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Memories of the Alhambra Episode 16 Review (Finale)

Whether you love or hate this show, it has come to an end. Are you shedding tears of sadness or joy? Read on for my explanation on the timeline in the last two of a wreck episodes, as well as my theories on Marco and Jin Woo!

Final recap: Sun Ho finds out that Professor Cha was the one who called for the server to be up again but that Jin Woo later asked it to be reopened for an hour while he did his unfinished business. Sun Ho rushes to the church and sees mounds of salt (sorry ashes) on the floor. After he logs in, he sees that those were of Hyung Seok, Cha and Seo’s NPCs’ characters as deleted bugs. Through flashbacks, we also see Jin Woo stabbing the three characters.

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First – Hyung Seok, where a tear rolls down at having to kill his ex-best friend for the final time.

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Then – Professor Cha, where it’s a quiet sense of farewell. Ugh I actually do love how Hyun Bin stabs each of them with different emotions, and of course, the saddest has to be when he stabs Seo – montage below. Sun Ho finally finds a fourth mount, and touches it to find that it’s the remains of Zinu.

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We then see Emma telling Jin Woo that he looks tired and that he should let her hold the key now.

Hee Joo, who is on the call with Sun Ho, realises that something must be wrong and rushes over. Just as she discovers the fourth mount, the game resets, and all the mounts disappear, including all the NPCs (okay, isn’t the server shut down again? So why are these NPCs still walking around Seoul).

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Through Sun Ho’s narration after some time, we find out that the game has resetted, causing all memories of the game to be wiped out across the server. The company loses one year’s of hard work, Jin Woo is still gone, and the police has closed investigation on Cha’s death.

Sun Ho finds Se Joo cowering in a closet and comforts him that the thunder and lightning outside is real. Se Joo later runs out to tell Sun Ho that Jin Woo was probably stabbed by Emma and now dead, because he got deleted as a bug. Emma was programmed by him to delete any bug she sees with the Key to Heaven. Hee Joo learns of this from Se Joo earlier on and is now weeping in the church, finally realising that it was she who indirectly ’caused’ Jin Woo’s death (but nahh it’s not your fault!!). She faints and gets brought back home by Sang Beom, but after she wakes up, she returns right away to the church and cries at the non-existent mount.

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Sun Ho still emails his friend regularly, hoping that Jin Woo will somehow read them. Hee Joo has now come to terms somewhat and instead of crying at the mount, she prays or looks around the church silently. This is one empty church.

One year later, we jump straight to Yoo Ra’s small press conference at her wedding. Through the host’s summary, we learn that Yoo Ra was convicted of defamation as well as driving under influence, leading to her retirement from the show business. Despite Yoo Ra’s attempts, it was revealed that she’s marrying a 60 year old man who already had 2 kids. (Lol the host even makes a jibe ‘it seems like she only marries rich man’.) Soo Jin survives and delivers a eulogy of sorts at a ceremony for Professor Cha, “He’s a man who values…his honour.” Haha, this episode is all about making jibes, aint it?

We then find out that the game has been developed and sold, because now Koreans are playing it in mass at player zones and even leaving their offices to do it. Uhm I hope you are playing during lunch time people. I do like these scenes because it shows us what it should have been like when the game is commercially launched. This was the vision Jin Woo had when he told Hee Joo all the way back in EP2 that the world would be transformed. It’s also hilarious that the toilet from which one gets their first sword is located inside Subway. Okay Subway.

J-one’s shares go sky high, and partner companies see a surge in sales – e.g when drinking a normal drink acts as a health potion in the game. But there are consequences too – people are getting injured from the game and Sun Ho, on behalf of J-One, announces new measures such as limiting game zones and play hours (to people’s lunch times teehee).

Sun Ho meets up with Hee Joo and mentions that he’s retiring out of loneliness. He wants Hee Joo to give up on Jin Woo and meet new guys, but Hee Joo doesn’t reply. Sun Ho reveals that J-One wants to set up a subsidiary company for Se Joo to do all the research he wants, and the guys at the office cheer when they finally meet the legendary Se Joo.

Honestly, my heart warms up a little at this scene. Se Joo even adorably gives Yang Joo an autograph but doesn’t know how.

Hee Joo overhears a couple of people talking at a cafe that there was a user helping players and could shoot guns. Back in the office, Se Joo tells Yang Joo that the master of the game can create an instance dungeon. He used it that time at the Granada train station where the master could hide and deceive enemies, but it worked in real life and no one could see him. Now that explains why Jin Woo didn’t see Se Joo at the platform. Se Joo reveals that Jin Woo is the new master of the game since he completed the quest, and it is possible for him to be hiding in his own instance dungeon.

