Misty: Episodes 15-16 (Final Open Thread)
mary: Misty didn’t manage to beat Woman of Dignity in ratings, but what it lacked in finale numbers it made up for in… staying power? No one’s going to forget this show soon.
odilettante: 8.4% isn’t too shabby, especially for cable, and it’s now the third highest-rated JTBC drama (just after Strong Woman Do Bong-soon).
mary: I’m sure all the Misty beanies are itching to share their thoughts in detail, so here’s what happened this week, to help us make sense of the last few minutes.
WEECAP EPISODES 15-16
Tae-wook finds Hye-ran hastily leaving his office. She pretends not to have seen the traffic violation letter while Tae-wook pretends not to notice that she’s already seen it.
Meanwhile, Myung-woo meets Eun-joo to talk her out of her misguided hate. But when she refuses to let things go, he breaks her protest sign and practically admits that he killed Dong-hyun. And he could kill her too if it comes to that.
Hye-ran tries to ignore her doubts about Tae-wook, but while claiming her brooch from the evidence room, Detective Kang shares that it was the brooch that started it all. He concedes that it’s his fault for chasing her so obsessively, he lost the real culprit: someone close enough to Hye-ran to take the brooch from her home after her rendezvous with Kevin Lee.
That night, Tae-wook comes home to an empty house while Hye-ran treats the News Nine team to drinks. A suspiciously couple-y moment between Ji-won and Reporter Kwak prompts the team to compare him and Tae-wook as perfect guys, and only Reporter Yoon notices that Hye-ran is just faking the happy facade.
The following morning, Eun-joo ignores Myung-woo’s warning and continues her one-woman protest outside the JBC building. Reporter Yoon, on Director Jang’s request, approaches Eun-joo for an interview. They don’t notice Myung-woo watching them talk.
During the interview, Eun-joo insists that the contents of Hye-ran’s black box chip is evidence of Kevin Lee’s murder, but Tae-wook deleted them. Yoon, upon learning that it contains footage of Hye-ran and Kevin’s affair, points out that the footage proves the opposite. Hye-ran was in her car, why was the brooch in Kevin’s? And Hye-ran’s obvious efforts to appease Kevin means she wants to handle the affair quietly. Yoon also points out that Tae-wook, as Hye-ran’s lawyer, should’ve known this. It was counterintuitive for him to delete it.
Yoon makes plans and fails to meet with Hye-ran because a man with a crowbar attacks her. Hye-ran rushes to her friend in the ICU but Jang is already there. He tells her that Yoon might’ve been attacked after coming to the same conclusion as Detective Kang. Hye-ran rejects this theory and storms out. She confronts Eun-joo for being the last person to talk to Yoon, but Eun-joo turns it around on Hye-ran by revealing that Yoon met with Tae-wook before being “mugged”. Eun-joo sees how tortured Hye-ran is at the increasing evidence of Tae-wook’s guilt, and she ends her protest, having achieved her goal of making Hye-ran miserable.
Hye-ran hurries home and finds proof that Tae-wook purchased duplicates of the coat and shoes he was wearing the night Kevin Lee died. She asks him if point-blank if he killed Kevin Lee, but he just invites her to the vacation they promised to go to. She backs away and begs him to answer the question, and Tae-wook finally answers yes.
We finally see that night from Tae-wook’s point of view: finding Hye-ran asleep on the couch and consumed by anger at seeing her wearing the brooch, he chases down Kevin Lee’s car and argues with him in a deserted area. Tae-wook warns Kevin to stay away from his wife, but Kevin rubs in the fact that Hye-ran loved him, her old boyfriend, yet her husband never even heard those words from her. Tae-wook shoves him into a wall in anger and walks away, but Kevin’s head hits the wall hard enough to kill him, and he slumps to the ground.
Tae-wook loads Kevin’s body into the latter’s car and drives around, looking for a place to die together. He crashes the car into a pole but ends up surviving, and decides to make it look like Kevin died in an accident. He scrupulously cleans off any evidence that he was in Kevin’s car — but fails to notice Hye-ran’s brooch was left behind.
Hye-ran is devastated to now know the truth, and wishes Tae-wook had just killed her when he learned about the affair. Tae-wook is silent as Hye-ran leaves, but he thinks to himself that anything he says will just sound like an excuse, when the truth is he’s in pain but he still loves her.
