The K2: Episode 16 (Final)
It’s time for The K2 to show off its finishing move as our characters face the truth that finally comes to light in the midst of ongoing danger. Psychological warfare will be their best weapon as the timer continues to tick down to zero, and their lives won’t be the only things they stand to lose. With so much at stake, there is but only one voice we can call upon: Mirror, mirror on the wall—will Je-ha be able to save them all?
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
D-36 minutes. Je-ha races to the JSS headquarters while Yoo-jin tells Sung-won that he may as well give up now that he’s lost the memory card. But Sung-won is prepared to see things through to its potentially explosive end and even reaches for his cigarettes.
While they’re waiting, Yoo-jin asks how his name got roped into Kumargate when JB Group wasn’t among the listed parties. Sung-won explains that he initially meant to set up a trap for his father-and-law and the other mysterious consortium members.
He’d found out that Seok-han was a medical volunteer in Iraq and treating the leader of the Kumar group. Since he and Seok-han were schoolmates, he’d asked for an introduction. He then dropped out of the consortium before things imploded, but then Seok-han added his name to the Kumargate register.
Yoo-jin notes how Sung-won was so close to getting off scot-free, but now it’s clear that he orchestrated it all. “More or less,” Sung-won replies. He wonders how Yoo-jin figured it out without seeing the memory card’s contents, and she says it was all thanks to her computer…
…And finishes the thought in her head: “And Je-ha.” That leaves Sung-won even more impressed by Mirror’s capabilities.
D-33 minutes. Yoo-jin believes negotiations are over now and tells Sung-won to leave with his little bomb. She’d also like his shares before he leaves, though, and Sung-won gives a lazy no. He argues that he’d be penniless, so he may as well die here.
“Do you think dying is that easy?” Yoo-jin returns. Just then, Representative Park’s guards re-appear, demanding that Yoo-jin let them out. She smiles, having expected them to become desperate, and adds, “Should I teach you what’s even more difficult than dying?”
She brightens when Secretary Kim calls to report that the JSS agents have reclaimed the lobby. She isn’t remotely worried that taking back the rest of the building will take time, but that’s when Master Song runs up to report that Anna is somewhere in the building.
Secretary Kim orders a hunt for Anna, and as shocked as Yoo-jin is, she’s relieved that Anna hasn’t been caught by Representative Park’s men.
Speaking of whom, Anna is hiding behind a pillar in the basement level. She overhears her pursuer reporting to Representative Park that they’ve lost her, and Representative Park responds with destructive rage.
Amused by this turn of events, Sung-won walks right up to the glass and remarks how Se-joon likely won’t give up the memory card if Anna is held hostage. He makes a show about how he nearly deactivated the bomb earlier, but now he’ll just wait for reinforcements to arrive and defuse the bomb then.
Yoo-jin scoffs at that, saying that she’ll just replace Representative Park’s men who are itching to leave with her own. She dismisses them and orders them to put down their guns before they climb into the elevator.
They’re greeted by armed JSS agents once they arrive in the lobby and are escorted outside. Se-joon is filled in when he and Chief Joo arrive and is told to come down to the Cloud Nine sublevel immediately so he can trade the memory card for Anna’s life.
Je-ha finally arrives and staggers through the JSS doors to ask where Anna is. He runs over to the security room when he’s told that they can’t confirm her whereabouts, but the main feed won’t work.
On one screen, we see that Representative Park’s men are still looking for Anna in the boiler room. She waits with bated breath, but one agent grabs hold of her and Anna uses the self-defense techniques she learned from Master Song to fight him off and escape.
She crashes into Je-ha and soon they’re surrounded by Representative Park’s men. As they pull out their knives, Je-ha backs up and offers Anna his hand. She takes it, and then Je-ha turns back to the men.
He whirls around to evade the first jab, then lays low to knock the others down and swipe their knives to stab them instead.
Anna averts her eyes from the bloodbath, and then one of Representative Park’s men grabs her from behind and points a gun at her. Je-ha drops the knife and raises his hands…
…And balls one hand into a fist. “Freeze?” Anna wonders. He then gestures her to sit and as she crouches down, Je-ha whips out a gun and shoots the man down.
