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Happiness: Episode 12 (Final)

The ending is just what I’d hoped for, devoting most of its time to sorting out the mess at the complex but leaving enough time for a final wrap-up. It’s been a fun ride with a surprising amount of heart and hope, one that’s all about connection and those by our side we often take for granted.

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

As Sae-bom donates her blood, she again watches the video Yi-hyun recorded for her. She calls his phone, but it goes to voicemail. Sae-bom spots Seo-yoon in the hallway and ends up going with her to visit her mother.

Seo-yoon’s mother is lucid but doesn’t look well. She tells Seo-yoon that she caught a cold and makes her keep her distance so she doesn’t get sick before her surgery. Once Seo-yoon leaves the room, her mother says it’s thanks to Seo-yoon’s letter that she’s been able to hold on for so long.

She asks Sae-bom to keep looking after her daughter and then urges Sae-bom to leave. She can’t hold back anymore and turns, straining against her restraints.

Elsewhere, Tae-seok interviews So-yoon about the state of the apartment complex. He asks how many are currently infected and wants details about those who died from the infection.

Outside, Sae-bom promises Seo-yoon that she and Yi-hyun will visit her after her surgery. When Seo-yoon guesses that her mother is infected, Sae-bom assures her she’ll get better. But Tae-seok later tells Sae-bom that Seo-yoon’s mother probably won’t last much longer.

Tae-seok hands Sae-bom the last remaining vial of the treatment and observes that her antibody count is decreasing. They need this vial to create more of the treatment. When he says the commander is coming to take her to the lab, Sae-bom asks if he’s breaking his promise.

He’s not. He has Sae-bom sneak out in military garb to evade the officers who’ve come to retrieve her. They arrive as Tae-seok injects Young-in with the treatment and surround him with guns raised. Once he’s finished, he turns himself in.

On her way out, Sae-bom slips into Seo-yoon’s mother’s room. She takes out the vial and injects her with the treatment. She hears a gun cock and turns to find Ji-soo in the doorway, pointing her gun at her.

She berates Sae-bom for using the last of the cure, but Sae-bom argues she can’t be the only one with the antibodies. Yi-hyun has her, but Seo-yoon doesn’t have anyone, which is why Sae-bom decided to give Seo-yoon’s mother the last dose.

Ji-soo sighs but switches clothes with Sae-bom and sneaks her out. Sae-bom gives her quick hug and starts to leave, but Ji-soo holds her back. When Sae-bom hilariously thinks she wants another hug, Ji-soo pushes her away and clarifies that people will be suspicious if she’s unharmed. Although it was her idea, Ji-soo gets all nervous but eventually lets Sae-bom hit her in the face with the gun.

While Sae-bom escapes in the car Tae-seok prepared for her, Tae-seok gets an earful from the commander. Tae-seok explains that Sae-bom showed him there was a way to succeed without reducing people to statistics.

When she arrives at the complex, Sae-bom hands over the document Tae-seok prepared for her and is let in. She tries contacting Yi-hyun via the radio Tae-seok gave her, but there’s no response. In case Yi-hyun is listening, Sae-bom says she never realized how much he meant to her, and she’ll do whatever it takes to get to him.

At the command center, we get a peek into Tae-seok’s next plan. When Ji-soo covers for Sae-bom to the commander and says she likely went abroad, Tae-seok intervenes. He reveals Sae-bom went back for Yi-hyun and then drops a key piece of intel: there’s another antibody carrier in the apartment. He asks for authority to take over the operation.

Meanwhile Sae-bom gets Hyun-kyung and Soo-min to let her back in the apartment. When she asks about Yi-hyun, they go quiet.

We flash back to the previous day when Yi-hyun bit Andrew. Young-ok watches terrified from the doorway, but Yi-hyun comes to almost immediately. He calmly walks past her and down the stairs. Young-ok runs to Andrew and tries to pry the gun from his hand. Suddenly, he grabs her arm.

Hyun-kyung spots Yi-hyun, covered in both his and Andrew’s blood, as he goes back to his apartment. He lies exhausted on the couch but smiles when he looks at his and Sae-bom’s picture on the wall. He wakes to Hyun-kyung standing over him, worried.

In 601, Joo-hyung surreptitiously pops another Next pill while Sang-hee and Hae-sung are busy trying to figure out his password. Moon-hee comes banging on the door, begging for Joo-hyung’s help in saving her husband.

Sang-hee and Hae-sung insist Joo-hyung isn’t in and slam the door. When Hae-sung rounds the corner, Joo-hyung lunges at him and bites his arm, pretending to be infected. Sang-hee and Hae-sung go running into the hall and take refuge in Hae-sung’s apartment. While Joo-hyung bangs on the door, Moon-hee approaches him.