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Hee Joo quickly arrives at the said location and puts on her lens. As Hee Joo narrates, I don’t care if the world doesn’t believe it, but I do. I believe that we will meet again, we see a user almost gets killed by a NPC and someone fires a gun. The camera shifts up to reveal a silhouette of Jin Woo.

My thoughts: 

This episode: Honestly, honestly, that was one bad episode. Plot-wise, it was almost 60 minutes of tying up loose ends without much plot and you guys know how I feel about those endings. I also wish so badly that they didn’t stick to this awful recap-style for the finale, but they did for the first half. Thank goodness though, they didn’t cut back even further to mess with the timelines, but just shuffle between the present and the past. Essentially, there is nothing much to talk about this episode because they are all just factual happenings covered in my quick recap above already. Also, what on earth was that ending scene? You can’t even be half-assed to show Hee Joo smiling at Jin Woo from across the park or something? Ehh??? You could have at least gone down as a wreck in terms of game mechanics like W but not in execution (W was quite exciting till the very end I thought, just that rules derailed) but what you don’t have in substance, you lack in flair too.

I do still have my favourite bits of this episode/of the drama as a whole. I can never get over Hyun Bin’s acting as Jin Woo whenever he sees Seo and I feel like those were one of his best times in the drama. Every time he looks at Seo with such heartache, love and regret, it pierces through the screen and my heart. So I give the drama that (more Hyun Bin than scriptwriting since no one knows why Seo has to die either).

This highlight of this episode was watching Hyun Bin stab Seo. Just look at this fine acting:

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Overall:

The show had AMAZING premise and a start. It was so superbly strong in its first six episodes and it delivers as a one rather unique story. To be honest though, I don’t hate the development of the latter episodes. There WERE good stuff and important scenes to talk about, but for me, this show died at the hands of two culprits:

First, the execution is horrid. I’m not sure if this is the director’s, the producer’s or the scriptwriter’s fault (or maybe they all had a party and ruined it together) but this was one confusing way of telling a story. I’ve never seen a show so determined to cut back on its tension that was well-built (in my opinion anyway) and NOT dangle the cliffhanger in front of the viewers. I don’t think anyone is a fan of this direction at all – you could be ambivalent, but I don’t think you would love it. Even I, who actually appreciated how the flashbacks gave more information about the present, threw in the towel at some point.

I literally held a pen and a piece of paper to work out the timeline and I’m thankful (for my brain’s sake) that surprisingly, for the most part, the timeline is pretty straightforward. If only the show didn’t get all fancy. (Also why am I doing the work instead of the scriptwriter/director/producer??) So here’s what I think:

  • Let’s go linearly. Say 19th Jan (random date) 6-7am is the day Jin Woo hands the key to Emma, finishes his quest and gets stabbed. 19th Jan morning/afternoon is when Jin Woo gets picked up from the restaurant by his doctor. 19th Jan late night is when Professor Cha traps Jin Woo and also meets his poetic death.
  • 19th Jan midnight/20th Jan 5-6am is when Jin Woo drops the key off at Hee Joo’s house and drives himself to the church while Hee Joo cries on the road. 20th Jan 6-7am is when he deletes all bugs and maybe himself. 20th Jan night is when Se Joo comes home and also when Sun Ho gets the call from the doctor and discovers dead Professor Cha. Following which on the same night, Sun Ho traces Jin Woo’s steps and that’s when Hee Joo joins him at the church (and rest of EP16 flows from there).

It actually fell into place after I drew the timeline (I’m taking this way too seriously HAHA). So this only proves my point further that execution is vital. The timeline actually makes sense! So, so wasted.

Second, the writing was full of potential but ultimately shows incompetence. I feel like the scriptwriter did have rules in mind and I’m not sure, but it seems like some of the questions we had were meant to be resolved as ‘magic’?? If that’s the case, it needs to be specifically articulated. Rather than spending so much time on fillers, Se Joo could have talked more in this episode about the game, and if something was to be swept under the rug as magic, at least let that be said (but I guess that could be a backlash in another form).

Let us take stock of all the questions we had and see if they were ever answered:

  • #1: User being killed in reality when killed in game
  • #2: User dead in reality recurring as NPC (i.e dead rival)
  • #3: Dead rival haunts user even outside of the game
  • #4: User can get killed by NPCs
  • #5: Seo who couldn’t get harmed by NPCs suddenly died at their hands – thereafter, Cha dies despite being level 1.

