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Cafe Minamdang: Episodes 15-16

In contrast to last week’s progress, the penultimate week sees the real culprit running circles around our heroes. It seems things can only get worse before they get better — especially for our beloved shaman and the Minamdang crew.

 
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP

As Han-jun and Su-cheol hurl accusations, the cartel panics over the reporters’ presence at the ceremony. They try to get their private guards to stop the shaman, but our dynamic duo ultimately wins the scuffle just before Hye-jun plays the incriminating videos of the cartel members, who are then literally trapped under a fishing net. Oof.

Even Seung-won gets apprehended by his own brother. But despite getting cuffed to a metal post, Auntie Im successfully escapes amid all the chaos.

As they’re interrogated, each cartel member is unable to do anything due to the strong evidence against them. Still, everyone’s covering up for their ringleader. The police also can’t get anything out of Seung-won and his lawyers, because he’s blaming everything on Auntie Im, so he walks away scot-free.

Just before Seung-won leaves, Do-won encourages him to confess. The younger brother even threatens to use his company shares to stop his older brother from becoming chairman and to uncover the truth from their childhood, making Seung-won seethe silently.

At Han-jun’s shaman lair, Min-gyeong and Director Park thank the profiler for his help. But to Han-jun’s disappointment, the thanks come not in the form of much-anticipated wads of cash, but a QR code leading to a fanclub poster. Did they really start a fanclub? LOL.

He’s distracted when he hears Hye-jun and Su-cheol kiss. He accuses the new couple of secretly dating, but because his visitors don’t know he’s talking to his sister, Min-gyeong and Director Park accidentally out themselves as a couple, even if Min-gyeong denies it. These two are so cute — hilarious, too!

In his office, Seung-won tries to take control of the situation. But after learning Auntie Im has hidden away his ill-gotten wealth and the company shareholders now have doubts about electing him as chairman, he decides to get back at Han-jun. Oh no. This does not sound good.

At Minamdang, Han-jun and Na-dan find Hye-jun’s room ransacked and Hye-jun herself hanging from the ceiling… Except it’s just a mannequin planted by the bad guys. Damn, my heart nearly stopped.

Apparently, Hye-jun and Su-cheol have been out on a date. The still-hysterical Han-jun and Na-dan hug them tightly out of relief. After learning the reason behind their hysteria, Hye-jun waves their worries away, but an uncharacteristically serious Su-cheol imagines the what-ifs, nearly confessing their secret relationship until his girlfriend punches him.

But Han-jun being Han-jun, he already knows about their relationship. He simply insists Hye-jun should wash her hair as she promised and gives them a list of rules that only allows kissing and nothing further. But they do officially receive his blessing. Yay.

Do-won arrives at the cafe with more information. Apparently, Seung-won murdered a classmate named HYUN-WOO just before entering college, forcing him to flee abroad. But the murder was ruled as a suicide.

To reopen the case, they plan to use a combination of Han-jun’s profiling expertise and Do-won’s childhood memories. Not sure if that’s possible… Isn’t this another moment when you need a forensic hypnotist, not a profiler? Heo Jung-min, where are you?

Regardless, the trio heads to Do-won’s mansion-like childhood home (which makes the money-loving Han-jun link arms and get chummy with Do-won, LOL). But after attempting to recall his memories, Do-won ultimately fails, which Han-jun believes is due to trauma.

Meanwhile, the police team investigates the location of the cartel’s sex videos. While the hotel has no CCTVs, they find a lead in the drone of a celebrity’s sasaeng. And it turns out this celebrity looks like Detective Na, so the sasaeng surrenders the footage after he sweet-talks her. LOL. The footage has captured the faces of Auntie Im and Assistant Gu, covering up a cartel member’s murder. Solid evidence acquired!

The next day, Do-won goes to Cafe Minamdang with a new possible witness: HONG MYEONG-SU (Ki Hwan), Seung-won’s high school friend who was present the night of Hyun-woo’s murder. Han-jun puts on his shaman act, getting “possessed” by the victim’s spirit and reenacting how he died.

