This post won’t be uploaded until a few days after the drama has finished, but I’m writing this post fresh off of having just finished the finale to ‘Revenge of Others’ as there are a few things that I needed to get off my chest. I don’t know how else to say this in a nicer way, but my fears that I had about the ending for this drama came true.. and that’s not a good thing. To put it bluntly, ‘Revenge of Others’ did not deliver with its finale and it became a drama that I so desperately did not and was hoping it would not turn into. So beware, the words below might not be so nice, but they are as honest and tough as it comes. Also, read at your own caution and risk for spoilers!
I hadn’t been feeling the most confident about the drama with episodes 9 and 10, but I thought that maybe the drama would be able to maintain its pace and momentum going into the finale. I didn’t think it could do any worse. I didn’t think the drama would switch anything up so drastic that it would decrease the quality of the show. The drama had been doing well up until the final two episodes so I thought it would ultimately pull through. But the drama didn’t and it proved me wrong with its two final episodes. The fears that I expressed in my review for episodes 9 and 10 came true and the drama had no idea as to what it was doing. It fell flat with its finale.
In the end, it was Jae-bum who ended up kicking Won-seok out of the window of the school building that caused him to fall to his death. Oh-sung was in it as well as he was the one who gaslighted Jae-bum into thinking that it was Won-seok who tried to kill him (when really it was Oh-sung who pushed Jae-bum off the building) so Jae-bum got back at Won-seok out of revenge. Perhaps, the funniest part about all of this was the fact that you could have just turned on the last 10 minutes of the final episode (episode 12) and gotten a whole summary of this. All the students in the school chatted and gossiped about it and you watched as they basically revealed what happened between Won-seok, Jae-bum, and Oh-sung. What was the point of watching 12 episodes to this mystery and investigation when you could have just literally turned on the final episode and gotten your answer? It felt lazy to me and it was also frustrating as a viewer.
And I think lazy would be a good word to describe how the finale felt. It seemed as if the writer either 1) had no idea as to how it wanted to wrap everything up so they put together a bunch of last minute ideas that made no sense or 2) initially had another ending but decided to switch it up at the last minute which is what we got with the finale. Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that the final two episodes felt lazy and that it resorted to cheap cop-outs to hurry up with the progress. Jae-bum suddenly got wind of his memory one night as he was sleeping.. but how? What triggered that? How did he suddenly regain his memory? And two.. he also has a split personality with one side being an evil side and the other being the innocent Jae-bum that the drama showed us the majority of the time? This explains how he couldn’t remember anything or had no recollection of his memories. Jae-bum was not only the person behind Won-seok’s death, but he was also the one who killed the middle school classmate at the body shop/auto center location. He followed Soo-heon to the place and then ultimately killed the man himself out of anger. Jae-bum was a murderer.
But this little set-up that the drama initiated of placing Jae-bum as the killer and not Oh-sung like how we thought all along wasn’t what surprised me the most. Did I think it was smart? No. But could I live with it? Sure. Did I think the drama was trying too hard to be smart and cute? Yes. But the one thing that baffled me the most was when Oh-sung confessed to his dad that he was in love with his stepsister, Ji-hyun. My mouth literally dropped when I watched that scene and I was in total disbelief. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. I could not believe what I had just heard. I was so shocked and confused and frustrated that I took a break from watching the episode and ran to my Tumblr account to make a small post (that has now since been deleted). I mean, I just couldn’t understand and comprehend where this bombshell came from.
How could Oh-sung be in love and still be in love with his stepsister? For one thing, that’s disgusting. But two, the drama showed no hints or clues of this at all. If there were any scenes between the two step-siblings, they were usually fighting or arguing or annoyed of each other. Ji-hyun and Oh-sung seemed like they never got along. Oh-sung never displayed any signs of feelings or affection towards his stepsister and I never caught on to anything. I never for a second ever thought that he felt that way towards her because the drama never gave us a clue or reason to. Also, was there really no other reason or excuse that the drama could come up with to explain Oh-sung’s behavior? To serve as the catalyst to how everything started? It really had to be because Oh-sung was in love with Ji-hyun? Really?