Are we supposed to just not think so much and relegate #1, #2, #3 and #4 as effects of the glitch which occurred after Emma failed to de-weaponise the fight between Marco and Se Joo? They were playing the game but Se Joo got stabbed in real life and that somehow triggered Emma’s glitch. And is Emma’s glitch supposed to be the only mystery which remains unsolved – i.e magic?  Did Jin Woo trigger the glitch too because he killed another user, and not NPC (because remember, he did not use any physical weapons against Hyung Seok – so what’s the similarity)? But #5 remains unanswered – for Seo joined alliance with Jin Woo after level 4-ish, but only got killed at level 50-ish. Is it that Seo could already be hurt by NPCs but we never knew? But this couldn’t be, because Seo was genuinely shocked by how realistic the arrow felt in Granada, and this was the same shock he showed when he was slashed by Hyung Seok, which implies that NPCs never affected Seo. Which then leads me to think – why do NPCs affect Jin Woo? I’m assuming they do because he always reels from the gun shots. If this sounds like one incoherent paragraph/stream of consciousness to you, it’s because. Well. the game is incoherent. Okay I’m kinda rethinking my statement. Scriptwriter did not know what she was doing.

On Marco: [I had this in mind before posting this review/recap, but didn’t write it because I thought the review was already way too long as it is. I am heartened by all the comments so I’m posting my thoughts – feel free to discuss!]

We actually know what happens to Marco – Se Joo said he disappeared. So the true question isn’t really what happened to him but how did he disappear. My theory is that at some point in time, Se Joo was relinquished as the existing master and his game ends. There could be 2 points for this – either on 19th Jan morning (refer above for timeline) when Jin Woo finished his quest after handing the key to Emma or 20th Jan morning when Jin Woo deleted the bugs. Se Joo implies that it’s the former; he said that someone must have completed the quest, which was why Marco disappeared and he got out. Therefore, it’s possible that after Se Joo gets replaced as the existing master, his game ends, he’s a non-player and Marco just disappears.

Assuming this is wrong, and that Marco only disappeared on 20th Jan morning when deletion of bugs happened, my theory then is that Jin Woo hadn’t needed to delete Marco as a bug anyway. In my opinion, Marco/dead rivals in general are bugs which are personal to the user. This is why Seo can only see Hyung Seok after becoming allies with Jin Woo, and not before. In the same vein, Marco is a bug unique to Se Joo and I don’t think Jin Woo, as a non-ally, would have been able to see him, much less stab him. I thought the quest as something unique to each user and his/her allies, so it kinda makes sense that the quest also ends with whoever is related in that quest and not outsiders. Therefore, Emma only encounters and deletes Jin Woo’s bugs because she’s facing Jin Woo’s quest, not Se Joo’s quest. Although not ideal, I am half-able to accept that Emma deems all bugs deleted and resets the game, even though Marco may still be a breathing living dead bug technically still existing (in our brains).

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Moving on. You all know how I feel about Emma and Hee Joo already. I’m okay with Emma – I think it took the show way too long to show Emma’s importance but I guess as her role was to safeguard the integrity of the game, it was hard to reveal that about her at any point other than the ending. Hee Joo on the other hand, just got completely and utterly side-lined as a love interest. Already said enough through my reviews/recaps but ugh, damn just how wasted is she as a character? Sometimes, it still mystifies me that scriptwriters think they can get away with this. From a long time ago, I thought viewers had been lapping up strong female leads, not love interests who just lie on their bed and cry (sorry I’m triggered again because I re-watched Episode 15 for the timeline and boy, Park Shin Hye is a pretty crier but how many times does Hee Joo need to cry into her pillows).

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Also, see how kickass Park Shin Hye looks just logging into the game. Can you imagine if she was actually allowed to play the game?

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The final frivolous notes of the day – and oh dear, questions too??

  • The flashbacks from way back till this final point actually uhm, serve the opposite intended effect – it reminded me of how little we have come in 16 episodes. Oops. Hehe.
  • Chan Yeol doesn’t get to appear often, but when he does, I do appreciate his presence as Se Joo. This might be my favourite performance of his.
  • Can’t imagine Professor Cha being of any use as an ally. What, is he going to wave a piece of chalk? Or cower in the toilet?
  • Wow, all these flaking away low key reminds me of Avengers. Not that it’s a bad thing.
  • Who knew that Sun Ho would ultimately be the one whose eyes through which we kinda discover the story? He’s as clueless as we are, poor dude.
  • Seems like Koreans ever only drink one thing.
  • Omg, I just realise the couple didn’t even share a second of screen time this episode (the horror, I realise they didn’t share screentime for TWO episodes).

