Home > Korean Dramas > Thoughts on Episode 24

Thoughts on Episode 24

Thursday, March 27, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Imagine that, at the end of the Harry Potter canon, Ron takes it upon himself to rid the world of everyone who’s had contact with Death Eaters (I believe that’s called vigilantism.) Imagine that Hermione is so blinded by her love for him that she is willing to go with him, even when the Ministry sends in their top Auror, Harry Potter, who begs them to stop, or at least compromise. Imagine that Ron threatens to kill Harry too, if he doesn’t join him in his quest for justice. Imagine that Harry (secretly in love with Hermione) has to kill them, tears streaming down his face.


Imagine that Black Beauty decided to end the tyranny of humans by kicking out and wounding as many men as possible. Imagine that, as a consequence, he was sent to a messy demise at a gluemaker’s factory.

Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Well, that’s how I feel after Hong Gil Dong’s ending. Honestly.

I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. I wanted my time back. It was, as intended, an unforgettable shock – I will always remember HGD as the could-have-been drama.

I admit, things had felt a bit odd after 20 (and I think you’ll agree with me that pacing problems started around then too). It seemed that the Hong sisters dropped the ‘fusion’ out of fusion sageuk and went for the traditions in a big way.

I don’t mind that. (I don’t mind quite a lot, as long as it’s done properly – that’s why I hated the movie version of The Dark is Rising. Killed the book.)

What I do mind is an ending that doesn’t give what was promised at the start, that it started off cheerful and goofy and eventually descended into drawn-out melodrama and angst. It’s not about the beginning of episode 1. The moment Yeon died, I realized that the beginning of episode 1 was an idealization of HBD and what they did. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the series’ atmosphere and mood at 1-8, as compared to 19-24. They’re radically different, and I feel like it was a bait-and-switch tactic (more commonly used by rather unscrupulous stores to get customers to go there).

Some specific issues with the ending in particular:

– GD’s continual stubbornness: Hello. How many times did CH ask him to compromise? Didn’t GD himself recognize, as he said to CH in 23, that change cannot arrive in one day? So why all that melodramatic posturing and refusal to back down? He wasn’t asked to compromise his beliefs or vision for the future. He was asked to adapt it to the long term.

– All that dying: I ask you, did HBD’s total annihilation accomplish anything? Did YN and GD’s demise, besides depriving CH of a much needed moral compass, and even more needed friends, serve the purpose GD was fighting for? I get that ‘the legend lived on’. Sure. GD, however, failed to protect his people by voluntarily choosing to die (come on, he knew he was going to be killed in the end). Who will protect the people when he’s gone? CH’s hands are pretty much tied down by the nobility. Gom is 12, going on 13, and HM is an old man. Dreams aren’t going to prevent another Choi from taking advantage of poor people.

– Letting the HBD walk into their deaths: Just. What. Was. For the sake of his unbending knees, he let a band of the cleverest, loyalest, funniest followers die. I can’t match the smart, savvy, compassionate and down-to-earth GD from the beginning with this idealistic idiot. It was a stupid change in character. Flaws are flaws, but letting people die is another issue altogether.

– GD dies, but he lives on in the heart of the people. CH, on the other hand, lives, but he dies in the hearts of the people. Nice, Hong sisters. Speaking as a CH fan, why did you create one of the most thoughtful, likeable second leads in kdrama history, have him learn happiness and compassion, then force him into situations where he’s always the bad guy? If I hadn’t already died from the end, this would have killed me. CH’s character, all of them got the short end of the stick, honestly. But my poor gongja 😦 .

– This whole thing about CH vs. GD sucked. Yes, their worlds are incompatible, yes, we want a message of hope about GD will continue to look after the world even after he’s gone. But that makes this situation even worse – I hoped for a resolution, a way for the two worlds to compromise. I feel completely cheated. It would have been better, imo, if they’ve been able to work it out, because that matches the action with hope. Hope without action, as I’ve said earlier to flyingcrispi, is delusion.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve watched tons of Chinese historical/wuxia dramas where mostly everyone dies and the king is a tyrant – but the plots and atmospheres mostly squared with each other from beginning to end. I also love HGD to pieces, even after all this. But the end!

It made as much sense as… well. Let’s not go there. Lots of nonsensical things in this world.

What I mourn the most of all is my feel-good, stress-relieving drama that pulled me through 2 months of university applications.

My heart hurts so much.



P.S. Csubs are unusually late, as I suspect the subbers are as shocked as we are. Will recap when subs are out. In the meantime, check out iurgnotmis’s short and concise synopsis (she has a genius for keeping things short, a genius that eludes me, continually).

