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Hundred Million Stars From the Sky: Episode 16 (Final)

How far can one man fall? In the beginning, Moo-young considered himself above the rest of the world, toying easily with the lives and emotions of others. Now, he’s fallen victim to the game he once believed he controlled. Moo-young’s only desire is to protect Jin-kang, but with lives as intertwined as theirs, it may be impossible to sever those ties, and despite everything would Jin-kang even want to?

 
FINAL EPISODE:”I want to live”

Amidst the chaos following Se-ran’s death, Jin-kook rushes to meet Moo-young. Waiting for the detective at the temple where his parents rest, Moo-young stares sorrowfully at his last photo with Jin-kang. When Jin-kook arrives, Moo-young steps out to meet him, his expression stone.

Outside, Jin-kook asks if Moo-young really did it but Moo-young wants to know if Jin-kang can live a normal life now. Jin-kook doesn’t understand and is even further baffled when Moo-young suddenly thanks him. At Jin-kook’s blank stare, Moo-young clarifies, “Thank you for protecting… my younger sister, Yoon.”

Taken aback, Jin-kook stutters, “Jin-kang isn’t… You don’t have a younger sibling.” He wonders who could’ve put such an idea in Moo-young’s head but stops short when it finally clicks. The realization that Se-ran lied strikes Moo-young hard and he crumples to the ground in sobs, simultaneously relieved and horrified at what he’s done.

The next day, Jin-kang is interrogated at the police station. When asked about her relationship with Moo-young, Jin-kang replies she was his girlfriend… only to firmly correct that she is his girlfriend.

Waiting out in the parking lot, Jin-kook thinks back to earlier when So-jung had stopped him as he was leaving. She’d told him that Jin-kang was aware they weren’t blood-related and had known since high school.

Jin-kang’s interview grinds to a halt when Jin-kang declares she doesn’t believe Moo-young did it. Leveling her with a pitying stare, the officer tells her to wake up. Jin-kang listens in stony silence as he points out that Moo-young’s information has be released because they’re positive he did it.

Outside, she finds Jin-kook waiting for her and gets into the car. As they drive, Jin-kook thinks about So-jung’s claim Jin-kang knows they’re not siblings, and remembers Jin-kang tearfully screaming that she’d always felt guilty towards him growing up.

At a stoplight, Jin-kang asks if she should believe something if everyone else says it’s true. “Everyone is saying that Kim Moo-young killed her,” Jin-kang says. Unable to answer, Jin-kook thinks back to So-jung’s second revelation: she’d told Jin-kang what happened between Jin-kook and Moo-young’s dad.

“Jin-kang,” Jin-kook breaks the silence, “Your real name… is Jung-yoon. Han Jung-yoon.” He apologizes for not telling her sooner and promises to tell her everything once they find Moo-young. Jin-kang nods and offers a weak smile.

As Moo-young sleeps in the abandoned house he grew up in, Jin-kang stares at the last picture she took with Moo-young. The detective’s words that Moo-young is guilty replay in her mind, but she frames the photo anyway.

Jin-kang thinks about Se-ran’s goading for her to ask her brother about his past with Moo-young, and then So-jung assuring her that Jin-kook didn’t hate Moo-young, rather he felt apologetic and afraid. Moo-young wakes up and wanders around the house, finding both electricity and water not working.

Lighting some candles, Moo-young starts cleaning the place up. When he steps outside, he’s captivated by the night sky and flashes back to his conversation with Jin-kook the previous night. He asks who Jin-kang was, if not his sister, and why she was in his memories and his drawing.

“Because you treasured her and loved her more than family,” Jin-kook replies. He tells Moo-young that Jin-kang was severely neglected thanks to her parents’ obsession with the cult. They were the ones who’d converted Moo-young’s mother.

Learning that his mother stole their house deposit and ran off with him, Moo-young finally understands his father’s actions. Jin-kook continues that the couple Moo-young’s father had murdered along with his wife were actually Jin-kang’s parents.

Horrified, Moo-young begs Jin-kook never to tell Jin-kang about their dark past. In return, Jin-kook urges Moo-young to turn himself in. Shaking his head, Moo-young admits, “I’m so angry. I feel like somebody toyed with me so much that… I can’t bear it.”

Saying he needs time, Moo-young starts to leave but Jin-kook holds him back. Moo-young tells Jin-kook it isn’t his nor Dr. Yang’s fault and pulls him into a brief hug. Breaking away with a smirk, Moo-young adds that Jin-kook could never win against him, anyway, thanks to all the guilt he bore.

Moo-young asks for three days and Jin-kook can only watch him leave with a sigh. In the present, Moo-young sits at the table and tries to write out his will. He rubs moisture from his eyes as we see the gun sitting on the table beside him.

Walking out into the woods, Moo-young pulls the gun from his pocket and fires a bullet into his head, crumpling instantly… but it’s only a nightmare and Jin-kook wakes up in a cold sweat, screaming, “No, Moo-young. No!”

Bursting out of his room, Jin-kook finds Jin-kang sitting in the dark living room. He asks what she’s doing and she fires back, “Why did you do it to him?” She’s asking why Jin-kook stabbed Moo-young. Jin-kang can’t understand why he didn’t apologize and ask for forgiveness if he felt sorry and afraid.

She repeats her question and Jin-kook can only reply that he was wrong. “He isn’t the person you used to know. He told me he wanted to start afresh,” Jin-kang says firmly. She refuses to believe Moo-young killed Se-ran unless she hears it from his mouth.

Jin-kang adds that her feelings aren’t like a cold, as Jin-kook had said. “It isn’t like something that gets better after suffering a little,” she says, “I.. I don’t think I can live without him. I might end up dying without him.” Pulling her into a hug, Jin-kook promises to find Moo-young.

The next day, Jin-kook confides in Dr. Yang, lamenting that he should’ve stopped Moo-young from leaving at all costs. Dr. Yang muses that Moo-young directed all his hatred inward when he learned the truth about his father.

He warns Jin-kook Moo-young won’t be able to bear having become a murderer himself. Both men resolve to fine Moo-young quickly. Meanwhile, Chairman Jang (Se-ran and Woo-sang’s father) icily wades through a throng of reporters.

So-jung drops in to check on Jin-kang and has her change the house’s passcode. Grumbling that Jin-kook never did it, despite his promises, So-jung anxiously asks if Jin-kang used something personal–like her birthday–for the new code.

Jin-kang immediately guesses So-jung is worried about Moo-young and demands to know why. Shocked to learn Moo-young had come to the house to confront Jin-kook with a gun, Jin-kang wonders if it was because of the incident twenty-five years ago.

She asks when Moo-young came and checking her texts, realizes she hadn’t even noticed Moo-young had made sure she wouldn’t be home, and Jin-kook would. Leaving a convenience store with supplies, Moo-young pauses at the telephone booth. Meanwhile, Jin-kang meets with Yoo-ri in prison.

Yoo-ri guesses she’s there about Moo-young and Jin-kang admits she doesn’t believe Moo-young is guilty. Yoo-ri disagrees, saying that Moo-young always follows through. “If he has the will,” Yoo-ri adds, “he’s capable of even worse things.”

Moo-young stares down at the rice he’s just made and flashes back to the night Jin-kang taught him how. He’d asked her why they’d bothered and she’d told him that if he wanted to start fresh, he should live in a warm house smelling of warm rice.

As Jin-kang takes a taxi home, we hear that Yoo-ri had added that killing someone doesn’t change who Moo-young is. “At least,” she’d said, “he doesn’t harm those who did nothing to him.” Jin-kang suddenly asks the driver to take her to the police station instead.

The horde of reporters swarm in as Se-ran’s secretary exits the station and Jin-kang fights her way through to demand what they’d said to Moo-young. She cries frantically after him as he drives away, begging to know where Moo-young is.

Sitting numbly in the car on his way home, the secretary receives a call from Chairman Jang, whom we see staring ominously at a photo of his now-dead children.

Moo-young sits outside tending a fire. Staring up at the sky, he thinks of Jin-kook’s retelling of Moo-young and Jin-kang’s past. Their parents were so obsessed with religion, they neglected the kids. Caring for Jin-kang fell to Moo-young.

“You meant the world to her,” Jin-kook had said, “That’s probably why she stopped talking when you disappeared.” Jin-kang didn’t say anything for the first three months with Jin-kook, and just sat staring at the gate all day until the sun went down and she cried.

Even after opening up to Jin-kook, Jin-kang would chase after any boy Moo-young’s age and cry again when it wasn’t him. “You planted love in her heart,” Jin-kook told Moo-young. In response to Moo-young’s disbelief, Jin-kook pointed out the burn on Moo-young’s shoulder.

After Jin-kook shot Moo-young’s dad, Jin-kang had innocently run inside and knocked over the heater and the kettle balanced atop it. Moo-young had had dived to cover her and that’s why his burn is bigger. “I feel proud…” Moo-young said, “of my ugly burn now.” Jin-kook then apologized for his actions after Moo-young had done so much to protect Jin-kang.

In the present, Moo-young starts to cry and Jin-kang lies beside him, asking why. He tells her it’s because he’s happy. She wonders why and he replies that the sky is so beautiful, lamenting that he’d missed so many beautiful things in the world.

Turning to face her, he tells her they used to live in the house. He jokes that if he told her everything she’d want to repay him. Jin-kang promises she will, “So…stay with me for a long time.” Moo-young curls into Jin-kang’s embrace but it’s all a dream, and he shivers on the blanket alone.

At home, Jin-kang remembers Moo-young telling her he’d found his home, before laughing it off as a joke. Recalling he’d said the house looked like his drawing, Jin-kang fishes out the picture. She pulls up a satellite image of Mount Geumah and finds the house in the woods.

She books the earliest train ticket just as Se-ran’s secretary texts her the article they’d shown Moo-young. He then details that Moo-young and the other couple’s daughter were later hospitalized with burns.

Returning home, Jin-kook finds Jin-kang missing. Her computer is still on the satellite image and she’d jotted a note on her train time in a notebook. Panicking, Jin-kook races back out, but pauses when his phone rings.

It’s Moo-young’s friend, Hee-jun. He tells Jin-kook Moo-young instructed him to call three hours later, but he felt anxious. Hee-jun delivers Moo-young’s message: for Jin-kook to meet him at the place he’d first met Kang Sun-ho.

In a voiceover Moo-young says, “To tell the story I want to tell, I will have to quickly end the story that I must tell.” He continues that if not having a heart makes one a devil, then he really didn’t have a heart. Moo-young doesn’t know why, but he’s always considered people strange.

Moo-young:“They became happy because of strange things, became sad because of strange things, and became angry because of strange things. I hated people some days, and they entertained me some days.”

Moo-young says he bothered and observed whatever he wanted to, and if someone wanted to fight, he fought. He admits that he had no interest in either Yoo-ri or Seung-ah, he only knew that he would win. A taxi drops Jin-kang off and she starts up the mountain.

“Jin-kang told me to become a good person,” Moo-young’s voiceover continues, “I wanted to become a good person, but I became a murderer.” We see that Moo-young’s words are a narration of the letter he’s writing.

Thinking back to the moment he’d asked Se-ran to stop, noting that he’d thought only he would get hurt and admitting he felt regret asking her to interfere, Moo-young says, “I really felt that I was a human that day.”

He laments that he killed someone in the moment he’d felt most human, and realized his life was over as a result. Moo-young sets the pen down and picks up his photo with Jin-kang as the camera pans to show the gun on the desk behind him.

Jin-kang finds the house and a memory of little Moo-young and herself playing leads her around the back. She remembers sitting on the stoop whining to Moo-young that she’s hungry. He’d climbed up to look in the window at the adults absorbed in their prayers and instead gave Jin-kang all the peanuts in his pocket.

