Bargain – Season 1 Episode 6 “Zero Sum” Recap & Review

Zero Sum

The finale of Bargain begins with Hyeong and Joo stabbing Hee-sook mercilessly. Hyeong is also frustrated that she shot Kwak since he was the only one who knew where the money was hidden. The cop starts doubting and insulting Joo. They have an unusual conversation where Joo tells him that the world outside isn’t worth living in anyway.  She also questions Hyeong’s morals and how hard he is working to keep up his image of being a virtuous person. He is frustrated that he was tricked by Joo as her only intention was to kill Kwak.

Hyeong takes off the gold watch and the ring off Hee-sook’s body. Joo looks around the room and finds a biometric lock machine in one of the drawers. She cuts off Kwak’s hand and opens the safe, only to find that it is filled with doses of morphine. The money isn’t there. Joo explains that when she abandoned Hyeong in the basement, she went upstairs and got a look outside. Everything had been destroyed as the earthquake was of a very high intensity. Hyeong does not believe her. What is even more incredulous to him is how Geuk is still alive, and asking for help.

To ensure that the detective delivers on his promise, Geuk points them toward the roof where Kwak keeps looking throughout the interrogation. His hunch is proved right as they find a safe and the money in it. They use Kwak’s hand to open it, with Hyeong even sucking the blood off the fingers to get a clean fingerprint scan. The pair start gathering all the money they can as Geuk asks for their help. They do not take him with them, but Joo does leave some morphine behind for the pain. He is left to die on the floor all by himself. 

But they run into another problem as the building starts shaking. If they do not get out of there soon, it will collapse on them and all of this would be for nothing. Hyeong mentions how he saw a huge hole when he fell into the tank. That could lead them out of there. They jump right into the water and get to work. Hyeong finds a lever which they pull together. The hole at the bottom of the tank starts sucking out all the water and the pair jumps in.

They are led to open waters and the shore is nearby. Hyeong realizes he has lost one of the bags and is rueful about it. Joo assures him he has enough and points out that he is bleeding around his head. They watch the entire motel crumble on the hill and turn into dust. To their utter astonishment, Geuk also jumped and has washed ashore. He truly has the blessing of an angel and countless lives! Hyeong promises to help him only if he is relieved of the promise, he made to Geuk’s father. Joo still believes Hyeong is lying about being a hotshot cop when he gets the phone to work.

Joo wants to go to Seoul next to take revenge on the reverend who sold her. As the trio climbs atop a hill, they are astonished to find everything in a wreck. It is exactly how Joo had called it back in the motel. They make their way through the burning forest and end up near a stretch of barren land.

A woman shoots at them with a rifle and the bullet hits Geuk, not fatally, though. Hyeong tries to show his badge to her but the distance is too long. However, the lady backs down when she learns he is a cop. She asks for his help to get her friend’s body from underneath a concrete slab. After helping her, Hyeong thinks he will be rewarded. But instead, the lady pulls the rifle on him. She wants him to carry the injured friend on his back, even if it means she will have to go to prison. 

Joo and Geuk get out from behind the rock. Joo rationalizes the situation. There is no physical way for all of them together, let alone Hyeong alone, to carry the injured man across the hills. He is bleeding heavily and will go into shock soon. Instead, she offers her a vial of morphine – the last bottle she has – if the lady would trade the rifle for it. 

The Episode Review

I am still collecting my thoughts on what the finale of Bargain truly meant…or did it mean anything at all? Was there a point to all this madness? Was this conclusion always on the cards? Not a lot of people would have foreseen Bargain as being set in a post-apocalyptic setting. The purpose of exploring these complex individuals in such pressing moments of chaos would have been defeated.

Woo-sung definitely had a lot of “gotcha” moments during the finale. The cynicism in how the story progressed did not peak right until Joo-young and Hyeong-su found the money. Henceforth, it kept on getting better and darker, only to leave us with a quaint, understated ending. What does it really mean? What considerations would force or prevent the lady from handing over the rifle for hours of relief for her friend?

What prompted Joo-young to offer such a trade and what does it say about her understanding of the human psyche? What does she represent in the show’s larger statement about our species and our nefarious ways? We are left with more questions than answers but this is fine. Even when the finale drags, it does so without any suggestion of exhaustion of ideas. 

Bargain has legs for it to go on for multiple seasons. Will they be as hard-hitting and visceral in educating us with the truth about ourselves? Can they be? Well, that is something to ponder over now…

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You can read our full season 1 review for Bargain here!
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