The ending of this episode overshadows the rest of it: Joong-won is stabbed and killed while saving Gong-shil. Then his ghost comes to say he loves her before he disappears; Gong-shil is left sobbing on the ground. It is such a powerful and shocking ending that it's hard to recall the beauty of the Hong sisters' writing from before the death. It's even more surprising because this is the darkest path that they have ever taken in a drama. They killed the hero four episodes before the ending.
In the world of Korean drama, this ending could be circumvented any number of ways with next week's episode. He could be in a coma. It could be her nightmare. These are plausible, but they weaken the impact of this powerhouse ending. But I can't imagine this drama going on for four more episodes without its hero. Will he be alive or come back as a ghost? If he does that, then we'd have "Who Are You - 2013" part two.
Despite the turmoil the ending has created, it really does highlight that Joong-won truly loved Gong-shil. He put everything on the line for her while fear kept her emotions in check. He went against all of his personal rules to accommodate her, and love her. He faced his fears. His love for Gong-shil was a growing point for him. If he lives, we will see the change in how he lives. If he is actually dead, we will know that he changed for the better.
As for Gong-shil, while she fights her own fears, she faces a different dilemma concerning love. She is afraid to mix love with necessity: she needs Joong-won to survive and be sane. She feels guilty about using him and being used. She doesn't feel as free to love him as he is to love her. It's what makes the moment his ghost appeared to her so powerful. That moment was the first time she could show him how she genuinely felt. The contrast between the lovers is wonderful.
Aside from the overpowering death, the episode had the running theme of a wolf loving a sheep that started a couple episodes ago. The wolf/sheep story is depicted in a children's book that Joong-won attempts to read. The story foreshadows a death because the wolf dies to protect his sheep love. The parallels between the animals and the human couple were a bit heavy-handed until Joong-won died; then they were an unfortunate prediction.
It is quite a difficult thing to write a review after an ending such as this one. During the episode, my mind was on very different things: the clever word play, the focus on adult emotions, the humor, the character development, the child ghost trying to help his living mother, the murderer of the child ghost who accidentally killed Joong-won. But that one staggering accident can completely obliterate all previous thoughts. To write something that emotionally effective takes skill. The character had to be properly wrought and grown for the final outcome to be so strong. However, if the ending erases thoughts of any actions prior, does that constitute a good ending?
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Master's Sun" Episode 12"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Subscribe to HanCinema Pure to remove ads from the website (not for episode and movie videos) for US$0.99 monthly or US$7.99 yearly (you can cancel anytime). The first step is to be a member, please click here : Sign up, then a subscribe button will show up.