Room No. 9: Episodes 15-16 (Final)

Our protagonists’ journey for truth comes to an end, and those who have wronged Hwa-sa face the consequences of their actions. Life’s true beauty, though, isn’t found through revenge but in oneself and the lives you touch. While Hwa-sa’s days may be numbered, her impact on those around her is timeless, and nothing in the world can take that away from her—not even death.

 
EPISODE 15 RECAP

Yoo-jin confronts Hae-yi outside of her apartment and asks why she saved him at the hospital. She calls it her second chance, and he embraces her. She pushes him away and tells him that he’ll be disappointed once he finds out about her true self. She shows him the evidence of her past crimes and explains how she bribed the witness to maintain her 100% success rate.

Yoo-jin realizes that Chairman Ki must have threatened her with this, but to Hae-yi, that doesn’t change the fact that she betrayed him and Hwa-sa. She believes herself to be unsuited for him, but he says that to love is not to judge. Even if she lived a crooked life, he should share that pain with her and help her find a way to atone for her sins.

Officer Oh gets a call from Hwa-sa to meet, but the investigator thinks it best if Officer Oh stop involving himself in this ridiculous case. Officer Oh disagrees since he feels relieved after learning about the true cause behind these incidents and merrily goes off to Hae-yi’s apartment.

Mi-ran makes him a cup of coffee, and Officer Oh says that he prefers sugar water from Hae-yi. She asks if Hwa-sa should make him a cup, but he laughs it off as a joke. Getting down to business, they play him a recording of the firefighter’s statement on Hae-yi’s phone, and though it’s not the original, he tells them that it could still be used as evidence if they can prove the voice is his.

They decide to visit the firefighter’s living family member, but before they leave, Mi-ran comments on Hwa-sa’s thin coat so Hae-yi offers to buy her a new one. The store employee assumes Hae-yi must be Hwa-sa’s daughter, but all three ladies interject— Mi-ran calls her a nemesis, Hae-yi calls herself an attorney, and Hwa-sa calls her a friend. After buying the coat, they strut out of the store side by side sporting sunglasses.

They arrive at a karaoke place run by the firefighter’s wife, but she’s wary of them when Hae-yi asks if she kept any voice recordings of her husband. Hwa-sa asks if she actually believes her husband committed suicide, and the wife’s smile disappears. She shows them boxes of her husband’s recordings that they can borrow, but when they return them, she wants to know who killed her husband. Hwa-sa assures her that the truth cannot be hidden.

Yoo-jin walks in to Director Bong’s office as hospital staff are packing things up. He lies about lending the director some books and manages to grab everything off the shelves in case another clue might be concealed in the covers.

Hae-yi listens to the tapes of the firefighter singing and looks for one with his talking voice. As the night goes on, Mi-ran dozes off, and Hae-yi tells the others to go to bed. Right then, she yells out a time and tape number, and plays the recording so they all can hear. They take the tape to Officer Oh, and though the recording is short, Officer Oh thinks it’s worth a shot.

Yoo-jin goes through Director Bong’s books, and after multiple duds, he finally finds another hidden clue: the original autopsy report signed by the director. Just as the firefighter said, the report states the cause of death as a cervical fracture from a fall.

As Hae-yi and the others get ready for bed, Seo silently enters her apartment with the spare key. While he slinks through the hallway, Hae-yi gets up for a cup of water, and he grabs her from behind, causing her to drop her cup.

Still awake, Hwa-sa hears the crash, and seeing the shattered cup, she checks on Hae-yi in her room. Gagged and bounded, Hae-yi shakes her head vigorously at Hwa-sa to not come in, but Seo apprehends her. As he ties the two together, Yoo-jin calls Hae-yi to tell her about the autopsy report.

Officer Oh’s detective partner arrives at their home bearing food and news about Seo. He tells them that Seo used to be a covert agent, but two of the people he was after died from aeroembolism. As the investigator explains that it means he injected air into their veins, Seo prepares an empty syringe.

Yoo-jin calls Hae-yi again, but Seo turns off her phone which alerts him that something is wrong. Meanwhile, Seo calls Secretary Park, who’s with Chairman Ki, but before Secretary Park can ask his question, Hwa-sa screams that Hae-yi is innocent. He doesn’t care for their show of loyalty and wants to know why the body swap failed. Back at Officer Oh’s place, he decides to head over to Hae-yi’s apartment to protect Hwa-sa for the night.