So when the drama dropped that bombshell on us in episode 11, I felt a wide range of emotions (that were mostly negative). But it also led me back to my initial observations and thoughts of how the writing was lazy. You come up with something so delirious at the last minute that makes absolutely no sense and just expect us to run with it? You have no evidence to back up the ridiculous statement you just threw out there and really expect us to believe it? I’m still shaking my head thinking about it while I’m writing this post and I think this “confession” by Oh-sung has to be one of the most awful and shocking scenes ever in a drama. And I’ve watched and recapped plenty of dramas and movies, but this one definitely has to be up there on that list.
The drama had already felt like it was dragging with the way that it was pinning its focus on Oh-sung, but it also just never knew when enough was enough or when to stop. There were quite a few scenes throughout the show where Oh-sung was taken in and interrogated by the detectives that eventually served no purpose at all because nothing came out of those interrogations. But even until the last 15 minutes of episode 12, the drama just didn’t stop. It just kept on going. Chan-mi caught Jae-bum and the detectives also had evidence that he was the killer so Jae-bum was arrested and taken in. So you’re thinking that things have been resolved and that things are okay and you’re good. But then.. but then.. the drama doesn’t stop there and resumes to killing Oh-sung by having him fall off of the school rooftop after he got into a fight with Soo-heon. I mean.. was this really necessary? What was the point of this? Why not just have him arrested like Jae-bum was? Why kill him off in the final 15 minutes of the final episode?
Not only that, the rest of the school corroborated into claiming that Oh-sung had committed suicide and was up on the rooftop by himself (even though they all saw Soo-heon on the rooftop) after they received a mere text from one of the bullied victims that Soo-heon was the school’s “hero” and that he was a good person. Then that’s when the episode showed us all the students gossiping about Won-seok, Jae-bum, and Oh-sung so you’re left sitting there questioning why you even bothered spending the last 6 weeks guessing and pondering who killed Won-seok when the final episode literally spelled it out for you in the last 15 minutes.
I guess one can argue that it was more about the process than about the ending and I can agree with that argument to a certain extent. It was fun watching Chan-mi team up with Soo-heon to figure out who killed her brother because they ended up getting to know each other better, cleared up misunderstandings between each other, and eventually fell in love (hehe). So that part I didn’t regret watching per se. But I wouldn’t be so dumbfounded with the ending if it just made sense. If the clues and hints added up. If the writing was smarter. If the show wasn’t dropping secrets and bombshells on us left and right in the final 2 episodes (like how Won-seok was in a romantic relationship with his male friend, Se-jin, and was caught by Oh-sung which is how Oh-sung was able to control Won-seok and force him to do a bunch of horrible things). We did eventually get answers as to what ultimately went down and happened, but the vision wasn’t so pretty and the execution and writing just wasn’t there. It was as if the drama put a bunch of things together and called it a day. There were so many things that went wrong with the finale.
But if there is one thing that the drama did right, it’d be the relationship development between Soo-heon and Chan-mi. I’m glad that there was at least one aspect in the finale that the drama managed correctly because I would have been even more upset if it also fumbled the bag with our couple. Soo-heon and Chan-mi had already been making me feel all giddy and squishy and smiley throughout the show, but the drama bumped things up between them with the finale. From holding hands while walking home to working together to figure out Jae-bum’s role in Won-seok’s death to Soo-heon proudly wearing the red bracelet that Chan-mi made for him out of his mother’s shoelaces, the two made their mutual feelings for each other clear.
One of the more beautiful aspects of it all was the meaning of the red bracelet and what it signified and symbolized in their relationship. The red shoelaces meant a lot to Soo-heon because they belonged to his late mother which he then gifted to Chan-mi. They meant a lot to Chan-mi because Soo-heon fulfilled her request and liked her enough to give them to her. In episode 8, Soo-heon gifted his mother’s red shoelaces to Chan-mi and told her to go to awesome places with them and visit some fun places. Then Chan-mi made a bracelet out of the shoelaces and gave it back to Soo-heon. From that moment on, the two were always together and did things together as a unit and Soo-heon wore the bracelet with him everywhere. It gave him strength when he was at his weakest; it also gave him luck when he thought of giving up.
