Memories of the Alhambra: The Mystery of February 28

The timeline after JinWoo arrived in Granada is easy to establish.

But the timeline BEFORE February 28, 11:34 pm, the date and time when he opened SeJoo’s email containing the Memories of the Alhambra file cannot be reconstructed and verified.

Question: How did I know it was February 28?
Answer: It was on the cellphone. 11:34 pm on February 28.

I must point out the director/technician made a mistake here. The time in Barcelona is 11:34 pm, February 28, but JinWoo’s phone should have indicated that it was 6:34 am, March 1 in Seoul.

Then, when he returned to Barcelona after defeating HyunSuk, he was awakened by Sec Seo at 7:50 am, March 2. 


Here’s what we know actually happened on February 28.

Feb 28, at 11:34 pm: JinWoo opens email “Memories of the Alhambra.” Programmer’s name is unknown.

JW contacts “A” (real name unknown) to locate HyunSuk Cha. He asks him, “Is HyunSuk still in Barcelona?”

“A” replies that he isn’t sure but his official schedule ended two days before. JW then orders him, “Please look into what he’s been dong here. I want to know where he went and who he met, in detail.” Now, while they’re conversing together, HyunSuk is shown leaving Barcelona. (It’s unknown if the director meant that scene to be a flashback OR in real-time.)

Mar 1, at 1:16 am: JW arrives in Bonita. Eats ramen, goes to play Level 1 game with Nasrid warrior. And plays until morning.

at 7:02 am: he receives a phone call from “A” and shouts at HeeJoo about the state of her hotel. Finds out afterwards that she’s the sister and legal guardian of SeJoo the programmer.

According to “A”, SeJoo left home, saying he was going to Barcelona to meet a friend.

JW: How long has it been since he left?
A: A week.

JW: Isn’t his family worried about him?
A: He’s graduated (from vocational school) and is a guy, you know. From the emails, it seems like his family has given up on him.

Based on his phone conversation with “A”, JinWoo decides to eat breakfast with the family with the intention of ingratiating himself with HeJoo. At breakfast, he gleans more information about SeJoo.

Grandmother: Why isn’t SeJu picking up? I can’t get a hold of him.
HJ: His phone is broken.
G: Have you heard from him?
HJ: Yes, he called me up from the payphone yesterday.
G: Gosh, how did he break his phone? So when will he be back?
HJ: He’ll be back today. He said he was taking the train last night. He told me not to pick him up.
G: What time does the night train arrive?
HJ: At 8 am.

Jinwoo glances at the clock and it was 7:20 am.

at 8:00 am. All the passengers getting off at Granada have disembarked except for SeJoo. When Jinwoo doesn’t see SeJoo at the train station, he orders Sec Seo to ask HJ about him. Before Sec Seo can ask her, HeeJoo starts venting. She orders them to leave her hostel.

Jinwoo changes tactic and orders Sec Seo to go ask MinJoo instead. But according to MinJoo, her oppa hasn’t called, but if he doesn’t arrive today, then he’ll arrive the following day. JW gets flustered at their lackadaisical attitude toward the “eldest son” of the family. Jinwoo asks, “Is no one interested in the “eldest son of the family? I care more about him than they do.” Sec Seo says that they’re used to it since he doesn’t come and loses touch often.

Everything else that JinWoo does that day, March 1, can be accounted for.

But I’ll tell you the things that I find weird.

He meets his ex-wife and her sister at the train station. Here’s their stilted – and weird – conversation.

Ex: What brings you here?
JW: I’m here for work. (he glances at her big baby bump).
Ex: The bump is pretty big, isn’t it? Is it really obvious?
JW: I didn’t know about it until now.
Ex: Really? I thought you knew.
JW: No one ever told me. When’s the baby due?
Ex: December.

JW: I see. Congratulations.
Sis: I told her we should go by car but she insisted on taking the train. She’s so fussy for a pregnant lady.
JW: Where are you going?
Sis: Seville: It takes about two hours from here by train. We’re going to come back tonight.
JW: Are you traveling with your sister?
Ex: No, I followed my husband on his business trip. But he suddenly had to come to Granada. We had no plans to come here whatsoever.
Sis: At first, we thought about staying in Barcelona. But we tagged along because we’ve never been to Granada.
JW: When did you get here?
Sis: Yesterday morning.

Ex: Btw, are you okay?
JW: What do you mean?
Ex: I was really shocked when I read the news article.
Sis: Unnie.
JW: Then I’ve succeeded. My goal was to shock people. The first divorce is always the hardest. The second one was easy. It lasted a year. Isn’t that enough? I mean, it gets boring. Was that not the case for you?
Sis: Our train is leaving soon.
JW: Okay, off you go. It was nice meeting you. Have fun traveling.

