Hope In The Unlikeliest Of Places
After a couple of incredibly tense and exciting episodes, The Game: Toward Zero takes a well-earned breather with a slowed pace exploration of the troubled past for our trio of central characters. With the killer already revealed and a stand-off ensuing between them early on, the majority of this hour-long double-bill dives back in time to piece together the flashbacks that we’ve been given fragments of, this time with a lot more purpose and clarity.
The episodes begin with Tae-Pyeong and Joon-Young heading up in the elevator and coming face to face with Do-Kyung, who happens to be waiting outside the hospital room for them.
As he turns to face Tae-Pyeong, our protagonist looks in his eyes and sees the time of his death – standing on the edge of the roof with Tae-Pyeong held up at knife-point surrounded by guards. “You’ll never find Joon-Young”, he mutters before falling backwards to his doom.
From here we then cut back to the aforementioned flashbacks, including knowledge that Tae-Pyeong’s real name is actually Jason and he has an American passport. We then see him with Teacher Baek, asking why he tried killing himself as we dive back even further and see the tragic tale involving his love interest unfold. He too couldn’t see her ill-fated death and this is met with tragic results.
Further flashbacks show the police chasing Jil Pil-Doo after his DNA is found at the crime scene and an ensuing scuffle with one of the policemen, who subquently slips and falls. This pieces together all the other fragments we’ve seen as the heartbreaking story continues and he’s forced to take the blame for the murder.
It gets worse too, as his family, including little Hyun-Woo, are forced to endure humiliation and the wrath of the people outside who believe Pil-Doo is a murderer. After giving him a wad of money, Hyun-Woo’s mum takes off.
We then skip forward and see Hyun-Woo at Hope Orphanage. A reporter called Jun Hee arrives at the orphanage taking pictures of Joon-Young until Hyun-Woo arrives and smashes his camera. After being berated by the reporter, Hyun-Woo decides to hide his real name from Joon Young as his past is just too painful.
This is where Tae-Pyeong enters the scene, as he’s taken to Hope Orphanage and uses his gift to see Hyun-Woo’s time of death. Only, Hyun-Woo is actually Do-Kyung in the future.
This shocking reveal sees us return to the present as Joon-Young places Do-Kyung under emergency arrest as they’re told to keep things quiet so the press don’t catch wind of what’s happening.
Tae-Pyeong then sees Woo-Hyun’s death, involving him opening a door as the ensuing blast explodes in his face and sends him crashing across the room. Deciding to keep quiet about this for now, Tae-Pyeong heads home while Do-Kyung is taken to the station for questioning after forensics take his DNA.
With limited time to act, the group scramble to piece together evidence to prosecute him. Back home, Tae-Pyeong is told he’s going to cause Joon Young’s death but how? Right now, that remains a mystery.
Following the high-tension that’s run all the way through the first 8 episodes, it was inevitable The Game: Towards Zero would slow down and this week we’re graced with a double bill of flashbacks. It works well too, especially given the way fragments of the past have been splintered across the previous episodes.
This ties into the smartly written story, which has evolved really nicely across the season so far. The characters are interesting, the mystery is interesting and there’s bound to be more twists in the tale to come as Tae-Pyeong’s gift is used much more effectively as a curse, adding a unique spin on this procedural. Right now, The Game: Towards Zero is the best crime drama no one is talking about, which is a shame because this one has the potential to be one of the best of the year.
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Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!