Hero: Episode 9 (Final)
We’re at the end! But this drama has also given us a chance to aspire to a new start. It’s reflected in the title of the episode as well: “Endgame Part 2 – A Shadowless City.” It’s the end of a long game between Vigilante vs. Corruption, but the dream to have a ‘shadowless city’ is a new chapter in the history of Muyeong, and it has just begun.
Just in case people think Oh Tu is kidding around about the bombs, he sets off a couple in the lower floors that cause the building to shake – but not completely collapse just yet. The whole scene unfolds on the large TV screens for all of Muyeong to see, and Jae in shakes with laughter at the incredulity of it all. His sneering laugh is enough to make Heuk Chul knock him out, and stuff him into a car that’s underneath a car crusher.
Beep – and the car crusher descends upon Jae In. Totally not a a graphic death for our villain.
Heuk Chul speeds towards the Mayor’s office with Yi On, calling up Dong Min to look up blueprints to the office. Dong Min can’t believe Heuk Chul is going to risk his life by going there, while Hyuk Kyu has a concerned expression – he knows this will not end well.
Myung Chul and the police head over to the Mayor’s office to deal with their new crisis, just as Heuk Chul and Yi On arrive. Yi On wants to go in and stop her brother, whereas Heuk Chul wants her to stay out of it because it’s his father that’s being threatened. Yi On can’t believe that at this moment, even after knowing Mayor Kim is the big bad, Heuk Chul is still going to defend him. She insists on going in herself anyways because it’s her brother; she’ll convince him not to do what he’s about to do.
Heuk Chul calls her crazy, but Yi On pointedly asks why he’s so defendant of his father. Yeah – why are you?
Myung Chul can’t get any information on Oh Tu because he’s part of a special forces unit that is completely classified. For all anyone knows, Oh Tu could be working under his general’s orders. He demands that the police dig up everything they can on him and find out who his family is.
Attention turns to Oh Tu on the TV screen, where he makes his demands. 1) Everything from this point on must be broadcast live. 2) No matter what happens at any point, they are not allowed to stop broadcasting live. 3) Any attempt at suppressing them will result in a bomb going off. To punctuate that point, he activates the bomb on his body.
Young Joon enters the conference room and clears his throat – he just got information about Oh Tu’s family members. He has one younger sister… and Yi On bursts into the room: “I’m Yoon Oh Tu’s younger sister!” Well now isn’t that great for Myung Chul, whose eyes widen in surprise. But Yi On pleads to be let up to the Mayor’s office. She’ll talk to her brother and reason with him.
Myung Chul lets her go up, and she finds herself racing against Heuk Chul, who is also running up the stairs.
In the mayor’s office, Oh Tu slices his arm, and then lets it magically heal in front of everyone to see. Photographers snap like crazy as he explains that under the name of “Advanced Fighting Efficiency,” his special forces team became lab rats for the TX Group’s experiments. And this was all sanctioned by Mayor Kim, who had passed a law allowing the TX Group to do all their illegal testing on humans, and then getting political funds back from the company. Myung Chul wants the video feed to be shut, but everyone’s too scared to – what if they all blow up?!
Yi On bursts into the room, and suddenly a gun is trained on her. But Oh Tu lets her pass. As Myung Chul watches the scene unfold, he demands they shut off the video feed again. Oh Tu would not blow the place up with his sister around.
Yi On begs him to just stop now, or else more people will get hurt. Oh Tu: “If I stop now, more people will get hurt.” He sees the video feed shut off, and then Mayor Kim announces a SWAT team will arrive at any moment. If Oh Tu turns himself in right now, he promises to give him a favorable sentence. Oh Tu wavers, but his right hand man refuses: he’d rather die killing Mayor Kim than turn himself in.
Oh Tu turns to the reporters in the room instead, hoping that they will all listen and tell the truth since he can’t say it to the world himself. He asserts that Mayor Kim received a lot of money from TX Group so that the special district could end up being a testing ground for their new drugs. The “Special District Redevelopment Project” is just another way for the Mayor to completely ruin the rest of Muyeong.
