The finale to Abyss really typifies the problems with this Korean drama. For much of its 16 episode run-time, it has felt like two completely different shows woven into one. On the one hand, the crime drama aspects involving Seo Ji-Uk and the constant evolving ideas around the abyss have been lacklustre at best and outright terrible at others. However, the natural chemistry and surprisingly well written romance between Cha Min and Se-Yeon have really acted as the glue to hold this drama together over the weeks.
Cha Min and Se-Yeon begin the episode by celebrating their engagement by spending the night at the amusement park. Beautifully lit by fairy lights, they go on the rides together and share ice cream. All seems well in the world until Seo Ji-Uk appears and holds Se-Yeon up at gunpoint. Cha Min shows him the abyss and while momentarily distracted, tries to wrestle the gun off him. However, the gun fires and shoots Se-Yeon right in the chest.
Seo antagonizes him, sneering at the prospect of Cha firing the gun at him but Dong arrives, just in time for Cha to shoot Seo in the leg, subsequently prompting his arrest soon after. Cha then races to take Se-Yeon to his private retreat and she survives. However, Cha is not so lucky. The abyss flickers before going out, promptly causing Cha Min to follow suit. An emotional farewell follows, as Cha Min fades away and leaves Se-Yeon alone. However, he leaves one final message for her and promises to find a way back no matter what.
Still grieving and full of anger, Se-Yeon heads to the court trial for Seo where she sees him receive jail time – a small price for the devastation he’s caused her.
Se-Yeon then plucks up the courage to tell her parents the truth and shows them the DNA test proving she’s a 99% match for their daughter. Eventually, they come round to the idea and embrace her back into the family, although they all anticipate news on Cha Min which inevitably won’t arrive. Se-Yeon wonders why the orb in her handbag is still there, especially given it’s not glowing or active. As she looks through photos on Min’s phone, she comes across the one with his father last episode and starts crying again.
However, she tries to put the past behind her and move on, soon thereafter learning that Mi-Do is getting married. As she prepares for the big day, Se-Yeon falls asleep and the pages of her diary magically change. She heads to the fairground after a day at court and drops an ice cream on the floor. As she laments her own clumsiness, Cha Min appears. He’s okay after all and as they hug for what seems like eternity, they head home together.
From here, we see what happened to Min. He was taken to an astral plane where the mysterious figures from the first episode come and tell him he shouldn’t have used the abyss unless necessary. He’s now a ghost and unfortunately Se-Yeon can’t see him. However, his dedication to her and their undying love for each other ultimately means Cha is able to return to human form again. The rest of the episode then sees Se-Yeon and Cha Min essentially living happily ever after as she learns she’s pregnant.
Over the weeks my feelings toward Abyss have really swung like a pendulum, part in thanks due to the conflicting stories and ideas on display here. Abyss is a show I want to like. The romantic comedy is well written, the natural chemistry between the two leads and the general quirkiness as they try and adjust to life given their new faces is ultimately what’s helped sell this one.
Speaking of selling, it’s worth addressing the product placement here. Now, I do appreciate a lot of shows have this, with varying degrees of subtlety, but Abyss somehow manages to have some of the most jarring I’ve seen in a long while. The bright green and yellow for Subway, which dominates much of the placement here, contrasts so much against the pale backgrounds that it’s difficult not to notice it. It’s in your face, and at times outright distracting from what’s going on around it. It’s almost as bad as the Carlsberg truck in the original Spider-Man film way back in 2001.
Abyss has not been a show to remember. Despite starting brightly and managing to inject some excitement sporadically into the series, Abyss is ultimately a show that never quite moved in time with the beat. This off-kilter drama fails to end with precision, despite some good closure between Cha and Se-Yeon, ultimately rendering its crime thriller aspects as little more than filler to justify the 60+ minute run time for most episodes. There are some good moments here but storytelling is not one of them. Abyss is a forgettable drama and while not quite subjecting itself to being labelled terrible, it ultimately fails to stand up next to some of the better Korean dramas out there.