I promised a same-week weecap for ep2 earlier right? I’ve made good that promise. 🙂
Synopsis (Ep2: “Blackout”)
We open to a group of baseball players (likely recreational) having a dinner (and drinks) gathering. One of the players, Kang Joon-shi, looks up shyly at the pretty waitress (Oh Ji-min) when she delivers their drinks to the table. His friends notice it as well, and rib him for dragging them to this same pub/restaurant all the time in order to sneak peeks at Ji-min. One of them volunteers his mug of alcohol to Joon-shi, as a courage-shot to ask her out. Joon-shi refuses, saying that he can’t drink. However, when he isn’t looking, his friend replaces his water with soju. Joon-shi is pi*sed when he realises the beverage switch, but encouraged by his teammates, he guzzles it down anyway…and not juz one, or two, or three…
The next thing Joon-shi remembers is waking up cold in a park. He staggers around the streets with a splitting hangover, and it takes him a few minutes to register pedestrians backing away from him in alarm. He looks down and sees…his whole shirt is covered in blood. (omo) Shocked, he tries in vain to remember what has happened the night before. Joon-shi runs into a public toilet and checks himself all over for injuries. Na-dah. Even more alarmed now, he tries to wash off the blood on his shirt.
Back in the university, Sung-ah helps Prof Song moves office. She mentions about a huge project that Prof Song is handling, and wonders if she needs help. Prof. Song smiles and says she will manage. However, Prof Song is upset when she realises Prof. Cheon has arranged for Frost to work with her.
Sung-ah receives a call at the same time that one of her clients, Joon-shi, has missed his appointments. She agrees to pays him a house visit.
Detective Nam gets called to handle a case of a woman found dead on the streets. He visits the university to enlist Frost’s help — and gets totally smitten with Prof Song. (out of your league, buddy) However, that doesn’t stop Detective Nam from pestering Frost for Prof Song’s contacts. 😛
Back at the crime scene: the lady (identified later as Ji-min) has an injury to her head, and based on the blood prints, she has staggered a distance from the place where she was attacked before dropping dead. A baseball jersey with the number 99 is found near her. She also has a shatterd SD card in her mouth. A quack psychoanalyst, Prof Kim, starts to hypothesize about a serial psychotic killer who has a fetish for baseball, blahblah. Although Detective Nam and the police ignore him, the press is quick to latch on to this piece of “sensational news”. The next morning papers all proclaim that a serial killer is at large, giving Detective Nam a headache.
Frost and Sung-ah drop by to investigate Ji-min’s apartment, where she stays with her single mum. Frost comments that Ji-min seems to have an unusually large number of branded bags and clothes, which she is unlikely to afford even with her part time jobs. Ji-min’s mum is upset at the insinuations about her daughter, and tells Frost to leave.
Sung-ah manages to track Joon-shi down — he bolted from a cab after hearing about the murder and the possible suspect (caught on CCTV near the pub) — and promises to help him recover his memories by hypnosis. However, when Sung-ah brings him to Frost, Frost flatly rejects the idea and says that hypnosis cannot recover memories which the brain cannot remembers. Joon-shi deflates as he hears this and bolts when Detective Nam arrives in Frost’s office. Detective Nam recognises Joon-shi from the police sketch and although he doesn’t manage to grab him (thanks to Sung-ah’s judo skills), he sends out an arrest warrant and a search notice.
That evening, Sung-ah crashed into Bar Mirror and loudly scolds Selfish Bartender Frost (after several drinks for courage). Frost takes on the verbal garbage with his usual impassive looks, and even nicely piggybacks a still yelling Sung-ah home.
However, Frost is willing to help Joon-shi, despite what he says. When Joon-shi is caught in quandary and cannot make it home (due to the police patrolling his neighbourhood), Frost smuggles him into his house and tells him to stay put for the next few days. Sung-ah, meanwhile, checks out Ji-min. She returns to Ji-min’s apartment, and finding a locked drawer in her bedroom smartly guesses where she will hide a key. She locates the key and discovers a photo album and a t-shirt with the slogan “Change Korea” on it. In the album, Sung-ah notices several pictures of Ji-min with a rather familiar looking man. It isn’t until Sung-ah leaves the house and notices a political party’s truck that she links the tee with the album. The man in the album is Kim Han-sung, the head of a political party “Change Korea”.
Detective Nam also nets the same suspect, when he discovers that Change Korea party has been wiring thousands of won into Ji-min’s bank account monthly. Frost too, also finds out about Politician Kim during an interview with Ji-min’s colleagues. They gossip that Ji-min has a sugar-daddy — Politician Kim — and she secretly meets him every week at night after work. In addition, Kim was hosting a baseball match that evening, and was sported wearing a baseball jersey with no. 99 on it. Frost, Detective Nam and Sung-ah suspect that Kim may be forcing Ji-min to sleep with him and using her to launder dirty funds, on the pretext of funding her art degree. They decide to interview Politician Kim, who of course denies everything. In his office, Frost notices a painting which Ji-min has given Kim.