Mayor Kim interrupts – with the nation bankrupt, there aren’t many other choices left. TX Group is their only option in saving the city from complete destitution. Ah – so in front of all these reporters, he basically confessed his deeds.
Oh Tu screams at him to shut up and points his gun in the Mayor’s face. Heuk Chul bursts in and starts beating Oh Tu’s men up with his swift punches and kicks. Amidst the chaos, the hostages all run out, and Oh Tu leaves holding on to Mayor Kim at gunpoint. He drags the Mayor to the rooftop for the final showdown. When the SWAT team enters, they find the rest of Oh Tu’s men unconscious (thanks to Heuk Chul), and shoot them dead for good measure.
On the rooftop, Oh Tu orders Mayor Kim to take a good look around – is this what he envisioned Muyeong to be? It’s only fitting that when Mayor Kim looks around, he’s also blinded by the rooftop lights; Mayor Kim has only a skewed view of the city now, blinded by greed and power. Yi On catches up to them on the roof and screams for her brother to stop. She can’t afford to lose the only family member she has left! Her heartfelt pleas do strike a chord with Oh Tu, but he shoots in the air in anger. What he doesn’t realize is that Heuk Chul is on his way up to the roof, and a sniper has his cross hairs aimed at his head.
Mayor Kim has practically accepted the fact that he’s going to die, but Heuk Chul comes flying in, and kicks Oh Tu out of the way. Oh Tu fires, and the bullet only hits Mayor Kim in the arm. Heuk Chul and Oh Tu go mano-to-mano, but with an equal skill set of powers, neither can gain the upper hand. They both make flying leaps in the air, and this time Oh Tu’s kick strikes Heuk Chul in the right place.
With Heuk Chul down, Oh Tu stalks over to Mayor Kim to finish the deed… but he gets a single bullet straight into his brain.
Heuk Chul runs to his father and tries to staunch the bleeding. Yi On stares in shock at her brother’s dead eyes, then picks up his gun and aims it at Mayor Kim’s head. Really!? Are you going to finish your brother’s job!? But she falls, unconscious; Hyuk Kyu gently brings her down to the floor and urges Heuk Chul to run. Since he addresses Heuk Chul as a young master, Mayor Kim realizes that the vigilante that has been working against him this whole time is his own son. He sees his son with new eyes, but before the two can say anything, Heuk Chul leaves the scene. He can’t be discovered, lest he cause more trouble for the family, or be framed for all the crimes.
A quiet montage as time passes and each character is lost in his or her own thoughts. Myung Chul looks at his father’s name plate on the floor, suggesting the mayor’s recent fall from grace. Heuk Chul screams in anger, while Yi On visits the cemetery with Oh Tu’s ashes. The media furor around the events of that night have not died down, as an online version of the contract between Mayor Kim and TX Group has surfaced, painting the government in a very bad light.
Myung Chul tries to cheer his father along and get him to continue with the contract, but Mayor Kim would rather be left alone. Looks like the recent events have left an indelible impression upon him.
Heuk Chul visits the bat cave, where Dong Min is still spending all of his time. He hasn’t visited in a while, having stopped all of his vigilante activities. Though Dong Min was worried about Heuk Chul’s lack of contact, since he is a hacker, he does know where Heuk Chul is all the time… Heuk Chul is sad that he can’t exactly be a vigilante anymore, as it hurts too many people around him. Fighting injustice gave him a purpose in life, and made him feel like he was living the dream. Well yeah – everyone wants to be a super hero!
He finds Yi On at her father’s grave, holding on to Oh Tu’s ashes. He is the last person she ever wants to see, but he still offers his apologies for her brother’s death. “What can you do to bring my brother back?” she retorts. “This isn’t the situation to use the word ‘sorry.'” Yi On resents that her brother – who gave his entire life to fighting this injustice – died, whereas Heuk Chul just has the money and the means to “play around” and fight crime. It’s a game for Heuk Chul; it’s not a game for the Yoon family. Could Heuk Chul possibly understand what it is to fight for justice, considering his own father is the big bad? Understandably so, Yi On never wants to see Heuk Chul again.
