Rating:
Average user rating 4.7
116

Punch: Episode 19 (Final)

Writing an introduction has never felt more like crafting an obituary, because it means we’ve finally reached the end of the line for one of the best shows of the year, and one of the greatest character studies in drama history. Like our hero, we made this journey knowing with certainty that it would end, even though it still feels like there just Wasn’t Enough Time. And though this finale provides the perfect level of closure—something I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say—it doesn’t make the act of letting go any easier.

Note: There were some broadcast errors in the original airing of this finale, so for the sake of the hard work put in by this production, this recap follows the chronological order of the revised rerun broadcast except when noted otherwise. In keeping with the show’s message, it’s not so much about the mistakes you make as much as how you fix them.

And besides, Punch went out with a series high of 14.8%, the highest of all its weeknight drama competitors. Couldn’t be more well-deserved.

SONG OF THE DAY

Jung Yong-hwa feat. JJ LIN – “Checkmate” [ Download ]

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FINAL EPISODE RECAP

Since his leg cramps prevent him from fleeing, Jung-hwan retreats back into the car before Ho-sung comes back, none the wiser…

But he’s ratted out when the blackbox announces that its memory card has been removed. His immediate reaction is to punch Ho-sung in the gut (yay!) before he attempts to flee, cramping spasms and all.

Ho-sung rushes to pursue him, and Jung-hwan barely manages to stay ahead even after taking a tumble down the stairs leading into the subway. He loses his phone in the fall, which Ho-sung picks up, and uses the very brief head start he has to hide the card in a locker before Ho-sung corners him on the subway platform.

Ho-sung tells Minister Yoon about the memory card being stolen, but that he’s dispatched detectives to search the subway station. Jung-hwan has also undergone a strip search, though they’ve come up empty. They’re not going to allow him out of the interrogation room until he gives it up, though.

While Minister Yoon gives the media a bogus reason for holding Jung-hwan in custody, Tae-joon realizes that the only reason he’d still be locked up is because he still has something Yoon wants. He’ll use the law (for once, as he admits) to get Jung-hwan out.

But the thought that Jung-hwan might die before they can get their hands on the chip is too much for Minister Yoon to bear, so she pays him a personal visit.

Despite the fact that he looks like he’s knocking on death’s door, he still has the ability to give her deadpan responses, my favorite being when she claims that her son’s enlistment fraud was just an accident: “I guess it was also an accident that you accelerated toward Ha-kyung.”

She claims she’ll take responsibility for that by paying it forward to make the world a better place. Jung-hwan cuts her off when he admits her words make him want to vomit (hah), and she switches tactics—now she’s threatening him by reminding him that he’ll never leave this room.

Jung-hwan isn’t so sure, and dares her to do her worst. He’s ready.

Armed with medical charts and a doctor’s note stating that Jung-hwan is on the verge of death, Yeon-jin and Tae-joon resolve to get Jung-hwan out of Minister Yoon’s clutches the following morning.

Before that can happen, Tae-joon is visited by Minister Yoon with a proposition: He can’t avoid his prison sentence, but if he delivers the memory card to her, she’ll shorten it to about five years. He laughs, not only at that offer but at Yoon’s audacity, reminding her that she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth while he and Jung-hwan had to work their way up.

He doesn’t want her deal, because a reduced sentence isn’t a sweet enough pot—he’s an all or nothing kind of guy, and isn’t about to take the leftovers from some princess’ table.

“I’ll hold your hand tightly and we’ll fall together,” he adds with a Cheshire grin. “We’re in this together, you and I.”

Minister Yoon has to scramble to call up old contacts once she’s notified that Jung-hwan has requested a suspension of the investigation, because they can’t let him go to his scheduled trial in a few hours—if the judge were to grant him his request, they’d lose the memory card forever.

So she asks her friends in high places to make Tae-joon resign, as well as to convince the judge set to hear Jung-hwan’s case to dismiss it. She gets her second wish since no trial is held, and she’s able to pin the blame for the request on Tae-joon and even goes so far as to directly call for his resignation during a press conference.

Tae-joon knows Minister Yoon is pulling out all the stops to get him out of his office, to the point where even Yeon-jin doesn’t think he can hang on (like Jung-hwan asked him to do) much longer.

Since Ho-sung confiscated Jung-hwan’s phone, Hyun-sun has to call him to reach her brother with the news that Ha-kyung’s gone critical—her heart is giving out.

And Ho-sung has the merciless nerve to offer the possibility of taking Jung-hwan to see Ha-kyung in her last moments like a reward, but only if Jung-hwan tells them where the memory card is.

Poor Jung-hwan looks like he’s using all his strength just to sit up, and Ho-sung actually manages to get me to hate him more by crying a single tear like he’s actually sad Ha-kyung is about to die and that he’s preventing his old friend from being there for his wife. Oh boo hoo.

Jung-hwan doesn’t relent, but the whole body pain that overcomes him afterward proves to be too much. He fishes out that last vial of Demerol as his face contorts with a barely repressed sob—oh god, it’s because he’s worried about Ha-kyung. Ho-sung, you’re a monster.

He fishes out the picture of the three of them together in his wallet for strength as he uses all his willpower to break the vial and spill its contents. He’s doing it purposefully so he’ll be sick enough that Ho-sung has to send him to the hospital, but it’s no picnic—he passes out before Ho-sung finds him still gripping the picture.

Ho-sung leads the chief prosecutors to Tae-joon’s office to demand his voluntary resignation, because that’s the only way they can avoid the shame of arresting an acting Prosecutor General.