In 501, Yi-hyun wakes to Hyun-kyung and Soo-min bickering over whether not he’s infected. Ha, Hyun-kyung has outfitted her brother in a catcher’s mask in case he goes feral, but he claims his thirst has lessened. Yi-hyun anxiously asks about Sae-bom and is relieved to hear she and the others made it out.

He divulges that he bit Andrew and says he needs to catch him because if he’s still alive, he’ll be even more dangerous now. The siblings accompany him Yi-hyun to the roof, but Andrew is gone.

In 601, Joo-hyung watches the news (service has been turned back on) while Moon-hee feeds Se-kyu in the other room. Yi-hyun and the siblings pay Joo-hyung a visit, but he says he hasn’t seen Andrew or Young-ok. He keeps up the lie that he’s infected, but of course, Yi-hyun knows the truth.

Yi-hyun explains that not everyone who takes Next gets infected. He then pushes his way inside to check on the cleaning couple. Yi-hyun almost goes zombie in the presence of the bleeding Se-kyu but he manages to hold on.

He correctly surmises that Joo-hyung is keeping the couple there in case he turns and needs blood. Yi-hyun warns him not to step out of line or he’ll lock him in the basement. When Joo-hyung follows Yi-hyun out of the apartment, Moon-hee swipes the pills and feeds one to her husband.

Yi-hyun and the siblings next stop by Hak-je and Sung-shil’s. Hak-je insists they’re fine but asks them to look after Dong-hyun and tell him to come home. Yi-hyun warns him about Andrew and then heads for the elevator with the siblings.

A very disheveled Young-ok steps out of the elevator and warns the siblings to stay away from Yi-hyun. She then shares that Andrew is dead; she repeatedly bashed his head in with the bat after he raised the gun. But she still thinks his body is on the rooftop and refuses to believe Yi-hyun that the body is gone. When she goes up and sees for herself, she convinces herself Yi-hyun hid the body.

Downstairs, Yi-hyun leaves his sidekicks inside while he goes into the garage. He spots Dong-hyun in his car, bloody and crying. He’s been bitten.

Soo-min is amusingly afraid of the infected and wants to keep Dong-hyun out, but Yi-hyun lets him inside. Yi-hyun argues Dong-hyun has a better chance of holding out if he’s with his family, so Dong-hyun returns home in tears and apologizes to his father. Hak-je welcomes him back with open arms.

After taking the pills, Se-kyu feels better. He suggests pulling out the knife, which seems like a bad idea. Moon-hee gives him another pill, and he says that they shouldn’t leave this place empty handed after everything. “Let’s take this apartment.” And the bad ideas keep coming.

Moon-hee lures Joo-hyung into the room. Se-kyu slices Joo-hyung’s arm, but that’s all the damage he can do before Joo-hyung escapes. He runs to beg for Sang-hee’s help, even offering to give her his money. That gets her to open the door a crack, but when he reaches his bloody hand in, she slams the door on him.

Joo-hyung then runs to Yi-hyun for help. When Yi-hyun questions Moon-hee, she lies that Joo-hyung gave them the pills and said they’d heal the wound. Yi-hyun is sick of Joo-hyung’s drama and takes him to the gym, but he lets him take his laptop.

Sang-hee stares at the laptop intently as Yi-hyun and his sidekicks lead Joo-hyung to the elevator. Young-ok steps out and demands to know where they’re taking Joo-hyung. She shoots Yi-hyun one hell of a glare when he warns her to watch herself or he’ll quarantine her next.

In 601, Moon-hee and Se-kyu go through all the fancy jewelry and cash in the apartment while discussing how they could kill Joo-hyung and make it look like a zombie did it. Moon-hee gives Se-kyu another pill because of the pain; he wonders why he’s so thirsty.

Back in 501, Hyun-kyung thanks Yi-hyun for staying behind – she knows he did it partly to look after everyone. Yi-hyun sends them home, saying he’ll rest before looking for Andrew again. Hyun-kyung wants to help, but Yi-hyun admits he’s still struggling a lot and could be a danger to her.

While cleaning the apartment, Yi-hyun finds the radio, but it seems to be broken. Even so, he turns it on to ask Sae-bom if she’s well and say he misses her.

We jump back to the present, and Sae-bom is elated to hear that Yi-hyun is still alive and okay. Sae-bom shares that the lockdown will lift soon and runs home.

Meanwhile, Sang-hee tries to sneak into the gym office to steal the laptop, but Joo-hyung manages to grab her. Young-ok pops in and offers a deal: she’ll break his handcuffs if he helps her get rid of Yi-hyun. Even Joo-hyung thinks she’s lost it, but he looks tempted.

From his apartment, Yi-hyun hears a woman scream. He runs into the hall where Joo-hyung is holding a knife to Sang-hee’s throat. Young-ok sits on the floor and suggests they kill everyone and pin it on the infected. Yi-hyun yells that they’re the true monsters here.