At Secretary Park’s question, Hwa-sa claims that soul switching was bogus from the start, but the doorbell interrupts their conversation. Following Chairman Ki’s command, Secretary Park tells Seo to proceed. Mi-ran wakes up to answer the door for Yoo-jin, but noticing the broken cup, she grabs a frying pan and casually calls for the others to eat a midnight snack.

Seo ignores Mi-ran, but before he can stab Hae-yi, they kick him in the legs and cause him to fall. Mi-ran barges into the room and smacks him with the pan, but Seo easily overpowers her and knocks her out. He grabs Hae-yi to administer the shot, but Yoo-jin rushes in right on time.

Cornered, Seo pushes past Yoo-jin but runs into Officer Oh in the hallway, who joins the chase. They end up in the parking garage, and Officer Oh tackles Seo to the ground. They exchange blows, seemingly evenly matched, but Officer Oh finishes Seo off with a suplex and arrests him. Leaving Seo to Officer Oh, Yoo-jin runs back to the apartment where everyone is relatively unharmed, and he sees Hae-yi wearing their rings on her neck.

As Seo is taken into custody, Chairman Ki excuses himself from Chan-sung’s room to talk with Secretary Park. Alone with a guard, Chan-sung wants some lemon cake and asks the guard to call someone in his stead. Meanwhile, Chairman Ki learns of Seo’s capture, but Secretary Park guarantees the chairman of Seo’s silence.

Seo remains silent throughout the interrogation, and Officer Oh pulls out his partner since they’ll need to change strategies. Since Seo won’t likely talk, Officer Oh suggests going through his call history and getting fingerprints first. His partner brings up Officer Oh’s suspension, but he argues that he can still work without pay.

Besides being traumatized, Hwa-sa is fine and refuses to be admitted to the hospital since she wants to submit the appeals documents herself. They continue with their plans, and Mi-ran picks up Hwa-sa’s mother with Yoo-jin. Hwa-sa prepares food at the apartment, but Hae-yi finds her sitting on the floor in pain. Grabbing an apron, she joins Hwa-sa in the kitchen to help.

Even Officer Oh’s captain (who’s been transferred to a different department) can’t get Seo to talk, but Officer Oh plans on catching him with forensic evidence. On cue, his partner runs up to them with Seo’s call history which places his last two calls in the same neighborhood as Chairman Ki’s and Secretary Park’s residence. However, Seo’s phone is from the black market which complicates matters.

Mi-ran brings Hwa-sa’s mother to the apartment where Hwa-sa gives her a bath. Hae-yi records Hwa-sa’s mother but watching them together reminds Hae-yi of her encounter with Hwa-sa in the prison. Her cruel words to Hwa-sa back then wrack her with guilt, and she realizes that this must be heaven’s punishment for her: to hold Hwa-sa and her mother in her heart, living with regret and guilt for the rest of her life.

While Hwa-sa and Hae-yi prepare the meal, Hwa-sa’s mother suddenly calls out her name in what seems like a moment of clarity. She walks towards them but addresses Hae-yi as “Hwa-sa.” Hae-yi doesn’t correct her and pretends to be Hwa-sa for her sake, and Yoo-jin plays along as “Hwa-sa’s” boyfriend. Crying, Hwa-sa thanks Hae-yi for giving her mother a good day, and with shaking hands, she hugs Hae-yi.

After much pleading and pestering, Officer Oh gets the NFS report on the voice recordings and shows Hae-yi the 100% match. He tells her that real men don’t brag or expect compensation, but when she tells him that she already ate, his face falls. Heh.

As Chairman Ki and Secretary Park prepare for another body swap in an empty room, Yoo-jin gets ready to meet with Hae-yi at the courthouse for their submissions. However, two cars sandwich him as he drives in the parking garage, so he calls Chairman Ki to get rid of his henchmen. The chairman tells Yoo-jin to come to him if he wants them to stop since he wants to talk.

A sudden call from the hospital puts a wrench in Chairman Ki’s plan, and the henchmen are told to retreat for now. Yoo-jin also receives a call, and at the hospital, the nurse tells him that Chan-sung is in a coma after eating a lemon cake.

Hwa-sa and Hae-yi submit their requests without Yoo-jin, and afterwards, they go out to eat. Hwa-sa notes how Hae-yi is eating carbs, and she playfully blames Hwa-sa for eating these kinds of food while in her body, which makes her crave them now. Once they get home, Hwa-sa suddenly passes out in the backseat, and Hae-yi takes her to the hospital just as Chairman Ki arrives.

