I’m sad to let Voice go, but it’s time for our team to face Tae Gu and his father head on. A confrontation between them is inevitable and the bad guys have gone unpunished for too long. Kwon Joo and Jin Hyeok gather their strength to catch Tae Gu, who completely loses control and his grip on reality. Who will survive and come out victorious in this ruthless fight for justice is not set in stone, but the Golden Time Team gives it their all to the very end.

FINAL EPISODE 16  – For the Last Golden Time Part 2

Kwon Joo and Jin Hyeok arrive at the villa. They see Tae Gu’s car parked outside and cautiously enter the gates. There are fresh blood marks on the ground, signifying that Tae Gu brought another victim. Dae Shik is shivering in fear after being tortured. The lights turn on and we see an empty basement with a single table where all of Tae Gu’s kettlebells are stored. Dae Shik begs for his life, making Tae Gu smile.

Meanwhile, Kwon Joo tells Jin Hyeok the truth about what happened in this villa years ago. On January 1st, 1992, a woman came to the police station barefoot, saying that her husband killed someone. He later came there as well and told the police that his wife isn’t in the right state of mind from taking too many sleeping pills. They were Tae Gu’s parents. Hyun Ho looked up murder cases near that place and found that on January 4th the CEO of Jungnam Transportation, Park Jung Nam was found dead. Kwon Joo thinks that Tae Gu and his mother witnessed how chairman Mo murdered Park Jung Nam for opposing the merger between their companies.

We see a flashback of Tae Gu and his mother, who came to the villa. Little Tae Gu ran to look around and heard noises coming from the basement. His mother noticed her husband’s jacket and ran after her son. In the basement, the chairman’s minion was beating up Park Jung Nam. Mo Gi Beom was angry that he took away his bus route. They continued beating him up until the guy cursed the chairman and his children. That made Mo Gi Beom furious and in a fit of rage he unintentionally stuck a knife in Park Jung Nam’s throat. Yea, unintentionally… 

Tae Gu’s mother went down to the basement in search for her son, who’d seen his father’s murder. Both him and his mom looked terrified. Since that day, Tae Gu’s psychotic tendencies worsened. His father, feeling guilty about making his son this way, covered up everything sick thing Tae Gu did later on.

Back at the basement, Tae Gu takes one of his bloody kettlebells and comes closer to Dae Shik, who tries to crawl away but fails. The psycho asks if he knows how humans become complete? Putting down the kettlebell and getting out a knife, he makes a dee~~ep and painful cut in his palm without even flinching once and answers his own question – “through pain”. Tae Gu then pick up his kettlebell and strikes Dae Shik on the jaw with it, then looks for the key card. Dae Shik manages to ask him if this is where he killed all his victims, but Tae Gu quietly deals a few more blows to his head with the kettlebell. This is so painful to watch.

Jin Hyeok and Kwon Joo carefully go inside after breaking the lock. They split up to look around the villa, checking every door, but find no one. Meanwhile, after confirming that Dae Shik is unresponsive (possibly dead), Tae Gu goes to clean up, but notices the intruders on his surveillance system. He seems surprised at first, but then gets excited, thinking that Kwon Joo managed to find this place. He wanted to invite her anyway.

Jin Hyeok thinks that Tae Gu is definitely here, watching them from somewhere. He’s absolutely right because at that very moment Tae Gu turns off the lights. Kwon Joo tries to request backup, but her phone and radio don’t work. There must be some kind of electromagnetic jammer. They check the doors, but those are locked too. Tae Gu has completely cut them off from the outside world, feeling excited about this golden opportunity to play with them. Our team hears chilling screams coming from the second floor and go to check it out.

They find a body in one of the rooms – it’s madam Jang, and a phone with a recording of some terrifying screams from horror movies. Tae Gu wonders if he should invite the guests over and goes to pick up his kettlebell. Kwon Joo hears the sound of it and informs Jin Hyeok about it. They go to search for the basement entrance, hearing how Tae Gu bludgeons Dae Shik with the kettlebell. Hyun Ho tries to track Kwon Joo’s phone, but there’s no signal. Kwon Joo leads Jin Hyeok towards the sound and they find a hidden door.

