Signal Episode 16- The End…?

 

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I am sad to say this will be my last post on a show I have come to love, and the characters that live within this world. Our three heroes do not give up even when the credits roll. And neither does this writer. They’ve taken us on a ride from day one and it doesn’t seem to stop until the last minute. Or… maybe it never stop as long as there’s another transmission.

Hae-young’s not dead!!

Okay, I’ll admit. I thought Hae-young died at the end of episode 15. I knew that time could be rewritten so I didn’t cry (that much) for him, but I was elated that when they went back to that parking lot with Soo-hyun over him, he was still alive. And the only thing on his mind is that Soo-hyun needs to make sure that Jae-han gives up. He finally realizes that the reason Jae-han was murdered is because he wouldn’t give up on Sun-woo’s case. And the reason he’d never given up on it was because of his talks with Hae-young. Hae-Young’s holding on to life, just barely, and he keeps telling her to stop Jae-han or he’ll die. Soo-hyun’s watch says it’s almost 11:23 and Hae-young tells her that’s when the transmissions always happen.

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It ends where it began:

The past has finally caught up to what we saw in episode 1. Where it’s do or die for Jae-han. And it really is up to him this time because it becomes painfully clear that the events really are unfolding the same way. He’s supposed to help investigate the leads they have on the kidnapper. We see him run into little Hae-young and they never see each other. So0-Hyun gets transferred on the day he dies  (like the first time) and he tells her he’ll see her when everything’s taken care of. I do want to note that the words he uses with her this time are different.

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But even knowing the date and place he STILL goes to investigate at that mental institution. It turns 11:23 and he starts talking to Hae-young. What Jae-han says over the walkie talkie changes a little from what we heard in episode 1.

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And on the other end of the walkie…. Is the Park Hae-young of episode 1, not the one laying in a pool of his own blood, at 11:23 in 2016.

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And Jae-han gets hit in the back of the head, just like the first time. This time we see that when he wakes up, Ahn Chi-soo has him tied up. And Kim Bum-joo and his underling are close behind. So will he die again?

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Um, well we take a quick detour to see how he got those DNA test results (the envelope Bum-joo found in Jae-han’s desk). Through deduction Jae-han figures out that Bum-joo ditched the red scarf after killing Sun-woo (sniff, sniff). He remembers Bum-joo having a bag from a pharmacy and looks for the trash near it, but finds out it has already been taken to the dump. He tracks it down and thankfully a sweet lady saw it and decided it was too nice to throw away.

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Off the scarf goes to America because Jae-han realizes he can’t trust the local peeps. Sun-woo’s blood is on it and an unknown person which eventually tests as a match for Bum-joo. We see that Bum-joo is horrible when doing his own dirty work because he cuts himself, wipes Sun-woo’s blood and his own and the scarf and then doesn’t burn it like a good criminal should. It’s like he was doing the 1-2-3 of how to leave behind the perfect evidence proving he committed the murder. Unfortunately for Jae-han, all his hard work is foiled because, you guessed it, the prosecutor is in that rich guys pocket too.

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I’d like to toss out there that Ahn Chi-soo only knew about the original cover-up and didn’t know that Sun-woo didn’t commit suicide. He also really didn’t want to kill Jae-han. When Jae-han gets away by cutting his ropes with a broken piece of glass, Bum-joo has to threaten Ahn with his daughter’s life to get him to run after Jae-han. Though in the end, I don’t feel sorry for Ahn. He chose his path and he killed my favorite detective so I still can’t forgive him.

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In 2016, Hae-young is being rushed to the hospital and senses that timeline change breeze that happens when the past has been altered. He asks Soo-hyun if anything is different to her, and she recalls the two different final words from Jae-han. The original one where he said he’d see her that weekend and then the new one where he tell her he’ll come back for sure.

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WOOT! Now that she’s used the walkie she gets to know when time has been changed. I was hoping it would be like this. Not that I want her to remember the suffering of Jae-han being missing for 15 years, but if they do change the past it might be like she never knew Hae-young and we can’t have that.

Even though Jae-han has been stabbed like the first time and he’s stumbling around in the woods, we hear his inner determination that Injoo can’t be left as a cold case and he can’t leave Soo-hyun wondering where he went.

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Hae-Young’s DEAD!

Guys, this show is trying to KILL me. Okay, really they’re just killing Hae-young over and over. They get him to the hospital and they work on him. Soo-hyun can only watch and hope. And in voice over we hear Hae-young knowing exactly what Jae-han was thinking when he died, the Injoo case and failing to do what he was so determined to do. With his last thoughts before death, Hae-young pleads with Jae-han to use that same determination to live. These bestie cops who’ve never met as adults are just so amazing. I love their relationship. It’s uniqueness and it’s sincerity. But it doesn’t seem to be enough to keep our cutie profiler alive. His heart completely stops and he’s gone.

 

Hae-Young’s ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For reals this time.