Inside, Moo-young has finished his letter and a noise sends him darting around a corner. It’s only Jin-kang and he steps out stunned. His eyes fall to her hand, which is holding the gun. Throwing on a cocky grin, Moo-young awes at her finding him.

Jin-kang asks if Moo-young had gotten the gun for Jin-kook and he confirms it. She asks if he intended to kill Jin-kook, even bringing it to their house and questioning Jin-kang on their schedules to make sure Jin-kook would be alone. Moo-young simply replies “yes” to everything.

She asks if Jin-kook is the reason he broke up with her and Moo-young repeats his answer. “Is there anything else besides that?” she wonders, “What other lies… do you have prepared for me?” She demands to know what he’s hiding behind his smirk and monosyllabic affirmations.

Moo-young denies it, but freezes when Jin-kang puts the gun to her temple. Laughing nervously, he warns her that it’s not a toy. In response, Jin-kang cocks the gun. Moo-young tells her to stop playiing around, but Jin-kang says, “I feel bad… because my brother caused your father to die.”

Jin-kang says she’ll die in his place and the smile drops completely from Moo-young’s face. He urges her to give him the gun and she demands he promise her he won’t die. Moo-young doesn’t answer and Jin-kang’s finger twitches. He shouts her name as he dives for her and the gun fires.

Making his way up the mountain, Jin-kook starts running faster. Miraculously, neither of the couple is hurt and Moo-young angrily demands if Jin-kang really wants to die. She earnestly replies that she wants to live, “I want to live together with you.”

Pained, Moo-young turns away and commands her to leave. He turns back when Jin-kang admits she knows his father killed her parents. She says that she understands now how Moo-young must’ve felt when he found out Jin-kook killed his father.

“That’s why you said that to me, right?” she asks, alluding to Moo-young’s statement that she was just herself to him. She returns the sentiment, but Moo-young argues that he killed someone. Undeterred, Jin-kang points out he can just turn himself in, atone and start again.

Moo-young disagrees, saying he’s come too far and now he just wants to die. Jin-kang demands what she should do, then, and Moo-young tells her to go back… to the time before they met. “Even though we were together from the start?” Jin-kang asks.

Producing Moo-young’s drawing, she indicates the smallest figure. “This is me. If you die, I’ll die too,” she declares. She points out that she was only alive because of Moo-young to begin with and refuses to go anywhere without him. Jin-kang wonders if he really wants to die, even after everything she’s said.

After a pause, Moo-young finally chokes out, “No. I want to live.” Jin-kang starts towards him, but when she hears the door open, flings herself in front of Moo-young just in time to block the gunshot. Outside, Jin-kook hears and screams her name, bolting towards the source of the shot.

Moo-young stumbles back as Jin-kang sinks to the ground, not even registering Se-ran’s secretary leveling the gun for a second shot. Moo-young collapses next to Jin-kang and the couple will themselves to inch just a little closer.

“I love you,” Moo-young chokes out and Jin-kang cries as he stops moving before she too falls still. When Jin-kook bursts into the house, the secretary is gone and only the couples’ corpses remain.

Jin-kook breaks down sobbing as Moo-young’s voiceover finishes his letter which he’d addressed to Jin-kook, “Goodbye, Ajusshi. Please don’t be sorry to me now. 25 years are enough.” Moo-young had paused after dating it to sign his original name, Kang Sun-ho.

Moo-young:“P.S. In the afternoon one day, I missed something and started my journey. I walked, walked, and walked again. I bumped again and again. Then I met Jin-kang. And… I started to breathe again.”

 
COMMENTS

That’s it?! I don’t know about y’all, but I was half-inclined to chuck my laptop into the ditch after watching that ending. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t betting on at least one of the leading trio dying but the way everything went to hell and then there was that glimmer of hope? That despite all the horrible things, the couple just might pull through and (after a lengthy prison sentence) have the happy ending they so badly deserve… only to have it all ripped away by the secretary?! I mean, technically it was Chairman Jang and one could hardly blame him after both of his children died after getting involved with Moo-young but gah!!!

I suppose it was a relief to find out that Moo-young and Jin-kang actually weren’t siblings after all, but at that point it hardly mattered as the damage had been done. Honestly, the revelation felt more like a slap in the face. And the little sense I’d been able to glean as to Jin-kook’s reasoning for being so incredibly awful to Moo-young flew out the window when the taboo was stricken from his possible list of objections towards Jin-kang and Moo-young being together. If anything, you’d think he’d be happy that they found each other again. It’s too late now for what-ifs but it just eats me up that they would’ve made an adorable family unit if only Jin-kook had talked to them rather than scream at and stab them. Now he has two more lives weighing on his conscious.

Moo-young’s letter was a sad cherry atop the world’s saddest sundae. It was heartbreaking to finally understand how his mind worked and see that he truly never hated anyone except himself. He understood that what happened between Jin-kook and his father was merely a tragic accident and his own desire to protect Jin-kang allowed him to forgive Jin-kook’s graver offenses (*cough* stabbing *cough*). He doesn’t even hold a grudge against Dr. Yang, whom I’ve always found disturbing and will never forgive for allowing an injured, amnesiac, child to wander off on his own. Moo-young’s only solace was Jin-kang. She was the thing he’d never known he was missing and if my heart wasn’t already as dead as the OTP (too soon?) I would’ve cried ugly tears at his postscript.

Oh, how I wish I hadn’t been so frustrated with the ending, because the drama was quite captivating, due in large part to the actors. Seo In-gook and Jung So-min were exquisite and despite my fury at the ending, I don’t regret watching their performances one bit. Props to Park Sung-woong, as well, because I both hated and adored Jin-kook… often simultaneously. It’s been a crazy ride and I don’t think I’ll be repeating it, if only because I want to live in my fantasy world where Jin-kang and Moo-young get their happily ever after, maybe in their next life?

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Thank you for the recap. This was an incredible drama to watch and discuss with fellow beanies who so many theories and discussions that my head was gonna explode. At first i was a little disappointed in how they died but the more i re-watched (and cried over it) the only other ending would be the original ending where she shoots Moo Young, which wouldn’t be true to her character. I love Jin Kang for her unwavering loyalty to Moo Young and always trying to understand him. I can’t believe that a patient character like her existed who was always willing to listen instead of jumping to a misunderstanding which was the frustrating thing about Yuko’s character. There’s nothing much to say performance wise since needless to say Seo In Guk, Jung So Min and even Park Sung Woong were amazing in their respective roles and brought out so much in their character that we probably couldn’t see due to writing. I hope Jin Kang and Moo Young become beautiful bright stars in the sky where they are able to meet each other and love each other again.

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Re: I love Jin Kang for her unwavering loyalty to Moo Young and always trying to understand him. I can’t believe that a patient character like her existed who was always willing to listen instead of jumping to a misunderstanding...

Yes, yes, yes!
I didn't know how to say this, but you put it into word.
Someone willing to listen and understand is what MY had always needed. I'm so glad that they got to be together, however briefly.
And it is actually almost a miracle for JK to have such a trait as a K-drama character.

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I was surprised when JK was calling out MY on his lies! Like when she said in previous episodes, "i know that smirk of yours. You're hurt. Who hurt you that badly?" or something to that effect. She sees right through him. That's why I loved that it took so long for them to be together. They needed that time to truly get to know each other, well enough to know when the other's acting off-cjaracter

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Ikr, it is one of the things I loved about Jin Kang's character. The way she took care of him and sometimes even scolded him, in a way that was almost motherly, really made her seem like a good fit for someone like him. She knew him well enough that she was not at all discouraged or daunted or by his pretense, coldness and caginess.

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That scene under the million stars left me sobbing so much, because he knows JIn kang so well and that would have been her responses to him, she would love him and be with him for eternity💔❤️And it's such a heartwrenching scene because to MY it's his what could have been moment and knowing that it couldn't be because he commit a murder💔My heart broke with him when Jin kang dissapeared, But then she came and reassure him that she needs him in the next scene, If he dies she dies! Because that's how it has always been and no flaws of him is going to change her feelings for him🌺Such bravery and trust and love from her makes moo young wants to live❤️

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i think everything that happened makes sense... except Jin Kook's behaviour, of course... i did not MY and JK to be able to live a healthy happily ever after life after all of MY's mea culpas... that would be slightly unrealistic. MY even said he wanted to die... he wanted to be reborn... nice wish and he got it...

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...did not expect*...

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I have a theory... But I was told that it's too freaky! :,D I think that they tried to hint that JG felt something else than brotherly love when Tak told him that love is worrying for someone and that he should think who he worried the most for, and that's why he had never looked her way. In some degree, I think that they tried to hint that he did all that because he didn't want to lose JK (It was obvios that Cho Rong wasn't a threat at all). Since the beginning I thought it was really creepy how he wanted to meddle in her love life. He seemed to be totally obsessed with JK. I also found irritating that at the final scene he only cried for her. Ok, I get it he loved her, but why didn't he feel at least a little sad over MY's dead and his part in it? He couldn't have thought that MY killed her himself because they were facing each other and she was shot at the back. So, he just didn't care.

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Seriously with each rewatch I liked it more. I’m trying to stop.😂

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Same here, @geliguolu. I actually think my addiction is so unhealthy already. Like every time I find myself with free time on hands I either rewatch episodes or watch FMV and BTS vids.

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@on my hands

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I've been doing the same thing rewatching everything😂😅its so unhealthy otokke! There was this scene when they were in bed and I think I notice mooyoung hugging Jin kang when she turned towards him with his legs even though there's a blanket😂😂😂I don't even know if it's real or my imagination running wild😜

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LOL you weren't seeing things! We were talking about this on Soompi two weeks ago hehe @namidajanai

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OMG! Really!? I think I need to read all the thread on soompi! I can't believe I didn't think of joining earlier instead of going crazy on my own, arghhh and Its all over Already 😭💔

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I was late to the party, too! I was suffering on my own for about 2-3 weeks before I finally got the courage to be active in the forum! Don't worry, the thread is still pretty much alive :)

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Ottoke! really! that's so romantic! going to rewatch that scene looooool!

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Yes, as much as I was upset with the ending because I had the tiniest hope that they would live bfore that fatal gunshot, I'm kinda happy that they get to die in each other's embrace.❤️😭💔
That love confession in the end was the most tragical and heartbreaking I've ever seen in a drama, it was the first and the last time MY convey his feelings towards JK.
I love how JK stayed loyal till the end not wavering in her love for him, she loves him with all his flaws and she sees right through him when he is hurting and putting up a mask with his lies, she knows him that well💔💗. that stunt of hers clocking the gun just shows that she knows he won't allow her to pull that trigger that kinda scared me because I was afraid he might be the one accidentally getting the bullet.
I'm glad they didn't follow the jversion ending because moo kang couple was nothing like ryoko couple. It even feels like different drama altogether.
I will forever ship moo kang and Jin kang❤️May they live a happier life in the hereafter and walk a flowery path for eternity, it's finally goodbye to an amazing drama😭

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“There’s nothing much to say performance wise since needless to say Seo In Guk, Jung So Min and even Park Sung Woong were amazing in their respective roles and brought out so much in their character that we probably couldn’t see due to writing”

Couldn’t agree more. Please give them awards already. Hope they will get it from dramabeans year end award that might be the only relevant one these days. Pretty please with 🍒 on the top.