They go down to the basement, following a blood trail to an open door. They check inside and find Dae Shik. Jin Hyeok goes to help his friend when Tae Gu comes running from outside the corner and knock Kwon Joo down with a rifle. Jin Hyeok and our psycho point the guns at each other. Kwon Joo’s still conscious and reaches for her gun, but Tae Gu knocks it away before she can get to it. He asks her if she got the present he sent her. He thought she’d like it, but Kwon Joo calls him crazy.

Tae Gu says that the two of them are different from other scums like Jin Hyeok. Kwon Joo has a different opinion, though, telling him that he’s mental and can only have his way because of his father. Tae Gu gets annoyed that she won’t get it and decides to kill Jin Hyeok first so that he won’t get in the way. He fires first, but Jin Hyeok docks and shoots Tae Gu in the arm, causing him to run away. Jin Hyeok checks on Kwon Joo and leaves her to take care of Dae Shik while he continues the chase.

 

She wastes no time and turns off the security system, enabling her phone and calling Hyun Ho for backup. Jin Hyeok chases after Tae Gu, exchanging gun shots on the way. They take a break from the chase, reloading their guns. Jin Hyeok asks if this is Tae Gu’s playground and if he killed Ji Hye to conceal the truth, but Tae Gu answers that it was his friend Dae Shik, who hid the truth. That gets Jin Hyeok angry, but Tae Gu uses his distracted state to get away. Jin Hyeok chases after him to the villa’s entrance where the face-off takes place.

They point the guns at each other, both determined to shoot. Tae Gu tells Jin Hyeok to stop pretending like he’s so just and innocent when in reality he’s not so different from him. They both have that evil nature within. Jin Hyeok urges him to shoot if he’s not scared, even firing a shot near Tae Gu’s feet, but gets no response. The cops arrive and surround Tae Gu, who slowly lowers his rifle, smiling smugly. Jin Hyeok gets furious that Tae Gu lowered his gun because he wanted to get a chance to shoot him. The police officers arrest Tae Gu and Kyung Hak tries to calm Jin Hyeok down, but he won’t listen. Jin Hyeok tells him to get out of the way, he’s determined to get rid of Tae Gu today, even if it means giving up his police badge. Tae Gu tries to provoke Jin Hyeok even more, enjoying the situation. Kyung Hak manages to calm Jin Hyeok and the other officers take Tae Gu away.

Dae Shik gets transported to the ambulance. His face and head is severely injured, he’ll have to receive neurosurgery. Jin Hyeok can barely look at his friend in such a state. Tae Gu’s being transported to Surim Medical Center, his condition doesn’t look good. Chairman Mo receives a call from his secretary, informing him about what happened at the villa. He orders to move his son to a different hospital. It seems there are his people everywhere. Chairman calls the director of the medical center, ordering him to repay his debt. The guy agrees to buy them some time.

The news report about the gruesome murders that took place at Tae Gu’s villa. According to the forensics, it’s possible that at least 30 people were murdered there. Commissioner Bae is informed about the situation and one of his officers suggests to stop shielding chairman Mo and his son, otherwise, he’ll get criticized as well. The commissioner understands that this time there’s no way out and muses that it took all his life to climb to the top, but falling down only took a split second. He finally realizes that he should’ve listened to Jin Hyeok.

Tae Gu gets his wound treated in the ambulance. For the first time we get to see that he feels pain, his expression says it all. One of the medics tells him secretly that chairman Mo sent him. Jin Hyeok gets informed that Tae Gu suddenly had a seizure and will be transported to the nearest hospital – Sungwun Hospital (yes, where daddy’s pawns work). Jin Hyeok calls Kyung Hak to tell him that they’ll go to Sungwun Hospital, while the Violent Crimes Unit should go to Sungwun Express to finish the case aka arrest chairman Mo.

Tae Gu gets transported to the hospital’s treatment room, while the police officers wait outside. The hospital’s director tells Tae Gu that his father already arranged everything. He gives him cotton with safflower seeds to hold in his mouth. They’re going to fake his death and say that he committed suicide by taking potassium cyanide. They prepare for surgery, that will lower the body temperature (I guess it’s a form of carefully managed clinical death). The director runs out of the operating room, telling the cops that Tae Gu tried to commit suicide. They tried to save him, but he passed away. The police officers go to the operating room where they see Tae Gu’s lifeless body.