The doctor tells Chairman Ki that Chan-sung experienced a brief cardiac arrest and believes he may have tried to commit suicide. Chairman Ki finds his way to Hwa-sa’s room, and as images of his son flash before his eyes, he tells Hwa-sa that he warned her and starts choking her. He bellows at her that he’s not Choo Young-bae but his cries trail off as younger Hwa-sa looks up at him from the bed.

Chairman Ki backs away, but in his place stands younger Young-bae. Younger Hwa-sa calls out his name before losing consciousness, and younger Young-bae stares numbly at her. The scene flashes back to a memory of when they were in love, and Young-bae invited Hwa-sa to dance, twirling her in the repair shop where he worked. Their laughing faces fade away, and Chairman Ki shuffles out of the room in a daze while Hwa-sa lays awake, a tear falling from her eye.

Secretary Park barges into Chairman Ki’s office and tells him that Yoo-jin’s lawsuit was submitted. The day of Hwa-sa’s appeals trial arrives, and Yoo-jin wheels her into the courtroom. Hae-yi presents the judge with the additional evidence supporting the claim that Hwa-sa may not have killed Young-bae, and the judge approves her appeal. While the group cheers, Chairman Ki also smiles, unnerving them.

EPISODE 16 RECAP

Outside the courtroom, Chairman Ki speaks with Hwa-sa and reminds her that he has an entire law firm on his side, but she replies, “I have Hae-yi.” A few feet away, Hae-yi’s old team confronts her about the trial, and Intern Bang tells her that she can’t beat them even with her 100% success rate.

Hae-yi visits Sung and Professor Kang at the office, and they congratulate her on the start of the appeals trials. She expresses her doubts in winning over her old law firm, and elsewhere, Prosecutor Kim meets with the judge and prosecutor in charge of the trial. Though Professor Kang and Sung offer Hae-yi impractical advice, Sung points out that both of them are on her side which puts a smile on her face.

Prosecutor Kim informs Chairman Ki that everything is under control, and during the appeals trial, the judge clearly favors the prosecution, repeatedly calling Hae-yi out for distorting the truth and striking her statements from the record. However, even they can’t deny the fact of the firefighter’s professional history as a medic and his statement on the cause of death.

Prosecutor Kim is brought forward as a witness, and he calls the appeals trial a sham since Hwa-sa admitted to murdering Young-bae all those years ago. When Hae-yi asks him why the firefighter’s statement was omitted from the initial police report, he claims to not remember. Hae-yi brings up Prosecutor Kim’s sister and her quick marriage to Chairman Ki, suggesting a link to the case, but the judge rejects her speculations.

Days pass into weeks as the trial progresses, and amidst all this, Chan-sung finally wakes from his coma. Before Yoo-jin can visit him, Hae-yi calls for him since Hwa-sa is acting strange. She begs them to let her leave, thinking that she still works for Ki Se-woong, and Yoo-jin tells the others that she is experiencing delirium from the painkillers. Hae-yi worries about the upcoming trial, but Yoo-jin is against stopping her medication since the pain would be unbearable.

Though Chan-sung is conscious, he refuses to open his eyes, and instead tells Chairman Ki that he should have let him die. Yoo-jin passes Chan-sung’s mom who leaves the room in tears, and stands in the doorway as Chairman Ki tells Chan-sung that he found a way to make him Yoo-jin. In a daze, Yoo-jin steps outside as Chairman Ki’s claims ring in his head.

Yoo-jin calls Officer Oh out for a drink, and Officer Oh complains that they aren’t friendly enough to be meeting at this late hour. Yoo-jin nonchalantly asks if they can’t be close because of Hae-yi, and floundering for a response, Officer Oh sheepishly asks how he knew. He gives a slew of half-thought excuses for his feelings toward Hae-yi until finally asking why Yoo-jin called him out. Pouring him a drink, Yoo-jin tells him that he’s the only one he can trust.

Hae-yi prepares Hwa-sa for the trial, wondering if she’ll be alright without her painkillers, but Hwa-sa says that she needs to be clear-headed while on the witness stand. The prosecution begins their questioning first, asking Hwa-sa why she didn’t claim her innocence before, and she explains that she loved Young-bae. Believing him to be dead, she also wanted to die back then.

When it’s Hae-yi’s turn to question, she mentions how the police report makes her out to be a car expert, yet she never owned a car nor had professional automobile knowledge. She then asks which person she saw in the driver’s seat and shows her a picture of Young-bae and Ki San. Though Hwa-sa says that Ki San was next to her, Prosecutor Kim suddenly objects, much to the judge’s irritation, but Hae-yi agrees that Hwa-sa’s judgement could be compromised.

