In a singularly aligned dark alley, a pair of petite feet veiled in black stalking and blacker shoes treads ahead slowly but vivaciously. The unwelcoming sound of footsteps break the ghostly silence of the alley like a sharp nail scratching across a piece of chalkboard. Abruptly, the sound comes to a halt. Faint splatter of eager droplets bounce off the heel to join the puddle of crimson blood beneath the pair of shoes and is heard no more. A perverse smile of satisfaction creeps upon her innocent face, then Jackie the Ripperess feigns a piercing scream.
The body is identified as Haruka, Fujimaru’s sister’s doctor’s husband, (what a handful!) whose wife is still unconscious from the kidnap earlier. Wait. This can’t be right. If the corpse belongs to the doctor’s husband, then who is the man taking care of Haruka and the doctor right now, at this very moment? Fear takes possession of Fujimaru, he starts sprinting.
When he reached the clinical, there is a single bed displayed in the center of the room — an inanimate figure of a woman protruding the flat surface of the bed, covered by a ghastly sheet. Shivering in fright, Fujimaru approaches the bed slowly and extends a shaking hand. He pulls the cover down and immediately jumps back in horror and disgust before collapsing onto the icy pavement. Lying there, is the cadaver of the doctor with her pupil dilated and her mouth gaping open.
A shiver runs down Fujimaru’s spine. He grabs onto the rim of the desk, bracing himself away from the terror that was once a living breathing human being. But before the relief that the woman in bed wasn’t his sister can lessen the extend of Fujimaru’s traumatic experience, the phone rings to announce the onset of another onslaught of emotional turmoil and inevitably, deaths.
He is given 30 minutes to rush to an old building on a designated street. Another rat race is set in motion.
Simultaneously, the police department receives an anonymous phone call from a woman, announcing the identity and address of the first victim of the virus.
Fujimaru runs to the building at the fastest speed he can manage. All his love for Haruka gushes out the second he set eyes on her. He rushes to her upon instinct, not noticing a piece of string below knee length attached to the chains shackling her down, and the bomb placed on her bosom…
He feels the tug of a string, almost immediately, a bloody red “10:00” flickers on in the dark, and decrementing fast. The phone on Haruka’s lap rings jubilantly. Snatching it up, a triumphant voice starts on the other side of the receiver, “Congratulations, you’ve just activated the bomb. Now you must hack into THIRD-i (the police department) and erase the video clip of the Christmas massacre in Russia in order to save your sister.” World peace or Haruka’s life, Fujimaru has a second to make the choice.
Trembling in anger and despair, he pulls the laptop out of his backpack and squads down to work. (Good god, he can concentrate and hack into a firewall protected network in that state!? Talking about individual variability.)
When Falcon takes flight, there is no system he can’t break into. (Well, at least that’s how it’s like in the drama.) In five or six minutes, he has penetrated the police department’s secure system, breached the database, and eradicated the only stored copy of the Christmas Massacre and of course, left his trace. Finished, he demands into the phone, “It’s done. Now stop the bomb!” An eerie laughter transmits across the receiver. The timer is still flashing its blinding warning. “STOP!” he screams. No response. “YOU BASTARD! YOU PROMISED! STOP IT!” Nothing. Punching the air with frustration, Fujimaru drops his head on his palm. In a few minutes, it will all be over.
The police department traced the position as well as the identity of the hacker. An emergency team was sent out presently to take necessary action. They found Fujimaru slumped on the floor, a little way ahead, his sister — extensively chained with a bomb ticking away. Only two minutes left now. The cops found the suspect outside of the building and brought him back in to stop the bomb. The man refused, chanting drunkardly but fanatically that the human sacrifice has begun before dropping dead onto the ground.
Now the only man who knows how to stop the bomb in the premise is dead, Haruka’s life is hanging on a thread. Red or blue, it’s up to chance to decide. While no one wants to bear the responsibility of detonating the bomb, Agent Sayuri steps up with the conviction of protecting Haruka to the end or die trying. She prays for guidance and cuts the red wire. The team duck in preparation for the explosion, nothing came. (You guessed this far didn’t you?)
The first victim of the virus Bloody-X is confirmed and quarantined. The survival rate is 0%. In a few hours, she will have a fever, then blood will be oozing from all her orifices and finally, terminating her life in pain and desolation. The woman is a nobody. Unextraordinary in every aspect. Her only hobby is surfing the web and leave comments on a certain site.
To Fujimaru’s relief, his sister is tested and verified to be uncontaminated. Meanwhile a small scale power balance is occurring inside the police department. Kano-san, the detective who’s been primarily charged with the Bloody Monday case is now positioned under a new superior. This change may potentially cause changes in the future, for the true spy is still comfortably hiding inside the protective walls of THIRD-i.
Despite the numerous question marks floating around, one thing is made explicit — Fujimaru is involved. Before you roll your eyes at me for stating the obvious, let me finish, Fujimaru is involved in such a way that the terrorist group is manipulating him as the all purpose hacking tool while the police is using him as the bait to fish the terrorist group. He is caught up in a mess he wants no part in. And being part of Bloody Monday means his sister is no longer safe. (Now you can roll your eyes.)
Yes, the mass produced virus is going to exterminate an entire human race, but it’s only a catalyst — a short cut to the swamp of destruction humanity is already sinking into. Dormant desires that reside deep within the shadows of human nature are only innocuous when left alone. Like Adam and Eve in the botanic garden, all it takes is one treacherous snake to tempt them into plucking the forbidden apple of original sin.
Similarly, an otherwise innocent prison guard is tempted to murder. His tempter — a ghostly man — simply repeated the assertion that “there must have someone you want to kill” to unleash the beast that would alter the course of the guard’s life and shatter whatever happiness he already possesses but took for granted.
