Memories of the Alhambra: Who’s the Villain?

I tried to make this post short but I failed once again. (Call it my system error, lol.)

I’ll “summarize” what we know about the villains so far.

First things first —

1. There are three dead bodies in the story but two of them, HyunSuk and Sec Seo, are linked to Jinwoo.

2. Their killer? Most of the viewers are led to believe that the GAME killed the two individuals.  However, there are some who suspect the killer is JinWoo because of circumstantial evidence.

With HyunSuk, there was evidence that JW grabbed him by the collar and that he was the last person to see him alive. With Sec Seo, JW was his companion on the trip who reported him missing.

However, there was no evidence of foul play which would directly connect JW with the two deaths. With HyunSuk, there was no physical evidence of external trauma although his body exhibited sign of exsanguination. With Sec Seo, he died of cerebral hemorrhage consistent with impact from a fall although I’m sure that the train station’s cameras would show that JW didn’t get off the train with Sec Seo.

3. If the game is the killer, then the real villain is the mastermind or creator of the game who’s hiding behind the mechanics of the game — somebody similar to the Wizard of Oz who hides behind the scene.

FYI. In the “Wizard of Oz”, there’s an ordinary man behind the green curtain who pulls all the levers of his gizmos and pretends to be a great Wizard.

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In the Memories of the Alhambra, there are two divergent theories regarding the identity of this “evil” mastermind.

The first theory is Sejoo is the creator of the game, and Marco was his middleman or game distributor. Sejoo unknowingly developed a flawed game and became a victim himself.

It’s widely assumed that NPC Marco parallels NPC Hyunsuk. NPC Hyunsuk haunts JW because JW slayed him in a sword fight. NPC Hyunsuk is said to be “avenging” his death. Likewise, NPC Marco chases SeJoo because SeJoo killed Marco in a fight. NPC Marco is also avenging his death.

However, I suggested an alternative to this point of view.

I said that NPC Marco can be chasing SeJoo because Marco had an “unfinished business” with SeJoo.  Vengeance has nothing to do with the NPCs  because NPCs aren’t imbued with emotions, principles and morals. (Otherwise, they would stop KILLING, right?)

To me, the game simply malfunctioned. It has a programming error that causes a failure in execution (lol, literally and figuratively speaking). It replays, on perpetual loop, its users’ LAST ACTION at the time of death.

For instance, in NPC HyunSuk’s case, HyunSuk was dueling with JW. When the real HS died while playing the game, the game “captured” the user at his moment of death and repeated this action non-stop as the game couldn’t log out the user. Same with NPC Sec Seo.  As JW’s ally, Sec Seo had shared “experience” points with JW and he was fighting off the swarming NPCs when he died. The game “captured” this moment and now as an NPC, he too fights off the enemies of JinWoo.

The way I see it, the game was programmed to generate results according to pre-set or predetermined criteria.

Meaning, IF a user does x + y, THEN the user gets z.

The user INPUTS the required actions for a given level (i.e., kill 50 NPCs or completes a mission) and the program OUTPUTS the calculated result (i.e., leveling up or dying and being logged out of the game).

But it seems like the game wasn’t tested completely and there was a glitch when two users interface/interact with each other, and one of them dies while logged in the game.

That’s why we have NPC HyunSuk and NPC Sec Seo in existence. According to Jinwoo, SeeJoo most likely realized a bit too late that there was a problem in the game and he wanted Jinwoo’s programmers to fix it. Of course, Marco would have been “unhappy” (to put it mildly) to learn that SeeJoo was backing out of a 10 billion won deal.

The second theory is that the mastermind is one or two of JinWoo’s associates.

The prime suspects here are his ex-wife #1, Director Park and Prof Cha because they all have something to benefit from JinWoo’s downfall. Although there have been strong arguments put forward to prove their motives, I don’t believe any of them capable of “masterminding” the game.

Here are my explanations:

a. His ex-wife #1, SuJin

Being an adulteress doesn’t make her a murderer or a conspirator. 😀

It’s totally preposterous to suspect that she masterminded the game in order to get rid of her husband and Jinwoo. Why on earth would she kill HyunSuk when they were expecting a baby?

Plus, she immediately suspected that JW had a hand in HS’ death and she was enraged when he came over to their house to offer his assistance after HS’ death.

