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Strongest Deliveryman: Episode 16 (Final)

The final episode of Strongest Deliveryman is a whirlwind of emotion as we race to the finish line. Will Kang-soo’s noble idiocy ruin everything he’s worked so hard for, or will Dan-ah’s no-nonsense attitude save the day? Will there be kisses and banter, or broken hearts and endless tears? Will Hye-ran finally reap the karma she’s sown? Let’s find out!

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

 

Dan-ah discovers the note Kang-soo left behind, realizes he’s gone, and runs around the neighborhood, calling out for him. But he’s already on the train, heading back to his hometown.

In their room, Gong-gi and Ho-young grumble about the “deserters” Sung-jae, Byung-soo, and Young-taek. Gong-gi insists that their leaving the SD team is a hundred times more worse than a friend stealing your girl. Min-chan bites his tongue (since he’s got a thing going on with Gong-gi’s crush, Yeon-ji), but thankfully the phone rings just then.

It’s Dan-ah, informing them that Kang-soo has left. Gong-gi mobilizes the nearly 400 delivery guys across Seoul to go looking for their CEO, but Sung-jae suggests that Kang-soo went back to his hometown. Dan-ah takes the next available train, making sure she has her bear keychain with her. Aw.

Kang-soo arrives at his old home and sits down outside the empty building.

In the morning, Hye-ran finds out that Kang-soo has disappeared. She smiles to herself, pleased that her plans are working. But when Manager Sohn tells her that Min-chan rejected their hiring offer, Hye-ran wonders why he’s bothered to stay with a company that’s sure to close down soon.

The delivery guys hold a meeeting to figure out what to do next. Gong-gi is confident that Dan-ah will bring Kang-soo back, but Jin-gyu points out that Kang-soo removed all of the SD signage, so it seems like he’s gone for good. They’ll just have to wait and see.

Dan-ah surprises Kang-soo by showing up at his hometown. She marches up to him and slaps him in the face, demanding to know why he quit and ran away. Tears fill her eyes as she reminds him that he promised they’d see it through together.

She had no idea he was the kind of person who would abandoned his employees just because the company wasn’t doing well. She asks him if he actually thought she’d be happy to live without him, then grabs his wrist as she tells him they should return to Seoul.

He brushes her off, insisting that she’ll learn to be happy without him. Just like he thought he’d never really be able to smile again after his father died, once enough time had passed, he was able to make friends — including her, who gave him the ability to smile.

 

Kang-soo tells her to bury him in a corner of her heart and move on. No matter how long it takes, he knows she’ll be able to be happy again.

But Dan-ah refuses to leave, asking if he’ll really be fine without her — if he’ll be able to smile again. Kang-soo quietly agrees that it’s what he wants and walks away as Dan-ah cries. But once he’s far enough away, he starts to sob, too.

Back in Seoul, Min-chan finds it odd that the restaurant ingredients were swapped out, since he knows his hometown delivered the domestic ingredients as promised. He decides to look into it further, asking the restaurant ajumma for her CCTV footage.

He finds footage of Manager Sohn visiting the restaurant, but the feed cuts off shortly after. It might not be proof of any misdeeds, but Min-chan is convinced that the ingredients were swapped by Jung Family.

When Kang-soo returns to his home, he finds Dan-ah gone — just like he told her to. Even so, he heaves a sad sigh to realize that she’s not there. Except she suddenly appears behind him, grumpily telling him to move out of her way. She’s returning from the market after buying ingredients to make him lunch.

Dan-ah stubbornly tells him she’s not leaving. She’s already given up on so much, she refuses to give up on him. She tells him to eat up and feel better, and he better enjoy it because the ingredients were expensive. Ha!

 

Dan-ah leaves him to eat alone, but as she makes her way down the road, she runs into Kang-soo’s mother, headed to the house. Mom admits that she heard from Hyun-soo that Kang-soo had disappeared. Mom was worried that Kang-soo would be alone, and that something would happen to him.

Mom wants to leave without Kang-soo knowing she was there, but Dan-ah says Mom should tell Kang-soo that she’s sorry. Dan-ah believes that if Mom sincerely apologizes, it should fix things. After all, Kang-soo is a kind person and should accept her apology.

Mom tearfully confesses that the reason she can’t apologize is because Kang-soo is so kind. She knows he’ll do everything he can to forgive her, even if it still hurts him — just like his father did. Mom doesn’t want Kang-soo to go through that, so she tells Dan-ah to take care of Kang-soo for her.

But as Mom is about to get on the bus, she runs into Hyun-soo who’s just exiting. Hyun-soo is surprised to see his mother there, explaining that he was going to check on Kang-soo. Mom lies that she just happened to be in the area visiting a friend that Hyun-soo doesn’t know. Hyun-soo suspiciously asks if she was there to see Kang-soo.

He knows that Mom has been acting weird ever since she heard that something might have happened to Kang-soo, but Mom denies it. Frustrated, Hyun-soo wants to know why she and Kang-soo have been acting so strangely ever since they first met.

Back in Seoul, the deliverymen are trying to figure out what their next steps will be for when (or if) Kang-soo returns. Delivering for Restaurant Row is out of the question since no one is ordering from the app.

Jin-gyu suggests they broaden their horizons and start delivering anything and everything. They can reach out to other shops in the neighborhood, such as drycleaners, florists, and grocers.

Gong-gi points out that they don’t exactly have the money to advertise, but Jin-gyu says that since they’re a corporation, they can just get more investors. After all, the hundreds of deliverymen originally chipped in 100,000 won, so they should be able to give a little more for the company.

