It’s hard when even magic time devices can’t solve your problems, something Sun Woo from one of my favorite time bending dramas, Nine: Nine Times Travel, would probably readily tell our heroes. Buckle your seat belts with this one. We have a serial killer or two on the loose and everyone is trying their damnedest to catch them in 1989 or 2015, whichever one pans out first. But along the way we will shed a few tears. Okay, maybe buckets of them, because if there’s one thing our detective from the past can do, it’s cry. And maybe have me bawling along with him.
I thought I could just do the highlights of each episode but Signal is one of those dramas that you have to do a play by play. I’ll try to not let the post get bogged down though.
This episode starts right where 3 left off. Jae-han escaped from his cell after hearing the next victim is his crush, Kim Won-kyung. I do have to make a correction from my last post. Obviously, this girl is not a younger version of Soo-hyun like I thought. They never said her name before this, so I got confused. He goes to her house first only to be told that she was staying late to work, so he runs along the narrow streets and smack into non other than the driver of bus 95.
Jae-han asks if he’s seen Won-kyung, the guy nervously points in a direction and says he saw her that way. Jae-han runs off and unfortunately doesn’t see the extremely guilty look on this guys face . We see Jae-han run through the streets and hear a scream but we’re left to find out if he got there in time because they go back to 2015.
The cold case team is still determined to find the killer before the Gyeonggi police team does. All roads seem to lead to one person. You guessed it-Lee Chun Goo our shifty bus driver. They find CCTV footage showing him near the 2015 murder scene and his finger prints are on the broken glass found under the victim.
Hae-young is interviewing another bus driver about Lee Chun Goo. He’s informed that Chun Goo quit after his son had an accident and no longer drove buses. That’s when Detective Kim calls to tells Hae-young to meet at the hospital because Chun Goo is definitely their killer.
Meanwhile Soo-hyun is already at the hospital for Chun Goo but finds out that he’s not the patient, his son Lee Jin-hyung, is. She doesn’t take any chances and goes in with her gun raised. She gets a call from Hae-young who’s yelling at her that Chun Goo isn’t the killer. Hae-young can’t wrap his head around the bus driver being the killer because he’s a profiler at heart and it doesn’t match up. The killer was supposed to be in his 20’s back in 1989 not an old guy like, Chun Goo. What happens next can only be shown in screenshots because of its horror movie progression.
Uh… I think we found our killer. Hae-young is still on the other line and yells at Soo-hyun to respond to him but she can’t because she’s a little busy…
Hae-young arrives at the hospital and finds Detective Kim so they go charging in trying to save the damsel in distress, Soo-hyun.
Except they forgot she’s a police officer and can hold her own.
Yes, this is what happens when you mess with a bad ass cop. Also, Hae-young is pretty funny that he has to state the obvious. LOL. Yes, we know the guy who just tried to strangle Soo-hyun is really the killer. Even if he tries to deny it, and even if his dad is currently in police custody copping to not only the 2015 murder but all the past murders, too.
We take a break after the “killer’ has been caught for Jung Hun-gi to freshen up. He doesn’t get a lot to do in this drama, but I love him.
Then we finally, FINALLY get back to Jae-han. He’s sitting at a desk smoking when the magic walkie crackles to life. This doesn’t look good at all. Hae-young can hear it in his voice. (I honestly could spend the whole drama doing screenshots of these boys’ faces They are both so expressive.)
Jae-han goes off into a rant. One he has earned, I might add. He tells Hae-young that the names of victims are just that to Hae-young. Names, dates, times. But to Jae-han, at least one of them, was a real person. As he’s yelling, we see what Jae-han found. I apologize for how dark the next pictures are but I HAVE to include them. So heartbreaking. And well shot, even if it’s dark.
