Kwon-joo wastes no time in setting up her Golden Time Unit — or, at least, trying to set it up. It’s hard to do much of anything when it seems the entire police force is against you, much less the specifically chosen few who refuse to have anything to do with you. But when a call comes in, a choice must be made — is it more important to hold a grudge, or save an innocent life?
Chapter 2: “Two-faced Healing Mama”
Ten minutes after Bok-nim’s terrified call, begging the emergency center to save her, Jin-hyuk runs through the alleyways, searching for the barber’s pole that Kwon-joo heard.
As her kidnapper swings the hammer down towards her, Bok-nim desperately fights back, biting him and pushing him away. But she’s no match for his strength. Kwon-joo and the rest of the call center — including Commissioner Bae and Chief Jang — listen helplessly to the sounds of a fight coming through the phone line, but only Kwon-joo is able to discern that Bok-nim keeps resisting.
However, she runs out of energy, and as the kidnapper raises the hammer to deal the final blow, Jin-hyuk barges into the room, knocking the man over and giving Bok-nim the chance to run away to safety. She’s grabbed by the other police officers who were hurrying as backup support to Jin-hyuk, and she relays that Jin-hyuk is fighting with “that crazy man.”
It’s a brutal battle as the two men tussle in the abandoned bathroom, but eventually Jin-hyuk gets the upper hand as he pummels the kidnapper unconscious. But once he sees the man’s bag filled with wallets, keys, phone charms, and other personal mementos from all the other victims, Jin-hyuk grabs the hammer. Serial killers like this bastard don’t deserve to live.
Kwon-joo pleads with him over the radio not to do it — killing someone else won’t bring back those who have already died. But Jin-hyuk raises the hammer, and, imagining his wife’s face in her her final moments, he swings it down — where it crashes into the tile next to the unconscious killer.
The backup team arrive just then, reporting to the call center that they’ve apprehended the suspect and are currently transporting the victim to the hospital. All of this occurred within fifteen minutes.
Kwon-joo turns to face Commissioner Bae and Chief Jang, pointing out that this incident shows the importance of a Golden Time Unit. Commissioner Bae agrees to let her establish the unit, as well as select anyone she wants to be on her team. However it will only be for six months — she’ll have to prove the unit will be worthwhile by then.
As Jin-hyuk leaves the scene of the crime, he finds Bok-nim’s phone, and wonders to himself if it’s really true that Kwon-joo could hear things that no one else can — just like she said she could three years ago.
Later, Chief Jang makes a statement to the reporters about the capture of the killer, admitting that it was due to the call center that they were able to apprehend him and not the efforts of the Violent Crimes Unit. When Jin-hyuk pulls up in his squad car, the reporters surround him, begging for a statement, but he pushes past them without saying a word.
Dae-shik cheerfully greets his hyung, complimenting him on the impressive job he did catching the killer. But Jin-hyuk is too focused on how someone would be able to hear a sound no one else could possibly hear. He marches to the call center, but Kwon-joo already left to visit the victim in the hospital.
Bok-nim’s mother gives Kwon-joo her profuse thanks, apologizing for not being a good mother and working too much so she wasn’t able to raise her daughter well. But Kwon-joo says she was just doing her job, and it was Bok-nim who was the brave one.
Bok-nim thanks her, though, because Kwon-joo was the first person to tell her to hold on and survive. She sweetly tells Kwon-joo she hopes that whatever mistake Kwon-joo made in the past will work out well in the end.
As Kwon-joo leaves the hospital, she’s surprised to see Jin-hyuk enter. She assumes he’s there to visit Bok-nim, but she’s the the one he wants to speak to. He demands to know how she knew the victim would be in the barber shop. She calmly explains that her reasoning is the same as it was there years ago — she can hear details no one else can, which meant she could hear the sound of the electronic barber’s pole.
He scoffs at the explanation, finding it unbelievable. Just then Dae-shik calls, warning Jin-hyuk not to trust anything Kwon-joo tells him. He’s heard that Kwon-joo figured out where Bok-nim was hiding based on information she received about the killer’s profile.
That’s more believable than someone with super hearing, and Jin-hyuk laughs at Kwon-joo, asking if she enjoyed feeling important, ordering people around and lying about how she knows things. She tries to explain but he cuts her off, telling her that if she has any ounce of humanity in her, she should just forget the Golden Time Unit. If she truly wants to honor her father who was killed in the hit-and-run investigation, then she should stop now.