The hospital director urges the medical personnel to transport him to the morgue, while the officers inform Jin Hyeok and Kwon Joo about the situation. Our team just arrived at the hospital and they sense that something’s wrong. Tae Gu isn’t someone who’d commit suicide. Hyun Ho and Eun Soo do a background check on the hospital’s director and find out that he received a scholarship from Sungwun Express, that allowed him to finish medical school and study in the US. Kwon Joo hears the sound of the stretcher on which Tae Gus body gets transported to the elevator. The director wakes him up, while our team hurries to the parking lot. Tae Gu’s secretary helps him get inside the car and they drive away before Jin Hyeok and Kwon Joo can get to them. Hyun Ho gets put to the task of checking every vehicle that left the hospital in the last few minutes.

The secretary tells Tae Gu that his father prepared a new passport and a boat ticket to Japan for him, but he seems pissed off at the idea of running away. Dad calls him to say he’ll take care of everything, but Tae Gu asks what is it that he wants. He’s the one who called him one of a kind and pretended not to know about his mental illness. Dad says that he can do everything for his son, so he just needs to hide for the time being. Tae Gu tells him to shut up because he doesn’t need his help and in a fit of pure rage he screams out Kwon Joo’s and Jin Hyeok’s names. Meanwhile, our team thinks that all of this was planned by chairman Mo, but Tae Gu won’t be able to hide in Korea because the case is all over the news, so they should issue a departure ban before he leaves the country. Hyun Ho found out that the secretary bought a ticket to Japan by a different name of a man, who came to Korea and went missing soon after. Jin Hyeok informs Kyung Hak and his team that Tae Gu will go to the port. They plan to catch him there.

Chairman Mo has a meeting with prosecutor Park, asking him to close the investigation, but there seems to be no way out this time. Park advises to turn himself in even after the chairman offers to give him everything he wants.  Mo Gi Beom won’t give up, though, proposing a different solution where they say that Tae Gu is dead and present another man’s body as evidence. Prosecutor leaves the Mo house and calls someone to say that even though he made his career by cleaning up after the rich, this situation is too much for him to deal with, so he’s taking his hands of the case. Like a rat abandoning a sinking ship.

Secretary arrives at the port, but Tae Gu tells him to wait as if sensing that there might be a trap. Indeed, there is. Our team and other police arrive at the scene and arrest the thugs that were waiting for Tae Gu, but Jin Hyeok sees a car driving away and chases after it. Tae Gu and the secretary don’t get too far away because Kyung Hak’s team blocks their way out. They abandon the car and run away by foot with police chasing after them. Kwon Joo hears them running on gravel and tells Jin Hyeok about it. They give chase but lose them near the docks.

The team splits up and continues the search, while Tae Gu and the secretary hide on one of the boats. Tae Gu finds an iron rod and bludgeons his secretary with it, throwing his body into the sea. Giving him the honor to make a sacrifice for him, as he put it. Kwon Joo was near and heard it all. She informed Jin Hyeok, but when they got there Tae Gu was already gone. They call the marine police, but Jin Hyeok, being as impatient as ever, jumps into the cold water, but can’t find the body. Minutes later the marine police arrive and find the body of Tae Gu’s secretary. Meanwhile, Kyung Hak’s team drives off to catch chairman Mo since the arrest warrant got issued.

Kwon Joo calls Jin Hyeok, who went to change clothes, but we don’t get to see what she told him. It must’ve been something important because Jin Hyeok drives away in a hurry.  Kwon Joo gives an interview about Tae Gu, where she tells her version of why he committed these murders. She says that not all psychopaths become murderers, some make a family and live normal lives. The society, their family and the environment can influence and trigger them to commit crimes. One example is Tae Gu, who was born with the brain of a psychopath and in his childhood witnessed how his father killed a person. Since then his condition worsened and he became an uncontrollable murderer. Tae Gu has been watching Kwon Joo’s interview and gave her a death glare when she smiled at him through the TV screen. Well, if provoking him was her goal, she certainly succeeded. Is that a hurt expression on his face, though?

