A Model Family – Season 1 Episode 10 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

No Escape

How did Kwang-Chul know where Kang-Jun was?

Episode 10 of A Model Family begins this finale with a beautiful sunrise. The water is scorched orange, as Dong-Ha approaches Kwang-Chul and reveals what’s going on. He tells him there’s a cop buried in his back garden and that the police have been watching him ever since. He knows it’s only a matter of time before they find it.

Dong-Ha has resigned himself to death, knowing that he’s going to die no matter what happens. But as one last act of survival, he tells Kwang-Chul exactly where Kang-Jun is going to be which is why he was stabbed and choked out last episode. Dong-Ha double-crossed him.

Inside the warehouse, with his dying, sobbing breath, Kang-Jun calls Dong-Ha a monster for setting him up. Dong-Ha is shocked that Kang-Jun was killed like that but he’s told to wait for Kwang-Chul’s instructions back home. Only, his home is the site of a massive crime scene.

Who moved the bodies?

At the end of the previous episode we saw Eun-Joo digging in the back garden and now we know why. Police and forensics are everywhere and dig round the garden to try and find Kang-Cheol’s body. Funnily enough, they haven’t been able to find him. It would seem that the body has been moved, and the Messenger is in attendance, watching all of this transpire and sneering in disbelief.

As for the garden, it turns out Deuk-Soo is the one who moved the bodies, not Eun-Joo. He approaches Dong-Ha when the police’s fruitless search is called off and admits he buried them in the next-door neighbour’s yard. Deuk-Soo tells Dong-Ha to keep his head down and promises that things will get better soon.

Back inside the house, Dong-Ha checks out the footage from Han-Cheol’s phone of the undercover agent’s last words. In his dying breath, he calls out for Eun-Joo, telling her she’s the only one he can trust.

Does Joo-Hyun get some closure?

Joo-Hyun receives images from Han-Cheol’s phone with images attached. This is Dong-Ha of course, but it confirms the location he’s buried and is an anonymous way of doing this so Dong-Ha isn’t found out.

Joo-Hyun is crazed and hurriedly looks for the site, digging with her bare hands.  At the same time as her finding Han-Cheol’s body buried in the dirt, the police lieutenant, Jun-Kook returns to her car and realizes the SD card is missing. Her façade has been shattered and her identity revealed.

Jun-Kook drives up to the undercover site, determined to find the evidence they have on her and get it back. Yun-Seok tries to keep calm but he’s clearly nervous knowing that she’s the mole. Jun-Kook has already figured that out and shoots him dead without a moment’s hesitation. She takes the SD card and leaves.

When Eun-Joo returns, she finds her partner dead on the floor. The thing is, he actually recorded the last interaction between him and Jun-Kook, and as a result, incriminates herself. It’s tough for Joo-Hyun to listen to, regardless of its implications.

Is the Messenger killed?

Kwang-Chul makes his move on the Messenger, catching him off-guard and attacking him in the warehouse where Kang-Jun met an untimely fate. The fight is messy, bloody and absolutely brutal.

Kwang-Chul gets the upper-hand and points out that he knows the guy is just a Messenger and has no actual stake in any of this. As the Messenger sneers and tells him he’s crossed the line, Dong-Ha plants a bullet between his eyes. With the Messenger dead, Kwang-Chul snaps a picture of him and sends a message to the real ringleader, urging them to step forward if they want to talk.

As for Joo-Hyun, she’s got enough evidence to take out Jun-Kook but instead, she walks purposefully through the station with a gun and shoots her superior square between the eyes. She’s livid over two of her partners dying and as a result, has taken matters into her own hands, regardless of consequence.

Does Hyun-Woo get his surgery?

Following this incident, the news is abuzz with what’s happened. The bodies are uncovered from the back garden, the police fiasco unveiled and both Dong-Ha and Kwang-Chul miraculously survive this carnage.

Dong-Ha heads to the hospital, where he learns that there’s no match for Hyun-Woo’s surgery right now. They’re going to have to wait. Given how broken the family have been all season, seeing everyone rally around the young boy makes him optimistic. He tells the others that not having a transplant and waiting may be a good thing as it means the family are now together, rather than broken.

In the hallway, Eun-Joo and Dong-Ha discuss their situation calmly. The former admits that she’s felt like an invisible nobody since they’ve been together and she wanted to feel alive. Speaking of which, Deuk-Soo also patches things up with Dong-Ha (or tries to anyway), apologizing for straying too far away from him. Dong-Ha though, walks away and heads back home, watching home videos of when the family were happy and together, longing to go back to those simpler days.

How does A Model Family Season 1 end?

Dong-Ha makes a big decision and heads out in the morning, deciding to report something to the police in person. Just as he crosses the road, he receives a phone call from someone, telling him to keep this burner phone safe as the lives of his family depend on it. “I’ll be seeing you soon,” He says ominously.

The Episode Review

So we get a cliffhanger ending to round out A Model Family but in some ways, it doesn’t necessarily mean we need a second season. A lot of this show has been about the nature of family and how one can’t escape the jaws of crime once you tumble down that road. The fact that Dong-Ha isn’t out of the woods just yet is indicative of all his choices, stemming from trying to take a shortcut and bribe that professor, setting him on this slippery road of no return.

Despite using good intentions, it’s clear that these have been the wrong moves and Dong-Ha’s actions have essentially compounded into an even more precarious situation as the show has progressed.

The second half of this season has very much focused on the Sangseon Ring and the drama involving the police and drug dealers, rather than Dong-Ha himself. While it’s nice that the series has fleshed out all these supporting characters, it’s also done so by sidelining Dong-Ha and his family. Personally, it would have been nice to see Eun-Joo with a bit more agency beyond that one instance of her working with Dong-Ha, perhaps even being the one to kill Kang-Jun or one of the other higher-ups, which would have been a nice touch.

A Model Family has been an enjoyable watch and the ending certainly leaves the door open for more should Netflix decide to renew this one.

Previous Episode

You can read our full season review for A Model Family Season 1 here!


  • Episode Rating

Leave a comment