But Tae-joon—looking about as beleaguered as Jung-hwan in the interrogation room—says he won’t budge until Jung-hwan comes for him. Which is why the news that Jung-hwan’s been hospitalized deals a crushing blow, since it means Jung-hwan won’t be swooping in to save him now.

Tae-joon is left with no other choice but to accept the retirement speech Ho-sung has written for him, claiming he’ll meet them down in the briefing room for the press conference. Ho-sung can’t help but smile victoriously as he struts out of the office.

“You kept your promise to make me Prosecutor General, and your promise to hang on for ten minutes while dangling out of an interrogation room window. Jung-hwan-ah, how can you leave without keeping your promise this time?” Tae-joon muses sadly, as he opens the envelope containing his speech…

…Only to find the memory card nestled within. Wait, what?

Flash back to the moment when Jung-hwan got back into Ho-sung’s car, being unable to flee. He’d seen the envelope containing Tae-joon’s speech and hurriedly tucked the memory card inside, knowing that the folder and its contents would eventually make its way to Tae-joon. Jung-hwan, you sneaky bastard you.

So he ran from Ho-sung to deliberately throw him off the trail, making it seem like he could’ve even hidden it in the station. Tae-joon smiles that Jung-hwan kept his promise after all—now they’ll expose the card to the press and finish this.

When the Chief of Staff expresses hesitance at the idea of arresting Tae-joon directly after his retirement speech, Minister Yoon defends her actions as being for the greater good: “I’m going to show the people that even those in high positions are equal in the eyes of the law.”

As Yeon-jin carries the card to the press conference where Tae-joon is expected to give his retirement speech, she can’t help but think of how Jung-hwan kept his promise to help her get to the National Assembly by making her the prosecutor who stood up to the Minister of Justice and won.

But she also remembers predicting the pain it’d cause her when he would eventually shuffle off this mortal coil, and says to herself with a tear running down her cheek, “I was right, Sunbae.”

Yeon-jin takes to the podium in front of all the media present, and directs them to the screen for their investigation results re: the attempted murder of Ha-kyung.

No one even has time to react before the blackbox video showing Minister Yoon and Ho-sung at the crime plays. Even Minister Yoon’s voice can be heard as she tells Ho-sung that they won’t have to sin anymore now that the chip is gone.

Ho-sung looks like he’s about to cry (yessss), while Minister Yoon can only watch from the Chief of Staff’s office in horror as her crime is broadcasted for the entire nation to see. Yeon-jin adds the nail in the coffin: that Minister Yoon tried to kill Ha-kyung to cover up her son’s enlistment fraud case.

The media goes wild, and Tae-joon calls the Chief of Staff to request permission to arrest Minister Yoon before he himself is arrested, in what will be his final act as Prosecutor General.

The Chief of Staff gives him the go-ahead, and looks straight at Yoon as he repeats the self-righteous words she’d just spewed at him: “We should show the people that even those in high positions are equal in the eyes of the law.” BOOM.

Tae-joon has just enough time to sign Minister Yoon’s arrest warrant before the independent counsel thugs slap handcuffs on his wrists. He leaves the office empty save for the leftover kudzu root his brother gave him, never to return.

Yeon-jin leads the party to Minister Yoon’s office, where she issues the arrest warrant for attempted murder and reads her her rights. Minister Yoon tries to keep a cool and collected facade about her but she can’t hide the tears that continue to fall outs of her wide, shell-shocked eyes.

Mom, Ye-rin, and Dong-hoon finally make it to the hospital to find Jung-hwan on his deathbed. Mom takes his hand in hers. “Jung-hwan-ah… your mother is so proud of you. No matter what people say, I’m going to tell them: ’Park Jung-hwan is my son. I am Jung-hwan’s mother.’ My son… My baby,” she cries.

“Dad, I love you. I love you, Dad.” Ye-rin cries as she takes his hand, trying to reach him. “I love you, Dad. Dad, I love you,” she repeats again and again. “I love you so very, very much.” Oh god. This is too much to handle at once.

Jung-hwan’s eyelids flutter just the slightest bit—he can’t open them fully, but he’s looking at her. A tear rolls down his cheek…

…And then his eyes close as his hand drops limply. No no no no no no. Not like this. He has to say goodbye. He didn’t even get to say goodbye!

The doctors declare Jung-hwan brain dead, leaving his family to wail pitifully at his bedside.

As Jung-hwan is rushed into surgery, the news reports that Minister Yoon will be tried for attempted murder and punished harshly for her corruption. Ho-sung has also been arrested for attempting to cover up her crime.

The surgery isn’t to save his life—since there’s no more hope for that—but to transplant his still-living heart into the person who needs it most now: his wife. (I’ll seriously never be able to finish this recap if I can’t stop crying long enough to type.)

At first, Tae-joon is confused when Yeon-jin comes into the interrogation room only to leave him a laptop and a bottle of soju. But when the video starts playing with footage Jung-hwan had her record before he left the hospital, Tae-joon knows what’s up.

It’s not a last will and testament, it’s a video of Jung-hwan drinking, having anticipated that Tae-joon would watch after his arrest. And true to form, Tae-joon drinks with Video Jung-hwan as though he were really there. It’s eerily reminiscent (and purposefully so) of their virtual jjajangmeyon date.

Jung-hwan bequeaths his book collection to Tae-joon so he’ll have something to read for the ten years he’s going to spend in prison. Tae-joon can’t help but marvel at how Jung-hwan never fails to keep every promise he made, even though he could’ve done without Jung-hwan keeping his promise to put him in prison.

