Although the Golden Time Team may be disbanded, it doesn’t mean they stop trying to save lives — even if it means a detour in their pursuit of the insane devil Tae-gu. The depth of Dae-shik’s betrayal starts to become clear, and the question remains whether it’s better to sacrifice yourself to save many or to do whatever you can to protect the few you love.
Chapter 15: “For The Last Golden Time Part 1”
Jin-hyuk tells Tae-gu that he’s found Tae-gu’s murder box, which means it’s all over for him. But Kwon-joo calls Jin-hyuk, letting him know about the bus disaster and how she’s worried that due to the gas leaking while the engine idles, the bus could explode. Even though the emergency response vehicles are on their way, they’re coming from different directons and he’s the closest to the accident.
Jin-hyuk immediately heads out, warning Tae-gu that he’ll be back. CEO Mo watches the detective run out of the building, surprised to see him since Jin-hyuk is supposed to be on probation (thanks to the little call he made to Prosecutor Park that dismantled the Golden Time Team). His assistant informs him that Jin-hyuk is targeting Tae-gu.
Meanwhile, Tae-gu thinks to himself that it’s impossible for Jin-hyuk to have found is murder box. Ooooohhhhh, the crackle in the jaw is now back? Jin-hyuk must have touched a nerve to make him stressed like that.
Both Tae-gu and his father return to the press conference for their contract signing. CEO Mo’s assistant calls Commissioner Bae, updating him about the bus incident and how the Golden Time Team is interfering in a situation that could reflect poorly on Sungwun Express.
Commissioner Bae calls Kwon-joo to accuse of her trying to work behind his back in order to restore the Golden Time Team, but she retorts that she and the rest of the people responding to the bus incident just want to save lives.
The Violent Crimes Unit and the forensics guys are at the shipping container, carefully gathering evidence. Jin-hyuk calls Chief Jang, letting him know that when they test the blood and DNA, to compare it to Tae-gu’s. He also tells the chief that he’s on his way to where the bus overturned, and he thinks it’s suspicious since the bus belongs to Sungwun Express. He promises to keep the chief updated.
Back at the call center, Kwon-joo listens over the phone as the passengers try to encourage their loved ones to hang on. Kwon-joo reassures the passengers that help is on the way, but one of the women panics because her son is no longer bleeding and his body is growing colder. Assuming it’s due to hemorrhaging shock, she counsels the woman to keep massaging the boy’s body.
The emergency vehicles start to arrive at the same time Jin-hyuk drives up on the scene, and the emergency response team work quickly to save the passengers. The most difficult one to save is the pregnant woman’s husband, whose leg is stuck beneath the overturned bus. By this time, more emergency response teams have arrived, including Dae-shik, and using a jack and brute strength of the rescue workers, the men manage to lift the bus enough to pull the wounded man free.
Kwon-joo’s increasingly concerned about the bus exploding, but it looks like everyone has been rescued and the ambulances speed off to the hospital. She can hear someone still moaning, though, and as she listens to the voice, she realizes it belongs to Driver Park. Jin-hyuk hurries back into the overturned bus to try and save him while Dae-shik down the safety windshield to help haul the driver out.
Listening intently from the call center, Kwon-joo warns them that she can hear the sound of sparks. The bus could explode any second. She listens in horror at the sound of the men yelling at each other to quickly get out and then a spark from the engine catches the leaked gas, causing an explosion which immediately catches the bus on fire
But she and the rest of the call center sigh in relief when Jin-hyuk radios, letting them know they made it out and managed to save Driver Park, too. The fireman that saw the leak before it exploded reports back that the bus had faulty wiring in addition to old tires, and that this bus was basically a death trap waiting to happen.
The fireman also managed to save some of Driver Park’s belongings, including the “safety insurance” contract he signed. Jin-hyuk notes that one of the clauses says that if the driver dies in an accident while on the job, Sungwun Express will collect on the insurance. He asks Kwon-joo to look into the other Sungwun Express insurance policies to see if there have been other so-called “accidents” that CEO Mo and Tae-gu have cashed in on.
The news station reports on the bus incident, and even though no one died, it is a huge PR blow to Sungwun Express to have it publicly revealed that their buses are in such shoddy and dangerous shape. CEO Mo is furious that the incident has overtaken a day that should have been a happy celebration, and orders his men to bury this story. He kicks him by way of punishment, and it’s clear it’s not the first time he’s used physical violence as a threat against them. Then again, he is Tae-gu’s father, so there’s no surprise there.
