When the Devil Calls Your Name: Episode 16 (Final)
With his time running out and his goodbyes all said, our hero makes the only choice he can to protect those he loves from himself. He’s finally learned to accept his wrongdoings and his punishment, but with loose souls floating all around the world, his story isn’t nearly over.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Knowing that he can’t escape the due bill for his soul by the deity, Ha Rib resigns himself to the fact that it was his choice to sign the contract with the demon. He knows he must take his punishment, but he’s determined to go out on his own terms.
With Chung-ryul under arrest, the investors beg Seo-young to accept her old job back as CEO of Soul Entertainment. She shows up in ripped jeans and slouches in her chair as the investors fawn over her, and she tells her employees that she’s only back long enough to get the mess sorted out.
She’s released the video she made of Ha Rib to the press, in which he confesses to plagiarism, sincerely apologizes to those he inadvertently stole from, and announces his retirement. Seo-young had broken down crying in the middle of his confession, and after they were done Ha Rib had thanked her for making him the success he was for ten years.
Seo-young gives Yi-kyung copies of her singles, both of which are credited to her alone, with Ha Rib’s name left off. Yi-kyung thinks about Ha Rib’s promise to return her music to her, but she only sneers that this was an easy thing for him to do. Seo-young tells her that Ha Rib also arranged for her to receive all the profit from the two songs he stole from her, but Yi-kyung just snaps, “I had better.”
Meanwhile, Ha Rib takes himself off to the desert. When his guide has gone as far as he can, Ha Rib continues on his own. Even with nothing but sand for miles in every direction, he’s not at all surprised to run into Tae-kang.
Tae-kang tells Ha Rib that the very first guy he signed a contract with ran away to the mountains, so he wandered the Himalayas for two days expecting to find Ha Rib. Ha Rib says it’s weird, but he feels like he found his soul just as he’s about to lose it, and he genuinely thanks Tae-kang for that.
Tae-kang pouts that Ha Rib ran away without keeping his promise to help him sing at his fan meeting. Ha Rib says honestly that he’ll never be able to sing well, because you need a soul to touch the souls of others.
He tells Tae-kang that his plan is to keep going as far as he can, since he can be a soulless devil out here and nobody will judge or be hurt by him. Tae-kang asks why humans always become selfless when their loved ones are in danger.
Ha Rib only replies that he feels the devil and the deity are no different, and that he’s determined to rebel every chance he gets. Tae-kang mentions the tardigrade, which Ha Rib looked up after Manager Kang mentioned it to him. He says he won’t live the life the gods planned for him, and Tae-kang snaps, “Okay, that’s enough.”
He grows serious, and Ha Rib realizes that he’s here to collect his soul. Tae-kang admits that it’s his last mission, and says that this is really the end. He calls Ha Rib “friend” and holds out a hand, and Ha Rib wishes Tae-kang the best whether he disappears or is dissipated, then they shake.
A small golden orb appears in the air in front of Ha Rib, and his eyes burn red for a moment. When they return to normal, Tae-kang is looking at Ha Rib sadly, and Ha Rib just sighs then turns and walks away.
Before long, a sandstorm kicks up, and Ha Rib gives in to his anger. He yells, “Is this it? Is this the best you can do? Give me something stronger!” He takes it back and apologizes, but the wind continues to intensify until Ha Rib can no longer stand. He collapses, and in voiceover, he tells us, “This is where Ha Rib’s story ends.”
Back in Seoul, Seo-young is invited to Tae-kang’s fan meeting. When she arrives, the auditorium is empty, but the lights come up and Tae-kang walks onstage. With a shy little wave, he starts to sing, and his voice sounds lovely… mostly.
He hits an off note and Seo-young gets up to wrap her arms around Tae-kang’s neck. They hug as she thinks, “You’re really not him. I don’t even know your real name, so I’ll just say… farewell.”
Later Tae-kang returns home, and he looks at the trees that once held the souls he’d harvested. A few souls belatedly escape, reminding Tae-kang of Ha Rib asking whether they could return to their owners. Tae-kang had mocked Ha Rib’s belief in hope, but Ha Rib had asserted that humans need hope to survive.