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Here you can vote for Seo In guk as best actor, this drama as best drama and Seo In guk and Jung So Min as best couple

https://koreanupdates.com/kuawards2018/

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omg i cried a little while reading your comment. A lot of people are comparing this drama to Romeo and Juliet, but I find the difference between the two more interesting and compelling. Well sure, forbidden love and dying together are two important and undeniable similarities, BUT what makes this drama even more sad and beautiful is the fact that they chose LIFE not death. Romeo and Julia chose death together while they chose life even after life fucked with them - but were killed nonetheless. Aaaah it's so frustrating, sad, and beautiful... if only Jin-Kook had communicated with them... but on the other hand it is a hard thing to admit.

On a complete different note, Moo Youngs line "On the day I felt most human, I killed someone" must've been one of my absolute favourite lines in kdrama.

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One of my most favourite OTP's to date <3 We had so much to talk about in our fan walls about the entire drama and the cast and the exceptional chemistry, throughout the past couple of weeks, that I have nothing more to add. Yes the writing could have been better in some areas but JSM and SIG totally elevated it with their sizzling chemistry. Everytime they shared the screen together we felt their warmth and their love for each other. Glad MY and JK are finally together. They will forever live in my heart of hearts <3

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Deleted above comment to fix typos, here it is again:
I agree... if it wasn't for JK and MY, I might've even dropped this drama. JK and MY were the highlight of this drama, and I loved their attachment to each other (JK's attachment being a more open attachment, while MY's attachment being a more subtle attachment). I felt that JK's love for MY was open like a bubbling beautiful fountain (full of hope and innocence), and MY's love for JK was subtle but as deep as the ocean (still waters run deep... and all that).

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I cried. I'm kind of satisfied that the writer decided to end the series with our lovebirds' death. And yet, I still felt that the process to get there is very stupid. I don't understand why the secretary should become the reason for their death. And I absolutely couldn't understand Jin-kook and Tak's harsh objection to Moo-young and Jin-kang's relationship if they are not related by blood. Is it possible that the writer chickened out at the last minute (given that this is a kdrama) and backed off from the incest and double suicide conclusion (which honestly would make a much better sense)??

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Yes like I said before a little part of me wanted them to die voluntarily. It does makes sense for the Chairman to want MY dead but I thought the secretary would know better knowing how evil both his employers were.

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The secretary was just the same as his employers, remember the little smile on his face when seran delightedly told him that she had read MY's fear and lied to him?

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I don't think the secretary has much of a choice anyway, he seems in way too deep already.

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Yeah, I was hoping that the secretary had some shred of decency to not kill them or pretend to not be able to find them or something?? But I guess that was just wishful thinking. It seemed like a cop out way from the writer to just end the drama. They probably realized they were too in over their head with the story and would need more episodes to tie things up, so they decided to use the secretary killing them as a cop out. I also kind of felt like the ending was incomplete. I wish they would have added a flashback scene that we haven't seen before of Moo Young and Jin Kang playing together in the forest as kids with the sunsetting in the distance...just to contrast that sad ending scene with an image of them when times were more simple and happy. Maybe even a voice over from Jin Kang. Or just a short scene with a hint of an alternate universe where the two are happy together, you knowwwwwwwwww. Hahah. Sigh.

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The secretary had almost as much screen time as ChoRong, if not more, with his tenure since WooSang. He was gunpowder slowly scattered since episode 1 that people mistook for dirt. Not a cop out.

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Re: And I absolutely couldn't understand Jin-kook and Tak's harsh objection to Moo-young and Jin-kang's relationship if they are not related by blood.

RIGHT?!
Knowing the whole backstory, and looking back at their attitude doesn't make sense to me either. 🤷

If JG really felt guilty, shouldn't he at least want them to reunite?

IMO, he felt guilty but never actively wanted to "correct" his mistake. He was forever stuck in a place where he actually couldn't completely believe he killed a person. He just wanted to maintain the life he had created for himself and JK; one based on untruth and his deep desire for self-preservation.
And those are a perfect recipe for disaster, but in my eyes he felt only a little guilty; but a whole lot afraid, and mostly antagonist and aggressive towards MY.
I wish they'd done a better job a portraying the "guilty and apologetic" part.

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I also felt the objections were ridiculous and full of selfish intents. Since no incest is involved I just feel that JG didn't want to let JK be with MY because he is afraid that JK will eventually find out that she is adopted or that she will remember her past and hate JK for killing MY's father?

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Yeah, Jin Gook's actions and hatred toward Moo Young seemed way too extreme to justify any of his reasonings. Like to freaking STAB him? It seemed really out of character since JG was so scarred from shooting someone. I mean, I understand JG thought MY was a threat to his relationship with JK (that she would find out that JG is a "bad" person for killing someone), but JG was borderline unstable towards the end when he stabbed JG. He didn't even really explain why he did it when JK asked him about it? All he said was that he was wrong for doing it. Wtf???

Also, I just remembered from episode 10 where JG and Tak are at the temple and she says "That guy is blessed that he get to see his daughter every year." WTH was that about? I'm assuming her parents are buried there, too, then? Even though they never told us? Totally misleading. And then later when Tak finds out that MY is Kang Sun Ho, she's like "then JK and him should definitely not be together." Again, misleading!!

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What you wrote really seems like more evidence that the production team chickened out last minute and couldn't carry on with the incest plot!

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That is generally what mysteries try to do though. They make you either not notice important things or make assumptions. It isn't really misleading. The fact that they did not necessarily specify that they were talking about the guy who Jin Kook shot when Tak said he was blessed to see his daughter every year actually made me think they were not going to go the incest route. Besides which, some uncertainty was thrown in the mix when the newspaper kept referring to Kang Sun Ho and his 'child' rather than children or even 'one of' his children (unless this was a translation issue).
Besides which, Tak's statement that they should not be together was way to, imo, flippant for something as taboo as incest.
It is more feasible that the objection would be MY's father being the killer of JK's parents.

As to the stabbing, although he didn't bother to explain himself, it probably had more to do with MY's unsavoury character (from Jin Kook's perspective). Combined with Yuri's warning that no girl that gets involved with him is able to give him up.
Even if it had been about his being Kang Sun Ho, he could still have objected because of that if he feared that MY had turned out, like his father, to be someone capable of murder.

I do agree though, that the stabbing was too extreme and that Jin Kook was kind of nuts for a while there.

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I wrote this in another comment above: I have a theory... I think that they tried to hint that JG felt something else than brotherly love when Tak told him that love is worrying for someone and that he should think who he worried the most for, and that's why he had never looked her way. In some degree, I think that they tried to hint that he did all that because he didn't want to lose JK (It was obvios that Cho Rong wasn't a threat at all).

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the secretary is just a paid lackey... he was doing the chairman's bidding... which i can totally get. Two kids dead all connected to this one guy. probably his only kids... forget about their despicable nature... i would want the perpetrator to rot and i'm not even a chaebol... eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth... even MY once believed in that.

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Agree with you. Moo young killed his children and he has to pay.

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Jinkook was only obsessed with keeping his sister. That’s why I felt no sympathy for him at the end. If MooYoung’s forgiveness has lightened his load, he deserved more guilt.

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I Dont think They Will take The incest trope after all of that OTP stuff They fed us With Each week😅We'll be scarred for life if The writers made them siblings💔
I really thought They Would make use of The secretary To kill seran and frame mooyoung for her death, that way a Happy ending could be in sight because mooyoung was never a murderer before this, he was a player and for him To get this kind of karma after suffering from all that horrible stuff during his childhood is just not fair. If JG was honest from start and if MY have confronted him about keeping his "sister" away from him all those years things Wouldnt happen The way They Did. Arghh My heart and head hurts from all The what ifs 😅But alas this drama had an outstanding cast ok maybe tak and seungah is a hole, a standing ovation To somin and inguk for an awesome potrayal of mookang The broken love birds💗Both of their characters was simply heart tugging🌺👏🏿👏🏿

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I agree... even if they didn't go with the incest, they still could've come up with a much better and stronger back story, and made JG's character more logical. Honestly, by the end, JG's character was completely nonsensical alongside the doctor's character. Whereas Tak's character was just a cardboard cutout.

As for the secretary, the way I understood it, is that he took the orders from Seran's father (so he's not a normal secretary). However I agree that it just felt like all the characters' lives where ruined in vain, Seung Ah, Yuri, even Seung Ah's crazy fiance, and Seran. Then in the end MY and JK's lives were also lost in vain/senselessly.

The only character who had it good was JG, and he was hellbent on his "woe-is-me" routine, and illogical whining and misery. Actually the backstory makes it even illogical for the police station to try and cover it up, because why would they? So I agree with you that the writer could've and should've made the backstory stronger and more logical.

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I actually understood the coverup (typical kdrama police smearing) but the chief’s relationship with Jinkook left me puzzled.

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Me too. They never explained it properly

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Once the secretary and the rich dad were shown for more than one scene I knew one of them would end up shooting them (or at least MY), the last minute stab/gunshot is pretty much a revenge kdrama classic lol

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My takes from the finale:

1. The reason why Jin-kook and Tak afraid of their budding relationship might be because they could not wrap their head around the possibility that a girl fall in love with the son of a murderer that killed off both of her parents. This logic might work in melo of the 90’s but not in the current kdrama landscape.
2. About the hitman, I could not come out with other explanation than it’s a karmic thing. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth I guess, like what @mintchocolate86 pointed out.
3. This is to address recurring question about this drama. About Jin-kook stabbing Moo-young, which a lot of beanies are irked by it, might happen because of the heat of the moment. Seung-Ah death and they guy behind it dating his adopted sister secretly might be too much for him to handle. Of course, can be explained does not mean it’s morally right.

These are my personal opinions about those questions. Tbh, no amount of explanation could satisfy everyone as nothing is black and white in this drama. I find that quality as one of the charms of HMS.

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First thing I did when the final episode aired was ff to the ending. Then I knew I wouldn't be able to watch the last two episodes for at least a year, when I'm no longer so emotionally distraught. I knew from the beginning this was a tragedy, but there's always that one little spark of hope that keeps you going.

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I had hope Too but that hope got dash By a gunshot. The fact was i watched The drama knowing how The original one ended, but still watching IT because of seo in guk and Somin, i Didnt think i Would fall so hard for their characters along The way that i Dont want Them To end up like The ones on The jversion.. But at Least They died together and loving Each other.

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I really really liked this show for keeping me intellectually and psychologically engaged.

As a psychological thriller, it was appropriately dark, moody and mysterious. In terms of cinematography (gorgeous), acting (astounding, especially Ziggy), and other technical aspects, I have no complaints.

However, it is in the characterization that this show falters a bit. In the last third or so of this show, it became apparent that some of the character’s motivations weren’t as strong or clear or logical, or a combination of all three as I’d thought… which kind of frustrated me. I won’t go over the specifics of that, because I’ve talked about it before and I think those who have a major problem with it will discuss it at length.

The issue I want to focus on is the portrayal of the lead female character in this show. Not just this show in particular, but also in the context of psychological thrillers in general. Initially Jin-kang was fierce, attentive and inquisitive. I very much liked that about her. But as the show progressed and she fell in love with Moo-young, we saw that side of her less and less and she became somewhat tame, and dare I say annoying and whinny at times. I didn’t like how utterly helpless and morose she became when MY “broke up” with her. This reiteration of making female characters destitute without their significant others implies that they would be nothing without them, and that’s an idea that K-dramas (and society at large) really need to get over.

All in all, this was a good show. I’d give it 4/5 stars… because it’s (a) engaging, (b) stands out: for having an unusual (delightfully disturbing) POV, an uncharacteristically unsentimental tone for a k-drama (makes sense since it’s an adaption), and (c) Ziggy kills it as MY (figuratively and literally). I’m keeping the other star, because of the issues raised above and the fact that I’d hoped the show would outsmart me, which I always hope for in thrillers, but it didn’t in the end. It had me holding my breath and gasping in horror and disbelief quite a few times though, so kudos to that.