Yi On cleans out her desk, wanting to hand in her resignation letter. Of all people, it’s Young Joon who tells her not to quit. Not only will he not have help with the paperwork, but he’s angry that Yi On is running away over an incident like this. He reminds her that she should not quit – especially for the sake of her brother.
Jae In makes a call to his boss in TX Group about the vigilante who is continually messing up their plans. SERIOUSLY – this guy never dies!!! He supposedly got out of the car miraculously before it crushed him… Anyways, knowing that the vigilante is Heuk Chul forces TX Group to change their strategies.
Myung Chul meets with Jennifer Lee, the head of TX Group’s board. She’s quite concerned with the unfolding of recent events, especially since Mayor Kim is not doing anything to refute the claims of corruption. Myung Chul assures that all will be taken cared of, but that’s not enough for Ms. Lee. She wants the rumors to go away completely – otherwise, they can expect TX Group to pull out of Muyeong.
Hyuk Kyu locates a morose Heuk Chul wandering through the streets and informs him that Myung Chul wants to speak to him. In a remote location (not by a river), Myung Chul confronts his brother for his “escapades.” It’s clear that Myung Chul knows his night job (because of Ms. Lee), so Heuk Chul and Hyuk Kyu roll with it. They accept Myung Chul’s disappointment and wrath, especially since his vigilante activities have put their father in danger of losing everything. It’s not just power and wealth, but it could also cost them their lives.
He warns Heuk Chul that TX Group already knows of his ties with Yi On, mainly because she’s begun digging around looking for rats in the company. Heuk Chul doesn’t want Yi On involved in this, but it’s too late. Myung Chul: “It’s hard enough to protect you. Just forget about her.”
You know, when you tell a troublemaker not to do something, they’re more keen on doing it. Surprisingly, Myung Chul only glares as his brother and Hyuk Kyu speed away back to the city.
In a remote location, Jae In and Ms. Lee catch up; looks like Jae In is working for Ms. Lee, but he ends up doing things for Mayor Kim and Myung Chul because it’s in both parties’ interests. Ms. Lee knows that the rumors will quiet down because she’s threatened Myung Chul enough. The question is how to deal with Mayor Kim, who’s become quite apathetic towards their goals. On top of that, she has Heuk Chul and Yi On poking around. “Get rid of both,” she orders Jae In. “And see you in the next city.”
Wow – this drama should have had her in it more!
Heuk Chul grabs a sleeping Dong Min and forces him to track Yi On’s location. She’s in an empty building, waiting for someone. It’s possible she was baited to the location by a fake whistle-blower for TX Group, but thankfully Hyuk Kyu finds her first. It’s not a moment too soon either, as men have come running in, ready to kill Yi On on sight.
It’s two versus three, but Yi On and Hyuk Kyu take the men down easily. They make a run for the elevator, and out of the corner of her eye, Yi On spots Jae In at the end of the hall. Yep – he’s aliiiiiiiveeee! Hyuk Kyu sees the danger and his priority is to make sure Yi On gets away, safe. He’ll handle Jae In himself.
The two of them shoot at Jae In (to no effect), and when Jae In comes charging at them, Hyuk Kyu grabs him and pushes him into the empty elevator. Yi On tries to shoot at Jae In again, but the doors close. She runs down the stairs as Hyuk Kyu and Jae In embark upon a vicious fist fight that leaves the old secretary suffering too many blows to the head. As the doors open to the first floor, Hyuk Kyu’s body drops down; he’s dead.
Jae In steps over the body and leaves it blocking the elevator doors from closing properly.
When Yi On reaches the first floor, she finds Hyuk Kyu’s body. Heuk Chul arrives at that moment to find her cradling his body. In one moment, Heuk Chul screams in disgust to realization that his faithful mentor is dead, to horror, and then finally deep sadness.
The next morning Heuk Chul and Yi On hear on the hospital TVs that Myung Chul has turned himself in to the police. He claims to have been the one who orchestrated the deal with TX Group and that his father had nothing to do with it. He takes all the blame for the political slush funds, the illegal tax evasions, and the contract, and insists that his father had nothing to do with it. In response, Mayor Kim is forced to make a public apology to the citizens for his eldest’s corrupt behavior, and swear that he will punish his son to the fullest extent of the law.
