Is it possible to hold your breath for two full weeks? Having to wait even one day for the resolution to one of Voice’s endless cliffhangers has been nerve-wracking and nigh unbearable (but in the best way!). So the added wait of the extra week means I’m utterly desperate to see how Jin-hyuk will save our favorite super-hearing hero. On the bright side, my fingernails are starting to grow back — just in time for me to anxiously nibble them away again.
Chapter 5: “Ringing from the Darkness Part 2”
In case anyone has forgotten during the long break, Kwon-joo is kidnapped by Kyung-il and his henchman Bong-gil, who digs a pit so they can bury her alive. Jin-hyuk uses his connections and detective know-how to track them to an empty field near a reservoir. After Jin-hyuk notifies the call center so they can call for back-up, he slowly makes his way through the field.
As Bong-gil continues to pile shovel after shovel of dirt onto her bagged, bound, and gagged body, Kwon-joo, starts to lose consciousness. Hiding in the trees so he can’t be noticed by the two men, Jin-hyuk aims his gun, annoyed that he can’t get a clear shot at Kyung-il. Just then a radio blares — it’s the Violent Crimes Unit, letting Jin-hyuk know they’re on their way but they can’t figure out where he is.
Jin-hyuk scrambles to turn off his radio — but it’s actually the police scanner in Kyung-il’s truck that is blaring, and both he and Bong-gil rush to get into the truck and speed away.
He hurries to the pit where Kwon-joo is buried and digs her out by hand, freeing her from her restraints. Despite narrowly escaping death, her only thought is for Eun-byul. She knows the younger woman is being held somewhere and that Kyung-il will shoot a revenge-rape film to be broadcast at 10pm.
When Jin-hyuk notifies the call center that Kwon-joo is safe and relatively unharmed, everyone celebrates. But Eun-byul’s grandmother throws a fit, frustrated that the police force would work so hard to search for one of their own yet no one knows where her granddaughter is, or if she’s even still alive. She even blames Eun-soo for joining the police yet being unable to save her sister.
The Violent Crimes Unit finally arrive at the local police station where Jin-hyuk tends to Kwon-joo. Jin-hyuk is annoyed that they radio’d him at a critical moment, and they’re annoyed because they couldn’t figure out where to find him. Chief Jang is protective of his crew, pointing out that it’s Kwon-joo’s fault for getting kidnapped in the first place.
He’s ready to send his men out to stakeout the harbor, since that’s where all suspects generally end up. When Jin-hyuk presses the issue about saving Eun-byul, Chief Jang blusters that there are three million people in this area — how can they possibly find the person they’re looking for?
Silent until then, Kwon-joo stands up and calmly tells Chief Jang that she’s convinced that Kyung-il will go through his planned revenge-rape video, and that since the Violent Crimes Unit purposefully left out the Golden Time Unit during the kidnapping search, their team will work alone. He scoffs at this, but she reminds him that it’s been hours since the incident and so far the Violent Crimes Unit haven’t been able to accomplish anything.
The detectives get a call about a suspect matching Kyung-il’s description at the harbor, so the men head out. But Chief Jang has one last warning for Kwon-joo, pointing out that even though she may be more fearless than ever after coming back from the “dead,” she might end up in a deeper grave than the one from which she was just rescued.
After the detectives leave, one of Jin-yuk’s criminal connections arrives. He’s got a ham radio set up in his car so he can figure out what channel Kyung-il and Bong-gil are using. But he warns Jin-hyuk that the ham radio isn’t that popular these days — most of the police now use digital radios. The threat of Jin-hyuk’s “analog” hand threatening to do some damage makes the man busily fiddle with the dials.
In an abandoned school building, Kyung-il and Bong-gil are frustrated that their radio channel has been compromised and they can no longer access the police radio. Eun-byul wakes up, bound and gagged, on the bed that’s clearly set-up for the upcoming video recording. Bong-gil grumbles that it’s all ruined because Kyung-il was so determined to have Eun-byul.