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At first I have the same take on JK behaviour, I thought she act as some teenager in a rebellious phase, but then it struck that it make sense, because she never have a chance to be truly rebellious teenager, and what's more MY was her first love, she never was in relationship before. And if we brave enough to recollect our firsts infatuation, it wouldn't be that different on emotional level, when every little thing was almost life or death situation.

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I never had an issue with JinKang being excessively clingy to MooYoung because it wasn’t a gender related “weakness”. MooYoung was just as broken from the separation, on the inside.

I’ve always credited her clinginess to their blood relation (influenced by the original). Even after they ruled out blood relation, Jinkook’s description of her attachment to little MooYoung can explain her subconscious need to be with him. It’s almost like she has an addiction and was experiencing withdrawal. It’s not the typical first love trope we see, but more of a psychological impression that he left her in her developmental years.

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Yes, I felt that Jk and MY were attached to each other, but in different ways. MY was heartless and soulless without JK (it really felt as if she was his heart, and without her he didn't have a heart). For Jk, it felt as if MY became her lifeline (and she couldn't live without him).

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I was satisfied how they ended it though. Compared with the original version, this is better. Promise. When I finished watching the original version I was a mess. Didnt know how Id cope up with everything that had happened and how they died. I wasnt able to sleep. I wanted to be mad at someone, I was soooo frustrated. But with this, you know, they werent siblings, they loved each other. They somehow found peace even if they were seconds away from death. Its just tragic and terribly sad that they were so close to the light but that chance was taken away from them. But if only Jin Kook had been honest from the very start, we'd be having a different story. But we wont be having this drama, this angsty drama. RIght?

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HUNDRED MILLION STARS FINAL REVIEW

Should I post my whole thing here as well? Oh why the hell not.

A couple of notes first of all.
1) I haven’t seen the Japanese version, I do not know the source material or much of what happens in it or how. So this review is purely based off my watching experience of this show and version.
2) Obviously, this is my opinion. And it’s a very harsh one at that. I’m not entirely convinced it is worthy of such a harsh analysis but I gave it one anyway.

Things I did like: Ziggy, the cat, Yu Ri, the dialogue, acting, directing and story potential of the first 7 episodes.
Things I didn’t like: Everything else…

MOO YOUNG
Moo Young, Moo Young. What to do.
This is how I saw his character. And I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only ones who feels this way. But that’s fine.

What frustrated me about Moo Young was that his character was never full realised. In fact, none of them were, no character in this show was fully realised or fleshed out, and no character had an observable and consistent motivation. Which is extremely frustrating to watch.
But Moo Young’s is perhaps the greatest tragedy because he was by far the most interesting character initially.
And not only was he not fully realised, but his development was almost entirely lacking and his arc made little sense.
Don’t @me with your theories; Let me explain my POV.

Moo Young from episode one through seven was manipulative, arrogant, super smart, apathetic, unpredictable, anti-social and impulsive. The way I personally perceived the information that I was given was that Moo Young was probably sociopathic, and liked to play games with people, probably out of boredom or an inability to feel much, that he didn’t make lasting deep relationships with many people, and that he knew much much more than everyone else on screen for a reason.
However he was also portrayed as being kind to animals, and we were shown that he helped Yu Ri when she tried to commit suicide, which definitely made is seem like we were supposed to like him just a little bit, enough to be conflicted, and that later this contrast would be necessary.
(Unfortunately I think they dragged some of the mystery and intrigue on for too long, and there was almost too much push and pull with the will he won’t he is he isn’t he. It started out as fun and exciting and then it started to drag because episode 9 came around and we still didn’t know anything, and we still were only ever seeing Moo Young through other people’s perspectives. I would like to say it was intentional, but even if it was, it became a severe downfall later because the outcome did not equate to how much was originally shrouded in mystery)
But anyway, the way I saw that he was portrayed during all this, was that he had this edge, this volatility, this mystery to him, that implied layers and complexity and a backstory and a good plot. That is what I was shown in the first half of this show.

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Moo Young from episodes 10-15 however… was not this person. Moo Young from episodes ten through to fifteen… barely did anything. He reacted to Jin Kang’s attention like a good boy, and he went to his hometown as the plot required, he apparently, fell in love and was trying to be a good person. But the edge, and the smirk, and the underlying danger and intrigue I got from him at the start, was gone. He no longer seemed like the world was his playground and he no longer seemed like the main character (in fact he had far less screen time in these episodes). He was just there. And he would’ve been almost boring, if it weren’t for Seo In Guk’s acting.
On top of that he made choices and did things that ultimately felt less smart to the cool and calculative game player of the beginning.

And then for the Moo Young of the last hour and a bit, we went back almost entirely to the Moo Young of the first half. Except this time it felt out. It wasn’t surprising, it just felt forced. Because the Moo Young in the middle felt so washed out to me, trying to bring back his edge in the last episode and explain his edge in a fifteen minute voiceover at the very end of the show, I felt was a huge disservice to his character and the beginning of the show.
The beginning of the show had lines like “I wanted to see what would move a rich girls heart”, “Murderers say it feels like being a god” and more.
It hinted at this potential depth to Moo Young’s character that I never felt was reached. We never really delved into why he didn’t see some things as bad, or why he felt nothing when SA died… we can make up reasons sure, from our own experiences or the shoehorned last minute reasoning the show gave us (along with a campy cult-my father killed yours- backstory), but many shows have delved into all of this before and this one barely scratched the surface. And it could’ve. It started out with the guts and the directing and the implication that it was going to make its lead almost villain like. But it didn’t, not even when Moo Young killed Se Ran. Sure, that was a start. But that was as start too late, near the end of the show and because of an incest fake out at that, and not because of a true development of the darker Moo Young I saw at the beginning.

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Initially I thought that perhaps the change in his character in episode 10 was on purpose to fool me. That it was supposed to be that Moo Young DIDN’T actually know everything, and that the story wasn’t as complex as it was telling you it was and that he simply changed because of Jin Kang.
However this is off to me.
1- Why would you throw away that fantastic character a) for the sake of a love line and b) for THAT ending? Moo Young as a sociopath- like him or hate him - was compelling and interesting.
You don’t have to like him (or how he handles relationships), but these kinds of characters, when handled right make for fantastic character writing and conflict and subsequently fantastic viewing (if you can tolerate that kind of thing).
For me, I actually shipped MY and JK initially because he was volatile and because he had shown himself to be not healthy for the women in his life. I was interested because he was toxic and because women became obsessed with him. I was interested, not because I am a sadist or a masochist or something else that is worse, but because to me watching Jin Kang fall for someone who has the ability to murder someone and not feel anything, and her struggling with that, with loving someone like that would’ve been fantastic to see on screen.
To see MY who has never been in love before perhaps fall in love with this different woman (if she were more interesting and if he had a good reason to) but not be able to change his nature and to be toxic for both of them and to see them destroy each other and the tragedy and angst that would come out of THAT was what I was looking forward to. And perhaps you can argue that is what we got (except for how they died).
But when they started dating officially… I felt nothing. I no longer felt the chemistry between the two actors, and that's saying something because Ziggy could flirt with a rock. It’s like they had the intention to write the show I just summarized, but didn’t have the ability to carry it out. When they started dating instead it became an attempt at a redemption story, but, and maybe I just have high standards for redemptions stories, but I didn’t feel like I was watching a redemption arc. I felt like I was watching a rom com shoe horned into a melo, and then the last episode tried explaining everything and failed. We didn’t get the development of his redemption, we didn’t actually SEE him trying to be a “better” person, we just, actually we just saw his semi reintegration into society when before he had been an outcast of sorts. We didn’t see him change his ways from before. He just didn’t do anything for four episodes. That’s not the same thing as fighting his manipulative nature, and presenting the argument of why he was like that at all.

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2- To lead the audience in a certain direction only for the truth to be something entirely different is called bait and switching, and is hack writing and cheating. Don’t falsify the information we are given just to justify a certain twist later. I don’t believe he was written like that just because he was in love or that he was actually just bluffing all that time. If he was then I needed to see more of it, and to see it properly developed over time and I didn’t. Episode 10 came around and it was like a switch had been turned on his character. He was saved by one thing and one thing only for me at that point, and that was Seo In Guk’s acting, that he certainly excelled at even with a weak script. He alone made me feel like I was still watching Moo Young.

Honestly I would’ve preferred him to be a mastermind and or be playing some grand impulsive game of life and death with everyone. That would’ve made the death and tragedy more likely and understandable in the end, and this darkness that was promised more likely to well… actually ever show up.

To be honest I think the whole show started to go downhill after episode 9 or 10. The directing style got more generic, there were more flashbacks, that got tackier and choppier, and the dialogue no longer seemed like a conversation was being held via inference. Of course I think an entire show made the way the first 6 episodes was would be kind of weird, but it would be new and interesting and probably would’ve kept me hooked, and it would’ve been interesting to see them try and develop this show through unconventional means rather than falling back on old tired concepts, and doing them poorly at that. But like I said, I think this show was too smart too soon, and tried too hard at the beginning before fizzling out tragicomically.

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JIN KANG
Unfortunately, I never really warmed up to her. Ever. Upon further reflection I have decided this is partly because I don’t seem to like or connect to Jung So Min as an actress. She’s not bad, she had some brilliant moments in this show, especially her crying and breakdown scenes, I just have found her acting in the two things I’ve seen her in much the same and hard to connect to. So that much is mainly personal preference.
However she also had to work with a particularly bland and uninteresting character. Perhaps some people warmed up to Jin Kang, but at the halfway point I was still questioning whether or not I liked her or not, and then when we got to episode 10 the writing did a backslide and I never liked her after that.

5/9
I just found her very boring as a character. It was never shown why she in particular was so special and particular to Moo Young, and honestly having them not be siblings and be childhood lovers and friends instead was a cop out in this case, and was detrimental to her development. Childhood friends reunited as lovers later in life is a very common theme in kdramas so it’s not like this is a new concept to write, and yet somehow this show managed to write what I think is the weakest childhood link romance I have ever seen. Because by the time we found out the entire truth, the impact was lost. We spent so long building up the mystery and unknownness, and then the incest tease, that by the time we had the reveal and they also found out who they were to each other, there wasn’t anything to build that relationship on in a believable way. They tried to make up for it prior with MY saying he felt the need to impress her, and JK saying she related to him because he was also an orphan, but I never really felt convinced by that nor was I given a reason for why he opened up to her in the very beginning. Even though he supposedly loved her and knew her all those years, I just got more and more detached from their relationship as time went on.

On top of that Jin Kang did some really strange things. Like never once in thirty years had she asked her brother why they went to a temple on the first of November?
I also found her extremely patronising when she and Moo Young were officially dating and all happy like. She reminded me of how Seung Ah acted at the beginning.
And then she goes and holds a gun to her head at the end. Which was straight up manipulative.
But she kept being described by other characters as kind and able to cry at and for anything and anyone. But she also kept leading Cho Rong on and on even though she knew she didn’t like him early on.
I just felt like her character was over all weak, underdeveloped (a common theme), and vaguely inconsistent. Not so much as to get whiplash, but enough that when you look back at it you don’t really know what she did or why. Any conflict there was from her at the end was also forced due to the tacky plot.

After half way, she was just there for me and...

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...nothing more. I guess she just wasn’t a character for me.

