Teacher Baek’s Murder
The Game: Towards Zero is at its strongest when it doubles down on the action and tension and eases up on the slow build-up. When it comes to this double bill of episodes, The Game does pick things up a little but the show continues to be hounded by plot holes and inconsistencies. The Game is still enjoyable enough to watch and if you’ve made it this far, it’s very likely you’ll see this one through to its conclusion.
The episodes begin with Do-Kyung arriving at Teacher Baek’s house to conduct electrical work and seeing the photo of the beach on the wall. While Tae-Pyeong confesses his feelings for Joon-Young, Do-Kyung crushes Baek’s glasses and demands to know everything about his gift of foresight. When he’s done with him, Do-Kyung murders Baek and leaves him a bloody mess in the bath. Tae-Pyeong returns home and is overcome with grief when he sees his teacher dead.
The police question whether Baek committed suicide but Tae-Pyeong immediately discredits that idea. However, Joon-Young tells him the police may well consider this a suicide. As we cut across to Do-Kyung, we see he’s also bloodied and beaten too. He stitches himself up back home while outside, Joon-Hee watches his house, having followed him from Tae-Pyeong’s earlier in the episode. He phones Ye-Ji and tells her to look into Do-Kyung and his link with Hyun-Woo.
Joon-Young learns that Do-Kyung has been assigned Baek’s case and as he looks set to begin the autopsy, Tae-Pyeong arrives to oversee it too, on orders of Chief Nam. It’s here we cut back in time and see exactly what happened to Teacher Baek that day, with Do-Kyung placing him in the bath and drowning him after slicing his wrist open.
After the autopsy, Tae-Pyeong learns from the examiner that they believe Baek committed suicide, with no clear indication that he was murdered. Baek’s funeral takes place not long after and the group say their goodbyes. However, in the distance Joon-Hee and Do-Kyung come face to face, leading to them driving off together. Joon-Hee tries to get away but Do-Kyung knocks him unconscious and keeps him hostage at his house.
Among Baek’s belongings is a letter addressed to a woman called Hye-Jung. As he heads off to investigate, Tae-Pyeong finds her younger sister and as she approaches Tae-Pyeong sees the moment she dies. Before he leaves, he tells her to be careful crossing the street. She pays attention to his warning, remembering his words and stopping herself from being killed.
Joon-Young follows a hunch and heads to Tae-Pyeong’s house in the hope of finding spy cameras installed. As Joon-Young starts investigsting the bathroom and putting her theory together, Tae-Pyeong looks at a photo of Baek and sees first-hand that he was murdered by Do-Kyung. As he heads home he does what the police could not and finds the spy cameras dotted around his house.
Only, it turns out the timeline is skewed and actually Tae-Pyeong’s scenes are occurring before the police’s investigation. As it happens, Joon-Young was right, there was blood in the pipes but Tae-Pyeong got rid of the evidence for…reasons? As he stares up at the camera, his gaze narrows as the fight looks set to continue going forward.
First, let’s get the niggling questions out the way this week. How is Do-Kyung given Baek’s case for the autopsy? Given his links to Tae-Pyeong in the past shouldn’t there be something a little fishy about him being involved in this autopsy? Earlier in the episode, forensics mention blood spatter but wouldn’t they conduct a luminol test and see someone has been wiping up the blood with a towel? Or in the unlikely event, do the test on the sink and pipes? Normally this sort of thing wouldn’t be such an issue but given the show attempts to add in an element of realism, it’s only fair to question this.
Still, despite the issues, the series does have some redeeming features. The music is fantastic, with a great orchestral undertone that heightens the tension. Tae-Pyeong and Do-Kyung make competent characters and as we’ve already seen, Tae-Pyeong has the ability to change people’s fates. As an action-thriller that you can switch off and enjoy for the spectacle, The Game: Towards Zero is good enough to watch but unlikely to be something you’ll return to in a hurry once you’re done with it.