Hyena: Episodes 15-16 Open Thread (Final)
It’s the grand finale of Hyena, and there are a lot of moving parts that come together this week for a satisfying takedown. Our hero and heroine put everything on the line in order to win their victory, and as suspected, they’re stronger together than they ever were on their own.
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
I would be totally fine with this drama going on for another eight weeks, but I guess I shouldn’t be greedy. In order to give us a nice clean finish, Hyena did sacrifice some of the time I wish was spent with our characters instead, but I appreciate the well-paced attention that went towards to the final showdown, so I can’t be too upset with them.
But first, we get off to a hilarious start, with Geum-ja and Hee-jae investigating at the White Hotel again. They know they’re missing something important, and in order to get into the proper suites and gather the intel they need, the two basically role play the VIP clients from hell. It’s as funny as it is genius — and speaking of genius, how about Kim Hye-soo in these scenes? I was cracking up.
It is great to see our couple even just role playing a couple, though, and the subtext during in the proposal scene (that we could all feel) was especially fun. I’ve really been enjoying these two working together. While the romance and attraction took a bit of a back burner, I do like that the drama gave us time to watch these two getting to know each other (for real this time), whether that was past secrets, issues of family honor, or just how they tick as individuals.
This knowledge of each other — and closeness, really — becomes a huge asset for them in their final battle. Hee-jae and Geum-ja bring out each other’s strengths, provide cover for their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and really, they’re just perfectly balanced. Over the course of the drama, it’s nice to see that balance become a vehicle for their success, and the future success of their new(ish) firm Choong. Among the many ways Hyena brought its plot full circle, one is definitely how instead of pitting these two “hyenas” against each other, they’re now on the same side, and fighting together.
Hyena’s final week, though, focuses more on our Choong attorneys becoming the undoing of the corrupt and vile Attorney Song. The bulk of our last episodes were spent on the investigation, as our crew does their thing, and finally secures some incriminating evidence against Song. Geum-ja likes pomp when she works, so there are some great scenes full of wit and flourish when she has Song arrested at the Issume board meeting (in the most public and humiliating forum possible), when she gives Kevin Jung a piece of her mind (yesss) — and even, at the end, when she bests Song himself during his interrogation.
The strength here is not really the story itself, but the characters. Because we’ve become so closely familiar with who Hee-jae and Geum-ja are, and know everything that’s at stake for them, these scenes become satisfying. Geum-ja outsmarts the man who thought she was an expendable lowlife. Hee-jae stands up against the mentor who used him and his family cruelly. And Hyena gives these scenes enough time that they don’t feel rushed; they have the gravity of a final battle.
Because the drama spent a lot of time taking its time this week, the final courtroom scene is actually skipped over, and we get a montage of headlines instead. I was actually fine with this, since the real meat of the battle was during all those office and interrogation conversations. Also, at this point, I was done with Attorney Song, the politics, and the courtroom — what I wanted was more of our characters!
I mentioned last week that I was really loving that the team came together at Choong. It’s as if every lawyer with substance and gumption and loyalty was drawn to our pair like a magnet. Though I wish they had a little more time to shine in this final week, I loved their esprit de corps. Even Attorney Ga managed to defect, and it was great to see him and Yumi join our crew at the end. Congregation and unity are always a great place to end a drama. We had team dinners, drinks, and confetti popping that made Hee-jae jump out of his skin — but especially heart-warming was how everyone turned up at the ER after Geum-ja’s scary assault.
Speaking of Geum-ja and her backstory, it did swing around for a final pass this week, though overall, it didn’t have as much to do with the main story as we might have expected. Instead, it served to give Geum-ja her battle scars and devil-may-care attitude.
And of course, most importantly, it created vulnerability for a character that at first seemed to have none. Heck, if the only purpose of her backstory was to create that vulnerability for Hee-jae’s benefit… I’m okay with it. It served to bring those two together on more than one occasion over the course of the drama, and when Hee-jae stays over and sleeps on the coffee table (!) to comfort her — all the crazy stepfathers, knives, and creepy church basements were worth it.
As for Hee-jae, he has a lot to face before our story ends, too. In a way, his was the more interesting story in that he had farther to come, and a lot of that including falling, so to speak.
He started with prestige, overconfidence, and the complacency that comes from always being on top. But, after he’s cut down to size by Geum-ja, we watch his transformation over the course of the drama, and I love the hero he becomes by the end.
Hee-jae has questioned his identity so much (with respect to his family’s honor, what is truly right, and his role as puppet for his mentor), but at the conclusion, he’s stronger than ever. Some is thanks to Geum-ja, but most of it is really him. He was never afraid to question himself or his actions, and that’s what makes Hee-jae’s happy ending all the more satisfying for me.
In the same spirit, I loved the final scene of this drama. Hee-jae and Geum-ja stand on the street corner staring up at the Song & Kim skyscraper. It’s right where the story began, and it’s perfect that it ends here, too. We learn that the building is on the same plot where Geum-ja’s orphanage once was, and it’s a nice bit of metaphor with which to wrap up the drama.
But better than that was the two of them cavorting down the street like two kids. The drama might leave us with room to fill in the blanks about their romance, but this scene was the happiest one of the drama — Hee-jae and Geum-ja are totally in sync, inseparable, and more colorful and in charge than ever.
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