The sound of the bullet can be heard from the lobby where Secretary Kim order the JSS agents to find Je-ha. Speaking of whom, Je-ha collapses to the ground, barely conscious, and he ekes out: “We have to get out of here.”
Se-joon arrives at the Cloud Nine sublevel and joins Yoo-jin in the glass-enclosed conference room while Chief Joo is dismissed. She turns on the soundproofing, but as expected, Se-joon pulls out the memory card and tells her he cannot hand it over because he needs it to save Anna.
She reminds him that he’ll be throwing away the presidential race and lose everything, but none of that matters to Se-joon anymore. D-21 minutes. Sung-won knocks that they don’t have much time, but Yoo-jin is utterly taken aback by how Se-joon is willing to give up the presidency for his daughter.
Se-joon says he’s not entirely certain about that, but what he does know is this: “I wanted to become president so that I could be more powerful than you… and destroy you.”
She remarks on what a pity it is that Se-joon didn’t come off this strong sooner, but Se-joon counters that his hatred for her would’ve remained. And to that, Yoo-jin tells him what she already told Je-ha—she never killed Um Hye-rin or ordered someone to kill her.
She isn’t telling him this just to get the memory card because that would be as easy as taking candy from a baby. He asks why Yoo-jin acted as if she did kill Anna’s mother then, and Yoo-jin muses, “Could I have feared the idea of you leaving me?”
But then she revises that answer, saying that she likely feared the idea of finding out that she made the wrong choice. “Because I wanted to prove to everybody—no, my late father, that I made the right decision to the very end. Because I wanted to prove that I could make it so that my decision was the right one even if that happened to be the wrong one.”
Se-joon remarks that Yoo-jin worked so hard to seem clever when she, in fact, was so foolish. Getting choked up, she nods, “Yes, I was quite dumb. Happiness was something I never had to prove to other people.”
If that were the case, neither of them would’ve had to work so hard to live the way they’ve had. But too many years have passed now, and she adds, “I’m sorry to have made you live your life like this.”
Her sudden apology catches Se-joon off-guard, and he can only let out a hearty laugh of disbelief.
Je-ha is wheeled into the infirmary while Anna is dragged away. Both Se-joon and Yoo-jin look relieved, and after she asks to be put through to Sung-won’s father-in-law, she asks Se-joon to borrow that memory drive.
Sung-won’s father-in-law puts her on speakerphone, and Yoo-jin proves that she has the memory drive by texting the consortium members the banking information of their slush funds. She gives them ten minutes to remove Representative Park’s men from the premises lest she expose these slush fund accounts to the world.
D-18 minutes. Anna is dragged into Cloud Nine, where Sung-won motions for her to join her family. But just as Anna approaches the doors, Sung-won pulls out a gun and shoots Secretary Kim’s leg.
He then grabs Anna and demands that Yoo-jin open the conference room doors. Yoo-jin lets him in, and when he asks if she didn’t anticipate him having a gun, she admits that she hadn’t because “I thought only underlings would use a weapon like that. Oooh.
That sort of mockery doesn’t faze him, and after Sung-won sits Anna down, he invites the other two to join her. He asks Se-joon for the memory card, but Yoo-jin refuses, and as she calls out to Mirror to shut down the elevators, he shoots her point-blank.
Yoo-jin looks down at the bullet wound, then falls to her knees. Se-joon bends down next to her while Secretary Kim screams in agony. She shakes her head when Sung-won once again asks for the memory card. So Sung-won points the gun back at Anna’s chest, and Se-joon tosses the memory card to his feet.
Representative Park can guess that Yoo-jin demanded that his men back off when the police commissioner calls. He calls Sung-won’s father-in-law and the other consortium members to confirm it, then reveals to the room that the bomb in Cloud Nine is scheduled to go off in ten minutes’ time whether they like it or not.
