Happiness – K-Drama Episode 12: Recap, Review & Ending Explained

The Final Day

Present Day

Episode 12 of Happiness begins with Sae-Bom watching videos of Yi-Hyun on her phone. She’s hooked up to machines and has her blood taken. Seo-Yoon is there too, excitedly visiting her Mum who happens to be in one of the rooms, being kept under supervision. She’s obviously infected but plays it off as a mild cold as not to scare Seo-Yoon.

Given Seo-Yoon is being prepped for surgery, she asks Sae-Bom to look after her girl just for a little while longer. Unable to suppress her temptations any longer, Eun-Ji turns in front of her eyes.

Meanwhile, Tae-Seok begins interviewing the others from the apartment block that managed to get out. Namely that of So-Yoon, wanting to know how many people have been infected. The trouble is, there is a limited amount of time and resources to synthesize and multiply the cure.

With Sae-Bom’s antibodies in short supply, they only have a finite amount to use. Of course, Tae-Seok uses one of them on his wife. After injecting her, soldiers show and put him under arrest for breaking protocols.

Knowing that people would come for him, Tae-Seok helps Sae-Bom escape before being captured. She wears a gas mask and military gear to blend in. She heads for Kang Eun-Ji’s room first, giving her the cure. Lieutenant Lee shows up and helps Sae-Bom escape too. She’s forced to make it look like she’s incapacitated Kim; a stiff blow to the face from the butt of the gun should do it!

Unfortunately Kim’s plan doesn’t work as Tae-Seok rats out Sae-Bom, pointing out to his superiors that she has antibodies and is heading back to the apartment complex. Well, Sae-Bom shows up looking for Yi-Hyun… but there’s bad news.

1 Day Ago

Yi-Hyun is on the roof. After killing Andrew and leaving him in a pool of his own blood, he walks away. The Building Rep tries to take his gun but Andrew stirs and holds her down.

Downstairs, a bloody Joo-Hyeong comes crashing through the corridors, blood-spattered and desperate to get at Sang-Hee and Hae-Sung. They hastily shut the unit door though to stop that happening. When Joo-Hyeong returns to his own unit, the news begin to highlight that a cure is coming and a vaccine is being tested, at least according to an “inside source.”

Yi-Hyun recovers from his injuries and finds Joo-Hyeong, spouting out nonsense about his injuries. To be honest, the more pressing concern is Se-Kyu, who’s still alive… but barely. He still has a knife sticking out of him but despite giving the man painkillers and his bedroom, it doesn’t seem like there’s much hope. At best, Joo-Hyeong predicts he has a few days before dying.

With everything starting to spiral out of control, Yeon-Ok returns down and confronts the others. She too is covered in blood but there’s a bigger problem. Andrew is not actually dead and appears to be lurking about in the apartment building somewhere.

Yi-Hyun remains vigilant but heads down to the parking lot. There, he finds Dong-Hyun sobbing in his car. He’s bloodied and clearly hurt but – more importantly – still alive. He also hasn’t turned so Yi-Hyun takes him back inside with them. He returns home to his father, sobbing, and apologizes for his earlier behaviour. It’s a really heartwarming moment, especially as he’s embraced and brought back inside.

Out in the hallway, things take a turn for the crazy. Se-Kyu attacks Joo-Hyeong, which brings him out into the hallway to escape. Only, he’s eventually forced down to the gym after a fairly obvious mutiny breaks out.

In his absence, Se-Kyu begins taking Joo-Hyeong’s things for himself. More importantly though, Yi-Hyun is alive – and at home waiting for Sae-Bom.

Present Day… Again

Now we catch up to our present timeline. Sang-Hee shows up to see Joo-Hyeong but Yeon-Ok gets there first, sliding over a weight from the gym. A power play is enacted, with Joo-Hyeong and Yeon-Ok working together to oust Yi-Hyun and kill him. With Sang-Hee used as a hostage, Joo-Hyeong slashes her and throws the woman at Yi-Hyun, knowing that the blood will make him turn.

Despite rushing back into his unit, Yi-Hyun starts to do just that, becoming infected. Sae-Bom’s words convince him to see the light, promising to stay with him no matter what. And just like that, she kisses him passionately.