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I guess this is on everyone’s mind – WHAT is Jin Woo? Some have reasoned that he was turned into a NPC, but based on Se Joo’s explanation, I believe Jin Woo merely created an instance dungeon and this hides him from the view of the real dimension, but not from the users he chooses to reveal himself in front of. How does creating the dungeon work alongside being stabbed by Emma, I don’t know. I can only speculate that the bug in him as a player was killed, but the real him wasn’t killed. That actually makes sense to me – because the other three were NPCs, therefore, they could turn into mounts of ashes and be blown away, but Jin Woo should logically have kept his dead body and not turn into ashes after being stabbed. All that being said, what would possess the man to not tell Hee Joo and Sun Ho that he’s alive?? Why didn’t someone just delete Emma??? I hope they deleted her/re-programmed her in Next, because publishing the game with Emma around is asking for trouble!! Bugs galore people!

This was a crazy ride, not least because it didn’t end in a fashion which most people were hoping for. I wouldn’t say it was a bad watch because this show did deliver in some ways, but boy, is it me or do K-dramas need to work on their endings. I do feel like I need to end off on this note though: thank goodness at the very least, the acting was good. I genuinely enjoyed watching Hyun Bin, Park Shin Hye, Kim Eui Sang, Chan Yeol, Lee Seung Joon, Lee Re and so on (but best pick is Hyun Bin I think just because he had a good character and really tackled every aspect so well).

Goodbye, Memories of the Alhambra, you were such a whirlwind. Such a pity because there IS structure to the game, and could have been phenomenal if only someone thought of the answers before launching into the 16-episodes drama. But anyway, thanks guys for following on this journey!

<3thoughtsramble

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67 Comments

  1. Apryl says

    I hope they create a 2nd season where Hee Joo will seriously play the game (just to be with Jin Woo) and kickass!

    Also, who was the girl who wanted to buy the drink? The scene was just too long on her. Will she be an important character in Season 2? See Jo’s love interest perhaps? Hoping.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure if she’s a cameo perhaps? But didn’t recognise her so can’t help you there! If there’s a 2nd season, the writer must be kept in another dimension away from it.

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Akhil kornala says

    That was great review, all the thoughts I had were exactly placed in your review. But, I still have this doubt about Jin woo being NPC, I am trying to believe your speculation cause then I can sleep at night peacefully.

    Like

    • Anonymous says

      Hes not an npc, if u paid attention on the gun fuzzing off when he laid it down. As an NPC he would have fuzzed as well

      Liked by 1 person

    • I do believe that he’s in his instance dungeon because Se Joo’s scene was intentionally placed right before he appears. The only thing that wouldn’t ‘make sense’ then is why he didn’t tell Hee Joo or Sun Ho he’s alive but there are some plausible/great theories going around about the instance dungeon.

      Jin Woo shall not be a NPC! Hope you had a good sleep:P

      Like

      • deecee says

        Well, when Se Joo was in the instance dungeon, he couldn’t contact anyone…his family or anyone..either..so if Jin Woo was indeed in his own instance dungeon, then he cannot contact anyone else…

        …but then one question lies with me… how was Jin Woo able to get out of the instance dungeon?

        Like

  3. Celia says

    Disappointed in the ending too. Actually I didn’t care for the first epidsode either I almost didn’t watch the rest but I like Hyun Bin I don’t think Jin Woo is an NPC either but what’s he doing? Made no sense in any world.

    Like

    • I know that the ending was such a disappointment but there were so many questions that were unanswered. Jin Woo wasn’t an NPC because only his gun flashed when he appeared. He stayed solid. But why would he want to stay in the instance dungeon for a year? It doesn’t seem practical. They also never explained whether time moved relatively in the instance dungeon because Se Joo had no contact with the outside world and yet he was completely healed when he met Hee Joo. What about food and basic necessities. How would he get that if he was too scared to come out? And did his instance dungeon immediately disappear as soon as Jin Woo became master? And Jin Woo killed/deleted all the NPCs except Marco although he was the first NPC to go mad. And one of the questions they never answered is why did the game randomly pause because it was apparently buffering in Episode 3. What was the point of that? Was that Emma protecting Jin Woo or was it just to show that the game was flawed? I remember of the members of the team gave an interview on something about murderous intent being central to why Jin Woo started to feel real pain in the game but they never explored it in the finale. I retrospect I think a better ending would be to stab Emma with the key and reset her rather than drawing it so long because clearly, she controls the game.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Anna! Just replying to some of your great questions and throwing out my ideas: I don’t think his instance dungeon immediately disappear but that he chose to came out because Marco disappeared (based on Se Joo’s words). But we definitely needed some more details on this.