The hundreds of deliverymen are still loyal to Kang-soo and easily agree to pitch in more money. Dan-ah shows Kang-soo the amount his friends have invested in one day, and he’s stunned to realize SD now has over 300 million won just based on their faith in him.

 

Dan-ah tells him that if he refuses to go back, then he’ll be betraying his friends’ and employees’ trust. He’ll be betraying her faith in him, too. She holds out her hand to get him to go with her, but he just silently stays seated.

Sighing, Dan-ah tells Kang-soo that he can do whatever he wants to, then. But she’s going back to Seoul because she’s still an employee of SD, and everyone is working hard to save the company.

Before she leaves, she plops down his handwritten copy of his original plans for Strongest Deliveryman.

Kang-soo picks up his business plan and flips through it, remembering all the adventures, friendship, and happiness that went into making his dream come true. Not to mention the promise he made Dan-ah that he would succeed, no matter what.

Dan-ah sits alone on the train back to Seoul, but soon Kang-soo appears to ask if he can sit next to her. Aw.

They ride along in silence until Kang-soo reaches for her hand, quietly apologizing. Dan-ah forgives him since he decided to return. Kang-soo confesses that, for the first time, he was afraid of failure. He thought if he didn’t stop, all of his friends would end up getting hurt — including Dan-ah.

Dan-ah scolds him for being so ridiculous, since all she needs is for him to stay by her side. She rests her head on his shoulder, complaining that she wasn’t able to sleep last night because of a “certain someone.” Kang-soo tells her to sleep — he’s not going anywhere. Awwwwwww.

Chef Jang and Soon-ae are surprised to see Gong-gi prepping the restaurant in the morning, and Gong-gi promises to take care of everything until Kang-soo returns after “resolving an issue” in his hometown. Soon-ae is not happy with this, but thankfully she doesn’t have to deal with Gong-gi for too long, since Kang-soo and Dan-ah arrive just then.

They apologize for being late, and Kang-soo says that his “issue” was resolved thanks to Dan-ah. Gong-gi looks adorably happy to see his boss return.

 

Kang-soo sends out a video message to all the deliverymen, apologizing for making them worry. He promises to do better so that he can make sure his friends will be by his side. Thanks to their investment, they’ll be able to reach out to other businesses for deliveries, but he also vows to revitalize Restaurant Row.

After all, this business was founded primarily to save Grandma’s soup restaurant. Kang-soo didn’t create the app to make money but to help the neighborhood restaurants coexist with the deliverymen. Thanks to Dan-ah, Kang-soo has learned what a joy it is to share a meal with someone, and he wants to make sure they can share that joy with others.

He asks that the deliverymen put their trust in him once more. Sung-jae, Byung-soo, and Young-taek burst into the SD office, asking if they can get their jobs back. Yay, the team is fully assembled!

 

The guys get to work, making deliveries for every business they can. One of the florists asks if they can send someone other than Sung-jae since his face looks so scary, and he forces an awkward smile. Pffft. Talk about making sacrifices for a friend.

Now that all the deliverymen have returned to SD, that means no one is delivering for Jung Family. Sung-jae warns Kang-soo that Hye-ran will be coming for him, but Sung-jae is willing to go to jail if he has to. Min-chan also tells Kang-soo about his suspicions regarding the ingredient tampering, but they don’t have enough evidence to prove anything.

Kang-soo sends the deliverymen out to find any cars that might have been parked nearby so they can check for any blackbox footage of the tampering. Apparently they’re successful, because Kang-soo proposes visiting Jung Family before releasing the tampering footage.

When Jin-gyu returns home after work, he finds Ji-yoon poring over college entrance exam books. She’s determined to go back to school and get her Early Childhood Education degree, since it’s always been her dream to be a preschool teacher, but her mother made her major in Business Management instead.

Jin-gyu’s amused by her plans, and Ji-yoon complains that her mother only ever saw her as a commodity to be used for her own personal gain. But Ji-yoon vows that even if her mother decides to give her all the Jung Family money, Ji-yoon will refuse to accept it, no matter what.

Jin-gyu confirms that Ji-yoon really means it, asking if she really would give up everything, even it meant not having enough money for college tuition. Even if, say, Hye-ran suddenly didn’t have any money and couldn’t help Ji-yoon — no fallback plan at all.

 

But Ji-yoon points out that those are only worries people like them (that is, ex-chaebols) have to deal with. Normal people make plans without any expectation that their parents will help, since it doesn’t even cross their mind that their family will be able to pay for college. Ji-yoon adds that such people have more independence than she and Jin-gyu do.

Just then, someone knocks on the door. Both Ji-yoon and Jin-gyu are surprised to see his mother standing there.

 

Jin-gyu goes with his mother to meet with his father, who proudly confesses he’s heard that Jin-gyu has been working for Jung Family and learning how to run a business. Chairman Oh tells Jin-gyu to come back home and work for the family business. He’s giving Jin-gyu another chance to be a part of the Oh family dynasty.

Jin-gyu refuses though, reminding them that Chairman Oh’s second son died a long time ago. The response shocks both his parents, and Jin-gyu politely takes his leave. Never to return, I hope.

Kang-soo shows Hye-ran the footage they have of the ingredient tampering, plus the restaurant employee’s confession that Manager Sohn asked her to do it. Kang-soo tells Hye-ran to confess to Sunjin the truth of the ingredient scandal, or else he’ll take this footage to the police.

Instead, Hye-ran throws Manager Sohn under the bus, blaming it all on Manager Sohn and claiming that she had no idea what her employees were doing.

Manager Sohn, now fired from Jung Family and angry about the way Hye-ran treated her, agrees to go with Kang-soo to Sunjin and tell them the truth about the ingredient tampering. However, the Sunjin CEO says that he can’t break the contract since there was no formal investigation.