The painting which Ji-min gives to Kim contains a secret love message. The trio then start to think that maybe Kim isn’t a sugar-daddy and both are really in love. In addition, the SD card found in Ji-min’s mouth is restored. There are pictures of the two looking cosy together. Detective Nam suspects someone is trying to blackmail Kim or Ji-min. And he is right: a CCTV footage of the area where Ji-min is found dead reveals that her pub’s boss has followed her after work and Ji-min seemed to be fighting/struggling with him over something. She ran off and her boss followed — with a brick in his hand.
Detective Nam issues an arrest warrant for the pub’s boss, and Frost whispers to Sung-ah to ask her to get “something”, much to her puzzlement. Ji-min’s boss initially refuses to co-operate and demands to see evidence for his “murder”. Sung-ah appears then, with a bag of….tropical FISH? (??) Frost explains to Ji-min’s boss that such fish are particularly sensitive to blood and proceeds to tip the bag into the tank — where a brick sits. Ji-min’s boss bolts, but is floored by Sung-ah.
Turns out that Ji-min is actually Kim’s daughter (maybe born of wedlock?/ illegitimate?). And Ji-min’s boss found out about their relationship and seeks to blackmail Ji-min/ Kim. Ji-min refuses to succumb and grabs the SD card containing the pics which her boss has taken in secret in order to protect her father. However, Ji-min’s boss kills her while she is trying to run. Frost and Sung-ah are worried for Joon-shi however, as Politician Kim may have gotten the wrong impression that he is the murderer, since the media has been going on-and-on about the baseball player as a serial murderer.
And their worries are not unfounded. Joon-shi is kidnapped at his home and dragged to a secluded spot where Kim is waiting. He rants at Joon-shi for killing his daughter, and proceeds to drown him in a lake. Luckily Frost, Detective Nam and Sung-ah rescue Joon-shi in time. Kim is arrested for attempted murder and kidnapping.
Er…but that isn’t the end of the story. Now for the twist: earlier on, when Frost is at Joon-shi’s house, he notices a portrait of young Joon-shi. In the picture, his left hand is holding on to a piece of fabric at the corner of the pic. Frost later returns to Joon-shi’s house, removes the portrait…and opens it into a landscaped pic. The fabric which young Joon-shi is grabbing belongs to his mum’s coat. The same coat hangs in Joon-shi’s closet. Frost also discovers a children notebook which young Joon-shi used and which has been retained.
When Joon-shi returns home from hospital with Sung-ah after his near-drown ordeal, Frost confronts him with the picture and the notebook. Inside the notebook, young Joon-shi has scrawled page after page of “You are disgusting”, “You make my skin crawl”, “I don’t want to see your face”…Frost starts his psychoanalysis of Joon-shi. He says that young Joon-shi is subjected to mental (and later physical) abuses from his alcoholic single mother. When drunk, she will push the little boy and yell that she doesn’t want him, that she finds him “disgusting”, he “makes her skin crawl”. One day, she goes overboard and smothers him with the coat she usually wears and locks him into the closet. She commits suicide, and her body (and young Joon-shi in the closet) aren’t found until days later.
Joon-shi develops an extreme reaction to alcohol when he reaches adulthood, and drinking even a little will induce a blackout — that entails a violent rampage. That night, he overhears Ji-min yelling over the phone to someone, calling him “disgusting”…and that triggers off the latent violent tendencies in Joon-shi. He follows Ji-min, and sees her being attacked by her manager. However, instead of helping her, he takes off his jersey and smothers her to death.
Why didn’t the production team use this story as the debut?? I found it much more engaging than Anna and her doppelganger tale. Although it isn’t difficult to guess the ending when the camera keeps panning over Joon-shi mother’s coat in the cupboard. Even then, the twist is good. You’d never expect the cowardly and shy Joon-shi to harbour latent violent tendencies. More so, when earlier on in the story, the show is setting him up as THE murderer.
Sung-ah rounds up the ep (as usual) with the idea of Fear and how it can change us if we succumb to it. How apt for Joon-shi — and also for Frost. We see that he is hallucinating again at the end of ep2, when he sees the girl who “welcomes” him back to the university in ep1. I suppose she is the one who died — aka Prof Song’s dongsaeng. Does he fear her? Or feels guilty over her death? I doubt he is directly involved, but given his lack of empathy, he may have said/done something which triggered her suicide.