As we suspected, Jae-han was too late. He kneels down next to her body and almost touches her but he’s a cop and refrains. Ugh, my gut. I can’t take how our big teddy bear wells up with puddles of tears. Jae-han goes to her funeral but doesn’t go inside, probably because he blames himself for not getting to her in time.
And then we go back to Hae-young talking to Jae-han to tell him they still have a chance to catch the murderer but… Jae-han has left before he can hear who the real killer is.
In 2015, our cold case team still hasn’t given up on arresting the real killer. They’ve surmised that Jung Kyung-soon, the woman who was most recently murdered, must have had some kind of proof that the bus driver’s son was the real killer and was blackmailing him with it. When the original statute of limitations ran out, Kyung-soon wouldn’t have been able to demand money anymore. But then the laws changed, allowing Kyung-soon to ask for money again. Soo-hyun has Detective Lee and Hun-gi look at all Kyung-soon’s credit card receipts and bank account info while she takes a ride with Hae-young to the victim’s house.
I love how Soo-hyun just starts tossing things around while Hae-young is meticulous and starts profiles women in general. It was cold and woman tend to wear the same things over and over again so they’re more warn out. Bingo! He finds a ticket stub to Sunyang where Kyung-soon’s cousin lives.
They go to the cousin’s house and look through Kyung-soon’s belonging where they find something wrapped in a plastic bag. It’s the taser that Jae-han gave the ninth victim, Won-kyung.
Hae-young goes to the hospital where the bus driver’s son is to check on something and he finds it-a scar on the back of Jin-hyung’s shoulder. It looks like it could very well have been made by that taser.
What is that other police task force doing the whole time our cold case squad is tracking down real evidence? Well they’re about to hold a press conference on the Gyeonggi Numbu investigation and tell everyone they are amazing and they caught the serial killer.
I LOVE how smug they look walking down the hall because I know they’re about to get schooled by our team. Again! I actually hope they make total asses out of themselves and then our team comes in and corrects them.
But no such luck. Soo-hyun rushes in and holds up a something before Director Kim can make his statement. After reading the report he doesn’t have much choice so he hands the conference over to Soo-hyun. She tells everyone that they found DNA evidence on the taser from both the ninth victim and the killer, Lee Jin-hyung. They show us how the 2015 murder victim, Jung Kyung-soon, voiced her thoughts to the bus driver back in 1989 after they were interrogated. She remember that Jin-hyung was on the bus that day and he sounded like the suspect the police were after. Maybe because of her suspicions, she ends up in the same place as our ninth victim and sees her kidnapped and that’s how she got her hands on the taser. I have to say this woman disgusts me. She was an eyewitness at two different times and she could have helped the police catch him, but instead she chose to blackmail Bus Driver Dad.
Hae-young gets the ugly task of interrogating Bus Driver Dad now that they have evidence against his son.
Hae-young lays out all the victims pictures and tells him details about how they were going to get married or one girl died the day before her birthday. Bus Driver Dad doesn’t want to look at them but Hae-young just keeps yelling at him to look.
Dad is pretty much delusional and yells that Hae-young doesn’t know anything. And we go back to 1989 and our intelligent cop, Jae-han. He didn’t need someone from 2015 to tell him that everything led back to the bus driver. So he goes barging into his yard, but then gets a glimpse of his son.
I have to insert here that if I ever go to South Korea and see a guy in an outfit similar to the son’s, I’m either going to run after him screaming, “Healer ya!” Or just run away screaming because the bad guy ALWAYS wears this.
A chase ensues, and I always have to suspend reality a tiny bit when people chase each other in dramas. You’re SO close. Just pump those muscles a little bit more!
They fight there way to the top of a building. And nothing good has ever happened on rooftops that look like this.
Jae-han proceeds to best Jin-hyung and then beat the crap out of him while screaming. “Why did you do it? Why, why why?” Then Jae-han gets hit over the back of the head by Bus Driver Dad.