But still, Tae-joon is clearly affected by watching the video, even more so at Jung-hwan’s seemingly-frivolous final words of advice: “Those ear muffs didn’t look good on you. Don’t put them on.” This he says with a bright smile that’s somehow heartbreaking to see now.

“Did you like the ear muffs that much?” Tae-joon asks after the video ends. He fights tears as he adds, “Every time it gets cold, for as long as I’m alive, I’ll make sure to put those ear muffs on and think of you. Goodbye, Jung-hwan-ah.”

We get to (very literally) witness the moment Jung-hwan’s heart stops beating, since his chest has already been cut open by the surgeons. His time of death is officially declared before the transplant operation begins.

When we next see Ha-kyung, she’s acting as head prosecutor for Minister Yoon and Ho-sung’s trial. The defense pleads for mercy on account of Yoon’s thirty years of service to the law before she committed a felony, but ultimately it’s left up to Ha-kyung.

Prosecutor Jung gives her a supportive smile from the observation area before she submits the last piece of evidence she has: the statement Jung-hwan gave before his death, knowing that if nothing else, it would be enough to keep Minister Yoon down.

While it lists all Jung-hwan’s crimes as well as Tae-joon’s and Minister Yoon’s, Ha-kyung clarifies that Jung-hwan took responsibility for his choices—but Yoon never did. She was strict on others while being endlessly forgiving of herself and her crimes, and now it’s time to pay up.

But she can’t leave out Ho-sung, who used to be a righteous prosecutor before he threw his lot in with Minister Yoon. She requests eight years for him, and Ho-sung nods like he agrees with and sanctions his punishment. Too late.

As for Minister Yoon, who’s never even shown remorse for her crimes, Ha-kyung requests a life sentence.

Tae-joon and Kang-jae get their day in court, though we only hear Tae-joon get sentenced to ten years. Just like Jung-hwan predicted.

Ho-sung gets five years out of the eight Ha-kyung asked for, while Minister Yoon gets fifteen years without the possibility of parole. Ho-sung and Ha-kyung share a silent look before he’s taken out of the courtroom.

But Ha-kyung makes it a point to stop Minister Yoon in order to repeat one of her favorite phrases: “The law is equal… for Jung-hwan, and for you.”

We see Mom living a happy life with Hyun-sun and her new son-in law as the news regarding the prosecution of all our baddies breaks. Tae-joon accepts his verdict, but Kang-jae plans to appeal. (This is a scene that appeared in the original broadcast but not in the rerun.)

Ha-kyung takes Ye-rin to the beach where she first told Jung-hwan she was pregnant, so technically, it’s the first time her father met her. She pulls out the book she gave Jung-hwan for his birthday where she’d once written that she wanted to be there for all his birthdays.

We know his response that followed, back when he was determined to live at any cost. But the next page holds a new passage Ha-kyung hadn’t seen before:

My time is over.
Ha-kyung-ah, it’s your time now.
Ha-kyung-ah, live a good life.
With my heart, and your beliefs.
For the sake of the world Ye-rin will live in.

After Ye-rin yells out to her father that she’ll keep her promise to live like her mom, she runs back into Ha-kyung’s loving arms. They both turn toward the sea, where Ye-rin waves and says, “Goodbye, Dad.”

 
COMMENTS

First things first: Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

Even with the seemingly endless heaps of respect I already had for Punch coming into the finale, I have to give credit where credit is due—though it used traditionally heavy melodramatic tropes relating to death, dying, and sacrifice, it never allowed itself to get bogged down in being about death. Yes, dying shaped a significant portion of our hero’s character arc, but never once did the fact that he was dying truly define who he was, which I find admirable and just a little bit brilliant.

And the very significant choice the show made in having him slip away so quietly really cemented the idea it’s been pushing all along: It’s not only our actions that shape us, it’s how we react, and—if necessary, repent—that really matters. Jung-hwan’s journey wasn’t about his inexorable march toward that most final of curtain calls so much as it was about cause and consequence, taking responsibility, and the ways in which humans can justify all sorts of terrible things to themselves when they use ends-based thinking.

So in the end, despite meticulous personal preparation on Jung-hwan’s part and that of everyone around him, his death was really just a small blip on the radar. I don’t think I could’ve loved the hospital scene any more than I did, no matter how traumatized it’s going to leave me, if only because it fit so (shockingly) well with the overall message that we leave this world the way we came into it. Which is just another way of reinforcing the themes and ideas revolving around causality that this show so expertly explored through a cast of characters that won’t easily, if ever, be forgotten.

But enough about all that lofty idealism, because going into the philosophical ideas driving Punch would comprise an essay even I wouldn’t want to read. I shouldn’t have been surprised at the way the show even handled tropes like the Truck of Doom and Nothing Says I Love You Like An Organ Transplant with such tact and clarity of purpose, though I blame it on dramaland practically hardwiring us to associate those things with lazy, grab bag storytelling. But the lazy writer would’ve switched the focus to being all about that transplant, when in reality it was downplayed as much as a major surgical operation like that could be.

Again, it was less about the act itself and more about the impact, which is why the choice to not even have Ha-kyung be aware of it before the fact or to show her after finding out mattered more than seeing her in those moments would have. Jung-hwan’s final and most selfless sacrifice allowed her to live on and see through to the end what he couldn’t. It took blood, sweat, and tears to get everyone in front of a judge who deserved to be, and though it might have been overcooked and a little burnt, justice was eventually served. (Mmmm.)

