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Black: Episode 18 (Final)

The end is finally here, and it’s time to see how our characters deal with the consequences of their actions from twenty years ago. Will all the details come together to make sense of everything that has happened so far, or will we end up banging our heads against the wall, as confused as we were when this adventure first began?

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

Ha-ram’s father followed Scarface during his investigation of the arson case and he saw Joon’s yellow smoke flare, realizing Joon was in danger. Ha-ram’s father found Joon in the glass factory, but before Joon could tell Ha-ram’s father what was wrong, Joon was shot.

Ha-ram’s father was shocked to realize that it was Ha-ram who shot Joon, and as he checked on his daughter who knocked herself out from the recoil, Joon staggered out of the factory.

Black struggles with the realization that it was Ha-ram who shot him, wondering if this is why his head hurt so much when he first met Ha-ram. As Black broods on the cliffside, Hip-hop worries that Black wasn’t able to find the tape and that the Death Squad will be coming for Black any minute now.

Hip-hop urges Black to take Leo’s laptop to the police and show them Leo’s confession that Moo-gang’s mother actually killed Joon, so then the police can find Joon’s body and Black can return to his true form. But Black doesn’t want Ha-ram to find out the truth—that she shot Joon, thinking he was her father’s Shadow.

Ha-ram visits Black at his home, worried about him since last she saw him he was dealing with an agonizing headache. Remembering Ha-ram’s confession that she likes him just because it’s him, as well as her mother’s warning for him to stay far away from her, Black orders Ha-ram to get lost. Grumbling about her ability to see Shadows, he kicks her out of his house, much to her bewilderment.

 

Ha-ram’s mother finds her sitting dazed and depressed at home. Ha-ram blankly says that Mom should have just killed her back then, since she’s such a monster. Realizing that Black must have said something to her, Mom tries to comfort Ha-ram.

Ha-ram’s mother confronts Black, fiercely standing up for her suffering daughter. Black points out that he had to be cruel to Ha-ram so she would leave him alone. Besides, Black plans to disappear just as Ha-ram’s mother wishes, so Mom should be happy.

But her accusations ring in his ears as he drives away to give the police Leo’s laptop. He determinedly tells himself that he doesn’t care, then sighs as he suddenly turns the car around.

Ha-ram wakes up to finds some food left out for her by her concerned mother. Ha-ram can’t stop thinking about the way Black kicked her out, calling her eyes obnoxious. She cries to herself as she says that he’s the obnoxious one, but she slowly reaches for a chopstick and aims it at her eye.

Black bursts into her place, preventing her from stabbing out her eyes. Ha-ram pleads with him to let her go, but he patiently holds onto her as she weeps, gently forcing her to let go of the chopstick.

Ha-ram’s mother overhears all this and suddenly apologizes to Black as he leaves Ha-ram’s place. Mom realizes that Ha-ram is struggling but that Black is only person who can help her. Mom pleads with Black to stay by Ha-ram’s side, protecting her for the rest of her life.

 

Hip-hop worries that if Black doesn’t submit the laptop as evidence soon, the police won’t be able to find Joon’s body before the Death Squad arrive to drag Black away, which will result in Black’s memories as Joon being erased.

Black wants the truth of what happened to Joon to be revealed, though. He painfully realizes that if Joon hadn’t died like that, Black could still be living a happy, human life.

Black ultimately decides to destroy the laptop, determined to stay in Moo-gang’s body and live as a human, declaring that it’s his second chance at life. That way Ha-ram also won’t find out the truth about Joon’s death and her role in it. But Joseon points out that Black being stuck in Moo-gang’s body isn’t for another chance at life, but a chance to reveal how he died.

Black brings Ha-ram to see a doctor who tells her that the bullet in Black’s brain may cause him to act irrationally at times due to the nerves it’s pressing against, but it doesn’t mean Black can’t have a long and normal life.

Black uses the “bullet pressing against nerves” to explain that he doesn’t remember how he treated her last night and only heard about it from her mother (which, as we know, is a lie). He apologizes for his actions, and reassures Ha-ram that he treasures her eyes.

He plans to get surgery from a world-renowned brain surgeon in America. Ha-ram says she’ll go with him, and Black quickly says that he’ll be going his his mother (well, Moo-gang’s mother), and that he’ll be leaving soon. Then he hugs Ha-ram close.

 

Black meets up with Soo-wan, remembering the first time that Joon saw Seon-young and the way his young adolescent heart fluttered. Black now realizes that the reason Moo-gang’s heart always felt strange when he was with Soo-wan was because it was Joon’s heart, fluttering for his first love.

Soo-wan has changed her mind about moving to America. Instead, she plans to have an interview with the press. She’ll tell them what happened with Congressman Kim back then, which will force the prosecution to investigate the case again.

Black urges Soo-wan to stick with her plan to move to America, promising that he’ll take care of Congressman Kim. But first he has a favor to ask of her.

Black takes Soo-wan to Joon’s mother, and both women cry tears of joy to be reunited since they were like mother and daughter. Joon’s mother apologizes for sending Soo-wan to live with Clara, blaming herself for what happened back then. Soo-wan says if Joon’s mother is truly sorry, then she can make it up to her by moving to America with Soo-wan.

Black goes to the columbarium and pours the ashes from Joon’s urn into the nearly empty urn of Seung-chul (since when there’s only a hand to bury, there aren’t many ashes). As he sets Seung-chul’s urn next to the urns of Seung-chul’s parents, Black apologizes that it’s taken so long for Seung-chul to finally be returned to his proper place.

Leo panics when he sees that his laptop is missing, but is more shocked when he turns around to find Black pointing a gun at him. Black insists that Loser is in Leo’s body, and if Loser doesn’t come out on the count of three, Black will shoot Leo and drag Loser out anyway.

 

At first Leo looks confused, but then suddenly he collapses as Loser leaps out of Leo’s body. Loser profusely apologizes and begs forgiveness, wondering how Black figured it out. Black says that it was from the laptop’s recording—Leo clearly died from an overdose, but when the shower stall door opened on its own and then Leo suddenly got up again, it was obvious a Reaper possessed him.

Black is annoyed that Loser has been messing with him all this time, but Loser argues that it’s all Black’s fault for sending him on an assignment by himself in the first place. He knew Black wanted him to mess up so Black could get a new partner.

But when Loser realized that Leo the soul he was going to reap, he decided to get his revenge for all the ills Leo caused him by borrowing Leo’s glamorous life for a while, even it meant being sent to the fiery pits once the Death Squad caught him.

 

Right after Loser possessed Leo’s body, he heard voices elsewhere in the hotel suite and hid himself. He saw Creepy Doc and Moo-gang’s mother arguing about stopping Moo-gang from investigating Joon’s death. Creepy Doc got so agitated that his Reaper tattoo glowed.

That’s when Loser discovered Creepy Doc was possessed by a Reaper, and since then they worked together. Black points out that Creepy Doc was possessed by the old woman who’s never been caught by the Death Squad, and that she actually tried to kill Leo so that Loser’s memory would be wiped.

Loser demands to speak to the old woman, but Black says that he’s already taken care of her.

 

Moo-gang’s mother hurries to Creepy Doc’s home, desperate to warn him that Black has found out the truth of Joon’s death. But Creepy Doc is dead.

Loser is shocked that Black killed Creepy Doc so that the old woman would be returned to the Death Squad, going back on his promise of helping her after she told him where to find Leo’s laptop.

Loser pleads with Black to let him stay in Leo’s body just a little longer, at least until Leo’s drama is finished filming, since Loser has always wanted to be an actor. Black says that Loser can live as a human for however long he wants—under one condition.

Man-soo inherits the entirety of Royal Group—the coerced contract Man-ho forced him to sign now considered null and void. Man-soo’s first act as the CEO of Royal Group is to halt all construction of the new mall, dedicating that space for a memorial to the people who died in the Mujin mall collapse. He then plans to break up the Royal Group conglomerate, relinquishing his role of CEO.

Joseon doesn’t trust Black to be able to live as a human without seeking vengeance on the people who ruined Joon’s life. But Black is determined to forget everything and stay by Ha-ram’s side, protecting her from any more harm.

Congressman Kim’s approval rating tanks and he’s ordered to resign from his position. He calls Leo, asking to meet at their old house in Mujin. Leo tries calling Black, but doesn’t get an answer.

Ha-ram hurries to the airport to say goodbye to Black before he leaves for America. Black hugs her tightly as she asks him to call her once he lands, and then they go their separate ways.

But instead of heading to a flight, Black watches as Ha-ram leaves the airport. Man-soo arrives just then, wanting also to say goodbye to Black, but Ha-ram says he’s too late. Man-soo happily hands her a life insurance contract, reminding her she promised to be his first client.

He also tells her about his plans for the Mujin memorial, and Ha-ram realizes that the time capsule is on the site. She hurries to Mujin to dig it up before the construction crew finds it.

 

Black waits at the airport for Soo-wan and Joon’s mother to arrive, since they’re the ones actually going to America. Soo-wan promises to take care of joon’s mother like she was her own, and then hopes Black will live happily-ever-after with Ha-ram. Now that Soo-wan and his mother are taken care of, Black focuses on his final mission.

Soo-wan and Joon’s mother make their way to airport security as Missing-finger watches. Oh, hey, I forgot about him! He reports to someone, letting them know that Seon-young is leaving the country, so it’s all taken care of.