He reminds them that their enemies and the memory card is in that room, so once everyone is blown up, he’ll be the only one with evidence about Kumargate. He’ll also be the only presidential candidate left in his party, and that gets the consortium members’ attention.
He orders the committee to cut off the power and all outside communication circuits to JSS. Ten minutes should be more than enough.
Je-ha comes to in the infirmary and declares that they must evacuate immediately because of the bomb. Chief Joo calls Se-joon to inform him that the bomb cannot be defused and that they must all leave immediately.
D-16 minutes. Sung-won steps down to check and starts to panic when he cannot deactivate it. He runs back to Yoo-jin, who’s bleeding out, and says they have to bring the elevators back online.
He calls out to Mirror, at which point Yoo-jin says her computer only listens to her. Just as she calls out to Mirror, the power goes out and the emergency generators kick in. Upon learning that neither the elevators nor cell reception is an option, she congratulates Sung-won because his political ally was responsible for this.
Sung-won runs out while Se-joon removes his tie and asks Anna to apply pressure on the wound. Even though Yoo-jin says she doesn’t have to, Se-joon silently urges his daughter to help. And so, Anna takes over so that Se-joon can assess the situation outside.
Yoo-jin looks up at Anna and congratulates her because she’s about to get her wish. Anna tells her not to speak, and Yoo-jin comments that she’ll die at this rate. “That’s right,” she breathes. “Your mother was already dying… when I arrived.”
“Like you, I once had a father. But the funny things about fathers is that they’re never around when you need them, but show up when you don’t need them.” Her words are intercut with the memory of a figure walking around Anna’s dark house all those years ago.
“My father found out about your mother and took it upon himself to deal with it,” she continues in a labored voice. “I begged him not to, but in the end… he ordered one of his men to kill your mother. For my sake.”
“And was that Master Song?” Anna asks. Yoo-jin replies, “So you knew.” We now see what happened: Master Song had snuck into Anna’s mother’s bedroom and stuck a syringe in her neck. She’d struggled and latched onto him, but then knocked over the pills on her bedside table before collapsing onto the ground.
He had hidden in a corner at the sound of young Anna’s voice. She had shrieked upon seeing the bright flashlight, so he covered her mouth and she passed out just as Yoo-jin had walked in.
Yoo-jin explains that she’d gone to the house because she’d found out about her father’s plan, but it was already too late when she’d arrived. She’d known that young Anna and Master Song were hiding in the corner, but she couldn’t bring herself to look at them.
“Because… I was afraid I’d see your face,” Yoo-jin admits haltingly. Just as she’d turned to leave, Anna’s mother reached out to her, and for the briefest moment, she contemplated calling an ambulance.
But then she decided against it, told Anna’s mother that love was never meant to be shared and turned her back on the dying woman. She knows she could’ve saved Anna’s mother, so the fact that she didn’t makes her responsible for Anna’s mother’s death.
“Afterward, I lived my life like my father did,” Yoo-jin confesses tearfully. “No, even harsher than that. On the night your mother died, I obeyed the commands of the devil within me.”
A tear rolls down Anna’s cheek, and Yoo-jin says she can let go now. “I’m the enemy that killed your mother.”
D-12 minutes. Je-ha follows Master Song down to the basement while Chief Joo is told to call for reinforcements. Je-ha forces the elevator doors open and puts on the harness. Securing himself to the wall, he tells the others to pull the rope up at his signal.
He rappels himself down while Se-joon rejoins Yoo-jin, who is barely lucid. Sung-won comes running back when he sees Je-ha and holds Anna at gunpoint. Je-ha runs into the room and examines the spilled blood and the injured parties. Yeah, a lot happened while you were gone.
Sung-won declares that he’ll be leaving with Anna first, and unbeknownst to him, the memory card falls to the floor when she struggles. To his surprise, Je-ha marches forward, but then Anna kicks the memory card away.
Se-joon tells Je-ha to follow Sung-won’s commands, so Je-ha leads them to the elevator. Sung-won puts on the harness and figures he should go up first. When Je-ha says Anna should go up first, Sung-won responds by shooting him in the leg. He throws Anna toward Je-ha, and calls on the group upstairs to pull him up. Anna tries to staunch the bleeding while Sung-won throws away the rope and announces that they all have to evacuate.