Heuk Chul’s family is seriously breaking apart, and though Heuk Chul is angry, I’m not entirely sure if I feel bad for them just yet.
Mayor Kim returns home, a defeated man. He and Heuk Chul are alike when angry – throwing things to the ground in frustration. Heuk Chul heads to his bat cave and takes one good look at his vigilante costume again. Should he don it one more time?
Heuk Chul returns home to find his now-crazed father laughing at the sight of Muyeong through the window. “What do you see?” Heuk Chul asks, and his father’s smile vanishes in seeing his son dressed as a vigilante. Heuk Chul asks if keeping the mayoral position is worth sacrificing Myung Chul to be publicly flogged by the media; perhaps it’s time for Mayor Kim to just step down? However, Mayor Kim truly believes that the city will benefit from the contract with TX Group. He believes that the people will understand his true heart when they see that TX Group is bringing Muyeong out of the depression.
Mayor Kim is becoming insane though, insisting that it is his destiny to do everything it takes to make sure Muyeong stays alive. Even if lives will be lost, he must save Muyeong. Heuk Chul: “Muyeong is not yours! Your logic of “only you can save the city” has ruined it completely!”
After all, the city is controlled by the people, not Mayor Kim, who elect their officials. The responsibility of saving Muyeong does not solely rest on Mayor Kim. Heuk Chul pleads with his father to let go of his foolish dreams, and for a moment, Mayor Kim looks as if he will.
The room darkens, and Jae In arrives. He’s disappointed to hear that Mayor Kim just might want to cancel the contract between him and TX Group. Mayor Kim could have had everything he ever wanted if he went through with it. Jae In wonders if Mayor Kim suddenly developed a conscience. However, TX Group wants a solution to their problems now, instead of waiting for the Kim family to try to “solve it.” Their solution is to get rid of Heuk Chul.
Jae In raises his gun on Heuk Chul and fires – and Mayor Kim steps in the way! It hits the mayor in the heart, and he falls to the ground.
Yi On just so happens to arrive at the house, but she doesn’t enter the room right away though when she sees Jae In is inside and there are two guards standing outside the room. But when Jae In aims his gun at Heuk Chul, she fires at his arm to distract him. She swiftly takes out the two guards, and draws Jae In out.
Mayor Kim’s dying words: “You asked me what I saw earlier? Lights… a city full of bright lights… a shadowless city.”
Heuk Chul screams in anger as his father dies in his arms.
Yi On manages to hit Jae In in the abdomen, but he gets her right in the leg. Thankfully Heuk Chul jumps in on time to beat the living daylights out of him. Though Jae In still trumps him in fighting, he’s also starting to feel the effects of the serum not working; black veins crawl up all over his face.
Heuk Chul takes the opportunity to slam his body against Jae In and out the window. The two of them go flying down many stories, with Heuk Chul holding Jae In down.
Jae In lands on a black car below; perhaps that was Yi On’s car? Heuk Chul is stunned, but conscious. He manages to get up, mostly unharmed, while Jae In lies on the roof of the car, dead. Yi On rushes out the building to find police and reporters already gathered around Jae In’s FINALLY dead body. Heuk Chul is nowhere to be found.
A new dawn arrives at Muyeong, and life continues as usual. In voiceover, Heuk Chul watches over the city:
The city of Muyeong that my father dreamed of probably had a lot of tall buildings. But the higher the buildings, the deeper the shadows. And the people live in agony in darkness. I dream of a shadowless city. Until Muyeong is filled with light…
Heuk Chul will continue to fight evil.
Literally – that’s the reaction the finale elicited out of me. I sat there thinking, wondering, trying to digest how I felt about the episode, and I literally went “Hmmm….”
It’s not a completely bad thing, as I truly enjoyed this series. However I do feel like the ending let me down after everything that happened in the previous eight episodes. First, I was mighty disappointed with Oh Tu’s “plan B” mission. He goes in with every intention of revealing the truth to the world, but he was so easily brought down by Myung Chul, and lacked the confidence to continue his mission with his sister around. I had hoped he would be a little more heartless, a little more daring – blow up one more bomb! Myung Chul had just broken all of your conditions! On top of that, he relied on the hostage reporters to tell the truth? I had thought those reporters were on Mayor Kim’s bankroll, so I never would have trusted them. It was sad to see that he was a righteous hero that was brought down by a bullet to the brain.
