Drama Chat: Signal 3&4 Bring On The Tears

Posted by Stephanie on February 4, 2016



After waiting a verrrrry long week, we have the latest installments of the drama which I’m going out and telling everyone to watch, including my non-kdrama watching friends. An installment which left both Jacqueline and I crying like babies in the end. Did it keep with the expectations from last week? Hmmm….

Stephanie: Jacqueline. Do you need a tissue?

Jacqueline: No. I don’t need A tissue…I need stock in the Kleenex company, dammit. The snot only just stopped running 45 seconds ago, woman. CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH I LOVE SIGNAL DESPITE IT HURTING A FANGIRL?! Because I need to word vomit all over the place how much that, yeah the writing is solid, the story is structured, and the pacing is awesome…but the characters, man. THE CHARACTERS! Our heroine was a straight-up badass in these two episodes, our Present Lead was all feisty and determined, and our Past Hero was a giant dork of brave cuteness. Thank you dramaland for giving me nuanced humans that know how to human!

Stephanie: The writing, oh the writing! I am constantly surprised and delighted by the quality and the quickness of the writing. I was afraid for a whole lot of the episode because I thought I knew where it was going, but thankfully, I was wrong. I expect this show to go where other shows always do, and yet, it is refusing to do so. I love how, to try and figure something out, we have to take the information we have from the present, the original past and the present happening past. It keeps you on your toes!

Jacqueline: WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER darling, because you hit the words in the right spot. Character is ALWAYS going to be my bigtime concern, but in order to love characters I have to see them existing in a story that don’t suck monkey balls. Stories where I can guess Plot Number 128 before we’ve even done Plot Point 2 are not my favorite thing, at all. Signal kicks all the gluteus maximus in having this cool-ass timeline intermixed with the story’s unfolding. And that editor, oh GOD I love the editors in this show! Too often dramas give us a bunch of scene-dump where it’s all of Scene A, B, and C. But HERE?! We’re given a chronological story that layers in bits from a single scene staggered over the course of the episode. AHHHH HAPPY FANGIRL IS HAPPY.

Stephanie: Like when we tried to figure out why she didn’t use the taser? (This was mid episode.) While guy in the future was waiting for word, we knew that she couldn’t have used it because the time in the future would have changed and since she saw him on the bus she would have been able to id him? Then, not only did she use the taser (which must have been much weaker back then) but it was a huge plot point and the reason why the guy in the future could forgive the cop in the past for what he did and walking away and the guy in the past to allow himself to believe and possibly forgive himself. He was able to solve (prove?) the case, but they just didn’t have the technology then to prove it. They needed to work as a team.


Jacqueline: EXACTLY! I freakin’ loved that! This drama kicks butt (so far) at keeping the story heightened and duuuude….not one dull or flat moment so far! I so enjoyed seeing how the writers took such a simple seemingly throw away story moment and turned it into a crucial plot point. But, hey, as much as I’m going gaga over the technical awesomeness, I’m nothing but a fangirl at heart. The FEELINGS these two episodes evoked, especially in episode 4…? OH MY GOD THE FEELZ! This script was amazeballs because it got me emotionally invested in a victim who hardly had ANY screen time. It got me to care about a tragic romance that had what…maaaaybe 2 scenes in total, not including flashbacks?16-02-03-20-52-27-863_deco[1]

Stephanie: I know you started boohooing in the theater scene, but I think it was the moms, the people who the profile was saying to the killers father, the ones who, proof right there, would never forget what happened, would never be able to move on—to see them sobbing, needing to be there when the killer was finally brought to justice? Yeah, that’s what got me. And then I was able to join you on the revisit of the theater boohoo. He liked her so much! This show just yanked at my heart with all of these layered emotions. And while I’m so sad that she had to die, for her to be what pulled him into believing, it explains why we are able to see why he went on to have some sort of thing with the female detective.