Je-ha gets in touch with the others via radio, instructing them to cut the elevator cable at his command. He and Anna double back to the conference room, and Yoo-jin smiles at his return.
He bellows that they have to leave, but Yoo-jin says it’s too late for her. “Is there a place for me to go anymore?” she muses. “I’d like to rest now.” Telling them to take Secretary Kim, she says, “I was wrong. Hurry and save Anna.”
Je-ha rushes to the bomb and urges Se-joon to leave with Secretary Kim. They have no time to argue, and Yoo-jin tells him to leave.
As Je-ha limps down the corridor, he explains to Se-joon, Secretary Kim, and Anna that the elevator has a safety feature in the case of freefall. He guesses that they can go further underground and escape the explosion, but that’s just a theory. Se-joon: “That’s… too bad.”
D-5 minutes. He and Se-joon force the doors shut and he orders the JSS agents to shoot. They all shoot at the cables, and upon seeing Je-ha and Anna hold one another, Se-joon opens the doors again.
They reach out to him, but Se-joon says he has no chance of saving Anna now: “I have to soften the blow.” He knows Anna will do just fine without him because she grew up just fine without him anyway.
She starts to cry, but Se-joon says she’s better off without a father like him. He entrusts his daughter in Je-ha’s care, then closes the doors from the outside.
He runs back to the conference room, to Yoo-jin’s surprise, and then lugs the bomb up the stairs and inside the room with them to help mitigate the explosion. Once he’s brought it in, she tells him to leave so she can close the doors. But Se-joon isn’t going anywhere: “Close the doors.”
So Yoo-jin issues her final command: “Mirror… close the doors. Tight.” A tear falls from her eye and Se-joon walks over to her side. Pulling her into an embrace, he asks her to accompany him in greeting the angel of death.
“We almost seem… like a happily married couple,” Yoo-jin says, smiling. “I’ll say,” Se-joon replies, holding her.
D-25 seconds. The JSS agents continue to shoot at the elevator cables until they finally snap. D-5… 4… 3… 2… 1…
Boom. Je-ha holds onto Anna as the building shakes from the explosion. Team Leader Seo calls out to Je-ha repeatedly, but there’s no response. Team Leader Seo screams out to empty space as the others begin wailing in grief…
…And then Anna’s voice responds, “This is K2.” Mi-ran asks after Je-ha, who haltingly responds, “Hurry up and get us out of here.” Utterly relieved, the JSS agents cry tears of joy. Listen, I know you’re happy, but the guy’s still in a lot of pain.
Some time later, Je-ha testifies against Blackstone while Mi-ran and Sung-gyu wonder what will happen to them now. The housekeeper says Anna inherited everything and lives in the estate now, but doubts that Anna has forgotten them.
While Anna is welcomed into the estate, the mysterious consortium members reiterate how Anna has inherited everything including Yoo-jin’s scholarship foundation. Although Sung-won believes she isn’t much of a threat without Cloud Nine, his father-in-law reminds him that she still has the memory card.
One member worries that Anna might act rashly following her parents’ deaths, but another believes Anna isn’t the exception—once someone has had a taste of power, they won’t easily give that up. It was the same way with Yoo-jin, and it’s only natural that those innocent girls grow up to become witches.
Anna enters Yoo-jin’s old office and sits in the chair her stepmother once sat in. Elsewhere, Representative Park chuckles that he isn’t at all afraid of one girl who will eventually come knocking for his help.
Someone climbs into the driver’s seat—it’s Je-ha. Cut to: Representative Park bound and gagged in the trunk. He passes out but comes to when the trunk door opens and he sees his secretary.
Sung-won walks up to his car looking chirpy until he sees who’s waiting for him in the backseat: Secretary Kim, and she’s got a gun. The men stuff him in, and Secretary Kim emerges from the other side leaving Sung-won’s body behind in her wake.
