The Time Agents
After a strong and intriguing opening episode, Alice returns for another topsy turvy episode of time traveling shenanigans. With more backstory surrounding the Alice operatives and some crucial world-building, Alice is shaping up to be one of the more unusual and intriguing sci-fi K-dramas out there.
Episode 2 of Alice builds on the foundations set during its explosive opener. With time agents, murder and plenty of drama, this sci-fi drama is really starting to carve a unique position for itself in the sci-fi field.
2020 – Present Day
As we learn early on, science is like a sharp tool – if you don’t wield it correctly you could get cut. These words ring true for our characters as we cut back to Jin-Gyeom finding his Mother standing in front of him.
As a single teardrop falls to the ground, a shock-wave unfreezes time and sees our protagonist smash to the ground from the impact of the car.
When Jin-Gyeom awakens, he finds a very worried Do-Yeon before him in hospital. As he mentions seeing his Mother, his childhood friend walks away in a huff.
Up and about again, Jin-Gyeom heads back to the station where he and the other officers discuss the case. The CCTV footage is showing nothing and the guys are at a loss over where to turn next.
That loss eventually sees them turn their attention back to Eun-Soo for answers.
Eun-Soo is greeted by a woman who appears to be exactly the same as her Mother at a playground. She tells her not to go to the US no matter what. However, just before she leaves she runs into Jin-Gyeom.
He tells the woman to turn around but as she does, she takes a strange device out of her ear that instantly makes her age. It appears this woman may actually be an agent from Alice.
Immediately sensing something up, Jin-Gyeom phones the plates in to the station. Not long after, he heads to see Eun-Soo who confirms the same words this woman told her – don’t go to the US.
As we cut to 2030, we see Eun-Soo lying dead at the coroners but seemingly around 16-20 years old. As her Mother weeps for her daughter, her intentions are clear. It appears as if she’s heading back through time to change the future by saving her daughter.
Jin-Gyeom continues to look into the case, which is complicated further by the fact his picture snapped of the drone shows nothing there when he checks the phone.
Do-Haen catches wind of the police case and tries to sweet-talk Hyeon-Seok into giving up information. Despite promising to help with his work-load, he tells her to leave.
Instead she heads to Jin-Gyeom’s house and tries to dig into his laptop. When that fails, she turns her attention to Jin-Gyeom himself. When she mentions a drone, it immediately piques his interest and they start looking into this together.
Violating Rule 1
In an apartment block, a man is beaten to a bloody pulp on the ground. Holding his weapon, this boy (whom we later learn is called Yang Hong-Seob) looks at his older brother (who’s now actually younger than him) and bashes him in the face.
It seems this is another time traveler from the future who’s jumped back with his own vendetta. Just as before, a drone hangs overhead and seems to record this entire scene unfolding. When Jin-Gyeom arrives to help, he finds the hammer on the floor and phones the police in to check.
With some strange anomalies on the cameras, Jin-Gyeom receives a fragmented clue in the form of that same car we saw Eun-Soo’s Mum enter.
As this younger Yang Hong-Seob confidently swaggers into the parking lot, he tells Jim-Gyeom his name and receives a face full of car bonnet for his troubles.
However, his “tour guide” arrives and beats Jin-Gyeom down to the ground with a stiff kick. That tour guide, it seems, is actually Min-Hyuk whom we saw originally working with Tae-Yi before she remained in 1992.
On the back of this, a big car chase ensues through the streets as Jin-Gyeom and Min-Hyuk find themselves rushing through tunnels. This eventually ends with Jin-Gyeom alive – barely – and the two Alice agents getting away, declaring their mission a success.
Min-Hyuk and Yang Hong-Seob (client 1012) return to headquarters by jumping through a worm-hole. Despite getting back in one place, Min-Hyuk berates his client for violating the first rule – murder. Min-Hyuk tells him he’s to be banished from HQ and tells him to leave.
On the back of this, Min-Hyuk heads over to Ki Cheol-Am’s office (a guy who’s presumably running things) and tells him they need to sort out their screening process. As the attention turns to his ill-fated relationship with Tae-Yi, Min-Hyuk leaves and refuses to try and find her again.
Instead, he prepares Hong-Seob to head back. He asks about Jin-Gyeom and quickly smashes the operative over the head with a glass bottle. While he lies face down on the ground, Hong-Seob charges out and steals a car.
Present & Future Collide
Jin-Gyeom continues to search for clues and finds them in the form of a 5 year old Hong-Seob. With bruises all over his body, it turns out his brother Ming-Sun inflicted these. That same Ming-Sun it seems that was killed by his older version.
When he arrives home, Do-Yeon gives Jin-Gyeom a piece of her mind and question him over what he’s been doing. When he leaves, Jin-Gyeom receives an antagonizing call from Hong-Seob.
Sensing the worst, he immediately heads back to his apartment. Only, he’s ambushed by the man on the way. Jin-Gyeom gets the upper-hand though and presses a gun to Hong-Seob’s temple.
After shooting him in the shoulder several times, the situation is diffused for now.
At the hospital, Jin-Gyeom opens up his wallet and finds a strange key-card inside. Only, he’s seen this before. Sensing something wrong, he immediately rushes off home just as Min-Hyun turns up at hospital.
With a futuristic weapon and some nifty gadgets, he effortlessly drifts past security and manages to snatch up Hong-Seob from his bed.
The Time Cards
With these time cards seemingly important to what’s happening, Alice operatives led by Min-Hyuk are tasked with finding Jin-Gyeom and bringing him in no matter what.
As the plot thickens, Hyeon-Seok learns that the culprit at the hospital (Min-Hyuk) isn’t in the database. Even worse, the bullets used were so small that they show a stark resemblance to the same type used to kill Jin-Gyeom’s Mother.
As the episode closes out, Jin-Gyeom heads to a university to try and find an expert that can help him with the time cards. That expert? His Mother. The same Mother who happens to be leading a lecture for a group of students. He walks right up to her and hugs her tightly.
The Episode Review
Alice returns for a really good follow-up episode. With Hong-Seob violating rule 1 of time travel, it’ll be interesting to see what repercussions this has for him. That’s before even mentioning Jin-Gyeom himself who meets his own Mother and seems to begin disrupting the time line.
Only, is that really the case? Or has this always happened? Granted, the idea of free will and predetermined fates are also massive themes in Tenet which has recently kicked up a storm too.
Unlike Chris Nolan’s mind-bending thriller, this show is much more streamlined and has enough clues sprinkled along the way to follow cohesively.
With some excellent action (how good was that scene in the tunnel?) and lots of intriguing ideas explored sensibly, Alice has made quite the impression so far. Quite where this one goes next remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure – the future looks bright for this K-drama.