We cut to a body of water and Soo-hyun sitting in her car, picture of Batman in her hands. She pulls it out and looks at the other pic inside of her and Jae-han. I am not liking the feeling here. Like she’s lost both of her boys and she’s reminiscing about them. We see through flip-flop past and present a man’s hand in his bed, then Ahn about to shoot Jae-han. The shot rings out but it’s not Jae-han that’s shot. It’s AHN!! There are good cops left in this universe. Looks like Jae-han didn’t just run into his death blindly, but prepared for backup. Unfortunately, they don’t find Bum-joo and he gets away.

Oh my gosh, I have to take a moment to swoon. Soo-hyun and Jae-han are one of the most understated couples in dramaland. Their romance is epic with her searching for him for 15 years and him doing everything he can to come back to her, yet they aren’t mushy are have to do any of those sugar sweet couple things most OTP’s do. So when she sees he’s hurt and cries her eyes out, his response is SO POWERFUL. He swoops her in that hug and makes my heart melt.

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But… she’s still sitting in her car alone in 2016. Screenshot 2016-03-14 20.14.45

We finally, FINALLY get to Hae-young. He wakes up in bed and is very confused when he’s, uh, alive. LOL. He’s also confused because there’s breakfast set out by his mom.Screenshot 2016-03-14 20.15.00Screenshot 2016-03-14 20.15.16

Can we stop for a second and say that it’s super cute that on his bed he has what looks like toys, which includes a red police box (too bad it’s not blue). Anyway, his confusion continues because the pictures on his wall show both his mom and dad at all the important events in his life. Which includes becoming a police officer.

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Justice can be served when you get rid of the corrupt cops.

We go back to 2000 and see that instead of the little girl’s kidnapping becoming a cold case they solved it, and arrested the true killer, the girlfriend. And Jae-han is able to go to Hae-young’s parents (is anyone else squealing that our heroes are finally face to face, even if it is little Hae-young) and let them know Sun-woo was not guilty in the Injoo case, and that he didn’t commit suicide, but was murdered. And he died trying to reunite his family. Which is why Hae-young grew up with both of his parents. (I’m not sure I would have taken his dad back after all that, but at least Hae-young got to be with his mom). Jae-han tells them how sorry he is that he couldn’t prevent Sun-woo’s death.

 

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When he leaves little Hae-young goes out and sincerely thanks him for making sure they knew the truth. I’m sure one of the hardest things for Hae-young is that his brother chose death over being with him, and this way he finally knew that Sun-woo was taken from him instead. Which is probably why he still became a cop.

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After some of the confusion clears, our 2016 Hae-young runs to find Jae-han, but when he finds his father he’s told Jae-han went missing 15 years ago. Say what?

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All of that and he still became a missing person (i.e. dead). Hae-young runs back to the Cold Case Squad to find Soo-hyun to see if she knows what really happened. But instead he discovers that the squad doesn’t exist. Which makes sense. The police solved the kidnapping and that’s the cold case that got our team together in the first place. And sadly when Hae-young goes to the unit he originally found Soo-hyun in, Detective Kim and Hun-gi don’t know who he is. Sad face. They don’t know where Soo-hyun is either, she’s not answering any of their calls. Hae-young goes looking for the radio, but again, the timeline has changed and he never found the radio.

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Back in 2000, Soo-hyun is all gussied up for a date with Jae-han. She’s so awkward and adorable I just want to eat her up!

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She waits for him, but when he shows up, he pulls her out of the cute and cozy restaurant and drags her to the place where Hae-young used to go when he was a kid. They talk over barbecue and they do this lovely overlap where Hae-young in 2016 goes to the same place looking for answers to what happened in the past.

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The determination that Jae-han has shown throughout the whole series has not stopped and over their conversation we find out why he probably still went missing. He’s not satisfied with just looking for the still missing Bum-joo. He wants to take down the person that was paying Bum-joo to do all the covering up.

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That’s exactly what happened because we see that Jae-han got a lead on Bum-joo and told Soo-hyun to bring back up and meet him at a certain location. Oh man, another warehouse. Only bad things happen (like dying) in those places.When he gets there he finds Bum-joo and he tries to get the evidence out of him to take down the Big Bad. He knows Bum-joo would keep it around for his own protection. Before he can get anything out of him, gangsters descend with bats and the normal things men in black suits tend to carry around with them. Bum-joo doesn’t get away, but Jae-han does and he takes the duffel bag Bum-joo had with him.

2016 Hae-young researches Jae-han’s death and finds out all of this happened, and that Jae-han was suspected to be Bum-joo’s killer, and was wanted by the police. Except he went missing and all they ever found of him was his empty (bashed up) car. Jae-han got away from the warehouse and then we see that he just sits in his car waiting for another transmission when those goons descended on him and finished him off (again!).

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You don’t always need a magic walkie to communicate through the time space continuum.

Hae-young is desperate to figure out how he can help Jae-han when he doesn’t have the radio anymore, and then he remembers seeing Jae-han’s notebook on Soo-hyun’s desk earlier. So he sneaks in and steals it. In the back is a hand that piece of paper listing all the cases they worked on together along with one last number: 32-6. It’s the house number of Hae-young’s childhood home. He goes to see his mother, and it’s so sad because this Hae-young feels like he hasn’t seen his mother since 1999. He finds out Jae-han gave her an envelope and told her to never give it to anyone. Inside Hae-young finds a letter from Jae-han.

