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Connection: Episodes 13-14 (Final)

Our hero faces his past in more ways than one, seeking out ugly truths and revisiting a forgotten memory. To the very end, Connection stays true to its central theme, wrapping up all its loose ends in a satisfying conclusion befitting its characters. Not a moment is wasted, and not a moment more is needed.

EPISODES 13-14

At long last, Jae-kyung learns the complete truth of Chae Kyung-tae’s death from classmate Noh Gyu-min. The fire had been accidental — Jong-soo had knocked down both Kyung-tae and the oil canister — but after Tae-jin had ushered the gang out, leaving the unconscious Kyung-tae in the burning house, Jong-soo had returned to retrieve his fallen name tag. Kyung-tae had still been breathing then, and when he’d regained consciousness briefly to beg Jong-soo for help, Jong-soo had instead clobbered him to death in order to hide his crime.

Flashback to a summer vacation, when the Audiophile club went on a trip to the beach. While Yoon-jin secretly listens in from her tent, Jae-kyung hears from Joon-seo that Jong-soo’s gang had merely paced about outside instead of rushing in to save Kyung-tae. When Joon-seo hadn’t reported the incident despite promising to, Jae-kyung went ahead and did it himself, resulting in his school suspension.

Back in the present, Jong-soo discovers Tae-jin’s distribution of the lemon meth pills behind his back. Furious at the double-crossing, he beats both Tae-jin and Sang-eui up, but Sang-eui manages to catch him off guard with a hammer. The pair make a run for it, and Tae-jin smashes Sang-eui’s phone, instructing him to delete any recordings he has and escape abroad within the next twelve hours.

The next day, Tae-jin orders a search and seizure of the freezer storage, deliberately exposing the drug lab. Then he offers Chairman Won a deal — if he permits him to take Jong-soo into custody, he’ll allow KH Group to get off scot-free. Will he choose his son, or his company? Chairman Won looks pained, but he ultimately chooses the latter, dealing a horrible blow to Jong-soo.

In the midst of the operation to capture Jin-wook, part of Chang-soo’s black box footage is finally recovered — and it clearly shows Chang-soo rolling down the window and swerving off the road without any provocation. Dismayed and disappointed, Jae-kyung cuffs the chastened Chang-soo’s wrists.

The show must go on, and team leader JUNG YEON-JOO (Yoon Sa-bong) goes undercover in the guise of a fellow stowaway. Except their cover has been blown, and Jin-wook makes a run for it, boarding a boat at another nearby port. With no other option, Jae-kyung wraps a rope around his trembling hand to steady it, then shoots Jin-wook. His bullet finds his mark, but right then, police officers show up and arrest Jae-kyung for taking drugs.

Calling out their inadmissible methods — they ran tests on a strand of hair pilfered from Jae-kyung’s locker — Yeon-joo pulls Jae-kyung aside to hear his side of the story. Despite her insistence on believing that he hadn’t taken drugs of his own free will, Jae-kyung confesses the truth of his addiction, and she entreats him to lie that he’d only been exposed to drugs recently during the undercover operation.

Before Jae-kyung is summoned for his investigation, he asks Chang-soo for his motive. Chang-soo had been sick of the endless cycle — capturing drug addicts only for more drug addicts to surface — and so he’d struck a deal with Boss Yoon to manage the drug scene. Yet Jae-kyung counters that they can’t take shortcuts. Toiling day and night, even when there is no end in sight, is the very nature of their job; it is their duty to fulfill.

During the interrogation, Chang-soo shocks everyone by confessing to drugging Jae-kyung. Submitting the deleted CCTV footage of Jae-kyung passing out in the office and Chang-soo feeding him the stolen lemon meth pill, Chang-soo lies that he’d gotten Jae-kyung addicted to throw him off his scent, so his dealings with Boss Yoon wouldn’t be discovered. “Jae-kyung has done nothing wrong,” Chang-soo insists, avoiding Jae-kyung’s gaze, even as Jae-kyung pleads that it’s not true.

Thanks to Chang-soo’s testimony, Jae-kyung’s case is wrapped up as an accidental addiction in the line of duty. He’s given a break from work to receive treatment, but Jae-kyung requests for just three more days — he must see Joon-seo’s case through to the end. The composite sketch of Yoon-ho’s murderer comes out resembling Chi-hyun, and Jae-kyung cuffs him at Yoon-ho’s funeral — where Chi-hyun is the only friend in attendance.

As for Yoon-jin, she receives a tip-off from Sang-eui with photos of the city mayor cozying up to bar hostesses. When she asks how he obtained the images, he dismisses her, claiming it’s more important to avenge Joon-seo by blocking the Pilo-dong redevelopment. To that, Yoon-jin calls out his “friendship” to Joon-seo for what it really is — an obsession. She’ll write the article, but it’s not for his sake — it’s because she can’t stand people who lick the boots of the rich, all while ineffectually cursing them out behind their backs. Just like Sang-eui.

Throwing all caution to the wind, Sang-eui orchestrates a confrontation with Tae-jin, calling Jae-kyung over as well. Gloating over finally wresting control of the Pilo-dong project, Tae-jin locks all their phones in a safe to circumvent any recordings, then smugly goads them into asking any questions they have. After all, Tae-jin’s already won; nothing can bring him down now.