        Good observation about EP3. I don’t recall Jin Woo being near the cafe at that point + those archers were part of a normal programming code at that time, so I think that was really just them being gimmicky. That’s not to say I didn’t like it though. I actually thought it was intriguing how the game lagging could affect the interaction between user and NPCs.

        I thought too that the focus would be on murderous intent because that’s the only link between Jin Woo/Hyung Seok and Se Joo/Marco but noo. And yes should have just deleted Emma!

        Thanks for reading! I added in theories about Marco so you could check that out too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anna,

        Im thinking about the dungeon too, where maybe like you said time is not relative, because how could they stay there for one year or months without having to go out to eat. And I remember the little sister saying how Se ju looked exactly the same at all and didnt change.

        Like

  4. Seems like a second season is viable because of the ending. Also wasn’t Marco a bug? When did/does he get Keyed in the heart?
    All the other bugs had been killed in the game, JW was not. So was he part NPC and part human?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there! I added in theories about Marco into this review, so give that a read when you have time and I’d love to hear what you think!

      I’m not sure if the ending intentionally hints at a second season, or that it was written that way just due to ineptitude of writer. But we can hope!

      Like

  5. Bruce says

    typical stupid Korean tv show ending….
    seriously like 90% of Korean dramas have the dumbest endings

    Like

  6. I really enjoyed the begining of the drama, and I love ep 15 BUT… the last episode was awful… It’s sad because the cast was amazing… T_T

    Like

  7. Vianna Nolen-Peters says

    What happened in episode 16? The ending was horrible! The ending was rushed and left viewers with so many unanswered question. By the way, I truly enjoyed reading all of the recaps. I truly hope the Koreans will do a better job with the endings in Kdramas. For some reason they can’t get the endings right! This drama was good and had great action! But the ball was dropped at the end. They should have let the female lead (PHS) go into the game, kick butt and bring her man home! I guess that’s asking for too much. They just let her cry throughout the drama. What a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for supporting! Hope the reviews/recaps brought some entertainment. There are some good K-dramas that go out with a bang, but yeah most really need work. What a shame indeed. I re-watched EP15 and got so annoyed seeing Hee Joo weep. Haha!

      Like

  8. What I didn’t understand was how can a player still be attacked by NPC’s even without the contact lenses? Like what happened with Seo. Like, did the players start hallucinating at that point? It just doesn’t make sense that a player would see an NPC without the lenses on?!

    Like

    • Totally agreed! Though the lense were high tech but scientifically it just doesn’t makes sense hahaha it was as if the lense after taking off, Bluetooth-ed the vision to the eyes which also doesn’t makes sense.

      The last two episodes makes me feel irritated because it makes me curious about so many things and also left me with a lots of question which seems to have no answer to it 😦

      Like

    • anonn says

      not completely sure either, but I’m assuming it’s because they’ve become bugs themselves. I think them becoming bugs blended the reality & game, making them susceptible to attack even when not wearing the lens. Since Zinu became a bug, I’m assuming Seo just randomly converted into a bug too, since they’re allies …dunno

      Like

    • Hello! I think being attacked without lens is part of the massive glitch caused by Emma when Se Joo and Marco fought in front of her. But the writer should have explained more about the massive glitch and if that’s supposed to be explained away as ‘magic’. Taking a step back though, you are absolutely right – it just doesn’t make sense (unless magick again) for a user to be able to see the NPC without the lens, even if the NPC keeps recurring.

      Like

  9. If hyun bin is the master and able to hide himself in instance dungeon, what will happen to Hyun bin when someone reaches Master as well? Or does it means anyone who reaches Master level will be MIA till the next master take over ? If so, one day when the game’s popularity dies off , poor dude who played it last because he’ll be forever MIA from reality lols

    Very disappointed with the ending though the story line were out of the box. Hopefully there’s season 2 but Kdrama hardly has season 2!! 😭

    Like

    • Hi there! I think being able to create an instance dungeon is a power which Se Joo gave to masters of the game, so I don’t think masters will be thrown into the dungeon forcefully. He said it was created so that they could hide from enemies. It is however less clear as to whether there is only one instance dungeon possible at one time (therefore, new master will kick old master out).

      Like

  10. T Esposito says

    I’m wondering about Marco, because he was also a bug; why didn’t he also need to be deleted before the game could reset? Is it because the Master had changed, and Marco wasn’t an enemy of the new Master?

    I also didn’t like the ending because it should have said what was going on rather than leaving it so open-ended. I also hate things like that.

