-am agrees that someone is behind things.
Shi-young is most bothered that Tae-yi is one of the intended victims, though she didn’t report her existence to Cheol-am sooner because she assumed that this version of Tae-yi was just an ordinary person. Cheol-am snaps that it’s not ordinary that both Tae-yis are scientists, and he tells Shi-young to get Min-hyuk freed and find out what Tae-yi was researching.
Tae-yi’s parents want her to move home, but she says she’s only staying temporarily. Tae-yeon is oddly cagey about whether she’s going to work tomorrow, and her parents warn that she’d better not be thinking of quitting. Mom chases Tae-yeon out the door, then smacks Tae-yi for getting stalked. Tae-yi plays the “You can’t hit me, you’re not my real mom!” card and gets herself chased out as well, hee.
That night, she has a nightmare — she and a young boy, who calls her “Mom,” are being chased through a hallway by a hooded figure with a knife. She finds the boy a hiding place then turns, only to be stabbed by the dark figure.
She can’t sleep so she calls Jin-gyum and asks him to come over, but he’s already keeping vigil outside. They head to her apartment and find that the lights are broken, and they turn their attention to the bloody equation. It’s not a type of formula that Tae-yi has ever seen before, but she doesn’t get much time to study it before they hear a noise and have to hide.
Thankfully (and irritatingly), it’s only Do-yeon. She demands to know what Jin-gyum is doing here with Tae-yi, while Tae-yi demands to know why Do-yeon is here at all. Jin-gyum pulls Do-yeon outside and reminds her that he forbade her to write about this case because he’s worried for her, but she just orders him to tell her what happened. She complains about his attitude and whatever he’s hiding, so he reminds her that he’s promised to tell her later.
Do-yeon wants to know everything, from how he arrested a man who was in a photo from 1992 to how he knew about the Schrodinger murder before it happened. Tae-yi joins them and Do-yeon leaves, but Tae-yi asks Jin-gyum the same questions. Jin-gyum snaps at her to stop asking then apologizes for his tone, but Tae-yi knows it’s an empty apology.
She asks him to speak with a kinder tone, like how people use emojis so as not to be misunderstood, and his attempt is hilariously awful. Tae-yi bursts out laughing, thanking Jin-gyum for giving her lots to laugh about.
Do-yeon visits Captain Go’s wife, In-sook, who mentions that she hasn’t seen Jin-gyum in a while. She notes Do-yeon’s irritation with him and advises her on how to catch Jin-gyum by walking up to him, looking him dead in the eye… and getting completely naked. PWAHAHA.
As Jin-gyum takes Tae-yi home, she asks how he’s going to catch the suspect if he’s with her all the time. She says he should focus more on the bad guy, and he’s all, “Yes, so get out now,” lol. He gives her a tiny pepper spray gun and shows her how to use it, and HAHAHA, when she turns around, her dad is standing inches away peering in the car window.
They all head into Crime Squad, where Mom beams at the handsome detective. She offers to feed him but he says he doesn’t like Chinese food… ~crickets~. Tae-yi says anxiously that he’s just very honest, but when Mom asks if they caught Tae-yi’s stalker, Jin-gyum looks her right in the eye and lies that they did. LOL, Tae-yi’s face.
Dong-ho calls Jin-gyum back to the station to talk about the attacker’s phone — the accomplice’s number is strange because it’s never been registered with any cell phone company, yet there’s a call log. Jin-gyum checks the log and sees that Hope Orphanage is on it, the same orphanage where Tae-yi lived.
Tae-yi’s parents are starry-eyed over Jin-gyum, who they’re already referring to as their future son-in-law. Tae-yi needles them by saying that she’s going to live with them for the rest of her life, ha. Mom tells her that her “orphanage mom” called, so Tae-yi heads to Hope Orphanage to see what she wanted.
The nun tells Tae-yi that a detective came to ask questions about her two days ago, but that he was older and his name wasn’t Park Jin-gyum. He’d asked strange things like how she ended up there and whether she had a book with her, and if she remembered her father who died in 1992.
