We begin the season 1 finale of Extracurricular with Mr Lee saying goodbye while Min-Hee is asleep and telling his friend they should have dinner later in the day.
This brings us back to the present where Detective Lee shows Ki-Tae and his gang the pictures of Mr Lee and try to work out if he’s the leader of the operation. She reminds them that this is really important while Munji is interviewed by the detectives surrounding her ties to Dae-Yeol but she remains stoic and quiet. Instead, Detective Lee turns her attention to Min-Hee and she weeps upon hearing the tragic news about Mr Lee and Uncle, realizing this whole operation is over now.
Ji-Soo and Gyuri discuss their next plan of action but the latter decides to use Dae-Yeol and pin the blame of him, calling him Uncle. Ji-Soo tells her to go home but finally she opens up and admits she doesn’t want to do that, especially given how her parents have been acting. At school, the truth about Min-Hee gets out and it causes the other girls to shun her. Ji-Soo chases after her though and learns that Mr Lee has passed away.
Using the audio footage of Taerim, Gyuri blackmails her parents and asks them to transfer funds to avoid this scandal about Mr Choi’s client getting out. They do transfer the funds too and it allows her to buy a one way ticket to Sydney. She meets Ji-Soo by the docks and asks whether he’d like to go with her given there’s nothing left in Korea for him now.
Detective Lee meanwhile decides to continue with the case, believing that Mr Lee isn’t the one at the top and the riot at the karaoke bar is a little too conveniently placed to occur at the same time as the skirmish on the roof.
Ji-Soo looks over the stacks of cash in Mr Cho’s office and marvels at the notes but Mr Cho arrives soon after, prompting him to leave. Good thing too, as Detective Lee arrives at the school and notices the tracker for Aerung (the decoy dog chip we saw a few episodes ago in the briefcase) starts blinking. She figures out where the money is being kept and believes Mr Cho is the one behind what’s happening. Ji-Soo bursts out the room and into the office, where he finds the money gone.
Ki-Tae confronts Min-Hee over her involvement at the Banana Club and shows her the hat. Only, she realizes that Ji-Soo is involved in this and stays quiet. Ki-Tae instead heads up to the club and speaks to Mijung.
Min-Hee meets Ji-Soo outside and questions his involvement in the Banana Club and why his hat was there. Dropping to his knees, Ji-Soo apologises for everything and she finally realizes that he’s Uncle. Clenching her fists and overcome with rage, she leaves and tells him she can’t talk to him right now. Out of earshot, Min-Hee reveals that she’s kept an audio log of his confession.
Ji-Soo realizes she’s recorded it and fights with her on the stairs, leading to him throwing her down the steps. Snatching up her phone, he hurries away while she bleeds out.
At the station, Mr Cho and the Detective discuss the money stashed away in the Counselling Office. He tells her he’s sure it’s not the kids but Detective Lee is not so sure, casting doubts on the social research club.
Ki-Tae heads to Ji-Soo’s house and calls him out about the whole Uncle situation and selling Min-Hee. As he rings her number, Min-Hee’s phone blinks at his house. Ki-Tae realizes what’s happened and the two fight, leading to Ki-Tae snatching up a pair of scissors and stabbing him repeatedly.
Gyuri arrives before it’s too late and smashes a pot over Ki-Tae’s head. She grabs a blood-stained Ji-Soo and stumbles out the apartment with him in her arms. Mr Cho meanwhile sees Min-Hee bleeding out and scrambles into the ambulance to follow her to hospital.
As the episode closes out, Detective Lee follows the trail of blood out of Ji-Soo’s apartment and down the stairs where Gyuri and Ji-Soo happen to be sitting together. Only…they’re not actually there and seem to have slipped away before the detective can arrive. The final scenes of the episode show the beautiful city of Seoul during the morning light and a hermit crab in its shell. Someone drops some water into its bowl and the screen fades out.
Are Ji-Soo and Gyuri still alive? Has Min-Hee survived her ordeal? And just what happened to Ki-Tae? There’s a lot of questions hanging over this one and plenty of scope for a second season to progress from here. Despite the cliffhanger ending, the reveal around Min-Hee learning about Ji-Soo is a really dramatic moment and topped off with him knocking her down the stairs.
Fantastic performances from both Kim Dong-Hee and Park Joo-Hyun have driven most of this series forward but Jung Da-Bin certainly deserves some props here for her performance as Min-Hee. Her realistic and heartfelt depiction of this troubled young girl in over her head is perfectly illustrated and unfortunately her character certainly meets an unfortunate end.
Given the hermit crab symbolizes communication and relationships, its inclusion throughout the season has been a clever one with plenty of scenes of it inside a cage or being in harms way when it’s outside. The final scene with it given water and shelter feels like it’s potentially hinting that Ji-Soo and Gyuri have managed to find a second chance and salvation wherever they are, but this is purely guesswork.
For now though, the series bows out with a strong but ultimately agonizing finale as we’re left to wonder just what’s happened to our characters. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out if this one has been renewed!