Kairos: Episode 5 Open Thread
We only get one episode this week, which is disappointing because of how good this show is, but also STRESSFUL because of the expertly cruel cliffhangers it delivers on odd-numbered episodes! Much is revealed, although our protagonists remain in the dark about some crucial information. Still, Seo-jin and Ae-ri are closing in on the web of incidents and relationships that connect them, and who’s behind this chain reaction of misfortune. But will they be able to uncover enough of the truth, in time to avert more tragedy?
EPISODE 5 WEECAP
It turns out that Do-kyun and Hyun-chae met twelve years ago—he fell for her at first sight when she came to play piano at the wine bar he worked at, and she seemed to recognize instantly that she could rely on him.
And we finally see Ae-ri’s mom: she is alive but in hiding, and tells someone on the phone to send the money and keep their hands off her daughter.
Ae-ri runs from the apartment Do-kyun and Hyun-chae are trysting in when she receives Seo-jin’s message, but disturbed by her continued narrow escapes from death, tracks down Kim Jin-ho. He refuses to tell her what he talked to her mom about, but drops the fact that her father died in a building collapse nineteen years ago—the construction project helmed by Seo-jin’s company that still haunts his nightmares.
Ae-ri shares this information with Seo-jin, and they connect the dots that Seo-jin’s personal assistant Taek-kyu is connected to both murder attempts and to Kim Jin-ho.
Seo-jin manages to put a tracker on Taek-kyu’s car while also swinging by Kim Jin-ho’s detention center and pleading with him to tell him who he’s working with inside the company—does Kim think they’ll protect his sick child if they were willing to sacrifice Da-bin? (I just want to say here: deadly smart and efficient Shin Sung-rok on a mission, RAWR.)
But Do-kyun drives to a rural cottage, where Hyun-chae and Da-bin await, alive and well.
The tracker leads Seo-jin to a dark country road that Taek-kyu left just minutes before. There he finds Ae-ri’s mom, dead from hanging. Oh God.
We know now that the crucial meeting Ae-ri’s mom had before her disappearance was actually Taek-kyu; we also know that Taek-kyu is taking orders from Do-kyun. Clearly someone higher up is giving them both orders to cover up whatever corruption led to these two tragic accidents. But there seems to be a personal element of revenge or hatred tied up in Do-kyun’s actions, too. Maybe he feels that Seo-jin stole Hyun-chae from him—he’s clearly willing to do anything from her, including help fake both their deaths. That goes beyond love and into obsession.
On the other hand, I get a weird detached vibe from Hyun-chae, especially when she expressionlessly turns up the music when Do-kyun is talking to Seo-jin. That’s a pretty high-stakes revenge for an interrupted booty call. She strikes me as someone who seizes any advantage, with no investment in others beyond what pleasure or affection she feels in the moment. Likely her marriage to Seo-jin was a calculated move for upward mobility. She seems as though she’s playing a game—far less worried about being discovered than Do-kyun, who is constantly nervous, at least in Ae-ri’s timeline.
Is Hyun-chae this thriller’s requisite psychopath? Or perhaps it’s Taek-kyu. (You know there’s gotta be at least one of those hanging around.)
It’s an interesting choice to show us information the protagonists don’t yet have, whereas before we’ve mostly been in their perspective, even if we get a more complete picture seeing both timelines. But the backstory and revelations in Episode 5 work well to ramp up the tension even more, because it adds to our dread to know that Taek-kyu now knows Ae-ri and is actively hunting her, that Do-kyun and Hyun-chae are only partway through their plan to destroy Seo-jin. To see the truth of how deep their betrayal goes, and how deeply it will devastate him. Seo-jin wants to start over with his wife and child, but is Da-bin even Seo-jin’s daughter?
Our protagonists are reeling from multiple revelations in this hour about how interconnected their lives actually are, and it’s only going to get more complicated when Seo-jin has to deliver the painful news of her mother’s death to Ae-ri. So far they’ve been trusted partners, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Seo-jin’s company may have been responsible for her dad’s death, but he has realized that he’s in a nest of vipers at his workplace. The rot may go right to the top—I don’t trust the Chairman one bit despite all his kind words and assurances, and I’m glad Seo-jin is beginning to see the true colors of the few people he relied on, as lonely as it makes him. He needs to be on his toes in order to defeat these people with no allies in his timeline. At least Ae-ri has Soo-jung for emotional support, and Gun-wook for practical backup.
I also had the (probably obvious) realization this week that they’ve found a way to communicate outside that one-minute kairos: Ae-ri’s actions seem to change Seo-jin’s reality in close to real time, and he immediately gets the memory headaches that let him know she’s done something to affect his timeline, reorient himself to whatever has changed, and then use those clues to gather more information to send to Ae-ri before the end of the day. It’s a smart way to alert Seo-jin immediately that something has shifted, and though the mini-fits could come off hokey, Shin Sung-rok pulls them off beautifully. As he does everything else.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Monday, come soon!
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