He reaches up to grasp one of the tiny souls, saying that he’ll free the weak humans — not because he forgives them or feels sorry for them, but because he’s exhausted. He says he’s not done with his revenge, but he’s no longer taking it out on humans.
He closes his eyes and says he’s ready, and right on cue, Ryu 31 arrives with several angels. She tells Tae-kang that it’s time for him to pay for his sins “at the dark and abominable place of execution.” Unconcerned, Tae-kang asks what his punishment will be.
Ryu 31 tells him he’s headed for the seventh pit of torture, but Tae-kang says that’s not so bad. He asks how they can be sure another Ryu won’t eventually betray them. Ryu 31 tells him to be grateful that Manager Gong sacrificed his life so that Tae-kang wouldn’t be exterminated. Awww, no.
This is news to Tae-kang, and Ryu 31 informs him that this is why he’s been feeling sad. Tae-kang just says that the deity still hasn’t won because he’s going with them voluntarily, having lost interest in the human world. He says that the deity made a grave mistake when he didn’t kill all the demons, and that there are many others who will challenge him.
He asks if she really thinks she can stop him, and Ryu 31 chuckles that she always wins against Tae-kang. He says that was a long time ago, when they were young, and when he surges to his feet, the angels all flinch backwards.
Tae-kang says he understands humans’ free will now, but he still doesn’t understand the deity’s will. He warns them to take extreme measures if the deity plans to keep him locked up for long, and even Ryu 31 grins when Tae-kang quips that even torture pits need remodeling now and then.
They chain Tae-kang up while he complains that he’s going willingly. Ryu 31 tells him, “The deity loves you,” but Tae-kang just scoffs, then they all disappear. One golden orb remains in the room, and it floats down towards Tae-kang’s body, lying on the floor with a smile on his face.
Having resumed his old life, Kang Ha hears Chung-ryul’s case involving his pharmaceutical company’s fraud and negligence resulting in death. His hand shakes when he reads the verdict, but before he announces the decision, he notices that Chung-ryul is rolling his eyes like he’s bored.
Kang Ha takes out his phone and makes the whole courtroom wait as he adds up some numbers. He sentences Chung-ryul to two hundred and seventeen years in prison, and the room erupts. Someone whose face we don’t calmly leaves the courtroom as Chung-ryul curses out Kang Ha.
As Kang Ha leaves the courthouse, he’s surrounded by reporters. He tells them that his ruling won’t stick, and that nothing will erase the pain of the victims, but that he did this as an apology for forgetting and running away from the consequences of his past rulings.
He immediately resigns his position, ignoring his boss’s angry diatribe. On his way out, a young lawyer passes him, and OMG it’s the cat-killer. He’s here in pursuit of the first wish on his contract — to become a judge.
Apparently Ra-in’s drama impressed a famous director so she’s on her way to Hollywood. She can’t remember the director’s name, only that his name is Jack and a color, and that he was on a Korean TV show (LOL, Jack Black!). She tells all this to Shi-ho, who was dropped from Soul Entertainment and now teaches elders to sing, which he adores.
Yi-kyung is still in a perpetual bad mood, and her attitude has changed most of her fans to anti-fans. She grudgingly attends a fan meeting, and as she steps from her van, she sees a small ball of light in the sky. She reaches up and the orb lands on her hand, then sinks in.
Ha Rib’s voice tells us, “If everything went the deity’s way, that would be too futile. A human’s free will must have a use.” Yi-kyung smiles, then goes to greet her fans. As she stands on stage, her humble expression proves that she’s back to her old self.
She says that this flashy life doesn’t suit her, and that she wants to go back to how things were, when she could sing in the street whenever she wanted. In the back of the room, a figure listens for a moment, then steps out. Yi-kyung cries as she sings the first song she ever wrote, and she watches as souls rejoin their owners in the crowd.
Seo-young allows Yi-kyung to terminate her contract, and Seo-young is also leaving Soul Entertainment. She gives Yi-kyung a box that she says Ha Rib gave her a year ago, which he’d asked her to hand over to Yi-kyung when she got her soul back. Yi-kyung is embarrassed, but Seo-young says she only knew the basics of what was going on with Yi-kyung.