Joo-hyung cuts Sang-hee’s arm, flinging the blood at Yi-hyun before shoving her toward him. Yi-hyun manages to resist the thirst long enough to push Sang-hee into the stairwell for safety. Young-ok’s laughter follows him as he runs back to his apartment.

While Joo-hyung bangs on the door, Yi-hyun hides under a blanket to try to regain control. But his hand is covered in Sang-hee’s blood, and his pupils constrict.

Sae-bom arrives during this madness, first running into an unhinged Young-ok in the hall as she says that she totally deserves to be rep. Sae-bom placates her and sarcastically says she’ll vote for her. Then, she heads for Joo-hyung as he bangs on the door and screams for Yi-hyun.

He tries to pretend he’s infected, but Sae-bom’s well-placed kick between his legs cuts that short. Sae-bom rushes inside and finds Yi-hyun huddled on the couch, fighting the change. She rubs his back and talks to him, assuring him that she’ll stay by his side. “Stay with me,” she says.

Yi-hyun finally starts to calm down and turns to look at her in amazement. She tells him she’s okay no matter what state he’s in and kisses him. They hold onto each other for a while.

Meanwhile, Tae-seok and Ji-soo head to the complex. She’s surprised to hear that their only evidence Soo-min has the antibodies is anecdotal: So-yoon heard from Hyun-kyung that his wound never changed.

In 602, Hae-sung ignores Sang-hee banging on his door and stares at his texts to So-yoon. Now that he’s lost her, he misses her and realizes how much she meant to him. She picks up when he calls, but only to tell him not to call again.

He quickly gets over his heartbreak and guesses he’ll settle for Sang-hee who still wants him. They get into Joo-hyung’s bitcoin account, but their celebratory expressions fall when they see he’s in the red. (So satisfying.)

According to the news Dong-hyun and his parents are watching, stock markets are crashing globally due to the virus. With all this coverage, the family is hopeful for a cure and that someone will soon save them. So they’re ecstatic when soldiers break down their door and lead them out.

Soo-min is taken away on a stretcher while he and Hyun-kyung swear he’s never bitten anyone. Tae-seok checks the bite on his neck – it’s not infected. He radios that he found the carrier and then orders Ji-soo take Yi-hyun and Sae-bom to the dorms.

The cleaning couple flips out when soldiers burst into “their” apartment and drag them away from their recently acquired possessions. Meanwhile, Yi-hyun and Sae-bom leave Joo-hyung and Young-ok on the roof. They decide to move Se-hoon’s body back to his apartment, so Yi-hyung goes to open the door to 1501. (Oh no, Andrew’s going to be in there, isn’t he?)

Yep, it’s Andrew with the gun. Yi-hyun refuses to call for Sae-bom and instead tries to wrestle the gun away. Sae-bom hears a gunshot and finds Andrew holding a gun to Yi-hyun’s head. He orders her to drop the gun, but Yi-hyun yells for her to shoot as he holds his stomach.

Sae-bom lowers the gun … and shoots herself in the arm. Newly infected Andrew quickly turns and advances on her, but Yi-hyun shoots him in the head before he can reach her. Sae-bom runs to Yi-hyun and cradles his head.

He’s barely conscious and tells her to keep being the good cop. Yi-hyun’s head drops. Sae-bom holds him close and wails. (If he dies after that gunshot wound while Andrew survived multiple wounds to the head, I am going to be pissed.)

We cut to an unspecified amount of time later. Young-ok and Joo-hyung stand trial for their crimes. At the dorms, we see that Seung-young is still alive. At the complex, a healthy Seo-yoon runs around the grounds and into Sae-bom’s arms. An equally healthy Yi-hyun wraps his arms around Sae-bom from behind. (Yay!)

Seo-yoon says she has somewhere to be, leaving the couple alone. They reminisce about last year’s lockdown, and Sae-bom asks when Yi-hyun started liking her. Yi-hyun says he always has and even became a cop because of her.

She nudges him, “So are you happy now?” Yi-hyun replies, “Of course, as long as I’m with you.” They both look happy as they playfully race home.


 
COMMENTS

What a perfect ending for this drama. Despite the whole global-zombie-pandemic thing, the drama wasn’t grim or pessimistic in tone, so it was fitting that the villains all paid their dues and the heroes came out on top. The message here is hopeful: even when the world is full of negativity or outright villainy, it’s worth it to be decent and not compromise your values. Sometimes, a simple good wins story is nice.

This drama worked largely due to its characters and its straightforward story that didn’t take itself too seriously. I’m all for nuance and complexity, but there are times when you just want to sit back and enjoy a drama without having to think too much. This drama understood that and gave us a fun zombie-type tale that had more heart than nuance. It could’ve fallen flat but the character focus and short episode count kept it engaging. The good guys were easy to root for, and the bad guys were fun to hate.