    Like

  11. Damaris says

    Awful ending was Marco a bug too, what happen to him. I totally agree with Bruce Korean dramas need to worked a little harder on their finale. For me the first 6 episodes were good after that the show became a recap and flashback. I really enjoyed Hyun Bin acting, I would like to know if the actors are aware that the fans, are really disappointed with the show. Anyone knows this please reply thanks.

    Like

    • I added in theories about Marco, check it out if you have time!

      Haha yeah the ending episodes were just one massive recap. I was neutral about Hyun Bin before this, but now I think I am a mini-fan. His scenes with Seo are just amazing.

      Like

  12. franklinMinister says

    The ending made me cry more than the whole drama itself due to how it was ended. 😭

    Like

  13. Jenny says

    I was thoroughly disappointed with the ending. I felt like i got thrown off a cliff with that ending! I absolutely loved the concept of this drama series it was refreshingly different and all the actors did a tremendous job the two leads had such great chemistry that I was like actually waiting for more to come about of their relationship….I believe everyone that worked on the project put in alot of hard work and the ending may not be what we had hoped or expected but man what a way to go out….Jin Woo and Hee Joo deserved a better send off!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    Liked by 1 person

  14. gingahouse says

    Can somebody tell me what they think happened to Marco-the-NPC? Or did the writer just completely forget about the dude.

    Like

    • I am giving the writer the benefit of the doubt that she didn’t just forget about him so I added in theories about Marco into the review. Check it out if you have time!

      Like

    • Everyone seems in agreement here that Marco disappeared when SeJoo gave up the mantle as Master. But that implies that he was a normal function of the game! Let’s not forget he is supposed to be a big- a glitch in the system that doesn’t even need the game to be on to be able to kill… it seems a bit too convenient that he would just disappear because JinWoo completes his quest…

      Like

  15. juzme_diana says

    can’t believe i rush my flight over stupid ending argghhhh its was great from episode 1 to 15 but why stupid eanding whyyyyyy??????????????

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I think maybe Marco didn’t have to be debugged because the master changed and Seju wasn’t really in the game anymore? Since Marco was a bug that kept showing up as only Seju’s enemy. I feel like the only way for Zinu to see Marco to kill him would be being next to Seju since he only shows up around Seju

    Liked by 1 person

    • My theory is slightly similar to yours, except I believe Jin Woo would not be able to see Marco even if he’s next to Se Joo because they aren’t allies.

      I added in theories about Marco in my review; would love to hear what you think!

      Like

  17. Gee Chang-wook says

    I’m actually hurt because they didn’t give us the satisfaction of seeing Jin-woo and Hee-joo meet again even from afar. It was sooooo close but not quite. I was willing to go pass beyond all the questions I have in mind just to watch them lock eyes with each other again. Now I feel so empty… not because of how the story ended but it’s the emptiness of not really seeing what you’ve been waiting/hoping for 😕

    Like

    • Just wanted to say – nice name there:P

      I was so thrown off by the direction of the last two episodes, I wasn’t expecting anything. Guess that was a blessing in disguise.

      Like

  18. Dian ediana says

    1000% agree with what anything you wrote – it was an annoying ending- only All the actors were excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Good thing I bumped into this review! Otherwise, I couldn’t deal with my unresolved sentiments about the ending. I hear you! I like this drama but it all turned sour at the ending. This was exactly what I feared when the plot started to surface,that things could get messy. Nonetheless, yes, Hyun Bin!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe thanks for reading and hope it helped you resolve your feelings a little. Yeah, all that time for Yoo Ra and her antics could have been spent on Se Joo. Besides, I really wanted to see more of Chan Yeol; he was doing well.

      Hyun Bin!! Hahaha.

      Like

  20. Thank you since this review echoes my exact thoughts! Good to know I’m not the only one. I was rather displeased that they had to allot lengthier scenes about Han Yura instead of having Se Ju wrap up questions #1-5 here.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. anonymous says