Two things:

1. I believe the sister when she says that they tagged along with HyunSuk to Granada and that they arrived yesterday morning, February 28. She has no reason to lie and she volunteered that info.
2. The baby can’t be due in December. lol. I don’t know if the subber got it wrong but December is 9 months away and the ex-wife looks like she’s ready to pop out.

So perhaps the cellphone is wrong and the director made a mistake, right?

I don’t think so. Why?

Because in Episode 2 when SeJoo is getting ready to leave for Barcelona, he’s listening to the news on TV. The newscaster says, “The mobile World Congress, the biggest IT exposition in the world, began yesterday right here in Barcelona.”

She continues, “It’s been a great success with tickets selling out on the first day. This year, 2,300 companies from 190 countries have participated. A smart contact lens from Korean company, J One, is already receiving a lot of attention.

“Its unprecedented convenience, and ultra high-definition which replicates the human eye, make it the perfect device for realizing Augmented Reality.” Then, there’s soundbite from JinWoo promoting his company, “We plan to commercialize the technology next year, and the product itself will be launched this December. The delay isn’t caused by an issue with the device itself. We just need more time to develop the content. I’m sure you understand.”

As JinWoo’s segment is played on TV, SeJoo is seen busily packing in his room in Hostel Bonita. He packs in the bag his grey zipped-up hoodie, the one he wears when he’s being chased in Barcelona train station. He’s wearing a heavier jacket.

The TV continues to play Jinwoo’s interview, “Sir, we are FT1, a French channel. I’ve a question for you…” and there’s garbled noise before the newscaster comes back on again with, “Yoo Jinwoo, the CEO of Korea’s J One, disclosed the company’s detailed plans, and stated confidently that their smart lens will be the first device to successfully commercialize the augmented-reality technology.”

SeJoo looks up at the TV screen as he hears this. He stares at the screen as Jinwoo is asked a question, “What’s causing the delay in the content development?”

And SeJoo turns off the TV, and stares at his computer monitors then exits his room.

In a voiceover, “A” describes him, “His name is Jung SeJoo. He graduated from a vocational school, but he’s unemployed now. He will turn 18 in two months.”

SeJoo passes through the kitchen where the rest of his family is gathered. It’s past dinner time. Why do I say that?

Two reasons:

1. HeeJoo is washing the dishes and
2. MinJoo is working on her homework. 🙂

His grandma scolds him, “Are you leaving now?” “Yes” he answers. MinJoo says, “Bye.” Grandma continues, “Try to get along with your friends and call us often. Okay?” He speeds away without answering.

HeeJoo chases him, “Always be careful. And answer your phone, okay? When will you be back?” He replies, “I’ll have to see.” “At least text me once in a while, okay?” she says as he bikes away.

Again, two things I must point out here:

1. “A” told Jinwoo that SeJoo had been gone for a week. However, the news report contradicted him.
2. If we rely on the TV news as a TIME marker, then SeJoo left for Barcelona on the evening of February 28. The newscaster CLEARLY announced that the exposition began only the day before, and there was a banner at Jinwoo’s interview CLEARLY showing the dates of the exposition: 27 Feb – 2 Mar. If we are to believe this whole scene, then SeJoo was listening to the news on the evening of February 28 in Granada.

See the confusion there?

For now, we can’t say with certitude what happened on the day February 28 to Sejoo. He’s definitely caught in the cameras getting on the train in Barcelona. The timestamp says 23:42:15 or 18 minutes before midnight.

But it doesn’t help that his own “lunatic’s crazy delusions” — as he calls his reconstruction —  have holes in them.

“I keep racking my brain but only my delusion makes sense. A lunatic’s crazy delusions. From here on, these are my delusions. What I think happened to SeJoo that day a year ago.”

In his recreation of the events, SeJoo is seen rifling through dead Marco’s body for the piece of paper with JinWoo’s address. The game screen says that the Master (level 94) defeated Marco 10 minutes earlier.

In a flashback, Marco’s telling a nervous JW that they’ll contact JW should HyunSuk continue to stiff them on the price. They’ll play off Marco and JinWoo to get the best deal.

JW leaves the dead body of Marco (with a bullet in his head) in the forest, and runs. He’s next seen in Marco’s house in Barcelona.

We know this part of JW’s delusion isn’t possible because Marco’s body was found in the woods outside of Granada and SeeJoo couldn’t have run from there to Barcelona. Augmented Reality hasn’t invented tele-transportation yet.