Kang-soo can’t stop thinking about how Manager Sohn was betrayed by Hye-ran. Dan-ah pragmatically points out that when poor people are used and abused by the rich, it makes them miserable, but there’s no real way to get revenge. Which is why, she adds, that Kang-soo must succeed, so he can change how the world works.

Kang-soo says that Dan-ah makes him feel like a hero, and Dan-ah sweetly says that he is, adding a cute “good job, oppa!” They’re so adorable, especially when Kang-soo teases her for not rinsing off the clams properly yesterday when she made him lunch and that he had to eat sand. Pffft.

Kang-soo wonders where Dan-ah’s hometown is, and she tells him it’s close to his — they passed it while on the train back to Seoul. He says that they should have stopped to see her family, but Dan-ah hesitantly tells him that it’s easier not being in contact with them.

That reminds her that Kang-soo’s mother had stopped by and was worried about him. Kang-soo doesn’t want to talk about it, but Dan-ah points out it must have taken a lot of courage for his mother to come all that way back to his hometown.

 

Min-chan walks a tipsy Yeon-ji home, but she tells him it was a “farewell drink.” Ohhh, has she decided to quit being a karaoke girl? She regales him with a terrible pun, and they teasingly make their way along the street.

Unbeknownst to them, Gong-gi and Ho-young are watching — Ho-young finally had to tell Gong-gi because he was worried Gong-gi would get hurt finding out about them elsewhere.

As the other guys sleep, Gong-gi sadly studies Min-chan, then grandly says that he’ll step aside and hopes Min-chan will be happy. Aw, Gong-gi’s kind of ridiculous, but he’s a good guy.

 

In the morning, the breaking news is all about Jung Family’s underhanded tactics to destroy the neighborhood restaurants. Looks like someone — Kang-soo with the help of Manager Sohn, perhaps — leaked the footage of the ingredient tampering.

It’s a huge scandal, and it results in SD getting back their contract with Sunjin. Restaurant Row is back in business! Meanwhile, the public declare a boycott on all of Jung Family restaurants.

Soon-ae visits her ex-husband at his bank. Ooooh, he’s even remarried and has children with his new wife. But thanks to her father’s old friend (and Kang-soo’s cell mate), she’s found the person who lied about the adultery that gave her ex-husband an excuse to divorce her.

 

She orders her ex-husband to return all of her father’s money, or else he can go to jail. Her ex-husband promises to sell everything and give her back the money.

Hye-ran calls the bank to ask for another loan since Jung Family is struggling. But the bank manager is Soon-ae’s husband, who needs the money to pay Soon-ae back. That means not only does he refuse to give Hye-ran another loan, but he also reminds Hye-ran that she has to pay back ASAP the loan she took or else he’ll seize all of her assets. Yikes.

Min-chan proudly reveals that SD has actuallymade a decent profit this month, thanks to the revitalization of Restaurant Row and the addition of the other business. The guys cheer their success, especially when Kang-soo tells them they’ve earned a bonus of a million won each. What a good boss.

 

Just then a very drunk Hyun-soo staggers into the office, calling out for his hyung Kang-soo. Hyun-soo tells Kang-soo that he’s his little brother. He passes out, and Kang-soo and Dan-ah help him to Kang-soo’s room to sleep it off.

Kang-soo realizes that this means Hyun-soo knows the truth about their mother. Mom arrives to try and bring Hyun-soo home, but Kang-soo confronts her, reminding that he asked her not to tell Hyun-soo the truth. Why did she have to make Hyun-soo miserable, just like she made Kang-soo and his father miserable?

 

Mom quietly says that’s she’s sorry — she was wrong. Kang-soo starts to cry as he demands to know why Mom treated his father the way she did. Mom tells him it’s because Dad was so kind. She had so much debt and was trying to care for her family. She fully planned to take Dad’s money and run.

Instead, because Kang-soo’s father was so incredibly nice, it was hard for her to leave Dad, and she ended up giving birth to Kang-soo. But when the debt collectors finally arrived, Mom sold the boats and ran away with the money. She left Kang-soo behind so he wouldn’t spend is life on the run with her.

Mom tells Kang-soo to never forgive her, not even on her deathbed. Kang-soo’s face crumples with anger as he runs out of the restaurant, leaving his mother behind as she weeps.

Kang-soo runs until his legs give out, and he screams into the night, releasing his pent-up rage and tears.

In the morning, Hyun-soo is surprised to wake up in Kang-soo’s room (and with a killer hangover, no doubt). He quietly heads downstairs, and Kang-soo tells him that he shouldn’t drink so much. If Hyun-soo does it again, then he’ll be in big trouble with his hyung.

 

Aw, the words are no different than what Kang-soo would normally say to Hyun-soo, but the meaning has certainly changed. Kang-soo and Hyun-soo hug, this time both aware that they’re real brothers.

Gong-gi bursts in, revealing that they’ve won — Jung Family is bankrupt! The deliveryment and local restaurant owners cheer their success. Aw, another “good job, oppa!” from Dan-ah, and then all the other guys toss Kang-soo in the air as they shout in victory.

Ji-yoon hurries home only to find her mother calmly sitting and drinking tea, surrounded by her red-tagged belongings that are ready for repossession. Ji-yoon tells Hye-ran that she can start all over again, and that Hye-ran makes the best food Ji-yoon’s ever had. Aw, did Jung Family once start out as a local restaurant?

Ji-yoon escorts her mother out of the big fancy house to the car where her father waits. Jin-gyu is also there, and offers to drive Ji-yoon’s family to wherever their new — and undoubtedly much more humble — home will be.