Kyung-il suddenly decides that they’ll move the filming up to an earlier time. Kwon-joo sees the notification on the website and hurries to warn Jin-hyuk. She thinks it’s odd that, if these guys were just in it to make money off of pornography, they’d go to all this trouble for one video.
She’s had Hyun-ho dig into Kyung-il’s past, where he’s discovered that Kyung-il’s mother was a insurance saleswoman who wasn’t afraid to use her feminine wiles to win a few clients. Young Kyung-il was furious that his classmates would spread rumors that his mother would seduce other men to make money, but she told her son that she was only working to support Kyung-il and his sick father.
The only person that really looked after Kyung-il was one of his middle school teachers, who realized he loved movies, so he got him a camera so he could take pictures and videos. But one of the days when he was wandering around, enjoying his camera, he discovered that his mother was having an affair with his teacher. This sense of betrayal is what began Kyung-il’s twisted view of women, and after his father died, he burned down his house — and his mother died in the fire.
Jin-hyuk agrees that Kyung-il is crazy, but that doesn’t mean he’s a criminal. Kwon-joo thinks there’s something else — when Kyung-il gave her a chance for her last words and then said “You’re trash,” she believes he wasn’t speaking to her, but to himself. Based on the emotion and changes in his voice depending on what he’s talking about, she says that he might be suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder. It’s especially noticeable when he’s talking about Eun-byul, and Kwon-joo suspects he knew Eun-byul previously.
Back at the abandoned school, Eun-byul pleads for her life after Kyung-il rips off her gag and begins to untie the ropes around her wrists. She tells him that she’ll do anything to make him stop — she’ll be his girlfriend, she’ll pay him — anything! But Kyung-il scathingly informs her that he’s not like one of her usual boyfriends who can be persuaded by her flirtatious ways.
He orders Bong-gil to start filming so they can get it over with, and Eun-byul, tries to scurry away but due her hurt leg, only succeeds in knocking over the flood light. That at least disrupts the guys’ ability to film, and Kyung-il orders Bong-gil to get the other light from the truck.
As Bong-gil makes his way through the abandoned school, he grumbles about Kyung-il wasting time on this video when they could be getting out of town. His handheld radio blares to life, and a man Bong-gil refers to “hyung-nim” tells him that the police are onto them and that if they don’t make the boat tonight, then he’s leaving them behind.
Bong-gil whines that he’s not exactly able to control Kyung-il, and just then Jin-yuk’s radio buddy suddenly tunes into the their channel. They listen to Hyung-nim warn Bong-gil that Kyung-il is a liability and not to be trusted. Through tracking the radio signal, they realize it’s coming from somewhere close by in the neighborhood.
Jin-hyuk asks Hyun-ho to figure out likely places nearby where Kyung-il might be. As he starts to leave, Kwon-joo insists that she’s coming, too. He tells her that she should stay put, but she promises she won’t won’t make the same mistake (getting kidnapped, presumably). Finally he agrees, warning that if she can’t keep up with him, he’s not going to wait for her.
They leave as Hyun-ho reports that there isn’t much around where they’ve managed to pinpoint the radio signal. The most likely place is an abandoned middle school — which just so happens to be Kyung-il’s old school. Eun-soo overhears Hyun-ho mention the school, and it seems like she recognizes the name.
Jin-hyuk tries to figure out why Kyung-il would want to return to the place where he saw his mother have an affair. All he knows is that it can’t be a good reason.
Bong-gil arrives back at the classroom, and Kyung-il finds it suspicious that his henchman is empty handed. But Bong-gil now distrusts Kyung-il, asking him how much do they really have in their bitcoin account. He pulls out a knife, begging Kyung-il to just give up filming video already. They should focus on running away before the cops find them.
He pulls out a knife, ordering Kyung-il to give him half the money and he’ll disappear forever. But Kyung-il mocks the fact that Bong-gil only cares for worthless things like money. It’s not worthless to Bong-gil, who lunges forward to stab Kyung-il in the stomach.
Kyung-il manages to grab the knife and fight back, and as the two men struggle to stab each other, they topple over a sofa and Bong-gil ends up with the knife in his heart. Eun-byul uses this chance to try and limp away, but she only gets as far as the door before Kyung-il stops her.
