Alice: Episode 14
History continues to repeat itself no matter how hard our hero tries to save his mother. When our leads return to their own time, things are no longer the same. As much as he tries to deny it, our upright lieutenant is slowly losing control.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
“To be able to give birth to a dancing star, one must have chaos in oneself.” – Friedrich Nietzche
On the night of the blood moon, Jin-gyum runs home but is too late to save his mother. For the third time now, Jin-gyum sobs as he cradles Sun-young’s limp body. Teen Jin-gyum hovers over the pair with bloodied hands and that evil, cocky grin. While adult Jin-gyum confronts the boy, Tae-yi stumbles upon the elusive final page.
She opened the forbidden door of time and saw a world she should not have crossed over. Now, the punishment she must take has been sentenced. In order to close the door of time, she must kill her beloved son. As her punishment for opening the door of time, she shall lose her life in the hands of her son. The son will become the killer of all beings and destroyer of all things, and shall reign over time.
Eeek! A hooded figure enters the storage room and backs Tae-yi into a corner. When she doesn’t hand over the last page of the book, the hooded figure grabs Tae-yi’s neck and tightens their grip.
While that’s going on, adult Jin-gyum is choking his teenage counterpart in a fit of anger. The younger Jin-gyum silently grins while the adult demands him to say that he didn’t kill Mom. Tae-yi’s scream snaps him out of it and the lieutenant sprints upstairs to find her lying on the ground.
Thankfully she’s okay, but Tae-yi watches in horror when the intruder stabs Jin-gyum in the gut. Despite his injury, Jin-gyum interjects when the hooded figure reaches for the professor…which is when Do-yeon gasps and wakes up from her dream, still sitting at work.
In the 2020 timeline, Jin-gyum and Tae-yi have been missing for ten days. Her family is extremely worried and Dad’s livid that the police have no answers besides the fact that they can’t find ashes or corpses. Heartbroken, Dad lashes out but Mom stays strong for the both of them, assuring him that their girl is doing fine.
Do-yeon happened to witness Dong-ho taking the brunt of the blame earlier and checks up on him. His smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes, but he claims he’s doing okay. They hold on to a glimmer of home that the missing pair might’ve traveled through time and will return soon.
On their way back to the restaurant, Tae-yi’s dad apologizes for his behavior but Mom commends him for doing a great job. They fill with hope when they spot the lights turning on and rush inside to see that Tae-yi’s back.
Tears pool in the professor’s eyes after realizing that she’s been missing for a while, and she shakenly calls out to her mother. It cracks the strong façade Mom has been putting up; she breaks down and asks where she went. When Tae-yeon points out the blood on her sister’s sleeve, Tae-yi remembers that Jin-gyum’s hurt and leaves as suddenly as she appeared.
Do-yeon enters Jin-gyum’s old house and scrubs the floors clean until she hears him weakly calling her name. Do-yeon assumes that she’s heard wrong, but then she notices blood dripping on the floor. Jin-gyum faints and she’s horrified to find a sword protruding from his side.
Tae-yi gets called to the hospital where Jin-gyum’s undergoing surgery. Do-yeon demands to know who attacked him, but Tae-yi goes weak in the knees and answers that she’s unsure. The surgery goes well, and Tae-yi confirms that the missing page is still in her possession.
Later that night, Jin-gyum regains consciousness and Tae-yi fills him in on her speculations that he’s the child mentioned in the Book of Prophecy. The ability to control time explains why time travelers are after him, and could be Sun-young’s reason for hiding the page.
Tae-yi shows the paper to Jin-gyum and admits that she doesn’t fully understand the passage especially because they can’t take the words at face value. However, Jin-gyum wants her to forget about it.
Jin-gyum takes out the sword to show Tae-yi. He reasons that the killer wouldn’t have changed to be him because despite supposedly being in an alternate dimension, Sun-young still died at the same time and place. The odd thing is that she was stabbed this time, rather than shot.
Later that night, Min-hyuk hovers outside the door while Jin-gyum gets some shut-eye. When Do-yeon spots him, he turns on his heels and heads back to Alice to report to Cheol-am.
The Alice director is allegedly trying to figure out when Jin-gyum traveled to. The pair discuss sending Shi-young back to the future for her actions. Min-hyuk’s sure that there’s more than just jealousy that led her to kidnapping Tae-yi – if she intended on killing her, she would’ve just done so.