JIN GOOK
So… you start off being wary of this guy who seems shady af and for good reason. He reminds you of the past for some reason, and you go around believing he is the burnt child of your past despite not trying to find out any evidence for it. Except then… when you find out he helped cover up a murder, and has very little emotional reaction to things, you keep calling him not human, and hating him for no reason, and then when your sister falls in love with him you get mad for no apparent reason because you think he’s the boy from the past EXCEPT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO HATE HIM IF HE’S THE BOY FROM THE PAST BECAUSE HE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING instead you try and set it up like it’s an incest storyline, completely misleading the audience on purpose, and stabbing the guy FOR NO REASON only for it later to be revealed that you felt guilty and sorry for the boy and say that stabbing him was wrong and that they’re not actually siblings at all… in which case. Why did you hate him ever, and why did you stab him and why couldn’t JK date him? Because he was initially written as sociopathic? That I would understand but that volatility of MY was ignored for 6 episodes and then suddenly bought back and not developed and it was not made clear enough ON SCREEN that that was why you didn't like him… but it’s okay because you hugged it out at the end and for some reason he trusted you at the end anyway even though you killed his father and his mother was in a cult and his father killed your adoptive sister’s parents…
Like I’m sorry but none of that makes sense and none of that is justifiable, it’s just stupid.
It’s incoherent character writing, and very inconsistent and when the character holes are brought up in the show itself, they’re just brushed away as if JG stabbing MY wasn’t an important thing at all? So what was it then? A plot filler? He doesn’t even answer JK properly he just says he was wrong and scared. I’m sorry, what. No, that was just some cop out to try and cover up that a) you initially wrote JG as MY’s nemesis because of moral ambiguity and then changed it to b) that he hated him because he was incestuous when in actual fact it was c) that MY was a symbolic representation of JG’s guilt from his past mistakes.
PICK A PLOT POINT PEOPLE. Gosh.
There’s nothing else to say here. He was just stupid and I miss Cho Rong.

TAK
You did nothing but serve to send the bait and switch incest rolling and you are pathetic. Oh and you were there for all the plot holes that the incest subplot caused. Congratulations.

YU RI
Creepy, messed up, brilliant, seemed like the only one who knew MY well but we never really learnt why. Honestly a shame she was limited to the first half.

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DR JANG
A wishy washy pathetic excuse and attempt at this show being all psychological and interesting that honestly just falls flat and sounds stupid and not profound most of the time. Why all of our characters would go to you at all is beyond me. Oh but I don’t want you to know your past because it’s DARK. This whole time people kept going on and on about this show being too dark for a kdrama -uhm no, no it’s not? The only thing that would’ve been was the incest and double suicide route but I will talk about down below why that would’ve been stupid anyway. And they didn’t even do that.
Cults? Been done before.
Parents of child are killed by other parents of other child? Also been done before.
Children brought up in a bad environment because of psychopaths- also been done before. And all have been done better.

SE RAN (AND WOO SUNG)
Right back at episode 4-6 I was getting annoyed at the rich powerful people shenanigans because I thought they didn’t actually fit with the tone of show. And then we have to go and drag out the rich powerful people shenanigans the whole way through for two reasons.
1) To be convenient but otherwise unnecessary plot devices.
2) For Se Ran, an otherwise entirely pointless character, to be a psychopath that manipulated our lead for no reason other than her own pleasure so that he could then kill her and die by the hand of her father’s minion and not suicide. That, is the biggest wtf ever and if people say that isn’t a ridiculous story then I don’t know what is.
She was I think supposed to be a juxtaposition for MY but in my opinion MY was only barely developed enough to have that kind of juxtaposition and for it to work well he needed more development, so she was just the aforementioned plot device.

And the incest was a fake out anyway so he killed her for nothing, and then became a murderer for… also nothing. Unless it was to show us that he was capable of it but we all knew that, there are other ways to develop a dark character other than pull us around for 10 episodes, then make him seem stupid, only to try and resolve his manicness in the last fifteen minutes. *slow clap*.

TO INCEST OR NOT TO INCEST THAT IS THE QUESTION (actually I feel like this shouldn't ever be a question at all but here we are. Lot’s daughters say hi and welcome you to my Comparative Literature Analysis of Incest in Storytelling. I’m joking. Mostly.)

The only thing more unnecessary than an incest plot is a fake incest plot.

The fake incest plot was irrelevant, unnecessary, (honestly @sincerelytod induced amnesia would’ve been better) and it did nothing but make MY believe a psychopath (when he was shown to be smarter than that), become a murderer, split him and JK up for no reason, and had absolutely no payoff other than good acting…

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…It did NOTHING. It was just another filler and another plot driver and an absolutely terrible one at that, honestly the original Japanese version where they ARE siblings almost would’ve made more sense… Almost but not actually.

I’m going to comment on the incest anyway, as if it had happened, according to this show and not the Japanese. As if Se Ran had been telling the truth. It’s a bit hard because now I know the ending, but anyway.
If it had happened in this show, from episode 14 onwards, then it would’ve made JG and Tak’s characters the biggest flaws.
If MY and JK were siblings, JG not telling JK anything is on no planet the right decision.
JG’s character makes no sense anyway, but if they were siblings and he knew, then he would’ve been the one at fault, because he should’ve told JK prior. If he didn’t know (even though it was implied) then my problem lies with incest as a storytelling concept itself.
If incest was the whole point of this show, to show the breakdown of psyche of two people who think they love each other but are actually siblings in a dark and angsty backstory… then Why? Why write a show like that at all?
In my personal opinion- in
modern storytelling incest pretty much never works as a plot point. It doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t solve anything and only serves for
tragic purposes as far as I can tell, or just plain messed up ness.
The only incest plot I will accept as not being ultimately stupid or unnecessary, is the Children of Hurin by J R. R. Tolkien, and that’s because they were bewitched by a malicious and sadistic wyrm (dragon) who was deliberately trying to harm the Children of Illuvatar at Morgoth’s bidding and it was unavoidable- Nobody knew so nobody could tell them. And they both commit suicide when they find out.

If that is what this show was aiming for; had it kept to the original, a tragic love story of mythological proportions, and no possible end but death, then I think this show did an absolutely terrible job at writing such a tragedy.
If that is what the original is aiming for, well then I can’t comment on it, and perhaps I’d just have to watch it. But at this point I struggle to see how incest could be used well in any modern setting without being stupid or unnecessary (since that’s what your entire plot would be based around, which is insane), and knowing that the Japanese version does include incest, doesn’t make me ever likely to watch it. And to be perfectly honest if I had known about the incest before this show started I probably wouldn’t have watched it either (even though they didn’t end up doing it).
I feel like there are better ways to write tragedies that are equally well… tragic without incest.
For the record I think Tolkien is absolutely brilliant at writing tragedy (from the Kinslaying of Alqualonde to the Fall of Gondolin to the demise of Gollum) but alas he’s not here to write any kdramas for me.

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Overall I think this show tried too hard, and it was not for me. It could’ve just been a story about a girl who falls in love with a (probable) murderer, that would’ve been interesting enough, if dark and morbid and twisted. But that’s what this was supposed to be right? Dark and twisted.

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I actually think Moo Young's trajectory was pretty reasonable. Of course, it is understandable that you would be disappointed, if it was his darker character that originally drew you in.
The thing is, though, Moo Young was a normal and caring little boy at first.l, unlike, say Min in Hello Monster, who claimed to have been the way he was from the get go.

Besides which, it is understable for people's practices and motivations to change due to such strong emotion or attachment, such as the love between Moo Young and Jin Kang was portrayed.l to be.
He was happy with her. She took care of and understood him and got under his skin as no one else had.
He didn't need to toy with people or seek out danger for empty thrills as he used to.
And he was genuinely trying to be a good person. Not to mention yge connection between them because of their childhood bond. They, or at least Moo Young, always seemed to be subconciously aware of it.

This was the story they wanted to tell, it was not necessarily throwing away the character for the sake of a love line or an inability to pull the sociopath storyline off.
Besides which, it had been shown, by his treasuring of the childhood drawing and his constant questions re a policeman back in Haesan, that his past was something that affected him deeply, though he was apparently nonchalant about everything else.
So it is understandable that discoveries made there would knock him off kilter rather than present another game for him to play.

As to the incest bit, he essentially fooled himself. Jang Se Ran was playing him, but she was only able to because his mind had tricked him already.
Also because he was not a cool manipulator when it came to his dad (the source of his trauma) and Jin Kang- he was too emotionally involved for that.

Anyway, the storyline you propose here is definitely an interesting one, but that is not what they were going for here, nor does it, in my opinion, detract from the story they did want to tell in any way.

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@morose
Even if his trajectory was "reasonable" as you suggest, I still think it was written and directed poorly. Doesn't matter if that's what they wanted to tell or not, to me it was badly written, no matter what the intention was.
And I've written 4000 words to try and explain why.
At this point I think we must just agree to disagree.

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Oh, no, I was only responding to your objections to what they did with the characters and your proposing a different way the story could have gone ad being necessarily the better route. As to being written or directed badly, that is your opinion, I cannot object to that.

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@sicarius
Wow. EXACTLY how Im feeling about the show right now. Only that it seems like you've been more dissapointed and hurt than me to the point your feelings simply GUSHED out in the form of words when the drama ended, lol.
You must be feeling sort of relieved now?😂😅
I too felt good to read someone meticulously putting out thoughts similar to mine, because now my mind is all sorted and stuff about the drama when I walk out of it.
The final ep failed to deliver a proper sense of closure; tragic or not (at least for me), and this comment of yours is the one that did the job. Thanks!

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@morose Ahhh. Well, let's just say I like my tragedy Shakespearean and Silmarillion level and for whatever reason was expecting more of the show. Heh.

@peony Ahh I'm glad it resonated with you.
Hahahah they certainly did. I was struggling for the last 6 episodes to work out what was bugging me so much and then wrote this over three days upon the finale. It took me several tries to get it coherent enough to share hahaha.

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why does this story have to have a redemption arc? That's not always realistic. People don't always change for the better. Moo-young seemed as though he was changing for the better, and he certainly started showing more emotions when Jin-kang helped him open up. I think by the end of the show he became a better person but was still very flawed. He murdered someone but that was because he feared Se-ran would manipulate or kill Jin-kang, and also out of fear that they were siblings. He also learned to forgive, like forgiving JinGook for murdering his dad. The only person he tried to manipulate was evil Se-ran. At the start he manipulated Seung-ah who obviously isn't evil.

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I would've personally preferred no redemption arc.

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i actually understand your frustrations with Moo Young's character because i always get drawn/interested in character descriptions such as his but dramas never follow through with it, instead covering it up with reasons such as childhood which is a valid reason but should only be used as an explanation rather than a redemption or sympathy arc. In this case i know Moo Young is the way he is because of his world views and his need to find joy in playing with people, but truly his character should have been bored of it by the end because i know i would be. I was also initially intrigued by his complex and enigmatic character (thanks to SIG's portrayal) and was waiting to see what made him tick but i forgot about it while i fretted over the plot + ending. Hopefully dramaland will let us experience a character trajectory like Moo Young's in a fulfilling manner.

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I give up on writers, when they have the doctor say that MY would hate himself for becoming a murderer, like wtf, literally! They want a little redemption for his character but have no understanding of who they written about.

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Right?! I scratched my head when I saw that. I get it how JinKang believes he could never kill. I get it when Yoori said he can go very far but only hurt people who did him wrong. They are stubbornly infatuated and think what best consoles themselves. But he’s a psychiatrist. I’m just gonna go by MooYoung’s imaginary convo with JinKang and his written will as true descriptions of himself. Clearly nobody understands him 100%.