Thus, she displays another piece of evidence: the missing crime scene photo of the deceased clearly showing Ki San’s face. Turning to Hwa-sa, Hae-yi asks if Young-bae is alive, and if he is, is he here. Hwa-sa gets up from her wheelchair and points at Chairman Ki, who tries to leave the courtroom. In the bathroom, he takes some pills and orders Secretary Park to hurry with their plans.

After the trial, Hwa-sa thanks Hae-yi, but she tells her that it’s still too early and wants a hefty bonus later when she gets her acquittal. Hwa-sa points out her lack of money, but Hae-yi encourages her to get better and work.

Chairman Ki sits in the sauna but suddenly falls to the floor. Luckily for him, Yoo-jin finds him, and after administering CPR, Chairman Ki regains consciousness. Meanwhile, Hae-yi parks her car and notices strange men stalking her from behind. She breaks into a run, but a van pulls up with a group of men who capture her.

Yoo-jin advises Chairman Ki to give up his false identity and seek forgiveness from Hwa-sa. After he leaves, Chairman Ki repeats Yoo-jin’s words to himself and shakes his head. As Yoo-jin gets into his car, a man pops up from behind, and he desperately fights against his kidnappers.

At the same time, Officer Oh’s phone beeps loudly, and he hears Yoo-jin struggling against his captors though he eventually gets captured. The investigator asks what’s happening, and flashing back to their earlier meeting, Yoo-jin asked Officer Oh to connect their phones with a wiretapping app with location tracking since he was the only one he could trust with his safety.

Mi-ran sees Secretary Park take Chan-sung away and tells Hwa-sa that he must have been discharged. Hwa-sa finds it suspicious so they call Yoo-jin, but Secretary Park turns off his phone and throws it into the woods. Unfortunately, this means that Officer Oh and the investigator lose Yoo-jin’s location, so they hurry to the last known spot.

Doctor So waits for Secretary Park in front of a building and is shocked to see Yoo-jin tied and wheeled inside. Though he wants to ask questions, Secretary Park orders him to remain silent, and Doctor So complies since he’s getting a director position as compensation. Secretary Park tells Chairman Ki of Chan-sung’s arrival, and once the body swap is complete, they’ll take care of Hae-yi and Yoo-jin before the trial is over.

Officer Oh finds Yoo-jin’s abandoned cellphone in the woods, and his detective partner tells him that SHC Warehouse, Electronics, and Laboratories are nearby. Meanwhile, Mi-ran calls Hae-yi multiple times until she finally wakes up and answers. Hwa-sa informs her of Chan-sung’s discharge and Yoo-jin’s absence, and trying to make sense of her surroundings, Hae-yi tells her to hang up.

Removing her flimsy bonds, Hae-yi grabs a chair and destroys the locked door just as a group of men take Yoo-jin away. She calls Officer Oh to tell him about the kidnapping, and looking for clues about her location, she finds a label written “SHC Laboratories.” While Officer Oh makes his way there with the investigator and backup, Hae-yi looks for Yoo-jin.

Hearing sirens outside, Secretary Park steps out of the room where the body swap is prepared, and Hae-yi watches him leave from around the corner. While Secretary Park tries to keep the police out, Hae-yi bursts into the room wielding a fire extinguisher, and after throwing it at Chairman Ki, she grabs the defibrillator. Holding it above her head, she threatens to destroy it.

Officer Oh and the investigator arrest all the guards and make their way inside where they hear Hae-yi’s screams. Knowing that help is here, Hae-yi throws the defibrillator to the ground, and Chairman Ki falls to the floor. Officer Oh and the investigator barge into the room but are confused to see unconscious Yoo-jin and Chan-sung tied together while Chairman Ki weeps over an old defibrillator.

They arrest Secretary Park for kidnapping and attempted murder as well as Doctor So for being an accomplice. Hae-yi stays by Yoo-jin’s side, and he briefly regains consciousness and wonders why she’s here. Officer Oh watches them leave in an ambulance, and the look on his face seems to acknowledge the futility of his one-sided crush. With everyone else arrested, Chairman Ki stays by Chan-sung’s side, alone in the big, empty room.

The last day of Hwa-sa’s appeals trial arrives, and Hae-yi gets up to deliver her closing statement. To the judge’s surprise, Hae-yi talks about her 100% success rate and says that it was only possible with the support of a legal cartel.