 

Kang-soo and Dan-ah wash the dishes, like it’s the end of any normal work day. They cheerfully banter, teasing each other for not rinsing the dishes properly and offering to cook each other dinner (jajangmyun and onion rings, of course).

Epilogue. Ji-yoon helps escort her kindergarteners back home. Jin-gyu is the one driving the mini-bus, and asks if she’s tired. Ji-yoon says she gets her strength from the angelic children, but when Jin-gyu points out that she’s lying, she admits the kids drive her crazy.

They banter a little more, and Ji-yoon asks if he has any regrets. They’re so adorably happy to be together, and nope, no regrets.

Grandma is reestablished at her soup restaurant. Aw, does she know that Kang-soo is related? Mom appears, asking Kang-soo if he’s eaten. He politely tells her that he has, and is about to continue walking away.

 

But she stops him to gently fix his collar, which is such a mom-thing. Awww, it looks like while they may not exactly be one big happy family, there’s hope of reconciliation.

Some college guys eagerly wait for their fellow classmate, Dan-ah, to walk by. They ask her what type of guy she’s interested in, and she points at Kang-soo, waiting for her by his motorcycle. Kang-soo asks if he can scare her “fans” away and kisses her passionately.

COMMENTS

Aw, what an adorable, happy ending for everyone. Or just about everyone, although I suppose Hye-ran reconnecting with her family isn’t the worst thing that could happen. I’m not normally a fan of a drama being extended, but I really would have loved an extra episode (or even just an extra half-hour) so we could really explore everyone’s lives. The last ten minutes felt like such a rush, and I think I’ve still got a little whiplash from that emotional confession from Kang-soo’s mother about why she left his father, to suddenly Kang-soo saving the day and everyone living happily ever after.

Considering that Kang-soo’s main purpose was to find his mother, I would have loved to spend a little more time on that — or with him and Hyun-soo (or at least let me see how Grandma reacted to the news!). Instead, I’m forced to fill in the blanks to the best of my abilty, which is fine, but I still feel as though I was cheated some well-deserved emotional moments.

Like — where are all the deliverymen now? Has the Strongest Deliveryman app totally taken over Seoul along the lines of Uber Eats or Grubhub? Are there business magazines that have done profiles on him? Is Soon-ae still running Lively Noodles, now that she has the money from her husband? Are she and Chef Jang now living their own happily-ever-after? Did Yeon-ji really quit being a karaoke girl? Has Min-chan made enough to buy the land in his hometown? Are he and Yeon-ji still together? Is Hye-ran trying to rebuild her empire or has her daughter taught her the joys of the simple life? How did Ji-yoon pay for school? When are she and Jin-gyu going to have adorable little babies? Is Dan-ah speaking to her family again? Does she still only know how to make onion rings? These are important questions!

Overall, though, this was a sweetly satisfying show that continually took me by surprise by how much I fell in love with the characters each week. When I look back at my initial reactions (Jin-gyu is a chaebol jerk; Yoon-ji a ditzy heiress; the lack of chemistry between Dan-ah and Kang-soo), I want to laugh at how swiftly and completely I was able to change my opinions.

I suppose it just goes to show what a marvelous job everyone did. This wasn’t a complex show by any means — the themes were simple, and the plot chugged on without any major dramatic setbacks (or, at least, without setbacks that weren’t easily resolved within an episode or two). There was a comforting, homey feeling about it all, like someone took a weekend family drama and truncated it down to sixteen episodes, removing any sprawling extended families and replacing it with lost, independent souls who found a family in each other.

The heart of this show was, well, its heart. Even though it dealt with some serious themes, such as suicide and the struggle of making a living in a society that forever wants to keep you down, there was always a nugget of hope. Most of that came from Kang-soo and his irrepressible (and sometimes infuriating) goodness, but it was lovely to see it spread to everyone else. The idealism in this show may seem unrealistic, but it’s also, in a way, reassuring — kindness triumphing over greed is a reminder that there is good (and good people) in the world, even when this world may seem like hell.

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This show had a lot of flaws but I think the main charm of it was how it never dragged any of its storylines.
Oh and every drama needs to take example from Strongest Deliveryman, in Dramaland we need more interesting second leads who have there own life and goals in life.

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Flaws of this show what make you shout loudly, "this is a TV show". At 1st you feel Kang-Soo is the strongest Delieveryman, but he isn't. Strongest Deliveryman is a gender neutral word. Though only Dan-Ah was the female delivery person there.
It gets established when Kang-Soo brought forward his idea of business and his thesis of what-business-to-do.
Then story takes a turn and you start to feel is he really the Strongest Deliveryman? Because all other characters take a bit of hit and Kang-Soo becomes the centre again and takes the title.
Ji-Yoon and Jin-Gyu had lessor screentime but better character description and growth.

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^agreed, more second leads whose goal doesn't revolve on stealing the main lead's object of affection

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To be fair, Ji-yoon did try it with Kang-soo and for a bit it looked like Jin-gyu's emotional debt to Dan-ah might tip over into having feelings for her, but they both got over it and didn't drag it till the end. That's not common in kdramas.

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so what you think about Jin Gyu the ex-cheobal now?

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Much more engaging as a character when he's not caught up in the chaebol world or trying to return to it.

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yup that's what I like about it. Second leads who can understand when someone is not really into them and who freaking move on.

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Exactly! It's not Ji-yoon's fault for falling in love with Kang-soo and willing to give it a shot, but I respect her for backing off quickly once she saw how happy he was with Dan-ah. More second leads like this please!

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Yeah, her attempt to beat Dan Ah in a fight was so adorable. Her heart was there but she just wasn't strong enough. It just endeared me to Ji Yoon even more.