Yi-hyun and Sae-bom were great leads who were easy to sympathize with. Yi-hyun was lovable from the start, kind and quietly strong. Sae-bom was brash and had a temper, but she was principled and willing to risk herself for others. She was a great mix of selfish and self-sacrificing in a way that made her feel like a real person. The drama really rested on Han Hyo-joo and Park Hyung-shik’s shoulders, and they carried it well. Not that I’m surprised – I already liked both of them. They infused their roles with heart and had great chemistry.

The side characters were well-acted too, and I appreciate that they were given their own arcs and time to develop. In particular, Bae Hae-seon was great as the uptight Young-ok who came unglued as the story progressed. There was just the right amount of camp, especially with the baddies, to be entertaining without feeling completely ungrounded.

I’d wondered throughout why the title was Happiness, but the last episode cleared that up. The characters who achieved happiness maintained their humanity (both infected and uninfected) in the direst of circumstances and came out the other side stronger. The lockdown revealed people’s true natures and what was truly important to them. Most of the residents showed themselves to be greedy, selfish, or even downright cruel. But a handful took the harder road that ended up leading them to happiness. It’s the embodiment of the maxim “you reap what you sow.” Those who put good into the world earned their happiness.

Honestly, I didn’t expect too much going into Happiness, but it ended up being a lot of fun. The tone was surprisingly light for the plot. It was more thriller than horror, which made it suspenseful but not particularly dark. This is a drama that I took more at surface value, not fixating on the details or expecting something overly deep. For me, watching Yi-hyun and Sae-bom navigate their unfortunate circumstance while growing closer and finding their own happiness along the way was enough.

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Just some personal musings.
I’m happy to add Sae-bom as one of my most favorite female leads alongside Oh Ri Jin and Do Bong Soon. Love that kick of hers, and her enthusiasm for good food too. Hyo Joo and Hyung Sik both look really good with their casual outfits. Although they have worked together with just 12 episodes, I have never questioned their chemistry as Sae-bom and Yi-hyun. They’re so sweet together, like when Hyung Sik’s showing some signs of fatigue and Hyo Joo cheers him up. I hope they shall team up again in the future!
The attention and publicity of this drama are generally focused on the traumatic event caused by NEXT and the gruesome appearances of infected persons, but the contents presented to the audience/us are skewed towards the interactions among the residents stuck in lockdown. And human beings act in a ridiculous manner (like the cleaner couple in ep 12 and the Troublesome Triple). Ironic indeed. A home is meant to be one’s place for comfort, unfortunately in (and in S. Korea) class elitism seeps through and pollutes this precious ideal of Home.

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[Continued] Sae-bom and Yi-hyun seek for happiness by communicating sincerely with each other. A happy ending is the best outcome we all wish to have, but this drama presents other pathways towards happiness too. Through the other residents I see happiness sought in different ways: So-yoon breaking away from her marriage once she realizes the scumbag her husband has become, Do-hyun’s father welcoming his infected wife and son because they’re family, Seo-yoon holding her tears whenever someone gets injured in order not to become a burden for the adults around her. Happiness isn’t simply the state of feeling positivity, but rather an extended process for our characters to reflect upon its significance.
I was pleasantly surprised that our power couple’s high-school interaction was shown first in ep 1, as it can be introduced in episode 2 instead as they put up their photo in their home. As I continued watching I felt that Happiness is more about Sae-bom and Yi-hyun finding their happiness with each other, while the outbreak is one huge factor that aids in their transition from best friends to official couple.
Something that has been occupying my thoughts since the premiere of Happiness is the stylistic choice to mirror the letter “e” in the title card. What does this mirrored “e” stand for? I choose to interpret it as “everyday life” that has been flipped upside down during the lockdown for the residents in this drama. Sae-bom and Yi-hyun met during their hardships in their teenage days under the blue sky, marking the first time the title card with the mirrored “e” appears on our screens. When they finally learn to voice out their affection for each other in episode 11-12, the title card marks this achievement with the right orientation of that letter “e”.
The ending of could have been improved with extra footage of Andrew-the-murderer as well as Tae-seok’s fate with his wife and child, but I wouldn’t want to watch another episode without our power couple, so I’m satisfied with 12 episodes. This is the first series that makes me want to watch live, ever since OCN’s Player (2018), going to record my thoughts in my journal yeah!

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e as in letting yourself fall backwards into the hands of fate.

it is a bit buddhist maybe where you surrender to whatever hardship to conquer it

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I'm writing this as an old quilter--I think the mirrored "e" is saying, "nothing is perfect, not even happiness." I read somewhere else in this thread that at the end the "e" is finally turned the correct way--could that mean that happiness is now perfect? I do love this video on the subject of happiness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9dZQelULDk

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Thanks @quirkycase for your hard work! Well, what a gem this turned out to be! I came in simply to see what PHS was going to do post-military, and was so glad I did. Tightly plotted, endlessly intriguing, and, as you say, with a great deal of heart. Sae-bom's reuniting with Yi-hyun in this episode was excellent - her stating that she would still choose him in whatever he state he happened to be and the power that statement had to overcome the blood-thirst. For me, that's when the inverted "e" in the title righted itself: SB and YH went into the complex playing at happiness (the contract marriage to get the house that is a symbol of having achieved and being "happy") but came out the other end knowing true happiness (sticking to your principles and family when the world is defying you to do so, and surviving the battle).