Kwon-joo is worried that something’s happened — it’s the time when the video should be posted, but there’s nothing. Not even another announcement. Eun-soo calls them just then, frantic that she’s figured out the connection. It was their father who was Kyung-il’s teacher — the one who had an affair with Kyung-il’s mother.
Kwon-joo reassures her that they’ll do all they can to save Eun-byul. As she starts to weep, Eun-soo asks Kwon-joo if she can have another chance to join the Golden Time Unit, pleading that they do whatever they can to save her sister’s life.
Eun-byul is hysterical as she screams at Kyung-il, telling him that he’s crazy. But when he mentions her father, she starts to realize who he really is. Too late to do anything about it, though, as he puts a chloroformed rag against her mouth and nose.
Twelve hours and fifty minutes after Eun-byul was kidnapped, Jin-hyuk and Kwon-joo arrive at the middle school. It’s obvious they’re in the right place since the truck is parked right outside. After Jin-hyuk reports back to the call center, Hyun-ho calls the Violent Crime Unit for backup. They’re totally shocked that they’ve picked the wrong place for a stakeout, but speed off to the middle school which is twenty minutes away.
Jin-hyuk and Kwon-joo, guns drawn, cautiously enter the dark and eery school. They find the room that’s set up as a bedroom where the filming was to take place — and Bong-gl’s body. They continue down the hallway but Kwon-joo freezes. She hears an odd noise — the sound of something being dragged.
She’s confident that it’s Kyung-il and Eun-byul, so she and Jin-hyuk hurry upstairs. But a loud sound causes them to stop, and Kwon-joo is confused why it’s suddenly silent. The hallway is dark as they peer down it and a rhythmic clanking sound comes closer and closer. It’s just a fire extinguisher rolling down the hallway.
Kwon-joo is certain this isn’t the sound she heard earlier. But Jin-hyuk reminds her that she may not be hearing correctly, especially since she was having issues before trying to hear anything other than the wind whistling through the broken windows.
As he goes to investigate, she hears the sound of someone breathing. Cautiously walking into the dark hallway, she enters the abandoned science lab. She tries to focus on listening, but there are too many distracting sounds, causing her to become frustrated that she can’t hear the sounds she needs.
Jin-hyuk continues to explore the floor above, his gun and flashlight leading the way. He hears something suspicious in one of the rooms — but it’s just a cat. Ha, please tell me it’s the same cat as last time.
Kwon-joo tries to focus on the breathing sounds, and manages to track it down to a storage cabinet where she finds Eun-byul. When she opens the doors, Eun-byul immediately panics, screaming for her to go away, but Kwon-joo reassures her that she’s there to save her.
Sobbing, Eun-byul tells her that a crazy guy kidnapped her and locked her up, and Kwon-joo reassures her that everything will be fine now. Except she can hear the sound of someone opening the door behind them.
Meanwhile, on the floor above, Jin-hyuk finds the empty fire extinguisher holder, and realize it was just a ruse.
Eun-byul’s eyes grow wide as she sees Kyung-il enter, and he immediately leaps towards Kwon-joo and knocks her over, sending her gun flying. Brandishing a knife, he mockingly tells her that he’s impressed at her ability to find them so quickly, but he’s in no mood to play games. He underestimated the fact that she’s a trained police officer, though, because she immediately lunges forward to try and disarm him.
They continue to fight, and Kyung-il gets the upper hand when Kwon-joo trips and stumbles backwards. Jin-hyuk, worried that Kwon-joo isn’t answering the radio, runs downstairs. But it’s Eun-byul who saves her by flinging herself on Kyung-il’s back and screaming that he wasn’t the only one who had a hard life because of the affair. Her parents got divorced because of it and then both died soon after. Back at the call center, Eun-soo listens helplessly via Kwon-joo’s dropped radio to her sister’s cries as Kyung-il throws her across the room.