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Agree with you @odilettante. But still I'm smiling all the way to the last scene. Thanks to Kang soo and Dan-ah. Anyways I'll miss the gang and the Chaebol couple. Thanks show for reminding that there's always hope and we just have to give all our best effort to everything we do. May it be delivering any goods or in studying or in office works. Kamsahamnida! 😇😇❤❤💪💪

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I really liked that Dan-ah did not take crap from anyone. She was her own person and I'm happy that she found Kang-soo.

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From all the questions that @odilettante mentioned in the comment, I tried my best to ignore them and created my own assumptions on how they'd end up, however, I'm a bit disappointed that the writer didn't develop much on Dan Ah's stand point. Yes, she learned to accept her current situation and settled to be happy in "Hell Joseon," instead of migrating, but somehow, I feel her character is a bit lacking. After she's finished off her debt, did she not even contacted her family at all? Did she stop being delivery woman now that she's studying English in college?

Anyway, I'm gonna miss my favorite Chaebol couple so much! I'm a bit bitter that they don't have a lot of screen time for the last two episodes, but I'm glad that they've their own story and lead a happy life together. Dimples, good boy, I'm so gonna miss you the most! 💕😘

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This simple, charming, upbeat show never failed to cheer me up with its message of hope and lovable characters, and that is ultimately why I watched it. And I enjoyed every second of it.

Show, I am sad to see you go! Where will I go now for my weekly dose of happy?

Also, my favourite moment in this entire episode was probably seeing Dan-ah go to college. She's finally getting a well-deserved chance to escape life as a delivery girl and putting that smart brain to good use. You go girl!

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I loved seeing Dan-ah go to college, she's worked and saved enough to earn the money for it and unlike her younger self, thanks to SD she doesn't have to worry about what to do for a job afterwards - she can just focus on learning and expanding her mind.

(I also love that she's out of the ever-present checked shirt and jeans, and is being noona-worshipped by college kids)

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My favorite moment was when jingyu refused his father's offer to come back. Boo yah!! It was so satisfying, and then on the epilogue where he's perfectly happy living without all the money, perfect! I really love both ex-chaebol on this episode. Jiyoon speech of her determination was satisflying also.

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Yes.. their awareness about their social privilege was great!

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It's fascinating actually, that Ji Yoon's independent streak actually prepared her for what happened to her Mother. I can see if she was a spoiled brat, she'd be an anchor on her Mother. Instead she was someone her Mother could depend on or at least not have to worry about because she was so independent. I really loved her character and she seemed to steal every scene she was in. Such a great second lead actress!

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... And they lived happily ever after.
I love happy endings...

That moment when oh jin kyu realized he didn't need his father's money to be happy!

Kang-soo is the perfect yin to dan-ah's yang.

Goodbye strongest deliveryman! I'll miss you.

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This show's commitment to keeping Jin-gyu and Ji-yoon into the world of Restaurant Row/the delivery people, and its commitment to keeping them there was both refreshing and a huge change from how these things normally go (chaebols in question return to chaebol-ing with promises of reform for their companies - nice to see a pair who were well and truly done with theirs and stuck to it!)

And Kang-soo and Dan-ah really do complement each other beautifully. I'm going to miss the show too <3

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I actually thought the show was... quite deep?
I had questioned the placement of the scene with the mother as well and I realized that if I was Korean and I saw Kang zoo's success, my takeaway would be "be kind, almost to the point of being an idiot".
But in an earlier era, it had cost his father his life because he was taken advantage of.
Kang soo however belongs to a different era, a more democratic one, you may say, because of the internet. A sharing economy had also evolved and taken shape for young ones to shape their own destinies in countries where predominantly they struggle with unemployment.
And on the same line, this sort of democracy/sharing economy works because it's built on collaboration. In a way, I always feel like the writer is saying that in a time of institutional corruption and injustice wielded by higher powers, you have the choice to either be on the team and life everyone up together or be that person that destroys the good (like the employee that swapped out the ingredients or Manager Sohn) that others have built but also harm yourself in a way.
Thought this was a timely drama well executed. Kudos to the team!

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I feel like in a weird way, this drama and School 2017 are similar in spirit. And this was definitely very well executed, which I'm impressed by.

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I haven't been in the recaps much, but I've really enjoyed this drama, despite my initial eyerolling at what I thought was yet another attempt to shoehorn the time-worn chaebol angle into a drama that belonged to the little guys.

But the story took care of that pretty speedily, and for the better - the drama was best when it stayed in the world of Restaurant Row and the delivery guys (and girl). We may have expected slice-of-life when SD first began, but I really liked it for what it turned out to be, which was its own kind of urban fantasy with the charm of a down-to-earth setting and characters.

I'm also surprised by how much I ended up liking all the characters - not only Kang-soo, whose sweetness and positivity made for such a refreshing change from your usual grumpy kdrama hero, but Dan-ah, initial prickly rudeness and all (and I'd have loved them even if they didn't kiss).

And the drama did a great job with fleshing out all the supporting characters too, and making them feel like fully formed people - not only Ji-yoon and Jin-gyu as our second leads, but even the tertiary and supporting characters - I particularly loved Yeon-ji and her tentative new connection with Min-chan, Chef Jang and Soon-ae and her alternatively biting his head off and living vicariously through the youngsters (seriously, everyone was ridiculously shippable), and of course Sung-jae, who is pretty much just background but felt like he really was Kang-soo's ride-or-die bff, right from the start, and Gong-gi and the three stooges, who could be hilarious and adorable.