My favourite part of the drama? The photo. I just thought that this was the best ever photo to have on the wall of your first house - rather than a contrived and beautified pose of the couple, a rough-and-ready shot with a cracking back story. I loved the way it became a place of solace for YH, a place he returned to to remember what it was all about. New standard for photos in houses has been set!

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My favourite part of this drama was definitely the realisation that the best way to tackle the disease is to keep the infected close to their families (“that way they’ll survive longer”) rather than to isolate them (mentally and physically). It was such a beautiful scene when Sae Bom’s comforting words calmed the “monster” in Hyun (no blankets, tranquilizers or bullets needed), and when the prodigal son/resident returned home, we noticed that the elderly mom was very sick but hadn’t turn because the elderly dad was with her throughout. So amazing and so moving. I love the depth and thoughtfulness put into that concept - it runs against how covid regulations focus on social distancing and isolation.

What is happiness at the end of the day? More than good health, it’s to have your loved ones stick with you through both good times and the bad.

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Thanks for your well put-together take on this drama @quirkycase. After some of the disappointing thrillers recently (*ahem**sisyphus**), i was so afraid this would turn out to be corny and illogical. But it was so well written and executed. I mean obviously, some of the plot made little sense (how did the zombies not break through glass?), but as others have echoed, these details were forgivable provided how other aspects of the story were so much stronger, such as the diverse relationships, characters, and general messiness and fallibility of humankind. The disease was clearly the lesser of evils since most of the horrible people in the apartment didn’t need it to be scary. Its also sort of cool to think how the disease was portrayed as a common viral infection. Like, will the thirst come back when people’s natural antibodies wear down and the virus mutates? Nearly everyone at some point will be a carrier and potentially thirsty at some point, right? Not that I’m expecting (or want) a sequel, but its just cool and nice to see a unique and so ”human” version of the “zombie” phenomenon. All in all, this was so enjoyable and kept me hooked every week! I’m definitely gonna miss it!

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I really loved this episode. Sae-bom and Yi-hyun were great characters as well as a couple. The kiss scene was really touching

Joo-hyung biting the lawyer, convinced he was infected made me laugh. The cleaners stealing his apartment was funny to me too. Young-ok still wanting votes was more sad than funny but the actress played unhinged really well.

Hyun-kyung was one I started out disliking but he turned out to be one of the good ones. I loved his kitchen gloves and catcher's mask getup and the twist that he was another carrier. The old couple were the smartest ones in the building, staying put in their apartment once it became clear she was infected.

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HOLY Testicles for the last episode. That's was the only scene Oh ju-hyung really felt pain.
As a zombie genre first timer, I'm extremely grateful to HAPPINESS for helping through the introduction. One thing was sure in this drama just like Yi-hyun said, those humans are the real zombies, the real monsters. This drama beautifully depicted what humans can and will do in their breaking point.

We saw a Good Public Defendant refusing to bat an eye for murder and wickedness. He lost his humanity and his good wife.

A mistress who at first I thought was scared or trying to preserve her life having to live with a murderer did not mind killing for unstable Bitcoins. She got what she deserved.

A Foolish son who cared only about himself and his YouTube account show very slight character development.

A crazily ambitious to be Apartment Representative who was insanely wicked. I thank the good Lord she lost her neurons at the end of it. She deserved it.

A Murderer who almost turned serial if not for the intervention of our leads became so foolishly stupid. I love that last bang on his **☺️*.

We also saw humans, imperfect they may be despite being infected still managed to fight against that cannibalistic thirst. Na Soo-min who was a jerk but turns out he would do anything to remain human, Bo-ram the supermarket girl, Halmeoni who was treated unfairly at first and Yi-hyun who was my beloved Human-zombie.

And thumbs up to the uninfected ones, Sae-bom, Seo-yoon, Jung-guk ahjussi, Soo-yoon the wife to that jerk, and others whose name I can't remember.

Above all the actors and actresses really gave their all and best to make this drama stick as one of the best of 2021. I started watching at episode 4, having doubts of PHS since I've only seen him in Strong woman. Now, I never regretted pressing the Play button.

Also thank you beanies for filling the comments section with your beautiful comments. The comments made me decide to check it out. Thank you all.

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I still want to see Joo hyung dirt poor in the gutter shitting himself tho

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You're me here. His karma right now is not enough. That man deserve no oxygen.