Using her knowledge of Histrionic Personality Disorder, Kwon-joo attempts the most likely way to distract Kyung-il by causing him to lose his cool. She tells him that she knows that he’s been recording revenge-rape videos because of his mother and that he killed Eun-byul’s ex-boyfriend. How many more will have to die?
When he angrily blames his ruined life on his mother and Eun-byul’s father, Kwon-joo tells him that he’s the one who’s really at fault.
Even though he might think he’s important to the handful of people who used his site, he’s really just a sick and twisted criminal. She hopes he rots in jail. Enraged, he leans forward, and Kwon-joo sees her chance to try and grab a scalpel as a weapon. But he stops her, furious that she was lying in order to distract him — just like all the other women in the world.
With unhinged laughter, he reveals a detonator in his hand. He’s rigged a flammable explosive that will burn down the school — taking them with it.
Jin-hyuk arrives just then, ordering Kyung-il to put the detonator down. Kyung-il slowly backs away from Jin-hyuk’s gun, laughingly pointing out that he was just trying to teach them a lesson. As Kwon-joo and Eun-byul scurry to Jin-hyuk, his attention leaves Kyung-il for a split second to ask if they’re okay. It’s just long enough for Kyung-il to grab a chemical bottle and throw it against the wall behind Jin-hyuk.
The distraction is enough to let Kyung-il escape, and Jin-hyk chaes him through the dark hallways of the school, firing shots when he gets a chance. Kyung-il continues to run upstairs with the detonator in his hand. Jin-hyuk radios to the call center for backup, and Eun-soo is horrified to discover that her baby sister is still in deadly danger.
She calls over the radio that Kwon-joo had dropped, and the two sisters have a tearful moment as they both to apologize to each other. Eun-soo reassures her sister that it’s not her fault and that everything will be okay.
But there’s still a madman with a remote igniter on the loose, and Jin-hyuk finally breaks his way onto the roof where Kyung-il has fled. The men tussle, and Jin-hyuk aims his gun at the younger man, who wields his detonator, warning Jin-hyuk that he’ll set the building on fire. If he wants to save the women, he’d better set down that gun.
Jin-hyuk obliges, sliding the gun over to Kyung-il, who bends down to pick it up — but when his attention is on the gun, Jin-hyuk kicks him and tries to get the gun back. Kyung-il is too fast, though, and he angrily points the gun at Jin-hyuk.
Unfazed, Jin-hyuk scoffingly tells him that Kyung-il can’t kill him. Doesn’t he remember that Jin-hyuk shot at him as he chased him through the hallways? There are no more bullets left! Kyung-il tries to call his bluff, stepping closer as he threatens to shoot, but Jin-hyuk just laughs at him, calling him a loser and a coward who’s only pretending to be a victim. Enraged, Kyung-il keeps stepping closer until he’s near enough for Jin-hyuk to grab him and disarm him, knocking Kyung-il on the ground.
As the younger man writhes in pain, Jin-hyuk yells at him for being the most pathetic loser in the world. Eun-byul and Eun-soo went through just as much pain and struggle as he did because of their father’s indiscretions, yet they didn’t try to kill anyone or find others to blame.
He drags the whining Kyung-il to the edge of the roof, leaning him over as he tells him he should beg forgiveness a thousand times for all the women he killed. Jin-hyuk then points the gun right against Kyung-il’s head, revealing there’s one bullet left — and it’s for Kyung-il.
Except he can’t pull the trigger. Instead, he warns him that it’s hard to fix something so badly damaged, so Kyung-il should spend the rest of his life pleading forgiveness for all the horrible things he’s done. That’s what his mother — who he killed — would want.
Seventeen hours after Eun-byul was kidnapped, the culprit is apprehended.
Eun-soo and the rest of the call center team are relieved to hear Jin-hyuk radio in, and Hyun-ho reports that the back-up team is close by. The sun starts to rise as the cops rush in and the paramedics take care of Eun-byul. She’s so thankful for Jin-hyuk and Kwon-joo for saving her, but as the paramedics start to leave for the hospital, she asks Kwon-joo how she knew how to find her in the cabinet. She’s sure no one could have heard her in there.