Kwon Joo goes home, where Tae Gu’s already waiting for her with a knife in his hand. Before she can open the door, he attacks her in the hallway. Meanwhile, chairman Mo reflects on his life decisions, thinking that he should’ve fixed Tae Gu in his childhood, but instead raised him as a monster. He takes out a gun, planning to pay for his son’s sins with his life. Kyung Hak and the team arrive at his house, but when they enter his room, the chairman pulls the trigger. His last thoughts are of his son and how they’ll meet again in the afterlife. Lived as a gangster, died as a gangster…

Tae Gu brings Kwon Joo on the roof, knocking her to the ground. He wonders why she keeps returning to this house, wondering if she’s perhaps waiting for him. He asks her if she knows how many times he let her get away, but Kwon Joo says that he still doesn’t get the situation he’s in even after being on the run. She angers him even more by saying that he’s actually a fragile person, who doesn’t have the right to judge and punish other people. Tae Gu attacks her with the knife, but she dodges it and crawls further away from him. That attack seemed weak like he didn’t really want to kill her.

Tae Gu genuinely asks her what’s so wrong about killing a few useless people. He grabs her by the collar, saying that he gave her lots of chances, but she not only crossed the line, but went overboard with that speech of hers. He says that it might be time to punish her now. She tells him that she’s still here all because of him, because she wanted to catch him so badly, but recently realized what a poor soul he is. He lost his mother at the age of 12 and was forced to live with the father whom he wished to be dead. Because of all that he grew up to be such a monster. She wanted to become the same monster and tear him apart, but someone taught her that the police are there to catch the bad guys.

Kwon Joo tells him to be with the person he loves in his next life and take the right path. He asks if she’s finished, preparing to strike her with the knife, even though it’s clear that her little speech did affect him. Instead of crying or begging for her life, Kwon Joo just laughs. The incredulous expression on Tae Gu’s face is priceless, but the moment only lasts a second before Jin Hyeok enters the scene. He shoots Tae Gu in his left arm, giving Kwon Joo an opening to get away. It appears that Kwon Joo informed Jin Hyeok of a plan to provoke Tae Gu earlier.

Back on the roof, Jin Hyeok fires another shot in Tae Gu’s leg, then two more, shooting all his limbs and completely immobilizing him. Tae Gu cries out that this is exactly what he wanted. He says that they must know how weak the law they are trying to protect is. Tae Gu tells them to do what they want and Jin Hyeok points the gun at his head. Kwon Joo tries to stop Jin Hyeok, telling him that they shouldn’t become monsters like Tae Gu. He pulls the trigger, but it seems the magazine is empty, so he takes Tae Gu’s knife and brings it to his neck as if to cut it, but doesn’t.

Jin Hyeok knows that this is what Tae Gu wanted, so he won’t do it. In his mind, there were countless times he killed Tae Gu, but after seeing him yesterday he realized that it’s all useless. Jin Hyeok realized that for someone like Tae Gu it’s better to leave him in a place where he won’t be able to torture anyone.  He pats him on the head and tells him not to forget him for the rest of his life. Tae Gu screams in rage and defeat while he lies there on the cold ground, unable to do anything. Later that night Jin Hyeok visits his sleeping son at the hospital and tells him that he kept his promise. He spends the night with him, after a tired day.

Jin Hyeok visits his wife’s memorial for the first time in three years. Kwon Joo also goes to visit her father. She recalls how he was very worried when she first got her super hearing ability, but it was thanks to it that she was able to catch Tae Gu. Jin Hyeok takes a quick look at his wife’s picture, unable look at it for too long. He says that he’ll move on now and won’t look back for Dong Woo’s sake.  He apologizes for clinging on to her for so long and is embarrassed that it took him three years to say all of this. Jin Hyeok cries, having let go of his beloved wife.  Kwon Joo tells her dad to rest in peace now and she’ll do the same, living with a smile on her face. Her eyes fill with tears as she tells him how much she loves him.

Jin Hyeok and Kwon Joo visit Dae Shik, who fell into a coma after receiving his surgery. They see his fingers move and the doctor says that he got better and can breathe on his own now. They’ll have to wait and see, but it seems that progress is positive. Jin Hyeok thinks to himself how dare Dae Shik sleep when he came to visit. He tells him to wake up soon so that he can be talkative like he used to be.

