Once again, the Golden Time Team races to save lives when they realize that the true culprit is one they originally overlooked. As they do, they stumble on information that leads to more discoveries about what happened the night Jin-hyuk’s wife was murdered. Sang-tae tries to outsmart Tae-gu, but he’d probably be better off making a deal with the devil — although, who’s to say Tae-gu isn’t the devil?
Chapter 12: “A Call From the Fiery Pit Part 1”
Sang-tae calls Tae-gu, revealing that his bag of evidence is now in the hands of the police — and something in there ties him to Tae-gu. Annoyed, Tae-gu asks if Sang-tae wants him to cut his other Achilles’ tendon (ohhh, so that explains his odd gait).
But Sang-tae knew he’d eventually be cast aside by Tae-gu and CEO Mo, so he made sure to have some insurance against them. If Tae-gu doesn’t want that information released, he’d better protect Sang-tae. Tae-gu does not look amused.
Kwon-joo is concerned about Jin-goo, the schizophrenia patient that’s just been taken to the hospital, since she could hear the men in the ambulance and how they mocked Jin-goo. Worried for his life, she orders Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik to go after the ambulance and try to stop it before it reaches the hospital. She also order Hyun-ho and Eun-soo to look further into the welfare center and see how they treat their patients.
As they zoom down the road leading to the hospital, the ever-skeptical Dae-shik thinks that the doctors and orderlies were just trying to get Jin-goo to calm down, but Jin-hyuk thinks there’s something odd going on, since he saw some scars on Jin-goo’s body that look liked he’d been tied up and cut by someone.
Because the phone in Jin-goo’s pocket blocks GPS tracking, Kwon-joo uses her super hearing to figure out that the ambulance is going into an underground parking area. There’s a nearby psychiatric clinic that the welfare clinic often uses, so Kwon-joo tells Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik to go there. They arrive at the parking garage at the same moment Kwon-joo can hear Jin-goo being transported down a long hallway on a gurney.
Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik barge into the psychiatric center, where the nurse confirms that Jin-goo arrived for treatment due to his injuries. Jin-hyuk stops the doctor, who tells him that Jin-goo is a frequent guest due to his self-inflicted injuries stemming from his hallucinations, and that Jin-hyuk can speak to him after they’ve treated him.
The detectives catch a glimpse of a man in the treatment room. His face is covered up, but Dae-shik recognizes the bracelet that Jin-goo was wearing before. Jin-hyuk reports back to Kwon-joo that everything seems to be fine, and they’re waiting for Jin-goo to be treated. Dae-shik does find it odd that the clinic seems to be nearly empty, though.
Hyun-ho reveals that he wasn’t able to find anything unusual about either the director of the welfare center or the psychiatric clinic. So it would seem like there’s nothing to worry about.
But Kwon-joo can still hear what’s going on via the phone in Jin-goo’s pocket, and she can hear the doctors set down their instruments in the surgery room. She’s confused why Jin-goo could be allowed a phone in the surgery room, but the answer is probably because that these doctors in their makeshift surgery room don’t exactly look like they’re following the Hippocratic Oath.
This is confirmed by Eun-soo, who realizes that the doctor running the psychiatric clinic is only a licensed therapist and not a medical doctor. Plus the main source of income for the clinic comes from the welfare center, so there’s definitely some sort of suspicious connection. Jin-hyuk barges into the surgery room, but there’s only the “doctor” — no patient. Dae-shik runs to capture the man who was pretending to be Jin-goo as Jin-hyuk demands to know why the woman lied to them.
Kwon-joo is confused, since she can clearly hear the sounds of the surgery room, but there’s no surgery happening in the clinic. Listening carefully, she catches a snippet of music, the same music she remembers hearing when she was on the phone with the welfare center’s director. She’s now convinced that the ambulance doubled back and returned to the welfare center. Calling for backup, Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik hurry back to the welfare center.
Listening over the phone, Kwon-joo hears the center’s director arrive and tell the men to begin. Someone calls him, and he tells the person at the other end of the phone that Jin-goo’s barely alive, and that they’ve decided it’s best to just get him out of the way. From the sounds of it, the director has been harvesting the patients for organs to sell on the black market.
Hyun-ho finds a connection with some of the men who all started working at the welfare center at the same time a few years ago. One is a medical doctor, another a butcher, and the third has expertise in pesticides. Hyun-ho thinks it odd that these skilled men would suddenly decide to work at a low-paying welfare center, especially when they all have a sizable amount of debt.
Kwon-joo also discovers that the director of the welfare center used to be the director at another center fifteen years ago, before being charged for embezzlement and trafficking of human organs. He fled to China, but it looks like he returned to Korea to run the same scam again.