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And overall, I'm really happy with the resolutions for the characters too - the drama doesn't wrap all of everyone's issues up with a pretty bow, but it wouldn't have worked if it had. Kang-soo and Hyun-soo may now know they're brothers, but Kang-soo's relationship with his mother isn't going to heal in a hurry, even if they're trying to deal. Dan-ah is definitely not going to patch things up with her family anytime soon, but now she has the hope of a different future with SD, she can use her money to fulfil her dream of going to college. Jin-gyu and Ji-yoon (very uniquely, for kdrama chaebols) are so done with the chaebol life, and I love that they commit to that even before Jung Family goes down. The deliverymen aren't rich overnight, everyone still has to work, but hope makes all the difference, which is a great takeaway from one of the better dramas of 2017.

I've really loved Strongest Deliveryman a lot more than I ever expected to, and will probably at least check out the cast's future work (particularly Go Kyung-pyo and Chae Soo-bin, complaints of drama omnipresence or no) but I've been watching less and less kdramas of late, and even though I've LOVED all my 2017 dramas (Rebel, Fight My Way, School 2017 and this), none of the upcoming ones interest me. I think the time has come for a break from kdramas - about 90 percent of the reason I hung on this long was a combination of the dramas in question hooking me and db commenters being too much fun to give up totally. It's been great talking to everyone here even when we disagreed (sometimes passionately), and here's wishing you all lots of great dramas to watch. And a particular thank-you to @Lollypip and @odilettante for the recaps - you guys are great <333333333

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Aww I'll be sad to see you go pogo. I'm a bit of a lurker but I've appreciated your comments over the past years even if not always contributing myself.

I've toned down my kdrama-watching too over the years, but each time there is at least one if not two that keep me watching. I applaud your strength in being able to quit this (quite harmless in contrast to some others) addiction. But... you might be ready to let dramaworld go, but is dramaworld ready to let you go??

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awww thank you for the nice words! To be honest, it's been coming on since 2016 when I got so burned by Scarlet Heart that I couldn't watch anything between its ending and the beginning of Rebel.

And 2017 had an excellent crop of dramas, it's just that I've run out of kdrama steam at last and ready to move on to watching more of other things for recreation. I'm really glad that some talented young actors (including the leads of this drama) are on the rise, though - I'm hoping that continues.

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Thanks odilettante for a great review!

This show was a profoundly satisfying watch. It was a feel-good, underdog-wins-the-day show, done right. I felt that it's simplicity was it's strength. No need for complicated twists or long-drawn out misunderstanding. So much that is good and bad in humans were portrayed predictably but not irritatingly, and again simply and comfortingly, the better side of human beings took top spot.

As a character-driven drama, kudos go out to all the actors who really enlivened their characters, even the supporting characters, who all had chemistry with each other in the ensemble of delivery people and who made them more round than flat, and real and likable.

It's rare to be able to say for a non-romcom, that I watched every episode with pleasure through and through, with great laughs and little stress, and with joy at the OTP's warmth in each other's presence.

And while I agree that I'd have liked to know the answers to the many questions odilettante has posed at the end, I'm pleased that the ending was not pat with everything working out A-OK, but that the epilogue showed the possibilities for at least Kang Soo's reconciliation with his mum, like in the real world, when breaching the breaks in relationships take time.

All the best to the team and crew of this show! I look forward to more of their work. 😎 😄

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so this was not a rom-com. huh, i didn't know that because i mostly remembered laughing during the episodes

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well, there wasn't much of the 'rom' part of 'rom-com' at the start lol. And it wasn't actually a romcom in that sense since Kang-soo and Dan-ah's relationship doesn't really get played for laughs, even if they bring the swoony kisses.

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That's exactly the thing I loved most about this drama - the ensemble cast was great, and the writing gave so many of them room to shine, which I'm almost shocked by in a 16-episode drama. In any other drama, I'd expect characters like Sung-jae, Yeon-ji or Min-chan to remain basically stock characters - the hothead childhood bff, the supportive roommate, the reliable and hardworking hyung - but the drama really went out of its way to make them feel real, and that made all the difference. Usually, when dramas spend too much time with supporting characters, I get a bit restless and in 'back to OTP/major characters already please!' mode, but that simply didn't happen here because I loved watching them, even Gong-gi and the Three stooges.

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my thoughts exactly, was not bored even tho the 4 was not on my screen. Actually, want to watch spin offs of eveeryone's characters because they're all interesting.

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yeah, pretty much all of them would make for a great drama in their own right. Though Sung-jae would be more of a classic brusque kdrama hero than Kang-soo, lol (I'm trying to picture a love interest he wouldn't terrify away). Same goes for Chef Jang and Soon-ae, though the way those two vibe feels more like early Kang-soo and Dan-ah. And of course Min-chan and Yeon-ji.

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I feel the same. I wanted another hour. It felt like I was left hanging. I will surely miss Kang-soo and Restaurant Alley. 😊

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I love strongest deliveryman and all but the ending was so abrupt.

I do wish, there was more Hyun-soo and mom just like you said, especially Hyun-soo T_T

Anyway, can't complain too much as most dramas have even bigger problems. Despite the flaws, I remember so many awesome moments in this show and the fairytale ending of good triumphs evil :)

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I'm gonna miss the weekly dose of cuteness and cozy feel-goodness this show delivered every week ❤. There was a lot to love, but I agree that we could've used an extra episode to answer some of those questions haha, though what we got was still satisfying. Thanks so much for the recaps!