Revealing that the redevelopment area is where Kyung-tae used to live and disclosing how Jong-soo murdered Kyung-tae, Jae-kyung corners Tae-jin with the inconsistency of Joon-seo’s shoes. With that, Tae-jin nonchalantly admits to the murder, without the slightest shred of remorse. Joon-seo suddenly wanted to reveal their scheme, just when Tae-jin’s plans were finally coming to fruition, so how could he let him live? An accomplice tranquilized Joon-seo before pushing him off the ninth floor while the rest were in the elevator, thereby creating an alibi for Tae-jin.

Tae-jin is so far removed from empathy and human decency that it’s actually unsettling; he demeans Joon-seo for obeying his every order, then scoffs that Joon-seo ought to be grateful for the opportunities he gave him. How dare Joon-seo attempt to rebel? Unable to bear it any longer, Jae-kyung yells Tae-jin’s name, prompting Tae-jin to turn around — and a gunshot rings out. Ahh, it’s Chekhov’s gun! With Jae-kyung’s stolen pistol, Sang-eui has shot Tae-jin point blank, ending his life instantly. Tae-jin has died at the hands of the person he looked down upon the most.

One month later, Jae-kyung visits the unrepentant Sang-eui in prison. “The revenge that you carried out in Joon-seo’s name?” Jae-kyung says. “Perhaps he may not have wanted it at all.” In response, Sang-eui tells Jae-kyung not to come visit anymore. “When I listen to the words you speak to me, I end up feeling guilty, as if I’ve let Joon-seo down. Even though I have no reason to feel that way.” Before he leaves, Sang-eui tells Jae-kyung the first half of the password that he overheard from Tae-jin — it’s Ji-yeon’s birthday. Tae-jin truly thought that little of Joon-seo.

Joon-seo’s autopsy results point to Chairman Won’s chief secretary, but the arrest seems a little too easy, as if the confession had been premeditated. Jae-kyung confronts Chairman Won, switching off his phone and smartwatch to prove he isn’t recording their conversation. The haughty chairman admits that Joon-seo had informed him of Tae-jin’s drug business and Jong-soo’s murder of Kyung-tae, but he sniffs haughtily that he’d played no part in Tae-jin’s plan.

Except Chairman Won slips up, mentioning that Tae-jin left Joon-seo’s shoes on the ninth floor to disguise it as a suicide. Jae-kyung immediately zeroes in on the discrepancy, piling the pressure on, and Chairman Won cracks. Erupting in a rage, Chairman Won admits to embellishing Tae-jin’s murder scheme, in order to protect the Keumhyung empire at all costs. But what can Jae-kyung do about it, without any evidence? To Chairman Won’s horror, Jae-kyung reveals a hidden voice recorder tucked inside his blazer. Without the chief secretary around, no one had conducted a thorough body search before letting Jae-kyung in. Chairman Won has brought about his own downfall.

Two weeks later, Keumhyung is crumbling down, while the Won father and son are sent to jail. Jae-kyung has been receiving treatment for his addiction, and he’s well on the road to recovery. At last, he and Yoon-jin receive Joon-seo’s insurance money, which they generously share with Yoon-ho’s widow, the student Hyun-woo’s family, and Ji-yeon. The latter may come as a surprise given all she’s done, but our leads extend an olive branch to her, and perhaps it’s in the spirit of what the kind and forgiving Joon-seo would have wanted.

While helping Ji-yeon move house, our Audiophile trio discover an old tape from their summer trip. Tears of nostalgia and grief well up in their eyes as they watch the footage, in which Yoon-jin asked Joon-seo what his dream was. His answer was simple: he just liked spending time with his Audiophile friends. Oh, my heart.

The trio visit the beach again, reminiscing their memories. Musing upon their high school bonds, Jae-kyung shares some wise words about friendship. If you become too fixated on it, you will end up leaving scars on each other, and once money and greed enter the picture, friendships fall apart. Turning a blind eye to one another’s misdeeds and scratching one another’s backs isn’t friendship any longer, but a mere connection.

As for our trio, they’re sure that their bond — newly reforged by Joon-seo — will forever remain a pure, innocent friendship. (Which effectively dashes poor Joo-song’s dreams of romance with Yoon-jin, LOL.) Then Joo-song recalls that they’d designated the day of the beach trip as their “friendship day” — and Joon-seo had remembered it, even years later. A significant date which forms a four-digit number? Cue lightbulb moment.

Right then and there, Jae-kyung enters Tae-jin’s half of the password, and Joo-song enters Joon-seo’s half. It’s the very last password attempt left before the account is locked forever, and — they’re in. Cue a hilarious mix of exhilaration and panic, as the friends scream excitedly over the sudden windfall while Jae-kyung yells that they need to relinquish the illegal profits to the national treasury, ha. Some things never change.

With that, our journey alongside the Audiophile club draws to an end. It’s truly a mark of good storytelling that I’d love more episodes with these characters, while simultaneously not wanting more episodes because the story’s pacing would suffer for it. Though its lightning-quick plot developments often left little breathing room for us viewers, Connection was always certain of the story it wanted to tell, and it showed in its tight narrative.