Of course, any discussion about this show wouldn’t be complete without at least touching on the incredibly complex relationship Jung-hwan and Tae-joon shared, which had more than its fair share of ups and downs. I loved, loved, loved that poignant final sendoff Jung-hwan gave him, because it encapsulated everything that made them into the friends they were and the bitter rivals they became. Despite their differences, they never lost the mutual respect they had for each other as worthy adversaries, which effectively separated them and their wrongdoings from the likes of Minister Yoon and Ho-sung.

At least when Tae-joon lost, he did so gracefully, because he never once deluded himself into thinking he was doing the right thing. Like Jung-hwan, he avoided taking responsibility for his choices until he couldn’t anymore, and then stepped up to the plate because he knew exactly what he deserved. Even Ho-sung had a moment to accept the punishment coming to him, and though that doesn’t make him any less hateful, it did make Minister Yoon’s lack of recognition or remorse more stark by comparison. Or in other words, that witch got what she deserved.

But at the risk of writing a novel because I’m not ready to let go of a show that actually invited and withstood the most intense scrutiny I could give, all that’s left for me to say is: Here’s to you, Punch. You were one in a million.

 
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Thank you for the recap.
Im in tears watching the final episode and also when reading the recap. This show tore my heart into a million pieces esp. the scene at the hospital. The loss of a son and the loss of a father... how heart wrenching it is.

Thank you HeadsNo2 and thank you Punch!

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Nooooooo, I don't want this to end. I enjoy it very much. Such an intense drama, I often find myself hold my breath too long watching every episode of it, wow. Great story, great acting, great ending. Thank you HeadsNo2 for the recap.

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I wonder if what I've downloaded is the correct one. Will marathon Punch this weekend!

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I just started and it's super AWESOME! Thankfully I can marathon Punch, otherwise I would totally be beside myself if I had to wait for the next episode. I don't know how ya'll did it!

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I just watched this and welled up once I saw him struggling on the floor in the interrogation room. It just couldn't stop from there.
To leave without knowing if his plan got carried out or if his wife continued to live just broke my heart - but what really touched me was seeing how he gave his heart to her to continue living :"( ... It's like saying they would never be able to meet again. It was perfect though, because in the end they charged all the baddies.
Superb writing, acting and production overall. Romance is almost a staple for the sappy me, but I was hooked every moment! So sad it's over now. Thanks for all the recaps :)

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Thank you Heads.

Cried a buckets when Yerin screams "Appa! Saranghae. Jeongmal saranghae!"
Heartbreaking scene. ??

Punch, by far, the best political kdrama i ever watched. Actually im more a hopeless romantic but thanks to all the Beanies for dragging me into this drama. Amidst childhood-trauma, mental-illness themes... Punch is really refreshing!
no regret at all!

All the cast and crew are amazing. It portrays humanity flaw. It show us how to be responsible of our own acts and choices. Bad choices is inevitable but the most important is how you react to the result.

salute!

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Hi! THANK YOU for the recaps once again Headsno2.

This drama is AWESOME! Everything is just GREAT!

THANK YOU for the journey PUNCH.

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I have never watched this, but I've always read its recap. I just felt that my heart will tear into pieces if I do. But reading the recaps did it nonetheless.

Thanks HeadsNo2 for an amazing send off!!

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14.8 %? That is the highest rating ANY weekday drama has had since the end of Empress Ki!

SBS should learn from this and realise that good scripts are more important than top stars for a drama's success.

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Yep. If only SBS knows how to hire good writers who are capable of handling consistency plot and character developments. I think it's time Kdrama learns from JDrama (less episodes and more meaty storyline that injects life into it). Anyone know any good JDrama nowadays? I've heard of Date so that's my next choice after I finish Punch (am planning to do a marathon on it).

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The script is the most important thing, the difference between Punch, which is SBS' Mon-Tues drama and the current Wed-Thursday one is entirely that of one having a really good writer while the other's script appears to have been okayed by drunk gorillas.

That, and choosing talented actors instead of just going after pretty faces and hype in the hope that Chinese or foreign viewers will forgive poor performances and script. I haven't finished this drama but the few episodes I did see are enough to confirm that Punch is excellently cast. And as a fan of Kim Ah-joong I'm really happy to see her in something good.

btw if you want jdrama recs I would definitely suggest Border, it's a 2014 drama but one of the best I've ever seen.

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Seconding the BORDER recommendation. So good.

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Good writers seem to be hard to find in Kdrama. Most have just taken the lazy and cliche route to get more money from overseas buyers.

I've seen Border and it's absolutely fantastic. Oguri Shun was marvelous in that drama. I wish they would have a Season 2.

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Loved Border. Watching Ouroboros at the moment and it's got Oguri Shun as well.

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If you're looking for a unique murder mystery/human drama, I recommend Testimony of N. And if you're a fan of historical fantasy or Shun Oguri, you may like Nobunaga Concerto.

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Thanks for the recommendation. I've heard of Testimony of N and totally forgot about it. Will definitely put that as well as Nobunaga Concerto on my watch list. :)

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Oroboros, J drama with Shun Oguri is currently airing . It is a revenge Story, so far tightly written and suspenseful

I didn't like Nobunaga Concerto. Production was good but the story, based very literally on a popular manga, left me disinterested. I didn't finish it.

I liked Border

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Border is good. But I also like dear sister it is not intense. It a rom comedy and a family drama in one.

Right now the IT jdrama is Date but is not subbed quickly.

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Petero no Sourets and Roosevelt Game

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I have wondering why stop at 19 episode, not at 20 or 16?.

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Because there was a planned pre-empt earlier between episode 4 and 5 for some drama awards (?) which put it off-course for an even 20 episodes and 19 allowed the drama to end on an even Tuesday.

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I cried so much my mom thought I was insane. Thank you for the recaps all the while.