Tae-gu arrives at a large and modern house by a lake, and cautiously enters the living room, carefully looking around. But he soon relaxes as he realizes that Jin-hyuk must not have found this place after all. Wait, what?
With a key card, he unlocks a secure door leading to the basement, and looks around in satisfaction at a large empty room that’s permanently stained with blood. The ghost of Sang-tae whispers in his ears, telling Tae-gu that he has the key to this place where all his evil deeds have been done. Even if Jin-hyuk hasn’t found it yet, doesn’t he want to know where Sang-tae kept the key?
When a woman’s voice speaks out from the darkness, Tae-gu’s normal calm is broken as he looks around in desperation, but it’s just another voice of one of his ghosts, pleading with him not to look.
At the hospital, the bus passengers are thankful for Jin-hyuk for saving their lives. It looks like everyone has survived, including the child who was in shock and the husband who was trapped under the bus. Yay!
Hyun-ho and Eun-soo are looking into Sungwun Express and its insurance policies, and Eun-soo is disgusted to find out that Sungwun Express has exploited the lives of at least 50 drivers who have died, and hundreds of others who were injured in bus accidents over the past decade. And that’s just the information they could find — who knows how many have gone unreported, especially if the drivers have been paid-off to keep their silence.
Chief Jang asks one of his detectives to quietly investigate a bus driver that used to work for Sungwun Express — and who just so happens to be Dae-shik’s father. The detective also asks about Tae-gu, since the guys have figured out that he must be the real killer, but Chief Jang tells them they have to get evidence first. Aw, but it’s nice to know everyone’s on Jin-hyuk and Kwon-joo’s side now.
Jin-hyuk confirms with Driver Park that he was forced to sign the insurance contract, and that he was forced to drive a bus that was in need of repair. Driver Park blames himself, though, saying that if he hadn’t driven on the unpaved road with the bad tires, the bus wouldn’t have flipped. But Jin-hyuk is furious that Sungwun Express would purposefully make him to drive a bus that was such a dangerous liability.
Kwon-joo arrives at the hospital with proof that Sungwun Express has been secretly raking in a huge amount of insurance payouts for all the accidents that have happened to their drivers. Jin-hyuk relates this info to Tabloid, ordering him to leak it to other reporters and make sure every news outlet reveals how shady and suspect Sungwun Express truly is.
Prosecutor Park swaggers into the police station to meet with Commissioner Bae, warning him that CEO Mo isn’t pleased with the way the commissioner wasn’t able to bury the bus incident. He’s of the opinion that it’s time to get rid of the bad apples — meaning Jin-hyuk and the rest of the Golden Time Team — and then everything will be back to status quo.
But Jin-hyuk barges into the commissioner’s office just then, and I’ve never seen a more sarcastic salute as when he greets his superior. He’s there to deliver a statement rebutting the dismantling of the Golden Time Team, revealing that the injuries the prosecutor said were inflicted by Jin-hyuk were actually caused by the victims by other means.
Prosecutor Park scoffs at him, but Jin-hyuk, with deadly sincerity, tells the prosecutor that he’s the one that seems suspicious, since he’s receiving bribes from a company that nearly killed a dozen innocent people today.
He warns Prosecutor Park that he’s not going to rest until he brings down Tae-gu and destroys Sungwun Express in the process. If the prosecutor wants him to stop, then he’ll have to do more than try to get him fired — he might as well kill him right now. After all, he’s already risking his life to get to the bottom of this, anyway.
Angry, Prosecutor Park pulls rank, reminding him that Jin-hyuk’s been demoted to nothing but a mere sergeant. But Jin-hyuk reminds him that he didn’t get his badge to protect the powerful and corrupt, and the prosecution office should to protect the weak and helpless.
Prosecutor Park reaches out to slap Jin-hyuk, but Jin-hyuk grabs his wrist and, with quiet rage in voice, warns the prosecutor that if he really wants to know what Jin-hyuk’s fists feel like, he’ll either be shitting his pants for a week or he’ll be seeing his maker. Then he throws the prosecutor back down into his chair, departing with an even more sarcastic salute to the commissioner. “Mad Dog,” out!