Dad starts spouting the same thing in 1989 that he was in 2015. My son couldn’t have done it. He’s innocent. Leave him alone. Of course, Jae-han isn’t deceived and sees that both father and son are crazy.
Jae-han and Bus Driver Dad go back and forth. Jae-han insists that he’ll kill again. He has to be taken into custody for this to stop. Jae-han gets up from the ground and Dad tries to stop him but he ends up with the killer at gun point.
Jae-han keeps moving toward him and … Oh shit! He falls over the side.
Now, I’m not one for violence begets violence but this would be a tough call. Jae-han knows that in 2015 this guy is still on the loose. And if he pulls him back over the edge, he has zero proof this is the real killer. But if he lets go, he’s now a killer himself.
And then our resident crazy guy does this and seals our teddy bear cops decision. Note to bad guys: save your creepy gloaty face for after you get pulled to safety. Just a thought.
He falls to the ground where we know he didn’t actually die. At least in the original timeline. Back in 2015, Bus Driver Dad’s telling Hae-young this story, and Dad’s saying Jae-han was the crazy man because he dropped his son. Ha!
Hae-young is stunned to find out that Jae-han was the one who ultimately stopped the serial killer. That the communication between the future and past led to the killing spree being stopped. But… did it? More on that in my thoughts at the end.
Jae-han goes to the hospital and sees that Jin-hyung is paralyzed and Dad’s there to take care of him. Jae-han tries to convince Bus Driver Dad that his son should turn himself in. Jae-han plans on confessing to the police that he caused Jin-hyung’s accident and that he’s the serial killer they’re looking for. But, of course, Dad isn’t haven’t it. He says that neither his son or Jae-han are guilty of anything and they should just leave things the way they are.
Then we pause for a very contemplative scene between Hae-young and Soo-hyun that, if I say so myself, becomes a little steamy. Yes, I am on the Jae-han/Soo-hyun ship if we can figure out how to save him, but you can’t deny chemistry. 🙂
Soo-hyun finds Hae-young and tells him they’re all going out for drinks. He says he isn’t up for it and she responds that if he doesn’t drink, he needs to find something else to cope with it. It being seeing dead bodies. She says it’s always hard seeing a dead body for the first time and reiterates that he should box or something else to deal with the stress that comes with the job.
Then Hae-young notices the marks the killer left on Soo-hyun’s neck with that telephone cord and we get our slightly steamy scene. Okay, maybe I was the only one. LOL. But I’ll let you judge for yourself.
Hae-young goes to leave but throws back that this isn’t his first time seeing a dead body. We see through a flashback what his hyung was accused of, and guys, it’s BAD. Apparently, he was accused of being part of gang rape. If anyone caught a date on when this occurred I’d love if you posted it in the comments.
They show us that same scene where Sun Woo is taken away in prison garb and Hae-young screams and cries from the crowd.
This time we get to see what happens after that, though we aren’t told how long after his brother is arrested or if he was convicted. Hae-young comes home calling for his mom but gets no response and finds a body lying in a pool of blood.
This doesn’t look good at all! Especially since in the present he just told Soo-hyun that it wasn’t his first dead body. Hae-young runs over and dang, it’s Sun Woo! He tries to shake him awake but he appears to be gone.
In the present, Hae-young pulls a picture of him with his hyung out of a book about criminal profiling. It’s important to note, in understanding our hero, that his brother’s death happened before the incident with the little girl who was kidnapped and murdered. Little Hae-young was understandably gun shy of people and that’s why he didn’t respond to her friendly behavior. You can understand the grown up Hae-young’s passion for getting the bad guy.
It doesn’t look like Soo-hyun took her own advice about going out. She instead finds the steps at the precinct that bring back her own memories of crying and Jae-han finding her there.
He’s such an amazing guy. Most cops would tell you to suck it up and not cry, especially a male cop to a female cop. But he just tells her it’s good to cry and that all police officers do it. Oof, when they go back to the present and she’s alone on those stairs my stomach dropped with the reminder that Jae-han really is just in the past and not in the here and now.