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Thanks for the awesome review. I'll remember this drama as one of the best.

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Thank you HeadNo2.I wept like a child yesterday while watching this episode and I was in tears again while reading you recap.

But there is one part of the recap which is a bit different from my initial understanding of JH's action and I'd like to discuss it if you don't mind-in the recap, the scene where JH broke the ampule of his last painkiller was interpreted as JH's plan be sick enough so that Ho-sung is compelled to send him to the hospital. But for me it seemed more like a deliberate sacrifice so that he can donate his internal organs to HG and save her.
Here's the reason why I feel this way-
1. In the previous episode he kept saying that he'd make it 'attempted murder'. He emphasized that 'he'd make it' which implies he had a plan and it wasn't merely him hoping that HG would recover.
2. Before breaking the ampule, he kept remembering the Doctor's warning that it'd be hard for him to recover if he goes in shock again. There was no guarantee than he'd make it alive or gain conscious to make an opportunity to contact LTJ so I doubt he'd take such a big risk just to go to hospital.
3. The way he was crying while breaking the ampule and looking at the picture of the three of them, makes it quite believable that he was sure that was the last time he was seeing them.
4. He urged the Minister to make Prosecutor General resign in that very day as if he was waiting for the retirement speech to reach him. I don't think he'd risk dying to go to hospital while his other plan was still alive.

Please correct me if my observation was wrong.
I have one more question and would be grateful if anyone kindly replies-What was the unfinished message that JH typed on his phone? The subber didn't translate this part and I was really curious.

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I think the same way. He broke the ampule to go in the final shock and to save Ha Gyung. He knew that she is in critical condition and he wanted to go the the hospital.

Punch was DAEBAK!

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I also think he chose to break the Demorol to go to the hospital to donate and was looking at their photo to cause the final shock needed.

However, I think he knew his plan was probably a success at this point since Yoon Jisook and Lee Hosung had already come to beg for the USB. Once he went to the hospital Lee Tae Joon would accept the speech and everything would be resolved.

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I believe the message that he typed on his phone was meant to be sent to LTJ. I think it said that he got the evidence or something along those lines.

Punch is so awesome!! Favorite show of 2015!!

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@Yuna -

Yup, I feel the same way.

In his final message to HK (from the book). He said with his heart and her beliefs... if we are to take things literal, then this message must have written sometimes after HK's hospitalized, so he has a plan all along. It's PJH we're talking about, always 2 steps ahead.

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ah yes! I overlooked this hint! Thank you for pointing it out :)

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Wow i hadnt thought of all that. I assumed he was saying attempted murder in order to make Ho Sung nervous about whether or not their intended victim would return. But it could be you're right...but he'd have to have researched how demerol affects hearts involved in transplants. Whatever it was, I'm cool with it. Thanks for telling us your take on it.

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He also mentioned attempted murder to Tae-joon twice in E18-first when they were eating jjajangmyeon and second when he took him to hospital to see HK ^^

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Yes I also think when he broke the ampule, his plan was to die. Maybe so that the bad prosecuter will then stop hanging on and give the resignation speech (hence discovering the memory card)

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My heart still hurts after watching it yesterday, and even today when I read it, it still aches. The ending is really, really bittersweet, and it totally stank that Junghwan never saw the legacy fulfilled because by the time Yoo and Hosung were arrested and stuff he was already dead. That was the part that really hurt me, but I'm overall really content with the ending in general.

Punch is really daebak and underrated amongst the international crowd :D

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I keep away from melos and dropped in to read the concluding comments about this show. Reading your recap brought tears to my eyes(would've def bawled my eyes out if I had watched this show). You write beautifully and though I won't watch it,I'm mighty glad that KRW has another solid drama to his credit. Fughtjng KRW.please follow this up with a rom-com or action thriller. Please,pretty please.

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Oh me too! Everything you said^
I cried when I read the recap , not sure what would have happened if I actually watched the show.

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But the drama is not a melo or close to it, it has only few melo scenes and those are in the last 2 episodes cos well the lead is about to die...When watching the drama, there's no dark gloomy cloud hovering around his death......

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+1

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I keep away from melos and dropped in to read the concluding comments about this show. Reading your recap brought tears to my eyes(would've def bawled my eyes out if I had watched this show). You write beautifully and though I won't watch it,I'm mighty glad that KRW has another solid drama to his credit. Fighting KRW!!.please follow this up with a rom-com or action thriller. Please,pretty please.

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Sorry for the multiple posts. Pls delete 1 if possible.

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When Tae Joon opened the envelope and the USB fell out I yelled out loud...WOW. Jung Hwan really planned for everything done to giving his heart to Ha Kyung. He is the best at Xanatos Speed Chess.

When Choi Yeojin came to get Yoon Jisook and DRANK HER TEA when she tried to delay her...greatness

When Shin Ha Kyung stated why Yoon Jisook deserved her life sentence that was EVERYTHING...though I was annoyed by the mere 15 year sentence. It's frustrating that there are many cases with lighter sentences than they deserve, or none at all, like that in Korea. Dude who only had a year in jail for drunk driving, killing a woman, and attempting to hide the body and is on tv just fine now being the most well known to me. Also the cases from The Crucible with all of those teachers still working elsewhere. So disturbing.

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OOOO when Yeon Jin took the cup and proceeded to drink that tea. OOO Girllll High fiveeeeeeee.

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LOL, I love Yeon Jin. We got some great female characters through Punch.