  1. Jess
    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:33 am

    C subs still not out. Couldn’t resist, just read your half recap… and iurgnotmis’.

    !@)$(*$%*_!ADFJ LK>CVMOPRHWPO

    W.T.F. was the first three letters that formed in my head after I read… and I believe we all understand where I’m coming from.

    The Hong Sisters really should’ve taken the approach Rowling did. C’mon, a happily-ever-after ending would’ve made HGD an EPIC drama! Epic. Oh how I wished to my heart’s content that the first scene of this drama would repeat itself… oh how I wished… (not only because of Jihwan’s hot hairstyle, of course)

    If I were to recommend this drama to any of my friends, I would only recommend the first 19 episodes of it. After they watch the first 19, the plot could be just… summarized in words .. so they don’t have to go through that painful process of watching this could’ve-been drama go down the drain. Sorry if that sounded harsh.. but I got very, very minimal enjoyment out of watching the last 5 episodes.

    The ending is crap. Like you said, hope without action is, simply put, delusion. The Hong Sisters just lost half their fan base (or maybe not… but I can’t imagine why anyone would love the ending) the night HGD 24 was aired.

    Now I don’t even feel like watching 24 with the C-subs. I’ll probably just be going wtf throughout the whole thing.. not even going to swoon over CH …

    *bangs head against monitor*

  2. Jess
    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Something else I forgot to add.

    Like you said, the atmosphere of eps 1-8 contrast GREATLY to that of eps 20-24. I felt the atmosphere change around the middle of the drama, but hey… the Hong Sisters TOTALLY did not prepare us well for the WTF ending. It was meant to be surprise, I’m sure. A damned rotten one at that.

    *continues banging head against monitor*

  3. Annie
    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 11:02 am

    OH absolutely 100 % Agreed with you Sevenses.

    What an ending. I once vowed will never ever watch any sad ending movie/drama. and here I am. I feel cheated. I had so much fun at the beginning, In Fact, I stop watching at eps 20. Just feel awkward with all that YN wanting to Kill GD dad’s and so on, I feel something will change this funny drama, but I still hope the best. everyday I’m hunting to the bloggers for a new recap. since eps 21 -the sucky sucky final 24.

    and eventhough they’re together holding hands under the saky full with sparkling stars. Still doesn’t make senses. I’m not a good expressing feeling trough words, and reading your comments just make me gasping, because your words are excatly what I really wanted to say.

    how can CH ended up like that, after all the struggling to be a better king, he ended up being more crazier than his brother…. He killed the entired HBD, AND WHY they all wanted to die, there’s not heroic but more like idiotic. dying will change nothing. and what’s up with giving the leader thing to GOM? that boy’s not stabil, he needs therapy. how can someone like Gom be a leader? in the middle of a serious situation he’ll shut off ??

    argh…I want KJH to play in another drama, happy ending drama… hurry hurry to fixed our broken heart.

    anyway thank’s sevenseas for all your recaps. ^_^

  4. Annie
    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 11:19 am

    and I can’t even listen to my favorite ost .. Manyake.. due to the overwhelmed sadness. Just if the drama ended happily than that will be the most awesome sad but happy song. but now just plain hurtfull. sniff..sniff….

  5. iurgnotmis
    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    It just gets to me that both Enok and EH try to convince GD to seek an escape but none talked to him about compromising! Why isn’t anyone even trying to shake any sense into this stubborn guy other than CH?

  6. marai
    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    What gets me the most is the change in characters. I started liking all the characters from the begining. But towards the last episode HGD’s character started to annoy me he was fighting for a change and for the people but I did feel like he wanted to rule. Enok just pissed me off sometimes with her constant talking and following HGD. Not to mention she never paid attention to CH feelings and kept rubbing her love for HGD on his face. I mean we knew she loved him but at times it was too much. Not to mention CH I mean his character was my favorite. We saw his character evolved because it was sort of a mystery how he would end. We already knew that HGD was a hero and that the people would love him. I feel that CH character could have been a great king if HGD had compromise with him. It’s just sad that in the end he was made out to be the puppet of the ministers and not his own leader. BTW I think that he is the one that lost the most in the end because he lost is friends, love and I’m pretty sure the support of the all the people. Oh well we can’t always have a happy ending but I was hoping things would end happier.

  7. Jess
    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Why oh WHY does Tudou take so long to inspect the videos… I have this dreadful feeling that the C subs won’t be here until tomorrow… 😦 GRR!

  8. sevenses
    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 5:04 pm
  9. Jess
    Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Finally watched it!! Thanks for the link sevenses!!