Shi-young sits in her room replaying the moment when she locked Tae-yi in the car. When Cheol-am drops by, she requests to be sent back to HQ. He has one final task for her before he can send her and Min-hyuk home, but Tae-yi is sure Min-hyuk will stay because of Tae-yi and Jin-gyum. Cheol-am cryptically claims that he won’t be able to stay for them.
While being attacked by the hooded figure, Tae-yi dug her nails deep into their arm. She gets a colleague to analyze the DNA in case she needs evidence down the line. When she drops by Sun-young’s hidden lab at Kuiper, it has already been cleared out.
Tae-yi takes out the page and reads, The son, who is the destroyer, will only die by her creation and the time that had been stopped will flow again. She wonders why Sun-young was so adamant about not resetting the world to one where time travel never existed.
Dong-ho jumps up at the sound of Jin-gyum’s apartment door opening and attacks his partner with a big hug, relieved that he’s safe. He apologizes for squeezing too tightly and Jin-gyum deadpans, “You’re happy to see me, but you didn’t visit me at the hospital?” Dong-ho chuckles at his attempt at a joke.
After analyzing the sword, Jin-gyum visits a string of antique shops to investigate whether anyone has seen it before. He manages to find the person who originally purchased the unique blade at an auction in 2010. However, it was only sold ten days ago.
Min-hyuk waits for Jin-gyum back at the apartment to gather information on what happened during his time travel. He genuinely wants to help so Jin-gyum takes out the weapon to see if he knows anything about it. Min-hyuk is willing to look into it but Jin-gyum doesn’t allow him to take the sword, citing that a time traveler was behind it.
The agent freezes when Jin-gyum says, “I’ve seen my mother die three times.” Min-hyuk hands him some medicine and tells him to rest up before going out there to catch the criminal, turning to leave when Jin-gyum doesn’t accept the gesture. “Don’t think of yourself as a special person to me,” Jin-gyum warns. So he knows!
Min-hyuk pays Sun-young another visit and finds a note from Tae-yi addressed to him, wanting to talk. He finds her in Jin-gyum’s storage room and the moment he walks in, Tae-yi gets fragmented memories of the times Sun-young spent with Min-hyuk. She shakes it off and they relocate to a café to talk about about Jin-gyum’s mom.
When Tae-yi learns that the last time Min-hyuk saw Sun-young was in 1992, she shares that the Sun-young in 2010 was having a difficult time because of the Book of Prophecy, time traveling, and Jin-gyum. She had nobody to share her troubles with, and Tae-yi knows that she would’ve wanted to rely on somebody. The father of her child, for example.
Tae-yi specifically wants to understand why Sun-young gave up on ending time travel. However, Min-hyuk maintains that Sun-young has never contacted him once and to this day, he still doesn’t know why she left him.
His words trigger another one of Sun-young’s memories. Min-hyuk had advised her to abort their child, as it’d be dangerous to give birth to one that has gone through a wormhole due to the effects of radiation.
Tae-yi fails to hide this from Min-hyuk and he explains that two doppelgängers meeting can result in the merging of memories and emotions. She doesn’t want to hear it, but realizes that this pertains to Jin-gyum as well.
Jin-gyum’s pondering over his investigation board again when he starts to hear the voices from alternate dimensions speaking to him. He can sense that someone’s outside his door – it’s the hooded figure. Clutching on to the sword, Jin-gyum warily steps closer to the entryway.
The hooded figure disappears when Dong-ho and Do-yeon arrive at the apartment. Upon entry, Jin-gyum flips his partner onto the ground, practically growling…he’s definitely not himself. Dong-ho’s strong enough to keep Jin-gyum from stabbing him but it’s not until Do-yeon shrieks his name that Jin-gyum returns to normal.
Jin-gyum seems afraid of himself and has no recollection of when his friends arrived. Do-yeon follows him out of the building and while avoiding her gaze, he lies that he mistakenly thought that someone had broken in. Do-yeon calls him out for not remembering his own actions, so as usual, he tells Do-yeon that they’ll talk later.
She visits Tae-yi’s office and admits that she’s never been scared of Jin-gyum until today. Do-yeon believes something happened to him while they traveled through time because he acted like a completely different person.