Though she prepared a different closing statement, seeing Hwa-sa today has changed her mind. Despite the judge’s warnings, Hae-yi argues that this is the time for confessions and blames all of them, including herself, for putting Hwa-sa on death row for 34 years.

She points out that the first thing Hwa-sa did when released on a stay of execution was to prove her innocence. Using Sung’s words—the exact same ones she called useless in court—she asks, “Will you say there’s no justice? That her hope is pointless? The world is supposed to be unfair? You’re a beta, and so will die as a beta? Is that what you’ll say to her?” Hae-yi implores the judge to show Hwa-sa one final gesture of justice and bows her head.

Everyone stands to hear the final verdict, and the judge declares Hwa-sa not guilty. Overcome with emotions, Hwa-sa walks to her mother and cries into her lap, begging for forgiveness. Her sobs become haggard, and Hwa-sa falls to the floor.

Reporters barrage Chairman Ki for a comment on the trial, and the news reports on the case all day. Hae-yi takes over watching duty, but while she sleeps, Hwa-sa leaves the hospital because she has a date on Christmas.

Chairman Ki’s wife watches the news and calls him for an explanation. Over the phone, Chairman Ki hears Chan-sung’s shout at his mother to learn the truth, and he turns off his phone. Pulling over to the side of the road, he fidgets with his lighter, lost in thought.

Hae-yi tells Yoo-jin that she has a hunch on where Hwa-sa might be and ends up at the old carousel where the incident happened. She finds Hwa-sa sitting on the steps waiting for Young-bae to come, but though Hwa-sa claims to not be cold, she grabs her stomach and screams in pain. Hae-yi helps her to a picnic table, and Hwa-sa asks to rest for a bit.

Her senses return, and she thanks Hae-yi for all the time they spent together. Though their start wasn’t great, they shared something no one else could, and Hae-yi helped Hwa-sa feel that life was beautiful. She tells Hae-yi to never stop being an attorney, and when Hae-yi says that she’s unworthy, Hwa-sa tells her that she tried to take her own life. During that time, a foreign missionary held her hands and told her, “A person must be beautiful themselves.”

Hwa-sa finally understands what those words may mean and urges Hae-yi to use her talents beautifully. Growing cold and tired, Hwa-sa lays down in Hae-yi’s lap and tells her not to cry since all her sorrows disappeared after meeting her. Hae-yi calls her “unni” through her tears, and Hwa-sa’s hand slips from her lap. Though only his back is shown, Chairman Ki watches them from behind and drops his lighter as Hwa-sa dies.

As everyone places flowers at Hwa-sa’s grave, Hae-yi narrates, “Where a person has passed through, a flower blossoms there. In someone’s memory, in someone’s heart, a flower blossoms and then leaves. Jang Hwa-sa did that, too.”

Though Hae-yi might not understand the flower Hwa-sa has left in her heart quite yet, she knows that someday she too must become a flower in someone else’s heart. Once everyone leaves, Chairman Ki approaches Hwa-sa’s grave and asks if she’s comfortable over there.

Hae-yi packs up her apartment, including Hwa-sa’s board, but keeps hearing Hwa-sa call out her name. She confesses to Yoo-jin that it feels like Hwa-sa is still here, and though it’s not like her to cry, she can’t help but tear up. On a boat, the two of them throw the defibrillator overboard, finally getting rid of it for good.

As everything falls apart, Prosecutor Kim yells over the phone that he won’t crumble, but Officer Oh enters his office with an arrest warrant. Though he leaves smiling, it’s clear that he’s lost.

Hae-yi and Yoo-jin meet with Hwa-sa’s mother who calls her Hwa-sa. She berates them for not getting married, and Hae-yi says that someone hasn’t proposed. Smiling, Yoo-jin explains that he wanted to propose today, and Hae-yi hands him the rings that she kept all this time. He tells her to never take it off again, and Hwa-sa’s mother cheers gleefully.

At the hospital, Chan-sung screams for “Choo Young-bae,” roaring about his hunger. In the hall, Chairman Ki sits alone, not another soul in sight, and ignores his son’s tantrum.

Hae-yi mops the floor of Professor Kang’s office since she and Mi-ran have officially joined the team. As everyone eats noodles for lunch, Officer Oh drops by with a new client for Hae-yi. The elderly woman begs them to help her daughter who was wrongfully framed for murder, and Hae-yi introduces herself as the 100% appeals success rate attorney. Heh, some things never change.

