Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff
Much like Vagabond and Memories Of The Alhambra, the finale to Alice delivers an underwhelming and disappointing finish in episode 16.
Before we get there though, the episode begins with Jin-Gyeom standing before the old man and promising to kill his older self. And just like that Jin-Gyeom disappears and awakens in a tunnel with a gun.
We’re back in 2010 and Jin-Gyeom hurries up to a phone booth in order to phone home and warn Sun-Young. Only, Sun-Young is outside watching her son heading off to school with Do-Yeon. Eventually she does head in and answer a call though… but from the Professor.
Sun-Young receives some sound advice from him about what the future holds but decides she needs to tackle this head-on herself. Jin-Gyeom meanwhile heads back to the police station where he finds Mr Ko still very much alive. He promises not to kill his Mother and knows Jin-Gyeom’s from the future.
Jin-Gyeom admits that Sun-Young and many others will die and needs his help to stop this from happening. After lying and telling the man he survives, Jin-Gyeom hugs the confused officer and promises to stand by Sun-Young’s side and try to protect her.
The fateful night of Sun-Young’s death begins and the Professor runs into Jin-Gyeom outside. Seok tells Sun-Young she can’t stop what’s to pass and that his Mother always dies. And just like that, he holds a gun up to him… until Mr Ko arrives and helps Jin-Gyeom go free.
Charging down the stairs, Jin-Gyeom heads into his house again where the older Jin-Gyeom happens to be standing. Sun-Young pleads with our Jin-Gyeom not to kill his older self. After all, if he does then both of them will die.
It turns out Sun-Young stayed in 1992 as she believed she could stop the door of time from being opened. The older Jin-Gyeom visited her back then and revealed that the baby she carried should never be born and both should die. Sun-Young brandished a gun – Alice-grade from the looks of it – and told him that it won’t happen.
Back in the present (or, well, the 2010 present featuring the two versions of Jin-Gyeom and Sun-Young), Sun-Young agrees that both of these men before her are her son. She did know what Jin-Gyeom would become in the future and asks him to kill her.
When he refuses, Sun-Young decides to shoot herself in the stomach. It turns out this always happened and Jin-Gyeom didn’t kill her after all.
Laying his Mother down, Jin-Gyeom picks up the gun and points it at his older-self, eventually firing and killing the man in cold blood. As he disappears, so too does Alice headquarters. Time reverses all the way back to the night of Sun-Young’s birthday but this time our version of Jin-Gyeom disappears and a new timeline plays out instead.
We then jump forward to 2020. Tae-Yi is living with her family but no one there has heard of Jin-Gyeom. Everyone that died across the drama (minus the Alice representives) are still alive, including Seo-Jin.
Sun-Young’s promise that all the time travelers would disappear and reverse time rings true (apart from Tae-Yi for some reason). Jin-Gyeom is also now an architect, which is why no one in Tae-Yi’s world knows him very well. He doesn’t recognize Tae-Yi when she passes and is currently living an ordinary life.
Only, fragments of the past continue to bleed through for him as he sees Tae-Yi’s face and finds himself sketching her.
Eventually he heads back up to his family home and finds Tae-Yi waiting outside for him. “I’m sorry I made you wait so long,” He says, as the show ends.
The Episode Review
Time travel is an incredibly tricky subject to get right and Alice is a perfect example of how not to write it into a show. Despite starting well and throwing a couple of curve-balls along the way, Alice is a series riddled with problems.
I could be here all day writing out questions but even just from this episode, there’s numerous plot holes raised. If any of you dear readers have the answers to these though, please do comment below!
So if Sun-Young shot herself in this dimension, what about the younger Jin-Gyeom with the bloodied knife and Sun-Young’s knife wounds? There’s apparently a Jin-Gyeom going through time killing people but it appears to be the older Jin-Gyeom. But yet that doesn’t make sense. We’ve seen this old man embracing his actual face so what’s up with the younger version?
Why did Jin-Gyeom’s gun freeze up before-hand but this time fire perfectly? What was Shi-Young’s connection to Tae-Yi on the train? And why was there a drone buzzing around outside Sun-Young’s house the night of her death? At what point does Tae-Yi and Sun-Young become the same person?
That’s to say nothing of the cop-out ending which shows Jin-Gyeom alive and well along with everyone else. It appears as if Tae-Yi skipped across to a perfect dimension where everyone lost along the way is still alive. Only, this complete negates the sacrifices made and feels like a contrived happily ever after for the sake of it.
Ultimately though Alice is another show to add to the disappointing pile. In fact, this could actually be one of the biggest disappointments of the year. Despite some initial promise and a couple of decent episodes and twists along the way, Alice writes itself into a disappointing and lacklustre finish for this drama to forget.