Well…what was that??
I may come back to write a more detailed recap, but here’s just a quick rundown on what happened in the finale.
Do Pal proves to be shaken up by what Joon Oh says. The fact that Joon Oh turns himself in actually became a blessing, because this means that he will undergo a trial and when there’s a trial, it’s a more open and transparent process. Hee Kyung’s popularity drops drastically after people realise that she did a horrible job with the Commission, and she ultimately pulls out of the running. Am I going to get bashed for saying that I do find her defeated face slightly pitiable?
Trial soon commences, and Tae Ho testifies to having seen Joon Oh strangling So Hee. However, when you have to make up a lie to cover a lie and the fact that you didn’t actually see anything, he soon slips and his story doesn’t add up. Prosecutor Cho-turned-Defence lawyer sums it up nicely – you saw him strangling So Hee but you couldn’t remember how? And you stood by watching while he was killing her?
Jae Gook turns up as as the trump card because he testifies that Joon Oh is innocent and he tried to save as many lives as he could. Trump card x 2 because Do Pal now cowers in fear, knowing that Jae Gook has survived – they don’t even need to find his henchman anymore. Tae Ho visits Do Pal out of fear that he will testify for Joon Oh but he throws a stone on his own foot by lying that Jae Gook’s days are limited.
Thus, Do Pal agrees to stand for Joon Oh. Upon hearing this, Tae Ho decides to get rid of Do Pal and they cause a car accident on the day of the second hearing. Tae Ho cries while he strangles Do Pal, “Do you know how much I suffered because of you?” Joon Oh, who has passed out from the accident, wakes up in time to fight off henchman (with handcuffs no less and said baddie collapses on the ground??) and shouts at Tae Ho to stop running away his whole life.
He knows that things can’t go back to how they were, but Tae Ho won’t be happy if he keeps killing to cover up his mistakes. “Tae Ho, let’s stop here.” Instead, face up to your mistakes and I will stay by your side. Tae Ho finally crumbles, “How did I turn out like this?” No idea man.
Bong Hee who previously demands that Hee Kyung finally act her role as the Chairwoman of the Commission manages to convince Hee Kyung to send help…I don’t know what help, police cars? Anyway, police descend on the bitter-not-sweet scene and the previously said henchman who collapsed on the ground miraculously disappears.
Hee Kyung goes off for a vacation, mean prosecutor gets disciplinary action and Tae Ho gets sent to jail.
In the last 10 minutes, we have a odd painting party which makes me think for a moment if they actually all died on the island and this is someone’s version of heaven. Anyway, everyone has lots of fun mixing paint, painting things and painting others. Joon Oh accidentally steps on fertilisers and everyone abandons him because of the smell…everyone but Bong Hee of course. He tries to rub her paint off and we have a cute 30 seconds of “Why are you closing your eyes?”, “The sun is in my eye”, “Come here” – before the party breaks back into the roof because Joon Oh actually has an interview.
If you suspend all logic, it’s actually pretty funny watching Tae Ho get smacked on the head 5 times during his interview. The couple also pretend to be nonchalant about dating questions but Joon Oh can’t help but show some love by covering Bong Hee up in a blanket. Awwww. Jae Gook promises that they will try their best to find Yeol (my heart just broke a little). Investigator Oh admits to liking Bong Hee, and surprise! Cho Hee Kyung is his aunt?? LOL.
Finally, they finish the painting party which culminates in a wonderfully vibrant and aesthetic wall, and they take a photo.
I know there are many people who HATED the ending with a vengeance, and honestly I’m not a big fan of it either. However, while watching it a second time, I was suddenly hit by a wave of nostalgia and a is this really over? feeling.
Let’s talk about why the ending is bad. I think it was going along well all the way until Tae Ho strangles Do Pal. In fact, I’m pretty impressed that there’s plot in the finale because you won’t believe how many dramas out there actually waste a good finale on 60 minutes of fluff. I also appreciate that Tae Ho feels remorse but I have problems with certain things that Joon Oh said, like how they were happier on the island because they didn’t need to care about what other people think. This is jarring considering that that was where Tae Ho killed so many people? If the time spent on the island was a year perhaps, and Tae Ho only started his murderous spree at the end, then I can understand why you would say okay look the times on the island were when we were the happiest and most innocent. But when you look at 3?4? (I lost count) murders within 4 months, I can’t see how you had good times with Tae Ho, because basically every time you had a scene with him, he’s just a ballistic murderer.