With the virus still spreading, the damage has well and truly been done. Stock markets worldwide, as well as in Korea, are crashing. Prices of crude oil, gold and raw materials have all fallen. As Dong-Hyun and his family watch the news report this, masked soldiers show up and escort them out the building. This was, of course, all as a result of Tae-Seok encouraging the soldiers to show up at the complex.

Interestingly, Sae-Bom isn’t the only one with antibodies in her blood. It turns out Soo-Min does too, which Tae-Seok learns when he arrives at the block and checks out his sxcar. Joo-Hyeong and Yeon-Ok ironically find themselves with nothing. They always wanted to ascend to the top of the apartment block and now they have… alone. And without anyone to care.

They’re on the roof, in a tiny tent together, blood stained and refusing to come downstairs. The fact they both have no belongings or dignity left is a surprisingly satisfying sight, even more so than Sae-Bom earlier kicking Joo-Hyeong in the balls!

Where is Andrew?

One thing still unaccounted for here though is Andrew. Yi-Hyun remains vigilant though and continues to do a sweep of the building. There, he finds Andrew downstairs. A big stand-off ensues, especially when he’s taken hostage and threatened with a gun.

Sae-Bom shows up and eventually decides to cut her hand open, intending to lure the infected man out. It works too, as Andrew begins convulsing, letting go of Yi-Hyun and staggering toward her. He’s eventually shot dead and stopped. Yi-Hyun though, fades out of consciousness as the threat looks to be finally over.

How does Happiness end?

We then cut forward in time a whole year. The vaccine has been a success and spread across Korea. It would seem that the stocks are on the rise too, given the number of people out and about, with the economy bouncing back from this horror.

Sae-Bom and Yi-Hyun are together too, while those despicable men and women from the apartment meet their comeuppance, especially if the brief scene at the court is anything to go by.

Based on this ending we’re left to assume that everything has been a success and the viral threat is over. While it’s not explicitly stated, we’re led to assume that the stocks have improved worldwide. It’s a bit rushed but the ending does at least give a good send-off for our main characters!

The Episode Review

I really wish Happiness was 16 episodes long. While the story manages to wrap everything up pretty well, there are also elements here that haven’t been as strong as they could have. The Andrew murderer subplot, for example, felt like it was included to drum up more melodrama but really wasn’t needed.

Likewise, the vaccine and curing everyone felt really rushed, especially given another set of episodes could have helped to show the struggle that was to administer, along with the slow road to recovery too.

Despite that, Happiness has always been about the characters and in the end the show does right by all its main and supporting players. There’s a consistency to this series in the way it portrays its humans, showing off the best and worst part of humanity. As Yi-Hyun himself utters halfway through the episode “You’re worse than the infected!”

That is ultimately the message here, showing that sins like greed, gluttony and betrayal lead down a slippery path to destruction and misery. It’s a happy end for our characters of course, living up to the main crux of this series, which is finding Happiness. And that’s exactly what Sae-Bom and Yi-Hyun have found in the end. Sure, it’s a little rushed but the heartwarming nature of their pairing is enough to make the journey worth taking.

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You can read our full season review for Happiness here!

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5 thoughts on “Happiness – K-Drama Episode 12: Recap, Review & Ending Explained”

  1. Yes, the ending was confusing. I am happy that things ended well but a lot was left unexplained. Wasn’t clear how the elder woman became the one with antibodies, that story needed to be better told at the end, at least show what happen to her and if she was the one who the cure eventually came from. I would have loved more of the confessed love and romance at the end and what happened between them. This could have been done in 3 more episodes. Last episode was too rushed. I really enjoyed this series and wished for more at the end. I would recommend it to others.

  2. Extremely confusing ending. Was misled into thinking that Hyun Yi died and then he literally came back to life the next minute. I wasted my tears.

  3. Con un capítulo más quedaba todo mejor, faltó que mostraran una que otra cosa, como la esposa de Tae-Seok que estaba infectada y embarazada, habrá vivido? O muchos personajes más que de cierta forma necesitaban un cierre

  4. Very over rated drama.. still dnt get the hype.. it didn need any romance.. male lead could do the drama on his own..

  5. I thought 12 episodes was perfect. 16 episodes and things would begin to drag. They needed to keep up the fast paced tension, horror angst.
    My favorite couple this year, their story was pure perfection.

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