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Yeah, couldn´t they? While we had other shows having unendless pointless episodes in between the beginning and the end (Cough* reunited worlds, cough*), here there could have been a simple one more, which would really complete us the picture... but no...
That made me a little bit upset. Yes, other beanies were also commenting on the same. The final was abrupt and short... We needed a little bit more.
But well.. we still have our imagination. ❤

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When I watched the last episode I was satisfied with the conclusion and how the story ended, all major plot points seemed to be resolved in a plausible way. But, I guess I'm the kind of person that wants every single question answered so I kinda wanted another 30 minutes of epilogue as well! In a way, I guess it meant that I cared about all the characters' lives. Oh well, I'll just make them up myself: Happy endings all around:)

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Jin-gyu missed a perfect chance to tell his dad to make his golf club the heir. It had always been such a dependable strong right arm, after all.
But couldn't Jin-gyu have found something better to do than drive Ji-yoon around (although he does really like to drive, as we saw early on). Shouldn't he be advising SD and the restaurants on how to expand their businesses? Or, if the kindergarten van had been light blue, I would have figured that SD had branced out into delivering kids :)

Ji-yoon's dad seemed like a good guy, too bad that crushing Hye-ran had to hit him too.

I kinda wonder about Jin-gyu's brother. He seemed nice on the surface, and his one refusal to help Jin-gyu wasn't unreasonable under the circumstances, but I didn't like the way he helped his brother before. Giving him money to buy a new car was feeding an addiction. And encouraging a possible rival to indulge his weaknesses and become completely useless is a classic legal hands-clean way to secure your position. Just saying.

And of course I would say Dan-ah was a wonderful kick-ass heroine, except that's not where she kicks.

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*guffawing irl @the last line*

Jin-gyu's brother did seem like he meant well, but like you said, he was an enabler, no matter whether it was deliberate or not. He's probably better off without that opportunity for temptation/relapses/dependence on chaebol money.

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... I thought JinGyu still works for Strongest Deliveryman. That place will fall apart should there be any minor crisis without his brains. KangSoo is kind but... not really the brightest bulb. And he's a little too innocent too. He NEEDS JinGyu, the guy who's not that naive.

And so I thought the driving around JiYoon and their kids was just a part time job/hobby. Strongest Deliveryman isn't fending off nasty competition 24/7 anymore after all.

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delivering kids.... and the mention of babies in the recap....suddenly, strongest DELIVERYMAN get a whole new meaning. we need a spin-off with that.

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hahaha the golfclub!

I guess he's still working for SD, but just helping Ji-yoon deliver her kids probably. Or maybe SD HAS branched out but the colours of the van (and the driver's uniform) are just more kid-friendly than the regular uniform?

Clearly SD needs him and he needs them.

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I wish that they had made it clear in the end that he still works for SD. He's really gifted at business and would be such a shame for him to waste that. Plus, he enjoys coming up with new ideas and working hard, and using his own talents to achieve goals. It really annoyed me that there would even be a possibility that his only job was basically a bus driver. I hope he just does that as a favor or part-time.

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Thank you for the recap Odilettante! You raised a very valid point on whether Dan-ah only learned how to make onion rings, lol. On my end, I want to know if Ji-yoon still grinds her teeth at night. So if Ji-yoon was able to finish college and become a teacher, how come Dan-ah just started going to college? What course did she take?

So many unanswered questions but nevertheless, the show did arrive at a satisfying conclusion for most of our characters. As they’ve said, it’s the journey, not the destination, that defines a person’s character 

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I assume Ji-yoon's had a college education already, she said as much. Who knows, she may have had a shorter course than Dan-ah, or been allowed to use credits from her earlier studies to reduce the amount of time she needed to get her teacher certification.

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Pretty sure Grandma knew from the get-go.

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my sympathies, Ji Yoonie. That´s why I don´t do the kindergarten programs in our house.

I think the main strength of the drama was showing that dreams are different and perhaps giving courage to people young and old to strike out on their own and not wait for a big company to hire them. plus, big companies don´t always play fair. what you need is to narrow ddown your goal and to be a good strategist while not playing dirty. Jin Gyu turned into this quiet advisor who gave the gang doable and clear ideas but never puffed up because of it. It is amazing how modest he became, starting from someone who liked attention and risks. Yes to ex-chaebol couples´ babies. They´d have some snarky dimpled babies.
too many things happened in this drama, but maybe that´s another thing it taught - everyone has a story, so stop thinking yours is the most sepcial or most dramatic. all peoples lives have their struggle and their dreams, there is no single hero in life.

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The best thing that I got from this show: Jingyu x Jiyoon. They're my favorite since their first forced date and they're still my favorite until the end. Their ending is just too short in my opinion and I was sad that the drama emphasis more on Kangsoo and Danah. Well, they're the main couple so I couldn't whine about it, but it would be great to have more screen time of the chaebol couple

The dramatic part of this drama is seriously too dramatic and I have a lot of problem following it actually, especially mom's reason for leaving Kangsoo and her ex husband behind

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I'm a little bitter about Jin-gyu x jioon lack of screen time in the final two episodes. I fell for those two second leads and it seems like the writter didn't care as much about them as I did. I was way more invested in their story. I would watch an entire drama just about them. Oh well... there character development was still nice.

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Me too. I thought that their back story relates to me more than Danah and Kangsoo's past. I've seen too many of that in the drama before, but the chaebol couple is actually quite a new concept

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Those are truly important questions and now we'll never know :( I loved this drama and the SD family SO MUCH. JinGyu and JiYoon are adorable together and their story isnt the usual chaebol story which makes it so special. and DanAh and Kang Soo, who would have thought they would be such an amazing couple at the start of the drama. My love for this drama just grew with every passing episode. Goodbye Strongest Deliveryman!

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I am proud of JG and Yoon-ji, that they decided to remain simple... I am really proud of them.