Jacqueline: You know me. Eh, some family members crying about dead family members? Been there, done that. BUT A TRAGIC ROMANCE CUT SHORT IN DEATH AND NOOOO, ALL THE WATERWORKS. This is why I shouldn’t procreate. Because real talk, I started crying in the scene prior to the theater, when the mom came to visit him. But I’m digressing out the ass…my point? I was so amazed with how much I gave a damn about the killer mystery! I almost never, ever care about who killed whom for why-whats, but Signal had me all up in that business! Who is this writer, Scheherazade on crack?!16-02-03-20-58-36-429_deco[1]

Stephanie: Because with every step, we have no idea what it means for the present time. Each change could be good or (because I’m an anxious Debbie Downer, I expected this) horribly wrong. I do like that they are just giving tidbits of information not just on the case but on the backstories of these people as well. We know, like parts of a puzzle it will all fall into place. I like that they aren’t brow beating us with whatever the backstory is of the lady detective and the guy in the past, not just to keep it interesting but then we wouldn’t’ have felt so much for his dead first crush.

Jacqueline: Very true! I prefer getting the characters’ bits and pieces as the drama unfolds. Having a big truck of backstory dumped on our face makes for a boooooooring show. Too often a character’s nuts and bolts will be unveiled so quick that it leaves a bad aftertaste. I love the frack that you can’t quite tell where the story is going next. I totally trust the writer knows where they want to take the drama. For me that’s always a biggie, so it’s nice that I can’t predict the next plot, yet I know it’s gonna be enjoyable regardless.

Stephanie: Even with the first episode, when we start out in the original past. If this were a regular kdrama we would have been there for a while. Ugh. I hate that. But this show is giving us just enough to kind of know what might be going on. Do you think the Cold Case team will either get more credit now? Or are they going to get in trouble for showing up the superintendent once again. (Unfortunately, I think I know which.)16-02-03-21-38-53-613_deco[1]

Jacqueline: Oh I definitely think they’re gonna have the hammer thrown at them, if not directly then indirectly because no doubt about it; conflict is a’brewing there. Apparently My Drama List and Drama Fever have this marked as a 16 episode drama, which makes me happy as crap. Even though we’ve got lots of unanswered questions and tons of story left, I almost never feel dramas do well past 16 episodes (and hell, sometimes even need less than that.) So this is gonna be SO interesting to see how the Boss Man conflicts in present day will go down! Do you have any theories about why Past Police Guy knew about his radio-fuu…WAAAAAAIT!!! Okay something just dawned on me! Paradox-ish-time-travel-talk, now! I was about to ask if you had theories as to why the Past Police Guy had prior knowledge of his magic radio, but the reason he KNEW was because his past self already knew, so he had the foreknowledge of his altered timeline and those experiences since he had already lived that. But the bigger question now isn’t how he knew, but WHY the radios are working in this way?

Stephanie: I’m sure it has something to do with that, but the thing is that from what we’re seeing happen in the present, the present, even if it’s his past present, doesn’t change until it changes back then. Although, maybe once he got the walkie-talkie it started the catalyst for the memories (or for the past to change in him). GAH! I think you are right and I feel so much better about the show right now—as that was my one sticking point to the show. Way to go JAY! Now my mind is spinning. Gahx2, I love shows that make me think after I turn them off.

Jacqueline: SO TRUE! Timelines are tricky and fun, when done right, and that realization just hit me as I was keyboard-banging. It’s a legit struggle to root up any criticism to lodge against Signal. That is shocking the shiznit out of me because I’m critical AND an asshole. I am so invested in these people and this world. What murder case is gonna happen next? Are we going to stay in 1989? What really happened to Past Police Officer? Did he die or just go MIA, and if so, why? What happened to Present Cop’s brother? Is there going to be any love-lines going canon? I HAZ QUESTIONS AND I NEEDS ANSWERS DAMMIT!

Stephanie: I remember when we were talking in the center when you were having Lady Detective, Profiler feelz (ew) and when I said that I think the end game is her and the past detective you were sure he was dead. But is he dead? And if he is dead, that does not mean he has to stay dead, right? Who knows what twist and turn will happen next? It is interesting to learn they are only able to talk once a day and at the exact same time. Was that because that’s when they first made contact so they are stuck in some sort of loop? What is causing it? Are they the only ones who can hear it? And how did the past detective get it back after running away from the police? Will the lady detective ever be able to speak to him? SO many questions.16-02-01-22-36-16-534_deco[1]

Jacqueline: Pfffft on your ewww. I SHIP WHOM I WANT! But I’m only shipping them because 1.) I’m a sucker for noona romances. 2.) They exist together. 3.) I’m not loyal to my ships. I ship them AND I ship her with Past Police Guy. Everybody gets a ship! That said, I have no idea how any of the plot is going to play out and I AM LOVING THAT SO HARD!!!

