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Kairos: Episodes 13-14 Open Thread

My head was spinning with all the twists and turns Kairos took this week, and the reveals we got in the past, present and future. As always, it’s a thrilling ride, and the protagonists are gearing up to face the Big Bad that’s always been waiting for them at the end of this road—they just have to stay alive and free long enough to outsmart him.

 
EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP

A flashback to the Taejung collapse: Seo-jin and Ae-ri’s dad were trapped under the rubble together. Dad gave Seo-jin the last of his water, and asked him to tell his daughter he loved her.

Afterward, teenage Seo-jin told little Ae-ri not to be like their dads, poor and easily taken advantage of. Ah. So here we see the reason that sunny young Seo-jin became the hardened man we met at the beginning of the drama.

Now, Ae-ri shows the watch to Seo-jin: it’s stopped at 10:33, when she can talk to Seo-jin 31 days ahead, the length of time Seo-jin waited to be rescued. To prove it, she lets him speak to his future self. Ae-ri catches him up on what’s going on, and they FINALLY TEAM UP YES.

In the future, Seo-jin and Gun-wook hide Ae-ri’s mom while they track down Kim Jin-ho, but as soon as Mom receives the recording Jin-ho was holding onto for her, a man finds and nearly kidaps her, Seo-jin barely stopping him and getting caught by police in the process.

In the present, Ae-ri acts as bait to lure Taek-kyu out and get him to incriminate himself. Instead, he takes her to Chairman Yoo, who puts on his benevolent old fogey act, and then Taek-kyu kidnaps and tries to murder her. Seo-jin and the police rescue her and put Taek-kyu behind bars—but this only brings Hyun-chae and Da-bin back to life in the future, not Ae-ri.

A relieved Seo-jin also suddenly recalls finding Hyun-chae and Do-kyun at their hideout in the alternate timeline. He moves out and tells Do-kyun to find another job, so the illicit couple know they’re busted.

Hyun-chae tells Do-kyun the whole story about her childhood and her father’s threats.

Do-kyun, having gotten his hands on the recording, tells Seo-jin he’ll trade it for everything Seo-jin has, and then threatens Hyun-chae’s father to stay away from her.

But that backfires—Hyun-chae meets her father to keep him quiet (forever) but he tries to kill her instead. Do-kyun makes it just in time to save her, but both men die in the ensuing altercation. Seo-jin finds Hyun-chae in the aftermath, wracked with grief.

In the present, Chairman Yoo’s man assaults Kim Jin-ho and puts him in a coma just as he was going to hand over the recording to Ae-ri.

Our protagonists’ only hope is is that the he’ll wake up in the future and tell them where it is—except that Chairman Yoo has gotten to him first.

What a whirlwind this week was. It was harder than usual to simplify the events of these two episodes into a weecap, given the nonstop twists, the jumps between now three timelines, and the way things keep getting undone in the future and giving us multiple alternate timelines to keep track of. Fun to watch, but tough to recap!

We got so many things that I’ve been waiting for, like Present Seo-jin and Ae-ri finally getting on the same page, even if their partnership can’t hold a candle to what Ae-ri has with Future Seo-jin. But Present Seo-jin is trying just as hard to rein in Ae-ri’s tendencies to throw herself recklessly into danger, with the added layer of the debt he feels he owes her now that he knows her dad was the one who saved his life. He promised to keep her safe, and that’s exactly what he did this week, at least in the present timeline. Not to mention that Seo-jin and Gun-wook teaming up in both timelines is a gift I didn’t know I wanted.

Props to Shin Sung-rok for the subtle shadings in his performance of each version of Seo-jin, his care and concern for Ae-ri clearly differentiated as it develops in each timeline. And his acting overall just keeps leveling up. The entire sequence of him quietly realizing his marriage is over, icily confronting Do-kyun, leaving Hyun-chae—oof. SO well done. I’m not sure why his alternate memories of the cheating couple are hitting him now, but it was both devastating and a relief to see him treat them with the cold contempt they both deserve. It was getting to be too much, watching a naive Seo-jin attempt to rekindle a happy family life.

And yet, I found myself surprisingly moved by Hyun-chae and Do-kyun’s relationship, even twisted as it was by trauma, obsession and ambition. It was kind of heartbreaking to see Hyun-chae realize, once she told him about her past, that Do-kyun would have loved her and stayed with her no matter what. That she could have had the safety and belonging that she felt was out of reach this whole time. She did love him after all, even if her ability to show affection was warped by her abusive upbringing.

As despicable as she and Do-kyun have been, they’ve also had relatable motivations, and that’s a stark contrast to Hyun-chae’s father (good riddance) and Chairman Yoo’s unstoppable greed. And now that we know that the building collapse was caused by explosives and not faulty materials, I’m going into finale week with even more questions. But I have faith that Kairos will give us an unforgettable ending, in its usual thrilling way.

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I really didn’t expect Do-kyun to die. I guess it could change, but I actually think it’s a fitting ending for him. He died saving the woman he loved and Hyun-chae, to my surprise, actually loved him too, as much as she was able to at least. Hyun-chae is so messed up, but I feel like I understand her now.