Overcome with guilt, Myeong-su admits Seung-won’s father forced him to keep quiet. He doesn’t remember exactly if Seung-won choked Hyun-woo to death, but he does recall that he and Seung-won were heading to the club before they bumped into Seung-won’s tutor, who he apparently beat up.

Elsewhere, Hye-jun and Na-dan, in cute mascot outfits, are handing out flyers. It’s a distraction to allow Su-cheol to plant a bug in Seung-won’s car. Through the bug, they tail Seung-won to a location, thinking he’s meeting Auntie Im, but as it turns out, it’s his psychiatrist JUNG HYE-YOON (Woo Jung-won).

Tracking her down, Han-jun and Jae-hui ask her about Seung-won’s childhood murder case. The psychiatrist initially keeps calm, but becomes rattled after hearing it’s related to a more recent murder case. With this revelation, a nervous Hye-yoon goes to her office to check her records.

But someone sneaks up behind her and stabs a needle into her neck, paralyzing her. Oh no — it’s Do-won! So he really is Gopuri. Oh my. After the latest episodes, I thought he has become a certified good guy. RIP to my dreams of BFFs Han-jun and Do-won.

It turns out that after Seung-won visited Hye-yoon, Do-won also dropped by. Apparently, the brothers have been receiving counseling from the psychiatrist since their childhood — Do-won for psychopathy treatment and Seung-won for anger management.

The psychopathic Cha brother was Do-won all along. Hye-yoon manipulated his memories to distort his motives from killing for sport to seeking justice. “You are my best creation,” says the crazy-looking doctor to her psychopath patient. “I’ve never seen a patient correct their behavior and adjust to society as perfectly as you did.”

Unfortunately, after a night of identity crisis, that “best creation” decides to go back to his old ways, and not taking kindly to being manipulated, kills his psychiatrist and pins the blame on his brother.

Do-won escapes just as Han-jun enters the office. Observing the crime scene, the profiler figures that the murder was not planned, but knowing that is useless when they lost the culprit.

Back at Cafe Minamdang, a frustrated Han-jun catches Hye-jun and Su-cheol on a date in his sacred shaman lair, resulting in the siblings fighting over Su-cheol. In their defense, the couple has been working, keeping track of Seung-won, who hasn’t left his office at all. His alibi checks out. Put your suspicions elsewhere now, Han-jun, before it’s too late!

As the trio eavesdrops, Seung-won heads out to hunt down Auntie Im. Han-jun and Su-cheol immediately intercept the lady shaman, convincing her to run just as Seung-won and his goons arrive.

In an ironic twist, Auntie Im now sits on the guest’s place at Han-jun’s shaman lair. She remains unflappable but easily confesses to cleaning up after the Cha family since Hyun-woo’s murder. The lady shaman even adds: Han-jun will destroy the evidence they’ve gathered so far — because if he does what she wants, she’ll give him Jae-jeong’s files.

Despite protests from Hye-jun and Su-cheol, Han-jun goes through with destroying the evidence. Yay, we get another Minamdang scheme! Albeit on a smaller scale. This time, Na-dan, disguised as a woman, delivers a spiked milk drink to the guard stationed at the evidence room. After the guard leaves, Hye-jun and Na-dan quickly enter the room and delete all the evidence against Auntie Im.

The next day, Han-jun admits to destroying evidence to Jae-hui, who feels betrayed by his lack of trust. While Do-won asks for an explanation, Jae-hui simply ends their cooperative investigation. (Does this mean their romantic relationship is also over?)

But everyone is surprised, none more so than Do-won, when Han-jun brings up Jae-jeong’s files. Fidgeting nervously, Do-won encourages the police team to go with Han-jun’s plan. Looks like Gopuri is planning something for Auntie Im.