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He was the weakest character in this show, they wanted him as a narrator who shed light on MY "mysterious" personality, but spectacularly tanked.

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Every-time I read comments about the annoying doctor I can't stop laughing...

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Why the doctor annoys me

1. His face.
He has this befuddled expression on his face ALL THE TIME. It's like he's thinking, okay, someone just asked me a question. Don't panic now. Take a deep breath. Answer slowly. Look smart. Look sad. Look like you know what you're talking about. Speak slowly. Pause in between speaking. That way, they'll believe you and go away and leave you alone.

2. A MENACE TO SOCIETY.
I can't stress how important this is, so I'm putting this in caps to alert the world. EVERYBODY OUT THERE, LOCK YOUR DOORS WHEN YOU SEE THIS GUY COMING. KEEP YOUR KIDS CLOSE TO YOU. This guy sends a hapless, amnesiac kid, who's just seen his father shot to death, burnt by a kettle, lost his memory, recovering from burns UNDER YOU-KNOW-WHO'S CARE into the big, bad world wearing a thin set of hospital clothes, and a jacket draped over his shoulders. And he doesn't care at all. He acts like he's done something great and noble.

3. Discloses confidential information.
He discloses private information about a patient to outsiders. What?????

4. He writes a book based on private information.
He has the audacity to write a book and peppers it with intriguing title teasers, encouraging the reader to soeculate who the patient is. JUST QUIT ALREADY IF YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER.

5. Zero patients.
Do you notice that he has no patients? He's always free. In fact, I suspect that he pretends to be his own patient sometimes.

6. Gives half-baked advice.
He always starts with "I don't really know, but..." There's a strong hint here. HE'S TELLING US THE HONEST TRUTH RIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH.HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THE HECK HE'S TALKING ABOUT. Everybody, steer clear of this guy. Remember what happened to people who listened to his "advice" (my eyeballs just fell out because I was rolling them too much). Yoo ri, Moo young, Jin kang. Oh dear. I just thought of something. Will Jin kook go and get counselling from him after this? Nooooooo.

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@yyishere

Savage. How I missed this side of yours since MS. Good old days indeed.

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Sicarius, I read every word of your lengthy article. In fact, I think it's the longest article that I've ever read on a finale recap. I think that it's brilliant, funny and sarcastic and illuminating, all at the same time, and I want you to know that it'll stay locked up in a part of my brain for forever. Thanks for taking the time to write this, and sharing with us. I loved it. 😁😁😁😁 I watched Jake Gyllenhaal's Nightcrawler, and that's a dark, twisted protagonist that I think you'd like.

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Crivens, you have no idea how much that means to me. Thank you.
(*Nightcrawler. To watch. Noted*
I wrote more on Lookout. But only by 1k words and it wasn't on a recap)

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Marked your lengthy analysis "to read later..." but scanning it, wow, I'm still not at the point I can analyze in depth the way you can. But your points resonated with a subconscious nagging in my brain that something was indeed amiss.

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Half hour later (since my tv is out): Your comments might explain why I can't even remember the last half of the show. As far as incest, I figured they'd use this since it's in the Japanese version, but I knew Kdramas would never go this route. It's always a fakeout.
Thanks for your analysis. As I stated earlier, it explains why my subconscious was unhappy with, character traits that ultimately didn't make sense, especially the brother. "Bait and Switch", perfect description.

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Replying to both.
Awww no, thank you! And I'm really glad they make sense to people and sort of helped people's subconciousnesses

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I am at work and kept rushing back to read where I'd left after various interruptions (no judging please) 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. I enjoyed the show but I absolutely enjoyed reading your dissertation. This is why we beanies congregate. If only we could all sit by a fire with a beverage....anyway, thanks for the good read @Sicarius and everyone else! 🤗👏👏👏👏👏👏

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Awww! Hahahahah such dedication I love it. Thank you.
Ah I'd love to do a live reading of this with a whiskey in hand! Wouldn't that be fun haha.

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Thanks for posting this. It was interesting and nice to know we agree on many things. Mostly I wanted the second half of the show to be better, the first was so good, once again I believed the writer knew where it wanted to go. I guess not because I thought it was a story about a strange guy who might or might not fall in love and become a better person. Instead it was about some tragic love affair and too much of logic was lost trying to tell their story as a couple.
I was sure they would explain the murder that started the story but no, it was completely forgotten. Yes, we know the reason YuRi did it but why did MY really got involved? Why did he wait at the store? Why did he bring the trophy? What would be the reaction of JK knowing he was involved in all that? That was so important because that would define if she could forgive and accept his lack of morals. They just forgot all that as soon as he said that "teach me" thing.

That incest hints were terrible, I hate when stories use a controversial theme just for the appeal but don't really have the courage to explore the issue. Do it properly or don't do it, it's cheap to use it as bait.

"We never really delved into why he didn’t see some things as bad, or why he felt nothing when SA died"
Exactly, that would have meant an exploration of his character, which never happened. It's like I was supposed to believe that guy was healed from his lack of empathy and morals by JK's true love and suddenly he is someone that gets very sad his father is a murderer and he has committed incest.

"I don’t seem to like or connect to Jung So Min as an actress. "
Me too. I thinks she lacks subtlety, but I didn't hate her in this like I did in BTLIOF so I think she was ok for the part. The thing is JK herself was very unlikable for me, she was always avoiding any real confrontation, even if she has to lie and forgive the most insane things, like her brother stabbing someone, as long as she can pretend it's all fine she just moves on. I don't the show itself expected us to feel like that though, I think we were expected to think she was just a kind girl.

About JG, he was sacrificed for the plot lies. He was the only character I felt pity for or had some emotional connection, so I tried to make up an explanation for him. The guy had an absurd amount of guilt for shooting MY's father, in that situation, it was an accident. Instead of seeking therapy he adopts a girl that was at the scene and basically spends his life taking care and being a bit obsessed about her. Nobody around notices that he has been going crazy. That stupid Tak character could have done it but she was there just to be smiley. So when he meets MY and realizes he is sociopath he starts unraveling, he doesn't want to forgive him so doesn't even try to find out if he is that boy, and for some mysterious reason instead of telling his sister aboy MY's part in the murder he just stabs him. It could have made...

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It could have made sense ehehhe. But in later eps he just gets back to acting normal. So that was that for my crazy JG theory.

The doctor was a total moron and offensive to all doc characters in anything. He wrote a chapter in a book about a kid he never really treated or understood and who he let get lost because it was better than having a dark past.

I did like Se Ran though, I guess we disagree on that. I thought it was fitting to have her become attracted to another strange person like her. She also provided us with pretty much the only moment MY got a taste of his own poison, however it was done in a stupid way because to get us there, he behaved completely out of character, believing the lie, also she came up with a lie that matched what the story itself had been treating as a major dramatic twist and huge coincidences are lazy writing. I did like that he killed her though, it was also fitting, because her games were self destructive just like his, so it was a nice touch that he would become a murderer because of her. It wasn't for nothing, it was a natural consequence of his impulsive and cold personality, it was what he used to do when confronted. That's why I liked the ending very much too, just because it finally got back to making sense! It was logic that MY would have to pay for killing her and truly tragic that before dying he knew his actions caused the only person he cared for to die. That was the kind of tragedy they were trying to show so at least they got that last scenes right.

Sorry for the long post!

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"Sorry for long post" she says, as if she didn't just reply to a much longer one... hahahah

There was a lot that was dropped in the second half (a la dramaland in general), and there was actually quite a bit I didn't touch on in this essay because I at that point didn't have the mental energy to figure it all out- like the love line thing.
But you summed up exactly what I wanted to say:
"It's like I was supposed to believe that guy was healed from his lack of empathy and morals by JK's true love and suddenly he is someone that gets very sad his father is a murderer and he has committed incest."
Some people seemed okay that he was apparently cured by true love, but I thought it was out of place and a cop out. This didn't feel like a true love story. And if it was they should've written it way from the start (like I mentioned with Jin Kang and the childhood friends-lovers storyline).
They almost had too many things going on. Actually I think they DID have too many things going on. It was just like "oh maybe this will work! or maybe we can solve this thing this way!"
Id est- incoherent storytelling all around.

I didn't hate Se Ran exactly. I just thought that she was a little out of place and she would've worked better if MY had been developed more.
I thought she was delightfully messed up and evil even, but yeah... whilst I know that logically MY had to pay for killing her AND I didn't mind him killing her at all (I wasn't surprised), I guess we do disagree on the ending there- I didn't like the Chaebol line. It felt too at odds with some of the other stuff.

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Here I am again...
(And I too will apologize for the long post)
but re the being cured by true love... in what way was it portrayed that he was in any way 'cured' by true love? All I saw was that he was caught up in the two things that happened to matter the most (or rather, at all) to him: his family and past (as shown by how much he guarded that tattered old drawing even before he started dating Jin Kang) and Jin Kang herself.
He wanted to try becoming a better person because of his feelings for Jin Kang.
Perhaps this struggle, if there was one, should have been more developed, though, because he really didn't have opportunity to actively choose being a 'good' guy over being his currently less 'good' self.

I don't think true love had much to do with his feeling bad about his father being a murderer, though. I think he would have been just as disappointed that his father was a murderer (and of his own mother, at that) rather than a policeman, even without Jin Kang in the picture.
Well, perhaps less so, because she was the one who started optimistically painting rosy pictures of a happy family in his past when that was not at all the case.

Frankly, I don't think Moo Young was ever portrayed as sociopathic enough to have taken the fact that his father killed his mother lightly.

If he had truly been cured, or changed completely, I think he would have at least gone to visit poor Yuri in jail at least once. They did not show that he felt bad or conflicted about her plight or even the fate of Seung Ah or the murder of Mi Yeon. Those ruined lives were still basically unimportant to him.

To me, it is less a case of being cured, and more of going from caring about nothing (well except his past) to caring very deeply about somebody (or rather rediscovering somebody he had always cared very deeply about) and finally finding clues about the past that kept mystifying him.
He was no longer bored and idle (and hence, with his disposition, a walking devil's workshop), he had new motivations and preoccupations.

Perhaps it was not convincing to some, but I feel that they really showed, apart from attraction and romantic love, that the childhood bond between Moo Young and Jin Kang was a very potent driving force behind their motivations when they met again as adults.

On the other hand, I do agree that they perhaps they did have too many things going on for the time that they had, because I feel that they did not explore certain things, like his relationship with Yuri, the death of Mi Yeon and the aftermath of Seung Ah's death, enough.

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Another thing that could have done with a lot more time and work was that strange psychologist character...

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@morose
I personally don't think that's (the true love thing) what was portrayed at all- or if it was it was done very poorly. It's just the argument I have seen some people use to try and justify the shift in MY's character, and apparently the director himself mentioned he wanted to write a salvation through love story. (Which imo he should've started very differently if that's the story he wanted to tell)

And yes, that's exactly the kind of development I would've liked to see to make his arc slightly more believable- him struggling with himself, to try and be a better person.

As I mentioned in my original post- for me the childhood arc seemed weak because a) I've seen it done better countless times before and b) it had almost no lead up or proper development. I had no reason to be invested in their long lost relationship when it was set up as an incest and when it spent so long pushing and pulling me with it's supposedly "deep" mystery.

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Hahaha, I think that is a little unfair. I am really not trying to justify anything, that is exactly how I saw it. I honestly did not see anything to show any particular shift in Moo Young's character. There was not a single instance to show he had changed or been cured, just that he wanted to be.

And 'salvation through love' does not necessarily mean his apparent sociopathic tendencies were cured by love. That could mean anything. I mean the only thing they showed was that Jin Kang made him happy and gave him the will to want to change, not that dating her fixed whatever was wrong in his head.