Except when Soo-wan puts Joon’s mother’s purse into her suitcase, she sees a SIM card stuck in Moo-gang’s sweatshirt that Soo-wan was taking with her to America. Soo-wan realizes that this must be important, and sends Joon’s mother home while Soo-wan tries to reach Black.

 

Missing-finger is surprised and annoyed to see Soo-wan leave the airport. Soo-wan sticks the SIM card in her phone—it has Byung-tae’s burner phone number. Byung-tae answers, relieved that Moo-gang must have regained his memory.

But Soo-wan tells him that she needs to meet with him so they can figure out how to prosecute Congressman Kim.

Congressman Kim meets with Leo at their old Mujin house. He attributes Leo’s awkwardness to the way Congressman Kim beat up his son twenty years ago when he demanded to know where the tape went (but Leo’s awkwardness is actually attributed to Loser not being sure of what’s going on).

Soo-wan visits Byung-tae, desperate to know where the tape is so she can give it to the police and tell them everything. But Byung-tae says that he doesn’t have it—Ha-ram does. That information shocks Soo-wan—but not as much as suddenly getting a knife pressed against her neck, courtesy of Missing-finger.

Ha-ram digs up the time capsule and opens it, surprised to find a video tape inside. But then she remembers the day she discovered Joon leaving a video message for Seon-young. When he wasn’t looking, Ha-ram snuck inside and stole the tape from his backpack, her jealousy wanting her to prevent Seon-young from ever seeing it.

Ha-ram decides that at least she’ll be able to see Joon’s face again, so she starts to watch the video—only it’s the tape of Seon-young being raped by Congressman Kim. Horrified, Ha-ram quickly switches off the TV. She realizes that there are actually two tapes in the capsule. She grabs the other tape and puts it in the VCR.

Black goes to Congressman Kim’s office. Black doesn’t care if it means he’ll perish as a Reaper, he’s prepared to kill the congressman. But he’s too late—Congressman Kim has already hanged himself. Black doesn’t believe it’s suicide, and speculates that Man-ho was the one who ordered the hit.

Leo finds Black and tells him about meeting Congressman Kim that morning, who told him about the tape that Leo had apparently given away twenty years ago.

Black’s fractured memories start to return and he recalls young Leo accidentally running into him with his bike, causing Joon to be mildly injured. Leo took him to his house to get some first aid.

Joon saw a video camera and asked to borrow it so he could make sure his birthday tape for Seon-young recorded properly—only to discover the tape was missing from his bag (courtesy of Ha-ram).

Leo offered to let him use one of his father’s tapes to record a new birthday message, but when Joon tested the video to make sure it was blank, he saw it was the recording of Seon-young being raped.

 

When Joon was running from Scarface, he realized he was near where he and Ha-ram buried their time capsule. So he quickly hid the tape in there. Black goes to the spot where the time capsule was buried, shocked to see that the capsule has already been dug up.

Black deduces that Ha-ram was the one who took it, then worries that this must be why Ha-ram will die.

 

Ha-ram calls Chief Bong to let them know she has the tape, but as she leaves to bring the tape to them, Missing-finger and his men are ready to grab her. She tries to run and hide, but she’s no match for Missing-finger. Chief Bong and the detectives arrive to save her, but Missing-finger’s men overpower them.

Black speeds back to Seoul and finds Man-soo at his new insurance company. Black asks Man-soo to use his hacking skills to track down someone named Choi Geun-ho.

Choi Geun-ho, now a high-ranking government official, was originally the mayor of Mujin. Congressman Kim, back when he was a PD, blackmailed Choi Geun-ho for catching him having sex with Seon-young at a mountain cabin at the time the Mujin mall collapsed. In order to protect his political career, Choi Geun-ho was forced to support Congressman Kim.

 

Choi Geun-ho is also the person Missing-finger works for, so it’s on his behalf that Missing-finger sets Ha-ram up in an empty pool, her hands and feet bound to a metal chair. Chief Bong and the other detectives are also tied up and Missing-finger threatens to beat them to death if Ha-ram doesn’t tell him where she hid the video tape.

Ha-ram’s furious that Choi Geun-ho and Congressman Kim have covered up their crimes in such a brutal manner over the past twenty years, and refuses to tell them where she hid the tape. That is until she sees the Shadows next to the detectives as Missing-finger’s men beat them up. The detectives are dragged away, and Chief Bong shouts that they’d rather die than hide the truth, so Ha-ram shouldn’t tell Missing-finger anything.

 

Realizing that Ha-ram won’t tell him about the htape, Missing-finger starts to fill the swimming pool with water and then shows her two live wires. Since she’s in a metal chair, she’ll be immediately electrocuted once he drops the wire the water. Ha-ram still refuses to tell him where the tape is.

Missing-finger tosses the wire into the pool, but before the wire reaches the water, Black shuts off the power. Black drags Ha-ram out of the water from where she nearly drowned, then fights off all of Missing-finger’s men.

He and Missing-finger fight each other, but Black manages to stab Missing-finger, knocking him into the pool. Missing-finger demands to know who Black is. Black: “I’m 444—which you’ll find out soon enough.”

 

Black tosses the live wires into the pool, electrocuting Missing-finger. Black’s next mission is Choi Geun-ho, who he shoots point-blank in the head. Black: “May you rot in hell.”

Later, Black swan dives off the cliff, hoping that Ha-ram will be happy once her memories of him are erased.

 

Ha-ram’s recovering at the hospital—as are the other detectives, who were saved by Black, although they don’t know how that could be possible since they’re convinced he’s in America. Hahaha, the detectives are all impressed that Ha-ram is healing so much faster than they are.

Ha-ram’s mother brings her a letter from Black postmarked from America. Black writes that his brain surgery went well to remove the bullet, and once he recovers, he plans to travel the world. Ha-ram’s happy that he’s doing well and studies the photo of post-operation Black with his doctor.

Moo-gang’s mother is so guilt-stricken about what she did to Joon that she leaves a suicide note explaining everything. Then she overdoses on sleeping pills.

It turns out that Moo-gang’s mother actually didn’t need to use Joon’s heart to save Moo-gang. Just as she had finished removing Joon’s heart, she got a call that a girl who’d been in an accident and was brain dead was a perfect match for Moo-gang, and thus the heart transplant could happen right away.

Thanks to her suicide note, the detectives now know the truth about what happened to Joon, and they retrieve the body from the sea. The autopsy reveals that Joon was shot, and Ha-ram overhears them talking about it.

 

She realizes in a daze that she had to have been the one who shot Joon. Leo watches her in concern, remembering that Black said Loser could live in Leo’s body for as long as he wanted, provided he protected Ha-ram from finding out the truth of how Joon died. Leo worries about what he should do, since she’ll also find out that Black didn’t go to America.

Ha-ram demands the detectives check Black’s flight records, and they confirm that Black never left the country and never got surgery to remove the bullet from his brain. They did find footage of someone jumping off the cliff where they found Joon’s body, and they realize that it must be Black.

Everyone is shocked, but none more so than Ha-ram.

In the Underworld, Black stands trial before the Death Squad. Since Black killed a human (well, more than one human), his punishment is to perish. But when Black was on his way to his trial, Joseon informed him Ha-ram found out the truth of Joon’s death. Black asked Joseon to do him a favor.

Meanwhile, Ha-ram stands at the edge of the cliff. She asks to be reborn as a simple, ordinary person.

At his trial, Black asks the Death Squad to give him the maximum punishment, which isn’t for him to perish. Thanks to the old woman Reaper, Black knows the maximum sentence is actually that he ceases to exist. By removing himself from the world, Black can make sure Ha-ram has a happy life since she’ll have never met—or shot—Joon.

 

Thanks to Joseon’s overwrought testimony about Black’s misdeeds, the Death Squad agrees to the maximum sentence, declaring him to have never existed. As Black receives his punishment, Ha-ram jumps off the cliff.

Thanks to Black ceasing to exist, he was able to prevent Ha-ram’s parent’s car accident, which means she was born a normal child and not half-human, half-Reaper. She then grew up to have a normal life, becoming a fire fighter and saving many people’s lives—including the lives of the victims we already know, such as Seung-chul’s parents, Tiffany and Hyo-jin, and the little boy with the sugar sensitivity.

Many years later, an elderly Leo reads a bed-time story about a Reaper who fell in love with a human. He reads it to Ha-ram’s grandchildren (which are not his grandchildren—Leo just remained Ha-ram’s friend all her life), and Ha-ram says that it’s a sad ending because the Reaper erased all the memories of the woman he loved.

 

But Leo says it’s actually a happy ending, since the Reaper erased memories of him so that the woman he loved could have a happy life. Leo gives her what he calls a Halloween present, and Ha-ram opens it up to reveal the red string bracelet she had once made for Joon.

Memories seem to return as Ha-ram stares at the bracelet. In the morning, she peacefully passes away. Ha-ram’s soul leaves her body and finds Black waiting for her. Ha-ram apologizes for forgetting him, but Black is just happy to know that she had a long and happy life. She puts the red string bracelet on him and together they walk hand-in-hand to the afterlife.

COMMENTS

Sigh. I was onboard with everything up until the last ten minutes. It’s not just the laughably terrible high school drama makeup they did to make twentysomethings Go Ara and Kim Jae-young look older. It’s the infuriating fact that causing Joon to suddenly cease to exist somehow makes it feel like all these hours we’ve spent invested in his life (or at least his missing Reaper soul) are now somehow invalidated. Hitting the big “reset” button makes sense up to a point—I can’t blame him for sacrificing himself to give Ha-ram a happier life, and consider that a noble act. But it’s cruel to realize that so much of the horrible things that happened were solved by removing the existence of an innocent child. What an awful burden to place on Joon’s shoulders when he had already gone through so much.