Yoo-jin prepares an event for a welfare foundation, and a swarm of reporters break into the room to ask him questions about the company. Now that he’s the majority shareholder of the group, they wonder if he’ll take over, but Yoo-jin tells them that he’s a doctor, not a businessman. He plans for a proper businessperson to lead the company and fulfill his father’s dream of making the SHC Group a global enterprise.

Hae-yi waits for her new client at the prison, but Hwa-sa walks in through the doors. She calls her “unnie,” but the inmate (cameo by Song Yoon-ah) is someone else entirely. If the inmate is certain of her innocence, Hae-yi thinks an appeal is possible, but the inmate doesn’t understand why Hae-yi is here since she never requested an attorney.

Hae-yi starts to say her mother brought her here, but corrects herself: “Inmate 122, Jang Hwa-sa, she sent me to you.” Introducing herself as an attorney with a 100% appeals success rate, Hae-yi offers doughnuts and coffee as they discuss the case.

Hae-yi: “A phenomenon not understandable by human logic, that moment we call the place god passed through. If so, Jang Hwa-sa and I, where we were, even the moment when our bodies switched, perhaps god passed through there.”

 
COMMENTS

The final curtain falls on Hwa-sa’s tale, but her story continues through the lives she touched. Even though her life was tumultuous, she was able to leave without regrets or sorrows which is more than most can hope for even with their less arduous lives. It was a fitting goodbye for our heroine as she takes her last breath in the very same spot where her life first ended. Cradled by the one who loves her now while the one who loved her watches from behind, the scene marked the end of Hwa-sa’s journey for truth and revenge.

I appreciated the show devoting time after Hwa-sa’s death in what was really an epilogue to the overall narrative. Life goes on even after losing someone, but as Hae-yi said, a flower is left behind and blooms in the hearts and lives of those remaining. Hwa-sa changed the lives of those around her, from Sung, Officer Oh, and all the other inmates she encountered. However, out of everyone, she affected Hae-yi the most, helping her find a renewed purpose in life. The confidence and boldness are still there in Hae-yi, but now they’re coupled with compassion and honesty. It was touching to see Hae-yi tell the inmate that Hwa-sa sent her, because symbolically, she did, and it acknowledges the impact Hwa-sa had on her life. While Hwa-sa has repeatedly stated and shown how much meeting Hae-yi has changed her life for the better, it always seemed that Hae-yi got the short-end of the stick in the deal. While that could still be true, I think the final scene showed that the unexplainable phenomenon taught Hae-yi just as much as Hwa-sa that life, indeed, is still beautiful.

The show tied all the major stories and overall, gave a satisfactory end for both the heroes and villains. Yoo-jin is still a doctor and uses his new identity to help others as he always has. Though learning the truth meant losing his father and mother, he finally gains control over his own life with this knowledge and pursues his dreams as well as move his father’s forward. He also gains a true family in the form of Hae-yi, and in an odd twist of fate, both Hae-yi and Yoo-jin gain a mother they never had through Hwa-sa. While I found this end with Hwa-sa’s mother to be bittersweet, at least it seemed like Hwa-sa was reuniting the three together so that they could fill the hole in each other’s lives even in her absence. Likewise, Mi-ran finds a new group to call her own thanks to Hwa-sa, as does Officer Oh. Do I still wish he knew the truth? Yes. Do I understand why she kept it a secret to preserve his memories of her? Sure, I’ll concede.

As for the villains, they all received their comeuppance. Attorney Ma lost his life, Director Bong lost his mind, Secretary Park lost his freedom, Prosecutor Kim lost his title, and Chairman Ki lost everything he built. The shot of Chairman Ki alone in the hospital hallway as Chan-sung screamed his real name, dropping all honorifics and manners, captured his demise perfectly. More than seeing him go to jail and suffer like Hwa-sa did, the final scene stripped Chairman Ki of his hope and portrayed his downfall in a powerful way. He’s alone and thrown away by everyone, including his wife. The only one by his side is his son who hates him, acting as a reminder of the sins of his life and making sure he lives every waking moment driven by regret and sorrow. While Chairman Ki may have finally understood the fact that he threw away true happiness when he betrayed Hwa-sa to live a life of lies, he never asked for forgiveness, and a part of me believes that the guilt will gnaw at him until his last breath. As for Hwa-sa, she truly got the revenge she wanted, even if she may not have seen the final end, but in truth, she already beat Young-bae when she came to peace with herself because she was surrounded by people who loved her for who she was and realized the true beauty in life and in herself.

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