The other thing that disappointed me was the treatment of the family. I went back and forth into wondering whether I was supposed to cheer for a family that sticks together, or cheer for the demise of the family. Myung Chul and Mayor Kim have consistently befuddled me; just when I thought one of them was purely evil, the other one becomes more evil. They interchange between having good loyal hearts to devious politicians. The fact that Myung Chul sacrificed himself for his father’s sake shows amazingly steadfast loyalty, and contradicts what I thought about him having a bigger game plan outside of his father. It could be said that his plan would not have worked without Mayor Kim, but if he really had a bigger plan, I don’t think he would resolve the issue by turning himself in. Isn’t it counterproductive to have the mastermind in jail?
While it does seem like a bit of inconsistent writing for the characters, I will choose to believe that the message the writers are giving is that a person has a bit of light and dark to them. Every single character has a moment of contradiction about them, as their choices are influenced by their surroundings.
Mayor Kim was then presented as a psychotic man who had been blinded and jaded byt he conditions of the city. He meant well for the people of Muyeong, but his selfish actions have caused more harm than harmony. For him, if I look back on it, I can see his mental state devolving as he went from “iron fisted mayor” to a much more troubled mayor. He had his convictions, but was struggling to keep them when he realized that his convictions were doing more harm than good. I initially thought he had a larger purpose for Heuk Chul and that is why he wanted him to be saved. Now I’m starting to think that he favored Heuk Chul the most because he was most like his mother, and was the one with a heart. He didn’t stick up for Myung Chul, but he protected Heuk Chul from death – even though if Heuk Chul were shot in the heart, he probably could have survived.
As for Heuk Chul, I’m surprised at how annoyed I was with him in the last episode. He must have known that his father was corrupt in some way, so it frustrated me that he didn’t realize his enemy was his father. His unswerving loyalty to his father is admirable, but also underscores the fact that Heuk Chul played vigilante for fun. He never meant for it to get serious where it would start to have real consequences against the people he knew. That’s a bit of a disappointment on my part with his character, as I had hoped he wasn’t going to end up being as selfish as his family.
But enough of my complaints on the characters. I do have plenty that I liked about it. If it wasn’t clear already, I’m a fan of Batman – the Christopher Nolan reboot version. And this drama certainly echoes it. I did feel that by the end of the episode, Heuk Chul was going to be a dark vigilante once again. He wanted to clean up Muyeong’s streets, and he no longer has anything to lose. To a degree, he’s lost his family, and his ‘Albert’ Hyuk Kyu. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up going rogue, or if he ends up taking the fall for his brother, because I can definitely see it happening. My hope is that for his new beginning, he has learned to not be selfish, and learned the hard way that if he’s going to fight evil, he must go all the way.
I enjoyed the character of Dong Min, whom I thought was a nice break for comedy when the series needed it, and I wished he played a more vital role in the last episode. I also enjoyed the cases, the serious but light tone that the drama carried throughout, and the actors who were pitch perfect in their roles. It’s certainly a series that will keep me musing about what could have happened. I don’t think it needs a sequel – unlike Special Affairs Team TEN and Vampire Prosecutor, both of which have unfinished cases. Hero has a finished storyline; what’s left open is for us to imagine Heuk Chul’s new adventures, which can but don’t have to be brought to the small screen.
It’s even provided me a chance to develop theories on the serum. The serum is destructable. Once you are on the brink of death, black veins crawl on your face unless you receive another shot. Another thing is if your body is completely beyond repair; a bullet to the brain is going to kill you, since it’s stuck inside and no one is going to take it out quickly enough. A shot through the heart or a car crash won’t kill you if you receive treatment in time. Let’s hope that Heuk Chul can live a very long time.
P.S. I love OCN commercials – especially when they do tie-ins such as God’s Quiz 3 taking over the Hero time slot.