We are in the final stretch of Signal. And shucks, I am already beginning to feel the onset of withdrawal symptoms from this excellent show. The last 4-5eps from Signal devote themselves entirely to the case(s) that link our main characters — that of the Inju gang rape case, Sun-woo/ Jae-han’s murders and finally, the big ol’ corruption/conspiracy in the police force. What I didn’t expect though was how Signal manages to link not juz the narratives together, but actually string up our main characters.
Definitely Jae-han’s advantage. As mentioned before, unlike Hae-young, Jae-han has the benefit of having the walkie-talkie “fortune-telling apparition” appear to him in chronological order. That means, when he finds out about Sun-woo’s kid brother, he is able to link two-and-two together, figuring out that the young Hae-young will be that Hae-young who will (or had) tipped him off on his earlier cases.
Kinda mind-twisty…but metaphysics and Science of Relativity aside, Jae-han’s advantageous foresight also helped “save” young Hae-young. At the very least, from starvation. Poor boy had to wait in the cold and hunger for his MIA dad everyday. Had Jae-han not pay off the shik-dang ahjumma, I’d bet Hae-young would have juz died on the streets one day from hunger.
On the emotional level though, that makes Jae-han a surrogate father to Hae-young. Juz as how the shik-dang nameless ahjumma becomes Hae-young’s surrogate mum, who dishes out not juz omu-rice to feed him everyday, but also nags him and provides him grounded but gruff advice. And that makes Hae-young (and us) even MORE invested to save Jae-han. Hae-young has already lost a brother, who had acted as his surrogate parent (mum + dad). Jae-han is no longer juz a “policeman friend from the past”, but someone whom Hae-young is indebted to, and probably also a part father figure.
It’d really be super cruel if Signal doesn’t revive Jae-han isn’t it? (prays frantically to Kdrama gods)
I’ve already talked about Hae-young having the benefit of hindsight, being of the “future”…but now, Soo-hyun is in the mix too. I got my wish granted in my post last week for wanting Soo-hyun to be in on the walkie-talkie secret, cos she has the advantage of both past/ current to link puzzles together.
And Soo-hyun may juz be the tipping point to save everybody in the list — Sun-woo, Jae-han and even Chief Ahn. Young Soo-hyun may not fully realize what is happening in the past, but she has never lost her exceptional observation skills. She was already puzzled and intrigued by the defective walkie-talkie which Jae-han carried around. Even though she had thought it was a memento from Jae-han’s first love at that time.
Now that Soo-hyun understands the importance of that walkie-talkie (and oh man, when is she going to talk to Jae-han? Or…even her younger self?), she is in a powerful position to re-write history. For one, she is convinced now that Director Kim is a corrupted rat. And that the Inju case is juz one of the many cover-ups done by Director Kim (and his backer).
Unlike Hae-young and Jae-han, Soo-hyun isn’t an emotional hothead. I suppose being the only female in a male-dominated workplace has also honed her patience. So while Hae-young (and Jae-han) has a tendency to ram headfirst into barricades, Soo-hyun can at least hold Hae-young back from doing something stupid.
However, one scary reminder keeps popping up in Signal — that if we re-write the past, someone/ something may be sacrificed in order to restore the balance. If Jae-han manages to save Sun-woo, and bring down Director Kim…can the sacrificial lambs be Director Kim and Senator Jang this time? Even though it may imply that Hae-young will have his memories of the walkie talkie and his (current? past?) relation to Jae-han completely wiped out.
But that is such a small price to pay for everyone’s happiness. (and everyone includes us viewers)