Bolstered by deft directing and compelling acting, the intricate plot unfolded in a sprawling web that connected its extensive cast together through consistent motivations and deeply human flaws. For that reason, its twists weren’t merely for shock value; rather, they were plausible revelations that offered insight into its characters. The drama laid the groundwork through subtle foreshadowing and minor details that seemingly faded into the background, only for these plot threads to return in unexpected ways. And when something did come entirely out of left field, it was the good kind of surprise — like the relatively low-stakes password reveal, to end off on a high note.

With the sheer amount of content that was packed into our finale week, it was inevitable that some details were sped through, and some comeuppances were compressed. I’ll admit I was initially taken aback at the consecutive villain monologues from both our final villains, but in hindsight, I think it makes sense. We’ve seen Jae-kyung’s observation and deduction skills throughout the show, but a detective must also be able to draw out confessions from criminals, and that’s exactly what our hero does.

Jae-kyung has always had a knack for incisive questioning, as shown through all the times he got under the villains’ skin to probe for information, and the Tae-jin and Chairman Won confessions feel like a culmination of his interrogative skills. With antagonists as crafty and capable as those two, it’d be unrealistic for them to have left conclusive evidence behind — the only way to apprehend them would be through their own admission, and that plays right into Jae-kyung’s strong suit.

I think it’s deeply interesting how several characters were motivated by a love that grew twisted, demonstrating how even respect and friendship can lead one down the wrong path. Chang-soo’s unwavering devotion to Jae-kyung made him kill a man and give a false confession to cover up the truth of Jae-kyung’s addiction, all because he believes so firmly in Jae-kyung. His last question to Jae-kyung before the interrogation — “Aren’t you going to ask me to testify favorably for you?” — felt like a final test of Jae-kyung’s integrity.

It was precisely Jae-kyung’s staunch refusal to compromise his morals that proved he truly is the upright sunbae Chang-soo has respected all these years, solidifying Chang-soo’s resolve to take the fall so that Jae-kyung can remain on the force where he belongs. It’s heartrending that Chang-soo keeps rejecting Jae-kyung’s visitations because he’s too ashamed to face him after all that he’s done, and that Jae-kyung continues requesting to visit him anyway because he still cares for his junior officer.

In a similar vein, Sang-eui’s staunch loyalty to Joon-seo was a blade that cut himself as much as it slashed others. Without Joon-seo as his anchor, Sang-eui went off the deep end, throwing his morals and his future away — all for a dead friend who would never have wanted him to ruin his own life. Sang-eui may have carried out his crusade in Joon-seo’s name, but the vengeance he sought was for his own warped sense of justice, not Joon-seo’s.

Unquestionably, the heart of the show was Ji Sung, who anchored the breakneck plot with a gravitas that affirmed Jae-kyung’s steady moral compass. Facing off against him, Kwon Yul gave a spine-chillingly phenomenal performance in his final scene, and I don’t think it’d be a stretch to say this might be one of his best works yet. Tae-jin’s complexity was subtly conveyed through his concealed condescension, and the moment when that facade finally cracked to reveal his self-centered superiority — I was transfixed by his capricious, visceral emotions.

Jong-soo’s belligerent arrogance and inferiority complex, Chi-hyun’s quiet obedience and guilty conscience, Yoon-ho’s sinister killing intent and impulsive recklessness, Sang-eui’s selfish scheming and spineless cowering, Chang-soo’s steadfast allegiance and inscrutable motivations — each actor highlighted both the key traits and distinctive nuances of their character, forming a solid supporting cast of scene-stealers. I do wish the script gave Jeon Mi-do more to work with since Yoon-jin really started falling off the grid towards the end, though I liked her morally gray character setup, as well as how she eventually grew past her hunger for money to extend a helping hand. Overall, I’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint a weak link in the cast, and that really did wonders for my immersion.

It may have taken us a long time to get here, but in a way, Joon-seo’s final wish has come true after all — everything has returned to its rightful place. Our Audiophile members have reconnected again, and the culprits behind Kyung-tae’s wrongful death have all been served their just desserts. It’s regrettable that everything was only made possible through Joon-seo’s death, but I’d like to think that he’s watching over his friends, finally at peace.

One thing I particularly liked about the show is how, despite its red herrings, the characters surrounding Jae-kyung didn’t end up betraying him. Yoon-jin never sold him out; Joo-song was a true and trustworthy friend; Chang-soo may have been corrupt, but he was always sincere towards Jae-kyung; and Yeon-joo was a reliable leader through and through. Jae-kyung is surrounded by good people, despite his efforts to distance himself from others. He may have been too late to cherish Joon-seo, but he can resolve to live on like Joon-seo would have wanted, treasuring the friends that still remain by his side.

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Thanks @solstices for your wonderful recap throughout.

That was a nice wrap up.
It was nice to see the ‘bad’ friends disintegrate and causing their own downfall. Park Tae Jin screwing over Won Jong Soo was so satisfying to watch. That dude deserves to be in jail. I was surprised that none of the friends knew he murdered in HS and all along thought it was an accident. Which made sense given how they all stuck together to protect themselves from what they believed to be an accident.

I really wish Park Tae Jin didn’t end up getting a quick death. I wanted him to walk out of the den and lose everything. His hard work of his entire life.

Jang Jae Kyung’s steadfast beliefs and morals remained unchanged till the end. What Chang Soo did for him was not what he wanted. He only wants the truth. I am glad that he eventually found a way back to his friends and started believing in letting people close again. Ji Sung was perfect as Jang Hae Kyung. Watching him act was such a pleasure.