The ugly side of human nature doesn’t always need to be probed. It can break out on its own accord. The first victim of Bloody-X stabbed one of the nurses with the contaminated needle while the nurse was drawing her blood for analysis. The victimized nurse quivers in fright as the rest of the research team shut her up in an isolation compartment, leaving her to pay the debt for another’s malignancy.
Kujo Otoya, Fujimaru’s best friend and the only person at school who knows Fujimaru’s genius, has told the newspaper editing staff of Fujimaru’s heroic act to help reinstate the student that was harassed by the biology teacher. Fujimaru doesn’t welcome the recognition and grabs his bag to leave. Otoya follows out and asks Fujimaru if he is hiding something. Fujimaru takes a deep breath and reveals everything.
They enter Maya, the current biology teacher’s office and uses her computer to uncover the video file Falcon was threatened to erase from THIRD-i’s database. Fujimaru believes that if a dangerous terrorist group is willing to go to such length to have the video destroyed, it must contain important information. The two best friends watch intently and spot a woman leaving the mass before the onset of the massacre. They zoom in on the woman’s profile and are struck by the revelation.
“What are you guys doing?” Maya, or shall we call her, the woman at the massacre, walks in. The two friends lied to cover their tracks and hastily leave the room together. Unconvinced that such a beautiful teacher would turn out to be a ruthless killer, Fujimaru waited till Maya gets off work to ask where she was on the 24th of December of last year. (A little tooo obvious, no?) Maya eyes Fujimaru suspiciously and replies, “I rented DVDs and watched them at home.” Relieved, Fujimaru lets out a tiny smile and asks, “Can I see your DVD rental card please? I promise I will explain this later.” Taking her card, he rushes away to check for himself. Moments later, Fujimaru positions himself in a café across from the DVD rental store and hacked into the system. The secure camera record and the time stamp both solidified Maya’s impeccable alibi.
More relieved than convinced, Fujimaru calls Otoya to announce the good news. But there is something nagging in the back of his mind, telling him to reassess the evidences.
To investigate further, the two friends decide to pay the teacher a visit.
They invite the teacher to eat with them. Sensing something is amiss, Maya conceals her suspicion and returns to her room to change. While putting on a deep cut V-neck dress, she hears Fujimaru’s phone ringing, his nervous reply to the phone, murmuring something about his sister, and then, a door slam. When she walked out, Fujimaru has left to look after his sister, leaving only Otoya standing awkwardly at the door. Otoya gestures to explain his friend’s sudden departure and suggests that he and the teacher dine together nonetheless. She agrees gracefully and drives him to a nearby restaurant.
Once the door clicked close, Fujimaru opens the lid to the bath tub and crawls out from his hiding place. Taking extra precaution, he starts to survey the apartment until he spots her HP computer. Hacking time!
Maya sensi and Otoya enter the restaurant, Otoya acts normally and tells the teacher to order whatever she likes, because he is paying. She smiles back politely and excuses herself for the lady’s room. Otoya waits.
Fujimaru’s phone rings abruptly. He picks it up, his dad’s voice comes from the speaker, updating Fujimaru on the death of the Bloody-X’s first victim and hangs up without further explanation.
Otoya waits. Then something strikes a chord, he storms out to the parking lot, Maya’s car is no longer there. Running at top speed, he dials Fujimaru’s phone. The woman is returning to the apartment, Fujimaru needs to leave. NOW.
But the data takes 10 minutes to download onto the USB. Fujimaru can’t sit and watch as the opportunity slide from his fingers like sand through a sieve. He leaves the memory stick on the machine and exits the building before Maya returns.
She comes back to find Fujimaru at her door, looking in intently. He sees her and notions that something sounds strange inside. Once she explains it’s the sound of security alarm, he grabs the keys from her and volunteers to steer clean of the path of possible burglars. (Like she can’t take care of them herself.) She watches as he lets himself in and asks, “Why did you come back?” “Oh, I realized I lost my wallet, I must’ve left it here somewhere.” “You are not worried about your sister anymore?” she tests. “She just took her medication, she’s fine now.” Maya says nothing and heads to prepare him refreshments. He sits nervously, doing mental calculation of elapsing time in his head. Almost 10 minutes. “Sensi, don’t you think it’s a little hot in here?” “Do you want me to turn on the AC?” “Sure.” She looks around for the remote but couldn’t find it. Fujimaru volunteers, “Sensi, let me go and look for it.” “Why don’t I just open the window?” She does and Fujimaru sits back on the couch, nervous sweat start to cumulate on the tip of his nose. He gives another worried peak at the computer room.
She catches him and muses, “You have been acting odd since you entered. What’s in that room?” She walks into the office and immediately, sees the flash drive. Smiling to herself, she exits quietly and pretends to have discovered nothing.
Fujimaru knows better. “About earlier,” he starts, “when I asked where you have been on the 24th of December… I didn’t really have to ask because Christmas in Russia is on the seventh of January.” pausing to gather courage, he continues,
“Where were you on the seventh of January, Sensi?”
She presses her lips together, a coldness sweeps across her face instantly. She answers,
“I went to the church. The church in the video.”
Despite the predictability of various aspects of this episode, the attempt to create a creepy ambiance is remarkable. The gaping mouth of the corpse at the start of the episode has a certain effect to create a sense of astonishment (and disgust) even if both the identity and condition of the figure behind the sheets is suspected.
The plot is getting interesting and I actually want to see more. (Although the suspense part could use some work.) So, it seems like I’m committing myself to this drama. But I still can’t promise timely recaps.
On a side note, Fujimaru had a dream of the virus manifesting on his sister. I’m not sure if that’s there to give the viewers a small scare or if it serves a higher purpose *ahem* foreshadow a future event.