Vincenzo: Episode 20 (Final)
The epic fight between our mafioso and his adversaries comes to a close in an intense finale that takes vengeance to a new level. In a tale with a death toll higher than its episode count, we know we’re not in for a happily-ever-after. But we do get a solid ending that does justice to the characters we’ve gotten to know and love over the past several weeks. So grab your espresso and settle in for one last wild ride with our favorite consigliere and his loyal Geumga Plaza crew.
While Vincenzo sits on the ground holding a bleeding Cha-young in his arms, Joon-woo raises his gun and points it at Vincenzo. Han-seo leaps up and grabs the barrel of the gun, trying to wrestle it away from his brother.
With the gun now pressed into Han-seo’s abdomen, Joon-woo tells him to let go, but Han-seo refuses. He begs Joon-woo to stop and says, “You really shouldn’t have been born, you scum.” Joon-woo stares coldly and shoots straight through his brother’s stomach. Noooo!
Vincenzo stares in shock as Han-seo falls to the ground. Joon-woo points his gun at Vincenzo and pulls the trigger. Vincenzo covers Cha-young with his body, but nothing happens – Joon-woo is out of bullets. Vincenzo chases Joon-woo out to the balcony but doesn’t follow when Joon-woo jumps down to the ground below and speeds off in his car.
While Vincenzo calls an ambulance and checks on Cha-young, Han-seo calls out to him. Vincenzo rushes over and cradles his head. “I did well, didn’t I?” Han-seo asks. Vincenzo says he did well enough to qualify to be his little brother. Han-seo says it’s the first time he’s ever helped anyone.
He coughs up blood but manages to hand Vincenzo his phone, telling him he knows what to do with it. Han-seo thanks Vincenzo for everything and then goes still. Vincenzo bows his head, and Cha-young sheds a tear. Vincenzo gently closes Han-seo’s eyes and remains by his side. Meanwhile, Joon-woo tosses his phone in the river.
Cha-young wakes in the hospital, luckily only sporting a shoulder injury. She tells Vincenzo it wasn’t his fault she got hurt and encourages him to go catch Joon-woo. He promises to finish this within 24 hours. Then, he’ll leave. She asks him not to say goodbye when he goes.
In prison, Myung-hee reads the headline article about Joon-woo fleeing after murdering his brother and attempting to murder a lawyer. She curses Vincenzo’s name. At Geumga Plaza, the tenants are relieved Cha-young is recovering and determined to stay in this fight to the very end.
Vincenzo passes Han-seo’s phone and the original Guillotine file over to Team Leader Ahn who vows to uphold justice. Vincenzo encourages him to use it to “trample” his enemies instead. He shares that, from a villain’s perspective, the scariest enemy isn’t the just official but the regular citizen who stands outside with a baseball bat when his rent is raised.
Elsewhere, Attorney Han psyches himself up to sign the warrant for his own arrest. Right before he signs, Vincenzo calls and offers him a way to survive: Release Myung-hee within the next three hours.
When Attorney Han hesitates, Vincenzo terrifies him by reciting his schedule over the past few days and saying he could’ve killed him at any time. Attorney Han eagerly crumples his arrest warrant and prepares to sell Myung-hee out.
On the run, Joon-woo buys a bag full of weapons and hires a group of men for some new nefarious plan. Meanwhile, shortly after the prosecution raids Wusang, Myung-hee is released from prison. The prosecution determined she took the fall for Joon-woo because her life was threatened.
Vincenzo calls to tell Myung-hee this is her final day and plays her the recording of Attorney Han trading her life for his. Myung-hee goes straight to Wusang, unaware Young-woon is tailing her and reporting to Vincenzo.
Myung-hee retrieves a secret cell phone from her office and calls the number Joon-woo texted her. He informs her of his plan to escape to Mexico and encourages her to flee the country as well. He sends her to remove sensitive information from his laptop and tells her to transfer five billion won to herself.
While Vincenzo and Team Leader Ahn somehow track Joon-woo via Han-seo’s phone, Attorney Han addresses the press about Joon-woo. He pins all Wusang’s illegal dealings on behalf of Babel on Myung-hee and claims Wusang is the victim.
Attorney Han’s little press conference outside the courthouse is interrupted by a call from Joon-woo who chides him for being disrespectful. “Go keep my little brother company,” Joon-woo says ominously. He watches from a van as one man breaks through the crowd and stabs Attorney Han in the gut and another stabs him in his neck. By the time Vincenzo arrives minutes later, Attorney Han is dead.
The breaking news reaches Cha-young and Joo-sung in the hospital. Even as Cha-young reassures Joo-sung that Vincenzo will be fine, her face betrays her worry.