Tae-yi attributes his behavior to the fact that he’s mentally stressed from experiencing his mother’s death again. She confirms Do-yeon’s suspicion that the sword was used to kill Sun-young and shows her the page of the book. Tae-yi notes there are many words that are open to interpretation, but she takes it back and says it could very well just be a story.
Do-yeon believes that the “murderer of all beings and destroyer of all creations” may be referring to Time. It’s referred to as such in old books. When you think about it, people die of old age and even the hardest rock becomes sand over time. She continues that in ancient civilizations, time is typically a symbol of an absolute being. Although you can’t see it, it creates and evolves all things.
Tae-yi goes back to the house and calls Jin-gyum, but the Jin-gyum who answers sounds nothing like the polite lieutenant we know. “Don’t you remember me? We spoke to each other 10 years ago.” He warns that it’s her turn this time. Oh, no.
Spooked, she turns to leave but Jin-gyum walks in through the door with his phone still in hand. Afraid, she backs up with every step he takes towards her. Thankfully it’s adult Jin-gyum, and he asks if she’s okay.
Tae-yi hides out in the bathroom recalling Sun-young’s warning against continuing to meet Jin-gyum. She slips his toothbrush into her purse and opens the door to find Jin-gyum standing there. He isn’t doing anything, but I’m still scared for her!
Although she tries to decline his offer to drive her home, Tae-yi ends up in Jin-gyum’s car. They’re both wary of each other and steal glances during the entire ride. For some reason, she pretends to fall asleep and Jin-gyum studies her intently just inches away from her face.
When Jin-gyum gets back to his own place, he stares at himself in the mirror and asks, “It’s not you, is it?” He notices the missing toothbrush. The next day, Tae-yi hands it to her colleague for a DNA test against the sample she provided.
Oh-won unsheathes a blade in the comfort of his own home. Cheol-am reports that Tae-yi seems to have brought the page back to 2020, so Oh-won orders him to “take care of them all at once.”
Do-yeon meets up with Tae-yi again, but is put off when she learns that the story is about Jin-gyum. Tae-yi clarifies that she believes another version of him to be responsible for Sun-young’s death, not the lieutenant they know.
When she learns that Tae-yi is being influenced by Sun-young’s memories, Do-yeon can’t help but believe that Jin-gyum is being affected by someone else, too. She’s sure that Sun-young would’ve only given up on stopping time travel if it had to do with Jin-gyum.
Together, they do some thinking and realize that Jin-gyum was only born 7 months after Sun-young first travelled to 1992 on the night of Dr. Jang’s murder. It dawns on Tae-yi that if everything were to reset after getting rid of time travel, then all time travelers would disappear, including Sun-young’s unborn son.
Dong-ho has tracked down the person who bought the sword from the antique shop. Jin-gyum insists on investigating the lead alone because there’s something he must check, which worries Dong-ho. He finds his way to Oh-won’s house, which oddly, is unlocked.
He soon realizes that he isn’t alone. Having escaped from Alice, Shi-young appears behind him with her gun pointed at his head. “Don’t hate me too much,” she says, “Even if I don’t do this, you and Tae-yi won’t make it out alive.”
Min-hyuk joins the party, managing to track Shi-young down after realizing that she was gone. He points his gun at her and orders Jin-gyum to return to Tae-yi’s side. Once the agents are alone, Min-hyuk tells her that they ruined their own lives and others because of their greed for time travel.
Shi-young doesn’t want to return to HQ without him, agitated while thinking that he plans to stay with Tae-yi after sending her back to the future. She’d rather kill him than let that happen. Unfazed, Min-hyuk explains that he’ll return once he catches the culprit and says that they need to redeem themselves by doing the right thing.
She cries when she learns that he’s forgiven her for her actions and apologizes for being selfish. Shi-young decides to come clean and tell him who Tae-yi’s killer is but gets shot through the window. With her dying breath, she tells Min-hyuk that the killer is Cheol-am and leaves him with an earpiece that Tae-yi gave her in 2010. He’s devastated at the loss of a friend, and Cheol-am knowingly smirks to himself back at the Alice building.
