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Average user rating 4.7
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[Alternate Endings] If I could send Tunnel back through the tunnel

By @sleepypie1212

Oh, YES, I thought when I saw this month’s theme. Because let’s be honest. We always get a little tense as a drama nears its end, and not just because we’re reluctant to say goodbye to a beloved story. We’ve invested hours of attention in long, drawn-out conflicts that feel difficult to resolve. We’ve developed strong feelings about the characters, ranging from deep affection for our heroes to intense revulsion for our villains. If the drama’s done its job right, a world has been created that feels real and full. Now, how to tie all that up in a way that feels true to the narrative, satisfying for the characters, and sends us off with pleasant memories?

The answer is: not easily. We all know the ones that crashed and burned on the dismount: God’s Gift–14 Days, Nine: Nine Times Time Travel, The Good Wife, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (although debatably that one just crashed and burned the entire way through, keeping us mesmerized with its fiery hellscape until it was too late to get out). And I’m so excited to hopefully read rewrites of those miserable endings.

But for me, there’s one drama ending that left me with a particularly empty spot in my heart. Who here has been personally victimized by Tunnel? Raise your hand.

Spoilers ahoy, guys!

So by the end of the drama, our time-traveling cop Park Kwang-ho gets himself back home to his beloved pregnant wife, having successfully identified the serial killer, and is now set to resume his life in 1987. In theory, the 2017 timeline he was living in with all its catastrophes and triumphs is averted… but the show never shows us that.

Oh my God, guys, come on. You had the perfect opportunity for the most bittersweet ending in the history of K-dramas and you just waved it off with a “Here’s a brief look at what his life looks like in 1987, isn’t it nice?” You just rewrote history, but you’re not even going to give us a glimpse? That’s just cruel.

Why aren’t we watching Kwang-ho catch one serial killer, then carefully observe the other, despite the good-natured ribbing of his peers? Where is his triumph when the second man attempts his first murder and Kwang-ho’s there on hand to prevent it? Where’s a happy Yeon-ho growing up with two doting parents, and one extremely ratty teddy bear that’s much too full of memories (and nothing else) to ever throw away? Where are her date nights with childhood friend and doctor Kim Sun-jae, who can never quite figure out why her father looks at him that way (a little sad, a little affectionate, before Kwang-ho catches him looking and gets all gruff and ahjusshi-ish), even though he’s known and admired the man who caught his mother’s killer his whole life?

Where’s my aged, cranky Park Kwang-ho, now a retired police chief, sneaking into the office to annoy his successor, his friend and hoobae Sung-shik? Why isn’t he the gruff but proud mentor of his namesake, the rookie cop? Where’s he and his wife spending her birthday on their ferry ride, like they do every year, and being ridiculously adorable together even after all these years? Why isn’t he walking down the street, only to stiffen and turn to watch a former victim of a serial killer walk past him, healthy and whole and happy, and then smile himself, and walk on?

They had a chance to really show us how some loves are meant to be, how we have to let go of some things to make room for others, and how much difference one man can make on the fabric of so many lives. But they didn’t.

And I will forever hold a grudge. I am nothing if not petty about my drama endings.

 
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I also wish we got a glimpse of how the future changed too I mean the show literally rewrote itself when he went back so an episode showing how events changed would have been nice

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Technically an episode like that would have been fanservice.
This was an OCN drama, and had a tight story, more would have been just extra at that point.

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Agreed. I quite like the ending and found it touching. (And really, I wouldn't want to see Kwang-ho getting old because I want to forever preserve him in my memory as the young and passionate detective from the past.) But it would have been nice to at least see a glimpse of maybe 15 more minutes worth of their alternate life after Kwang-ho returned to the past. Maybe to see how some of the future victims live well and healthy, a bit more of his interaction with Sung-shik, and his now perfect family.

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i also believe that giving us a glimpse of the rewritten future may leave a bad taste. they gave us a hint of the new future and it is up to us to stitch things up they way we want them.

another point is that Tunnel is basically a suspense, thriller police story. solving the crime and punishing the culprit is the main point, making our hearts giddy due to romantic angle involved is a mere plus…

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I originally didn't mind the ending, but now with all your snippet suggestions i can't help but lament on what could've been!!