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He tells Hae-young that he waited for more transmissions, but they never came. He says, “I should have died, but lived, so perhaps our fate has ended too.” He includes that disk he got when Bum-joo died. Oh wait! If he just ran away from the goons and then died that day he wouldn’t have time to mail that disk. Would he?

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Hae-young releases the information Jae-han sent him and the Big Bad looks like he’s not going down without a fight. He’s all over the news, but he tells his underling to find out who dared try to out all his dirty laundry.

Hae-young goes to track down where the envelope Jae-han sent was mailed from, and that’s where he finds Soo-hyun. She’d found herself in her car after Hae-young died but didn’t die. She didn’t have Hae-young’s contact information in her phone, and he wasn’t in the hospital. When she went to his place his mom said he was sick.

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She realized this Soo-hyun was still looking for Jae-han so that’s what she did. She tells Hae-young that among all the things that were different in this time line, she got a call after Jae-han went missing. He didn’t speak, but she just felt it was him. It was from a payphone near where the two sit in 2016.The same place the envelope was mailed from. And the call and the envelope being mailed both happened November 20, 2000. So they know he was alive then, but that’s the last time they have proof of that.

Soo Hyun says that another strange thing is a few days ago she received a text from an unknown person. It told her that on Feb. 5th she can’t go to Junghyun Medical Treatment Hospital. Hmm… sounds an awful lot like Soo-hyun’s warning to Jae-han to not go to that asylum back in 2000.

He’s ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Through more deduction our heroes figure out that it is possible for Jae-han to be alive if someone helped him. And sure enough, his dad did look pretty suspicious when Hae-young went to see him after he woke up in the new timeline. And if Jae-han is still alive and he sent that text then he must know something bad’s going to happen on Feb. 5th (which is the day they’re currently in). The only way for Jae-han to know that is if someone else is communicating with him from the future. HOLY MOLY, that just opened up a whole can of possibilities.

We wind down to the end of our series with Hae-young and Soo-hyun deciding that just like Jae-han knew he wasn’t supposed to go to that asylum, but went anyway and didn’t died, they would face whatever fate awaited them at Junghyun Hospital.

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And at Junghyun…. Our Big Bad has dispatched his goons and they’re storming the hospital looking for Jae-han. Who’s 100% alive. Waiting.

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With a very much working magic walkie talkie.

In voice over we hear Hae-young say that sometimes shear determination is all it takes to change the future. And that if you don’t give up, there is hope.

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MY THOUGHTS:

Let me start by saying that I know some people will be upset with a somewhat open ended finale. Believe me, when the credits rolled I was sad that the one thing I’d desperately hoped for, didn’t come to fruition. And that was our three heroes reuniting in 2016. But there is talk that they might try to do a season 2. But we’ll discuss the ending as if this is really the end of what we get to see.

How can I express my love for this series? The writer managed to bring it full circle from episode one and each step of the way kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. Lee Jae-han was the backbone of this group, and of this show. Cho Jin-woong’s phenomenal acting made me bleed for him and everyone he cared about. He was the force that could not be stopped. Literally, by pure will, he lived to make it to 2016. He lost SO MUCH, yet he was determined to bring about change, not to save himself, but to help his bestie on the other end of that transmission. Where Lee Jae-han was the backbone, Park Hae-young was the emotional will that he infused into Jae-han who wanted to give up, but couldn’t. The facial expressions that Lee Je-hoon is able to make are just crazy amazing. I could have done 300 screenshots each episode of just Je-hoon, and you would have know what the story was. And my favorite bad ass cop who is the most adorkably lovely cop ever. She was the bridge that bonded these two together and their strength. I will watch anything that Kim Hye-soo is in from now on. She was the cop that all other drama cops should aspire to be. Smart, emotionally committed and the will to never give up on her sunbae.

In the end, the bad guys didn’t always win. And even though we still lost Sun-woo, our three never gave up. And won’t give up. Whoever is on the other end of the 2016 transmission will hopefully keep helping our good guys take down corruption. And maybe a serial killer or two.

And just in case there is a season two, I’ll keep my ears open for another transmission.

Drama Geek, over and out.

Here’s some of the behind the scenes pictures they posted at the end. I loved seeing our cast smiling since we didn’t get many, if any, in the last 2 episodes.

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4 thoughts on “Signal Episode 16- The End…?

  1. Thank you for the recaps!
    I will miss this drama too! Hopefully, there will be a second season coz I’ll definitely watch it. I love the three main leads and I’m happy that they all have a movie (or two) this year. I waited for this drama since last year because of my great love for Kim Hye Soo’s acting ability and it did not disappoint and even became my all time favorite. Signal has everything I could ever hope for. 🙂

    Until the next transmission!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Woot! great recap…I’m going to miss this drama so much…
    but I never saw “Ghost” when it was running, so i just started watching it.
    And as you fangirls probably already know the bad guy of Signal is in that playing a snotty bureaucrat policeman and I so wanted to jump through the screen and punch him…lol… but I feel lucky to have another police Kdrama that is good. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: SIGNAL.TVN. | IKurate

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