Han-jun and Jae-hui interrogate Assistant Gu, fishing for more information about Gopuri. In a series of flashbacks, we see Do-won and Assistant Gu working together in previous cases: Jeon Gyeong-cheol’s murder, the laptop in the RV, the safe at N.Joy Club, and even Chairman Park’s near-murder. Still, Assistant Gu is keeping mum about the truth, until Do-won gives him the signal to blame it all on Auntie Im. She has been discarded, hasn’t she? Oof.

After securing a written confession, Do-won gives Assistant Gu instructions on how to escape during his transport, promising to see him soon. Hmm, so Gopuri does care about Assistant Gu.

Meanwhile, at the cafe, Hye-jun and Auntie Im are at each other’s throats, with Su-cheol attempting to mediate and mostly failing. Alone, Auntie Im surreptitiously checks her phone, finding a message from Do-won warning her she’s walking into Han-jun’s trap.

So Do-won helps her set up a trap of their own. After getting her bank accounts frozen, she lures Han-jun into her temple, where Do-won says he’ll finish the job himself. Yikes! This does not bode well for Han-jun.

Arriving at the temple, Han-jun and Jae-hui finally get their hands on the files — it’s mostly burnt! Is it even readable?! Behind them, unnoticed, Auntie Im leaves the room, locking them in. Despite trying to escape, they faint after being gassed.

Han-jun wakes up back at Cafe Minamdang, where he finds the dead body of Auntie Im just as the doors slam open, bringing in Do-won, Jae-hui, Su-cheol, and Hye-jun. Upon finding him at the crime scene, the prosecutor immediately arrests Han-jun as a suspect for Auntie Im’s murder. Oh my. Is it back to prison for our shaman? Please don’t make it so!

In this week’s epilogues, we see that it’s Do-won who saved Assistant Gu during their childhood days and is also the “him” to whom Assistant Gu is blindly devoted. After each kill, Do-won justifies it as delivering “judgment” to sinners.

We also see that Assistant Gu has already escaped, helping Do-won kill Auntie Im and setting up the stage for Do-won’s judgment on Han-jun. With her last breath, Auntie Im warns Do-won that he will die at Han-jun’s hands, so Do-won gives her the killing blow, fulfilling Han-jun’s prophecy that she will die at her boss’s hand. Oooh boy. (But also, does Han-jun really have the gift?)

Well, anyway, it seems the kind and lovely Do-won was just a facade to let him go about his evil psychopathic plans freely. Everything was really just a red herring… which is kinda disappointing. He did look suspicious during the first few episodes (especially with Choi Yeong-seop suddenly dying at his watch), but I feel a little blindsided after he cooperated so much with the Minamdang crew.

And if he was made to forget his psychopathic tendencies during childhood, how come an older Do-won still murdered Jae-jeong and countless others? Doesn’t add up so far. Was he just acting? It didn’t seem like it when he met his psychiatrist, especially when she “unlocked” his real memories. The timeline of this show is so out of whack, I’m getting confused. Suspension of disbelief can’t even save me from this.

Plus, we’ve only had the Han-jun vs. Do-won rivalry for a few episodes, so I feel like we’re getting shortchanged. In another world, perhaps they’d work together, but it’s impossible here now. So, I’m glad we’re finally nearing the end. Even if Han-jun has been arrested, we know he’s going to get out, so I’m hoping we still get to see the crew do another shaman shenanigan. Let’s go out with a bang, Show! And by bang, I mean a Minamdang scheme. Or two. Pretty please.

 
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So we finally get the 'reveal' that all of us had already realised in Week 1-2 🙄. Why is this 18 episodes??

At least I got a laugh out of the most-incompetent-cop-in-dramaland handcuffing a criminal to a pipe and wandering off so that the criminal escapes.

But the writer believes in equal opportunity so this week our ML gets to make bad decisions too with obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence yay 🥳. He was framed and sent to prison for 2 years for the same crime but it's brushed aside in about 2 minutes now 👏👏.