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Didn’t go into this one expecting a bunch but Happiness ended up being a surprisingly good watch. As others have said, it wasn’t overly deep or complex, but the story was still engaging with fun characters. Definitely a mirror held up to the way folks act in a pandemic that was over the top, and sadly not that unbelievable based on recent events.

Our leads had great chemistry, our supporting characters were interesting and our baddies mostly got their comeuppance. It was a fun ride the whole way, and I’m glad they stuck to 12 episodes instead of trying to drag things out. I’m all for longer episodes, or higher episode counts, but it seems a lot of kdramas pad things out with no real plan and just go for the “standard” 16.

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Agree. The one hour long 16 ep format just doesn't work for most shows.

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Love the easy chemistry and straightforward story line and well paced editing. It is simply an easy drama to follow. I hopes to see both leads together again. just like how I like HHJ with LJS from W and PHS with PBY..... gosh they are all so easy on eyes and feels...

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Thank you @quirkycase for the recaps.
Initially, I was skeptic of the drama since we have seen many zombie genres but "Happiness" turned out to be a good watch. I came to love Sae Bom towards the end because I could see how she changed from a reckless person with compassion to one who is wise and compassionate by giving the last cure to the little kid's mom. Both Yi Hyun and Sae Bom balanced each other well and were wonderful characters. The other apartment actors also deserve appreciation because without such evilness we wouldn't have realized the humanity of the leads.

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@ayrulent: ayrulent and I are outliers in our heartbreaking belief that YiHyun died and the last scene was Saebom’s dream of what could have been.

This was my comment to @ayrulent “Sorry for being a bit obsessive about this. I should have also mentioned something else which was disquieting. SaeBom had taken all adversities in her stride including how lovingly and steadfastly dealt with YiHyun’s infection and his transformation in that poignant moment when she calmed him down so it was jolting and distressing seeing her devastated at that penultimate scene so it sadly solidified for me that she lost it because he died. And the coda was her dream of what could have been if her YiHyun had survived”.
And ayrulent’s response:

@dncingemma More discussion is always welcome 🙂
I agree with you. It was the jarring transition from peacefulness to panic, without any hint of rescue (he was shot like 3 times, how long would he last without paramedics?) that makes the last scene seem to good to be true in hindsight. I also have to add that the filter and lighting of that last scene was completely different to the rest of the show, which contributed to the dream-like factor”.

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to me it definitely wasn´t a dream because of time lapse. there is no need for time lapse in a dream

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Hope you are right but my feeling remains. Sob sob.

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it is really strange that you keep getting that feeling because why. I dont even get the slimmest feeling that he´d be dead. Besides, she did not inject him so he was still zombie. if she had a dose and injected him he´d have turned human and died. it could be he was in a coma

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It isn’t strange because that’s my perception based on what I noted before. Each to its own. I still want him to have lived though so don’t be irritated.

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Im not irritated, sorry, I am just trying to find that "thing" that can give the feeling. I guess the only way is to try ask the wirter

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It never even crossed my mind that it could be a dream. He was still infected and wasn't shot in the heart or anything, so the gunshot was unlikely to kill him. When the "e" turned around in the end, I was pretty confident that it was real.

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I choose to believe that it is real and that Yi-Hyun is alive. The end sequence is dreamy, but in a dream they would not refer to the last year. If virus kept doctor's wife alive for days after having her scull crushed, it can keep Yi Hyun alive until paramedics take over, probably quite soon, as military is already raiding the building.
But I understand how you feel. I also can't get rid of unpleasant feeling of dread, coming from that abrupt cut and time jump. I would much more prefer if they took their time and added another half an hour to the epilog, so I can know for sure everyone is fine who needs to be fine, and all people who need to be in jail are in jail. The whole drama was so tight and fast, the ending we got is in keeping with that. But by this moment Sae-Bom, Yi-Hyun and us viewers all deserved a bit of empty happiness calories.

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From your lips to the Goddess’ ears!🥰

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When I watched it, I definitely got whiplash and thought this might be a death and dream sequence. But then on re-watch I realized he’s EXHAUSTED, he’s been shot repeatedly but also his wounds stopped bleeding quickly, and the only person he truly feels safe with is Sae Bom.

So from HER side? Totally terrifying - he gets shot and then dies in her arms. But from his body’s POV? It’s like he’s at the end of a marathon collapsing into his coach’s arms. Sure, it meant he got shot again and that accelerated the collapse, but I can see a scenario where his subconscious went “OUCH oh good Sae Bom is here [override, system reboot]”. But if the infection means he’s healing fast, another bullet is probably minimal. Total exhaustion is likelier to take him out (but still makes him seem unhelpfully dead).

