Signal episode 6 recap

Side dish: I’m kind of obsessed with The Woks of Life lately, so here’s another recipe: Xi’an Stuffed Pancakes.

Episode Recap


It’s 1995, and police detective, Lee Jae Han (Jo Jin Woong) discovers that his friend, Kyung Tae has not only been identified from a lineup of photos, but fingerprint evidence confirms that he’s the serial robber who robbed four different houses of high-profile people in Seoul. He chases Kyung Tae through the streets until they hit a dead end. Trapped, Kyung Tae protests that he didn’t do it, and he’s soon joined by his daughter, Eun Ji, who adds her voice to the protest. Jae Han asks Kyung Tae to go in quietly, and beaten, Kyung Tae agrees. He tells Eun Ji to go home and follows Jae Han to the car.

Jae Han handcuffs Kyung Tae to the car, as the two of them watch Eun Ji board the bus to go home, behind a father with his teenage daughter. As they drive alongside the bus, Kyung Tae watches Eun Ji cry her eyes out.


In the present, police detective, Cha Soo Hyun (Kim Hye Soo) interviews the father of Shin Yeo Jin, the woman who was kidnapped by Kyung Tae, who confirms that they were on the bus from the Hanyoung Bridge collapse. Soo Hyun points out that Kyung Tae’s daughter died in the bridge collapse, but isn’t sure if there’s a connection. Before the conversation can go further, the phone rings and it turns out to be Yeo Jin herself, who reveals that she’s in a refrigerated car. The police go in to high gear, trying to pinpoint her location and find the refrigerated truck where she’s being held. Only Soo Hyun has doubts and wonders why the meticulous Kyung Tae would leave a phone with Yeo Jin. Regardless, she gets in her car to join the search.

On her way in the car, Soo Hyun gets a call from profiler, Park Hae Young (Lee Je Hoon), who tells her that the Hanyoung Bridge collapse was not a normal accident, and that Eun Ji could have been saved. We flash back to 1995, where Jae Han, noticing Kyung Tae’s pain at seeing his daughter crying, moved from alongside the bus to following behind. Just then, the bridge collapses, taking the bus along with it.


In the ensuing pandemonium, both Jae Han and Kyung Tae are knocked unconscious, and when they wake up, thy can both see Eun Ji lying trapped in the bus below. In the meantime, Yeo Jin’s father is frantically searching the wreckage of the bus for his daughter, and finds her also trapped. When the rescue personnel show up, they only have one hydraulic lift, and time enough to free only one girl as the smell of gas in the bus gets stronger. With Yeo Jin’s father yelling at them, they decide to free Yeo Jin, leaving Eun Ji to die, as Jae Han tries to get below to save her, and the handcuffed Kyung Tae watches helplessly. The bus explodes just as Eun Ji begins to wake up.

Hae Young relates this story to Soo Hyun to prove that Kyung Tae’s real target was Yeo Jin’s father, and that Yeo Jin was just bait to get to him. He points out that Yeo Jin will most likely be somewhere near the Hanyoung Bridge, and Soo Hyun clues in that Yeo Jin’s father had been acting strange. Back at their house, the remaining detective reports that Yeo Jin’s father has gone missing.


Back in 1995, Jae Han finds out that the fingerprint evidence on Kyung Tae was fabricated, since his partner wanted to get their bosses off his back, and he had an eyewitness already. Jae Han punches his partner, but when he threatens to reveal everything, his partner points out that no one will believe him anyway, since Kyung Tae has already been convicted. Jae Han relates everything to Hae Young, who tells him to find the real culprit.

Soo Hyun calls detective Kim Gye Chul (Kim Won Hae) requesting backup in the vicinity of the Hanyoung Bridge, but it’s too late; Yeo Jin’s father is already meeting with Kyung Tae. Yeo Jin’s father begs Kyung Tae to release his daughter, but Kyung Tae has only one thing on this mind: showing Yeo Jin’s father what it’s like to watch helplessly as your daughter dies.


Running frantically, Hae Young finds Kyung Tae standing by the side of the bridge, looking towards a refrigerated truck near the memorial tower for the Hanyoung Bridge. He calls Soo Hyun, who races to the truck and gets there just behind Yeo Jin’s father, who is desperately trying to get the truck open. Soo Hyun pushes him aside and shoots the doors of the truck open, then gets into the back of truck to look for Yeo Jin. In fact, Yeo Jin has just been found somewhere else in another truck entirely. As Kyung Tae says that Yeo Jin’s father’s suffering will be short compared to his 20 years, Hae Young clues in that the empty truck is a trap, and goes racing towards it. He’s too late, as Soo Hyun turns on the light in the back of truck, and the truck explodes into flames.

Both Hae Young and Yeo Jin’s father are blown clear and as rescue personnel and more police show up, Hae Young has to be held back from the flaming truck. Finally, as Soo Hyun’s body is carried out, Hae Young has to be held back again.


At the morgue, every cop at their station, from their supervisor, Ahn Chi Soo (Jung Hae Kyun) down to Gye Chul and Hae Young, are standing in the corridor, when Soo Hyun’s mother and sister arrive. Soo Hyun’s mother is devastated as Chi Soo confirms the terrible news, and she can barely crawl down the corridor to Soo Hyun’s body.