This is the first that Tae-yi is hearing about a father who died, but before she can process this information, Jin-gyum walks in. He explains that he thinks the man who came here was an accomplice, and asks if Tae-yi remembers how she ended up here. She says that most kids are brought here by a parent that never returns.
She says that she only just learned that her father died in 1992, and asks if “incident” that happened then was about her. Jin-gyum says it’s about the man in the holding cell (Min-hyuk), so she requests a meeting with him.
Min-hyuk refuses to answer any of Jin-gyum’s questions about Se-hoon and Dr. Jang, though he does look alarmed when Jin-gyum mention the Book of Prophecy and Yoon Tae-yi. Jin-gyum takes him to the interrogation room where Tae-yi is waiting, but he remains stubbornly silent, so Tae-yi asks to be left alone with him.
Once Jin-gyum is gone, Min-hyuk starts talking. He says he went to the park that day to warn Tae-yi that she was doing something dangerous. She asks why it matters to him if she does something dangerous, but he clams up again. She says she’s jealous of him because time travel seems fun, and she asks why he’s time traveling here to kill her.
Min-hyuk yelps, “What do you mean?! Who is…?” then he realizes he’s given himself away. Tae-yi asks if she and he were close, and when he says he doesn’t know her, she continues, “Not now. I don’t know you, but you seem to know me.”
She asks if he’s trying to kill her because she poses a problem in the future, but he still won’t answer, so she makes a bold statement: “You must have come from somewhere much more advanced than we are, so the police may not be able to catch you. However, I can prove your existence. Just wait.”
As she stands to leave, Min-hyuk warns her not to do anything dangerous. Tae-yi says that they must have been close (in another reality), but that the two of them never will be.
While he waits, Jin-gyum reviews the 1992 case file of Dr. Jang’s murder. He sees the report on his daughter, who was suffering from PTSD, and recognizes her from a photo of Tae-yi at the orphanage. Tae-yi bursts out of the interrogation room and asks Jin-gyum to hit Min-hyuk for her (ha), and Jin-gyum goes in to talk to him.
Exhausted, Min-hyuk finally tells Jin-gyum that Tae-yi’s attacker must be an illegal time traveler. He says that he probably has spots all over from the radiation, and that people near him have probably caught it from him. He advises Jin-gyum not to believe what he sees when dealing with someone from the future.
Dong-ho does some digging and finds that Seo-jin’s body did, in fact, have some radiation spots. Jin-gyum is ready to take Tae-yi home, but she wants to stay at the university and study the formula some more, so he reluctantly leaves her with three officers as guards. On his way out, he runs into an older man who drops a heavy leatherbound book.
Another prisoner is brought to Min-hyuk’s holding cell, and a few minutes later, they’ve both disappeared into thin air. The new prisoner was from Alice, but when he reports back, he says that Min-hyuk took off, claiming that he had to be somewhere.
Something strikes Jin-gyum as not-quite-right as he’s driving home, so he pulls over to take a close look at the composite sketches of Tae-yi’s attacker. One looks very familiar, and as he thinks about Min-hyuk’s warning not to believe his eyes, he realizes that the older man at the university was the attacker in disguise.
Hae-min lets himself into the classroom where Tae-yi is working on the formula. He goes to the blackboard and starts working on it, and she notices the red radiation spots on his hands. Hae-min takes a tiny device from his ear and his disguise fades. Recognizing him, Tae-yi backs away and asks why he’s doing this, so he tells her it’s because she saw something she shouldn’t have… the Book of Prophecy.
Someone runs in and punches Hae-min — it’s Min-hyuk, yay! He orders Tae-yi to run, and she quickly obeys. Hae-min leaps up and stabs Min-hyuk in the stomach, and Min-hyuk gasps, “Why would you kill someone in the past?” Hae-min says that the Book of Prophecy fell into the hands of a person in the past because of Min-hyuk.
Tae-yi returns and shoots Hae-min with the pepper spray gun, but he seems unaffected and knocks her to the ground. He grabs her by the throat and starts to strangle her, but Jin-gyum arrives just in time and kicks him away. Hae-min activates his Time Card and escapes to the hallway, and by the time Jin-gyum follows him out, he’s gone.