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I really liked this show, flaws and all. I think Chae Soo Bin is totally hot and adorable. However, the person who stole the show for me was the actress who played Ji Yoon. She was just so fun to watch she made every scene she was in interesting. Also, I loved what happened to Jin Kyu, he had sooo much personal growth it was great! I believe that he is actually a much better person now and his father should have no problem leaving him the company in his will or at least part of it when the time comes.

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Odilettante brought up some good questions. Even though the drama didn't answer them, I'm pretty satisfied with the overall simple and positive story. The story never felt draggy or frustrating.

The cast was awesome. Lots of great, fleshed out characters including the secondary and supporting ones. This drama was the first time I discovered Kim Sun Ho and Go Won Hee. They were so lovable and fun to watch. I hope to see them in more roles soon.

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Am glad I watched the final week eps back to back, coz Kang-soo pulling a disappearing act like his mom made me do some serious eye-roll, but at least not for long. My blood-thirsty heart still wished for a more painful end for Jin-gyu's dad, but the final is sweet and satisfying, am glad to see everybody has their happy end. Always love a show that can make me laugh so much.
So, nobody knows that Ji-yoon is Jung Family's daughter till the end? Was kinda waiting for the reveal and Dan-ah's face ><

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I also feel it would have been good to get an extra episode with so many different conclussions of our different characters, and wonderful people. But... well, at least we have a realistic "end" for our two OTPs in the same neighborhood.

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Thank you Odilettante (and those who pitched in while you were on break) for the recaps of Strongest Deliveryman. It is the first drama I watched in sequence after reading the recap and comments. I enjoyed the journey with other beanies.
A few random thoughts.
Go Kyung-pyo did a fine job in his first lead role. What a great ensemble cast. Kudos to all of them from the fab four to the knuckleheads.
I don't know if you noticed but Kang-soo is a decent baseball pitcher.
At one point recently I was watching simultaneously three dramas with actor Jo Hee-bong (Chef Jang): SD, Falsify which was broadcast at the same time as SD for awhile, and Joseon X Files which for me was a sort of summer re-run only 7 years late.

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I'm a lone voice on this but I have to say that I found both female leads had an unlikeable thread in their personalities. Perhaps it's a trend in 'strong women', but it seems that to be a liberated, independent and cool woman you have to be rude and condescending like Dan-ah--who never stopped kicking or hitting the men around her--right to the very end. If you noticed, not one of her fellow deliverymen that she slapped or kicked, EVER hit back. And yet one reviewer was worried that Gong-chi made sexist remarks to her (about how 'a man should meet a good woman to be successful', when we all know that Gong-chi's personality is 'old school' all the way). Gender watch is very important to me as well, but I think Dan-ha's strength was also 'old-boys' school when she got her way by bending wrists back to the arms, or hitting someone. The powerful bullying the weak was duplicated in the big theme of this drama: the 'haves' in society hurting the 'have-nots' in the marketplace using money or influence. Dan-ha got away with using her power because she was a feisty girl with a dream in her backpocket, but if she was a male character using his physicality on women, there would have been an outcry, because our society 'has been there' before and now women have become more equal. True, she faced hardships in being a woman when she first started and acts tough to protect herself, but she's with her friends now--why keep using a power vested in threatening people like she did verbally at the meetings--keeping them inline as the Deliverymen's enforcer. There was an allusion to her being 'respected' but I think at the beginning she was 'feared' and didn't earn respect from the guys until she joined Kang Joon in being positive. As for very cute Ji-Hoon, I loved her at the start, but then when she kept insisting she was independent and underscored it with constant crying jags it got tiresome. And ultimately, in order to prove how 'together' she was, she flipped the male-female roles and we laughed as she kidnapped him, made him sleep tied-up, forced him to do what she wanted, even had him hand-feed her. And her way of winning Kang-Soo back from Dan-Ha? Go 'fight' her for him. And we think this is funny. Perhaps because I was a young woman back when woman were not so powerful..perhaps because I use to think to myself..."Ah yes, when women finally have an equal say in how we do things, then finally we'll be able to use our strengths to help build a different dynamic in relationships. I guess right now I'm finding it just a 'little' disappointing to see our heroines using 'old-school' strengths--copying what 'the-other-half 'used to do when they held the power and positions. We do have strengths as women--I hope we begin to see them on the screen more. Having said ALL that, I know this was a comedy and enjoyed the supporting characters and the slow quiet pace our leads took on the path to love. The actors were stellar, the...

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I need answers to those questions too! 🙋🏻 The last two episodes felt like rushed but we got our happy ending so I'm happy 😅

Thanks to all the recappers @odilettante and @lollypip and to the ones who came in between! 👏👏👏

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aw lol. i will miss this drama

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Hi, does anyone know where I can buy the iconic bear toy? My gf loves this show so much hahaha

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thank you for the recaps odilettante! sorry for the late appreciation, just finished watching the show.

it was a sweet show! It’s like Chief Kim lite:)

i think i enjoyed the journey of the 2nd leads as ex-chaebols, somehow they have a better story arc. mr. dimples as commenters have dubbed Kim Sun Ho is a delight:) (soft spot, he’s a Chief Kim alum!)

Kang Soo as a character is just too good to be true, hahhahahaa... also liked the tertiary characters, wished for more storylines such as the ex-gangster & his lady love, unemployed grad & yoga instructor. delivery drivers added much fun to show as well.

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Hello - I just finished watching the drama 15 minutes ago. I'm happy that someone else would love a little extension of their story lines.
You wrote all the questions I have in mind.

Needless to say, I have the same thoughts.

P.s. love the way you do the reviews on each episode ;) #fighting

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