Over drinks with Jin-hyuk, Dae-shik reassures him that Kwon-joo isn’t worth his time. She’s obviously delusional and it’ll be better without her. But… what if she’s telling the truth? Dae-shik describes a documentary he watched where a brain injury could cause the nerve system to create a supernatural power. Maybe Kwon-joo is actually a psychic!
Annoyed, Jin-hyuk tells him he’s not in a mood to joke around, and Dae-shik is once again stuck cleaning up his mess — or at least paying for the bill after Jin-hyuk abruptly leaves.
Kwon-joo arrives at her sound-proofed apartment. She opens up a curtain to reveal an elaborate evidence wall, complete with red string tying the cases together. Included is Jin-yuk’s wife case and her father’s case, but there are also articles about various types of weapons, all crafted from the same type of steel.
She listens to the recording from the night when Jin-hyuk’s wife died, when she begged the man not to kill her and he told her that she shouldn’t have made him upset. Focusing on the odd little click when the murderer speaks, Kwon-joo promises her father that she’ll never waver again. No matter what she hears, she’ll make the murderer pay.
As Jin-hyuk arrives at the hospital, he keeps thinking about the possibility of Kwon-joo actually being able to hear things indiscernible to everyone else, but decides it’s too impossible. Aw, he’s at the hospital to visit with his son, Dong-woo, who has a chronic immune disorder.
Dong-woo proudly watches the news report about his dad’s big arrest. Jin-hyuk brushes off any concerns about the injuries on his face, saying it was because he tripped and fell chasing after the criminal. Then he pulls out a present, much to the delight of Dong-woo. When he asks his son what he wants for his birthday, the boy sweetly says that this gift is enough for him. He knows his father is working hard to pay the hospital bills.
But he sighs, wishing that he could have his mother’s food, since his grandmother’s just doesn’t taste the same. He also had a dream about her, where she smiled at him even though she looked sad. Jin-hyuk tells his son not to worry — he’ll catch the “bad guy” no matter what it takes, and then his mother will smile happily in his dreams.
Just then he gets a call from Dae-shik, letting him know that the two of them are being transferred to the Golden Time Unit. His look of surprise is priceless — did he really think Kwon-joo was just going to give up because he told her to?
In the morning, Kwon-joo meets with two others that she’s hand-picked to be a part of the team. The first is OH HYUN-HO (Yesung) who is utterly bewildered by the offer, explaining that if he stays in an office for too long he gets panic attacks. But she wants him because of his experience as a hacker — she knows that he once won hacking competitions when he used to live in America. Hyun-ho is surprised she found that out — it isn’t something he’s ever mentioned before.
The next is PARK EUN-SOO (Sohn Eun-seo), who is fluent in many languages, a skill Kwon-joo needs since many of the calls they get are from foreigners. But Eun-soo interrupts to immediately decline the offer — she has no desire to work in a call center and she currently is working toward a promotion in another department. But Kwon-joo vaguely references something that happened to Eun-soo’s grandmother, suggesting she rethink the offer. She gives her until tomorrow morning to accept.
As for Hyun-oh, Kwon-joo greets him as part of the team. His new job starts right now, and when he’s bewildered that he doesn’t have a choice in the matter, Kwon-joo says that if he doesn’t want to work for her, he’ll be transferred to the customer service department — the very place he doesn’t want to be since it means being in an office all day. Hah.
Hyun-oh sighs that he has no spine, but admires Kwon-joo’s aggressive charm. He greets Eun-soo, telling her how pretty she is, then asking how to say “you’re hot” in Russian. Eun-soo: “Leave before I sue you for sexual harassment.” Hahaha, I already love her.
Jin-hyuk calls Kwon-joo, furious that she transferred him to her unit. He tells her he’s headed her way so they can talk in person, but she cooly reminds him that she is his boss, so he better be mindful of how he talks to her. He’s annoyed when she hangs up on him, but he’s even more annoyed when he finds out that his desk in the Violent Crimes Unit now sits under a sign that says “Golden Time Emergency Response Team.”
Dae-shik — who’s also been assigned to the Golden Time team — explains that there’s no way for them to refuse the reassignment. It’s either this team or no job at all. The other detectives taunt Jin-hyuk for suddenly being promoted to a team leader, wondering what his wife would think if she knew he was now working for the woman that let her murderer go free.
In a rage, Jin-hyuk leaps forward to attack them, but as the detectives scuffle, Chief Jang arrives and breaks it up. If Jin-hyuk had just laid low like Chief Jang told him to, he wouldn’t have caught anyone’s attention — especially Kwon-joo’s. Chief Kang is convinced the reason she wants Jin-hyuk working for her is so she can obliterate the Violent Crimes Unit.