Min-hyuk is also gone when Jin-gyum returns to check on Tae-yi, though he’s still watching from a hidden corner. Shaken, Tae-yi clings to Jin-gyum as he murmurs that it will be okay.
Oh-won sits tied up in a filthy room, as someone flips through the Book of Prophecy nearby. Holy shit.. it’s Captain Go. What’s happening right now?? Captain Go notices that the last page has been ripped out, and we’re reminded that Dr. Jang took it out and gave it to his daughter… Tae-yi.
Jin-gyum is at the station again when he receives a copy of the picture of young Tae-yi from the nun that he requested. He compares it to the photo in the article about Dr. Jang’s daughter and confirms that it’s Tae-yi.
Jin-gyum joins Tae-yi in the interrogation room to see if she’s okay. She says she doesn’t understand why she has to die for reading the Book of Prophecy, when she doesn’t even know what it is. Jin-gyum recalls Se-hoon’s statement that when you have the book, you either die or end up like him, so he asks Tae-yi to stop teaching for now and stay with him at a safehouse.
Tae-yi asks why Jin-gyum is looking out for her, and he says simply, “It’s because you’re special.” Tae-yi asks if he likes her so he says it’s not like that, though he admits that he doesn’t really understand himself. Tae-yi asks where this safehouse is, and aww, it’s Jin-gyum’s old home where he lived with his mother.
In a flashback, we see the orphanage children being taken on an outing to an amusement park. Little Tae-yi had seen young Jin-gyum sharing an ice cream with his mother, and the adult Tae-yi had spotted little Tae-yi and seemed to recognize her. Young Jin-gyum had gone over to the lonely girl and held her balloon with her, and as they both turned to adult Tae-yi, she had snapped a picture.
Okay, that’s sweet and all, but what was that with Captain Go and Oh-won and the Book of Prophecy?? Is Captain Go a time traveler too? Is he Teacher? If he is Teacher, then what does he want and why is he killing the researchers? I’ve thought several times that he seemed to know more than he was letting on, but I never imagined that he was in on the whole secret of time travel! Bu tit would explain so much… why he took in the almost-adult son of a murder victim, why an older detective was at the orphanage asking questions about Tae-yi, and a lot more.
I really, really enjoy the craziness of this drama, so I wish that the rules of the show’s universe were better explained. I have so many questions, and I have a feeling that many of them will go unanswered because the writing is more focused on shocking twists than trying to construct a logical set of lore. Mainly, the whole issue of mixing up time travel with alternate universes makes everything so muddy, it’s hard to understand why anyone does anything at all. Every time they time travel they’re dealing with different people in a different reality, which means that their timeline is already set, and going back can only change things in a different universe. So why bother trying to change the past at all, if your original timeline won’t be affected?
Mainly, I don’t understand why, if the Tae-yi who did discover time travel and read the Book of Prophecy was killed in 2010, anyone is bothering to try and kill the Tae-yi from this current reality. Hae-min said that it’s because she saw the Book of Prophecy, but she’s never seen it and has barely even heard of it. She doesn’t even know why Oh-won hired her to do this research, and she didn’t know that time travel was even possible outside of theory until very recently. I have a feeling that there’s an answer in there somewhere, but because the time traveling is layered with the multiple realities, it’s difficult to keep any information straight for more than a minute or two.
Having said all that, on a more personal note, I do like Tae-yi and the friendship she and Jin-gyum are forming. I do still worry that Tae-yi is developing feelings for Jin-gyum, which is just so icky, but I feel confident that, despite Jin-gyum’s hovering and his own confusion about his behavior, his feelings are strictly platonic. He still sees Tae-yi as an extension of his mother, and now he’s realizing how important she is to this whole time travel business and his chances of finding out who killed his mom, which explains (for me) his intense protective streak over her. When they’re just talking, and Tae-yi is teaching Jin-gyum how to fit in, their dynamic is really cute. I just really, really need it to stay in the friendzone, or at least if Tae-yi does start crossing that line, Jin-gyum needs to explain to her why he’s so attentive so she can cut it off before it gets too weird.