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Would this series have been as popular in an ordinary year? ie. no covid-19

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I don't really like thriller shows (especially ones that include horror elements such as zombies), but from the first episode, this drama grabbed me by the shoulders, pushed me against the wall, and kissed me passionately for six weeks straight, leaving me wanting more.

I pressed play on that first episode solely for PHS because I swooned over the moon for him in Strong Woman. Twelve episodes later and I love him even more, and I've also become a fan of HHJ. They had great chemistry; even though the romance was downplayed and almost only subtext (until the last two eps ofc), I was in love with Saehyun by the end of episode one: "Do you want to date?" "No."

The villains were truly vile and fun to hate. I also liked the wide array of different personalities in the residents, with my personal favorite becoming Na Soo-min, who ironically became humbler, kinder, and funnier after getting infected. Those pink gloves are iconic.

And since I'm an optimist at heart, I choose to believe that the ending we got wasn't a dream or Sae-bom losing her marbles. I believe that the message of the drama is ultimately one of hope - that by finding Our people and keeping our humanity we can overcome just about anything.

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Good news is that I think TVN is doing a Q&A with the writer and director on Saturday. I think you can submit a question on twitter or instagram so maybe we can get the answer if it’s real or a dream. Personally I agree with you that it’s real.
I totally love this show. A rom com addict whose previous favorite was reply 1988 I gotta say this one is either a close 2nd or tops it. It’s almost a slice of life romance lite with zompires and bad humans to drive the story instead of a 2nd love interest or misunderstanding. And no rich chaebol lead either. I think several people wonder what happened to TS’s wife and baby and I think they are cured. The writer gave us enough clues. We know TS will do anything for his wife and baby to be cured including stealing the first and only dose of SB’s antibodies at gun point. He only shows SB his wife after she says the world has to wait because she needs YH. He understood her and knew she should understand him. When he shows SB his wife he tells her she only needs another dose of SB’s antibodies to be cured. Finally when he finished injects the 2nd dose at gun point and also pointing a gun at his commander, he puts down the gun but doesn’t completely surrender until he looks back at his wife and sees her face has returned to normal. There is no way he would have surrendered if he didn’t KNOW she and the baby was cured. He has shown he will kill for them and more.

Thank you actors, writer and director for a wonderful ride. Thank you for the amazing recap and dialogue! It’s so hard to move on.

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you know what you write makes me notice: sae Bom will do anything for Ji Hyun just as Tae Seok will do anything for his wife. all the rest, they can betray anyone for their selfish reasons.
I think it is one thing to hide illness to protect someone ... but then, reveal it for the same reason...
true good wins.

but, which twitter, which instagram, I want to submit too!!!

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I think TVN_drama is the instagram account.

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"Thank you actors, writer and director for a wonderful ride. Thank you for the amazing recap and dialogue! It’s so hard to move on."

I also find it hard to move on, this drama will stay with me for a long time. Writer, director, actors, it all clicked. I love PHS, but I think I would have liked Yi-Hyun even if he was played by Baek Hyun-Jin.

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I would like nothing more than being proven wrong here!
I wish my Korean was good enough to follow the Q&A. @Koalatown, if you are fluent and have time, could you take some notes and let us know? Thank you kindly!

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Sadly I don’t speak Korean at all. Anyone else?

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No worries. My Korean won’t cut it so hopefully someone who is fluent can let us know?

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You may want to ask the question though. I think they are collecting questions. I am not sure if you have to ask it in Korean though.

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@Koalatown, I am a luddite as not on Twitter or Insta.

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Commentaries are now on YouTube and a twitter person @hyunnenss translated the part that the writer said he wrote a happy ending and it is not SB’s imagination! Questions answered :)

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yes, I knew it.

thing is, I think it was a reminder to us to be patient. There will be a happy ending to this goddamn pandemic too. but humans are momentary creatures who cannot endure. Waiting, it is the most unbareable thing for us. But we do need to be patient, because for sure, we WILL get that too. it takes time.

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ah so satisfying. seen it written clears up a few "um...´s " I still had.
So season 2 will be Tae Seok and Ji Hyun competing who is sexier.

the solution and conclusion reflected real life how nothing is certain and a lot of psychological factors dictate how sick you get. how you can´t predict whether age or social background has any role to play, and in the end we cant predict anything that happens.
you cant hold back Covid for sure, but seriously, Ji Hyun is probably THE strongest character besides Dam Yi from this years´ dramas. Will power ftw.

so....how do I get an apartment in that complex? Any handsome oppa wanna marry me?

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I am another one who dislikes zombie films, but I really loved this drama. The ending was a bit rushed and the illness defeated off screen during the time lapse, but I don't mind and I am very pleased with the happy ending for our couple.

I loved that their relationship was never sugary sweet and also in a very evenly matched partnership, based on trust (no rich chaebol with a poor Cinderella). That recorded confession was so powerful in its simplicity.

The villains were great, too and given a full arc and just punishment.