It was nice to see the friends being themselves again and even joking about. Thank goodness for not forcing any romance here.

This was a solid thriller with tight pacing. I liked how the they revealed a little each time. Also, casting was excellent. Even the bad guys had depth and were not one note. All the relationships had depth. Unit chief was such an amazing leader. Loved her chemistry with Jang Jae Kyung (the kicking scene was so hilarious)

Easily one of my favorite thriller this year.

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"What Chang Soo did for him was not what he wanted." Exactly this!! Both Chang-soo and Sang-eui believed they were acting for the sake of the person they cared for, but their devotion was misguided; they both ended up acting in ways that their loved ones would never have wanted. In fact, ways that were the exact opposite of what their loved ones would have wanted. It's really quite tragic :-(

I liked the focus on friendship over romance too! Love comes in so many different forms <3

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The final weekend wrapped up in pretty normal fashion with my dart on the Joon Seo’s real killer hitting the bull’s eye. It is another of those bypasses writers use to introduce new characters at the end in order to find one last plot twist. And there were a few major plot holes such as Sang Eui having Jae-Kyeong’s gun when it was in Jin-Wook’s possession even though afterward he said Tae Jin had the gun in his custody. But overall, I was happy with the series as it sped along at its own world pace.

The final episode was another routine puffing back up the characters to have a “happyish” ending. Well, just the audio club members. Again, another last second reveal of “Friendship Day” being the final key to unlock the puzzle was weak. It was almost Machiavellian to share that trivia then use it to turn the beach scene 180 degrees. They had determined that when a friendship sours by greed or backstabbing it just turns into a Connection (the name of the series). Then within minutes, the series ends with Jae Keyong, Yoon Jin and Joo-Song fighting over the crypto account laptop. Playful or real? One cannot tell that easily.

As expected, every single HS gang member got his moral and earthly doom. Tae Jin set off his final attack using his prosecution skills against Joog Soo and KH Pharma to bulldoze his way into a large development stake and a means to become rich. But in every gamble, there is a variable. In this case it was psycho Sang Eui who finished off his revenge in a surprise attack of his own.

The writer did labor to get the finale back to Joon-Seo’s comments about doing the right thing and putting things back in place with his old high school friends. Yes, it was confirmed that Kyeung Tae was murdered before the fire but the downfall of the villains was present day greed and betrayals.

The most disappointing conclusion was Chang-Soo’s story. His reasons in his confession made no sense. He put himself in the position of an Avenging Angel to stop the drug distribution by bottlenecking it and letting the addicts die from withdrawal symptoms. That flies in the face of what we saw. He was on the Yoon gang’s payroll. He was keeping the supply chain open from police intervention, including drugging his superior to cover Yoon’s tracks. I did not buy anything Chang-Soo said about his involvement and the car crash.

The most poignant moment was when at the funeral hall Si-Jung and her daughter saw Chi-Hyun arrested for Yoon-Ho’s murder. Si-Jung knew her husband was involved in bad business but to have his one “friend” being the cause of her grief and family collapse was powerful.

I cannot say the same for Chairman Won’s final speech. It was the rich and arrogant trope with the classic putting your own foot in your mouth thinking you are smarter than the people below you. The corrupt and powerful get sloppy over time and his time, as well as his political cronies, was over in an instance. It was not very satisfying considering the...

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.... carnage in its wake.

I thought the most under-utilized characters were Unit Chief , CEO Yoon and reformed gangster Straw. Unit Chief did step up in place of Chang-Soo in the last two episodes, but she could have been earlier shown for her competence and as a better mentor to Jae-Kyeong. In the end, I got the sense that Jae-Kyeong felt Joon Seo not have a clear plan to right his past guilt against Joon-Soo, Tae-Jin or the other dirty characters. It was just guilty sentimentality yearning for happier days in high school before his adult life came crashing down on him. In a sense, this was not a police procedural or murder mystery, but a nostalgic, rusty roller coaster ride without any safety equipment.

Did we really learn anything substantial from the events that unfolded and folded in upon themselves? It was an interesting ride. Can dormant friendships be revived or will they always be weaker versions of the past? Is greed the first domino to fall to affect so many other people in devastating ways? The only burden left in the core group is Yoon Jin’s insurance guilt and getting a clingy Little Sister.

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I don't think Sang Eui having JK's gun was a plot hole. Sang Eui identified himself as Tae Jin to Jin-Wook to put more blame on Tae Jin. Sang Eui also sent the message of when Jin-Wook would be shipping out in the box he usually sent the drugs. He wanted JW to get caught and identify Tae Jin as the Doctor. I assumed that Sang Eui got the gun in an off-camera trade-off for Jin-Wook getting out of the country, without letting JW see him. That's why Jin-Wook identified the Doctor as also the person with the gun in a foreshadowing moment.

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Jin-wook sent Jae-kyung's gun to the Doctor (Sang-eui) in episode 11, in exchange for the Doctor arranging an escape boat for him! So it's not a plot hole, but it was indeed a missable moment given how much happens in each ep haha.

I interpreted the bickering over the crypto account as playful, especially since they'd all be criminals if they didn't turn it in LOL and Jae-kyung definitely would not let them keep that illegal money! Their excitement was probably just a very human reaction to the exorbitant sum?