When they return to the center, Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik confirm that there’s an ambulance parked outside, but there’s no one around. They run through the hallways, but the center is completely empty. That seems rather odd, considering it was filled with people just moments ago.
They find a locked door and Jin-hyk is convinced he can hear someone behind it. Using a fire extinguisher to break the lock, the detectives enter the darkened classroom, and then recoil at the stench of the group of patients who sit huddled in a corner. They’re too terrified to answer his questions about where the director or other orderlies are.
But Jin-hyuk deduces that the center can’t just be trafficking in human organs, especially when there are so many people still here. When they find a huge supply of the exact same medication, Jin-hyuk realizes that the homeless people were being used as human guinea pigs for medications that had not yet been approved because of their side effects.
The detectives work together to help escort the people out of the center, but Kwon-joo can hear the surgery starting on Jin-goo. She thinks it’s in a secret room in the basement, so Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik run downstairs to find out where Jin-goo is being kept. But one of the doctors finds the phone in Jin-goo’s pocket and turns it off, realizing that the call center has been on the line the whole time.
At the sound of the detectives’ footsteps, the director orders them to hurry up and get the job over with before the cops arrive. Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik slowly approach the room where they can hear Jin-goo’s agonized cries as the director starts to cut into his chest, but once they enter the room, the other doctors are ready for them, makeshift weapons at the ready.
Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik quickly deal with them and the director flees. The local cops also arrive, along with a real ambulance, and they carry the wounded Jin-goo away. Dae-shik does some investigating of the room and finds a huge refrigerator filled with various organs and body parts, ready to be sold on the black market. The detectives are shocked by this discovery, and as one of the injured orderlies laughs at them, Jin-hyuk demands to know if he’s even human.
The orderly scoffs that it’s pointless to try and arrest them, since their expensive lawyers will keep them out of jail. But “Mad Dog” Jin-hyuk doesn’t care about the law as he starts to pummel the smug-faced orderly until Dae-shik finally intervenes.
Another of the orderlies, who is more terrified than smug, reveals that they got the job through a broker who wanted to test the side effects of weight loss drugs. They couldn’t get enough volunteers for the clinical testing, so they used the homeless people instead. Then, once a patient succumbed to the side effects, they killed them and harvested their organs to sell to other countries.
Furious at their greed for money over the lives of innocent people, Jin-hyuk picks up a hammer and threateningly raises it towards the smug orderly. He promises to hit the man only once, but even the Mad Dog side of him sees reason, and he drops the hammer as he asks where the director went.
As Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik run through the building to chase down the director, they report back to Kwon-joo about the truth of the center and how the homeless patients were abused and used — even the children.
They barge into the director’s office, but the only person there is the young girl from earlier, hiding in a corner. Jin-hyuk kneels down to gently tell the girl that he’ll make sure the bad guys pay for everything they’ve done to her. He adds that his son is her age, and he’s sure they’d become friends, but in order for that to happen, he needs to find the evil director.
The little girl silently points a finger to another area of the room, and Dae-shik carefully picks her up and carries her out, quietly ordering Jin-hyuk to catch that bastard. Glancing around the room at the director’s many awards and certificates, he discovers that one of the bookshelves is actually covering up a door.
He follows it to a secret room in the back, where the director hides, ready to strike as soon as Jin-hyuk opens the curtain. But he’s an old, out-of-shape man who can’t match Jin-hyuk’s strength or anger, and Jin-hyuk easily takes the knife from him — but only after he purposefully cuts his wrist with it. There’s dark glee in his voice as he tells the director that, since the man has attacked a police officer, everything he does from here on out will be considered self-defense.
Jin-hyuk shoves the man across the room, where he stumbles to the ground. The director scoffs that he had no idea the police cared so much about the homeless. It’s not like anyone would really notice if the homeless die on the streets or in his clinic. At least he was giving their bodies purpose.
Jin-hyuk pulls out his gun and fires off two warning shots before pointing it at the director. He tells the director that all those lives he ruined with his experimental drugs and organ harvesting may have been homeless people with no where else to go, but they were still people who deserved to be treated with dignity. It seems only fair that the director give up his life to pay for at least a portion of all the lives he destroyed.
The director screams as Jin-hyuk pulls the trigger — but he aims at the wall instead of the director’s head. He’s still a police officer, after all, and he vows that he’ll make sure the director spends his life rotting in jail. He officially arrests the director, thus closing the latest Golden Time case.