Representative Park’s secretary leads his former boss to a humble gallows. He bows deeply as Representative Park remarks he had no idea he would end up taking his own life.
Je-ha meets up with Anna at a Subway (c’mon, I was so close), and confirms that everything went well—he’s free to go wherever he likes now. He asks about her day, and Anna says it wasn’t much fun trying to walk in Yoo-jin’s footsteps for a day.
After Je-ha overtly expresses his love for sandwiches, they head back to the attic at the former safe house. Inserting a memory card in, he asks if she won’t regret this because this means giving up all the authority she received from Yoo-jin.
He tells her that all she has to do is press Enter to reveal the corruption among the rich and powerful, only to jump back when she presses it without hesitation. He whines that they should’ve sent the email together, but Anna says she doesn’t want to make a moment like this one meaningful.
She pouts when he complains that she’s doing whatever she likes as usual, but then turns that frown upside down to give him a peck on the lips.
He complains that she’s always acting like this, and when she shuts him up with another kiss, he kisses her back.
We catch up with the lovebirds who are now in Barcelona, and whose conversation we hear in voiceover. He asks if she regrets not being able to restore her mother’s reputation, to which she answers that she doesn’t because she got a father in exchange.
Anna: “Je-ha, I love you.” He says he knows, and as they exchange more kisses under the setting sun, she asks, “But hey, what’s your real name anyway?”
He takes a beat before answering, “Me? My name is…”
Is that you, Yong-pal? I know at the end of the day, it might not matter what our hero’s real name is since he was simply known as “The Man” even before he got his code name and alias as Kim Je-ha, but frankly it still feels unfair to be robbed of what little information we could’ve scraped from him in this finale.
From the outset, much of his character was shrouded in mystery, which is all fine if the understanding is that we as viewers will come to understand him and his motivations behind his actions. But here we are at the end, knowing just a tad more than we did in the first episode—a former mercenary who is (sometimes) driven by revenge, but falls in love and at times turns into the most adorkable guy ever. So thank goodness that actor Ji Chang-wook injected color into a hero that could so easily have fallen to the wayside.
But turning back to the finale, I am glad that Je-ha and Anna got the happy ending they dreamed about. So much of the third act had them surrounded by absurd drama and conflict driven by even more ineffectual villains that I really did wish they would have a normal life one day. How they dealt with their final obstacles were swift and mostly hands-off, with Representative Park hanging himself and Secretary Kim directly avenging her longtime employer’s death. In the end, the writing didn’t choose for Je-ha to shoot to kill and instead handed over the deed to Representative Park’s own hands.
Then there was Anna’s character motivations, which became increasingly hazier by the story’s ending. When Yoo-jin was alive, she was determined to find her mother’s murderer, then later, she was determined to restore her mother’s reputation. But soon after she lost her father, that initial drive seem to fade into the background. Was it because she cherished her father now? Or that it was enough for her to remember her mother in her heart? Perhaps we’ll never know the answer.
All of this circles back to the writing, with each episode building up to an all-important cliffhanger, only to diffuse the dramatic oomph within the first few minutes of the following episode. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t continue to see Yong-pal brushstrokes during The K2rs&quo;s run, with its game metaphors and storybook references. By the end, the show’s main political conflict—the presidential race—became another sub-plot that died with the characters involved in it. This and the mysterious consortium members were two ongoing plotlines I held secondary importance to, though it was of primary importance to Se-joon, Representative Park, Yoo-jin, and others.
Even though there was plenty of slick action scenes and some even cooler fighting choreography (courtesy of PD Kwak Jung-hwan), I can safely say that I won’t be missing the constant shaky cam. I won’t miss the farce comedic moments with the JSS either since I never did think their intentional insertion never quite belonged in a show with such a dramatic premise. But still, I do admit that Master Song’s arc was a surprise, and I’m sure we’ll see the actor again in one of writer Jang Hyuk-rin’s future projects.
So after a mind-boggling game of seven unimportant consortium members, a not-so-special supercomputer, and the longest ticking time bomb ever, I’m ready to call it—…