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Even I wished we could catch a glimpse of the alternate reality. ...Once kwang Ho changed the future. ..how the future would be victims were alive and happy. ..especially the younger kwang ho. .I felt his fate was the most tragic

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I didn’t mind that they didn’t show how the future was changed because I think there were too many questions about it and too many people wanting to see different things. I mean, if Sun Jae’s mum’s murderer was caught and sentenced before he was a teenager wouldn’t he have gone into medicine like he was originally studying? It was only because the murder was free that he became a detective at all. And if Jae Yi had grown up with loving parents would she have still been drawn to criminal psychology- she would never have had people think she was a murderer as she wouldn’t have been in England where her previously adoptive parents were when their house burned down. That being said, I do think the drama needed to show Kwang Ho making some sort of effort to catch Ji Woo in the past. It kind of rendered catching him in the future a tad pointless if they don’t catch him in the past too, don’t you think?

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Yes!! That's what I thought!!! The whole drama loses its meaning after the past is changed!!! He was lost in the past!! He should ve continued to live in the present!! With detective sunjae and doctor JaeYi!!!

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I think I would've liked to see a glimpse of the future to show the possibility of things being remotely the same, even though Kwang ho changed things. That although their original motivations changed, having Kwang ho in their lives kept them on the same path. Maybe since Sun jae grew up around the detective who saved his mother, he's inspired to become just like him. And maybe Yeon ho is the same; studying the case and being fascinated by the minds of the killers but also sympathizing with the victims, so that she still chooses to do criminal psychology.

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*found justice for his mother, not saved!

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I actually would like to have a glimpse of how the people, especially Jaeyi & Sunjae, dealt with Kwangho's permanent separation in the present & how they moved on, rather than the alternate future. Hmm...

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I didn't mind the ending. I cried during the finale and found everything to be heartwarming and sufficient. It may not have shown an epilogue of the future but it was one of the few endings that I was confident with whatever course it may take.

But damn, your questions made me realize that I wouldn't mind seeing those!

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At least the ending wasn't as bad as Marry Him If You Dare. They left that ending so wide open you could throw a black hole into it to devour the whole thing.

While I did feel satisfied with Tunnel's ending, I was a bit hopeful about seeing what the future might have been. Obviously, now the future has drastically changed: There's no longer any tragedy in his daughter's life, so that leaves a question as to what her profession might be. Would she still pursue criminal psychology?

Another thing I wanted to see at the ending was the resolution of the past storyline. There's the issue of the second serial killer. I was thinking that perhaps, Kwang Ho might reach out to him in 1987, since he hadn't killed anyone yet. Or could it be that now that the first serial killer has been caught, that would keep the second from killing?

I suppose that Kwang Ho's restoration to his rightful place is enough for this drama, though, and the future is left up to your own imagination and interpretation, which I could live with.

I think what could have been a better ending, though, is tying up the loose ends in the past. In the past, the last victim agrees to testify just before Kwang Ho is transported back to the future. I think we should have least seen the trial and justice being brought. And, then we can cut to that heart-warming scene at the end.

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I loved Tunnel, but i agree with your reasoning, i wished they showed us more of Park Kwang Ho in 87 with his wife, daughter and Sun Jae and more importantly, how this affected them in the future.

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I am an avid Fanfic Reader. If some of you decides to write a Fanfiction about any of these stories, please let us know! ;) .

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The only thing missing for me is the arrest of the killer in 1987. Kwang Ho going on with his one man investigation and having to drag his colleagues in, etc.

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When I saw the theme of the month I never thought of Tunnel to be a nominee for that.

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I was waiting for this scene to happen.
https : // pbs. twimg .com / media / C2hcQn4UcAAnJXh . jpg

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Okay, I actually didn't mind Tunnel's ending at all and I adored the series, but now that you've written that down I want to see this version of the ending so much!!! I literally imagined everything you've said and it was SO GOOD.

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