Poor Jin-ho, as if his life didn’t suck enough. I hope he can make a full recovery.

I enjoyed the Ae-ri, Present Seo-jin and Gun-wook team up.

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Fun to watch, but tough to recap! --- we hear you, Laica and we appreciate that you continue the open thread recaps. Thank you...

I also have a bit understanding--just tiny bit-- for Hyun Chae for all her wrong doings and I feel sorry for Do Kyun. Can the change of time line in the past make Do Kyun alive again? Maybe yes or maybe no.
But I think, he had to be dead in order Hyun Chae could regain some consciousness and redeem her mistakes.

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Aw, I appreciate your appreciation! :)

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I don’t like Hyun Chae and Do Kyun but that death scene was just heartbreaking. I think Hyunchae really loved DK.

Not ready to say goodbye next week but I am looking forward to see Seojin’s ‘revenge’ and hopefully a happy ending.

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Yes!! It was devastating to see HyunChae reaction!

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Quoting Ko MoonYoung: Wow!

I’m so happy ti see AeRi and SeoJin working together, and I’m so happy she has both GunWook and SooJung by her side. They are more than just secondary characters to fill in a gap. I love how three are portrayed, how they’ve changed from disbelief into accepting this extraordinary situation because they both answered a call from future SeoJin. Love it.

I will let aside the fact that a person can survive 31 days with no food or water supply trapped under tones of debris. I’m willing to accept that bottle of water as much as I take as true the supernatural connection between our leads.

I was also was a bit (only a bit) moved by HyunChae. I knew DoKyun loved her but felt she was just using him. When Insaw her desperation and guilt when she realised he had died for her, I saw her as a human being. Kudos to both ABH and NGR for making such despicable characters believable and human. I specially liked all the micro expressions in HyunChae, how she is confused by the two men in her life telling her they’re ok as long as she’s alive, and how she doesn’t get the cold reaction by her husband.

And of course SSR and LSY. I loved them already, but now ❤️

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I am ok with Seo-jin surviving, cos he was young and there might have been other sources of water from rain or broken pipes or... er... the toilets... What I'm most bothered by is Do-kyun also being privy to the alternate realities. Seo-jin having access to memories of erased pasts is kind of acceptable, since he is the one erasing them, but why Do-kyun?

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Because he also learned there is an alternative reality that had been erased. That’s also why GunWook also remembers the alternative future and cries because even if HuynChae and DaBin are now alive, AeRi is still dead.

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Ooh you're right, I'd forgotten about Gun-wook. It's true that both Gun-wook and Do-kyun had seen the phenomenon in action (GW even earlier than DK), while past SJ took a much longer time to get to grips with it cos he hadn't.

Mind you, I'm still not very happy with that scene of DK seeing his present disintegrating before his eyes at the villa (just after he'd bashed SJ on the head). That was before he heard about the phone calls and read the text transcripts, so if he could have that experience the whole world should have had it too...

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The scene that Dogyun vanished at the villa was just a tell-tale sign. Dogyun does not remember anything from that timeline because the kidnapping never happened.

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Add: in other words, he didn't know/see/feel that he disappeared. Imo, the scene where he see himself vanish at the villa is just to inform viewers that Dogyun will know about the phonecall in upcoming eps.

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@katakwasabi No he didn't remember it, but he seemed to be aware that the change was occurring. In fact, after witnessing how devastated Seo-jin was at Do-kyun and Hyun-chae's betrayal, I really enjoyed the look of horror on DK's face when his present started trickling away.

I suppose DK at that point might have been quite open or susceptible to the phenomenon, cos unlike the earlier SJ who had thrown AR out of his office, DK knew perfectly well that everything she said was true.

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@knewbie Dogyun connected the dots more easily because he read the message transcript. The kidnapping didn't happen but Aeri-Seojin text conversations were centered around the kidnapping.

Dogyun is aware of changes in the future too because he is on the same boat as Seojin: both of them have talked with past Aeri via Seojin's phone. Only those who talk to past Aeri can recall the events that didn't happen. Seojin remembers everything because he talked to Aeri from the start, Dogyun only remembers the accident and what happens after because he talked to Aeri after the accident. The info of what they remember was shared by Seojin in ep 14 during their confrontation in his office before he fired Dogyun.

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@katakwasabi Agree with all this, but still find the villa scene in ep8 a bit weird. Do-kyun was about to stick a needle into Seo-jin (at around the 26min mark), when his present reality started to disintegrate. He actually recoiled from SJ and stared at his own disappearing body in horror. As you say, he didn't remember it, but he saw it happening and reacted to it. And at that point he hadn't read the texts.

So it seems to me that either DK was already vaguely conscious that something strange was going on (maybe because when AR confided in him after being thrown out of SJ's office, he realised she knew more than she should); or every single person whose reality is changed by AR and SJ's actions experiences something similar but doesn't remember it.