Tae Gu is unresponsive, sitting in a wheelchair in Sungwun Mental Hospital. His doctor prescribes him pills that’ll restrain his violence. The nurse notes that there was nothing strange about his behavior, but he sometimes still makes cracking noises with his jaw. The doctor orders to check if the patient has been swallowing his pills properly. The nurse brings Tae Gu inside a big room that’s eerily similar to his villa’s basement. He looks around terrified, hearing voices.

It’s other mental patients who come closer to him. Suddenly the doctor who prescribed him the pills appears before him, looking sinister. Other patients suddenly start to attack Tae Gu with knives and whatever else they have. They stab and hit him repeatedly; this is looking more and more like a scene from a horror movie. The doctor slowly approaches Tae Gu, who’s all covered in blood now, and deals the finishing blow with a meat tenderizer mallet. This part, I believe, is another of his hallucinations.

Kwon Joo narrates that she later found out that Tae Gu got killed by another patient at the same hospital. Most officials at Sungwun Regional Police got replaced. Commissioner Bae is under investigation for taking bribes from Sungwun Express, while the Golden Time Team has been permanently established and runs its course. Kwon Joo used to think of her enhanced hearing ability was a curse, but now she appreciates it because it helps her save other people. She dreams of a world without crimes, but understands that with every light comes a shadow.

Even the smallest mistake could cost them a lot. Kwon Joo muses whether it’s the responsibility of all human beings to correct such mistakes, that’s why today as well she listens to the cries for help from other people. The 112 Emergency Center receives a report about a man wielding a knife in the subway and Kwon Joo activates Code Zero once more, sending our Team One to the crime scene.

EPILOGUE

“We thank all the viewers that loved and supported Voice.

Heo Ji Hye, sergeant Kang Gook Hwan, Bok Nim, Ah Ram, Eun Byul, Park Bok Soon, the victims of the Nakwon Welfare Center and the passengers from the Sungwun Express bus accident… All these victims were someone’s neighbors and beloved family members. This drama was created in hopes that our society will no longer have to feel sorry for being unable to save these victims within the golden time. Nor do we wish for more unfortunate and unfair victims to occur around us.”

BREAKDOWN

Voice started on a high note and ended the same way. This was one of the most impactful endings I have seen in a Korean drama. From the very beginning, the PD and writer stated their intentions with this drama and have never gone off track even once. It was always about the real life victims, about their struggles and their stories. It was always about giving voice to the real victims who never got to say what they felt, how scared they were and how much they waited for help, while the police wasted the golden time on stupid procedures instead of saving them.

It was a cry out to society, who placed formalities on a higher level than human lives and their wellbeing, who tends to ignore the abuse in families, thinking it’s not their business, who tends to pretend that mental health problems are shameful and people with mental disorders do not exist. That epilogue alone left such a huge impression on me that not even some dramas can achieve. I bow my head in respect to the cast and crew of Voice because they created a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, that didn’t gloss over the issues but was brave enough to show the ugly truth of real life crimes.

I loved the scene on the rooftop between Kwon Joo, Jin Hyeok and Tae Gu. The actors did an amazing job. Kim Jae Wook’s brilliance was rediscovered through this drama. He managed to make me feel sorry for Tae Gu and pity him. I liked the scene at the asylum. In the end, Tae Gu’s own mind became his prison. He was forever stuck in hell where he’s the victim, weak and scared, who gets killed by his own method. As much as that scene was terrifying, it was also narratively very powerful. Though I was a bit sad that Tae Gu was actually killed.

The scene where both of our leads visited the memorial of their loved ones was beautiful. It made me cry together with them. After three long years of non-living, they were finally able to let go and move on. The weight that was lifted off their shoulders was palpable.

I’m still amazed by what a strong impression Voice left on me and how much respect it showed towards the victims. Not only that, but it also raised the topic about why murderers become what they are, explored the human nature of t all. I’m proud that Voice was the first drama I’ve recapped. Thank you to everyone who read my recaps and see you soon on the 25th!