Moving: Episodes 18-20 (Final)
It’s time for the epic final battle. There’s blood, bodies, and the revelation of secrets as our heroes come together to protect themselves and each other. Our parents will stop at nothing to ensure the safety of their children who manage to put up a good fight of their own. It’s all hands on deck with lives and futures on the line for both sides.
After overhearing Deok-yoon talking about Doo-shik, Mi-hyun runs inside the school, guns blazing. She first takes out the operative holding Il-hwan and Ki-soo at gunpoint with a single bullet – her enhanced senses make her an excellent shot – and then makes her way to Deok-yoon. Thanks to him, we finally start getting the story of what happened to Doo-shik after he was taken hostage by Deputy Director Min’s men that day in 2003.
But first, we need to rewind to 1994 when Doo-shik infiltrated the North Korean palace. He took out every single guard like a flying sniper on god mode. Being him, though, he went for the maim, not the kill. Deok-yoon was the last man standing and begged him not to go inside the dictator’s bedchamber. (More than trying to save the dictator, he was trying to protect his comrades who would be killed for their failure.) Doo-shik didn’t listen. However, he couldn’t pull the trigger to kill a sick man in his sleep.
Thus begins Deok-yoon’s hatred of Doo-shik. All the men who failed to take Doo-shik out that day were killed, except Deok-yoon. He was then put in charge of awakening the potentially “gifted” to create their own army of supernaturals. Deok-yoon cried as he forced soldiers off a cliff at gunpoint. Joon-hwa was the first to survive and awaken his flying ability. He railed against the cruelty of it all, but to protect his family, he became who they wanted him to be.
When Doo-shik was taken in 2003, Deputy Director Min threatened him into another mission infiltrating the North Korean palace. This time, the North Koreans were ready for Doo-shik and captured him. But whether he survived his capture remains to be seen. Still without answers, Mi-hyun has a shootout with Deok-yoon. She’s shot in the foot but escapes to wrap her wound and call Joo-woon for help.
In another part of the school, Gang-hoon fights Chan-il and holds his own but doesn’t have the years of training to win against a much more skilled opponent. He may be outmatched, but he doesn’t give up, even when Chan-il snaps his wrist. Il-hwan arrives with a gun, but there’s not much he can do as a normie.
It does buy Jae-man a few more minutes to arrive (and take out half the wall with him). Chan-il may have more training, but he’s not prepared for the wrath of Jae-man at the sight of a bloodied Gang-hoon. Jae-man is pure parental rage, and he swings Chan-il around like a ragdoll, eventually tossing him out of the second-story window. Jae-man readies to go after him to ensure the job is finished, but Gang-hoon calls him back. He doesn’t want to lose his dad again. They cry together as Jae-man apologizes for being late.
Nearby, Joo-won and the insanely strong operative KWON YONG-DEUK (Park Kwang-jae) have a bloody, brutal rematch. As always, Joo-won’s persistence and ability to come back from anything wins the day. Just when you think it’s over, another North Korean operative enters the field with a unique power. IM JAE-SEOK (Kim Joong-hee) can channel a powerful gust of energy and shoot it across distances like a magic bazooka. One blast takes out an entire section of the building.
Jae-seok’s backstory is particularly tragic. He was locked in a cell for being a traitor’s son as a young child and spent his entire life in a dark, underground cell. He was then forced out to fight, despite his terror of the outside world. His eyes can no longer adjust to light, so he has to wear sunglasses to see. His only friend is Yong-deuk who spent time in the cell next to his before he too was called into service.
Across the city, Bong-seok and Hee-soo are going against Joon-hwa in the gym. Sweet Bong-seok is trying his darndest, but he’s really struggling to the point even Joon-hwa wonders why he’s so bad at fighting. Ha. Then, Joon-hwa brings up Doo-shik, taunting that he’s the one who caught him. Bong-seok levels up once again, quickly learning to use his flying and enhanced senses in a fight, and turns Joon-hwa into an air target for Hee-soo to smack with a weight. They knock him out cold.