In the box is the songbook Ha Rib and Luka tried to give Yi-kyung a year ago, along with Seo Dong-chun’s demo CD. Yi-kyung flips through the notebook and finds a letter from Luka in which he talks about the people he met while looking for his dad, like Kang Ha with his weird sense of humor and Dong-hee with her kind heart.
He says he’s most happy to have met Yi-kyung, his microhabitat, and that he hopes she remembers her silver linings and doesn’t try to fight her misfortunes alone. He says his heart is always with her and that he’ll come running if she ever asks, and that he trusts he’ll return to herself one day.
Seo-young had told Yi-kyung that there was someone who looked like Ha Rib at her fan meeting, but nobody’s heard from him in ages. He’d donated everything he owned (to foundations for childhood heart disease, child abuse prevention, and single mothers, awww) before disappearing, so Seo-young figured it was only a lookalike.
Just in case, Yi-kyung goes to Ha Rib’s old house, which is still empty except for her memories. She talks to his specter, joking that he only left her his songbook because she had no soul. His memory tells her that she’s written many amazing songs, and that she can write even more beautiful ones in the future.
Crying, Yi-kyung asks him where he is now, but he doesn’t answer, so she just says she misses him. She leaves the house, and someone walks down to the basement. It’s Ha Rib, but his hands are aged and wrinkled, and he takes his old guitar and leaves.
Because of her abuse, Yi-kyung’s mother is released from prison after only two years. Kyung-soo is there to meet her, and Mom is surprised to see Yi-kyung with him. They hug, and Yi-kyung thanks her mom for being strong.
In a different prison, Chung-ryul sits in a cell singing to himself while the other inmates stand on their heads in punishment for some insult to him. His tiny soul finds him, but when he sees it, Chung-ryul smacks it with a book then goes back to being King of the Cell.
The real Mo Tae-kang is doing well since regaining his soul — he’s switched from demon Tae-kang’s action roles to starring in romances. He tells a reporter that he’s just gone back to what he does best, crediting his change of heart to one specific person who helped him see his selfishness.
The reporter asks if that relationship is over, but Tae-kang says he’s trying to rekindle things. Seo-young enters the cafe just then (the same cafe Manager Gong used to own, awww!), and Tae-kang asks about renewing his contract with Soul Entertainment, but she tells him she’s no longer the CEO. Tae-kang says, “I’ll wait for you.”
Seo-young replies that she’s realized that love doesn’t work when one party is begging the other. She says that love is just being there, so they should be satisfied with their good memories. She leaves, but Tae-kang whispers, “I said I’ll wait…” Outside, Seo-young looks up at the sky and wishes her “nameless being” well.
After his stunt in the courtroom, Kang Ha is pretty much blackballed from the legal profession. He maximizes his other skills and open up a restaurant, but his sister refuses to help, busy enough with her own. Kang Ha takes the bus, and he doesn’t immediately recognize Dong-hee as the driver… but she recognizes him and grins (and she takes a call from Yi-kyung, who’s her bestie again).
An old man asks Tae-kang for an autograph then adds it to a collection on the cafe wall — it’s Ha Rib, who runs Manager Gong’s old cafe now. Yi-kyung’s old apartment broker is his broker, and Ha Rib argues that he should be getting a better deal on the rent after fixing up a cafe which stood empty for five years (“I’ll go run a fishcake stand instead!” Hee).
She says she’s there to introduce him to the new landlady, who she describes as an angel and who is even offering to lower the rent. Of course it’s Yi-kyung, who’s finally found him and used her money to buy the cafe.
They sit to talk over coffee, and Ha Rib tells Yi-kyung that he almost died in that sandstorm. His guide had found him buried in sand, and later the guide’s son told Ha Rib that a big guy in a black suit told them where to find him. He’d given Ha Rib a bag from Tae-kang, and inside had been Ha Rib’s soul.
Eventually he’d made his way back to Korea, and when his old building was finally redeveloped, he used the money to re-open the cafe. Yi-kyung suggests they redo the interior together and start over as partners, joking that she needs an investment or she’ll end up strumming a guitar in a tiny room in her old age, ha.
She’s even drawn up a contract already, and this time Ha Rib reads every single word before he signs. Once he does, Yi-kyung asks for a wish — she returns his songbook and demo, and asks him to sing. He hesitates, so Yi-kyung offers to even make him an album, and he runs from the room, yelling for her to come back tomorrow.