The news stations report on the story as the welfare center workers are taken away in handcuffs, and one woman arrives in a taxi, screaming for her husband. She’s Jin-goo’s wife, and until she saw the news, she had no idea where he was. Before the recession, he used to own a large clothing factory but it went bankrupt, and in order to keep from burdening his wife and daughter with his debts, he left them to live on the streets.
Kwon-joo calls Dae-shik, asking if he knows if there’s anyone named Gong Chul-han at the welfare center. Dae-shik looks through the files, but he doesn’t see anyone listed by that name — not even on the list of those who’ve died. He then asks the homeless people still assembled outside the clinic if they’ve ever heard of Chul-han, but no one knows anything about him. In the ambulance, Jin-goo overhears Dae-shik and tries to speak, but he can barely gasp out Chul-han’s name.
Back at the station, Kwon-joo studies Jin-hyuk’s wife’s file, as well as the meagre information she has on Chul-han, which states that he went missing while he was staying at a care facility.
Eun-soo and Hyun-ho have a cute moment as they talk about the responsibilities of working at the call center, but it’s really just an excuse to have a two-minute commercial for Subway. They’re still super adorable, nonetheless.
Tae-gu, of course, doesn’t eat at Subway. Instead, he’s having his dinner at a fancy restaurant, where he waits for Sang-tae to arrive. He’s amused when he hears the cracking of Sang-tae’s jaw, which sounds louder than normal. Is he afraid that Tae-gu might have contacted the police?
Sang-tae defends himself, reminding Tae-gu that he’s a wanted man who has nowhere to hide. That just only serves to further amuse Tae-gu, who points out that he doesn’t sound like the Sang-tae he used to know. Sang-tae gets straight to the point, asking for Tae-gu’s help to keep him out of prison and live a comfortable, free life.
Tae-gu reaffirms that none of his belongings are in the bag the police found, and then casually asks if Sang-tae wants him to kill Jin-hyuk for him. He then slides over the steak he’d been cutting up for Sang-tae, pleasantly telling him he should eat to keep up his strength.
But when Sang-tae, his defenses now lowered as he relaxes, reaches for the plate, Tae-gu grabs a fork and stabs Sang-tae’s hand — the same hand that’s still injured from where Jin-hyuk had stabbed it previously. As Tae-gu gleefully wriggles the fork and Sang-tae struggles to keep from yelling out in pain, Tae-gu tells him that he wants to get a good look at the detective that’s made Sang-tae so fearful and so weak.
He tells Sang-tae that once he gets rid of the fear, he could be become stronger than humanly possible. After he removes the fork from Sang-tae’s hand, Tae-gu tells him that he has a choice to make between two options, and depending on which one he takes, it could change his life forever.
Jin-hyuk returns to the station where the Violent Crimes detectives are still interrogating Sang-tae’s henchman, trying to get a clue to Sang-tae’s whereabouts. But Jin-hyuk enters the room and tells the man that he knows Sang-tae wasn’t the one who killed his wife, so instead the man should tell him who framed Sang-tae.
The henchman smugly tells Jin-hyuk that Sang-tae has more connections than one would think — and some of them are in this very building. The other detectives think the henchman is bluffing, but Dae-shik keeps a careful eye on the haggard Chief Jang when he steps outside.
Chief Jang calls his daughter who lives in Australia, asking how she’s doing. But she’s too busy to talk, and when he sadly heads back into the building, he finds Jin-hyuk standing there, waiting for him.
Sang-tae thinks over Tae-gu’s options. If he kills Jin-hyuk, then Tae-gu will do anything Sang-tae wants, freeing him from his lifelong contract with Tae-gu’s family. Sang-tae points out that killing a cop is not exactly an easy thing, and Tae-gu tells him that he should use Tae-gu’s name as bait to lure Jin-hyuk out. Sang-tae can figure out what happens after that. The other option, according to Tae-gu, is to be punished like his father was.
Jin-hyuk and Chief Jang sit alone in one of the police vehicles as Jin-hyuk reveals that he knows all about the video and the blackmail — but not who’s blackmailing Chief Jang, which is the information he really wants. Chief Jang is frustrated that he’s been found out, but he tells Jin-hyuk that it’s better he stay out of it. Aw, he genuinely sounds so sad and defeated.
At the hospital, Jin-goo’s wife tends to her husband. The medication seems to have worn off, because he sounds like he’s once again in his right mind. But he can’t stop thinking about the detective asking about Chul-han. He doesn’t know much about Chul-han, but he’s heard some things during his time on the streets.
He calls Kwon-joo, thanking her (on behalf of the entire call center) for saving his life. He then admits that, while he didn’t know Chul-han very well, they did stay at the same homeless shelter once. He mentions someone who might know more about Chul-han, and who he thinks is now a bus driver for Sungun Express, aka Tae-gu’s company. Funny how that name keeps cropping up.