After eking out a surprising victory, Bong-seok is all worried about Hee-soo, although he’s the only one with injuries. He babbles on about how it doesn’t matter if she technically can’t be injured since he still can’t stand watching the girl he likes be attacked. Hee-soo notes his casual confession and then says she likes him too. Bong-seok’s startled smile is adorable. (Aww, there’s our cute moment amidst the violence.)
Their levity is short lived when Joon-hwa wakes and receives a call. Bong-seok overhears Deok-yoon mention Mi-hyun and call Joon-hwa to the school as backup. Joon-hwa warns the kids not to follow, and when Bong-seok makes a move, Joon-hwa shoots. Hee-soo shields Bong-seok and takes a bullet in the arm in a nice mirroring of her father protecting Mi-hyun that day in 1994. Of course, she’s totally fine, so Bong-seok flies ahead while Hee-soo runs to the school.
While Jae-man and Joo-won fight Jae-seok and Yong-deuk at the school, Mi-hyun makes her way outside to where Chan-il is still (barely) alive after his defenestration. He calls her a monster to which she replies she’ll gladly become a monster to protect her child. Mi-hyun finishes him off with a bullet. Upstairs, Jae-seok aims to finish his own fight. He tells Yong-deuk to live and jumps out of the window, his landing causing an earthquake that brings a large part of the building down.
Joo-won is impaled on a rebar but manages to hold onto Jae-man and get him to safety. Just as he gets himself un-impaled, he’s shot in the freaking eye by Joon-hwa. He survives, but we get a lovely scene of him pulling out his own eye to do so.
Next, the flying Joon-hwa goes after Mi-hyun, but Bong-seok swoops in just in time. He and Joon-hwa tussle in the air, ending in a standoff with Joon-hwa holding him at gunpoint in the sky. Below, Mi-hyun holds Deok-yoon at gunpoint, threatening to shoot if Joon-hwa makes a move toward Bong-seok. And now it’s Gye-do’s turn to save the day. I forgot about Gye-do! He found one of Bong-seok’s belongings on the bus, read the memories, and ran to the school to help. Now, he shoots off Joon-hwa’s gun arm with a lightening blast.
Deok-yoon orders Joon-hwa to take off and then turns his gun on Bong-seok, but he can’t bring himself to shoot a kid. He’s not someone who revels in violence and didn’t want to kill any of them, fearing it’d be a repeat of the past. He’d argued they should take out the higher-up in charge, but his superior said that wasn’t possible. Now, Deok-yoon lets himself fall off the roof, mourning his dead comrades and hoping it’ll all end with their generation. With that, the fight is officially over and the adults and children go home, worse for the wear but alive.
Despite rooting for our protagonists, the North Korean soldiers are just as victimized as they are, if not more so. On both sides, they’ve been used and abused for their powers, often coerced to fight against their will. The only real “bad guys” here are the higher-ups exploiting them for their own means.
We jump ahead to graduation day, and now it’s Hee-soo who’s always looking to the sky, waiting for Bong-seok who doesn’t show up for the ceremony. At school, Il-hwan passes the files on to Joo-won for safekeeping. Later that night, he finds Principal Jo at a motel and kills him. Meanwhile, Gang-hoon reports for duty to Deputy Director Min in exchange for expunging his father’s records.
In North Korea, the sole survivor Joon-hwa reports back. When his superior says they want the kids’ files so they can start their own similar child-training program, Joon-hwa shoots him point blank in the head. Then, he heads to the cells and opens a door… revealing Doo-shik! He tosses him a gun and tells him his son is going to be exploited too. Doo-shik flies out of there and straight to Deputy Director Min’s office. He’s not in the mood to listen to excuses or false promises, and in this circumstance, he has no trouble pulling the trigger to end Deputy Director Min’s life.
Elsewhere, Joo-won hires Yong-deuk – who Hee-soo now calls “uncle” – to work in his restaurant. It’s so sweet that they took him in. Hee-soo had seen him crying in the middle of the street after Jae-seok died and comforted him. I guess she brought him home. She truly is her mother’s daughter.
