Episode 16 of Awaken ends up having most of the elements I look for in a finale: the characters teaming up, high stakes, and bringing down the villain. It even manages to deliver one last misdirect, and an open ending that leaves me feeling hopeful.
After Jung-woo points out Oh Jung-hwan is in fact the president of White Night, him and Kim Min-jae take Jung-hwan to Soon-goo’s hideout. There Jung-woo finds out if he doesn’t take his pills every six hours, his aging will accelerate and he’ll die. It’s the perfect leverage to use to get the location of the secret lab, but things don’t end up being that easy for Jung-woo when Jamie gets kidnapped and used as a bargaining chip.
What we learned this episode
- Oh Jung-hwan is actually Ji Hyung-geun. This is one of the names on the piece of paper Jung-woo was looking at in the last episode. The name was also mentioned when he interrogated Son Min-ho at the beginning. I totally forgot about it!
- The formula Dr. Gong got from the VR glasses is real, but Jung-woo’s serum is needed for it to work. He purposely created the formula that way.
- There is more than one secret lab, so the best thing to do is destroy the shared network of information on all the computers.
- Even Jung-woo’s formula isn’t perfect, because Jo Hyun-hee still shows signs of aging on her arm.
- Jung-woo has DID just like Jamie and Jae-woong.
- He also has telekinetic powers (I knew he was like Jean Grey from the X-men).
- His alter ego is at least partially responsible for the blood bath at White Night 28 years ago.
Yes to everyone teaming up, and the villains getting what they deserve
I finally got the big team up I’ve been waiting for! And their plan was solid. Jung-woo, Hye-won, and Min-jae going to the secret lab to deliver Oh Jung-hwan, while Jae-woong and Seok-pil stay behind to work their hacker manage is definitely the best way to go about things. By targeting the decades of information and research White Night has collected over the years, they’ll never be able to build another lab and experiment on children.
I also love how all the villains get what they deserve. Son Min-ho and Oh Jung-hwan die, Dr. Gong goes to prison, and Jo Hyun-hee has to live out her life without agency and without working on her precious experiment. And since Jung-woo sends Ji-wook all the top secret info about White Night, everyone else in the foundation goes to prison too.
Yes to getting to see Jung-woo’s evil alter ego
We’ve seen glimpses of him, but seeing him fully in control of Jung-woo’s body is something to behold. No wonder Jung-woo tried so hard to keep him locked away. He’s murderous, ruthless, and even possesses telekinetic powers. He’s Dr. Jo’s monster and what Jamie was scared of. It was cool seeing him fling the bad guys around and control things with his mind, but he was also scary.
I basically took his appearance and the flashbacks to the night of the tragedy as confirmation that he made all the adults on the compound kill themselves and each other, while good Jung-woo just wanted one of them to help him and the other kids escape.
Yes (mostly) to the ending
So Jung-woo ends up sacrificing himself like we knew he would. He gets everyone out of the lab, and locks himself in it with a crazed Jo Hyun-hee. The bomb that Jae-woong and Seok-pil employed blows up, and everyone watches in shock and horror as the building goes up in flames. Jung-woo is presumed dead, but his body (along with Jo Hyun-hee’s) is never found. That’s when I realize he has to still be alive. Of course he is! If he survived walking through the fire (and subsequent explosions) at Son Min-ho’s house, then he probably survived this too.
The drama never explicitly tells us he’s alive, but the little clues it gives us, like Hye-won spotting one of Jung-woo’s lollipop sticks in Soon-goo’s ambulance, Ji-wook following leads to the island, and seeing the back and side of a man who looks like Jung-woo eating a lollipop (blue, this time) give us hope that he’s alive. I didn’t expect the drama to take that route, but I’m glad it did.
I’m also glad that Hye-won makes captain, and she and Jamie get a proper goodbye before Jamie goes back to the states. The only thing I’m kind of iffy on is the light the drama sheds on DID. It’s a very complicated and horrible disease, so the fact that the drama shows people who suffer from it going to jail (like Jae-woong) or self-isolating (like Jung-woo) almost seems to imply that they need to be punished for the disease. I don’t know how I feel about that. I’d rather have seen Jae-woong be rehabilitated in a hospital, and eventually going on to live a normal life instead of being punished for something he had zero control over. I don’t think it totally destroys the ending, so I’ll only mention it instead of give it a whole “No”.
With that said, it was the bittersweet ending I expected, but a little more sweet than bitter. I’m so glad I watched Awaken. It’s one of the best action/suspense dramas I’ve seen in a while. I’m going to put it right under Flower of Evil.
Awaken had a very unique plot, interesting characters, and stellar acting from Namgoong Min, Lee Chung-ah, and the rest of the cast. Seol hyun also did a good job toward the end. Her acting when Jung-woo locked himself in the lab with Jo Hyun-hee was really good. So, if you like action dramas that are light on the romance, but heavy on the sci-fi, give Awaken a shot.
More Awaken reviews
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 15
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 14
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 13
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 12
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 11
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 10
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 9 (With Full Series Breakdown)
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 8
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 7
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 6
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 5
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 4
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 3
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 2
- REVIEW: Awaken Episode 1