The logistics of Joon’s disappearance also make no sense to me. For example, I don’t understand how Joon’s disappearance means Ha-ram’s parents never got into an accident and therefore her father was never possessed by a Reaper. I could try to excuse it as the mysteries of the Underworld, but when we’ve been given so many intricate details over the past couple of months, it’s disappointing to suddenly make leaps of faith that seemingly go against everything we’ve learned so far. Joon no longer exists, but apparently Black does, but why does he get to use Moo-gang’s face—because I assume Moo-gang is still real—when Reapers aren’t allowed to use actual human faces that are not their own? Oh, wait, I know—because it would be weird for him to show up at the end looking like the thirteen-year-old Joon after Ha-ram realizes that he was the one she loved. It also explains why her spirit is the young Ha-ram and not the old Ha-ram. Not that I’m complaining about this Titanic-like ending where the old lady, who’s lived a long and happy life, is reunited with her true love after death. I can sense the romance in that, but trying to understand how it actually works is driving me almost as crazy as attempting to figure out what the hell kind of Halloween-Christmas holiday old Leo and old Ha-ram were celebrating.

Also, if Leo/Loser can clearly remember that Joon/Black existed because he’s faithfully stayed by Ha-ram’s side all this time, it means that Black didn’t cease to exist for other Reapers (which can explain why he could be Ha-ram’s Reaper, I guess, although you’d think the maximum punishment would also mean being sent to the fiery pits, but whatever, show). Yet, if Joon ceased to exist for all humans, does that mean there’s no Mujin hellmouth? Did Joon’s butterfly affect also stop the mall from collapsing? Prevent Clara from using teen girls in a prostitution ring? Prevent Seon-young’s parents from dying in their car crash so she never became an orphan determined to become a doctor? Is Kwang-kyun still alive and having his own happily-ever-after with Clara? Were Chairman Oh, Congressman Kim, and Byung-shik prevented from entering their unholy trinity and killing so many people? Did Moo-gang become an accountant in America when there was no need for his mother to send him away in the first place? Is Moo-gang’s mother still alive because she wouldn’t have had a reason to commit suicide? Did Royal Group ever come to be? Was Man-soo forced to live with Chairman Oh’s family or did his birth mother keep him? Most importantly, is Sip-gyeong still alive?

These questions may seem like I’m quibbling about finer details, but when we’ve spent hours with a show that’s taken such great pains to prove to us that details are incredibly important, I can’t just suddenly accept a sloppy “happily ever after, the end” finale. I’m not sure if there is even a way to end this show that would be truly satisfying, though. At the very least, I wish it felt like the writer had figured out an ending that felt connected to everything else. I had given this writer the benefit of the doubt, happy to believe the disappointing ending to God’s Gift—14 Days was a fluke. But now when I watch Choi Ran’s future dramas, I’ll probably stop watching before the last ten minutes for fear my enjoyment would be ruined by whatever nonsense comes next.

Overall, though, I’ve genuinely loved this drama. It’s been a thrilling adventure that’s invited me to partake in it as more than just a viewer—piecing together all the hints and clues made me feel like I was also somehow a part of the show, solving the mysteries alongside Black and Ha-ram. If it weren’t for those last ten minutes, I’d be filling this space with a gushing, glowing review. It wasn’t a perfect drama, but it was compelling in a way that felt fresh and different. Untangling all the threads of the first episode has been such a rewarding experience, and dissecting theories and analyzing the clues with everyone has definitely elevated this show from mere TV to a community event. Perhaps I should just forget how Black ended, and instead focus the journey.

According to the production team’s final message:

Black was a story about how human desires and greed influence those around us. We hope it was a chance to reflect on people around us. Black was based on events that won’t be forgotten. We hope that it gave strength to the victims of those events and their families. Thank you again for watching.

 
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What a great ending! Actually it was Leo who prevented Haram’s parents from dying - teleport.

Okay I gotta say the first time I watched the ending I didn’t like it at all. I had no idea what it meant. I had to go back and watch it a few more times to understand it. I was super confused when I thought it was Joon who stopped Haram’s parents from dying, but it was actually Leo! Leo must have teleported in order to help her parents.

Poor Joon, I can’t believe he gave up everything just for the happiness of Haram, that poor guy he deserves better. It was super sweet to see him want to settle down as a human and live happily with Haram. If only they’ve gotten married because that fulfills their promise as kids.

I also think that at the end when Haram dies she knows the truth, that Joon is actually Moo Gang. I’m assuming Joon at the end isn’t a grim reaper to collect Haram but just a soul waiting for Haram to pass away so they can go to heaven together. I kinda wish Joon would show up in his childhood self, it made no sense that he still had Moo Gang’s face even if they looked like each other a lot. I teared up a little when Haram put the bracelet on Joon’s arm and they walked away together hand in hand, it was so bittersweet ugh!

PS Go Ara’s elderly makeup was a joke, why couldn’t they do a better job like Lee El in Goblin or actually cast an older lady for this. Sigh

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Sorry but Leo teleporting to save Ha Ram's parents makes zero sense. Just ignoring the fact that teleporting through time wasn't established as a Reaper skill, if all Black had to do to stop Ha Ram's ability to see Reapers was to teleport then he would have just done that. Why go to all the trouble of committing an unforgivable crime and being wiped from existence?

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i know it doesn’t really make sense, even the fact that Joon stopped Haram’s parents from dying made no sense. But if you go back and listen more carefully, it was not SSH’s voice but Leo’s when he voiced over the fact that he saved Haram’s parents from dying.

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I didn't recognize Leo's voice, either. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Well, if ut was Leo the one who prevented the accident, it was while re-living the life in Leo's Body... not a time travel. He lived his entire life and saved the parents from the accident inthe right moment it happened

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that doesnt make sense leo is roughly ha rams age he'd be an infant at most when the parents were getting married

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It would make so much sense if in the first place the real cause of Haram's parent car accident is JOON himself thus will be a great plot twist for the whole reset and it work since Joon cease to exist instead of Leo/Loser stopping it...SIGH!

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Now that's a truly elegant solution!

I didn't realize it was Leo who flitted back in time (how???) to stop the accident. I thought it was #444 (who later became Ha-ram's father) who was riding in the back seat. I figured he'd somehow managed to make the driver more awake and alert so he could take evasive action when the Truck of Doom crossed the center line.

So did Leo teleport into the TOD and wake up the driver?

Don't look to closely at the man behind the curtain. (line from THE WIZARD OF OZ) ;-)

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unless it is something even more simple, if the man who fell asleep behind the wheel of the truck was joons' dad who fell asleep because his new baby kept him awake. No joon baby, no sleepless nights = no sleeping behind the wheel causing accidents. Parents saved.
No joon = no drugs charges due to jealous bully hiding the stuff, so soon young does not leave the house of Yoon's mom (and dad)and becomes a doctor.
No teenage hooker for clara to "give" to the mayor, so no blackmail ring ..no need for man ho or others to clean up the mess, no way the Moojin time market building would be approved..etc
Although, the reapers creed was to "not interfere in the lives and deaths of humans" , since wipen Black from existance, the saved about 300 + lives :) :) way to not interfere guys! :)

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@Cocobeans,

ROFLMAO!!! Thank you! I just love that Reaper "hands-off" policy. I wonder if that means all the Reapers and the Death Squad have to turn themselves in receive the worst punishment? Or maybe Whoever's In Charge get it, since they handed down the decision? LOL!

So it really was all Baby Joon's butterfly-effect fault! ;-)

Seriously, though, it's entirely possible that Man-soo's father and his perverted associates could still have gotten their kicks elsewhere. And the whackjob arsonist who killed his wife for the life insurance payout would not have been stopped, IIRC. And the school kids being preyed on by the pedophile teacher would not be rescued. Mujin is still a hellhole.

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Lmao this is my new headcanon

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How did Leo save Haram's parents? I think I missed that part. I think Leo would be a kid at that time. He wouldn't know what he was supposed to do as Loser didn't possess him yet.

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Hah. Thanks to the ending the whole drama and the efforts of the crew have been wasted. :(

Everyone did a great job, it's just the last 10 minutes of the finale episode that destroys the story. Imagine, only 10 minutes compared to almost 20 hours of watching the whole series. i dont want to blame the writer. we never knew what really happened, why the story ended that way.