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Yes, yes, yes for PUNCH! Dull moments are not part of the practice. Great ratings, and they deserve that. :-) JOB WELL WELL WELL DONE! ♥

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Such a good show! It was a little intense for me so I skipped some episodes and read recaps. I hope this is the beginning of a trend where we'll see more smart and engaging shows. One of my favorite things about it was the dialogue. The use of metaphors and proverbs made me lean in a little more.
Thanks so much for the speedy recaps. I'm glad you got a good show!

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It's sad that the things he promised he were able to fulfill them but not the things he wished for. He could not attend his daughter's ceremony nor able to witness these crooks getting their retribution with his own eyes. It seems he was unable to go his holiday with his family too. Like all his personal wishes were left unfulfilled and that saddens me a lot.

This particular last episode has rendered me to tears and your recaps tear me up once again. PJH was an unforgettable character. Smart, badass, loving father, son and oppa. Also a husband that deserves the love of his wife. Jung Hwan will be forever in my heart. Thanks for the recaps once again. This has got to be the most unforgettable drama I've seen in kdramas scene.

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This is so true. But what kills me too is that for all of his life he was working and never got to rest. Not even once. Not even at the end of his stress-filled life did he get an opportunity to just be. That's just so sad to me.

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I have been reading the recaps and must say enjoyed every bits of them but as much as I want to watch this, my heart just cant take it when the hero dies in the end. Reading the finale recap alone made me cry a river. Thanks you for your hard works! you have done great!

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*wipes tears
*slow clap

Daebak... Daebak... This show is so satisfying. KRW found a new fan in me. And so did the writer. And everyone else in the show. Except Ho Sung and Yoon. Cos I still hate you *shakes fist

Thanks for a wonderful Punch journey, Heads. You r the best!

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I love this show. It feels complete ( just the way Jung Hwan would have wanted it.) I loved the strong feamle characters that remained complex and strong throughout the series ( even if Min Yoon is sociopath) it was great to see in a kdrama. I know this would have killed the whole trajectory, purpose and philosophical underpinnging of this show but the only way this showed could have made me happier was if they found away to keep JH and HK alive and for them to become on big happy family. I know I know but a girl can dream right. *slow cap* you were awesome Punch and will not be forgotten anytime soon.

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Ah yes! Strong female characters! Such a rarity I kdramas. That was one of the delights Punch

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Even after i have watched the episode, i still cried reading the recap.This drama is beyond awesome and i felt close to my heart.

Everything about this drama is so so Great. From the casting, script writing, directing, ost and so on. I can feel the tense, the frustration, love, heart wrenching moment and all in this series..

Such a wonderful drama and characters. My unforgettable drama i must tell.

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Omo! I got goosepimples all over again reading this finale recap. Was this one of the most perfect dramas ever???!!!!! Was that perp walk with Prosecutor Yoon and Ho Sung the greatest perp walk ever????!!!! And do not even ask me about the Mom tears over dying son! I was a blubbering mess.

Sooo good! And thanks for recapping it.

Poo Ho Sung ah! He was the only one who was perfectly totally loyal to one person throughout the entire drama. Yet... what did that perfect loyalty do? He had picked the wrong side. And who knew the second lead female --who had even betrayed her great might have been-- would end up being the only squeaky-clean (to the media and the larger population, anyway) prosecutor? Ah, soooo good!!!!

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Oh I so agree with everything thing you wrote Carole. I will miss this great drama?

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Oh man just finished watching it.... for a show named Punch the drama sure does punch you in the gut often....just wow... cant say wonderful since its a crime show... but awesome to the end man...

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I don't watch punch, I read the recaps. And this recap made me cry, like really hard, I wonder how hard I would cry watching it(tho I'm probably gonna stay far from it). And this recapper is really good, I like her style of writing.
Thanks Heads for the recap

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Punch was so unrelenting and unbearable in its depiction of venality and corruption that I had to put it on pause many times just to calm down enough to continue watching. It is simply one of the best legal dramas of any national origin I have ever seen. The screen writing, acting and direction were top-notch. Even the sentimental operation at the end with Jung-hwan's heart being transplanted into Ha-kyung's chest so she can live on for their daughter, a development which normally results in much sarcastic eye-rolling on my part, was just perfect.

The actors were all wonderful and the characters they portrayed were absolutely believable but three especially stood out for me. Cho Jae-hyun as Tae-joon, Choi Myung-gi as Ji-sook and, of course, Kim Rae-won as Jung-hwan. Tae-joon was rotten to the core but he wasn't your stereotypical psychopath, rather a man capable of love, friendship and, finally, growth when he accepts his punishment and finally realizes what "taking responsibility" really means.

Ji-sook is a woman who is born at a fully laden banquet table and even at the very end she still can't quite comprehend what has happened to her and what she has become. All her high ideals in the beginning were just a thin veneer on a person who was born on third base. The notion that she should now take responsibility is meaningless to her because she has never had to learn what responsibility really is.

Kim Rae-won is a great actor. Jung-hwan is a dying man but Kim Rae-won never allows us to feel sorry for him because of this fact. It's not the manner or unfairness of his death that we focus on but the life lived. I never once thought this show would go the cheap route of an eleventh hour reprieve in the form of a miracle cure because Kim Rae-won showed us how a person can be dying and yet still fully live right to the very end. His life is in no way defined by the fact of his dying way too young. I've not seen Kim Rae-won in dramas before but I highly recommend two of his movies, Mr. Socrates, an actually funny gangster film, and Sunflower, which is terribly sad but very uplifting none-the-less.

Thanks so much for your recaps and the opportunity for discussion of this wonderful show. It's heartening to hear as well that it is such a ratings success among the Korean viewing public.

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LOVED this show, loved this ending, loved Jung-hwan, etc etc. Thanks for the recap!