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... but it can't be true that every single person experiences it, cos when SJ managed to avoid arrest thanks to AR finding her mum, only he was aware of the changes taking place, while the cops who were about to nick him just disappeared obliviously.

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@knewbie the scene in ep 8... when I first watched the scene...I thought Dogyun stopped himself from killing Seojin and looked at his own hands in disbelief and that overlapped with the vanishing effect. Dogyun isn't really evil, he never wanted to kill anyone. It was all Hyunchae's idea.

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@katakwasabi Ah yes that could be it.

DK does have a conscience, but I've to admit I find his death rather satisfying. If he wants to extricate Hyun-chae from the mess they've made, it's only right that he pays the price himself instead of making use of Seo-jin and Ae-ri.

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Gun-wook made forget his stealing from the first episode. He's really helping AR by believing her and protecting her from herself and bad guys.

I kinda pity DK. The woman he loved never showed the same abnegation for him. He never really knew who he loved too. But in the same time, he did a lot of bad things, so...

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I really like GunWook character. He cares so much for AeRi (he obviously has a crush on her), and since he’s already payed his debt to the loan shark (not with a heat of gold like myself), he’s focused on keeping the good path. Remember when he told AeRi he would sell his house to repay his debt and AeRi told him not to do it as his grandma had worked so hard so he can have a place of her own.
I really love all this little details and all the work and effort writer-nim has put on building all characters.

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Yes the writer's attention to detail is phenomenal. In my (admittedly limited) experience, K-dramas with this kind of convoluted plot tend to have at least some characters sticking out like sore thumbs and doing unreasonable things. Not Kairos. Ok maybe Ae-ri's mum was pretty silly for several episodes, but I really loved the way the characters still tried their best to help even when they didn't believe Ae-ri or Seo-jin. In a less well-written drama, sceptical supporting characters would have caused all kinds of additional trouble for the main characters.

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And I love Kang Seung Yoon's OST Can You Hear Me :p

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Such a perfect ending song! Kairos honestly has some of the best episode endings of any drama I've seen this year.

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Now the explosives make me wonder if the real Big Bad might be someone else, and Chairman Yoo might not be as evil as the standard Kdrama Evil Rich Dude.
Yoo wanting to continue despite some risk makes kdrama sense, as does framing the other company, but did he have any reason to blow up the building? Was Killer Evil Cop actually working for someone else?

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I think they mentioned something about the other company getting all the blame, its shares falling in value and Yoojoong thus being able to buy it out and becoming the big corporation that it is at the moment. As Seojin told Ae-ri's mum, the sinkhole and maybe other shoddy practices weren't enough to cause any serious damage, so something far more drastic was needed to push the other company out of business. Also, perhaps the explosion was meant to be just big enough to get the other company into trouble, but the shifty guy in the lorry miscalculated.

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wow what a good recap of a complicated story! thank you so much for your writing. i am in awe of shin sung-rok's portrayal of past and present. he is so watchable and lovable! his eyes- he's got those acting puppy eyes. its actually been doable to follow along with this story line so kudos to the story teller and actors and director!

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Looking forward to the finale next week!

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> Fun to watch, but tough to recap!

Thank you for the weecap @laica. I agree that it is tough to recap especially in a compressed weekly recap. There are too many details, flipping from timeline to timeline and that is quite hard to be simplified, especially since nearly everything is related. For example during the meetup with Chairman Yoo in ep 13, Aeri said to him: 'I have proof that Yujung is as responsible as Banyoung for the incident'. Chairman Yoo immediately catched on that she's lying. Her words didn't match the secret he kept for 19 years. At that time viewers were not aware of the secret too, so I thought he was being cryptic. Turns out 19 years ago Chairman Yoo planted bombs at the site (revealed in ep 14), he was not unaware of anything...he purposely blew up the building and blamed it on another company.

Note to any new potential watchers who are going through recaps before watching the drama...I recommend watch the drama! 😆

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Haha yes I'm definitely pushing the word limit with these every week! This is for sure the kind of show that's all about the experience of watching. Even if I'd been doing full recaps, I'd say the same thing, because it's about the execution and not necessarily the story itself - the attention to detail by the writer and director, the performances, the mood etc.

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I like that they addressed Hyunchae's affair this week. Many viewers asked why didn't Aeri tell Seojin that Hyunchae was at the officetel in August. This week Seojin asked Aeri directly after learning about HC's affair by himself. Aeri said she didn't know how to tell him and didn't know it was related to the kidnapping. Seojin replied that he wouldn't have believed her if she did tell him, he needs to see it with his own eyes. Kudos to writernim for answering viewer questions 😆.

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Thank you for the recap, what a brilliant episode.
I didn't expect to feel so sad about do-kyun's death. If she had confided in him earlier, would hyun-chae be able to get help and live happily? I can't forgive her for the actions she took to kill Seo-jin but this was heartbreaking to watch.
I'm in awe of Shin Sung rok, he is completely different in the past and present as seojin, his interactions with the characters are different. It's very exciting to watch and I love that gun wook is working with Seojin to save ae-ri.

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