I do agree that Yeon-joo was underutilised though, and poor Straw had such a small (but funny!) role that he didn't even make it into a recap :")

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As for Chang-soo, I think his actions were always centered around his admiration for Jae-kyung — from the moment he covered up his drug addiction and cleaned up his tracks, to the way he took the fall to allow Jae-kyung to walk free from the interrogation and continue the case he so desperately wishes to solve. Of course, part of Chang-soo's motivations were rooted in self-preservation (so that his deal with Boss Yoon wouldn't be exposed), but there was no real need for him to lie about drugging Jae-kyung (which would only get his own jail sentence extended). My interpretation is that despite — or even, because of — their opposing ideologies and conflicting value systems, Chang-soo respected Jae-kyung all the more for being the upright person he could never be. And so, he resolved to do whatever he could to protect Jae-kyung and his police career, even at the cost of himself.

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Thank you for the fitting words and the good analysis of this drama. I could never have expressed it so well.

I'm glad it ended the way I wanted it to, with three friends who have found each other again and will now continue to support each other. This is what I will remember most of all.

Even more than the question of who is the doctor and who is the murderer, I was captivated and stressed by JJK's addiction and his fight against the drug. In the last few episodes, however, this was pushed more into the background.
But that's not to say that I was bored for a second, there was no time for that at all, which is a good sign.

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A wonderful round of applause for Park Tae-jin. I am delighted to throw dozens of accolades at him. I glanced at the previews last week and was greeted with the sight of him being beaten by Jong-soo. All that went through my head was: "Is this how this is gonna play out". So color me proud when I see him show all them once again that he holds the cards in this game. The look of defeat on Chairman Won's face, or the shock on Jong-soo's as he sees the person he beat up give his father no choice but to deliver him on a platter for the sake of material gain. It was very satisfying. Oddly satisfying. Connection was like watching two dramas - grey good guys vs bad guys, and then bad guys vs bad guys. In the war between the Tae-jin vs Won family, I was so excited to see Tae-jin come out victorious. I'd have rioted had he lost. The phone call to the Mayor...that was very exhilarating. Because of their greed and classist mentality, they gave away their bragging rights on the bio-complex project. They should have just allowed him invest and he threatens the Mayor without them knowing instead of him threatening the Mayor right in front of them, showing them who holds majority of the cards here.

The twist I didn't see coming? Chairman Won ordering Jun-seo's death. The painful part of the moments leading to Jun-seo's death? He was too weak from the chloroform to escape the secretary. It took me back to Wes Gibbin's dieing moments. If only he wasn't too dosed to escape. If only...if only.

Outta the trio, Chi-hyun has my greatest sympathy. While he might have the heart for violent acts, he doesn't have the liver for murder. I liked the fact that his being knew where to draw the line on his leanings without having to think twice. A man like him should be scouted by My Lovely Mobster when he finishes his jail term.

Unit Chief Jeong... Connection must have weighed my reaction when they introduced that foreboding music and thought otherwise. It is one thing to have your team members on the other side of the law, two of them at that. But to die in the cross-fire would be too much.

I did appreciate her understanding why Jae-gyung didn't let her know he was drugged. She knew what the consequence would be and will be obligated to act accordingly. Standing up for Jae-kyung to the point of talking over the police chief? Now that is how people should behave. I have always loved her. And I knew she would go all out for Jae-kyung, and Chang-soo.

Connection had me wondering the question: Who really killed Jun-seo? Was is Tae-jin, Jong-soo, or Chairman Won? I'd say all 3 of them killed Jun-seo. Their fight to maintain hierarchy killed Jun-seo. From Tae-jin who's a constant victim of such toxic classist behavior but still metes out the same toxicity to those he considers beneath him, to Jong-soo who dangled 5000$ before him to keep him under control, to Chairman Won who was affronted that a mere commoner threatened him. All three of them had a...

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...warped concept of loyalty and in their bid to have Jun-seo subservient to them, they killed him one by one. Jong-soo and Tae-jin delivered him to the Chairman. Had these two people acted right by Jun-seo, all would have been well. Jun-seo was well aware of the class divide that existed in their friendship. But not once did he act greedily or want something that was never his to begin with. He didn't have that ambition. He was content with what he got from their alliance. So it is very baffling when they rubbed what didn't bother him at all in his face, like he didn't know it was something he cannot fight in the first place.

I placed Jun-seo and Tae-jin side by side and contrasted them. Both were similar in their background. One of them was ambitious. The other was not. And I liked how both choices played out for all of them at the end. While Jun-seo's lack of ambition didn't pan out well for him at the end, we see Tae-jin show the persons who called the shots that they do not have to remind him of his place. He knows his place already. Father and son's attempt to put Tae-jin in his place was their own undoing. And I loved how Tae-jin dealt with both of them.

Like Jun-seo, some people are not ambitious. All they want is to live each day as it comes. They do not chase breaking boundaries or doing monumental stuffs. They just want to come and go, in peace and quiet. Seeing Jun-seo's natural disposition to success, it had me wondering how exactly the minds of Jong-soo and Tae-jin worked? What would they gain from causing him to feel small when he doesn't even want to feel big. Their lack of understanding what kind of person Jun-seo is and only looking at how they can maintain their status quo, or is it hierarchy as Jong-soo put it, served to highlight their fear and vulnerability and warped thinking that those who are down must remain down. That they must not even dream at all. Jun-seo wasn't even dreaming at all. That's what hurts the most, personally.