In Marco’s house in Barcelona, he sends the email to Jinwoo. He rubs his eyes. NPC Marco appears. He flees and goes to the station where he calls up HeeJoo and tells her that he’s going home on the night train and that his phone’s busted. He rubs his eyes probably because he’s tearing up. He calls up JinWoo afterwards. (note: When he rubs his eyes, I interpret it as he isn’t wearing AR contact lenses.)

Again, this is their telephone conversation in the first episode,

SJ: Are you Yoo Jinwoo? Is this YJW’s cellphone
YJ: Yes. that’s me. Who are you?
SJ: Yes. hello sir. Professor. How should I call you?
YJ: I don’t care
SJ: I met Mr. Cha HS here. You know Mr. CHS, right? You guys are friends, right?
YJ: Yes. So?
SJ: He offered me ten billion won.
YJ: What?
SJ: 10 billion won. 10 billion won sounds great, but he’s a really bad guy. So I won’t take his offer. I was going to call you first. I read an article about you coming to Barcelona.
YJ: Wait a second. I don’t quite understand. What’s the purpose of your call and how did you get my number?
SJ: I sent you an email. could you please read it?
YJ: You sent me an email?
SJ: I’d hate to sell it to that guy but I have to decide by tomorrow. (suddenly in a hurried voice) Let’s meet at Granada. Please wait for me at Hostal Bonita. I stay there occasionally.
SJ: Hey…

We should remember three things:

1. He claimed to have met Cha HyunSuk. (which may or may not be true)
2. He thought he was a bad guy and he didn’t want to sell to him. (I’m inclined to believe that there’s a credible reason for SeJoo’s bad opinion of HS.)
3. He had to decide by the following day when he arrived in Granada. (because HS was waiting for him.)

It’s noteworthy that HS ordered his goons back to Barcelona and they broke and entered Marco’s place at around 10 pm (or shortly before Jinwoo’s phonecall). His henchman said, “It seems like a little traitor,” and HyungSik cursed, “Be more certain, you little shit. Who are you referring to? Who was betrayed? Was it us or Marco?” And his henchman answered, “I’m not sure, sir. We only dealt with Marco and have no info on the other guy.”

My take here is that HS hadn’t met with SeJoo directly because Marco was their middle man. However, SeJoo was the one pressured by HS to agree to sell by March 1 because they know he was the actual programmer. Since he didn’t show up at their appointed time, HS thought that SJ betrayed him by selling the program to Jinwoo instead. I find it eerie that the word “traitor” is bandied about too often.


that’s why it’s difficult to establish the timeline of events that happened on the 28th of February. We’re getting conflicting reports from “A”, Jinwoo, and the script itself. Hopefully, the mystery of February 28 is deliberate, and not just an oversight on the part of the writer and director.

8 Comments On “Memories of the Alhambra: The Mystery of February 28”

  1. LOL about December with that bump on March 1st :)))
    I listened to that conversation again. She says: sip i wol = 10 2 month = 12th month = the Korean way of saying December.
    So it’s not a translation problem.

  2. Growing Beautifully

    Thanks for your meticulous research and analyses of dates and times. On Dramabeans we were also confazzled by the time that Jin Woo was supposed to have left before the plug was pulled on the servers. I linked this article of yours to the DB post to show how time as mentioned in the show cannot be depended upon to be accurate, at all!!! 😀 So with the game, not only do we break the 3 dimensions of reality of space but also the 4th dimension of time to exist in a before-during-after limbo!!!

    Hmmm… maybe this augers well for Se Ju since his one year of being missing may only amount to being out cold yesterday?

  3. Wow – I didn’t notice these at all. You are incredibly observant, @packmule3 (:

    I went back to watch the scene where Jinwoo bumps into his pregnant ex-wife. Based on what I could hear, ex-wife says “December” in Korean (“ship-yi wol”). It really is weird; she looks quite heavily pregnant.

    … I’ve also been thinking there must be a credible reason for Sejoo to believe that Hyungsuk was a bad guy. Now I’m just wondering if this was because Sejoo mistakenly thought that Hyungsuk killed Marco, and that somehow players become NPC killers when they die in real life. But then this still wouldn’t explain how Marco died and then potentially went after Sejoo. There didn’t seem to be any indication that Sejoo and Marco were at odds with each other… (well, other than in Jinwoo’s “delusions”), such that any players who died would still turn into NPCs even if they weren’t killed in the game.

    … don’t know if I’m making sense, just thinking out loud.

    Perhaps A is the secret bad guy? Lying to cover up his killing tracks?

    I hope that this date mystery would be solved too, and not be an oversight.