Chief Jang is waiting for Jin-hyuk, and he reveals that the DNA samples they took from the container were from people from other parts of Asia — none of the DNA was from Tae-gu. That’s the container Sang-tae used for human trafficking, which means there’s still no evidence against Tae-gu.
Frustrated, Jin-hyuk wonders where the real murder box could be, especially since Kwon-joo said she distinctly heard the sound of the sea. He also wonders where Dae-shik has disappeared to.
Dae-shik is currently with CEO Mo, who’s called him over despite Dae-shik’s threats that he’s done working for him. CEO Mo reminds him that Dae-shik has been working for Sang-tae the last three years, and now that he’s working for CEO Mo, he’ll be able to buy Dae-shik whatever position he wants at the police station.
He insists that he’s not important — he’s only a junior detective — but CEO Mo points out that the reason he’s been so useful over the years is because he’s closest to Jin-hyuk. CEO Mo also reminds him that they are bound by their secrets. Tae-gu is CEO Mo’s secret, and Dae-shik’s secret is that his father killed someone — and Dae-shik killed one of Sang-tae’s men. Whoa, whoa, whoa. What???
Dae-shik leaves CEO Mo in a huff, but in his pocket is a key card. He remembers when Sang-tae called him and said that it’s time for him to set Dae-shik free, letting him know the key card was hidden in the bag he’d left behind for Jin-hyuk to find. In return, Sang-tae would give him the evidence that he’d been holding over Dae-shik’s head.
When Sang-tae died, Dae-shik had frantically looked through the documents that had been left on the floor, but the flash drive with his name on it wasn’t there. That’s because Tae-gu found it first, right after he killed Sang-tae. He also saw Dae-shik’s name on Sang-tae’s phone, and wondered if someone had cut him a deal with out his knowledge.
Back in the present, Tae-gu enters his office as CEO Mo finishes yelling over the phone at someone who’s supposed to stop the negative news articles against Sungwun Express. He calmly sits down at his desk as he father demands to know where he was — did he go back to “that place” after CEO Mo expressly told him not to?
CEO Mo tells Tae-gu that he should go to the States for awhile, at least until things cool down here. Tae-gu’s calm facade starts to crack as he stands up and demands to know why he should run away. Staring intently into his father’s eyes, his jaw crackling, he passionately demands to know why he should disappear when it’s father’s fault that he’s like this.
After all, he was told since he was a child that he was special, and his father taught him to get rid of anyone who stands in him way. CEO Mo nervously backs up as Tae-gu leans closer, and the younger man quietly warns his father that if he gets in his way, then he’ll get rid of him, too.
CEO Mo quickly leaves the room, and despite his obvious agitation, reassures his assistant that he’s okay. But he remembers the moment when he brought young Tae-gu to a psychiatrist to be tested, and the doctor revealed that Tae-gu has a personality disorder that is impossible to cure.
The best thing he can do is admit him to the hospital to treat the symptoms with medication, but CEO Mo didn’t want to have his son be brought up in a mental hospital.
In the present, a distraught CEO Mo blames himself for Tae-gu’s actions. Tae-gu, meanwhile, idly fiddles with Dae-shik’s flash drive and wonders what will be the best way to “play” with him.
Meanwhile, Chief Jang tells Jin-hyuk about what they’ve found on Dae-shik and his father. The day after Jin-hyuk’s wife was killed, the Violent Crimes Unit were busy looking into the case when Dae-shik got a call from someone that made him suddenly leave the station. His father, drowsy from medication, accidentally ran over someone and killed them as he was returning the bus to the depot.
As Dae-shik tried to comfort his father and reassure him they’ll figure it out, Sang-tae and his men stepped out of the shadows to reveal that they’ll cover up the situation if Dae-shik agrees to a deal with them. One of the men was filming everything, and Dae-shik angrily grabbed the phone from the man and shoved him aside. The man hit his head against the concrete curb and was instantly killed.
Now that Sang-tae could blackmail both men for killing someone, Dae-shik agreed to help out. Aha, so he was the one who deleted the extra radio evidence of Kwon-joo talking to Tae-gu right after he killed her father. He was also the one who threatened Chief Jang with blackmail (thanks to Sang-tae getting the video of the chief and ordering Dae-shik to use it) — all with the purpose of keeping a close eye on and discrediting Jin-hyuk and Kwon-joo.