I do not pity Jong-soo. He doesn't have my sympathy, not even a drop. I know his father contributed to his unstable emotions, irrational behavior, and unhinged tendencies to do harm - his dad never acknowledged him as a child with brains - I lost it all at Cha Kyung-tae's death. That young boy was a fighter. Fought death twice and lost at the end.

I complained at the beginning of this in my head that Kwon Yul was in a baddie role once again, highlighted by the sweet episodic cameo role he waa having in Frankly Speaking. This will be one of the few times when I am so glad he got the role. He shined brightly like no tomorrow.

On a lighter note, I counted 5 secs and saw Yoon-jin's text after Jae-kyung got his from the insurance guys. That lady never broke character to the end.

I don't know how they'll spend the money in the cryptocurrency wallet, but I know they'll do perfect justice to it.

And can I commend this drama for subtly gunning for a romance between the...

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...FL and a supporting character. It was a breathe of fresh air. Except @solstices's recap just dashed any hopes of it happening in my head.

And no, I'm returning nothing to the national treasury.

Thank you, Solstices for the recaps. It was a pleasure once again to hear your thoughts and comments.

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Oh, I love your analysis of Joon-seo and how the trio's power struggle ultimately led to his death — they were all so caught up in their greed, and so fixated on climbing to the top of the hierarchy, that they never once considered that Joon-seo might not have the same ambition or vitriol as them. As you so poignantly put it: "Joon-seo wasn't even dreaming at all." :-((((

Same here with Kwon Yul, I was groaning about yet another villain role for him but he really went above and beyond in doing it justice! I'm glad he took the role haha. And aww, thank you — I really enjoy reading your insightful comments too! ☺️

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I know, I found myself having sympathy for the bad guys, which means the acting had to be good. I surprisingly felt very bad for Jong-Soo, seeing how everything he did was just to get his dad's respect. I had to remind myself he was really despicable. I was happy for him when the deal went through and his dad was finally giving him respect, (even though it happened because of all the horrible things they did) and also felt bad for him when it fell apart. Tae-jin's exterior was actually quite attractive, and I also just wanted Jong-Soo and the chairman to give him some part of the project.

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Everything came together well in the end. The pacing was just right!

Overall, I'm really happy and pretty satisfied with this thriller. It kept up the intrigue until the end. My mind had already veered towards Chairman Won as the one behind Joon Seo's death so I wasn't surprised when he was caught. His capture was a bit too easy. His dismay that Jae Kyung "cheated" made me chuckle though.

Chang Soo's last move to help his sunbae. T_T

I would have preferred Tae Jin seeing the gun and realizing his life would be cut short. No final look of misery or despair.

Yoon Jin was totally right when she called out Sang Eui and his obsession over Joon Seo.

The friendship ending was sweet. Their reaction to the money was fun and consistent.

This drama was blessed with a great, capable cast. No weak spots.
Ji Sung was excellent. I love seeing him in thriller/action roles!
And yeah, I agree with solstices. This was one of Kwon Yul's best performances.

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Some extra tidbits that didn’t make it into the final recap, knetz reactions, and fun facts!

- Gyu-min recognized Jae-kyung and Yoon-jin, but drew a blank at Joo-song, continuing the running gag of Joo-song always having to introduce himself LOL

- Gong Jin-wook survived the gunshot and gave up Tae-jin’s name to the police under the mistaken assumption that he’s the Doctor (due to Sang-eui’s lie), which means Tae-jin died as a drug-dealing criminal without a chance to clear his name.

- Tae-jin likely never cared for Ji-yeon at all; he could barely remember her name while disparaging her to Jae-kyung and Sang-eui in his final scene. He and Joon-seo created the joint account and began the drug business before the affair (since the affair only started after the death of Joon-seo and Ji-yeon’s daughter), which means Tae-jin simply used Ji-yeon’s birthday on a whim. Probably because he thought that little of Joon-seo, and wanted to gloat with whatever power he could wield over him.

- Jae-kyung was demoted over his stolen gun (and the deaths it caused), which negates the promotion he received in the first episode — the one he got from arresting the gang that Chang-soo secured through his deal with Boss Yoon, which means it was never a legitimate promotion in the first place. With how upright Jae-kyung is, he wouldn’t want to keep it anyway, so it all worked out in the end.

- They filmed Joon-seo’s death at a real construction site, which meant they had to squeeze filming into two very rushed (and freezing cold) days in order to wrap up before the building was completed.

- Yoon Namoo (the actor for Joon-seo) is consistently credited as a special appearance, despite appearing in almost every episode — viewers joked that it’s more like “specially frequent appearance” LOL

- Jung Sang-eui’s name has the word “normal” (jung-sang) in it, so viewers gave him the nickname Bi Jung Sang-eui meaning “not normal”

- A viewer pointed out how Jae-kyung visiting Chang-soo in prison and getting repeatedly turned away parallels Joon-seo seeking Jae-kyung out for forgiveness and Jae-kyung constantly refusing. Given his regrets towards Joon-seo, Jae-kyung likely won't give up on Chang-soo despite the mistakes he's made. Also, SBS Drama’s official Youtube account uploaded a compilation video of Chang-soo and Jae-kyung labelled “A pure love that went wrong somewhere💔” :”)

- A viewer noticed that the Kopiko PPL had its own storyline — Yoon-jin’s colleague gave some to her, which she then shared with Joo-song, and later on Joo-song offered some to Jae-kyung lol

- Out of the core group of high school friends, only our main trio survived; the rest either died or went to jail, all at one another's hands. Yoon-ho was killed by Chi-hyun, who was arrested by Jae-kyung, who also arrested Sang-eui, who shot Tae-jin, who apprehended Jong-soo, who killed Kyung-tae. And of course Joon-seo was murdered too :-(

- In an interview released this morning,...