She was hysterical when she accused Jinwoo, “What did you talk about with him? You met up with him last night. You called him out, didn’t you? What did you say to him that he ended up dead?… Something felt weird. I felt like something bad was going to happen ever since we ran into him at the train station. You must feel relieved. You wanted this to happen, didn’t you? You must’ve longed for this to happen…. What did you say to him? What did you say to him before he died? You should’ve called me instead. Why did you have to call him out?… He also lived in agony. He always wanted to reconcile with you. He cried and drank every day. We weren’t always happy.”

See that? Despite her husband’s alcoholism and jealousy, she didn’t want him dead. It didn’t make sense for her to kill him just to get back at Jinwoo and torment him with NPC Hyunsuk.

More importantly, she had zero knowledge of computer programming and gaming. She couldn’t have designed or teamed up with SeJoo to create an Augmented Reality game for the purpose of killing. This theory is just too convoluted.

b. His company co-founder Director Park

It’s also absurd to suspect that he masterminded the game to kill HyunSuk to cover up a secret affair with SuJiin (no evidence here) and to kill Jinwoo so he could control of the company. He knew game design and engineering weren’t his expertise so why would he covert Jinwoo’s job? Especially when he was already in control of the business side??

Furthermore, it would have been easier for him to get rid of Jinwoo at that moment he and Prof Cha discussed Hyunsuk’s autopsy.

Right then, he could have disclosed the Programmer’s statement about Jinwoo bragging about “destroying” HS. But he himself didn’t want to believe that Jinwoo was capable of killing HS.

Prof Cha: WE already decided. And I don’t want my son’s body to become a mess either. I don’t doubt Jinwoo. Therefore, there’s no reason to carry out an autopsy. What about you? What do you think?

Park: (recalling his conversation with the Programmer and Jinwoo) I think it’s absurd… to doubt him.

Of all people, he knew that Jinwoo expressed a desire to kill HyunSuk. Yet he didn’t voice his doubts aloud.

In his conversation with the Programmer, the latter disclosed, “Mr. Yoo told me that he completely destroyed him. He called me at dawn and told me that he destroyed Mr. Cha. He sounded really excited. Do you think Mr. Yoo used physical violence on him? Then he could get sued for assault or accidental homicide.”

Park protested that, “YangJu! How can you actually say that?”

The Programmer continued, “I just feel uncomfortable about how he told me that he destroyed Mr. Cha.”

Then, in another flashback, he remembered how he too had been uncomfortable when Jinwoo told HIM that he wanted to stab Hyunsuk, “I could’ve done something crazy if you hadn’t called me. If I had a knife in my hand, I might have stabbed him.”

See? Park knew two occasions when Jinwoo expressed enough hatred for HyunSuk to want to kill him. So if Park really wanted to, he could have usurped Jinwoo’s leadership position back then by raising suspicions and demanding an autopsy.

Why wait another year?

To me, his reply to Prof Cha “I think it’s absurd to doubt him” was his way to calm his OWN self-doubts about Jinwoo. He’d been shaken by the death of Hyunsuk and by the thought that Jinwoo could have been involved in it.

But he was giving Jinwoo the benefit of the doubt. He was clinging to his belief in his innocence. He wasn’t going to be a “traitor”.

That was why before he returned to Seoul, he asked Jinwoo, “Work is piling up. I must return to Seoul. Is there anything you want to tell me?” When Jinwoo asked him, “What about?” he pretended that it was a general question, “Nothing. I’m just saying.”

Park couldn’t have masterminded the deadly AR game.

c. Prof Cha

No. As much as people wanted him to be the villain here, he had no hand in the creation of the game. Based on his inflated sense of pride and self-worth, he wouldn’t resort to murdering his son (he dislikes scandals and being in the public’s eye, remember?) or hiring a kid like SeeJoo to create a game to kill JinWoo. And based on his reaction in Episode 12 upon seeing the zombie HyunSuk, he couldn’t have masterminded the game.


So there you go. I’m “recapping” what we know of the possible suspects and rearranging them to make sense out of the confusion. 😀  As it stands, it’s very possible that this story might not have a real “villain” at all.

Good night!

5 Comments On “Memories of the Alhambra: Who’s the Villain?”

  1. Thank you. You’re saying it’s like Ultron from Avengers which was created by Tony Stark. I understand where you said it’s the actual game malfunctioning. It will be interesting if this drama doesn’t have a villain. It means that technology can be really scary and mind blowing at the same time.