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Thanks for the recaps of this wonderful show!

"Happiness" took me by surprise with how tightly written and composed it was from beginning to end. Not being a huge fan of the genre, I never expected to enjoy this one as much as I did, but it delivered on every front. The final episode was one of the most dramatically satisfying ones in recent memory.

By anchoring its exploration of humanity at its worst in the stalwart goodness of the leads and their slowburn romance, the show pulled me in and kept me there until the end. The confession scene in the elevator and Hyun and Sae Bom's later reunion in their own apartment were both genuinely touching and very earned.

I love dramas where the writers seem confident of where they want to go and how to get there, and "Happiness" definitely fits in that category. I'm so glad I ignored my usual indifference to apocalyptic stories and tuned in to this one!

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what happiness does well is that they are immersed in their own story. nobody steps out of character, and also, over a long time, I was truly invested in the mains, and fell in love with them. like, deeply. and both.
as people. I think, I haven´t been so absorbed and so captivated by a character since KillHeal.

of course, typical redfox generates a crazy plot in her head now with Shin Se Gi and zombies.
but, let´s not get distracted....
wait, I got distracted.

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@quirkycase, thanks so much for the recaps of this great show. I “don’t do” zombies but this wasn’t just about being chased by hordes and terror of being bitten (looking at you, Kingdom) and I think it’s great. Honestly the most shocking moment for me was when Sae Bom left the compound and saw that life outside was normal.

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i watched the for OTP!

the only other zombie things i watched was Train to Busan (gong yoo of course), Train to Busan 2 (kang dong won of course), and what's the name of the american movie with Bill Murphy's cameo... was it called Zombiland - yeah, and it was great.
: D

but couldn't hang with the KINGDOM blood/gore fest thang.

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Thank you for the recap!

For me, the story didn't make any sense between the virus, the pills, the lockdown, etc. There were too many bad people whom I didn't care about.

I liked the duo, they worked very well together, their conversations were fun and they had a good chemistry. It was the only reason I watched it.

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This drama was excellent! It had thrills, scares, and sad moments, but it wasn't a heavy drama. There were many times when things looked bleak. However, the finale ended on a positive, hopeful note. I loved that this show made me laugh often despite the serious situations. That contrast of thriller and humor is a fun, enticing combo. (They cracked me up with the diabetes and thirst line. XD)

The reunion scene between Yi Hyun and Sae Bom was so good, so emotional. LOVED IT! Made me teary-eyed. They had such a strong, believable bond.

We finally see Dong Hyun's mom again! She was one of the first ones we learned that was infected. I bet she never turned. I had wondered if she ever would. The support from family and loved ones helped keep the infected sane and in control of their actions more was a nice aspect.

I'm glad that Sae Bom was not the only one with antibodies. Not some superhero human with something extra special about her. The ending was lovely. No need for a second season. There will be bad times, but we can overcome them. About the title and this drama, it made me be more grateful and try to enjoy life more and be happy. Who would have thought we would be in this current pandemic and how things have changed compared to a few years ago.

Thank you for recapping this show!!

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Ah, I forgot to add that I knew I wanted to check out this drama because of its writer Han Sang Woon who also wrote Watcher (loved). He didn't disappoint! I'm glad this drama had an awesome cast to match the awesome script. ^^

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i was happily surprised with this one and so glad i stuck it out! i love the leads and that helped

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Thank you @quirkycase for recapping this drama.

This drama shows the ugly truth of our society. The bad apples in this series are really exist in real life. We can totally see them during this pandemic. The antivaccines, the protestors of lockdowns, the greedy groceries hoarder, they are the real "monster". Pity the frontliners who are sacrificing their family just to help these ungrateful monsters.

My favourite characters aside the leads are halmeoni and his husband. The husband is a typical father, he looks like he doesn't care but he is the one who stay and protect his wife. I am more than glad if they can make a 2 hr sequel for the finishing. Just like Breaking Bad.

Kudos to the actors, writer and crew for creating this masterpiece..👏👏👏. Start this series because of Park Hyung Sik. And I am glad that he took this role as a comeback project...but still I love his roles in SWDBS.. I stan pretty hard for talented and handsome actors 😝

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They did not expound this but it seems you get some natural antibodies if you are at risk of diabetes of some sort. Soo min mentioned this and Saebom seems to have had medical related problems in high school. I noted this because high sugar runs in my family too, so maybe I can survive this, too. LOL.

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WHY DID IT ONLY HAVE 12 EPISODES!!!! WHY?? WHY???
Oh my gods!!!! That's was THE MOST SATISFYING ENDING TO A DRAMA!!! I EVER SAW FOR THIS YEAR!!! I really have no words to say !!! It was sooo amazing!!!! Park Hyuk Shin! Wow!! He was the best boyfriend material is Strong woman Do Bong Soo and now he's playing the best husband material!!! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

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