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Oops I got cut off LOL

- In an interview released this morning, the PD said there are currently no plans for a Season 2: "Our scriptwriter killed many of the friends off, so..." :p

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@solstices Thank you for all the extra stuff and tidbits.

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Thanks for the extra tidbits! I already miss this show.

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This was a well written thriller were the plot, acting and direction was perfect. It din drag or filled with unnecessary fillers. Enjoyed this thriller, loved the trio who got the crypto and Yoon-jin's character arc were she ended up being more generous and a true friend.

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And thanks for the recaps. The names were so similar that I found it difficult to keep the flashback and current characters straight so your recaps were invaluable to me.

Such good characters — even minor ones like Straw.

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@solstices "Excellent" retelling of the drama and 'literary autopsy' on the plotline and characters. I was so impressed by writer Lee Hyun's dialogue choices between characters, as our drug-wounded detective interviewed suspects. After listening to him question people, I found myself jumping into assumptions about who 'The Doctor' and 'The Murderer' was, and often thought that one suspect could indeed be both, or that all three friends planned it. Especially after each conversation Jae-kyung had with his twisted group of old classmates, I would think..."ok, THIS is the guy! But then another conversation or plot point would make a mess out of my guess, which made me start parsing every word of dialogue for clues, which only led me on yet another wild-goose guess. THAT, for me, is good writing. Writer Lee began the series by setting us up to hate the high school group of privileged bullies: Jong-Soo, Tae-jin & Chi-hyun, right from the start; so much so, that we always kept them in our rearview mirror wondering when they would finally trip up in word or action and disclose their guilt. And while we suspected them, we also side-eyed corrupt officer Chang-soo because the writer was drenching him in guilty vibes, even while he was helping Jae Kyung. But then guilty of what? Was he The Evil Doctor' after all? But then finally the BIG reveal and we learned the mysteriously evil Doctor was the innocuous but off-kilter friend, Sang-eui. Again pre-conceptions busted because the writer had made us sympathize with this seemingly quiet, passive chemist who'd always been at the bottom of the toxic school group. Who knew this weak-hearted chemist was bent on revenge? But then still, who killed Joon-seo? I kept thinking Chang-soo might show up for the title, considering his ambivalence and half-hearted help for Jae Kyung, and the writer gave us nothing in the interactions between them that pre-empted him from being the 'real bad guy'...especially after he began 'helping' Jae Kyung with the drug case. That plus Chang-soo's 'connection' with the Female Drug Lord. All too sketchy for me. And yet in the last episode, after Tae-jin was killed and Joon-soo, Chi-sang & Sang-eui were locked up, I felt a little dissatisfied because after all their evil deeds, no one had actually confessed to Joon-seo's murder. Except Chang-soo's confession of course, which was a nice redemption arc to see him tell a lie to save Jae Kyung's career, knowing he might have to serve more time. That felt good. But there was one final play the drama was going to make. While we were watching Jae Kyung close-in on the murderer inside the evil friend triad, the writer had been busy all along playing a shell game where the murdering pea was under none of the walnuts he had been focusing us on. The murderer had been hidden in plain sight all along. Jong Soo's CEO Dad seemed like just a placeholder in the story, but he ended up a major player, from the start. Our...

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.....but he ended up a major player, from the start. Our murderer. Loved that twist because it wasn't a new character tossed in at the last minute for shock-value. Once we knew that last piece, everything made sense. Great writing, a taut plot pace and finely scripted dialogues ...all delivered by skilled actors who brought out the finely nuanced layers in their characters. Especially Ji Sung who disappears into every character he inhabits. Enjoyed this. I could have taken a few more episodes of this to examine more about Jae Kyung's fight to get off drugs, but just happy that he did.

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I typed a lot and I just lost it when the site hanged. 🥴
I enjoyed the show. I am glad we found out Jun Seo's killer. Tae Jin got the easiest punishment. I would prefer he be jailed like the Wons.
I felt that Chang Soo did what he did not onky for Jae Kyung's sake but also to protect himself from being implicated with CEO Yoon. Hr just knew too much.
I enjoyed JK, YJ and JS's friendship. Its too bad that Jun Seo is no longer with them.
Also if I were in their shoes, I will not surrender that crypto money but rather spend it however they see fit. They can give back some to the govt if they are inclined to. But they can also set it up to help people in need maybe in Kyung Tae and Jun Seo's name. Also help fund research for Jun Seo's daughter's sickness.
Overall, I agree that this is one of the best dramas of the year. Well-written with strong actors and great production. It may have been over the top with the forced addiction but other than that I have no complaints.