Anyway, if i were the writer of this series my alternate ending would be:

1. Black will not kill Chen or his boss (who was not formally introduced in the story btw) and would make them suffer for everything they've done

2. Joon/Black stayed with Haram, married her and lived a happy life together

3. Death Squad found him. (several months or a year after their wedding, i suggest, to make it more dramatic)

4. Haram saw shadows (this could be GR # 007 and 416 warning Black that DS will be taking him at any time) beside Black but she could not see how he will die

5. agonized she told Moo Gang about the balck shadows and how she cant forsee his death

6. Haram holding on to Moo Gang crying

7. before Black/Joon was dragged out of his brother's body, he whispered to Ha Ram, "Ha Ram, I love you, I really love you so much"

8. Moo Gang/Joon died beside Haram (I can hear Haram screaming "Andwae! Andwae! Kagima. Jaebal! Kajima!!!")

9. After his burial, Haram saw the time capsule she and Joon used among MG's belongings

10.She opened it and saw a letter and a tape

11. SHe reads the letter which seems to be his farewell letter to her. it seems that he knew that he's going to die soon

The letter reads:

To the person who i love the most,
Haram

My soul loves you this much that i am willing to do everything for you
I am sorry for hurting you back then
I knew you like me but I liked somebody else, please forgive me
I kept my promise, our promise for each other
Marrying you is the most beautiful and at the same time, the saddest thing that happened in my life
Beautiful because I married the woman i truly love
but it's also sad because everytime you calls his name and not mine, it breaks my heart into pieces
Haram, I'm sorry for leaving you again
I was a fool for not realizing it soon
I should have used all the time I have to love you and to make you happy
you were right. i was wrong
i should have told you but i dont know
what would happen if i do
sorry for being so selfish
and thank you for loving me after all these years
finally i will be able to return to where i came from
and if God would allow me to live another life
i want to be the same guy, the only guy, you first and the last to fall in love with
I still want to be me and love you with all my heart and soul
I will love you and protect you until the end
I love you Kang Haram
Good bye.

-Joon

Cries, Scream. Haram calling Joon's name.
Flashbacks

7 years later

Joon is now 7 years old. Joon/Black and Ha Ram's child
Little Joon is watching his...

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Ha-ram can see shadows so if Joon/444 stayed and marry her, she would eventually see a shadow in him.

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How does "Leo" (or Loser) teleport to prevent Ha Ram's parents' accident? Human Leo was just a toddle at that time. I think the writer and director should have added a subplot that connects Joon and the truck driver. Then, it makes more sense that without Joon, the plot disappear and Ha Ram's parents' accident won't happen. What also makes sense is the previous 444 doesn't exist anymore because he has perished.

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except... that's not teleporting... that's time travel... and I'm pretty sure that's not within grim reaper power. Leo/Je Soo-dong didn't exist as a grim reaper at that point, so how exactly did they save Haram's parents?

sorry folks-- the ending was a sloppy reach. Disappointing and to the writer odilettante's point, wasted the 18 episode investment into the characters and plot lines. It took a serious issue within Korean society (all society) of holding powerful people accountable for horrible acts of crime and turned it into a cheap tacky, love story.

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Black got erased and Ha Ram’s parents got saved are totally unrelated. I think that’s just the ending in Leo’s story at the end of the movie. In fact, Ha Ram could still the shadow, just didn’t remember Joon.

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Finally I've been waiting for this recap, I agree with all what you've said, you said what I wanted to write the whole week after watching the ending.

After placing all the puzzle pieces together and we had the completed picture the writer flipped the puzzle in our faces and forced us to start over again when Joon decided to be forgotten, this kid died a horrible death doesn't the writer think that he deserves a better closer. Joon worked hard for 17 episodes to find what happened 20 years ago and he was able to reveal all those dirty men deeds to young girls, it's all went down the drain the moment everything was reset.
And erasing him means that those dirty men will do the same thing again and no one will punish them, if it wasn't for joon they wouldn't be discovered. On the other hand doesn't this means that all the people who died will be alive again! That means Leo is alive and the reaper inside him is alive again how can they repeat time without the dead people, her mother was pregnant after meeting the grim reaper that means her father didn't die at the day I'll assume that everyone is supposed to be dead is alive again Mujin collapse will happen again, This was a cheap twist from the writer and doesn't make sense at all, even the reset button doesn't solve anything it made things more complicated, and made me think even more of other possibilities...sigh

Also ha ram didn't know that she was a half reaper and joon is MG and a reaper too. What about Sun Young and Joon mom?!

With this kind of ending I felt cheated , this writer should improve her endings she writes good dramas with bad endings.

I'll pretend this drama has ended at episode 17 and episode 18 never exists because nothing was pleasant about the last episode. Still I loved Black and i will miss it, one of the best thrillers in the history of kdrama.

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Actually the writer didn't choose this ending. Apparently the director messed up the writer's version and make his own conclusion as he wasn't satisfied with the writer's ending script. :/ The writer wrote a script for 20 episodes and in her version ha ram's life continued after black left. Which makes more sense to me, since that would mean haram got to know who black really was, not joon or moo gang, and as black chose nothingness, this gives a more logical ending. As in the real ending we saw black greets haram after she dies, so that doesn't justify that scene where we see black chose to not exist anymore, if that's the case then how come haram saw reaper black after she dies? It just doesn't make any sense. I do wish we got to know what more the writer had to say, if two episodes worth content got cut off. :/ Lol I refuse to accept this ending.

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Thank you for sharing, i got a feeling that she didn't write this ending as I said below even God's Gift ending wasn't bad I wasn't disappointed like this about that ending, It's sad that we didn't get to see this ending, i hope that Korean share our disappointment and the director reflects on ruining a good drama i wish they reset the ending and shoot episode 18 again with the writer version.

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You're totally right, even god's gift ending was better than this, although that drama ended on a sad note too. But it still was consistent with the overall script! I also feel the director should re-shoot the last episode!

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I read that too.... The director wanted to have a happy ending for Black and Haram. So he 'added' more scenes for thw finale... The writer is dissapointed so she upload the original stories for the ending in her blog.
I wish someone would translate it.. I want to know her version for the ending!!! ☹️☹️☹️

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Can i have the link to the writer's blog? Please

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I believe I've found the blog, and I've had a look at the script of the last chapter. I haven't read everything, but the beginning seems to be exactly the same as in the drama, but there are some deleted parts after Black's punishment. Just like in the drama, Ha-ram's life is reset. 007 goes to 'Leo' to tell him that Black wanted him to prevent Ha-ram's parent's accident. He does that and meets Ha-ram as 'Woo-sik' when they're children.
I hoped the original script wouldn't have this reset...

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Agree about your comment about black existance. I mean, they said he cease to exist but lets just pick 1 simple thing. How the heck is that bracelet still exist? It feels like they decide to use a reset plot and belatedly remember that viewer still want to see SSH at the end. So.. lets reset everything but not really.. Hey look! SSH looks fine~ 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️
This is supernatural drama. If they cant be together while Haram is alive, they can just make them together in afterlife. There are other possibilities for happy ending.

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Yeah the director really lost us there, with the last 15 minutes. To me it would have been better if haram was little more involved in the ending part, got to know black for real. She doesn't even know how her precious joon oppa died, is that even fair. I'm sure writer tied up all the loose ends so that makes me more mad at the director. :/
Exactly the way the show ended it's not happy ending, rather a controversial one.

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She doesn't even know how her precious joon oppa died,

After Moo-gang's mother overdosed on sleeping pills, her suicide note alerted the police to the location of Joon's body. Ha-ram overheard two cops talking about the remains found in the submerged car. The remains had a bullet wound to the skull. She suddenly realized that the shadow she thought she shot in the glass factory was actually Joon.

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@pakalanapikake Yep true, I am sorry about just picking this point, but when I was also going to mention, that she still didn't know that her joon oppa was temporarily residing in moo gang's body. Which is sad, she deserved to know the truth. Which the drama never acknowledged either. I wonder though if it was addressed in the original script.

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Thank you for this info! It was clear to me that the ending was forced and out of line with the rest of the drama. The ending made Joon a scapegoat for all that had happened; even worse, it actually glorifies suicide (isn't what Black chooses the ultimate form of suicide?)

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I don't think erasing Joon will stop those rapists from being punished. While the drama was bleak, I think there was a ray of hope in seeing people like MG's colleagues - who begged Haram not to reveal the tape even though their lives were on the line. I like to think that even if Joon never existed, there will still be someone out there to make sure these monsters are chased down and put away. Maybe Sun-young ended up leaving Moojin after her parents' death. Maybe Crazy Dog got Clara to turn those monsters in. Maybe those people who died in one timeline will die a different way in another timeline.

Time resets and time travel is always tricky and full of paradoxes. I'm not too fond of them, except for in the Doctor Who series. But even then - I'm still confused.

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Nooo~ the scandal won’t even happen because joon didn’t exist therefore there will be no “joon” to mess with those kids who tricked him by putting a drug on his backpack, joon’s mother won’t be in jail, hence, seon young wouldn’t be on the hands of Clara~~

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While the drama was bleak, I think there was a ray of hope in seeing people like MG's colleagues - who begged Haram not to reveal the tape even though their lives were on the line. I like to think that even if Joon never existed, there will still be someone out there to make sure these monsters are chased down and put away.

I agree! That's the silver lining in a pitch-black drama. Although Moo-gang's associates were often portrayed as Korean Keystone Kops, the detectives who got no respect persisted anyway. Short-legged Grandpa Bong, So-tae, and the rest of the team never gave up, and neither did Ha-ram's father.

For another take on resetting a timeline, Robert Heinlein's science fiction novella The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag might be worth a read. It's a drastic way to settle the hash of the baddies. But oh, so satisfying. ;-)

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Like you I would give the last episode the most severe punishment in the underworld. It never existed. Hahaha.

It was so cleverly written all the way up until the end. That’s a classic writers ‘let’s wrap this up real quick’ mistake. I know that well since I do a lot of writing and the ending is always the hardest.

Reminds me of Game of Thrones when they quickly made seasons when they were no books to follow. They were the worst seasons ever.

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Worst ending of any drama this year. To the point where it almost ruins the drama for me.

I loved, loved this drama and so I wanted to love this ending but it just fell flat for me.

For a start, it didn't make sense. How did Joon not existing prevent Ha Ram's parents' accident? How could Ha Ram reunite with him after death if he never existed?