    Well, the recaps I read before I watched 24 pretty much already spoiled the whole thing for me. Oh well, I feel would regretful anyway.

    I rewatched the first scene of the first episode… for some reason, that gave me hope. I mean, we don’t know for sure if Gil Dong and the rest of the main HBD crew died. So.. hey, the last ep could still connect back to the first. HOWEVER… that rather chubby looking guy, the guy that escorted Gom along with the old man away from HBD.. he got killed, right? If that’s the case, then my theory wouldn’t work (since he appeared in the first ep)

    But.. that’s so retarded! If the ninja scene was simply a delusion type of thing.. why did they write “A few years before this” to introduce us to the main plot?! GAHH! It makes the audience feel cheated !#)$*)(*%_)!#

  10. Amy
    Saturday, April 5, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Hello. Been reading your entries on HGD but have never commented, now I spring out to comment on the last ep 8)

    I also thought that Gil Dong’s character started becoming a little OOC the last few episodes. It didn’t sit too well with me that the writers felt the need to change him in order to fit him into the more dramatic story-arch that kind of sprung out from nowhere.

    I was sort of traumatized when I realized during the last 7 minutes of the episode that everyone really did die. Watching the final crucial scene in retrospect was excruciating and caused many a heart tremor. I didn’t cry the first time through that scene, but shed buckets when I watched it again. It was a good way to end it because I felt their deaths were necessary, but it’s one of electrifying scenes that don’t really hit you until they’re long done with.

    “What I mourn the most of all is my feel-good, stress-relieving drama that pulled me through 2 months of university applications.”

    It was a stress-reliever for me too but I can understand the route it has taken, despite it being something that I never even expected at any moment of the series. I’m not in an outrage that the end was finished like this, though it does cause me pain, right here *thumps chest*. It was a good ride though 🙂

  11. Haily
    Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    I started this drama about a week ago and finished it in about 3 days from non-stop watching during my last days of spring break and the ending was just too much for me, here i go on my ranting:

    CH- My god! I love him to death (and swoon in all of his scenes) and was completely devastated in the end when he lost EVERYTHING because of that delusional hypocrite, idiot named Hong Gil Dong! First of all, he was the one that suffered the most from beginning to end so surely he would deserve something (aka Yi Nok). I wanted them to be together so much (despite the first scene-i was indenial) i mean come on even the monk with the crazy laugh said she had the look/features of a QUEEN and they were destined to be married before they were born though it was just a scheme so CH could be king, IT COUNTED! But instead the hong sisters decide to make everyone fall in love with CH and cry over his heartbreaking unreturned love for that Yi Nok! He freakin risked his life by blocking the arrow intended for Hong Gil Dong (his love rival) because he didn’t want YN to be sad. he loved her so much that he was willing to give her to GD so she could be ‘happy’ while he lives on with a broken heart-now that’s love you don’t see GD doing that do you? He goes to the brothel right after he leaves YN.

    GD- Like you and others said, his character complete change from a horny, funny, idiot who takes advantage of others in the beginning to some hypocrite stubborn chief who died for his ‘goal’ knowing that even if he dies nothing will change. Now that’s just dumb if he had compromise and even if he hid for the rest of his life in some mountain he could still help and save the people that he promise to protect. Now that he dies a stupid death that supposed to be heroic all of the citizens will once again be taken advantage of just like before and this time there will be no one there to save them (Gomi can not save the people-he has something wrong up in that head of his and needs therapy). So good job GD! you fought for an equiltarian society (communism?) and in the end you wanted to be the hero and die the heroic death leaving all these people behind to suffer. Yeah i understand he is the main lead, hero, and what this movie is all about so its only natural that he gets the girl but come on, did he deserve it? I think not, CH gave up more for Yi Nok than GD could ever. I wanted him to die so bad so that CH would end up with YN.

    YN-what a dummy, in the beginning she was kind of smart but in the milldle-end it was like ‘wtf is wrong with you?’. So CH pours his heart out to her and she talks about food and her undying love for GD. I hated the part where she left CH for the last time because of her selfish love for GD. In the series she wanted to help and save the ‘weak’ but in the end she chose to die with GD not caring about the rest of the masses. She should have married CH, used her authority and power to help the weak-this way not only will she be happy but she’s helping GD with his dream since he is dead. That is how you love a person, not going to die with them and killing someone else that been nothing but loving to you behind with a broken heart.

    In conclusion, what started out as a magnificent series, i was dying to watch ended in a disaster with my heart shred to pieces.

  1. Friday, March 28, 2008 at 9:00 am

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