    Our thoughts: (Read for a happy ending, peace of mind and closure)
    – Jin Woo is not an NPC: b/c like many people pointed out, although his gun flickered, he did not which points to the fact that he is not an NPC. Also the writers specifically included the line with the players at the cafe saying that the guy with the gun did not seem to be an NPC–why include this specific line if not to prove that he is alive. Also Jin Woo did not die in the real world because he left no body.
    – So why would Jin Woo disappear for an entire year without meeting Heeju?
    Earlier in the episode, Min Ju pointed out that Seju looked exactly the same as when he disappeared a year ago to the Instance Dungeon. This leads us to conclude that time flows differently in the Instance Dungeon (or where was Seju getting food, washing etc.). Also, perhapse one needs to be in the Instance Dungeon for a year after to break free from it, as that is what Seju did and incidentally when we see Jin Woo appear next. Thus this explains why a non NPC Jin Woo didn’t reveal himself for a year.
    – Final additional clues to help us conclude this as a happy ending…
    Why bother writing Heeju going back to the scene if they aren’t going to meet up, which makes us believe that they would meet up. (we do regret that there isn’t one scene where the two leads meet but alas)
    Because Heeju believes that he will come back, we can be assured that the two will reunite again as that is the central theme of the drama: believing in somebody is powerful (also refer to repeated Jesus motifs). In the very last scene, the writers purposefully include “Trust is the magic that changes the world” leaving us with the impression that because Heeju trusts in Jin Woo and never gives up on him, he will come to her. If you watch the very last scene again it is all about how when Heeju trusts Jin Woo, he came back to her.

    In conclusion, this is a happy ending. Love is believing in someone and never giving up.
    K & A

    Like

    • anonymous says

      ps additional information:
      – Recall, at the very beginning of the series, Jin Woo repeatedly said that Granada would become a “magical place” and that he came to see the “magic.” This theme of magic is nicely tied up with the writer’s remarks at the very end that “Trust is the magic that changes the world.”

      K & A

      Like

    • But SeJoo came out of the game after a year of gameplay (JinWoo was playing that whole time) and he only got out because JinWoo finished the quest. In JinWoo’s case the game hasn’t been active until just recently… though maybe that’s why he couldn’t get out…

      Hmm

      Like

  22. analyn vargas says

    I hope that there is a 2nd Season of Memories of Alhambra. For me the Episode 16 is not just the ending but also the beginning for the 2nd season. I’m looking forward for the 2nd season and also for the happy ending for jin woo and hee joo.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Is anybody else still waiting for an explanation as to HOW they were able to disappear from the physical world via this “instance dungeon”? THATS the real magic. Regardless, a better ending would have been that Jin Woo was trapped in the game as the new master waiting for someone to get a high enough level to complete the quest to free him (Just like Se Joo). That would also have explained why he didn’t answer any emails or tell anyone he was alive.
    Also: how on earth did Se Joo PREPARE for these bugs?? The whole quest with the Key and Emma was designed to delete bugs he clearly had not expected based on his reaction to Marco. That or he is a magical evil mastermind who designed the game to kill people and trap their images as zombie NPCs as a built in quest of the game (also unlikely). And if he had a way to get rid of the bugs, why didn’t he just take the key to Emma himself?
    Also: apparently he didn’t even need Emma, he could have just taken the Key and stabbed Marco himself and never have had to go into hiding.
    Final thought: none of what happened seems to have solved the actual problem… if all it takes is using real world violence in front of Emma, it probably won’t be long before somebody else accidentally kills another player…

    Anyway, thanks for letting me rant. I agree with everything you said above: the first half of this show was amazing, second half okay, finale pretty terrible.

    Like

  24. You have definitely summarised and itemised all my thoughts/issues with the story. And like most viewers, I am irritated by the lack of explanation. I can handle a sad ending with a proper closure (no matter how “open” it is). But in this case, there was no closure at all.

    I have a theory that the “instance dungeon” is an alternate dimension, where time pauses or is slowed. This is because Se Joo was in the same clothes and state as when he disappeared (or he could just be that young”. Imagine one year in the same clothes and such, it will degrate/tear/wear out in some form. And entry and perhaps, more importantly, exit, is only capable after a stimulus or an event. For example, Se Joo was only “able” to exit, after Marco disappeared, which lead the audience to think that Se Joo “choose to leave” after Marco disappeared as he no longer fears Marco. But I suspect he never “attempted” to leave while Marco is outside anyway and if he did, he might not be able to. Since Marco can disappeared AFTER JinWoo completed the que, Se Joo was “able” to exit the dungeon/dimension because he attempted to leave the dimension.

    So in JinWoo case, he might not be able to leave the dungeon until after a stimulus or event has happened (e.g. a new Master). However it could also be possible, the reset while he set-up/went into the instance dungeon mean that:
    1) Disconnected and Trapped: he is not part of the new game server and thus unable to be affected by any stimulus/event meaning that he is trapped forever. But he can still log-on (project his game self) as a user in the new/current game after reset.
    2) Limbo: He entered the instance dungeon while the game was reset and thus entered a totally “different” dungeon/dimension and therefore is also trapped forever.

    I have so many other possible theories to help explain this total lack of closure/explanation.
    But yeah, the ending is horrible.

