Dal-li and Gamjatang: Episodes 15-16 Open Thread (Final)
As we reach the conclusion of our tale, the real villains come to light, and that light is shed onto our remaining mysteries. Even in the face of grave wrongs, redemption is given where it’s due, and as for our couple, they get the ending they deserve.
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
I don’t want to say that the ending of the drama disappointed me, because things were tied up quite nicely, justice was swift, and the redemption was satisfying. But at the same time, I struggled a bit to stay invested, since we’ve been hanging fire on this final resolution for several episodes now.
Tae-jin’s evil deeds start to backfire on him, which is what happens when you are an evil-hearted person. Eventually, it catches up with you. His downfall is all due to Moo-hak’s brother, Ki-chul, and the scene we got glimpses of at the very start of the drama.
Ki-chul was there when Shi-hyung and Tae-jin were harassing and pressuring Dal-li’s father, and he filmed the whole thing — and not only their conversation, but how Tae-jin coldly stood there and let the poor man die. Funny how Tae-jin is so sociopathic he feels nothing, whereas Shi-hyung’s guilt is the first splinter that sets things going in the way of justice.
It’s that same video that Dal-li heard while in Tae-jin’s office, and though he bluffs his way through, Dal-li knows what she heard, and shares that info with her crew.
Everything comes to quite a violent peak, as Ki-chul attempts to blackmail Tae-jin with the video, but then gets on Tae-jin’s kill list the second the video is in his possession. Their dealings quickly intersect with Moo-hak’s own investigation (he’s nobody’s fool) and it all hits the climax in a parking garage where Ki-chul’s life is saved, but Moo-hak is brutally stabbed and on death’s door.
I have to say, I wasn’t expecting the sudden burst of life-threatening violence, and yet it fit with where the narrative needed to go to tie itself together: Moo-hak’s father finally admitting to his lousy character — and (unfortunately) his insistence that Moo-hak and Dal-li part ways.
The drama has a lot of fun toying with us here. Moo-hak’s father repeatedly commands them to part and particularly tells Dal-li off. Each time we wonder: will she play the noble idiot? Will she respect the kooky father’s wishes instead of the true love she and Moo-hak share?
While all the more serious plot points (drugs, murder, blackmail, etc.) are being exposed and dealt with, the drama also gives us the appropriate silliness that we’ve come to expect. Case in point: Moo-hak and Won-tak literally choking down Dal-li’s home-cooked meal out of affection for her, preferring to vomit than to hurt her feelings.
But with the silliness this drama delivered, there is also is true sweetness — for instance, Dal-li snuggling in Moo-hak’s hospital bed with him, or the very touching (*sob*) scene where Dal-li and Gong-joo become true friends.
During the entire final episode I was bracing for the requisite time jump — and I think I was expecting it so much that when those dreaded words “One year later…” appeared on the screen, it wasn’t as painful as I was expecting. (Because I was already expecting the pain?)
But then the drama one-ups us with the time jump, and uses it to prank us. Dal-li is returning to Seoul from the Netherlands, and it’s such a bustle of new hairdos and dialogue that it seems like she’s been gone forever. There’s an overwrought tension in the air between her and Moo-hak… until the drama drops the joke, and we learn the two never actually broke up. And not only that, but they’ve been dating happily for the last year.
Despite my minor complaints on the show and its slow pace towards the climax, it concludes exactly as it should. The drama ends in a flourish of the wonderful paradigms and Dickensian color it brought to our screens: the wicked father who’s redeemed by his love for his son; the villain who’s brought to his knees by his own evil; and the conniving side character whose heart is actually good, and whose eventual determination to be good is enough to turn the tables.
As it should (and must!), our drama ends with a blissful marriage proposal. Here, our OTP’s happiness is only made more so by their faithful companions cheering them on giddily from the sidelines. If ever there was a pocket of self-reference in this drama, this is it: we are a part of that giddy crew, cheering them on, swooning over their kiss, and conspiring for their happiness.
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