Just then an emergency call comes in from a young boy who says that his mother is trying to kill him. When Kwon-joo ascertains that it isn’t a prank call, she declares the start of “golden time.” She orders the team to depart right away, but Jin-hyuk angrily radios back that he first needs to talk to her about his reassignment.
She warns him that if he doesn’t leave now, she’ll strip him of his badge. Fine, then, if that’s she wants. He’ll no longer be a detective any more — does that make her happy? She calmly points out that he knows the longer he waits, the greater the chance the child will die. Does he want to be responsible for a child’s death?
Jin-hyuk looks like he’s ready to barge on over to the call center and fight her in person, but Dae-shik tells him that they should leave now and deal with Kwon-joo later. With a frustrated yell, Jin-hyuk follows Dae-shik out of the station.
Kwon-joo gets more information from the boy: his name is Ah-ram, he’s seven-years-old, and he’s hiding in the washing machine after his mother tried to kill him by stabbing him in the stomach with a knife. While he hides, his mother looks around the apartment for him, and there are photos of the woman with her husband and a young girl — but no pictures of Ah-ram.
He does his best to describe where he lives, but he’s never been allowed outside and doesn’t know his address or his mother’s full name. All he knows is that there are tall brick buildings around him. Kwon-joo orders Hyun-oh, who has barely begun his training and doesn’t even have a computer station of his own yet, to borrow someone’s computer to search where in the neighborhood there might be such buildings.
Within seconds, Hyun-oh finds an apartment complex matching the description — this skill is undoubtedly why Kwon-joo wanted him on the team. She relays the information to Dae-shik and Jin-hyuk as they speed through the streets.
Ah-ram’s mother frantically searches for him, worried that she’ll be found out. As she hunts through the garbage containers to see if he’s hiding there, a couple of nosy neighbors appear. They call the woman “Jae-eun’s mother,” and wonder why she hasn’t been answering her phone. That makes her realize Ah-ram must have it.
The nosy neighbors reveal that they want to get together to report another neighbor who keeps mixing up the trash and recycling. They hold up the offending bag, revealing that she must also be beating her child since she’s thrown out kids clothing with blood on it. “Jae-eun’s mother” demurs, apologizing that she has to take her own child to the hospital, and as she scurries back into the apartment, the women marvel at how shy and sweet she is. Yeah, it’s always the quiet ones.
When she returns, Ah-ram’s mother (as we’ll call her for clarity’s sake) tries calling her cell phone from the landline, but gets a message it’s already in use. She then calls someone else (her husband?), telling him that the kid ran away with her phone and she’s worried he’ll call the police.
Three minutes after the Ah-ram called the emergency center, Jin-hyuk, Dae-shik, and the local patrol officers arrive at the apartment complex.
They spread out to search for any clues, and Kwon-joo asks Ah-ram if he knows what building and floor he lives on. He reveals that he tried to run away, but got scared because it was too bright — normally the house is dark because his brother was sick. But that “brother” was a boy who already lived there before he did moved away to live with a grandmother and never returned, and then before him was a girl who now lives at the hospital.
Today, however, his mother was going to bathe him so that they could go on a family picnic, but instead she tried to drown him in the bathtub. When that didn’t work, she took a knife and stabbed him in the stomach. But he fought back, pushing her to the ground and momentarily knocking her out. As he tried to run away, he stole her phone and hid in the washing machine.
Kwon-joo knows what “going to grandmother’s” and “living at the hospital” really means, and relays to Jin-hyuk and the rest of the team that the case has now been bumped up from an injury to potential murder.
Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik race to the security office to see if the security guard would have an idea who might be abusing a child. The nosy neighbors appear just then, revealing that they know exactly who the cops are looking for. The blood on the shirt is enough proof for Dae-shik and Jin-hyuk to trust the women, and they hurry to the apartment.
Kwon-joo gently keeps encouraging Ah-ram to hang on and not be afraid, to tell her everything he remember, and he reveals that he hears a xylophone every time his father returns home.
The sound of police sirens panics Ah-ram’s mother, and she nervously peeks out the window to see Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik run through the streets to the child abuser’s apartment. The phone rings, and she freaks out, yelling at the person on the other end of the phone that the cops are near and she doesn’t know what to do.
