We begin episode 3 of Kairos in September 2020 as Seo-Jin receives a call just as he’s about to post a letter. Reluctantly, he posts it through the letterbox before hurrying away.
Down at the police station, the man claiming to have taken Da-Bin is a divorcee known as Kim Jin-Ho. As we quickly skip back to August, we see Jin-Ho arrive at Yujung Construction. Seo-Jin turns up too, prompting this man to claim their company is murderous.
He shuffles forward, details surrounding his daughter plastered across a large placard. Ae-Ri happens to be there too and sees the man escorted out the building.
Ae-Ri finds the guy outside surrounded by security guards, prompting her to head out and try to help him. Do-Kyun arrives and hands over his card, asking to talk about his situation. Instead, he turns and walks away, unwilling to speak to anyone other than a Director or President.
In September, Seo-Jin receives the dreaded call from the police that they’ve found their culprit. As he rushes to the station, Detective Park warns him that if he can’t keep his emotions in check then he’ll be forced to leave.
As he steps in the room, Seo-Jin sees Jin-Ho and immediately lunges at him. The police stop Seo-Jin though, as Jin-Ho remains calm and collected, telling him that Seo-Jin killed his child.
The heartbreaking truth here is that the construction company used illegal materials on their buildings. Those materials caught light and the subsequent fire caused serious complications for his child, inevitably killing them. Determined to try and stop this, Seo-Jin vows to change the past – especially if all this happened one month ago.
Like a man possessed, Seo-Jin heads straight back to his office in a bid to find the dates correlating to the date Jin-Ho appeared in the lobby.
Breathing heavily, Do-Kyun shows up and finds out Jin-Ho was the one who took Da-Bin. Only, he’s not so sure this is the whole truth. (Or he at least gives off that impression anyway!) Still, he promises to look into this for Seo-Jin and get the details he needs.
Back in August, Ae-Ri heads home after her shift and gives Geon-Wook the cold shoulder. Despite him trying to rustle up the money needed to pay back Ae-Ri (including putting his house on the market), he’s having none of it and walks away.
At 10.33pm, she receives a call from Seo-Jin asking her to look into the killer. He’s got details on the whereabouts for Jin-Ho and sends pictures across -which she obviously recognizes from that day at the office building.
He’s also looked at medical records for her Mum but thus far nothing seems to have come back as definitive. Seo-Jin asks Ae-Ri to try and convince his earlier-self to help but she knows that’s easier said than done, especially how difficult Seo-Jin has been to contact.
Geon-Wook knows this too and decides to try and get in Ae-Ri’s good books. He heads out and manages to get an ID to get her into Yujung Construction. He hands it over to her before taking his leave.
In September, Seo-Jin’s search brings him to Hye-Kyeong whom he asks about Jin-Ho and Da-Bin’s schedule. She doesn’t recognize Jin-Ho’s picture either but does mention Sky Cafe for Kids which is a place Da-Bin used to frequent. Unfortunately the CCTV footage is deleted a week later.
As Seo-Jin looks set to leave, he bumps into a young girl who looks a little like Da-Bin and it brings back memories of the past.
10.33pm rolls round again and the duo discus what they’ve been up to. Ae-Ri mentions the fake ID and tries to work out exactly what to say to convince him. “There’s something I need to tell Da-Bin,” Seo-Jin says, teary-eyed. As we cut to him clutching glow in the dark stars (a throwback to Da-Bin’s room in episode 1), he begins weeping.
In August the big day arrives but the fake ID doesn’t work. Thankfully the security guard lets Ae-Ri in and she rushes into the office in order to tell Seo-Kin that Da-Bin is in trouble. It’s enough to get inside and she spills everything that she’s learned from his future self.
He listens carefully before sighing, believing she’s a lunatic… until she tells him an important statement. “It’s not because of you. It wasn’t because of you, Da Bin.”
This is enough to pique his interest as he stares wide-eyed at her. Unfortunately she’s booted out the building not long after, with the plan a complete dud.
In September, news breaks surrounding the illegal materials used at the construction site. The report also confirms what’s been going on with Jin-Ho too. As the police and prisoners watch this in separate areas, Jin-Ho begins eating his bowl of food after previously starving himself.
Elsewhere, Seo-Jin starts going through his calendar, piecing together where Da-Bin has been in the past month. However, fragments of this alt-past pierce through to the present, sending Seo-Jin down to the ground.
Do-Kyun rings and reveals what’s been going on with the breaking news. Seo-Jin promises to speak to the Director himself and hangs up. Only, the Director has been listening all this time and is not happy. He visits Seo-Jin in person where the grieving father promises that the claims about illegal materials hold no weight. For now, he’s allowed to keep his job.
Jin-Ho agrees to talk to the officers surrounding this leaking out on the news. He admits that he wanted Seo-Jin’s daughter to meet a painful fate like his did. As the Detective asks just where Da-Bin is, we cut across to a big police manhunt as they search for her among the thick bushes down by the river.
A dog bark brings Detective Park rushing down to the water where they find clothes and a teddy that matches Da-Bin’s.
In August, Ae-Ri receives a call from the hospital surrounding her Mother. The patient next to hers left a tape recorder but while one of the nurses doesn’t remember if Song-Hwak received any visitors or not, another is more certain.
She remembers a time where someone suspicious was standing outside her room. As Ae-Ri checks the CCTV footage, she notices someone walking with a limp. A limp that makes her realize Jin-Ho was the one who visited her.
On the back of this, Ae-Ri rings Seo-Jin and reveals about Jin-Ho visiting her Mum. Seo-Jin decides to meet Ae-Ri in his time to work out what’s going on.
This brings us back to September where Seo-Jin shows up and finds their place completely trashed and the front gate unlocked. He heads to the realtors but they don’t seem to have any clues over what’s happening either.
Seo-Jin receives a call from Detective Park who brings him into the station to identify Da-Bin’s clothes. When he shows up, Seo-Jin learns that Jin-Ho is going to be arrested for taking Da-Bin – but also for killing Ae-Ri.
It appears time has changed again and Jin-Ho kills Ae-Ri at his residence… the same residence she’s intending to visit that very day. Oh no! Seo-Jin scrambles to message her, pleading via text for her not to visit Jin-Ho but it’s too late.
Ae-Ri is dropped off at his address by a taxi but we also see this same location a month later with Seo-Jin showing up. As Ae-Ri heads inside… as the episode comes to an agonizing close.
The Episode Review
Kairos slows down slightly this week for a more methodical slice of investigative drama. With the past seemingly changed and Ae-Ri now on course to being murdered, the question remains – is Jin-Ho really the killer?
It seems like he is but I can’t help but feel there’s a puppet master pulling the strings and something far more sinister lurking in the shadows. It just seems far too convenient to it being him and Do-Kyun’s surprising tone seems to echo that too.
The back-and-forths between the two time periods are good though and they’re handled surprisingly well so far. With time lines being changed (again, I’m assuming that’s what’s happened here given we saw Ae-Ri on the bus and now she’s murdered), it remains to be seen whether Kairos goes the way of Alice and writes itself into confusing knots.
Hopefully it doesn’t though. This show is incredibly well shot and the instrumental score really helps add some intrigue and mystery to the show. So far so good, Kairos is shaping up to be a must-watch series this year. Let’s hope that continues going forward!