Hae Young goes back to the office to find a bouquet of flowers on Soo Hyun’s desk. As he looks at the Batman photo she kept on her desk, he suddenly thinks back to his own advice to Jae Han, that they catch the real killer and put everything back the way it was. In 1995, Jae Han comes to the same realization and starts re-investigating the case. Hae Young tries to do the same in the present, but they both get nowhere. Defeated, Hae Young returns to the office, to find that the rookie, Hwang Ui Kyung (Kim Min Gyu) is packing up Soo Hyun’s desk. When Hae Young asks who gave him the order to do it, Chi Soo walks in and announces that it was him. Hae Young confronts Chi Soo, but can’t say anything when Chi Soo points out that Hae Young was the one who let her die. Chi Soo tells a teary Gye Chul to finish up and walks away.

Later that night, in the office, Hae Young thinks back to Soo Hyun’s earlier words to him, not to let emotions cloud his judgement. He finds all the data he has on the robbery case, and puts it up on the whiteboard, trying to find the connection that will solve the case.

The next morning, Hae Young is still in the office and the only conclusion that he’s come to is that he doesn’t have enough information. Gye Chul comes in and tells him to give it a rest, but conspicuously leaves the case file for the robberies out on the desk, declaring it to be garbage.


Armed with the case file, Hae Young finally finds the pattern, that all four victims had sons of the same age, who went to the same high school. In fact, the witness who identified Kyung Tae was Han Sae Kyu, the son of the last victim.


Back in 1995, Jae Han goes to interview Sae Kyu, only to be met with arrogance and hostility (Sae Kyu has obviously not seen A Hard Day, or he wouldn’t be messing with him). When he asks Sae Kyu to confirm if the culprit had jumped out the east window, Sae Kyu confirms it angrily, not knowing that Jae Han has led him into a trap: Sae Kyu had originally pointed out the window on the opposite side of the house. Jae Han asks for answers, but Sae Kyu asks his driver to push Jae Han out of the way, and leaves.

Thinking back to the words of Kyung Tae and Eun Ji, that the culprit was an amateur who could easily get in and out of people’s houses, Jae Han comes to the conclusion that the culprit was Sae Kyu. Later, at the police station, the chief chews him out for going after Sae Kyu, but Jae Han is not to be deterred. He asks for a warrant to investigate, but the chief turns him down flat; Sae Kyu is the son of the Head Prosecutor. His chief tells him to find irrefutable evidence if he wants an arrest, and Jae Han angrily leaves the office.


Jae Han goes to visit Kyung Tae, but Kyung Tae refuses to see him. Out of options, Jae Han waits for the radio to work again, and when it finally does, he’s shocked to hear that Kyung Tae has killed a cop in the future. Both Jae Han and Hae Young have come around to the same suspect for the robberies, Sae Kyu, but he’s untouchable as far as Jae Han is concerned. Hae Young theorizes that Sae Kyu picked Kyung Tae out of the witness list on purpose, that Kyung Tae and Sae Kyu knew each other from somewhere. Jae Han is unable to visit Kyung Tae, so Hae Young resolves to go himself, while Jae Han tries to find the missing items. Hae Young begs Jae Han to solve the case, and the radio transmission ends.

Hae Young meets with Kyung Tae, to try to convince him to help solve the robbery case. Initially, Kyung Tae is uncooperative and Hae Young can’t control his anger over Soo Hyun’s death, but when Kyung Tae gets up to leave, Hae Young begs him to stay so they can catch the guy who framed Kyung Tae in the first place. Kyung Tae agrees, but his memories of that month, 20 years ago are vague.

Back in 1995, Jae Han theorizes that Sae Kyu couldn’t have stored the stolen goods at home, and makes a list of all the places Sae Kyu could have hidden them. Jae Han checks out each one, but comes up empty-handed.


Finally, Hae Young scores a hit in Kyung Tae’s memory, with a delivery of fish to Gaesu-dong, the neighbourhood where the robberies took place. While delivering, a struggling Kyung Tae ran into Sae Kyu, and dropped some fish on his shoes. This run-in was enough for Sae Kyu to pin the robberies on Kyung Tae and ruin his life.


When Hae Young passes on this information to Jae Han, Jae Han is so appalled that he vows to catch Sae Kyu. He asks Hae Young if the rich still have impunity in 2015, and Hae Young tells him that they can make it so they don’t. In his car, Hae Young looks out the window to where the Sae Kyu of 2015 is doing business while walking to his own car. He tells Jae Han that he can’t solve the case from where he is, that the answer must be somewhere in Kyung Tae’s testimony. Jae Han suddenly asks Hae Young what colour Sae Kyu’s car is, and Hae Young responds that it’s red. Jae Han tells Hae Young that he’s going to catch Sae Kyu, and the episode ends.


Not-so-fun fact: The Hanyoung bridge collapse is probably a fictionalized version of the Seongsu Bridge collapse.

Wow, I really didn’t see that coming. This show really knows how to raise the stakes for each episode, and Soo Hyun’s death just became pretty powerful motivation to solve this case. At this point, I’m left wondering whether solving the case in the past will even bring her back from the dead? It seems almost too easy, given the disasters Hae Young and Jae Han faced in the past.

I’ll call it and say that we haven’t seen the last of Soo Hyun. I think that Jae Han and Hae Young will manage to solve the case and save her, though who knows? Maybe some other terrible thing will happen as a result. In the meantime, it’s good to see that Jae Han and Hae Young have figured out a way to work together effectively, and make use of the information they have in both times. It’s also good that they’ve both got some idea of the consequences from messing around with the past, and can use it to their own advantage, rather than chasing their own tails and wreaking havoc in their own lives.

Signal (시그널)


 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 || series review

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