Weakened by loss of blood, Ah-ram drops the phone. The clank of it hitting the metal washing machine catches the woman’s attention, and she picks up her bloody knife as she slowly searches the apartment. She calls out for Ah-ram, reminding him that they’re supposed to go on a picnic today, and she’s not angry, not really.
As Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik run to the apartment they were told had a child abuser, someone radios in to reveal the information about that tenant. The facts don’t quite match up, though: her child is eight-years-old, not seven, and attends a local school — but Ah-ram isn’t allowed to leave the house.
Jin-hyuk says that Ah-ram might just be confused due to his injury, but Kwon-joo knows something is wrong. The apartment Jin-hyuk is investigating is on the first floor, but Ah-ram said he could see the tops of trees. She also tries to focus on what could also sound like a xylophone, but nothing in her “sound memory” feels quite right.
Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik arrive at the child abuser’s apartment. Kwon-joo still doesn’t think it’s the right place, but Jin-hyuk says that he can hear screaming from inside. He’s going to check, just in case.
Despite the frustration of not knowing where the real apartment is, Kwon-joo keeps her voice calm as she tells Ah-ram that he doesn’t need to talk — he can just tap the phone so she knows he’s still there. He covers his mouth when he hears the door to the utility room open, but his mother doesn’t notice him hiding in the washing machine.
Jin-hyuk barges into the apartment where a woman is spanking a child. But it’s clearly not Ah-ram — it’s the wrong apartment.
The woman re-enters the utility room, and this time she sees the blood dripping from the washing machine’s drain pipe. She smiles when she hears the boy whisper that he isn’t sure if the police are there yet. She tells him to come out and see “Mommy” as she leans over the washing machine. Reaching in, she drags him out, and all Kwon-joo can hear is the woman’s voice and the boy’s screams. Jin-hyuk and Dae-shik stare helplessly at the many buildings around them.
Ten minutes have passed since Ah-ram first called the emergency center.
Oooohhhhhh, this lady is creeeeeeeepy. Ah-ram is obviously not her real child, so does she just kidnap kids and then kill them off when she decides she needs a new one? Actually, I don’t think I want to know. I do want to know that Jin-hyuk will once again barge in at the nick of time and save the day, thanks to him trusting Kwon-joo’s super hearing. What I don’t want is this to be some lesson in the importance of him trusting her and letting a kid die on his watch because he took the time to investigate another lead.
Which, honestly, is understandable. He’s a cop — there was a viable suspect, backed up by witnesses, and a commotion coming from the apartment. It makes sense that he would want to confirm if it was the right place or not and not just rely on what only can be described as a “hunch” from Kwon-joo. That doesn’t mean I’m not totally stressed out by yet another cliff-hanger ending, though. Because I am. *nibbles what’s left of fingernails*
I’m also stressed out by Dae-shik. He keeps givng Jin-hyuk reasons not to trust Kwon-joo, reasons that are only founded on rumors, and I to grab him and yell at him to stop listening to all the gossip and instead look at the facts! Then again, Dae-shik does seem to be the only loyal friend and coworker that Jin-hyuk has right now, so I could also understand him being overly protective of his mildly deranged hyung who is out for vengeance. He has no reason not to believe that Kwon-joo was lying during the trial, so he has no reason to trust her, either. I could see why he’d want to protect Jin-hyuk from getting hurt again by someone he perceives to be a ruthless opportunist.
But because I’m an omniscient viewer who knows she’s not a ruthless opportunist, he makes me angry and I just want him to let Jin-hyuk come to his own conclusions about Kwon-joo’s super hearing. Or maybe I just want the team to be united already and focused on saving the day every week instead of working through their angst with each other. Which might not make as much of a compelling story, maybe, but with the anxiety of the “golden time” ticking down every second, I don’t know if I can also add on some interpersonal drama.
Okay, maybe I can, a little, since I’m pretty excited that we’re going to be adding a couple of new personalities into the mix, and I can’t wait to see Eun-soo and Hyun-ho becoming bickering partners who gradually learn to trust each other — but without the baggage of feeling responsible for getting a family member killed.
One of my favorite parts of the episode was Kwon-joo’s apartment. Not just because I was pleased that the show made sure to add in the detail that it’s totally soundproofed, but that she’s got that crazy wall of evidence. The “wall o’ evidence” is something I feel like I rarely see with female leads — it’s usually the guys who are the obsessive stalkers. Then again, it’s usually the guys who head up police units, so it’s an added treat to be able to watch Kwon-joo calmly and brilliantly lead her tiny team — whether they like it or not.