26 January 2013


My Top 5 ... KDrama Endings

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on January 26, 2013
Cheongdamdong Alice's finale is upon us ... and I don't even feel like watching the last two episodes. And gifs are out of the question. What is it with you, Korean dramas, and your endings? Yes yes, I do know about the life-shoot-system (and all the pros and especially cons of it), but I do not understand why there cannot be any good endings in KDramaland.

What is a good ending? One that doesn't feel rushed. One that doesn't put fan-service first, but the story and its consistency. Therefore, one that stays true to the overall tone of the show: it can be heartbreaking, but don't give us melo at the end of a rom-com (hear me, King of Dramas???) or fluff at the end of a melodrama (hear me, Nice Guy???). It is also one that gives a certain amount of closure (since we will not have another season in most cases) but doesn't try to explain and solve every single thing ever. In fact, I like ambiguous, stimulating ones ... the ones that make me think about how these characters that I invested so much time in might fare in the future.  

Consiering all of this, I cannot think of any (non-multi seasonal) drama with a good ending. None. Yes, that would be the end of this post then, goodbye!
No, of course it isn't. People that blog like to write a lot, otherwise they wouldn't blog. So let's search for the best KDrama endings in the ocean of mediocre and truly bad KDrama endings; the most colourful fish, if you want (smash-hit-finger-bite endings like the one in Special Affairs Team TEN don't count, cause it's obviously much easier to do good cliff-hanger endings than nice "this-is-the-definite-end-of-the-road-for-you-viewer"-endings). 

When I asked the KDrama-crazed on Twitter about their Top 5, they rapid-fired me with their suggestions, so I do have quite a list to ponder over. However, half of the entries are disqualified because I haven't seen the dramas. Yet another half is disqualified because I seriously disagree with the suggestions. And the third half is disqualified because I haven't finished the dramas in question. In fact, I stop short of the last two episodes in the majority of dramas I watch... I simply lose interest... and/or dread that the ending will spoil my viewing experience.

Then I sat there for a long, long time and pondered the fourth half - or whatever part is left after all the disqualifications - and here are the five that made it ... not bad after all! There is hope!

The Princess' Man

My number one is and remains The Princess' Man. I may not be 100% happy about the ending - for who would want Park Shi-hoo to be blind and not be able to gaze upon his woman fondly? - but it does a marvellous job in giving closure without going fluffy on us. It manages to give our main characters the possibility to live; and to come to terms with their fate. Our OTP escapes the vicious circle of death and vengeance thanks to the last minute kindness of her mother. And the father, who remains king for many years, is punished in his own way because her white lie has made him believe that he has lost his daughter and grandchild through suicide for many years. It's a smart ending to a truly great drama. Thanks, chaka-nim!
"I might have lost my sight, but I regained my love. I could not fulfill my vengeance, but I gained you instead" (Kim Seung Yoo)

A Love To Kill

Let this one stand for all good melo-endings. The only way this one could end in a satisfactory manner was through death: Too much bad karma, too much doom-Unmyeong for anything less tragic. It broke my heart at the very beginning of my KDrama addiction and hasn't left my head ever since. That's what a good ending does. There is several layers of sadness to it. One: the farewell date. They have a last date together to say farewell, each promising the other to be ok with their lives and to forget the other. Two: the suffering after. You see them months later, and they seem to be doing better ... but it's all a lie. Third: the death. She goes to the house where they have been together ... and stays out in the snow. Bok Gu goes to find her and finds her frozen in the snow. He sits down and hugs her,  trying to give her his body heat... to no avail. They die together, hugging. Seemingly peaceful. United in death, when they could not be together in life.


At first, I had Warrior Baek Dong Soo on my list. But then, I went and re-watched the ending. Ugh. Sometimes, memory plays tricks on us, right? Not at all the ending I remembered. Next, I considered Iljimae. To make sure, I also watched the end again. It holds up! I like that Shi-hoo (played by Park Shi-hoo, haha) kills his father's enemy (Iljimae spared him). I like the the whole ambiguity (the exact reason many hated the ending), mainly the question whether Iljimae died or not. I like that we get introduced to a kid who is so much like him, without being told exactly who he is. Interestingly, enough, the ending works for me exactly because it is rushed and full of holes. According to the PD, they filmed the last episode on the day it was airing (yes, Anthony-style!) and had no cdoice but to use scenes from episode one as filler at the very end. It suggests that Iljimae is still alive - but it could very well just be a flashback; or a sign that it is his memory that lives on. By the way, this was my first Lee Jun-ki drama. But not the last!

Arang and the Magistrate

This is an ending I have mulled over for a while. Is it good? Or is it a let down? Well. It definitely makes the mistake of trying to end every single storyline, which never makes for a good ending. But ... just the fact that I keep thinking about it, weeks after the show has finished, is reason to include it in my Top 5. I have come to the conclustion that going for re-incarnation was the only way they could give the OTP the happy ending they deserved. And then ... the kids! Omo, what a little sweetheart that girl is ... and what a performance! I'm sold!!

City Hall

That might be an unexpected choice. But then, I like this drama and I always have. What I remembered really well is the very last scene, when Kim Sun-ah goes to her (now) husband's public speech (he is running for president) and gets caught by an official. This happens while the ending credits run and is quite awesome, because it manages to finish the story in the last possible minutes, even giving it a nice little twist at the very end. And, wow ... what awesome chemistry (or rather, pure eroticism!) between Cha Seung-won and Kim Sun-ah until the very end! Also, though not at the very end, there is one of the best proposal scenes ever (love the idea with the lights). All in all, YAY for adult dramas. I want more of them!!

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