It’s this red bracelet that threads the two together and it also illustrates how lucky they were to have crossed paths. By meeting each other and getting to know each other better, the two were able to endure and overcome their own personal challenges in life. They were able to keep going because they weren’t alone and because they had each other. They were each other’s source of comfort and support. That red bracelet will forever serve as a reminder of how it all started and the many more places that they will go together.
While there were many things that I wasn’t a fan of with the finale, I guess I should also just be grateful that the drama didn’t kill Soo-heon off at the end. He ended up dropping out of school to focus on himself so there’s no knowing how his illness will impact him in the future and perhaps he made that decision because he knows how valuable his time is. Soo-heon’s story was left open-ended, but I’m okay with that knowing that he was still alive and innocent by the end of the drama.
It’s truly such a shame how this drama ended because it started off really strong and had the potential to be a good drama. It was never going to be a top-notch drama or the greatest drama to ever exist, but it did some things well and I enjoyed the drama for most of its run (from episodes 1-8). To add onto that, the drama’s biggest strength was the ability to create something out of Chan-mi and Soo-heon’s relationship to where it felt natural, made sense, and was exciting to watch. But where ‘Revenge of Others’ then failed was to surround our main couple with characters or storylines that wasn’t lacking. That made sense. That was complimentary to Soo-heon and Chan-mi’s strong relationship. The drama started off good on most parts and kept you captivated and engaged. But then along the way, it slowly started to fall apart and the only thing that was still afloat at the end was Chan-mi and Soo-heon’s relationship. They were the only ones that made this drama still worth watching. It’s such a shame that the drama did so well with building and developing Chan-mi and Soo-heon’s relationship, but couldn’t accomplish the same with the other characters, relationships, and sub-plots in the show. It did so well in one aspect, I really wished it was able to build off of that and expand it to all the other parts in the drama.
Up until the finale, I actually had it ranked as one of my top dramas of this year (which I will be compiling into either a post or podcast episode coming soon so be on the lookout for that!), but I unfortunately will have to remove it now with the way that the drama concluded. At the same time, I don’t want to take anything away from the drama from episodes 1-8 because it did deliver during that time frame. But you were starting to see the cracks starting from episode 9 and I could feel the deterioration in quality as the episodes progressed and the drama just didn’t hit all the right spots any longer. It just didn’t feel the same (I have a theory that episodes 9-12 was more recently shot/filmed with the typical live shooting schedule while episodes 1-8 were pre-produced which could explain the finale to the drama, but then again, I’m also not completely sure).
I don’t want to judge this drama overall just purely based on its ending because like I mentioned, the drama was good up until episode 9. But it’s also because the ending was so underwhelming and disappointing that I couldn’t help but feel this way about it. The ending ruined the overall quality which 1) I never expected because of how strong it started off and 2) I never want to feel with any of the dramas that I watch. There’s also a difference between tempering your expectations with endings because you know there are some things that the drama will drop or forget about along the way that you can forgive and live with. But then, there are also just some endings or finales that are disappointing, underwhelming, and completely fails. The ending to ‘Revenge of Others’ was the latter.
What originally started off as a strong and decent watch transformed into one that was less enjoyable and ultimately disappointing with its finale. If there’s one thing I learned from ‘Revenge of Others’, it’d be to listen to my instincts more often. I may have devoted 12 hours of my life to watching this drama, but I’m also glad that I didn’t spend any additional time beyond that to recap this drama. So while there were some good things that came out of this drama for me (Chan-mi and Soo-heon was the cutest, I’m also glad to have discovered Lomon through this drama, and it’s always a treat and pleasure to watch Seo Ji-hoon in another drama), it’s definitely not one that I’m going to touch ever again (unless I really want to watch my Chan-mi and Soo-heon be adorable together again for some reason). So with that, ‘Revenge of Others’, you unfortunately will not be missed.