Hye-ran watches over Yoon in the hospital, where Eun-joo finds her to say goodbye. But not before repeating that Hye-ran is at fault for ruining everyone’s lives. Tae-wook’s now included.
In the early hours of the morning, Director Jang finds Hye-ran drunk and crying nside the studio. She questions everything she’s worked so hard for, wondering if Jang has regrets, too. He tells her that people can’t really pinpoint the exact thing that’s wrong in their lives — they’re all just trying to survive each day. As for regrets, “news” is always first in his mind. Nothing else is fun or meaningful.
A slightly sobered up Hye-ran walks out of the building, recalling Eun-joo’s bitter words about her ruining everyone’s life. This time, Hye-ran questions Eun-joo’s accusations. She never asked Myung-woo or Tae-wook to kill for her, they just did so without anyone understanding how unhappy she was.
Speak of the devil, Myung-woo shows up like the ninja he is and tells Hye-ran to buck up. He never blamed her and no one should blame another person for their choices in life. He’s here to say goodbye, and as he walks away, he thinks that he’s happy that a nobody like him is able to give her a future.
Tae-wook drops by his parents’ house in the morning after waiting up all night for Hye-ran. He’s here to say goodbye to them too, since he won’t be able to visit them where he’s going. When his father asks why, he admits it’s because he killed someone.
Reporter Yoon finally wakes up and asks about Tae-wook. She reveals that when she questioned Tae-wook with the growing pile of evidence, he admitted to killing Kevin Lee. He was planning to turn himself in after the vacation with Hye-ran. Hye-ran remembers Tae-wook insisting on a vacation when she was trying to get the truth out of him, and she runs home looking for her husband.
Meanwhile, Detective Kang drops by Tae-wook’s office where he gets scolded by Office Manager Lee for torturing the couple. Kang insists he’s just doing his job, and Lee shouts at him to do it properly instead of this blind search that messes everyone up. Lee cries in his car as he remembers Tae-wook giving him tickets and reservation for a vacation as if he’s sending him away. But Lee senses something wrong and insists on postponing the vacation. We see that he found Tae-wook’s discarded shirt and bandages the morning after his fight with Kevin, and Manager Lee threw the evidence away.
Tae-wook meets with Hye-ran and confirms what Yoon said. He also apologizes. He was confident of his love at first but as they grew further apart, he felt more pathetic. He leaves to surrender to the police but Hye-ran runs after him and begs for some time so they can figure out what to do together. Tae-wook is touched that Hye-ran is considering delaying or covering up the truth for him, but it’s just a pipe dream for them.
Hye-ran walks into Director Jang’s office and writes tonight’s headline on a piece of paper: “Kevin Lee’s murderer surrenders himself to the police. He is Kang Tae-wook, husband of news anchor Go Hye-ran.” She goes back to her desk and waits for the news to blow up as we see Tae-wook walking to the police station. And in the desk beside hers, Dae-woong gets a tip from his source that Kevin’s murderer surrendered. His name? Ha Myung-woo.
Myung-woo confesses to killing Kevin Lee and Dong-hyun, much to Detective Kang’s frustration. His detectives report finding Myung-woo’s hideout full of Hye-ran posters like an obsessed fan and a bottle of drugs that matches the type found in Dong-hyun’s body. Detective Kang grabs Myung-woo in anger, demanding to know why he’s choosing to throw away the rest of his life. Myung-woo, true to character, repeats he’s never considered the things he’s done as “throwing his life away.”
Director Jang mobilizes the News Nine team to cover this breaking news. When Hye-ran protests, he insists they’re reporting a fact: Myung-woo confessed to killing Kevin Lee. He wants Hye-ran to move on from this and use her newfound popularity to start a show where she can interview everyone — even those in power. Jang labels an envelope with Kevin Lee’s murder, to be filed together with news he’s been saving for the right moment, but at the last minute he doesn’t put Hye-ran’s note in it and puts an empty envelope in the box.
Manager Lee hands Tae-wook a letter from Myung-woo. In it, Myung-woo tells him to protect Hye-ran until the end as the punishment for his crimes. Tae-wook shows Hye-ran the letter and she wordlessly locks herself up in her room, crying at how messed up everything is.