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I got used to the police being totally incompetent in this drama, but hanjun being dumb throughout ep 16 was more annoying than I expected lol didn't even know this drama could still make me feel anything at this point

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Yes Hanjun's dumbness has removed the last good thing in the drama sigh.

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Yes. His decisions that entire episode made no sense. His intelligence must have joined his judo skills somewhere

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"Why is this 18 episodes?" I was so confused. I was like, finally we are DONE, but alas, two more to go. SIGH😂😂😂

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Same. I was almost excited yesterday to be done but nope there's still more suffering ahead 😭.

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Hoping for cafe gang adventures in next 2 episodes. Hopefully he gets time served for destroying evidence since he sort of has served time already. No comment on cha. Stopped caring if he was good or bad several episodes ago. I hope the romance is done for the most part. More time for cafe gang.

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I started watching ep 16 sure that it was the finale LOL I was so surprised when I noticed that they couldn't end the drama there and then did my researched and found out this is a 18 episodes drama. my god......... why.

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Yes!!! My exact reaction, lol.

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I guess our "bad guy radars" weren't acting up afterall 😅.

I just hope that our dear Shaman's profiling skills have not gone asleep like his on/off judo skills and that he has all this figured out.

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Same. I miss them showing us his profiling and how he solves things. Hopefully we get more of that in next episodes

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Thank you, @meryl, for the weecap! Oh, boy! Cha Do-won, him with the baby-face and the puppy dog eyes when looking at Jae-hui.

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Dating Jae-Hui made Han-Jun becoming stupid...

How could he wait during 10 minutes for the psy to get the cd? I mean Jae-Hui not taking Aunt Im with her and let her alone was completely stupid, but we used to now. But until now, we had Han-Jun to do the job at least.

I really don't understand the story anymore... Assistant Gu worked for who? Aunt Im was the one who painted the white fabric but it was Do-won who showed him the rapist to kill... When Aunt Im started to work for Do-Won? Someone she met as a kid...

Han-Jun and Aunt Im's scenes are the most interesting ones.

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There was a lot of stupidity going around in these episodes. More than usual

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No surprises here. Which is a shame, they could have made this whole thing so much more interesting. I guess what's left is Han-Jun's next session in the interrogation room, where he tries to keep his butt out of jail again. Something is buried in that file on Jae-Jeong, to give us a flashback or some help from the beyond, but in my world I'd prefer to see Auntie Im come in guns blazing for Do-Won, and take him out right after he takes out his brother (that guy I simply don't like). At this point I couldn't care less about "justice" or "redemption" or any of the romance stories... Just throw a grenade in there and let chaos ensue. At least that would be fun to watch.

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‘Just throw a grenade in there and let chaos ensue. At least that would be fun to watch.’
🤣🤣 This is priceless made me laugh out loud and I am not even watching this show. Thanks for sharing.

I love reading the comments and I am noticing over the weeks that people have become less and less interested and just want the bean now so they can count their losses.

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When you're dealing in nonsense, make it memorable. ;)

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I already suspected prosecutor cha to be the villain in this show. He looks very suspicious from the very beginning when he appears. I had this vibe that he is a wolf under the sheep skin. As the show progresses, I sort of forgotten that he is the suspect. Now the “big revelation” did not surprise me. There were hints plastered in the drama. Being logical aside, since it’s a drama for laugh so simply enjoy it. I hope Han Jun and his minadang gang will hit back at gopuri and the twist plot which is justifiable. :)

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Where do I even. Start. Lmfao.

Inside this show, somewhere, deep, deep down, below the 10th basement where my expectations and hopes sat for the majority of its run time, there are two wolves shows.