Vincenzo suddenly loses the GPS signal while chasing Joon-woo, but Young-woon has an idea of where Myung-hee will be. Myung-hee arrives at her apartment and checks in with Joon-woo before going up. She rushes inside and freezes when she hears the tell-tale sound of Vincenzo’s lighter.
Young-woon blocks her exit after taking out the security guards outside, so she pulls herself together and faces Vincenzo. When he tsks that it’s better to hide than run from a predator, Myung-hee argues she wouldn’t know since it’s her first time as prey.
Vincenzo promises that the money she sent to Joon-woo that he (or Mi-ri, more accurately) intercepted will go to a good cause. Myung-hee sighs that he’s been thorough in his making a fool of her and asks to finish her beer before he kills her. Vincenzo recalls her love of Zumba and instead offers to let her “dance” as much as she’d like.
The police are baffled as to why CCTV footage shows a member of the Mafia and an unknown accomplice abducting Myung-hee from her apartment. Based on the link between Wusang and Babel, they assume Attorney Han’s death, Joon-woo’s fleeing, and this kidnapping are all related.
Elsewhere, Myung-hee wakes in an abandoned warehouse with her feet possibly nailed to the floor. (It’s hard to tell exactly, but they’re covered in blood and she’s unable to stand.) Vincenzo waltzes up and reminds her he vowed she wouldn’t have an easy death.
Myung-hee argues she’ll be dead either way, so why does it matter? Besides, they’re both the same type of terrible person. She laughs when Vincenzo denies it, but he’s done chatting. He turns on the sprinkler above her head and douses her with lighter fluid. (And we’re back to his favorite hobby of arson.) Then, he turns on some Zumba mood music.
Myung-hee panics and appeals to his conscience, reminding him he once said he doesn’t hurt women and children. Vincenzo retorts that doesn’t apply to monsters. Myung-hee begs him to just shoot her instead.
Vincenzo tosses his lighter behind him as he walks away. Myung-hee struggles to stand as the fire engulfs her. It’s a brutal scene set to disturbingly upbeat music as Myung-hee “dances” around the warehouse on fire.
Meanwhile, some of the tenants head to Joon-woo’s location to stop him from getting away until Vincenzo can get there. Joon-woo tries to make a break for it as they fight his hired men, but Cheol-wook catches him and puts him in a chokehold.
Joon-woo manages to pull out a knife and stab Cheol-wook in the leg. The tenants stop fighting, but Joon-woo still stabs Cheol-wook again, this time in the chest. He then pulls out a gun, but before he can shoot, he gets shot in the leg.
Vincenzo has arrived in the nick of time, as always. When Joon-woo reaches for his gun, Vincenzo shoots him in the leg again. While Larry calls for an ambulance for Cheol-wook, Hong-shik knocks Joon-woo out.
Cheol-wook tells Vincenzo not to let the police get Joon-woo but to punish him personally. Even as he struggles to speak, he smiles and says he wants Vincenzo to be his daughter’s godfather. Vincenzo holds his hand and agrees.
CEO Park surprises everyone when he takes charge of emergency treatment, expertly bandaging Cheol-wook’s leg and stopping them from pulling the knife out of his chest. He used to be a surgical nurse. Huh.
The police arrive, so the group splits up. The tenants block the street so that Vincenzo can escape with Joon-woo in the backseat.
Joon-woo wakes up tied to a scary looking chair in, you guessed it, a warehouse. (How does Vincenzo find all these abandoned warehouses?) Joon-woo is confused when Vincenzo says that he located him thanks to Han-seo.
In a flashback, Han-seo and Vincenzo casually eat ramyeon in Vincenzo’s apartment. Han-seo tells him that he found it so out of character when Joon-woo gifted him that matching watch that he disassembled it. There was a tracker inside. He secretly put that tracker in Joon-woo’s watch and linked it to a tracking app.
Vincenzo doesn’t see why Han-seo bothers tracking Joon-woo, but Han-seo knows his brother’s pattern. Thanks in part to their father, he’s learned to run after he does something horrible. Han-seo thinks Joon-woo could’ve turned out differently had he been held accountable for the murder of his classmates.
Han-seo was detailed and put a tracker in each of Joon-woo’s watches to be safe. Joon-woo sighs that his brother was useless until the end.
The chair Vincenzo tied Joon-woo to is outfitted with drill bits pointing toward Joon-woo’s body. Vincenzo is borrowing a technique called “the spear of atonement” he learned from the Russian Mafia. He’s not concerned with the atonement bit – he’s using it for the pain.
Vincenzo uses foot pedals to operate the drills and explains that the drills will embed five millimeters every five minutes. Joon-woo won’t die until the following afternoon. Joon-woo bargains and pleads, offering everything he can think of, but Vincenzo isn’t interested.