Something about his voice sounds different, and when he sheepishly emerges, he’s young again. LOL, evidently he randomly flips back and forth between his old body and his young one. He thinks it has something to do with his memories of being one or the other, but Yi-kyung smiles and says, “You’re just human.”
She talks him into singing, and the two of them form a new little duo called Left Atrium and Right Ventricle (so cute!). They play nights at the cafe to a modest audience, but it’s enough to make them both happy. Ha Rib narrates:
In the end, it wasn’t the devil’s mistake or the deity being cheeky. I became Ha Rib when I missed Ha Rib, and I became Seo Dong-chun when I thought of Seo Dong-chun. So this strange phenomenon is purely my will. A long time ago, in the days that remain as a faded memory, I was at the center of the world, and the days were bright. Life was beautiful. As time passes, and memories that choked you caress your wounds and heal them, they become fond memories.
I’ll think of it as the devil’s last gift. In the end, the devil whispered to me to make a choice. Now I’ll make choices, and that’s my soul’s last will. This is my life, and my life is to live as Seo Dong-chun. I’ll keep my memories as Seo Dong-chun and live as him. As someone’s most precious grade one soul.
What a fitting ending – for Ha Rib to accept himself as he is, and as he was, and to choose to live quietly and happily. I loved to see everyone whose lives he touched living in the way that made them happiest, and especially seeing him and Yi-kyung finally making music together as they’d wanted back when they first met. Seo Dong-chun only wanted his music to be appreciated, even if just by a few people, and Yi-kyung always had the same dream. But they let themselves be enticed by money and success, so it makes me happy that they finally got exactly what they wanted, together.
On a personal level, I really love how their friendship came back full circle. There was definitely some romantic tension between them when Ha Rib was in his younger body, but I think that ended when Yi-kyung learned that in reality, he was her “Ajusshi” that she’s missed so much. They do love each other, but in a way that’s more about being kindred souls than romantic love – they’re each other’s grade one souls, the most precious. After everything they’ve been through, I think their connection is strong enough and deep enough without adding romance into the mix, and I’m glad that’s how they decided to go on.
Naturally, I expected the freed souls to be returned to their owners somehow, but I kept waiting for either Tae-kang to have a change of heart, or for Ha Rib to find a loophole that sent them all home. But instead, the souls returned to their owners all on their own, which I think was a very sweet, fitting resolution. There are some things in this universe that can’t be explained or changed simply because humans want them to, and once the souls were freed, there was no entity strong enough (or willing enough) to send the souls back. Instead they slowly and carefully found their own ways back to their owners, because some things just happen the way they happen and it’s not necessary for us to understand why.
I’d said previously that I wanted Ha Rib to go out kicking and screaming, and honestly, I wanted that for Tae-kang/Ryu, too. He was a classic example of doing all the wrong things for all the right reasons. He only wanted the universe and its deity to reward goodness and punish evil, and his disillusionment at the deity’s refusal to see things his way led him to do even worse evil in the name of revenge. I can understand how Tae-kang’s misguided viewpoint came about — if the deity wouldn’t punish human greed and wrongdoing, then he would, by exploiting that greed in order to steal humans’ souls. The flaw in his plan was that he was up against a deity with too much pride to admit he’s ever wrong, and too much power for the outcome to be anything but Tae-kang’s punishment. Still, however erroneous his logic, I appreciate that Tae-kang went to his punishment with dignity, but with that cockiness that made him who he is and will never change.
When the Devil Calls Your Name had some pretty serious issues early on, mostly in the form of being too vague or evasive with information. Having seen the whole series, everything I can think of that confused me was answered or explained, even Tae-kang’s fan meeting which hasn’t been mentioned in at least 6 episodes. So at least there was a plan and it wasn’t just lazy storytelling — in fact I’d credit most of it to editing issues, and the fact that Devil just had a different sort of “feel” to it from most dramas. It’s definitely a show that needs to be seen in its entirity to be fully appreciated. When you see enough Korean dramas, you start to expect a certain rhythm and sequence of storytelling, and when a drama breaks from that, it can seem like the drama is doing something wrong. But Devil teaches a good lesson to “stick it out,” because I think I would have missed something special if I’d skipped this one.
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