Kwon-joo hesitates as she starts to answer, but Jin-hyuk cuts her off to tell the ambulance to hurry and go. Aw, he’s protecting her secret.
They watch Kyung-il being lead from the building, surrounded by the Violent Crimes Unit detectives. Jin-hyuk pities Kyung-il enough to point out that the people who paid him to film those videos are just as bad and should be locked up, too. But Kwon-joo wonders if his life would have been different if they had been there when he was younger.
Chief Jang is impressed that “Mad Dog” Jin-hyuk has returned. He tells him he should forget the Golden Time Unit and return to Violent Crimes, even if it means one of the other detectives would have to be reassigned.
As Kyung-il is escorted to the van to be taken to the police station, he ses Kwon-joo across the way and he smirks, muttering under his breath the same words her father said the night he died: “If I die, my daughter will be left alone in the world.” Due to her super-hearing, she can understand what he just said and runs over, pinning him to the van as she demands more information.
Jin-hyuk refuses Chief Jang’s offer, preferring to stay on the Golden Time team. Chief Jang says he knows that Jin-hyuk is only staying because he believes that Kwon-joo knows something about what happened the night his wife died. Jin-hyuk just waves him off, but when he sees Kwon-joo pinning Kyung-il down, he runs over in time to hear her ask if Kyung-il saw the killer’s face that night.
I knew he wasn’t the killer! A killer, perhaps, but not the killer! Except now, like Kwon-joo, I’m desperate to know how Kyung-il seems to have a connection with what happened that night. I suppose I should just get used to the show throwing out little tidbits here and there, leaving him hanging and hungry for more.
Having had an extra week to think about it, I realize now that it makes perfect sense that Kwon-joo thought Kyung-il could be the Kettlebell Killer. And not just because his jaw made that cracking sound (I seriously cannot wait to figure out why so many jaws make that sound! Is it a genetic thing? Are these people related? Does it come from having a broken jaw? Did they get beat up a lot when they were younger? Is there a special psychopath class you take in jaw-popping?). But also because the official reason Jin-hyuk’s wife was targeted is because the killer was trying to rape her and she fought back and ran away. That plays perfectly into the idea of Kyung-il kidnapping girls to film for his revenge-porn sites. Kwon-joo’s father’s death was just a killing of convenience — the wrong place at the wrong time. So instead of being perplexed that they were dragging Kyung-il into the main mystery, I’m now able to accept that the path makes sense to someone who hasn’t seen glimpses of the original killer and instinctively knows that his Cheshire grin in no way resembles Kyung-il’s.
I also have some questions about Kwon-joo’s hearing. While there’s no doubt in my mind that she can hear amazingly well, it makes me wonder what effort she has to put into pinpointing specific sounds. Was it the wound on her temple that was causing her to be distracted and unable to figure out where Eun-byul was hiding? Or was the wind whistling really loud enough to drown everything out? I feel like there’s a weakness here that could be fascinating to explore even while it’s used as the trick to help us find our criminals. What happens if she starts to lose her super-hearing ability before she catches the Kettlebell Killer? Who else be able to recognize his voice and know he’s the true culprit? After all, she gained her hearing as compensation for an earlier injury, so who’s to say she won’t somehow lose it if she gets injured again? I can only imagine the utter agony she would go through, knowing that she’s so close but unable to hear the actual villain. I doubt the show will go this route (and lose their gimmick) but I can’t help wondering if Kwon-joo’s life would be improved or ruined if she could no longer hear, or at least hear as well.
On a lighter note (if this show can be “light”), I’m really enjoying the small moments between our Golden Time team members. Not just Jin-hyuk, who is adorably all-in with his new team lead and willing to support, encourage, and defend her to the end (the way he tried to reassure her after Chief Jang was such a jerk to her still warms my heart). But Hyun-ho is also a giant marshmallow fluff, so concerned for his boss’ safety and worried about Eun-soo’s grandmother. I can’t wait for the fun personality clashes that will come when he and Eun-soo actually start working together. I also can’t wait to see Dae-shik again, especially since I totally forgot he existed until Chief Jang mentioned him at the end of the episode. Whoops.