Secondly, I absolutely hate memory wipe endings because I don't understand how the rest of the plot played out with the change. Without Joon, does this mean Sun Young got murdered after being raped and the child sex ring continued and the perpetrators never went to jail? What happened to all the corruption and Oh Man Soo's life?
I'm still going to rate it as the second best drama of the year because it was sheer genius right up to the last 20 minutes. I feel a lot like I did when I watched Circle. Unbelievable, amazing genius until the last scene, which left me shaking my head.

I just find it so disappointing that such an original and intricately-plotted drama chose such a clichéd, almost trite ending. I had the same issue with Goblin's awful final episodes but since I thought 3/4 of Goblin was boring tripe it didn't really bother me. But the more I think about it, the more disappointed I am by having this weird thing with bad wigs tacked onto the end.

The final episode was 90 minutes and still rushed. They could have used a 20 or 22 episode season. This episode leapt from plot point to plot point trying to bring it on home in 18 and so it leapt over some things that may have made it make sense.

Does it ruin the drama? I haven't decided yet. It's still one of the best things this year. But it does stop it from being the work of pure genius it was shaping up to be.

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i hate extensions but this drama I absolutely would appreciate if they extend it instead of this kind of ending.

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re: "How could Ha Ram reunite with him [Joon] after death if he never existed? "

The only way I can even begin to explain that conundrum: it was Moo-gang who came for her. She'd said at one point that she had come to love Moo-gang for himself. (Uh, but wasn't that Moo-gang's body animated by Joon/Black's soul??) -- So maybe that doesn't work after all.

I felt as if this show that did so well for 17 episodes crashed head-on into a brick wall. Disappointing, to say the least.

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I also considered the possibility that was Moo Gang. But she only knew Moo Gang for a couple of days before his death so I didn't see how that was a happy ending. Also, if Joon never existed the likelihood is that Moo Gang died in childhood of his heart condition.

Even if Joon could meet her after death despite never existing, he wouldn't be in Moo Gang's body because he only possessed that after events that never happened. So... argh. I think I hate this ending more with each day.

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Thank you for straightening that out, @LeeT. I was so peeved with the ending I was going to skip hashing it over in the final recap. Alas, old habits die hard.

Thanks for the reality check. Because of the flashbacks, I have a weak grasp on the order in which events occurred and who knew what when. I sadly have to concur with your appraisal of Moo-gang's likelihood of dying young. Mujin really is a hellmouth.

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Remember that et the end, moo gang's mother receives a call that a donor has been found, just moments after the heart transplant. So, most likely, Moo gang lives. Also, Moo gang's condition got worse that day for all the events and running he did for Joon.

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well, as shakespear thought me, even the placing of a comma can change the whole context. So if they said he would be wiped from the memory and timeline of the LIVING...hence why Leo/Loser still remembers and why Haram remembers everything on her death evening and after her death, no longer a living soul then . The dead know all hahah .Leo/Loser was also Haram /Moo Gangs reaper so i guess he would still know (maybe thanks to Joseon) when her time was up, hence the gift?

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@Cocobeans.

Excellent! Finagled on a technicality. I love it! ;-)

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Reading through your recap reminded me how furious I was at the end of this episode when the show went, "Those 20 hours of television you just sat through? Yeah, none of that happened and nothing in this episode matters".

"Oh Man So? Sun Young? Moo Gang's mother? Joon's mother? Moo Gang himself? Clara? Crazy Dog? Yeah, we're not even going to bother to tell you. But Ha Ram is happy."

I really really hate when shows pulls this "cease to exist" crap and wipe away all the relationships a person has built through their existence. Joon/Black wasn't just about Ha Ram. He was about the corruption cases, the murders, the relationships he had with his fellow cops and his relationship with Moo Gang. All that is now rendered meaningless. It's a way of saying that nothing you've watched actually matters.

I didn't have a problem with the Ha Ram character per se. It was kind of nice to see a female kdrama lead with depression. Yes it made it difficult to sympathise with her at times but at least she wasn't this noble, virginal, not-very-bright champion of justice like every other female lead.

My problem is with the implication that Ha Ram and her happiness was the entire point of the drama. The final scene fell so flat for me because it seemed to be tacked on from a completely different show: one that was a supernatural romance (and not a very good one).

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Exactly, the last scene felt like it's ripped of from a scene of disney fairy tales, it doesn't fit with the dark tone of this show.
This ending made us think more and we are thinking of everyone and everything that happened, we've only been shown HR happy life but what about the others we were invested in every character in the drama each one was important and we care to know what happened to them.

It's waste the a genius plot ends this awful ending, I wonder how did the writer come up with this ending.

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I don't know for sure but its similarity to Goblin makes me wonder if the writer wasn't ordered to put that kind of ending on it. Goblin was hugely popular and they may have been trying to cash in on that.

Since I hated Goblin, I'm doubly ticked off.

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I think it might be it, someone powerful must've interfered and forced this sloppy ending, even God Gift ending wasn't that bad compare to Black it felt that other writer wrote the ending.

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Yeah, exactly. It all felt like every rape, OD and violent death scene that these children and their families (I can’t help to think of the father who accidentally killed his wife, and how Black helped them get peace) was absolutely meaningless, because this show was all for the sake of Ha-Ram’s happiness.

I’m sad that the writer didn’t get to show her ending (reminiscent of the woman Leo/Loser saved, anyone?) because the director didn’t like it. It’s not like he did a great job at it either, and I feel like hers would have been much better given how invested she would have been in her own work...

This ending just didn’t work, and I’m so upset with the amount of dramas I’ve been binge watching (most recently KPOP: Extreme Survival that are so interesting to me, and then give me a crappy ending, or no ending at all. They need to stop cancelling or cropping dramas. Might as well just not start them to begin with.

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What about the school teacher who was a paedophile? He's now out there in the world raping and murdering his students because Black and Ha Ram never exposed him.

What about Clara's child sex ring? That never got stopped because Joon wasn't there to take the tape. So how many young girls were forced into prostitution for this cabal of politicians and policemen? One that will now never be brought to justice?

What about Man Soo's mother? Her son's sexual abuse will never be revealed and she will now kill herself over it.

And these are just the ones I can think of at short notice.

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there would be no one. because “joon” didn’t exist therefore seon young wouldn’t be on the hands of Clara.

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are - that just means that Seon Young wasn't a part of the child sex ring. It still exists. And without Joon taking the tape, I can only assume that it continued on merrily with more young girls being raped. That's not a 'happy ending'.

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Love the recap! Yes to the whole sloppy :reset: ending that just didn't give the needed closure for Joon. So unfair! Episode 18 was so chaotic - yes, even for this show! I mean the whole roundabout way that Joon recorded the birthday message on the wrong tape, watched it, mixed it up with the :other: nasty tape, then still made time to mix his brother in and then get shot in the head - and :still: made time to have his heart stolen while barely alive...there had to have been a better way to explain that night and his connection to Clara, the tapes etc.

Like you, I genuinely loved the show especially the episodes 1-16. After that, the couple hardly had any romance time and it was like the whole "dating" thing never happened. And like you I still don't understand how "ceasing to ever exist" still made him able to come back and pick someone up to the afterlife. Isn't he supposed to disappear forever? Oh I don't know. The ending might discourage new viewers from trying the show, as the buildup will all be for nothing. As for those of us who watched it while ongoing, I guess we were lucky. At least we had a great performance from the whole cast and crew!! Just the writers that need to know how to polish off a script. It's been swell y'all!

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I agree with what you said about the couple. It felt like they only dated for one episode, and after that we never saw any progress. They were back to how they were before, except for some hugs here and there. I was rooting for the two since the early episodes because I liked their chemistry. Sadly nothing much really happened.

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The explanation I came up with is that ultimately:

worst punishment: cease to exist as in his corporeal existence was wiped from the earthly timeline.
second worst punishment: perishing forever- soul gets disintegrated. (which sounds like it should be the worst punishment instead...)

Black chose the worst punishment, so he wasn't punished with the second worst punishment.

I liked how Haram remembered Black and my heart did swell with emotion when the reunited, BUT it doesn't make much sense for her to remember him if he didn't exist in her timeline. Unless you can make the argument that was made in season 4 of one of my favorite TV shows - Fringe - “At the risk of sounding sentimental, I’ve always felt there are people who can leave an indelible mark on your soul, an imprint that can never be erased.”

And I totally agree with what you said about the couple. I'm glad that there wasn't any sort of focus on romance, but I still wish there was something more.

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Oh, bless you for quoting Fringe!

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That was a garbage ending. Quite possibly the worst finale I've seen in a drama, and even worse than God's Gift, which was also by the same writer.

The ending doesn't really respect the story that came before it, and it's just lazy. I would've been fine with a happy, sad, or bittersweet ending, as long as it fit the story as it was presented. I don't think this ending does, and that's why it's so jarring and disappointing.

The ending makes what we encountered in the story pointless for every character except Black. They wanted to make it feel tragic by making Black opt for erasing his existence, but then also wanted to give us a bittersweet and happy feeling by allowing Ha-Ram to live a whole new life. This is cheap and lazy. And that's why it's so dissatisfying, because they're not committing to anything.

Then there's the myriad of issues that pop up with how nonsensical it is, such as Black's reaper friend somehow still remembering Black and protecting Ha-Ram by her side. Or the dozen other issues that basically invalidate the story because this ending entirely ignores cause and effect.