Jin-hyuk gets Chief Jang to admit that he thinks he’s being blackmailed by someone from the station, especially since the blackmailer seems to know his every move. When he mentions that he was planning to resign, Jin-hyuk tells him that he’ll make sure the blackmailer pays for what he’s done, and that Chief Jang just needs to focus on his work. In the spirit of mutual honesty and camaraderie, he tells Jin-hyuk that Kwon-joo has been looking into Jin-hyuk’s wife’s files.
When Kwon-joo meets up with him per his request, he asks why she did a background check on his wife. Conveniently, Kwon-joo wanted to meet with him, too, to tell him why she thinks his wife was murdered. Before she died, she was looking for a homeless man, and Jin-hyuk remembers her telling him about it when he was trying to catch up on his sleep, but he ignored her when she asked for his help.
Kwon-joo finds it strange that Jin-hyuk’s wife was so obsessed with finding a specific homeless man. Jin-hyuk says it’s just because she was an exceptionally caring person, but Kwon-joo believes there’s something more to it. Jin-hyuk demands to know what she’s not telling him — did his wife die because she was looking for Chul-han?
Hesitating, Kwon-joo reveals that his wife had been endlessly searching for Chul-han when he disappeared two days before her death. She then shows him the message she received last night, stating that Jin-hyuk’s wife was actually a secret broker for GP Development.
Scoffing at the idea that anyone would accuse his wife of such a thing, he drunkenly leaves the restaurant. Just then, he gets a phone call from Sang-tae, asking to meet. He wants to make a deal. If Jin-hyuk keeps him from getting arrested, he’ll give him the proof of who really killed his wife.
Kwon-joo receives a message from Tae-gu, politely asking if she’ll meet with the CEO of Sungun Express. Ahhhh, is Tae-gu bathing in blood? Creeeeeeepy. Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk stare at each other through the restaurant window as they realize how close they are to finding out the identity of the killer.
I don’t know why I keep being surprised by Tae-gu when I should just assume that he’s predictably horrific, but… that was blood, right? In the bath water? And not just some fancy colored bath salts? Is he really so unhinged that he would literally bathe in the blood of his enemies? (Um… yeah, he totally is. Why am I even questioning this?)
I’m not too worried about Jin-hyuk falling for Sang-tae’s trap because I also don’t understand why Sang-tae has hope he’ll survive. He knows what Tae-gu is capable of, he knows that he’s no longer useful to him — so why does he seem to think that Tae-gu won’t kill him since that would be easier than paying him off and giving him his freedom? I’ve been a little surprised that Sang-tae has lasted as long as he has, actually, but then again I suppose he’s had his uses. Until now, that is. I’m ready to take bets on whether or not Sang-tae will live until the end of the show (but I’m pretty sure he won’t).
I’m also pleased that I totally knew there was going to be something more important about the welfare center that somehow related back to the main case. I want to believe that this newfound knowledge about Jin-hyuk’s wife is somehow false, at least for Jin-hyuk’s sake. I want him to have good memories of his wife and not think of her as someone that might have been doing possibly illegal business on the side, and that might have been the reason she was killed that night.
But it would help to understand why Tae-gu killed her in the first place. Jin-hyuk’s wife has been the most perplexing murder, because I haven’t been able to figure out why she was killed when all we’ve seen from Tae-gu is that, crazy as he is, he does have a method to his madness. All the other deaths have been to either cover up other business deals or remove witnesses. Unless Jin-hyuk’s wife was a witness to another as-yet-unreported murder, it would make sense that she had connections to Sungun Express and knew something she shouldn’t. Possibly she was doing the right thing — perhaps Tae-gu is the reason Chul-han disappeared and Jin-hyuk’s wife, in her desperation to find out where he went, discovered more than was good for her. Hopefully as we enter the last few episodes, all these random threads will start to make sense and we — and Jin-hyuk — will finally be able to discover the truth of what really happened and why.
On a technical note, I’m pleased that the terrible shaky-cam seems to have abated. While there’s still some movement, these past couple of episodes haven’t made me as woozy as before, so it seems like the director is listening to the complaints about the show and is willing to fix it. Or maybe the camera director is just no longer drunk. Or maybe I’ve acclimated to the shaky-cam. Whatever the reason, I’m no longer distracted by it.
I’m also thankful for all the closeups on Kim Jae-wook’s face. His character may be unrepentantly eeeeeeeeeeevil, but his cheekbones are definitely a blessing. If we can’t get decent character development in this show, at least we can enjoy the pretty.