I do like that the ultimate person who ‘take’ Tae Ho down is Joon Oh and I think there’s no better person to do that than him. I can also see somewhat (to a small extent) why Tae Ho finally realises how he just keeps killing one to cover up another murder, and that this isn’t going to end until he faces up to his mistakes. I think all these could be better conveyed but okay I accept the point.
What I find most jarring, and what everyone else does too, is the painting party which stands at odds with the reality in the drama. On the first watch, I thought Tae Ho was out of jail, but thanks to viewers with sharp eyes, you would notice that there are policemen in Tae Ho’s interview – so right, he’s just out for parole/it’s a once-off concession. I realise that I actually like the painting party if I divest it from the drama, that is to say, forget that Tae Ho has been killing all these people. From that angle, I suddenly enjoyed it a lot better and actually feel sad that we won’t be seeing some of these characters anymore. But that’s the point isn’t it? That this 10 minutes is still part of the drama, and therefore, Tae Ho has killed all these people – so how could Tae Young stand anywhere near Tae Ho? How can people joke about his murders, like how Bong Hee’s mum asks secretly, “Just how many people did he kill? and how Tae Ho says in the interview, “Please do not commit crimes?” (which would have been really funny to me if he was a…thief or something). If the drama was going along the lines of forgiveness, then these elements shouldn’t have been present. If the drama was going for a bitter-sweet ending, then I feel that it would have been more appropriate if Tae Ho isn’t in the last scene, that is, same party but highlight the absence of Tae Ho and Yeol. If the drama was going for a hmm did everybody actually die? vibe, then yeah sure include Tae Ho but bring Yeol back too for the fun. Speaking of Yeol, I think it’s great that they kept his death a death/mystery because that was the most realistic part out of the whole thing. Sure, it makes me really sad to think that the innocent kind-hearted boy died because he was trying to help someone else, but sometimes, there’s more beauty in a tragic story than with a deus ex machina.
On this drama as a whole, I am actually pretty okay with it. I started the show in trepidation, thinking that it was going to be another Lord of the Flies situation, and I was really glad that no one in the show was murderous other than Tae Ho. We also saw how all you need is just one coward and one murderer, and you can take down a party of good guys. I think that in itself, while you could say requires a suspension of disbelief, also sends a powerful message – you can’t criticise them for “OMG, if you guys were just a bit braver and stood together, this wouldn’t have happened!” because not everyone is brave (or at least the cynical me thinks so). In fact, I think the good guys fared really well and I hope if I ever get stuck on an island, I have Ra Bong Hee with me.
What I think the show could have done better was to address certain illogical points that could have been easily dealt with – for example, why should all the luggage be intact? Show that most were destroyed and only some were found by Bong Hee, especially since the jet plane had 30 over luggages? The clothes should have been wet since they were floating around in the sea too, that shouldn’t be difficult to tackle right? The henchman who collapsed on the ground, why did he miraculously disappear? You might say that these are all nitty gritties, but for the long-time drama addicts like us, it’s precisely these little details that set a great drama apart from the mediocre ones.
That being said, I don’t agree with some comments that this show is worse than the rest of the dramas because of things like why would the prosecution side with Tae Ho knowing that he’s the serial killer? Well, from my point of view, a human can be pretty scary when he doesn’t want to own up to his mistakes. You see it in the dramas, you see it in real life, so it really doesn’t take that much effort to believe that the prosecution would side with Tae Ho, not because they agree with what he did, but simply to cover their own asses. Is this right? No. But does this make Missing 9 a worse drama as compared to the rest of the dramas? I don’t think so either!
At the end of the day, this drama did keep me on my toes pretty much in the first leg and give me some fangirl moments in the second leg. It’s definitely nowhere near a perfect drama but it wasn’t a bad watch. In any case, the entire cast is pretty good and I’m so glad I got to watch Jung Kyung Ho and Baek Jin Hee, and I do think they deserve admiration for the island shooting. I wish they got to kiss though??! Although I must say that the almost-kiss was pretty cute hehe and I appreciate that their relationship goes so deep we don’t even need a kiss to know that they will always have each other’s back.
Well, that’s all from me! What a long ramble *shake my head*.