This is a nothing ending basically. And that's ignoring how it added a bunch of elements that were useless in the final episode. If they really wanted to erase Black's existence, then it simply would've been richer to allow Ha-Ram to discover everything, and allow her to move on as an individual and character, rather than resetting everything. Give us that encounter with Black where she learns the truth and has the chance to move past it. That would still ring true to the essence of the series, respect all the characters and sacrifice, and be suitably bittersweet.

This was a good show for 17 episodes. The performances were solid, there was humor, there were some nice twists, and it was paced well. But none of that really matters considering how much of a disaster episode 18 is. I'd like to say that this ending doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the previous episodes, but that would be a lie. The ending absolutely matters because it's the payoff for my investment, and not only is this ending pure garbage, it invalidates the previous 17 episodes anyway.

It's clear this writer does not know how to deliver a satisfying climax. I hoped God's Gift was just a one-off misstep, but her flaws are very apparent. She ends up relying on twists for the sake of twists right until the very end, and can't bring the story to a natural and satisfying conclusion. A shame really since she's pretty good at the other stuff, but she's a disaster when it comes to finales.

Both God's Gift and Black are two of the worst endings I've ever had the displeasure of seeing. I regret wasting 20 hours of my time with this show.

I do not recommend anyone watch this drama if they haven't started it yet. Save yourself the time, and invest it something that won't be a complete disappointment at the end.

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Not as bad as Big. But that's the only other drama I can think of where it was fantastic almost to the end and then went nowhere. This at least was amazing for 17.5 episodes. Big went of the rails around episode 13 and was unwatchable for 15 and 16.

But in terms of unfulfilled promise, this is definitely the worst. How can you write something so innovative, original and gripping for so many episodes and then tack on that ending?

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Thinking about it some more...

I feel like this was more of a disappointing ending than a bad, wtf ending (which God's Gift was). That disappointment can be worse in some ways.

I felt like the God's Gift ending was worse because the writer made Jo Seung Woo's character not only a child killer, but also someone who felt fated to kill a child unless he killed himself.

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‪Took Sloow pace to develop the story and 💥 final few rushed. Keep all drama to 16 and writer-nim, what a cop-out ending. 👎🏼 Its like i got 👊🏼 in the face!‬

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That. Ending. Sucked.
Chief Bong was wonderfully heroic.
The Production Team’s final message made me tear up.
Song Seung Heon in Black (and in black) was fantastic.
That is all

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This Drama is said to be made in honor (and reference) of the sinking of the MV Sewol in 2014. A disaster that could have been avoided firstly by following more strict cargo arrangement, and secondly by following evacuation procedures in due time. Peace for the victims and their families.

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I thought it also was made in honour of the Sampoong Department Store victims and families

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It was Sewol since it happened on April 16. The disaster in the drama happened on April 16 as well

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My impression is that it was in remembrance of both tragedies - both were the result of greed and corruption. It had the building collapse of Sampoong (and the space being turned into a memorial park - similar to the Sampoong site) and also focused on the young teenage victims on a school trip on 4/16 (which referenced the Sewol tragedy)

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I was fine with any ending were justice is served for the people who've been wronged, but this ending didn't serve the justice nor for joon or the other victims after setting the reset button.

If i follow the logic of this ending that means every reaper who's been punished by erasing him/her will press the reset button for other lifes, how many lifes has been reset!! This kind of punishment is illogical even if it's fantasy still doesn't make sense and my brain can't accept it.

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"is driving me almost as crazy as attempting to figure out what the hell kind of Halloween-Christmas holiday old Leo and old Ha-ram were celebrating." LOL

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I roared with laughter!

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😂😂😂😂

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they were probably celebrating at Tim Burtons house :) the halloween nightmare before christmas haha

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The writer didn't even attend the last wrap up dinner party. So that explains the downfall of the script in the last minutes. Hope you choose a better production team next time writer-nim, who won't butcher your script. -_-

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For someone (the writer) who carefully wrote such a complicated story where every scenes/events are connected.... I can understand her dissapointment. The director messed up the ending and made it un-coherent with the previous 17 episodes.
No wonder she refused to attend the wrap up dinner party.. I would too if I were her..

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I'm really curious as to whether the director made the change or the producer. And shouldn't the producer be the one calling the final shot? Trying to figure out if I should be giving Kim Hong Sun or Kim Jong Sik major side-eye - or both.

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@odilettante, Thank you a thousand times brilliantly recapping Black! I can't even tell you how I raged after watching the last episode. Having read about writer Choi Ran's disappointment with the production, I'm gonna cut her some slack. As a designer who's had work changed by clients, I can relate to her pain.

My alternative ending dealing with just oneof the messy strands: All the bad shit still happened and Ha-ram gets a slightly different happy ending

Ha-ram throws herself off the cliff at the same moment Black asks for the most severe punishment. She's rendered unconscious on impact and doesn't suffer as she drowns. In the last seconds of her life, her brain experiences the beautiful life she'd always wanted (growing up with two parents, becoming an EMT, falling in love, having mind-blowing sex, marrying a sweetie named Oh Man-soo, etc.)

Time is asynchronous between our world and the underworld. Black’s trial and sentencing all happened during the moments of Ha-ram’s fall

Back in the underworld, Josean and Hip-Hop argue—rapping, of course—that the Death Squad screwed up. They successfully posit the underworld’s failure to catch Ha-ram's GM father triggered a cascade of human suffering. As recompense, Ha-ram earns a dispensation for her suicide. (She doesn’t remember her miserable life and didn’t know she killed herself. The life she experienced during her fall is the life she knows.)

Since Joon’s body is finally found, he also earns Paradise. As a reward for cleaning up the Death Squad’s mess, Joon is allowed to keep all his Joon/Black memories and remain an adult. He wears the face of Kim Tae-woo, which turned out to be Joon’s true adult face.

Ha-ram’s body washes up on the shore where it is found by Black’s former compadres.

Ha-ram, now dead, stands on the shore and greets Kim Tae-woo, who smiles gently at her. She clutches at her heart and wonders, “Why is my heart fluttering like this?” He takes her hand, "Were you happy?" She answers yes and they walk to paradise together. Last thing we hear her say is, “Are Grim Reapers usually so handsy?” Sip-gyeong energetically trots after them, as spry as a puppy.

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I had a less-detailed variant in mind where Ha-ram dies, Black escapes reaper justice somehow, and they "live" and reap happily ever after.

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I love that idea too! The couple that reaps together, stays together. So many (better) possibilities!

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This is a happy ending I can get behind! Can we add a reconcilitation scene between original Moo-gang (peeking from heaven) and adult Joon so we can at least see Song Seung-heon's face in the finale? ^^
And yay for spry Sip-gyeon!

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Oh how I wish that the brothers could've gotten reunited :(

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Yes! I love imagining the possibilities with the Dramabeans hive mind.

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I would be happy to see song seung-hoon but didn't moo-gang tried to hide the truth to save his mother. I think he didn't reach heaven as joseon said so somewhere before a few episodes. I mean he literally didn't say but when black mentioned about moo-gang in heaven, joseon remained silent strangely.

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I wonder what the criteria is for getting into heaven.

I've always felt like MG wasn't being completely devious in trying to hide the truth to save his mother. It seemed like an impulsive decision that he could later reverse. But alas, he got shot!

But given those cirumstances, i wonder how much time does he have to spend in purgatory or hell.

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But moo-gang left leo to die. Leo of course was overdosing with drugs but at least he should have tried to help him. Moo-gang left him to die so that there will be no witness to his mothers crime.I think that counts as a sin.

However what u said was true, moo-gang was shot and hence he never had the chance to repent. After all he tried hard to uncover the truth behind his brothers death. So it's kind of left without proper closure.

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What a beautiful ending 😭👏

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Thank you this ending! I'm gonna forget that last 10 minutes or so, and plant this ending in my mind instead. This is 100 times better! I love how Joon's adult face is really Kim Tae-woo's face (love him).

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Can you *please* just take over, and te-do the whole last 10 minutes of the show? I love every part of this, down to the handsy comment because, yeah, that would definitely be something they say to each other, haha!

This makes so much sense, and anything with Kim Tae Woo in it, I’m down for, so I’m definitely just going to consider this the actual ending of the show and forget the shambles they gave us instead.

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Re-do*

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This would’ve been on point. If only... Nice touch with the pooch 🐶 ❤️

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I love your alternate ending so much that I actually finally registered for an account after all these years just to tell you that. Especially the part about "Sip-gyeong energetically trots after them, as spry as a puppy". Yes, that was the best part of it all. I need closure on Sip-gyeong too! Also, having Kim Tae-woo as his actual adult face is thumbs up worthy

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Aw, thanks @michigoh!

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1st question : can we hire you?
2nd question : would you be ok to get payed in Belgian Beer, chocolates and cookies?

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Ha! I don't drink much but I actually lurve Belgian Saisons!

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I love your alternative ending. But I think Joon/Black should still have SSH's appearance because Joon's heart was in Moo Gang's body; so that in a way Moo Gang's body was also his. This is why he couldn't exist out of the body because it was also his body. It's like their bodies merged into one, and even though Joon died at 13, but his heart was alive until adulthood.

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I like your reasoning. And heaven knows, I like SSH's face.

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I wanted to say that i enjoyed all the episodes in Black but..but..for the last 10 minutes is sooo not necessary. I don't like the idea of the whole reset or lost memory on kdrama. It is just that the story want to escape from the lazy writing.