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Where can I watch this legally, please? I am in South East Asia. It's the first time I am posting after lurking for many years reading all the wonderful and informative posts.

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Legal streaming platforms are Viki (in this case only for viewers from the US) and Kocowa. The Kocowa app can at least be used from Europe, but VPN may also help.

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I hope @yean-yngling, HalmoniYY you find a legal stream for CONNECTION and welcome aboard.

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@solstices - thanks for your excellent recap and fine insights into the characters and their stories!

Nothing much to add other than my respect for the PD team for a coherent story with layers and depth. The writer (apparently a newbie with no prior credits that I can find) must have worked out the whole story with fully developed main and side plots. A rare feat these days - hats down to them.

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I have a question - I missed why the gang went to Chae Kyung-Tae to beat him up in the first place. Was he bullying Jung Sang-Eui? I missed that significance (like how he came to be in their group).

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I finally (because of travel disruptions) watched the last two episodes of CONNECTION a couple of days ago. A few final thoughts:
1. SBS did it again and produced an excellent crime drama. Well done SBS;
2. In this drama I think Ji Sung, Jeon Mi-do and Kwon Yul may have given the best performances of their careers. Yes, Jean Mi-do’s part could have been broadened but I think I enjoyed her more in this rather than in HP (where she gave a great performance).
3. Kim Kyung-nam. He probably had the most difficult part in the drama. He handled it very well. His Jong-soo was wrapped super uptight from the first minute of the drama to the end 14 episodes later. And Jong-soo was the ‘real’ drug addict. Well done KKN even though your performance will probably be overlooked.
4. The kids. Great performances by the young actors (even if truth be told I was mixing up the the young guys until the end lol). Nice gesture by the Director to give the young actors a final scene via the CD.
5. CONNECTION becomes my fourth favorite drama of the year after (chronologically) KNIGHT FLOWER, LIKE FLOWERS IN SAND, and THE ATYPICAL FAMILY. If I can add another 4 by the end of the year 2024 will be one if the better kdrama vintage years I have had in awhile.

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I finished Connection. It was amazingly made, acting was phenomenal, the young counterparts fantastic, and the pace perfect.

But I do have some problems with how the story ended. When we were first introduced to ceo Won I immediately thought please don't let him be the ultimate culprit. With every twist and turn, every revelation about the friends, I became more and more hopeful that we wouldn't have that cliche ending, but sigh, here we are. I hoped upon hope that the team leader would be hiding in the safe house and would jump out to capture Tae-Jin. I needed him to witness his ruin, after that satisfying smug monologue of his. But his being killed on the spot, and the subsequent secretary arrest, and ceo Won's bored talk was very disappointing,

Also wasn't that a plothole? Hadn't we already seen the ceo shock TJ in a different scene that he knew about his drug-dealing?

Another plothole was the whole password.
1- A man who had been meticulously planning to become the richest man in Korea for 20 years would have never chosen a password on a whim! There was absolutely no reason and no explanation for his password to be JY's birthday. We didn't even need a "tag" for it. SE could only have said: this is TJ's password, figure the rest for yourself.
2- The password being the friendship day was too contrived. Back when JS and TJ made the account there was no reasoning for him to make it the friendship day. He was doing it only for his daughter. Yes, her birthday would have been too easy to guess for TJ, so the only other possible guess would have been 1882. We even saw him mention it specifically to JK. Yes, they used it as a red herring for the text message, but it could have had a real meaning too. We didn't need to suddenly flashback to someday 20 years ago on the beach and another day ten years ago when JS visited Joo Song.

Another plothole was how were TJ and the Ceo able to plot murder in an unknown place in under half an hour, and why did JS ask them all to go to the ninth floor in the first place, he could have said everything on the ground floor, especially considering that he knew that at least 2 of those 4 people had already committed murder... We were going sooo good with all the stories until the ceo was thrown in.

Another thing that I didn't quite like, or maybe understand?
If I understood correctly, Kyung Tae was very poor, he took Sang-Eui's money, the gang asked Jun-Soo to go confront him as the class president, Jun-Soo declined (because he was going to the movie theater with his friends), so the gang decided to go on their own.

I truly don't know if this is a plothole or if I got it wrong, but I did feel sad that KT was introduced as a bully, we see the gang go to him in defence of one of their own, even in a misguided way, which actually was quite a theme in this show, even asking for a reputable student's help, then when the gang reaches KT's house he is shown as a sweet mild boy... So...

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Continued:

... So what did I miss? Did SE lie that KT took his money? He does have that talent of lying and manipulating... Or was it a change of heart from the writer...

I still liked the very much. I rewinded at least half of it because so many of the scenes deserved a replay, and a re-replay. Everybody had a complete and gripping story. I think I love Joo Song the most.

I liked that we had no less than four cases of people going to drastic measures in the name of love/friendship. Sang-Eui and Yoon-Ho both thought they are doing the best for their friends, even justifying murder multiple times. Chang-Soo giving JK the pill, removing evidence, lying about drugging him, and even killing the suspect when he heard him speak of JK's addiction. And YJ giving JK a pill. Yes her act completely pales in the face of what the others have done, but it is still drastic measures in her situation.

In some of the gang's scenes, especially TJ's and CH's, I told myself this is why people watch shows like Evilive! It can be fascinating even if you aren't rooting for a character! I still won't be able to do it but now I get it! 😄

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