After he manually sends one of the drills in further, Vincenzo puts the machine on auto with a timer for every five minutes. Just like Myung-hee, Joon-woo begs Vincenzo to shoot him. Vincenzo tells him to go apologize to Han-seo and removes Joon-woo’s watch to keep as a trophy.
Once he leaves, Vincenzo contemplates calling Cha-young but ends up turning off his phone and discarding it instead. He meets up with Young-woon and Team Leader Ahn who gives him a Korean passport. Director Tae arranged for his personal data to be linked to this passport temporarily.
Team Leader Ahn grabs Vincenzo in a hug, and right as Vincenzo is about to leave, Cha-young and Joo-sung pull up. Vincenzo rushes over to Cha-young who assures him she’s fine. She just wanted to see him before he left.
After hugging her and Joo-sung, Vincenzo leaves with Young-woon. It’s not until after he’s gone that Cha-young lets the tears fall. The next day, Joon-woo is extremely weak but still alive in the torture chair when a crow begins feasting on him.
A month later, Cha-young listens to a news report about how the police have found no signs of Vincenzo’s whereabouts. Cha-young visits a vineyard where it looks like she’s bought a row in Vincenzo’s name.
We jump ahead a year and learn that Babel is going into receivership, and Candidate Park lost the election. Chief Kim is now running for office on a platform of gentrification. While he gives a speech outside of Geumga Plaza about how they need to tear it down and make the district wealthier, Cha-young leads the tenants in protest.
They wear their snazzy suits and dub themselves the Cassano Geumga Family. They declare no one gets to tear down Geumga Plaza and prepare to fight the campaign workers who try to throw them out.
Six years after the original trial, Kyung-ja’s case is retried. She is convicted of manslaughter instead of murder, and Chairman Hwang is convicted of sexual assault. Thanks to written testimony from the imprisoned Min-sung – which Cha-young procured by giving him photos of Vincenzo to stare at longingly – his mother is charged with negligence.
Team Leader Ahn has been promoted to Director Ahn and has been searching for Vincenzo the past year to no avail. They’re still working on holding all the corrupt officials in the Guillotine file accountable. In the meantime, Young-woon is brought back into the fold.
We next catch up with our tenants at Geumga Plaza. CEO Park helps out at the pawn shop while Yeon-jin and the very much alive Cheol-wook focus on their adorable baby. Mi-ri gives piano lessons and enjoys the gold bars hidden in one of her pianos. The monks have made Nanyak Temple into an official marriage proposal spot.
In a flashback, Vincenzo tells Monk Jeokha that he can’t quit his work and become righteous. He’s afraid he’ll end up back where he started and live out his days in regret and anguish. Monk Jeokha talks about Vaisravana, one of the Four Heavenly Kings who protects Buddhist ideals and fights evil. Vincenzo may never be like Buddha, but he can fight for the people and do good.
Cha-young sits outside at a park she and Vincenzo once visited. He’d again promised to come back one day, likening them to the separated lovers in a folk tale who reunite thanks to a bridge formed by birds. Cha-young joked that Inzaghi and his pigeon friends could stand in for the crows and magpies in the story.
Back at the office, Cha-young and Joo-sung are happy the retrial went so well on the eve of Kyung-ja’s death anniversary. Cha-young finds a postcard (with a picture of Malta) from Vincenzo on her desk. It looks like he’s been sending them monthly.
Joo-sung hands her a ticket to a Korean-Italian diplomatic relations event but says he can’t make it because it conflicts with his paper airplane competition. Pfft. Cha-young attends the event alone and wanders around.
She stops to stare at a painting and hears a voice beside her say, “War and art are best observed from a distance.” We get the slow-motion turn as she faces Vincenzo, and they smile at each other.
Vincenzo explains he snuck in with the Italian delegation, so he’s only here for a day. But she can come visit him. He bought a deserted island near Malta, as you do, and named it Pagliuzza which he says is the Italian word for “jipuragi.”
He thanks Cha-young for letting him hide his gold at her place. In flashback, we see that everyone brought the gold they siphoned off bit by bit to a building on Cha-young’s property.
Vincenzo reveals that he’s no longer a consigliere but the Cassano family boss. The island has become their home base and a haven. Cha-young asks if she can come and is excited to hear Vincenzo set aside a room for her.
After a pause, Cha-young says she’s missed him. Vincenzo has missed her too and says he hasn’t stopped thinking about her since he left. Cha-young scoffs at that and starts walking.
To prove he means it, Vincenzo spins her around and kisses her. He pulls back and says villains are too tenacious to break up. Cha-young smiles and kisses him again.
Later, when Vincenzo leaves with the delegation, Cha-young watches from afar. They stare at each other for a long moment before he walks away.