As for Mi-hyun and Bong-seok, they move and she opens another restaurant (keeping its name). Bong-seok has become a real neighborhood superhero, saving people from burning buildings in his trademark yellow raincoat. One day, they get a surprise visitor on the roof. Doo-shik finally returns home to the family who’s missed him.
The series ends as Joo-won stares at a picture of his wife and remembers her asking if one of his stories had a happy ending. “Yes,” he says aloud now with a smile. Elsewhere, a yellow-clad, smiling Bong-seok slices through the sky like superman.
But wait! There’s an epilogue. A new deputy director takes Deputy Director Min’s place at the NIS. A very alive Frank slips out of their clutches and is declared missing. The next cleaner Elias is called up for duty.
Are they sequel baiting us?! I certainly wouldn’t complain if we got a second season. While the story set out at the start feels complete, there’s so much more that could be explored in this world and even with these characters. I’d love to see Bong-seok on his new superhero journey, Gang-hoon as an agent, Hee-soo deciding what to do with her life, and Doo-shik reacclimating to the world and his family (and his old partner Joo-won!). Speaking of which, I am so happy Doo-shik is alive and made it back home! I do wonder, though, why they didn’t just kill him rather than hold him prisoner. Even if it makes more sense for them to have killed him, I don’t care. I wanted a happy ending for him and Mi-hyun.
At first, I was surprised Bong-seok and Mi-hyun moved after everything went down. But once Bong-seok’s next play of becoming a superhero was revealed, it made sense. He’s actively using his very noticeable powers, so they’re probably safer starting over somewhere new. I LOVE that Bong-seok got to be the superhero he’d always dreamed of being. It’s a perfect fit for him – he’s a protector, not a fighter. I’m disappointed we didn’t get to see him and Hee-soo meet again after graduation, but I’m sure their story isn’t over. I guess it’s their turn to be separated and later emotionally reunited like both sets of parents before them. While I’m sad the kids are (temporarily) separated, I am glad Hee-soo and Joo-won got to finally put down roots. Since they’re death resistant, they probably don’t have as much to worry about even if they’re targeted again. As for Gang-hoon, he has the protection of the NIS for his family (supposedly), so they should be safe-ish for now.
I’m a fan of a good open ending, so I was happy with how the story wrapped up. One chapter of our characters’ lives is finished, but they have much more story left to live. This series had an assuredness to its storytelling that spoke to quality from the start. We got the superhero fights, scheming, spying, and danger without ever sacrificing the emotional core of the story. Relationships were the beating heart of this drama, especially the parent-child bonds. But all the romantic relationships were strong too. Doo-shik and Mi-hyun’s relationship was particularly poignant, and Hee-soo and Bong-seok’s little romance added much-needed cuteness.
I loved the storytelling structure, grounding us in the present with the kids’ stories before backtracking to add context with the parents’ stories. The characterization was so strong; every character was given importance and fleshed out so even the side characters felt real and well-developed. Deputy Director Min was really the only simplistic character who didn’t get that same treatment.
While I felt attached to all our protagonists, Bong-seok hooked me from the first episode. He wasn’t your typical drama hero – he was entirely without pretense and truly felt like a kid growing into himself. The strong writing and superb performances breathed life into these wonderful, flawed characters. It was easy to understand why each character made the decisions they did and how that shaped who they became. I loved the scene between Mi-hyun and Bong-seok where they finally had it out because their fight was inevitable. The buildup over several episodes gave us the context to understand why Mi-hyun was so afraid and protective and why Bong-seok felt stifled. Everything felt earned in this drama.
I do wish we’d learned more about the origins and workings of the powers. Is the parent generation the first to have shown powers or maybe just the first to ping the government’s radar? It seems like everyone is born with their powers, but a lot of people need them “awakened,” so maybe not. Where did the powers come from and why? I didn’t expect the drama to cover all that ground, but I would’ve liked some explanation. I guess I’ll have to wait until that next season to get answers. *wills it into existence*