But I suppose it is a matter of perception. And perhaps it was indeed not portrayed very well if it is this polarizing for others.

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*just that he wanted to be, and had other priorities

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@morose

Again, that sentence was not targeted at you, you didn't even bring up true love in the beginning, I was simply explaining why I had said that in the first place.
I was not naming names.

I also meant change as in a backslide in the writing as in no development as in a negative change, as per my essay.

And yes, it is entirely a matter of a perception which I tried very hard to make clear in my original essay that that was how I personally perceived the show, his writing and his character.

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@sicarius

Oh okay, I get your original reply now. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
What an odd argument for people to make, really, re the true love thing.
It just shows how people can come away with such different impressions after watching the same show.

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I was sure they would explain the murder that started the story but no, it was completely forgotten.
What if I told you the original never explained it? Seriously, we the audience never found out how the girl was killed. Not even a surveillance video of Ryo passing by. From someone's word of mouth (I can't recall) we found out Ryo got tired of a girl who he thought is rich and used the crazy girl to kill her off.

I've been quite appreciative of the writer, mainly because most loopholes that other beanies mentioned were just inherited. The murder was never resolved because the detective never arrested the crazy girl. She confessed after Ryo died with hopes that the detective will wait for her (as a boyfriend I suppose?). The stabbing made even less sense and Yuko never knew about it. Frankly I didn't see the original as some masterpiece worth the remake. The ratings continually dropped until incest ambushed the audience. There were no hints until the very end when Ryo remembered it all on his own.

I was slightly disappointed when they promoted is as tragic love story between MY and JinKang, over the chaotic dual between MY and JinKook. The detective's role was broken up. JinKang's role was magnified. I like Somin but even I felt they filled up too much with her in the middle. I understand for the Korean market it's necessary to showcase the OTP, but still I wonder how would they rewrite it for as a double male lead drama. So overall, I felt the work of this producer and writer was no sloppy but was greatly compromised to stay acceptably faithful to the original.

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The more you talk about the original the more it makes the me think I would've liked it even less than I liked this...

An OTP isn't actually necessary though. Plenty of good dramas have avoided that, especially more thriller ones.

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There has been good dramas without an OTP, but those drama usually have a good meaty protagonist to bite on. Antiheroes are such a rare breed in Kdrama that if MY didn’t love JinKang to death, nobody would be watching.

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@geliguolu
I... kind of disagree, because Lookout had an antihero lead and people watched that. If Deadpool is anything to go by, people will watch an antihero for the antihero... not the love line.

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@sicarius I was speaking of kdrama specifically. They have a very specific code of personality for leading males and females. I don’t agree with it and many times find it boring, but that’s the korean tvbiz reality.

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"What if I told you the original never explained it? "
It depends, it's all about the set up. If they explained enough about Ryo and that murder didn't mean much for other characters, I can imagine it would not be necessary to give the details. I can't judge, I can only say that the kdrama led us into believing MY's part in the murder was important and then it wasn't, nobody talked about it anymore. I think they could have written a really great story, if they just had been faithful to the MY of the first eps, something like White Christmas, a dark psychological exploration of a theme. That theme could have been a sociopath finding his origins or finding love. They tried to do both and got sidetracked. I do agree it was an ambitious project for the kdrama audience, a villanous main lead would probably always need a love story to get their attention.

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Set up was pretty much the same. Without evidence they never arrested him and only the detective and his loyal fan knew he was connected. The detective kept a tight bite on him for a few episodes until the crazy girl admitted killing (just to him), and then it was completely dropped. If crazy girl didn’t walk up to the precinct at the last episode I would have forgotten all about the murder case. At least in this version Yoori was in prison and MooYoung was awaiting trial.

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MY did write to Jinkook about how some days he’ll just observe and we see a flashback of that apartment. That’s probably all the closure we can get.

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@geliguolu I mention this in my original essay but the 15 minutes of voiceover closure in the final throes of the last episode was indeed the only closure we ever got. And it was a very poor attempt and a disservice at that.

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@sicarius To me, MY’s letter was just enough closure to understand what he thought of himself. Jinkook has told us what he thought MY did and MY even had a flashback of his actions leading up to her falling down the building. Finally MY admitted what Jinkook said about him was valid. So I don’t need to see Yoori’s catfight or MY scrubbing the floor on all fours to understand what happened.

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@geliguolu
Ahh mianhae- I wasn't necessarily talking about the closure of the murder there. I should've specified.
To me the murder of Yu Ri's friend was directly linked to that side of MY that I wish had been developed more- and that's why I wasn't happy with the letter closure overall, because it was telling rather than showing over time.

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@sicarius That's what suicide letters are for... telling. The showing comes in the actual suicide. And MY's letter was a suicide letter even though he died a different way.

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One final thought (maybe): if you want a kdrama that takes everything to its logical ending, have you seen The Devil (The Lucifer on Viki), aka Mawang? Excellent writing thru the whole drama, though you think it's the usual kdrama at the beginning. It isn't a romantic love story, though many fangirls thought it was. She (Shin Mina) wanted to bring Ju Ji hoon "into the light" . One of my favorite dramas.

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Oooh I just looked it up and it sounds good already.
I will pop it on the "to watch list". Thank you!

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The world's saddest sundae indeed. Thank you for recapping this drama @sunny and @teriyaki, your insightful comments were really helpful in trying to dig deeper into the characters. Although it was a Japanese remake, I believe the Korean version, with the excellent acting and directing, did much more justice to the humanity of the characters and story. I'll try my best to block out the image of our lovely couple lying dead on the floor and imagine them happy in a potential next life.

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i think the couple dying made more sense in the japanese version, though. I like both but that ending doesn't fit as well here

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This really could have been a masterpiece. Instead I'm left confused about what motivated Jin Kook's actions and with an ending that no one could have foreseen.

I don't understand why why Jin Kook stabbed Moo Young, why Jin Kook didn't work harder to tell if Moo Young was the person he was looking for and why Jin Kook didn't tell Jin Kang her adoption story especially after she became interested in Moo Young.

That ending was almost as unexpected as having a wild boar rampage through the house killing everyone in sight. While I expected at least one person would die, why have a minor character sent by an even more minor character murder them?

The acting was riveting so I'm sad the story wasn't tightly written to carry this into masterpiece status.

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I agree with a lot of what you said

I'm not too satisfied with evil Secretary killing them. He isn't important enough for such an important moment. But it also would have been out of character for Jin-kang to kill herself or Moo-young.

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While I appreciate them not dwelling on the evil chaebol family, a little more screen time for them and the evil secretary would have helped me accept this twist.

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I don't understand the stabbing but I understand why he was against MY dating JK no matter who he was to her in the past. MY was responsible for the destroying three young women lives, what kind of brother would want to his sister to date guy like that?
This wild boar comparison is very accurate, lol.

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But why does it necessarily have to be a major character that causes the tragedy?
Once there was enough reason for the chaebol father to want Moo Young dead, and once he had the means to do it, it makes perfect sense.

Besides, I think the focus is meant to be less on who did the killing and more on the fact that Moo Young's manipulativeness (re the chaebol brother), recklessness and impulsiveness (re the sister) eventually caught up to him and not only ruined, but ended his and poor Jin Kang's life.
He had probably done this sort of thing without repercussions for long enough.

I did love Moo Young, but one could really say that a major take away from that ending was that such devil-may-care shenanigans will eventually come back to bite you.

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I think Jin Kook and Tak's objections to Moo Young's relationship with Jin Kang was pretty justifiable given the character he had ahowed Jin Kook in particular.
Regardless of who he may have been in the past, the Moo Young that Jin Kook saw is not anybody a brother would want for his sister.
Apart from his manipulation and covering up of a murder, his nonchalance re Seung Ah's death would be enough to ring warning bells.
Even if he was the boy Jin Kook thought, he had grown into a rather dangerous character.
Add to that any underlying prejudice re the fact that his father was a murderer. (Like father like son, perhaps?) Much less the murderer of Jin Kang's parents.

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I guess one of the big morals of the story is to not withold important truths from important in your life because it will well and truly come back to bite you in the ass.

I feel that so much or nearly all of the tragedy could have been prevented if all our main characters were open and honest with each other, instead of lying to them in order to try and protect them fron the bitter truth. A sweet lie only proves to hurt them instead.

Imagine if Jin Gook made been open to Jin Kang about their relationship and what he did to Moo-young's father on that fateful day. Jin-kang died not knowing that Moo-young had saved her life when the boiling kettle was about to fall onto her but he took the brunt of the damage. In fact when Jin-kang asked why Moo-young broke up with her, he lied and said it was because JinGook murderered his dad, when the real reason was because he thought they were siblings. He took that secret to his grave in order to potentially save her fron distress, although I feel it's something she should have known.

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I love everything about this remake until the last two episodes. Show, I was going to give you 9, but I ended giving 8 and most of it thanks to Seo in guk excellent performance.
Jin-gook disappointed me the most. Tell me, in which universe anyone would make terrible decision like Jin-gook from lying about Jin-kang's adoption, violence to MY for no reason and for what??
It would make sense if JK and MY were siblings like in the original.

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I'd give SIG 10+!

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I feel bipolar about how to rate the show. While acting was 10+/10 the plot and story was 6/10. It started so promising but... the last 4-5 episodes didn’t live up to the hype. Sigh. I really wanted to love this show mainly because I feel bad for the actors because they gave the performences of their lives but the writing wasn’t quite par their efforts.

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Only yesterday I was telling mom; "There's this wonderful show I want to share with you! If you can bare with its dark themes, I assure you it'd be one of those rare kdrama experiences. Watch it with me?!?"
After today's recap I told her nevermind and to forget it.
.
Really, the 1st half of the drama was great and different, and the 2nd half felt like the writer was co-working with a different writer with different priorities.
And the final episode felt like it was written by a THIRD writer, who was totally different than the previous two!
It was so.......clumsy and random? I guess. I dunno, just my two cents.
*Off to go sit in a corner trying to delete the final ep from my memory*

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THE ORIGINAL ENDING:
So in the original Yuko found Ryo’s gun in his fridge. She started worrying for a while but didn’t ask Ryo why he kept a gun. When the police woman told her the detective killed Ryo’s father and she’s worried Ryo will harm the detective, Yuko immediately thought Ryo was using her to kill her brother. After Ryo killed the rich lady and was on the run, she found him at his old home and started questioning him regarding his intention to kill her brother. Here Ryo already found out she is his sister and already thanked the detective for raising his sister. He was ready to leave everything behind. He didn’t want Yuko to find out they are siblings so to make her hate him he admitted everything. She got too emotional and snatched his gun. He started saying how he didn’t have any feelings before he met her but slowly he changed. Then when he said “I love you”, she shot him. He died immediately and she went berserk asking why did he have to say that? That meaning “I love you”. After Ryo died, she found his letter to the detective in his pants pocket — that he’s going to leave and wanted his sister to continue life without knowing about their relationship, blah blah blah. That’s how she found out and regretted killing him. She carried his body to the ocean, loaded him and herself onto a little boat. Her detective brother came to shore and saw her shot herself as they drifted away.

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Woke up bright and early on Thanksgiving day to catch the live broadcast on tvN site. Even not knowing Korean, it was almost completely understandable because the actors are THAT good. I didn’t like the ending at first. It was unexpected in a simplified way. Yet I was glad they didn’t follow the original where JinKang would kill MooYoung. That would bury the show for me. I’ll probably never rewatch it if that’s the case. Second watch with subtitles changed my mind. It was beautiful. So much was told in MooYoung’s imaginary conversation under the stars and in his letter, especially the PS. After he finished saying how he wandered so far and only when he stumbled into JinKang he was able to breathe again, JinKang’s response from the rooftop flashback was “You’ve come?” MY smiles when he replied “Yes, I’ve come”. The PS made it a happy ending for me. He wandered a lifetime to find her and will never be separated from her ever again.

