Big Mouth – K-Drama Episode 16 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

A Bitter New Beginning

What happens at the TV debate between Chang-ho and Do?

The season finale opens up to the live TV debate with the top three mayoral candidates giving their introductions and opening statements. Chang-ho asks Choi Do-ha about his preferential treatment of the NR Forum. Just as he is about to present proof, the moderator cuts him off. Do-ha poses a question to Chang-ho and asks if he will step down, should his involvement in the cryptocurrency fraud prove true. Chang-ho says he will.

Chang-ho challenges Choi Do-ha about NK Chemical and the harmful effects of NF9, as well as Chae Hae-soo’s death. The mention of his grandfather affects Do-ha but time runs out so he doesn’t have to respond.

Do-ha’s side gets the perpetrator of the cryptocurrency fraud to pose a question as a citizen. He openly accuses Chang-ho of taking 5 billion Won from him to purposely lose the case. Do-ha asks Chang-ho to step down, as he had promised, but Chang-ho insists that the real truth will be revealed and the people will make a decision.

What does Mi-ho find at the fish farm?

Mi-ho, along with Jerry, Chairman Yang and his people, heads to investigate the fish farm. They barge in through the gates, fighting off the farm’s security guards. Mi-ho confronts the owner of the fish farm and gets him to admit that the farm receives wastewater from a chemical plant.

Jung Chae-bong and Lee Du-geun realise what’s happening at the fish farm.

Mi-ho takes a video of the owner of the fish farm admitting to everything. He says the refinement of NF9 generated wastewater with large amounts of radiation. The fish farm was a façade used to dispose of it.

Just as Chae-bong and Du-geun arrive with their people, Jerry and Mi-ho escape with the video. She calls Soon-tae, who tells her she can come to the TV debate as a citizen representative. Soon-tae uses his contacts in the Big Mouse organisation to get the two of them escorted to the studio.

Does Mi-ho expose the truth about NK Chemical?

It turns out that one of the senior staff members at the studio is part of Big Mouse’s organisation. He allows Mi-ho to enter as a citizen representative. She uses her turn to reveal that she is a victim of NK Chemical’s radiation leakage. As Chang-ho and her father look on in shock, she plays the video taken at the fish farm. Do-ha’s only response is that this will be investigated.

After the debate, Chang-ho meets Mi-ho at his old office and seems to have no words for the despair he feels. They embrace and share a moment, where Mi-ho tells him she wants them to be happy for the time that they have.

Later, people begin to protest against Do-ha and Joo-hee. Even as Prosecutor Choi investigates him, Do-ha is confident he will be re-elected.

Does Joo-hee realise the truth about Do-ha?

People begin to protest against Do-ha and Joo-hee. Even as Prosecutor Choi investigates him, Do-ha is confident he will be re-elected.

At the police station, Chang-ho runs into Joo-hee and tells her that Chairman Kang’s body is going to be exhumed on behalf of his son’s request. She doesn’t believe Do-ha had anything to do with his death. But on the way home, she mentions the same to Do-ha’s secretary. When she says she wants to relay the message to her husband, the secretary asks if she knew all along, inadvertently revealing that Do-ha did kill Chairman Kang.

Who wins the election?

The court postpones Do-ha’s trial till after the election. Two days later, Do-ha wins by a few thousand votes.

As Chang-ho and company have a drink after their loss, Mi-ho receives a package from Joo-hee. She has sent them Do-ha’s burner phone, to use as evidence in the upcoming trial. When Chang-ho calls her, she agrees to testify.

Afterwards, Chang-ho carries a drunk Mi-ho up to their bed, where she tells him she wants to be holding his hand during her last moments.

What happens at Choi Do-ha’s trial?

At the trial, Joo-hee doesn’t turn up. Chairman Kang’s secretary arrives and admits that the phone is his. He proves it by showing that he used the phone to call Do-ha. A flashback shows us that Do-ha saw Joo-hee take his phone through a hidden camera in his office. He then asked Chairman Kang’s secretary to deal with it.

At present, Joo-hee lies tied up in the mental hospital where Chang-ho was previously kept. At court, Do-ha is pronounced not guilty. Mi-ho confronts Do-ha and says he will pay for everything. After he leaves, she faints.

What happens to Mi-ho?

Chang-ho carries Mi-ho to a hospital. When she wakes up, they talk. Mi-ho says she feels tired and wants to sleep. They exchange ‘I love you’s, Mi-ho’s eyes close and she passes away.

How does Big Mouth end?

Choi Do-ha wraps up a swimming session at his regular place when Chang-ho shows up and says he bought the building. He says that he is Big Mouse and will keep fighting Do-ha. When Do-ha shows no remorse for the cancer victims of NK Chemical, Chang-ho says he made the right decision. As Do-ha coughs out blood, Chang-ho reveals the swimming pool had the same wastewater mixed into it. He wants Do-ha to feel the same pain the victims did.

In a black and white scene, Chang-ho walks out of the building, where two rows of men bow down to him. A voiceover from a reporter says that Chang-ho is now representing all the victims of the NF9 radiation. He has obtained Seo Jae-young’s paper and found Do-ha’s stash of gold in the safe. Hyun Joo-hee testifies that the paper correlates NF9 with cancer patients in Gucheon over the last 30 years. The three VIPs are once again thrown in prison for the murder of Seo Jae-young. Gong Ji-hoon becomes president of Woojeong Group. Various orphanages, nursing homes and such receive anonymous donations of money. The boxes have Big Mouse’s symbol on them.

Big Mouth ends with Chang-ho driving, with a bouquet of white flowers by his side. He looks at a photograph of him and Mi-ho and remembers her words about being a good Big Mouse. The light over the photograph flickers as he drives into a tunnel. The car exits the tunnel, heading towards a city with skyscrapers.

The Episode Review

Heartbreaking endings work when the heartbreak fits in well with the rest of the show. For a series that evoked excitement throughout its run, this ending is a surprisingly gloomy one.

Chang-ho was always meant to turn into Big Mouse. His final transformation should have been charged and electrifying. Instead, coming at the cost of Mi-ho’s life, it was sad and left a bitter aftertaste. Chang-ho himself never wanted this position.

Through the course of the show, Mi-ho and Chang-ho’s relationship kept viewers rooted to the story. Her death only serves the purpose of pushing Chang-ho’s character development, unfortunately falling into a trope that many female fictional characters are relegated to. In fact, we could have gotten the very same ending with Mi-ho alive, well and supporting Chang-ho in his endeavours to become a good Big Mouse. It would have been amazing to watch them be Big Mouse together. That, at least, would have prevented the show from ending on such a dismal note.

Aside from that, the end is suitable. Chang-ho’s transformation into Big Mouse is complete and Do-ha gets his punishment. Although, their war seems to go on. I guess the prediction of Chang-ho’s long and unlucky life came true in the end.

In general, the episode falls short as a season finale. The first half drags on a bit while the end is extremely rushed. Chang-ho processes his wife’s terminal illness quicker than one would expect. It’s also a shame that we don’t get to see him and his father-in-law at the end, considering their endearing dynamic through the show.

Questions are left hanging, like how Chang-ho and the others found Do-ha’s stash of the gold and Seo Jae-young’s paper? Why is Gong Ji-hoon given a free pass while he was very much a part of the NR Forum? What was the point of mentioning Chairman Kang’s son if he was never going to be on screen?

At the end, one can’t help but feel like Chang-ho lost all the good he had and settled for a life that he never even wanted. Overall, a badly paced finale that ends a truly thrilling story on a bleak note.

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You can read our full season review for Big Mouth Season 1 here!

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