Hae-young goes to see the mother of Jae-han’s crush, Lee Won-kyung, the ninth murder victim. She says that her daughter liked Jae-han a lot and they show another adorable scene from when she first met Jae-han. Won-kyung apparently witnessed a traffic infraction and got to see first hand that Jae-han wouldn’t let the driver off of a ticket just because he was carting around someone who was supposed to big and important. Her mom tells Hae-young that Jae-han gave Won-kyung the taser and it was the first gift she ever received.
In 1989 Won-kyung’s mother went to see Jae-han after the rooftop incident. There’s a resignation letter sitting on his little desk. She gives him movie tickets and says Won-kyung didn’t know if he’d like them. Awe, it looks like she was going to give them to him but was too nervous. And I wasn’t crying while I watched, I promise, or now while I’m typing. Dang, I need a tissue.
Jae-han sat in his room after Won-kyung’s mom left with that resignation letter still on his desk. 11:23 comes and it’s magical walkie time.
They do a little catch up. Hae-young lets Jae-han know they’ve arrested Jin-hyung in 2015 and it’s because of him. Jae-han asks if he can tell him where the evidence can be found so he can get the killer in 1989. But sadly, even if Jae-han finds the taser the science hasn’t been developed at that time and it would be of no use.
And then we go on the biggest cry fest of the show so far. Dang, this director knows how to pull the feels. That and Cho Jin-Woong knows how to CRY.
They show us that Jin-hyung is arrested and Won-kyung’s mother is in the crowd.
Soo-hyun is with Jae-han’s dad, who is a little teary eyed himself, knowing how much his son suffered because of that case.
The director REALLY wants to kill me because we go back to Jae-han in the theater. Yes, if I have to cry, so do you.
Ending with Hae-young on his rooftop alone.
Wow, I did not think they’d rap up the Gyeonggie Serial Murder case so quickly. I’m not complaining. It means we don’t have to spin our wheels on the same case for 18 more episodes. And, so far, this doesn’t feel like a murder of the week format so I don’t think it will fall into a rut either. We still have 2 major cases they’ve introduced that our time communication could help prevent.
First, Sun Woo hyung. Now we know that he was arrested for gang rape. That’s just… ugh. Did not see that one coming. Since little Hae-young doesn’t look much different in age from the bus scene to his brother’s suicide, I’d have to guess Sun Woo either got to go home before his trial and killed himself. Or wasn’t convicted but still killed himself, anyway. Lee Je-hoon (Hae-young) was born in 1984 so his character is probably about the same age, give or take a few years. Which puts him at 5 in 1989 and probably about 8 or 9 when his brother is arrested. This gives our duo time to prevent this from happening. Of course, they’re at the mercy of that walkie. It seems to decide when they get to connect in the timeline.
Second, we still have Jae-han’s death. I feel like this will end up being the killer we spend all series trying to get. I’m sure it will take until those last few episodes to see if we can prevent it from happening. I’m also still pretty convinced it’s someone in the police department. Whether we’ve met them already, is yet to be determined.
Last, I want to comment on time actually being rewritten. We know that our duo did save one of the victims. That did change. But did everything that happened really change the rest of the events that much? The murders stopped at the same time in both timelines. Which leads us to believe that our smart cop Jae-han realized who the killer was even in the original timeline and caused that accident which prevented the killer from continuing to murder people. Jae-han probably just didn’t have the guilt of knowing he maybe could have saved her.
With time, there is always the question of fate. Especially in Korean dramas. Some people believe the more you try to change events, the more they just end up the same. But there’s one person’s fate that did change, and that was the daughter of the eighth victim. Her fate was indeed different. She lived! And that is where I rest my hope for both Sun Woo hyung and Jae-han. They still have a chance to survive.
Until our next transmission, Drama Geek, over and out.