    Good morning! ☺️

  2. Ultron? Huh? He created it?! Is the sequel out already?!

    A malfunctioning game is my take on it. Others can have a different way of interpreting the events. 😁

    But for me, HS’s death started the events.

    As I explained earlier, JW isn’t guilty of his death; they both didn’t know the game would malfunction like that. They both were going hard at each other like gladiators or boxers or fencers but murder wasn’t premeditated as they were playing an AR game. 🤦‍♀️ And watch the tape again. Both times, HS started the attack and the blow; he parried them and started attacking too in self-defense. 😉🙂

    None of the three suspects, the ex Sujin, his friend Park and his mentor Cha wanted that to happen. None of them planned that. So they couldn’t have been the original villains.

    Even Seejoo who made the program, isn’t a villain. No malice a forethought; no knowledge of the glitch and (probably, let’s wait for upcoming episodes) he was trying to stop his program from being sold.

  3. 😄 Sorry about Ultron and the 4th sequel to Avengers is coming this May I believe ☺️

    Anyway I agree that from what we’ve seen so far it seemed far fetched that the Ex-wife and Director Park are the villain. I’m not sure about Professor Cha though. As much as he protected JW from the autopsy and the rumour mill for the whole year, he’s become dirty now. I know things might change because he is now playing the game but let’s see.

    There’s still ‘A’ too. Is he really just an informant?

  4. Prof Cha can be considered a villain 🦹‍♂️ NOW because of how he treats JW and his daughter in law and baby grandson. But I doubt he co-created the game or funded the creation of the game which began killing people.

    He can be guilty of one set of sin, but he isn’t guilty of premeditated murder of his son.

    To be honest though, I suspected him at first, when he called up JW in Ep 3 to tell him that he was on his way to the Spain. I wondered if he was really in Spain or covering up that he was in Spain.

    I think he began to suspect JW the moment JW apologized in Ep 3 (or 4?) after fending off HS in the rain. But as ex-wife pointed out, he felt betrayed that his trust in JW was misplaced bec JW

    a) killed his son,
    b) continued to have an affair with his ex while son was alive,
    c) was now recklessly and irrationally endangering the company.

    His suspicions and doubts all gelled into one big ball of “You’re a traitor!You backstabbed me AFTER ALL IVE DONE for you!” kind of enmity.

    To him, damaging the company was the FINAL straw and he’s willing to fight dirty NOW — which he wouldn’t do before because he held himself to a “high standard.” He doesn’t want scandal, remember that. He didn’t want the sordid affair of his son with his best friend’s wife talked about. He disapproved of his son’s alcoholism. He didn’t want an autopsy. He didn’t want Park and JW arguing in church and causing people to look around….

    So for someone who refused to be part of a scandal, he’s now willing to air their dirty laundry and even drag their company in the mess. Why? He’s out with a vengeance because he felt betrayed by the “traitor” JW.

    To me, betrayal isn’t the feeling of someone who’s guilty of “masterminding” or orchestrating JW’s downfall from the start. Why would HE feel duped if he had been scheming to dupe JW? Do you get what I mean? 🙂

    But let’s wait and see. We’re only in Ep 12, the writer can still toss a plot twist here. This is usually the time for a reversal.

  5. I don’t think there’s really a bad guy in all this.

    Jin-Woo has created a revolutionary lens system, with some nervous feedback effects that have an unknown potential, not triggered under normal circumstances. See-Jo, on the other hand, has created an extreme game, with a rule about the non-aggression zone around Emma. A paradoxical event occurs, during Marco’s physical attack on See-Jo. The virtual rule of the game is intertwined with reality. From now on, the impacts between virtual and reality become concrete. The lens produces its undesirable effect, which will go so far as to parasitize the brain and its nervous network permanently.

    There certainly is a supernatural component to this, relating to the perception of reality, of what we think is real. When See-Jo is in the dungeon on the station platform, he cannot be seen. So if he is physically there, invisible, and surviving without water and food, it is a supernatural element, but explained in the relationship to perception. He got out of the perception of real people, as if his brain was saying “I am not exactly here, but in a virtual dimension” and that his own perception was becoming strong enough to obliterate the perception of others. Perceived reality is only the assembly of different individual perceptions, and those who impose their vision change the perception of others.

    These are just a few thoughts, because if the deadly effect of the game is explicable by lens corruption, a bug and individual brain modification, the story of the secret dungeon remains a sacred mystery.

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