    Like

  25. Please allow me to rant!!!

    My mind is brimming with curses and profanity directed towards a writer who is infamous for earning the wrath of the viewers due to her shitty endings.

    Admittedly I have been raving about the uniqueness and freshness of this drama as far as plot and story line is concerned.

    It has displayed a cocktail of superb actors interacting with witty dialogues that will forever be remembered in the annals of drama history.

    It exhibited awe inspiring sights and scenes and a series of breathtaking views magnificently displayed by superb cinematography and screen play.

    But we were totally screwed over and played with ruthlessly. Our emotions were rendered useless and unimportant because that accursed writer did not respect the viewers and offer us a decent conclusion.

    In this episode, time element is of utmost importance, to fit in all those issues that were missing to finally lay the puzzle to rest.

    But hell, a lot of time was wasted on a succession of flashbacks which could have been used in A SCENE WHERE THE PROTAGONISTS, COULD HAVE AT LEAST MET AND HUGGED EACH OTHER, if the dratted writer is allergic to kisses, because she says it was difficult for her to write a love scene. (a lot of bull if you ask me).

    WE VIEWERS WERE NOT ASKING FOR TOO MUCH..

    WHAT’S WITH THAT OPEN ENDED AND IMPLIED ENDING SCENARIO?!!!

    This drama took us to the peak of excitement and elation, made us soar towards the sky with silly grins on our faces, only to be pushed towards the edges without a parachute to soften the blow.

    Freaking psycho author!!!

    nevertheless…….

    Can I take this time out to give HyunBin a huge round of applause for those scenes, where he was removing the bug from the specter NPC’s, specially that scene where he reluctantly stabbed SecSeo while his tears were flowing and hugging him as a farewell gesture..He successfully deleted the bugs although in turn he was consigned to kingdom come. I am at a loss how to praise his brand of acting…He breathed life into JinWoo. I couldn’t imagine another actor performing this role convincingly

    On the other hand, Park Shin Hye bore the brunt of the proverbial “short end of the stick” by being saddled with a role that is almost tantamount to a glorified support. The unfair treatment of this batshit crazy writer to the female protagonist was too glaring, it makes me wonder if she has any amount of womanly instinct in her body. PSH hardly had any room to display her versatility as an artist. Her acting prowess was relegated to the dungeons of tears…

    If this writer had any decency at all, she could have at least listened to the viewers general consensus of being against a messy ending. But no…she totally obstinately stuck to her delusional grandeur that she knows better than everyone.

    Nothing over the top at least some sort of closure to both our main protagonists would have sufficed..

    But we were taken to a ride in never-never land, which was fun for a while, until she decided to clip our wings leaving us plunging to the ground with a great big thud!!!

    Like

    • Anonymous says

      Oops replied earlier to wrong post. So here it is again.
      Excellent comment encapsulated the many highs and the low.

      Like

  26. Lilian says

    The worst ending ever! The episode is full of rush scenes and overly done. I wish the two main characters would end up together at lest in the last scene; but no it was too much to ask. Great disappointment and not worth watching. Sorry for being so cruel, but I really hate endings that leave us hanging to what would it be.

    Like

  27. Thanks for doing the timeline. lol. I agree about the individual acting being this dramas redeeming quality. Se Joo hid in his instance journal for safety, but Jin Woo doesn’t have anyone to hide from now, so why doesn’t he just step out? Would there be no quest in place to free him? Does the game preserve him forever then as Se Joo didn’t age a day while he was missing?

    Like

  28. Thanks for the post. Just finished the show and am puzzled and disappointed. As others say kdramas really tend to screw up endings, who knows why.

    Jin Woo was absolutely an NPC, Hee Joo was only able to see him with lenses. He only appears when players are in trouble. If he was human he’d be rushing back to destroy the game/turn off the servers then seeing Hee Joo. Not lurking around all day shooting NPCS, only visible within the game.

    Se Joo goes back to developing the game, despite being deathly afraid of it, nearly dying himself, and seeing friends die? Really?

    Bitterly disappointing ending, the show just lost it’s way after a few episodes, and seemed to not know what it wanted to say by around the time Jin Woo was removed as CEO.

    there’s been so many great k-drams that have ended in such terrible ways that it really sours the memories of them. I have little desire to rewatch k-dramas which is telling as I love rewatching my favourite western shows (except Dexter what a horrible ending), but k-dramas seem to just ‘ruin themselves’ by the end.
    .

    Like

  29. Pingback: Thoughtsramble in 2018 | THOUGHTSRAMBLE

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