A short time later, we see Tae-wook preparing to be a guest in the second episode of Hye-ran’s successful new show. Detective Kang confronts him outside with the news that Myung-woo will be sentenced tomorrow, wanting to see Tae-wook’s reaction and hating that a murderer such as him is still living a good life.
As Hye-ran prepares for the interview, she thinks about her dream of happiness and believing it was something she could achieve. Tae-wook wonders about his dream, too, as he drives to the station. He’s not sure if his dream is Hye-ran, or merely to appear perfect to her. He re-imagines the scene when he interrupted Hye-ran’s interrogation at the start of the series. But this time, he introduces himself as her husband and immediately confesses to being the last person Kevin Lee met with the night he died.
In the present, Tae-wook closes his eyes as a tear falls. He steps on the accelerator and we hear a crashing sound while the scene fades to black. In the studio, Hye-ran opens the show and takes questions from the audience. Someone asks if she’s happy, and Hye-ran hesitates, unable to respond. Backstage, her stylist looks shocked after answering Hye-ran’s phone.
Meanwhile, Hye-ran hasn’t budged from her seat at all, freaking out Jang and the rest of the team. Hye-ran thinks to herself that people who live a crazy life are chasing things that can’t be caught. She turns to the camera, and her eyes fill with tears as we hear Tae-wook asking, “Hye-ran, are you happy?”
mary: You have to give it to them. No one did expect that kind of ending.
odilettante: I feel a little self-congratulatory because I knew over a week ago there’s no way Tae-wook would be able to live with the guilt of killing Kevin and letting Hye-ran go through the farce of being blamed for it. I believe my exact words to you were “falls on his sword.” Okay, so he “went into a tunnel” instead, but same concept.
mary: I wanna replace it with the concept from Smart Prison Living where *spoiler alert* going into a tunnel just means going in and out of prison. But more than Tae-wook’s death, I’m more disappointed by the fact that we cut so abruptly away from Hye-ran. I spent 16 episodes agonizing with her! I want to know what she’ll do after finding out Tae-wook is dead, not get a vague reflection on how difficult it is for her to be happy — and then nothing.
odilettante: Apparently I’m the only one who didn’t mind the ending, but that’s because I never really expected a true “happy” ending. This drama has always felt kind of like a modern-day sageuk to me, so the fact that anyone was still alive in the end was the unexpected part. My only real disappointment was wanting to see Kang Yool and Hwanil totally destroyed, but I suppose I just have to trust that Prosecutor Byun and Ji-won will continue their respective investigations.
mary: Gah! Don’t remind me of the dropped threads and unanswered questions, because my brain starts making a list. Like what happened to her dream of bringing down the greedy people at the top? Why was the black box chip in Kevin Lee’s coat? We can probably pick any satisfactory theory from the past Open Thread comments, but the show made such a big to-do about it, you’d think they’d give us a little hint in the finale. I’m not asking to be spoon-fed, but I want to know what I just ate.
odilettante: Not to mention what, exactly, was on that black box video. Does that mean Tae-wook’s reaction to it is more out of his sense of guilt and grief knowing what he’d done to Kevin than seeing seeing Hye-ran’s actions? And who was Kevin planning to meet that night? Was it Ji-won? His manager? How did the fake witness describe the fight between Tae-wook and Kevin so perfectly, even though it was proven he couldn’t see anything? Or was that just a masterful Tae-wook bluff? There are enough questions left in this drama to fill another season. In fact, I may have already plotted one out in my head and will be happy to share my ideas with JTBC provided they give me full access to Hye-ran’s closet.
mary: I definitely agree that more episodes would’ve helped. For answering questions, showing us more of the characters we’ve become invested in, and fashion. You know, I watched that timer run out in episode 16 thinking, “She’s wearing the same coat for how many days now? odilettante will be sad at the lack of pretty clothes.”
odilettante: I feel like Hye-ran’s clothes are a character unto themselves. When she’s wearing the same outfit more than once, you know something serious and emotional is going on. Plus, did you notice it wasn’t until after the trial that she started wearing softer floral ensembles instead of her usual tailored pantsuits and dresses?