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Yup, that PS and the final scene on the roof was my favorite part of all. It feels like JK woke up from her death, and MY just arrived following her.

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I'm with you with ev thing you say, esp. that "you've come? Yes, I've come". It is plain simple yet so comforting and warm.

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I didn’t like the Japanese version. Nobody made sense to me except Ryo, who I can basically say everything was done because he’s sinister. I didn’t like that Yuko, who was very defensive of Ryo when her brother tried to break them up, gave up trusting Ryo too easily. Not just suddenly lost all trust, but even killed him. The only thing I found romantic was Ryo’s confession that he learned the meaning of love. Nothing else touched me emotionally.

I’m more moved by the Korean version when Jinkook told MooYoung that he was almost JinKang’s lifeline when they were young. After ruling out any blood relationship, the emotional attachment she had for MooYoung since she was young made a little more sense than mere playmates, in regards to their special attraction for one another. If they were just neighbors that’d be too flimsy and unbelievable. However because their relationship was so close when they were young, that unconscious memory will pull them together, despite MooYoung being all the wrong types to be attracted to. I don’t find this less complex than the original (genetic sexual attraction), just different.

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Just btw, how long was the Japanese version?
I can't help but feel the K one should have been longer. It may be one of the reasons, apart from the lovely leads, that I am finding it difficult to move on from this show.
It would be nice if this was like a kpop comeback where they could do, rather than an extended mv version, a whole extended drama.

We should have seen more of Yuri, honestly
And I know hardly any one cares about Seung Ah and Woo Sung but I really wished they had been fleshed out more. I found Seung Ah's character and situation (what a mother to have, and what a fiance besides) particularly interesting, as the trapped rich girl yearning to be free and reckless. And Woo Sung may have cared much more about her than he realized, under all his arrogance and brutish behaviour. I really wanted to see how having a sister like Se Ran with all her jabs and callousness affected the poor fellow.

The psychologist, too, and his issues, making him Chapter 1 kid, could have been more fleshed out.

But most of all, I wanted to see more of the kids in Cult House. I feel like that could have even been a drama on its own.

Overall, I think 16 episodes was far too short for the characters and story this drama had.

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Japanese version was 11ep (12 actually the finale was double length).

I’d rather not see so many side character stories. I hate watching long dramas.

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I also don't care much for side stories and long dramas. I definitely did not want to know more about Seung Ah or Woo Sung or Se Ran. Yuri, maybe, but then again, I think there was probably enough about her, too.

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You've just perfectly and so eloquently described my thoughts. I really wished that they fleshed out some of the characters more because their storylines were really fascinating. I think they tried to pack way too much in 16 episodes, and so had to forgo some of the side characters and plotlines.

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I’m moved by every scene where MooYoung lays next to JinKang and seeks her embrace, even when they were dying, it was beautiful. Especially the scene he imagined her laying with him under the stars. The dialogue was like a tribute to the title. Finally he gets a chance to speak his mind without breaking his no-explanation personality. Cut to reality, he’s all alone. Metaphorically, like many of his painful experiences, she tried but can never really shared them.

Since the director said is the theme of this drama was salvation through love, he did what he wanted, and I’m fine with accepting it. In that respect I did find MooYoung a changed man at the ending. He didn’t remorse, but he said he felt human for the first time when he killed SeRan. It was rage, raw human rage that he’s never felt before. It was different than his old games, different from the payback to WooSang’s beating, which was an escalated game. They didn’t unrealistically make him a good person, he didn’t suddenly care for all lives, including his enemy -- 3 shots straight into her. Yet they managed to show he’s no longer confused about good and bad — he showed he knows he did something really bad and doesn’t deserve to live happily.

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I've suspected Secretary Choi would play a larger role at the end, simply due to the amount of subtle headshots they gave him throughout the drama. When JinKang received the news article it was pretty clear he's gonna show up later. After he shot JinKang I was reminded of Gordon Lam in Infernal Affairs. Objectively, MooYoung deserved it. He indirectly and directly killed the chaebol siblings. Living happily ever after would be impossible. Poor JinKang didn't deserve to die. Still, if MooYoung dies, she'll lose her will to live. So better if they left together, knowing the other is not far behind. ㅠ ㅠ ㅠ

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For someone who's seen the original, I liked how the writer played with the original elements in the ending in completely different context. Like:
1) MooYoung and JinKang pulling a gun on themselves for different reasons.
2) MooYoung’s friend called Jinkook to bring him to the house, while he was the one who tipped Yuko to the house in the original.
3) JinKang questioning MooYoung about revenge was not to confirm any suspicion, but to expose his lies.
4) MooYoung saying “I love you”. While Ryo also said "I love you" Yuko hated it because she thought it was a lie. JinKang the MY-lie-detector knows how weigh those words carried.

Putting almost the same action/dialogue into new context may not seem important to new viewers, but it’s interesting for someone who remembers the original, keeping us engaged, like a game.

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Thank you @sunny and @teriyaki for all the recaps!

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What a brilliantly-acted piece of nonsense.
Really, Ziggy was amazing. AMAZING.

But I got to the end and thought that incest and suicide would have been an improvement. I never thought a show would make me wish for incest and suicide but there you are. At least then the plotline would have made some sort of damn sense.

Honestly, the show lost me at the end of whatever episode it was when he went to see her and asked her to fix him. Up till then I was quite drawn to what was happening but at that point is just went rapidly downhill.

Don’t get me started on the “Uniquely Korean Twist” being Evil Chaebols.

I just loved how they wrote the tragedy right out of the relationship and then – upon realising that there was literally no reason for these two people not to just go about their days happily (a small stint of jail time notwithstanding) – they had a random wander by and shoot them.

So star-crossed! Shakespearian in its tragedy!

Umm, yeah, nah.

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I cried me a river at the ending. I thought that it was a lovely ending, poignant and moving. I thought that it was fitting that the secretary killed them, just a random character in a world filled with randomness, that happened to collide with, and impact the lives of the other characters.

The most memorable parts for me were

1. When they affirm life in the end. "I want to live," Moo young says, and Jin kang echoes this saying, "I want to live...with you."

2. When she put the gun to her head, and his face just changes...omg, I was as shocked as he was.

3. Moo young tells her, "Leave" and she cries, "But where could I go?" He answers, "To before you met me" and she weeps, saying, "But I started with you...I only lived because of you. How could I leave?" So, so sad...

4. When she's shot, and he clutches her, his face, omg, I started bawling.

5. When he lies there dying, and we hear her breaths coming in ragged, laboured gasps, she's looking at him, still alive, and I'm thinking, is it possible, is she going to live? But as she looks at him, it's so heartbreakingly sad, her eyes...they will him to live, and they're filled with such grief, that he's dying, and frustration as well, because she doesn't want him to die, she doesn't want to die, and when he finally closes his eyes, her eyes fill with the loss of hope . That's the point when she just gives up. She doesn't want to live anymore without him.

6. When Jin kook bursts in and screams her name, that wail of anguish, so raw, and so filled with pain, I started sobbing, too.

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I've been waiting for this recap so that I could put my 2 cents in but now that it's here I'm at a loss for words.

Firstly, the last 5 minutes of the show was pure lazy writing. How did Evil Secretary know where they were? He practically breezed in and out and I was like...huh? Who was that? Where did that come from?

All hopes of any form of a good ending died when MY killed SR. He wouldn't have been able to serve his time in jail. Dad would have used his connections to ensure he gets the death sentence or gets killed.

It's funny how MY lamented that he didnt know how he got himself manipulated to this extent. The master manipulator got manipulated. Wasn't the target of his manipulation none other than SR's brother? He did it just because he could and not for any other reason. Karma?

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How did Evil Secretary know where they were? He practically breezed in and out and I was like...huh? Who was that? Where did that come from?

He sent Jinkang the article about MY's family tragedy. He baited and follower her their. Remember this secretary has been investigating MY since when SangWoo was still alive. He knows more about MY's history than most people.

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*followed her there

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But she thought of the house from a conversation she had with MY. How would Secretary know that MY had discovered the house especially when it was by accident? It also didn't look like he was following her. He was elsewhere when he received the instruction by the Chairman.
Oh well, no point trying to make sense of everything now. I need to move on!

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The chairman called him when he left the precinct. The other details aren’t important. All he needs to know is given some clues, JinKang will find him by any means and he just has to surveillance her.

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How the secretary know where they were? Well, the secretary baited and followed her. Sorry if you look closely in ep.16 at 39.09 when JK in the bus, three rows behind her, you'll see the guy who wearing the black cap. That's him.

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You know, I actually went back to check, and although the face is shown only partially, you could be right. Intentional or coincidence? It was so fleeting I dont know how you managed to spot that.

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Good catch. Missed that! 👏👏👏

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Shoot! THAT WAS HIM! Good eye 👍🏻

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The ending did not frustrate me. i thought it was pretty well done given the source material. so glad they did not take the incest route. i'd give a second watch when i'm pining over something i want but can't have. i'm still re-watching random snippets especially the FMVs with the awesome editing!

i was genuinely surprised at how relieved i was when they did not take the long-lost siblings route... it did ignite way too much of a glimmer of hope in me though that our couple just might ... might get their happy ending! only to have that shoved in my face...gee. cue ball of tears when they got shot... i literally collapsed and there were actual observers(watched it at work)... wondering what had gotten into me, hehe! but i loved that the drama managed to take me up an alley of hope so much so that i could actually be taken aback at the final ending. it didn't think it would be possible...

Jung So Min (Jin Kang) has my utmost respect for for unwavering loyalty and understanding the psyche of Moo Young. i know we wax on about Seo In Guk but she definitely is the unsung hero here! she very nearly pulled Moo Young off the brink. too bad fate had other plans. she just pushed MY and kept pushing...to grasp at all the hope left in him...

that moment she cocked the gun against her head... gosh. the medley of emotions that flitted across MY's face! i felt it deeply. the deep love of a person for whom completely giving up is not an option. i salute her...

the gun scene looked slightly hastily put together... why were all the gunshots in this show so extremely loud? hehe! anyway moving on...

BEST QUESTION JK ASKED Jin Kook: "If you were so sorry, why did you stab him? Why couldn't you just say 'sorry'?" I mean... JK, thanks for articulating my exact thoughts. i was wondering when SOMEONE was gonna ask him that.... i could go into a tirade about how Jin Kook misplaced reaction to MY was actually THE catalyst for this eventual outcome...but maybe there'll be another occasion for that...the 'what-ifs' are many...

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I loved that ending. There were so many things that surprised me. That she remembered her past. That she pointed the gun at her own head. That the secretary shot her, then him. That she didn't die first, that she was alive, lying there, watching him die. That he died before her. That it took so long for her to die. That there were so many emotions flitting over her face in those last final seconds.
To me, who's watched so many predictable endings with no surprises, and other crappy endings which felt rushed and dissatisfying, this was the best ending that I've seen in years. There was closure, and peace.

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The order they died was interesting. Here’s my interpretation: Although JinKang got shot first (both in the lung and her’s probably more critical), I believe she had more will to survive and kept fighting for her life at first. MooYoung has been through too much and for a few days he was mentally preparing to go. The body is always listening to our heart. After he died, she mourned for a short moment and finally gave up her fight. It’s like how elderly widows don’t stay alive too long after their lifetime spouse dies. ㅠㅠㅠ

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