Stephanie: I repeat. Ew. Ew. Ew. Don’t you know that end game is him with the dead girl? 🙂 One thing I am really looking forward to seeing is when the guy who officially runs the cold case squad stands up to the higher-ups. You can tell from the way the actor is playing it, he may be acting like a dick, but it’s because he does not really, on the inside, agree with them. He wants to be a good police officer  but he keeps getting caught up in the politics of it all.

Jacqueline: Another great point! And that’s what I am LOVING about of this show. We get so many small moments of subtle acting and nuanced writing that are, frankly, just blowing everything into the Awesome Zone.

Stephanie: There are a couple of points I’d love to talk about before we wrap up this giant make out fest. I have a question for the random women in the past in this drama. Seriously. Did they have no sense of danger? There is a serial murderer wandering around, not only in Korea but their town, their neighborhood, and they are not on alert? They are just wandering around like everything is hunkydory? Staying late at work, walking alone, without a care? Did they not have the buddy system? Did they not have family to, if not come get them from work, at least pick them up from the bus stop?16-02-01-22-03-32-985_deco[1]

Jacqueline: RIGHT?! I never wanted to play Whack-a-Bitch as bad as I did during those moments of WOMEN WHAT THE WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING?! Of course, I can’t fault Signal too much for this, because every damn drama…well, hell, every work of fiction ever, let’s be real…has this trope. There will be the Big Bad outside and the females are all “Whatevs, I’ll be fine.” Horror movies, American TV shows, EVERY DRAMA EVER. If I eye-rolled any harder, my balls would pop out. Before we finish, we gotta word-gab about that freakin’ AMAZING climactic faceoff between Past Cop and Mr. Serial Killer. That was one hell of a suspense-time ride!

Stephanie: It brings up an interesting moral question and one that the profiler had to answer too. If the detective hadn’t have guessed, would he have told him who the real killer was? Probably not. So that decision, if it had worked out would have affected their…working relationship? But I love the idea of dangling this killer in front of the police man (literally) to see what he would do, what he was capable of as, in the past, we’ve only seen him as a bit bumbling.

Jacqueline: YES to all of that! The morality, the implication question regarding their work dynamic, just all of it! I went bat-crap crazy-happy over Past Cop’s first instinct was to rescue the killer from his accidental roof-skydive. Yet, in those seconds our adorkably likable cop realized that in saving the bad guy, he was killing future potential victims, and subsequently letting the bodies hit the floor. (Forgive the pun.) Not only was that scene written so fantastically with cinched-butt tension, but the suspense and realism of the moment was further escalated with the use of some frickin’-frackin’ damn-good camerawork! I love how we the audience weren’t given the obvious “He’s totes about to almost fall off that roof” foreshadowing. The scene was shot so quickly it was like you were there, in real-time. I actually gasped aloud as he went slipping back with the momentum of his scramble, ‘cause I felt like my ass about to go splat on the pavement, too. WHY IS THIS DRAMA SO GOOD?!?!16-02-03-21-45-00-478_deco[1]

Stephanie: One of my favorite parts of the night was when I realized the killer had been paralyzed by the policeman. (Not the fact that he’d done it, but the piecing together of the puzzle.) Just a great example of the writing. Was he right for not going to the police? I don’t know. But the father was right, more than he knew, the detectives weren’t going to believe the policeman at all. Is this what hardens him in the future? I have trouble thinking that he’s just going to be able to shake this off. And if he does come back to the future, now that the events of the past have been uncovered, will he get in trouble now? These are the weird things I think of while watching.

Jacqueline: Oh truuuuue! I loved how that reveal was layered into the story, and all the questions it then raised. Your brain isn’t weird; it’s my favorite brain ‘cause it thinks thoughts that make me all of the euphoric. God, I DEMAND THE NEXT EPISODE GET IN MUH FACE. Someone call Korea and tell them I got a BB gun and I’m not afraid to use it.

Stephanie: I do wonder how they are going to motivate the next episode, like what’s going to happen next. This case in the past is done is the show going to continue to time jump or are they just going to settle into solving 1989 crimes? I hate to think we’re going to love some narrative drive. But for now, I trust the crap out of these writers so I’m choosing to not worry about it. Mostly. See you next week!

Like Jacqueline? Check out her
Fangirl Musings (YouTube)
Diehard Fangirl (Tumblr)

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