The first is the Scooby Doo caper. Directed like an anime, it’s just a running gag for no more than 12 episodes. Lots of comedy, lots of antics and con shenanigans.
Prosecutor Cha is the quirky, info dumping, over talkative side character, the FL either doesn’t exist, or is maintained as the OP superwoman of the first episode. All of this is run intentionally for comedic or parody purposes. If there’s a love line at all, it’s background, and completely not what we got.
The plot is basic, there is no serial killer, just the Scooby gang solving lite crimes, maybe to absolve Han Jun of some false charge, but that’s it.
It doesn’t take itself seriously, it is self-referential and self-aware, it stays fun and funny and the right amount of slapstick and ridiculous to make proper use of Ziggy’s comedic abilities and stay entertainingly dumb, but not boring or painfully stupid.

The second, on a level even farther down than the first, is the darker version; the shamanistic serial killer, the dead brother, the creepy ritualistic killings, the profiler wrongly accused. The directing is *heavily symbolic* and thriller-esque.
It is also no more than 12 episodes. It stays short, and snappy, and dark, capitalizing on Ziggy’s more serious side, and Han Jun’s intelligence.
Prosecutor Cha IS the main villain, but his motivations and backstory are tied to shamanism, (instead of the ever-loving mess we got here), there are limited accomplices, no evil Chaebol cult, probably no brother, and no side quests to entertainment agencies. He is more directly and personally related to both Han Jun, Jaejeong, Jae Hui* and also all his murders. We know and guess it early on but this isn’t a bad thing; instead of mucking around with unnecessary plot and side characters, the chase, the reveal to the MCs and the resolution are cathartic because of this expectation instead.
The purpose of the show is simple- to solve Jaejeong’s murder and clear Han Jun’s name.
The cops play a background, much more supporting role, with a smaller cast.
If there’s a love line at all, it’s also background, and completely not what we got. (*again, there’s a version of this that would also work without the FL at all…)
The Gang can still play comedic relief but would have to toned down a lot so as not to clash, probably ditch Scrappy, and make the relationships weightier emotionally, rather than relying on their connection comedically.

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I would personally, watch both of these shows.

What we got, started as the first, and hinted at the second, and ended up as hideously mutated version of neither, for which it greatly suffers.

Listing all the ways, however, in which this show, and these episodes especially, make no sense would be as pointless as the...

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... the show itself, so I’m not going to.

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POST SCRIPT: I only found out on TUESDAY that this is actually 18 episodes and NOT 16, which is both incredibly painful and annoying to realise; I had enough juice in me to scrape through two more episodes and that was about it, and now you’re telling me I have to find in me the reserves that don’t exist, for another two of these things???? Dear LORD, help me.
That also thoroughly explains the nightmare that is this show’s pacing.

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I would watch these shows. But honestly, I'm just glad they followed through on making Cha Dowon Gopuri, because for a minute there, I was worried that all he was going to be was their resident warrant dispenser/bewilderingly besotted second lead.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be in the corner making up a version where Jae-hui never existed and Han-jun and Do-won are cop and mafia respectively and have their own game of erotically charged cat and mouse going on, because apparently KinnPorsche has sapped me of the ability to make up any other alt universes.

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So true. It's trying to do 2 things mediocre instead of doing one thing well. I will watch for SIG but I was fast forwarding this mess these 2 episodes. I just want to see his face. That is a plot I can follow.

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"Hideously mutated version of neither" hahahhaha
Every time I think of this, I start laughing haha

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Besides my heart nearly stopping when they hung a mannequin that looked like HJ, every other part of these episodes were fairly predictable.

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I'm still finding this show entertaining, but not really in the way that it's trying to be entertaining, at least in most cases. I hope we get some Minamdang crew front and center for the final week.

I can see what it was trying to do - set up Do-wan to be suspicious early on, then make us think we were wrong for a while, and then reveal he actually is the bad guy. But the execution of it was a bit off, to say the least. And if we were supposed to care about him as a person/character, I think that was also a miscalculation. He was mildly entertaining in certain situations, but at his most sympathetic moment (when he was being rejected by the FL), all I could think was, "Well, that's good that she was up front with him right away. Let's move on, shall we?" I wondered if we were getting some unreliable memories from him before, so I guess it's nice to see that come to fruition? Still, it wasn't a very shocking twist, even if it is one that makes sense to me.