    Looking forward to your posts on this drama! (:

  4. 😆🤪 😂
    I was waiting for somebody to notice and comment about that bump on the other forums bec it was one of the things that confused me.

    How could she travel by plane when she was that big?

    Then when she said her due date was December, I wondered if she was like a sea cow whose gestational period is a year. 🤨 😂

  5. Yes, I just replied to @oli about the very pregnant 🤰 Ex-Wife. I was on a doctor’s ordered bedrest during the final months on my pregnancies so I noticed (and envied!) that she was still up-and-about with her protruding belly. 😂

    I agree that there must have been a reason that SJ thought HS was a bad guy. Perhaps he saw Marco’s dead body and assumed that it was HS’s doing?

    Marco could be going after SeJoo NOT for VENGEANCE (like in the case of NPC HS haunting JW).

    It’s possible that he’s going after SeJoo to COERCE him to hand over the flash drive or the software codes because Marco got killed for not producing it himself. 👻

    “A” could have made a good bad guy but I think his role here in this kdrama is only a cameo. I think it would be unsatisfying if writer were to pin everything on him and avoid giving us his real motives.

    No worries. You make sense to me. We’re brainstorming here. 👍

  6. Yes!! I was hoping that all these “weird” timelines which-don’t-add-up would somehow mean that SeJoo’s lost time in the AR world (or the equivalent of limbo) could be condensed into a day. Otherwise what a nightmare this past year was for him!! 🥺

    I’d go crazy if I were to live in that perpetual loop! Riding the train, opening the door, getting shot, evading Marco, and dying over and over again. Death would have been more merciful.

    Re. Jw’s time in the dungeon, I made a note of it, too.

    He was actually on his way out when the last group of zombies attacked him.

    Going in: he had 2 hrs to accomplish mission.

    Reaching the end of the dungeon: he had 1 hour and 15 minutes left.

    It tells me that it took him 45 minutes to reach the end. He didn’t find master but he found the key for another quest. But assuming he needed the same amount time to get back to the entrance, then he had 30 minutes to spare. 🙂

    Going back and after encountering swarm and NPC Seo: he had 30 minutes left.

    Sure enough when he was “saved” by the light, he had around 30 mins left.

    So it’s not MORE time that he needed to accomplish that mission but MORE “energy” or “health” or “defense”. The attacks and critical hits ate up his life points (or whatever gamers call it) so he ran out of steam or energy to reach the end.

    Having a healer 🙂at his side or a health potion would have done the trick.

  7. >>It’s possible that he’s going after SeJoo to COERCE him to hand over the flash drive or the software codes because Marco got killed for not producing it himself.

    Ooh, that’s a new idea. … So if you are a player, and die in real life, you become an NPC that haunts other players based on the “last wish” you had in real life. For HS, it’d be revenge against JW, and for Marco, it’d be to get the codes. …In the preview for Ep 13, someone, possibly Sejoo, said “I may not sell the game in the end”. (This line was spoken in a scene showing Marco walking away from Sejoo.) So it could fit!

    I agree with you too about “A” – it’d fall rather flat if “A” turned out to be the bad guy, since he’s had such a minor role to play.

    It occurred to me now, that ex-wife’s protruding belly is to enhance the dramatics of it all. Lol. Visually, that is. To make us pity JW – like, oh man, his ex-wife is preggers and he didn’t even know, and it’s like she’s totally moved on. And oh man, she lost her husband during the pregnancy, that’s so sad. It wouldn’t be as effective if she didn’t look heavily pregnant. Don’t know why they wanna make her pop so late tho xD

    Thanks for making sense of the dungeon scene timings!

  8. Yes, the “last wish” or the “unfinished job.”

    The NPC Marco and NPC HS are “hung up” doing what they intended to do before death. 😀 That’s my take on it.

    And that game logic would fit in nicely too with NPC Sec Seo. He’s still defending JW. He died protecting his boss so his “unfinished job” is to protect his boss.

    But I’ve to make a mental note that the game DID explain NPC Sec Seo’s existence and the “rules of combat” for Seo, but it didn’t explain why NPC Marco and NPC HS keep on appearing.

    lol. I guess I have to post the dungeon scene timing separately in the blog then so others can find my explanation. 🙂

    But really that pregnant belly was such an egregious mistake. If the baby is due in December then she can’t be showing like that in March. In March, the baby in her womb is an embryo. That line is flagrantly wrong ANY junior/assistant to the writer and director would have caught that mistake. Which leads me to think that the writer/director duo EXPECTED the audience NOT to pay attention to it because the kdrama was to be released sometime around December anyway. Nice try, though. 😀

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