The writer did an amazing job for this drama except for the wrap up ending. However, i don't want to take it seriously since this is just a drama. Again, i would say that Black is a brilliant series. I would recommended it to everyone. Kudos to all the crew, actors and a actresses, especially the writer. I forgive u for the ending because u did well.

And last but not least, thank you odilenttate for the recaps. U work hard and u did well too :)

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My complaints about the finale:
-It was confusing. If Black stopped existing, why is he back again as a grim reaper at the final scene when Haram died? And what happened to Haram, actually? Was she reborn after committing suicide by jumping off the cliff? Is it her second life? and Leo posessed by the reaper still exist in her second life?
-What about the edited tape? Soowan definitely looked like she was still hiding something when Black asked her about it.
-What about Moogang's soul? 007 first stated that he already sent him to paradise because his soul deserves to rest in peace. But when Black asked him again later, he didn't say anything and looked like he was also hiding something. Since they didn't clear that up, I'm just going to assume that Moogang's soul really went to heaven.
-The villains died easily. Death is an easy escape. For all the horrible crimes they did, they deserve to be tormented, alive. Now I'm just going to imagine that they're being tormented in hell.
-Haram didn't even discover the truth about what she really was, about who his father really was, and my biggest complaint: She didn't even know the whole truth about Black! I just find it ridiculous. For me it was an important revelation her character has to face in the end, to know that Han Moogang is actually possessed by her childhood friend who is now a grim reaper. It was one of the things I was awaiting for all throughout the series, how will she react once she discovers everything. But it didn't happen at all.
-I was already prepared for a sad ending. A sad ending would have probably satisfied me more. As long as it suits the whole tone of this show. Why did they give us that clichè ending like this show was suddenly some cheesy romantic melodrama? It felt like they made it just for the sake of leaving us with a happy ending, thinking the viewers would be satisfied as long as the two leads are still together in the end. They should have been more brave and gave us an ending appropriate with how this show has always been: cruel, dark, and thrilling.
-They should have just made the extension up to 20 episodes just to be sure that they wouldn't need to rush anything and leave us confused and dissatisfied.

Okay, done with my rant. Despite how the ending went, I still love this show nonetheless. It's now included in my all-time favorites. I'm glad I didn't drop this even if I was confused during the earlier episodes because the cases seemed to be all over the place, but when things began to unfold and we found out little by little how everything is brilliantly connected, it felt rewarding. It was worth it holding on to this show even if it was hard to grasp in the beginning.

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I loved the humour in this show. Loved the moments that were funny in an unusual way. And Captain Bong's team. This detective team's tough to each other most times but underneath all that you can see that they genuinely care for each other.

Thank you to everyone here. I read comments from various sites, but I always looked forward to this the most every week. The discussion here is deeper and intellectual.

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I really love the detective team. They seemed so incompetent and useless in the beginning. And they were super annoyed with poor MG. Then after MG's gets shot in the head, you can see that even though they were annoyed with MG sometimes, they really cared about their rookie cop. And then you see how much they cared about MG even though he is Black. Then you see them mourn Crazy Dog. Then there is their commitment to justice in the face of death. And lastly, their reactions to MG jumping off a cliff. They really love him.

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I agree, they were wonderfully written and acted

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The fact that this show was based on true events made it even more meaningful. I'm assuming the event they were referring to is the Sampoong Department Store collapse in 1995. And the Sewol Ferry disaster too.

Wait, did Moojin Time Mart collapse in 1995 too?

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Hello everybody, thank you odilettante for the recaps, you must be exhausted, good job.

It makes to feel better to know that I am not the only one who is left with so many questions , I even thought that maybe missed some clues because the pieces didn' t match.

I even went back to read the past recaps and in ep 3 the soul Loser should have reaped was Moo Gang's but the last episodes we learnt that it was Leo in the capsule Loser had. I am confused.

Anyways, great show, one of the best of the year IMO.

Sorry for any making any mistake, my English is not good.

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I hadn’t noticed that about Loser and MG.... Add that to the list of confusing things about the ending, haha :)

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But there was supposed to be 2 souls collected as there were 2 capsules, so maybe Loser/444 were supposed to collect Leo's first and then as a result of Moogang not saving Leo and leaving the hotel he got killed at the Mall. Still, the military guy who was holding Moogang hostage also died so that would mean there'd have to be 3 capsules or another grim reaper there to collect his soul, so even that theory has some kind of flaw...

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I thought one of the capsules was for Ha Ram. I remembered the scene that the capsule rolled out on the street and Black opened it and saw Ha Ram in there.

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This show should've ended after Ha Ram committed suicide. After learning of the events that transpired in the last episode, I did not think that Joon and Ha Ram would find a way together. And to be honest I was okay with that. A tragic ending would've been way better than whatever this mess was.

Thank you for addressing the main issue!! I understand that Ha Ram was the main character but every character in this show played an integral part to the story. If Joon never existed, what happened to the rest of the characters? Is Mad Dog still alive? Jesus Christ, what happened to Man Soo?? And why would you introduce another bad character in the last episode??? It just doesn't make sense. Also did Ha Ram ever learn that he was a grim reaper?? Or that her dad was a grim reaper??? So many unanswered questions.

Learning that this show had the same writer as God's Gift makes me feel like I played myself 😭. I wish I had this knowledge before I watched this show.

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It was the director's fault... as he wanted to have a happy ending for Haram and Black. So he added more scenes and changed the ending. The writer also dissapointed with how the story ended... It was not how she wanted it to end..

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I sincerely hope that Haram's Commendation certificate was signed by the evil Congressman who became the President since his corruption was never exposed. I could then consider the whole ending as a monumental irony from the disgruntled writer.

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They never really let us know what happened to that doctor and BT after missing finger caught up with them.

Too many choppy scenes in my opinion.

They extend 2 more episodes and yet do such a sloppy job. Frustration is the word for me.

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I think they said at the hospital (when the three officers are together by the window) that they were also fine, and being treated in the hospital... but I do agree, there was no correlation there either

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I legitimately must be one of only about 10 people who didn't mind the ending.. ultimately.. like with the ending of Goblin.. he got to spend eternity with her and the fact that he sacrificed so much to allow her to be happy was incredible.
I'm looking at it from that perspective rather than focusing on the absolute crap-fight it was in the final few minutes :D
Thanks for the recaps, this series was amazing and I'm so glad I watched it!

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Thank you so much @odilettante for the diligent and detailed recaps! Also, you were right about Loser in Leo's body! (Altho show never explained why Ha-ram can't see him *sigh) And thanks for that screencap of Sip-gyeon and Black! My other fave is Black staring with trepidation at the red bean soup ^^
Ep 17 has such great impact, yet I lost concentration since the middle of this ep when it suddenly turned to 90s Hong-kong triad flick O_o Whatever happened after that kinda feels unreal...
The production team message at the end has is so deep, yet with the ending as such, my take is: if your life sucks, no matter what you'll do it'll stay sucky, so maybe just live your sucky life as well as you can and give the happy end to someone you love. Which is not bad, but somewhat defeatist...
It's sad that instead of focusing on the reaper's world, the finale choose to focus on Ha-ram's happy end. If the writer's original end is thwarted, maybe she can publish the script or something? I'd really love to know.
But on the whole it has been a worthwhile journey. Loved the noir vibe, the mystery, the dry humour, and the cast!

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my take on why ha ram wasn't able to see loser in leo's body is that technically, loser is her reaper. ha ram can't see her own shadows of death and since black/444and loser/ji dong are partners and black/444 is ha ram's reaper, then loser/ji dong is also her reaper. this makes her unable to see the shadiw in leo's body.

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I liked Go Ara and Song Seung Heon's chemistry so I was quite disappointed that nothing much really happened. Go Ara didn't even get to experience SSH's skills.

And speaking of Go Ara, I actually liked her as Haram. For me she did well. But maybe that's because I had low expectations from her at the start, since I saw her in "You're All Surrounded" and I didn't like her acting there. Thankfully her acting was okay for me in this drama because I might have dropped this if I was annoyed at the female lead. I just hope she breaks that habit of breathing hard like a dog.

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Me too. I like Go Ara, despite her mediocre acting skills. I think for the most part, she was a decent fit for Haram. I didn't think the casting director needed Go Ara's eyes (that's what contacts are for. And are they really THAT beautiful?), but I think they needed Go Ara's natural "Alright! Let's jump right in!" attitude and the unpolished feel she is capable of exhibiting. I thought she wasn't bad in You're All Surrounded, but I didn't like the storyline in that drama.

I'm also not sure if SSH had an acting revelation. He did really well here. Comedy suits him. And he's got a great strut. In the beginning, I think the director shot around any awkward expressions, but SSH had a great handle of his acting and expressions by the end. I'm not sure if this is a permanent change in SSH's acting. I think he just really connected with the character and really felt for the character. Black must have been a fun character to play. SSH must have been really excited, along with the audience, to find out the truth behind Black and Joon. He must have also felt the injustice dealt upon Joon's short, young life.

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Black is indeed a great character to play, arrogant, cool, masculine and dangerously seductive. I really prefer this to the more soft-hearted, sympathetic but non-threatening reaper in Goblin. Because this one has more character and is closer to what a reaper should be. Perhaps we girls prefer strong, charismatic male leads? SSH has always played soft, affectionate, patiently waiting and self-abnegating characters, so this one is a refreshing change. The director was asked about his casting decisions, and he said that he never thought SSH would accept this role for this is a crime genre. He also said that he cast Ssh for he thought he shares a lot of character similarities with Black.