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Oh Punch! How do I love thee!
Though I will miss you very very much I can't help but be glad that you went out with a BANG! Such flair!
Junghwan struggling on the floor, Yerin's cries, Taejoon's send off all had me bawling like a baby. I knew what I was getting myself into from the very beginning. Just never thought it'd be this painful to let go. But that does not deter me from remembering you as one of The Best shows to ever grace dramaland! For giving me the most satisfying ending to a truly wonderful journey.
The nearly 114 hours I spent on you? SO WORTH IT.
Thank you Heads, for recapping this amazing show and gracing us with your thoughts.

ALSO....Kin Rae Won! Please stay in Dramaland for a little while longer. Pretty please. With a cherry on top. Or jajjangmyun! ^.^

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*clap clap clap & standing ovation*
There you go Punch! What an ending. This drama has SO MUCH to be given all the thumbs we can give..... Great storyline, great actor, great music, and great cinematography! Great ensemble cast.

I CRIED WATCHING THE LAST 3 EPISODES, ESP EP 18 & 19. Haven't cried so much.. Esp when PJH saw HK lying in comatose & YR cried for his dad. I cried SO Many times that I cried myself TO SLEEP. *SLOW CLAP*

LOVE LTJ, how he recognize that he's wrong.. Such an awesome character..
What saddens me the most is that HK told PJH that she missed him, but sadly she never got herself to see him again. Oh, and isn't interesting how they never say "I Love You" but clearly throughout the drama you can see that they love each other? awesome actors.

I love LTJ! He's..... an interesting one. He's corrupted but he knows he's wrong. And the part where LTJ was so amazed/touched by PJH because he still kept his promise.

YJS is just snake. Evil one. Man, if she's real I wish she's sentenced for life.

Oh, and I started watching Punch just because I accidentally pressed to stream Punch instead of the one I wanted to watch... And the music brought me to become a loyal viewer of thiS (Though I still missed a view episodes and been only reading recaps from Dramabeans! Thank you dramabeans!

This drama has proven a lot.... of how a great storyline (awesome writer!) can give a high rate. At first I didn't know who are the actors.. but THERE YOU GO. I knew NONE of the actors (yes, I rarely watch kdramas bcs of how makjang it can be), but great storyline kept me through.

ONCE AGAIN. GOOD JOB!

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I kinda love that Jung-hwan's death is low key - as in he didn't get to even say any last words to his mom and Ye-rin, heck he didn't even get to see Ha-kyung for one last time. This is how it may be in real life - we often don't get to say our last goodbyes and that's how unpredictable life is. Although it breaks my heart when mom said she's proud of him no matter what he did and Ye-rin saying 'I love you Dad' over and over again, as if telling him not to forget that she will always be his daughter.

I love the ending: Ye-rin got to be with mom and dad in a way :) and baddies get to be served with justice. I have no mercy for Minister Yoon even when she kept shedding tears. A big applause to all the amazing actors, superb writing and beautiful directing. Punch, I give you a standing ovation. This is such a rare K-drama and one that's so different from others. The recap actually made me watch it so a big thank you to HeadsNo2 for introducing me to this amazing, amazing drama!

I think I'm a little too excited now :P

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A great recap for an awesome and drama.

Thank you so much, HeadsNo2.

Kudos to PUNCH - writer, PD, cast and crew! Excellent work. A most wonderful drama experience.

Kim Rae Won, saranghe!

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Great drama, Thanks to HeadsNo2. so happy the baddies got their punishment.

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What a show!

I get really affected on some scenes so I just click forward. Then I read your recaps. Then I re-watched the episodes with a ready and stronger heart. That's just how I felt from the beginning and until the last episode. It just proves how effective Punch was in pulling strong emotions from its viewers. And although It was established at the start that Jung-wan will die, it was still sad to see him go. Good job Kim Rae Won! I liked you since My Love Patzzi until now.

One thing though, I just wished they showed Yeon-jin's success. I mean, she was loyal to Jung-wan until the end so I was hoping to see even just a few seconds of her success.

Thanks for the recaps! I truly appreciate it. ^_^

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**tear*
**sniffle*

Y PUNCH?? Y?.....
Y PUNCH ME IN THE GUT SO HARD??
Fine! I will just keep bawling my eyes out!
I NEED a bucket and a box of tissue

**Back to my corner*

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What an astonishing drama! A story about taking responsibility for the choices you make. There is no "hand of fate" here that other k dramas love to employ. Truly deserves a standing ovation. To the rousing soundtrack.
Initially some flaws nagged me. Things such as unrealistic portrayal of JH's illness, the organ transplant trope, the unnecessary meeting between HK and YJS which caused the accident. But later I thought that I have forgiven other shows much worse things. Compared to them, this show was pretty much flawless!
I will keep an eye out for this cast and this writer. KRW, let your next project show us that bright smile! You have been in terminal illness situations too long now!
Also thank you headsNo2 for recapping this show. It was a treat to read!

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**tear*
**sniffle*

Y PUNCH?? Y?.....
Y PUNCH ME IN THE GUT SO HARD??
Fine! I will just keep bawling my eyes out!

I NEED a bucket and a box of tissue

**Back to my corner*

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Absolutely great drama, although my body was tense throughout every episode! This was a thoroughly adult drama, and I can't say enough about the high quality of it.

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This just might be my drama of the year but i'll reserve the title until the year is over so other dramas have a big site to fill I'd they plan on taking that title.....

I wouldn't forget Park Jung Hwan or Lee Tae Joon for a very very long time, they'll go on my list of great drama characters....