mary: Yes, someone even described it as Hye-ran being like the embodiment of Spring. If Spring ever worked so hard to find its own version of happiness, stumbled on it unexpectedly, then got pummeled by Life and Consequences the moment it got a little bit soft. Can you tell I’m slightly bitter? Quick! Let’s talk about the happy stuff!
odilettante: Um… well, I loved how smug Myung-woo was in his confession about killing Kevin, just because of how much it annoyed Detective Kang. Not to mention Tae-wook’s adorable assistant gets three cheers from me because of the way he yelled at the detective to stop harassing Tae-wook and Hye-ran.
mary: I think a more competent cop would’ve been able to poke holes in Myung-woo’s story. But I’m glad they spared us extra doses of Kang’s shoddy sleuthing to give us more satisfying scenes. Like the News Nine party and that look Kwak gives Ji-won when she saves him from drinking. I imagine Ji-won’s glass is now stored in his office drawer too. Also in the list of satisfying things? All the times Myung-woo refused to join Eun-joo’s blame-Hye-ran-for-everything party.
odilettante: Even though I’ve never been a fan of Eun-joo, I couldn’t help but feel that she got the short end of the stick. She tried to live a dream life but her husband never loved her, she lost her unborn baby, her best friend turned out to not be a friend, and now Myung-woo says all of this started because when Eun-joo was a teenager, she told Myung-woo that Hye-ran was going to see the creepy jewelry store owner to get money for her tuition. It made it seem like Kevin could still be alive now if that night hadn’t happened, as though it was the butterfly moment that led to this hurricane.
mary: It didn’t feel to me like he was blaming her. It seemed like Myung-woo was giving her some tough love: “Okay Eun-joo, you wanna play the blame game? Then everything started with you and your petty gossip. See how shitty that sounds? Hye-ran didn’t make me kill anyone. You didn’t make me kill anyone. We all made our own choices. Stop hating and just live your life.”
odilettante: Which seems to be a point of this drama. Choices have consequences, good or bad, and blaming someone else for your actions will get you nowhere. We’re all just driving into the mist — hopefully with our eyes open, though.
mary: Noooo… I forgot about that for thirty seconds. But I know you’ve made your peace with the ending, can you share why you think Tae-wook’s final choice makes sense?
odilettante: Tae-wook’s greatest strength is his greatest weakness: he is a man of integrity who keeps his promises. He vowed that he would make Hye-ran fall in love with him, and she did — unfortunately a little too late. But mostly he vowed to support Hye-ran, which is why he accepted his punishment (as described by Myung-woo): to protect Hye-ran until the bitter end. Having failed to do that when she was first accused of Kevin’s murder, he resolved to uphold his promise, removing the last weak link that could possibly ruin everything she’s fought so hard for all these years — her career, her reputation, her unrelenting effort to bring truth and justice to the world. Maybe he can’t fix the past, but he can do his best to remove the final barrier to Hye-ran’s happiness.
mary: The final barrier being himself? So you’re saying his death will cover everything up, close another dark chapter in Hye-ran’s life and let her live a perfect-looking life at the top. All the corrupt people she can expose and the female anchors she can inspire and the gorgeous fashion they can wear, but at the price of one Tae-wook?
odilettante: Essentially, yes, although Hye-ran will undoubtedly have PTSD knowing that the men she’s loved have either killed or died because of her.
mary: I feel so bad for her. Once again the man she loved chose to go hero and leave her all alone. But I guess it’s all about accepting people’s choices. Tae-wook chose to end things this way. The writer chose to end things this way. I mustn’t disappoint Myung-woo by putting the blame elsewhere. We fell in love with Misty. No one forced us to watch it.
odilettante: But we might have forced a few beanies to watch it, just based on these open threads, so hopefully they don’t hold it against us!
mary: To the Misty beanies, thank you for trying this new format with us. Thank you for the brilliant theories and jokes. And thank you for not camping outside our doors with a sign saying “It’s your fault for making me watch this.”
odilettante: It’s been fun sharing in the discussions each week, and while Hye-ran’s happiness may be in question, we’re happy that everyone stuck with us until the bitter and foggy end.
- Misty: Episodes 13-14 (Open Thread)
- Misty: Episodes 11-12 (Open Thread)
- Misty: Episodes 9-10 (Open Thread)
- Misty: Episodes 7-8 (Open Thread)
- Misty: Episodes 1-6 (Open Thread)
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