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"Self-abnegating" Woot! I love learning new words!

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I also liked Go Ara here. I think she really fit the character Ha Ram really well. I sort of feel bad for her due to all the criticisms she's been getting. It makes me wonder if the hate is still the lingering effects from her Hwarang stint, where, admittedly, she was just horrible. But then the character itself was so poorly written there so I'm not sure if she's entirely to blame for that disaster.

On another note, the casting director did a marvelous job in choosing the actors/actresses for this drama. Everyone was cast perfectly, especially the main and second leads.

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I agree, Go Ara isn't bad as Haram. I actually liked her acting in "You are all surrounded", I felt she was actually pretty good there! I really hope Go Ara improves in the future and become an excellent actress.

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It is 444's existence that has been wiped out, not Joon's or Moogang's. 444 is the best and most efficient reaper, and that includes the previous 444 who was the father of Haram. If that 444 never exists, so Haram would be born a normal child. Wait a minute, that would mean that Haram would never be born, right? Because her human would-be-Dad was killed before being able to impregnate her Mom. I am totally confused.

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Don't worry, I still don't get 100% of the ending as well. To me, Joon's existence got wiped out. Thus Haram never knew who Joon was in her new life. Since Leo stopped Haram's parents' accident that means Haram's father never died, and Haram was reborn as a normal child who can't see shadows.

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On some level, I also feel like the show was saying that 444 ceased to exist rather than Joon. So if 444 ceased to exist then all the 444s would and that includes Ha Ram's Dad. But that still didn't explain how Black's sacrifice stopped her parents' accident or what happened with the entire plotline once his sacrifice was made. This was a show about corruption, rape and murder but nothing in the resolution dealt with those.

Also I'm not sure how 444 ceasing to exist is a sacrifice for Black.

And, yes, if all the other 444s cease to exist then that doesn't stop the accident that killed Ha Ram's father. Without 444 there to possess him, Ha Ram's father would be dead.

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It makes sense that if 444 never exist then, Haram would be born a normal child, but then the grim reaper would still be the same soul that fell in love with Haram's mom. I think 444 is just a position. If the soul who happened to be 444 didn't exist either, then Black shouldn't exist at the end. :( I'm so unsatisfied with the ending.

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Yes, the dog is still alive and well together with Man-soo. All the tragedies would have been prevented. What nonsense! As if everything was the fault of Joon! With his erasure, all would be paradise!

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I have no choice but to press the like button, as there are no other options, when all I want to press is 😂 button. I laughed so hard with ur comment. Yeah, all is Joon's fault, poor soul, may he rest in peace.

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Being the bloodthirsty person I am - I loved how Black just killed Missing Finger and that official. No hesitation.

Perhaps my expectations for the ending were low - due to the ending the writer gave God's Gift and due to the ending of episode 17 which I really didn't like - but I didn't hate the ending. I can even like it, if I ignore how how loosey-goosey, illogical, and rushed the writing was in getting to that ending. I'm reminded of my feelings for Because This Life is Our First. I like that ending (and the emotions behind it), but the last bit of the journey getting there was rushed and made a bunch of leaps. Hearing about how Choi Ran had enough for 20 episodes and how the director messed with her endng, I understand why it was messy.

I thought it was interesting that Haram became an EMT. Has it always been Kang Haram's calling in life to save people? Was it an after effect of the first timeline? I'm glad she didn't end up as a florist.

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I'm glad she didn't end up as a florist.

Heh. Is that a kdrama in joke?

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Not an in-joke, but I was worried they'd keep her sheltered from all unhappiness. My idea of an idyllic sort of job is a florist (but a florist who doesn't have to work with crazy bridezillas).

I'm glad she ended up as an EMT, probably staring death in the face every day and going "don't you dare take my patient!" and probably faced more unhappy moments than most (inevitable that she wouldn't be able to save every life). In the end, she followed her calling and lived life to the fullest.

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This is the website for the last ending in the original script.http://isplus.live.joins.com/news/article/article.asp?total_id=22200769&cloc=

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Thanks, @eva123! Wow, even with the mangled Google translate there and on Naver, I see that Korean audiences were disappointed and confused too.

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thanks eva! i had been looking forward for this link.

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Thank you very much for the recaps! I will join the majority here: the ending was infuriating. Here i was, mesmerized by this excellent show, waiting for the full disclosure in the end: the "Meet Joe Black" style (an explicit reference throughout the drama), where the lady says NO and gets her fluffy Stranger back; or even better, the original "Death takes a holiday" style, where the lady says "Hell YES, I will gladly follow you to the underworld, this crappy existence has no meaning anyway". Instead, we've got a very messed up "Ghost and Mrs Muir" ending, with the female character judged not strong enough to make an informed decision concerning her own life and love.

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Yes to Death Takes a Holiday. I put it on my playlist to watch later. And you're right on the nose with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Black is even wearing the Captain's black turtleneck! ;)

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It basically goes like this:

1. Leo says in the voice-over: I prevented the car accident so Haram's human parents didn't die and she was born a normal child.

2. In Moojin, the kids were getting ready to see the film at the mall, but Leo tried to make Haram pull down the alarm outside so every kid managed to escape before the collapse. (How Leo did that I am not sure). Everybody thanked Haram and she was so happy that she decided on making it a life mission of hers to save people.

3. Moo-gang fainted before Soo-wan and felt his heart beating wildly. Haram, stranger to both MG and SW, arrived in an ambulance to save Moogang, all the while mockingly muttering to herself "What is this? Are you guys shooting a love movie? So love-struck!"

4. Haram saves Man-ho from a minor car accident during which that beloved dog also tries to save him heroically. He holds the dog with affection. Mansoo arrives on the scene. He has resigned from Royal Insurance and is now an ordinary company man. The brothers are happy together.

5. Police buddies often pretend sickness so they could have Haram come to them all the time.

6. Camera fades out, and an old man (Leo's voiceover) looks at all these happy people and regrets that 444 is erased from everyone's memory.

So what do you think, guys? Is that a great ending? Have to say don't like it either. So lazy and weak. But perhaps still better than the director's laughably forced happy ending?

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Maybe it is because I was expecting a dark, tragic and sad ending from the beggining, but I find this ending too "pretty with a bow" style. I don't like it but I think it makes more sense (although not too much) with all the " Joon never existed" thing.

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And this was the Choi Ran's original script? Huh. Thanks for the summary!

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Yes, original ending from the script.

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is this the original ending from the writer's script? it's like you said, weak. Like it's written by an entirely different writer that wrote the whole detailed story.
I honestly prefer @tsutsuloo 's version more. It makes more sense, it kinda round up the early episodes, and made me happy on the romance front.

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Oh, and thank you for the summary. i was raking the internet searching for the writer's original version, and generously shared it here!

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*and you generously...

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I would have loved seeing some of those scenes and it seems to make more sense than the director's version of a happy ending. It actually seems happier...? Even in the aired ending, no one could remember black either, and Haram only remembered upon death. So why bother, director?

Even if 444 is erased from everyone's memory. At least his soul wasn't distingerated. There's always reincarnation.

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oh thanks for posting this! man, I definitely prefer the director's version. I think fans would be even more pissed the original ending happened

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Seriously this is writer's ending? Worst than the one we saw. It's trying to say without 444, the world becomes so beautiful and there are no more villians like Mun-ho, no corruption, no tragedies, etc.? So it's all 444's fault?

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Thank you for the summary, eva. :)

I really want to know what Choi Ran's problem is with her main male characters. In God's Gift she killed him and here she went even a step further and deleted Black from existence -
which then made everyone else have a happy ending.

I don't think I will ever watch anything she writes again. Ugh.

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Ugh... If this was the writer’s original ending then I’m disappointed.

Sheesh, is there some kind of master class at Korean scriptwriting schools where they teach how to write terrible endings?!

I much prefer @tsutsuloo’s suggested ending.

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That's almost as bad as the director's ending because it still implies that Joon being wiped from existence enables Loser Leo to time travel. If Reapers could time travel, then why couldn't Black just go back in time and save Ha Ram's parents himself? Why couldn't he stop the Mall collapse himself?

I like it better than the ending we have because at least it took some time to establish what happened to the other characters. But I'd still be here complaining it doesn't make much sense.

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I don't think Loser Leo can time travel, he can teleport like other grim reapers. I guess Joon isn't wiped from Loser Leo's memory because technically he's not human.

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To save Ha Ram's parents he would have to teleport... through time. They died before Leo was even born and at least 30 years before Loser possessed him.

Also, Loser possessing him - that was because of Joon/Black/444. So if Joon or 444 is wiped from existence then it meant that Loser wouldn't possess Leo.

Plus, Leo only became a drug user because when he was a child he watched a tape of his father raping a child. If he never saw that tape, he'd never know his father was a paedophile and rapist and wouldn't end up doing drugs. So he wouldn't die of a drug overdose while Loser was there.

So, no, this ending also doesn't make any sense.

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Maybe Leo was in another human's body during the accident lol.

I agree, the ending doesn't really make any sense....

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Thanks for translating, @eva! I'm glad to have gotten to see what Writer-nim intended. It's not great, but it sits better with me than what was aired.

It still would not have prevented the sex trafficking and prostitution, and as someone pointed out above, Joon/444 would not have been there to apprehend the pedophile teacher; and Moo-gang himself was probably still an accountant in America because he had no need to become a cop in Korea. I think. But I'm not sure. This is still confusing. ;-)

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