As he walks down the street clicking his indestructible, ever-present lighter, Vincenzo narrates that he took over Malta’s olive plantations after fertilizing his vineyard with three Luciano family members. He’s still a villain who believes justice can’t beat evil.
Everyone, even villains, dreams of peace. But since that’s an impossible dream, he’ll just keep taking out the trash. Vincenzo leaves us with a final piece of dire villain wisdom in Italian: “Evil is powerful and vast.”
And with those words to live by, our journey has come to an end. The ending was as intense as I’d hoped and wrapped up everything in a way that felt fitting and earned. Everyone ended up in a better place than where they started, and although Vincenzo had to leave, he found purpose and gets to live out his days with his Cassano family. And he can at least see Cha-young – and hopefully more of his Cassano Geumga family later on – from time to time. It was as happy of an ending as a dark drama like this could have without seeming incongruent. I wasn’t sure what kind of ending we’d get, but I’m glad the drama went with a hopeful one. Evil may be pervasive and impossible to eradicate, but if you choose not to accept it and fight, the world might just get a little bit better. Unfortunately, as our characters discovered, that choice can come at a high personal cost.
Way more of the “good” team survived than I expected – only poor Han-seo didn’t make it. Why do the reformed villains with tragic pasts always have to die? Every time, I get overly invested, even knowing they’re just going to die in the end. While I was upset about Han-seo’s death, I have to admit having him die saving someone’s life was a beautiful end for him. Han-seo started out traumatized and solely focused on his own survival. With Vincenzo’s support, he grew into someone brave and self-sacrificing. Thanks to a well-written character arc and Kwak Dong-yeon’s lovable and sympathetic portrayal, Han-seo turned into a surprisingly impactful character. I’m definitely a fan of this writer’s penchant for creating endearing enemies-turned-unlikely-friends pairings.
Although Vincenzo was an ensemble drama, it would never have worked without a charismatic lead. Vincenzo’s character relied on Song Joong-ki’s charm which he brought in spades. Whether he was daintily sipping espresso or destroying his enemies, he did it with poise and style. I feel like Vincenzo was almost as much an aesthetic as a character, and I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. Overall, I thought everyone was well-cast from the tenants to the villains. I was worried about Cha-young’s character in the beginning, but Jeon Yeo-bin ended up doing a great job once she settled in. I love that Cha-young was always a part of the action and never felt like merely a tool for the male lead’s revenge plot as so often happens. While I never found Joon-woo to be a particularly engaging villain, Taecyeon did better than I would’ve thought in the role. Maybe I’m just over the murderous psychopath angle, but I prefer my villains a tad more subtle. I did find his trusting partnership with Myung-hee interesting, though. The two of them together made an effective villainous pair.
I appreciate that the drama didn’t try to reform Vincenzo and turn him into a good guy. For a while, I thought that’s the direction we were heading, but it’s refreshing that he stayed an unabashed antihero (or villain, as he dubbed himself). His brutality wasn’t sugarcoated, and in fact, they leaned into it. Vincenzo’s creative endings for Myung-hee and Joon-woo were disturbing and darker than I’d anticipated. Considering this was billed as a dark comedy, I assumed they would keep the tone somewhat light and only go so far with the depravity. It did start out that way, focusing more on the comedy angle, but it just got darker and darker as things progressed. This writer’s comedies are always quirky and somewhat dark, but Vincenzo really went there.
While I liked the drama overall, I do wish they’d gone with the typical 16-episode length. The middle of the drama started to feel repetitive with all the back-and-forth scheming. Shaving off a few episodes would’ve kept things tighter without sacrificing the plot. Less is more. My main issue with the drama, though, is that I felt like it was constantly trying to impress me with its (or Vincenzo’s) cleverness. After one too many “twists” and cliffhangers followed by flashbacks to Vincenzo’s secret genius plans, it started to feel hollow. I love a good scheme, but you can only throw so many gotcha moments at the audience before it gets tiresome.
When I first heard about the premise of Vincenzo, I expected a hot mess. What I got instead was a surprisingly cohesive drama about an oddball group of people fighting for themselves and each other. Vincenzo is like the eccentric cousin of a gangster film, mixing the refined, badass gangster antihero with an underdog justice tale and a comedy about wacky neighbors. That’s the kind of vibe you need for the story of a Korean adoptee somehow becoming the consigliere to a prominent Italian Mafia family and later helping take down an evil conglomerate. Vincenzo’s violent brand of vigilante justice might qualify him as a “bad guy,” but to those mistreated people he fought for, he was a hero. He had a drastic impact on everyone around him, bringing them together and turning them into a family. In turn, they grounded Vincenzo, giving him hope and a cause. He might never get to live a peaceful life, but he and his mysteriously indestructible lighter found purpose as a vengeful protector of the wronged.