Tae-yi has gotten the results back and it’s confirmed that the hooded figure is Jin-gyum. She rushes back to the safehouse without realizing that the ominous figure is watching her outside. Our Jin-gyum notices that radiation rashes are appearing on his arm.
Min-hyuk has to pull off to the side of the road when he puts the earpiece in and hears Sun-young addressing him directly. She left him a long, heartfelt message about their son. Min-hyuk can’t control his emotions when Sun-young claims that he would’ve been proud of Jin-gyum. Like him, he fights for what’s right.
With that being said, she knows that Jin-gyum might fight against Min-hyuk despite knowing who he is. She asks him not to resent Jin-gyum and to protect him instead, since he’s the only one who can keep him safe.
Sun-young warns that Jin-gyum will eventually try to find Teacher, but that he should never meet that person. If they can’t stop them from meeting, then history will repeat itself.
If it wasn’t obvious before, it’s obvious now how much Sun-young loved Min-hyuk. Her voice breaks as she admits, “I want to hear your voice.” She knows that Min-hyuk must’ve hated her for leaving. He’s heartbroken to learn that she was struggling and apologizes for not going back to find her.
Tragically separated by time, the two lovers express how much they miss each other. Sun-young was sure he’d be disappointed because she has aged so much, but Min-hyuk cries, “You’ve always been beautiful to me. I’m sure you still are.” Sun-young signs off by entrusting Jin-gyum in his care.
Jin-gyum runs into the house to look for Tae-yi, and luckily, nobody came for her. She is eager to share that the DNA test confirmed her suspicion that the killer was actually an alternate version of him.
As he studies the report, Jin-gyum’s voice changes and he sharply asks, “Who else knows about this?” Tae-yi only realizes that something’s off when he whips his head towards the window, sensing the presence of his mysteriously hooded self. Noticing the rashes on his hand, she grows fearful.
Turning his attention back onto Tae-yi, Jin-gyum says, “I told you didn’t I? That you’d be next.” Gripping onto her arm, he whips out the sword and raises it above her, poised to attack. It’s the exact position Sun-young and hooded Jin-gyum were in when he stabbed her to death.
There are so many twists and turns in the final half of this show that are intriguing, but also don’t make much sense. Many elements introduced this week were really interesting and I would’ve loved to see them implemented in earlier episodes when it felt like the plot was barely moving. Jin-gyum’s ability (or curse?) of being able to hear people from other dimensions could have had so much potential. Yet, it’s currently only used as a device to show that the voices are a bad influence on him.
This entire time, Alice has been drilling the concept about how people from different dimensions are practically separate entities. It made the viewers feel uncomfortable because it seemed like that fact was being used to justify the growing attraction Tae-yi was feeling towards Jin-gyum. It makes even less sense now to have Min-hyuk casually explain that meeting yourself in a different dimension would have an affect on memories and emotions. It doesn’t support the biggest point they’ve been trying to make in the past 13 episodes. It does, however, make the show more interesting but I’m not sure that we have enough time going into the final week to truly explore Tae-yi dealing with these old memories.
Regardless, the core cast are doing a phenomenal job playing their given roles. Kim Hee-sun has been killing it as our multi-dimensional time traveling mom/professor this entire time, to nobody’s surprise. Joo Won is getting to do more in the second half as well. With a less competent actor, it could have been difficult to tell the evil Jin-gyum apart from the present Jin-gyum. However, there’s something about Joo Won’s gaze and voice that changes whenever evil Jin-gyum takes the forefront. He flips between them so effortlessly in the same scene that it actually freaks me out. Chills.
Then we have Kwak Shi-yang, who I always enjoy watching in any show. Despite being drawn to Min-hyuk as a character, I have been feeling disconnected about Sun-young’s love for Min-hyuk. Until this episode, it wasn’t made clear that she actually loved him just as much as he loved her. However, this recorded message was such a tragically beautiful way for us to see just how much they care about one another. I don’t quite understand why Min-hyuk can’t just travel back to 1992 and raise Jin-gyum with Sun-young and live happily as a family though (even if it doesn’t affect future events, at least there’d be one dimension where they’re reunited!) He’s no longer interested in developing Alice, which was the only thing holding him back previously. Here’s to hoping that Jin-gyum doesn’t ever meet Teacher and that it somehow puts an end to this cycle of tragedy.