Also, I disagree with the weecap that Do-won actually cares for Tae-su (or whatever his real name is). If he is a psychopath, he isn't really capable of that, only of using people, which makes me wonder what he wanted with the FL.

The doctor was super creepy this week. She went from "lackey of a chaebol hired to manage some problematic brothers" to "power-tripping mad scientist drunk on her own accomplishment" extremely quickly. It was a bad end for her, but at least she isn't seeing patients anymore. That doesn't seem like a good idea.

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We deserve nothing but cafe gang the next 2 episodes for staying the course to the end. Doctor was very creepy the little time we had her. The medical community is likely well rid of her.

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How did a show that started off so fun, end up SO BORING?

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This!!!

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am i the only one confused why Jae Hui is in the end scene acting all surprised an NHJ even though she was last with him and trapped in a gas room? this is just something a 6 year old would write.

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I'm reeeeeaaaally hoping we get a flashback that explains why she is even there to storm in with everyone else, and also why Su-cheol an Hye-jun didn't see our leads presumably being carried out of the temple unconscious. But I'm not holding my breath.

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Soooo
I thought the prosecutor was going to be the bad guy from the beginning and then the brother was introduced so I was kinda like "oh" but it didn't make much of a difference to me. Now after everything has been revealed, i'm just more or less confused.
Is it a subset of Kdrama tropes where psychopathic killers try to get with their victims' relatives? Is the brother a sociopath while the prosecutor is a psychopath? (Even the psychiatrist/psychologist/whatever she was seems like she was a sociopath) Nam Han Jun is honest and straight forward about facts of the case, he needs to go to a hyponotist to hear the same EXACT THINGS HE HAS BEEN SAYING (with the added perk of invasion of privacy). The prosecutor has "hidden" memories but it's fine to just revisit the crime scene and leave?
He has "identity crisis" and shock due to one murder but he's been a serial killer for years apparently. (I guess the "shock" is more due to the manipulation but STILL!) So all of that was for the viewers' sake because it makes not much sense to this viewer.

Am I supposed to be team minamdang when they destroyed evidence for the chance to see who gopuri is? Because I'm not. It's all the victims who would have gotten justice due to that evidence were given the middle finger because Nam Han Jun only cares about his friend's murder (granted, it was a tramatizing and guilt inducing experience but STILL!)

I just feel like there was alot of stupid to go around. Not watching Auntie Im ANY of the times she was able to one up them. Trusting her in the first place. The therapist threatening the killer (they LITERALLY just told her there was recent murder) and she goes right to the evidence. Trying to blackmail him. All of it was just dumb to me.

It always annoys me how easily certain people or situations are forgiven.

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im not even watching the drama, just been reading the weecaps and i myself got surprised that this wasnt the end and there was two more to come wtf

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It was at least planned as 18 episodes from the start, so there is no weird, last minute attempt to extend the story like there can be sometimes. But I don't think they really needed 18 episodes to tell this, so... *shrug*

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I'm really disappointed in this turn. I was disappointed at first because I believed the show was gong to do that worn out trope of making the "good guy" everyone trusts turn out to be the hidden big bad. And then it went on so long and he became less obvious so I thought: nice, for once a good guy is just going to be a good guy! But then they do the tired old thing and they cram it in too late to even do anything interesting with it. Ugh.

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I'm stuck half through ep 16. And I wasn't even paying much attention in ep 15 and the first half of ep 16. So thank you for the recap! Everyone has become a flat one-note, including Team Shaman.

I don't think I can make it through to the end. I'm just rooting now for those two members of the Shaman fan club.

Kudos to the actors for enduring all this! I hope they got paid well.

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