This drama is everything i wanted and more in a drama, from the writing to the performance and everything else was just flawless......And a second female lead character was actually done right with awesomeness.....

Punch, I'll have withdrawal symptoms every Monday and Tuesday cos of you....it was a great ride....

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*clap clap clap clap clap...*
I'm speechlessly satisfied...

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Thanks for recapping the drama heads!!! It is without a doubt one of the best korean dramas I have ever watched! I watched it for kim rae won and also because I have enjoyed all the previous works of this writer! But I came off loving the whole show and the cast! There was never a dull moment no breathing space nothing just punch after punch after punch!!

And what a wonderful finale I think I cried a little while reading the recap dint as I was watching the show sigh :/ its just so very very sad to imagine how life would have been if ji seok had not messed up jung hwan's life to cover her ass :( sigh rip jung hwan sshi wherever you are! You did good!

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Thank you for the recap(s)!!!!
"Punch" is a and will always be a political drama that I will always love.... And that's saying a lot lol ^.^ <3

The ONLY glitch I had with the finale, albeit fitting to the whole show, was how Ha Kyung was able to be the prosecutor of her own attempted murder case... I mean, 'conflict of interests' much???

Other than that, l love love love you, Show <3 <3 <3

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Yes the other flaws were negligible because, it is, after all a drama but this one bugged me too.But overall, the best last episode I've seen in recent years!

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HK as the prosecutor for that specific case bugged me too. Then, I too just chalked it up to "dramaland" finales. A tiny glitch in an overall masterpiece.

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I stopped watching this after ep. 15, because, while I love the drama, it was a little too intense for me and the middle episodes did seem repetitive after a while. But I'm glad to see it go out on such a high note. I'm still keeping up with the recaps and it seems that though Jung Hwan dies as we all expected him to, he was able to accomplish all that he set out to do while maintaining his relationship with Tae Joon whom I came to respect and like. Bravo all around for great performances and tight writing.

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WOW,

Congratulations Heads it was high time a great drama didn't crap out on you.

You deserved this bowl of PUNCH…..oh well terrible metaphors aside loved it more because of you.

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No, not for the romantic dramas or other dramatic scenes from various shows but for the first time I REALLY cried for a character and over a drama.
I am so glad they were awesome from beginning till the end. All the actors and actress were equally good, never failed to deliver their lines.

And Kim Rae Won, he's breaking my heart so much in his last two dramas but kudos to him for giving life the character Jung Hwan such in a perfect way.

;___;

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Two things: The heart transplant confused me to an extent, I remembered them saying it was her kidneys that was the problem, but I'll overlook it cause heart=LOVE and kidneys don't have the same ring. And the fact that she prosecuted the case wouldn't happen cause she was the victim. But she got to throw the witch's word back in her face which made me happy. And I was too busy crowing at Yoon and Ho-sung in their prison duds. Excuse me while I go repent for wishing evil on them. Their sentences were too light, grumble grumble, but even that fit.

Meanwhile I was sniffling at our bad guys trial. I afraid we wouldn't see Kang-jae again, and thought it fit his nature that he would appeal. Aw, Tae-joon. Part of me was convinced he was the lesser evil. Interesting to note the almost...relief on his face. Same for Ho-sung except my reaction to him was still "neener neener."

I almost don't want to comment and acknowledge that its over. But I have to pay homage to what a wonderful show this was and almost perfect on every front: good directing, acting, and the rare white elk of dramaland: superb writing. I love that it kept both my brain and my heart engaged for its entire run and didn't screw up the ending. The next Mon-Tue show has big shoes to fill.

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When I watched E18, the subtitle mentioned her 'heart' was damaged but in the recap I noticed 'kidney' was mentioned. Since I don't know Korean, I had no way of knowing which one was correct so I just went for internal organs including both kidney and heart :)

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But for HK prosecuting the case, you are right.That just can't happen as it'd mean conflict of interest.It was a flaw in the almost flawless writing of the writer.

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(ノ´ー`)ノ hail to this lovely piece of art
I love how the cliches normally found in mainstream romance dramas were subverted and the effect was downplayed in Punch to develop an define the characters.

car crash? No worries, confirmatoon of Yoon Ji Sook and Ho Sung's character and mindset
Heart transplant? No worries, Jung Hwan can literally live with Ha Kyung and Ye Rin.

The ending somewhat bittersweet, is reminiscent of the world we live in today- even if the 'bag guys' go to jail, their punishment is often (depending on which countries laws) unjustified where they either are wrongly accused/ or do not receive a harsh enough penalty for the crimes they have committed.

Best drama I have watched so far - no regrets sacrificing exam study time because it has made me reflect on myself and the world we all live in today and how some things we take too much for granted.

Solid show. Solid punch

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*whistles, claps, whistles*
Punch you were one badass ride, constant adrenaline rushes and tears. Will remember you for a long time!
And man, that rating is a whopper, woo go team!

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I'm just a lurker and I haven't commented on previous recaps, but it's important to relay my thanks to Heads for covering this drama. Truly, you're a great writer and it's always a pleasure to read your thoughts!

I'm not sure what to say that everyone else hasn't said already. Just that Punch was really one in a million, a remarkable political drama with characters that I know I won't forget any time soon.

It was intense from beginning to end, always holding my interest with the plot and dialogue (what great dialogue) and the characters, who I cared for very much. It was an affecting drama, one that I'm sad to let go of, but one that I appreciate a lot.

In a stream of unforgettable dramas, Punch showed it's worth and rightfully prevailed over it's competition. And I'm glad it went out with 14.8% ratings, in the way that it deserved. It better win some awards, is all I'm saying.

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