Kwon-joo tries to figure out why Tae-gu hasn’t killed her yet, despite having ample opportunity. She assumes that there must be some motivation for keeping her alive, and based on what she knows of his systematic killing and motives that are rooted in power, she wonders if it’s all hereditary or if he had a traumatic shock when he was younger.
Eun-soo’s managed to dig up information about Tae-gu’s mother, who killed herself when he was twelve. As calls Tae-gu’s aunt, who lives in America, Jin-hyuk contacts Dae-shik, asking to meet with him.
Dae-shik assumes this is another one of their normal drinking sessions at their usual place. He chides Jin-hyuk for looking so down-and-out when they saved everyone on the bus today, adding that they should also celebrate that the Golden Time Team has been reinstated.
Jin-hyuk pours him a massive glass of soju, which Dae-shik cheerfully downs despite being baffled by his partner’s odd attitude. Jin-hyuk laughs as he tells Dae-shik that he knows everything, and Dae-shik bristles at Jin-hyuk’s accusation. Offended, he stands to leave, but Jin-hyuk slams his gun down on the table.
He’s already removed the blanks, which means there’s only live ammo left in the chamber. He tells Dae-shik that he should just pull the trigger and kill him today. Get it over with. After all, why did he do it, why did he betray him in the first place?
Furious, Dae-shik finally cracks, yelling that he had no choice. He was scared and wanted to survive. He turns it around on Jin-hyuk, asking how he can possibly go against Tae-gu and catch him when there’s an entire hierarchy set up to make sure he’ll be released.
Dae-shik says he’s not as strong as Jin-hyuk, and Jin-hyuk stands up to lightly slap the younger man across the cheek. It wasn’t like he was born strong — he just learned to endure it for as long as it was the right thing to do. And who taught him how to fight for the honorable thing? His wife.
He hands over the gun and turns around, telling Dae-shik to pull the trigger. Dae-shik openly weeps and slowly leaves the restaurant, leaving Jin-hyuk behind to think about all the ways Dae-shik had managed to spread misinformation, especially about Kwon-joo.
Meanwhile, an assistant barges into Tae-gu’s office to turn on the news. Tabloid has apparently made good on his promise to leak the scandal about the insurance payouts, because it’s now the headline news. Tae-gu watches intently, a smile slowly spreading across his lips.
He remembers Jin-hyuk’s warning that he’s done for, and smiles — as his jaw crackles — asking for “that rat’s” phone number.
Kwon-joo’s figured out where Tae-gu commits his murders. After talking to his aunt, she’s determined that there’s trauma from his past that’s centered on the lake house where his mother died. He was never the same after her death, and Kwon-joo believes that this was the turning point for Tae-gu to begin killing. All Jin-hyuk cares is that they now know where that bastard’s hideout is.
Dae-shik drinks himself silly as he replays Jin-hyuk’s angry words, and when his phone rings, he answers it. Tae-gu simply tells him that they need to talk. With fierce determination on his tear-stained face, Dae-shik staggers to his feet, promising to make this up to Jin-hyuk. Nooooooooooooooo!
He meets with Tae-gu, and I’m extra nervous since this looks like the same place Dong-chul was killed. Tae-gu isn’t wearing his murder jacket, though, which seems like it should be a good sign. Dae-shik is fed up with being a puppet, and insists that he’s going to turn himself in.
When Tae-gu tells him that he just wants his key back, or else he’ll kill Dae-shik’s father, Dae-shik pulls out his gun and presses it against Tae-gu’s head. Tae-gu just grins as Dae-shik angrily yells that he’ll arrest him first, and Tae-gu’s assistant rushes up with a metal pipe and knocks Dae-shik over the head.
Dae-shik collapses as he gasps up blood, and Tae-gu rifles through his pockets. He finds Dae-shik’s phone and tosses it into the harbor.
Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk drive to the lake villa, and Jin-hyuk has renewed determination to find and capture Tae-gu because if they don’t, then Dae-shik will surely die. He gets a message from Dae-shik that says he’s going to make it up to Jin-hyuk, but when he tries calling Dae-shik, there’s no answer. That’s not a good sign, and Kwon-joo automatically assumes he went to see Tae-gu.
Tae-gu arrives at his murder house, and smiles with glee as he studies something in the trunk. Oh no. It’s Dae-shik’s body, isn’t it?
Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk arrive outside the house, and Kwon-joo recognizes Tae-gu’s car. They must be a few minutes behind, since there’s no one else around, not even one security guard. There are security cameras, though, that film Kwon-joo and Jin-hyuk as they approach the front gate.
Tae-gu is in his murder basement, and Dae-shik is still alive, although bloodied, shirtless, and on his knees in the middle of the room with his hands handcuffed behind his back.
There’s a table filled with kettlebells, and Tae-gu’s jaw crackles as he calls Dae-shik a worthless rat, then asks him how he’d like to die. Dae-shik gasps out that he wants to live, but Tae-gu just gives him his killer Cheshire smile.
Meanwhile, Jin-hyuk and Kwon-joo find fresh blood stains in the driveway leading to the house.
Ahhhhhhhh, nooooooooo! Not Dae-shik! Just because he was the mole doesn’t mean he has to die! He’s just one pawn in this evil game of using money and power to buying up people for protection!
Baek Sung-hyun did a marvelous job in this episode. He’s been great throughout the whole show, but hadn’t really needed to do much until now. That scene in the restaurant, where he flipped from the jovial Dae-shik we know and love to the terrified and angry Dae-shik, was incredible and so effective. I just hate that there’s a strong chance he won’t make it out alive, since it seems that the only way to leave the murder basement is wrapped in plastic. If Chief Jang can be redeemed, why can’t Dae-shik? Well, at least we know who Chief Jang’s contact was and why he seemed to know the chief’s every move — that’s because he was in the chief’s department up until the Golden Time Team was created (and then was ordered to keep an eye on the chief. How convenient!).
Part of me wants to blame Dae-shik simply because I hate Jin-hyuk, who’s lost so much, being betrayed by someone he’s treated like his own family. But another part of me admires him for admitting that he just wanted to save his father. Now, with his father so close to death (six months, I think it was), Dae-shik probably thinks there’s nothing left for him to lose and that going all loose cannon like his “Mad Dog” partner might actually make everything right. Even though he clearly doesn’t want to die, I can’t help but wonder if that was somewhere in the back of his mind. “I’ll arrest Tae-gu or die trying.” It’s just a pity that death is merely a trifle for Tae-gu. Actually, it’s more than a trifle — it’s a fun game for him.
I’m convinced that Tae-gu must spend more time thinking of ways of how to kill people than actual work. Kwon-joo might believe his murderous tendencies have has to do with his mother’s suicide, and maybe they do, but I can’t completely dismiss his actions due to one triggering event. Perhaps that’s what pushed him over the edge, but there was obviously something hereditary and genetic lurking within him, too. Not everyone who’s experienced the death of a parent turns out to be a brutal and ruthless serial killer. Maybe Mom was the one thing keeping him sane, and with her gone, there’s nothing to keep him grounded. (And I’m also suspicious whether or not her suicide was just that, knowing this family’s ability to cover things up.) It’s obvious that violence runs in his family, as seen by the way his father treats his men. But Tae-gu takes it up to eleven.
There’s a teeny-tiny part of me that feels bad for CEO Mo, since he so obviously feels responsible due to not stopping Tae-gu’s insanity before it got out of hand. But CEO Mo isn’t exactly blameless– and I’m not just talking about violence. It’s about how he uses people to get what he wants. The whole issue with the insurance is that Sungwun Express has been making their millions by exploiting poor bus drivers and purposefully endangering their lives just to make some money. CEO Mo may not necessarily use a kettlebell, but he’s definitely responsible for the lives of the bus drivers who died in “accidents” created just to put a little more money in CEO Mo’s pocket.
I’m also reasonably convinced that Sang-tae purposefully framed Dae-shik’s father as a way to get a connection into the original case in order to protect Tae-gu. I could see them using one of their many “unwanted” people and literally throwing them under the bus in order to blackmail the Dae-shik’s father, and by extension, Dae-shik. It’s just a bonus that Dae-shik’s anger made him accidentally kill someone (and for a split second I thought that was a set-up, too, just based on Sang-tae’s relaxed reaction to one of his men dying).
Whatever the truth of the matter, Tae-gu &co. are truly horrible people, and while Tae-gu may be the worst of them all, they all deserve to pay for their crimes. I just hope that Jin-hyuk and Kwon-joo manage to save the day and take Tae-gu down before he kills anyone else.