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

A Divisive Ending

Episode 16 of Heartbeat starts with Do-sik about to attack Woo-hyeol from behind with a knife when In-hae shows up. Do-sik admits he was telling Woo-hyeol to leave her alone. She assures him he’s misunderstood and tells him they’ll talk about it later.

When they’re on their own, In-hae tells Woo-hyeol not to think too much about Do-sik’s words. Meanwhile, the three vampires are stuck inside the mansion, unable to go outside due to the riled-up townspeople.

What happens to Man-hwi?

Hae-won gets a call from Man-hwi who breaks the news of Woo-hyeol’s impending death. Secretary Ko tells Do-sik about Hae-won and her rumour spreading in the neighbourhood. Ki-suk is insistent on protesting the vampire’s presence. Woo-hyeol shows up and tries to convince her and Gwang-ok that he’s not a monster. He then tells them he’ll be leaving the mansion anyway, so they shouldn’t bother other people about it.

Hae-won storms into the mansion looking for Woo-hyeol but only finds In-hae. She blames In-hae for his condition. In-hae in turn accuses Hae-won of making his life hard by telling everyone the truth. She leaves the mansion and comes across Woo-hyeol. She tells him to do whatever it takes to live. When Woo-hyeol goes inside, In-hae worries about what Hae-won told him but he assures her that he isn’t bothered by what other people say.

Do-sik confronts Hae-won about everything she’s done. Man-hwi arrives and reveals Do-sik’s intentions of killing Woo-hyeol, to Hae-won’s shock. Man-hwi’s eyes turn blue and then red, as he grows angry at the other two. He attacks Hae-won but Do-sik intervenes and stabs him with the silver knife. Man-hwi dies and his body goes up in ashes. Do-sik tells Hae-won that this is what all vampires are like even Woo-hyeol.

Does Hae-won finally give up?

The next day, Gwang-ok runs into Ki-suk’s shop and tells her the news that the redevelopment is cancelled. They can’t get through to Hae-won either. Just then, Dong-il comes in and apologises for all the trouble. He then describes Woo-hyeol and all the kind deeds he’s done.

Meanwhile, Woo-hyeol gives Dong-seop and Sang-hae all of his things. He gets a call from Hae-won and meets her. She informs him that she’s leaving for the US and has come to say goodbye. She confesses she’s jealous of what Woo-hyeol and In-hae have. He assures her she’ll find the same one day. She then warns him about Do-sik’s intentions before bidding him a final goodbye.

Woo-hyeol then meets Do-sik at his office and asks him if he really needs the blood of a half-vampire. Later, as Woo-hyeol looks at the moon, Ko Yang-nam comes to visit. He apologises for everything again and says he’s come to say goodbye. Woo-hyeol says he owes everything to Yang-nam and thanks him. Yang-nam admits that in all his 1000 years, Woo-hyeol is the most humane vampire he’s known.

In-hae goes to see Woo-hyeol and tells him the guest house is running well. He tells her they should go on a trip. He says goodbye to his friends, who are tearful since they know he won’t be coming back. They exchange words of gratitude and love as well as one last hug.

Does Woo-hyeol live or die?

In-hae and Woo-hyeol drive away. While walking on a beach, In-hae talks about all the things she would like to do with him. They chase each other in the water, draw in the sand and take photos of themselves. While watching a beautiful sunset, In-hae expresses regret at opening the coffin one day too soon. But Woo-hyeol is more grateful to have met and been in love with her. She thanks him for teaching her how to love.

They exchange ‘I love you’s and then kiss. All of a sudden, Woo-hyeol grows weak and In-hae insists that he rest. While he’s deep asleep, she puts a few drops of her blood onto his lips. He wakes up with a start, having dreamt about his time with Hae-sun and In-hae. He sees In-hae sleeping by him and realises that she is Hae-sun’s reincarnation after all.

While In-hae sleeps, Woo-hyeol bids her goodbye and leaves the house. He cries and apologises for not being able to stick to his promise. While he stands by the water, Do-sik appears. Turns out, Woo-hyeol told Do-sik that he would die on the day of the blood moon. He’s happy for Do-sik to use his blood to break the curse on his bloodline. He just wants In-hae to be happy and surrounded by people who love her.

In-hae is unaware about all of this. At present, he tells Do-sik once again to take care of In-hae. Do-sik finally admits that Woo-hyeol is a good man. He is about to stab Woo-hyeol when In-hae shouts out, having come out of the lodge they were staying at.

Before she can do anything, Woo-hyeol grabs the knife and stabs himself. He tells In-hae he wishes he could be with her for a long time. He tells her they’ll meet again and this time, he’ll be the one to find her. His head falls back and his scar disappears as he passes away.  

How does Heartbeat end?

Back at the mansion, the whole group conducts a eulogy for Woo-hyeol as his body is kept in a coffin. Everybody says a few words for Woo-hyeol and we get a flashback of the moments between him and In-hae.

Sometime later, Yang-nam visits In-hae and tells her he has something to give her from Woo-hyeol. He gives her a chest filled with gold. Turns out, Yang-nam had kept the gold safe, away from the neighbours. He, in fact, told Woo-hyeol in the beginning itself but Woo-hyeol didn’t want to know where it is. He needed the excuse of paying In-hae back so he could keep staying with her.

Meanwhile, Dong-seop starts a retro-style tteokkbeokki shop which is a raging success, thanks to the gold Woo-hyeol left for his friends. Dong-seop warns Sang-hae to not spend all of his. Do-sik is doing well and even uses his money to help children suffering from heart disease. He even describes Woo-hyeol as his inspiration to help others.

In-hae’s guest house is flourishing and she seems to be doing well. She even hosts a party at the guest house for the whole neighbourhood. So-hi comes by as well. Dong-il, too, helps out with the festivities. In-hae looks over at everybody from the first-floor landing, happy that the Shaded Oasis is blooming as Woo-hyeol always wanted.

She then goes down to the basement, which has been kept as it always was. She muses about how she’s waiting for the one she loves, just like he was. When she goes back out, she sees Woo-hyeol standing on the landing looking at her and smiling.

The Episode Review

This is the kind of ending that is going to leave audiences divided. That’s not always a bad thing, but there are a few things about this finale that I can’t look past. For one, most of the show has relied on light humour, funny escapades and romance (both, fluffy and earnest). The high energy and excitement of the K-drama were immensely infectious and the last two episodes have really dealt a blow to that energy.

To be honest, with the light tone of the Heartbeat, Woo-hyeol’s impending death always felt like something that would be reversed. The stakes didn’t seem as high, until the last two episodes. Secondly, Woo-hyeol’s last few days just don’t hit the right mark. It’s executed well, the actors all do a brilliant job. But the tonal shift is simply too jarring to appreciate it.

The overload of sorrows and goodbyes don’t fit in with the show’s earlier cheerful, unencumbered spirit. Considering the fact that Woo-hyeol is facing death, I think the story spent too much time on the surrounding, supporting storylines. Putting a spotlight on him and In-hae’s relationship, would have served better.

That said, for those who are a fan of open endings and can find catharsis in tears and partings, Heartbeat’s finale could work. After all, the characters maintain their sincerity right up to the end. There is also a sense of the story coming full circle as In-hae takes on what used to be Woo-hyeol’s role. In the end, this is a K-drama that will hinge on the audience’s personal preference.

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You can read our season 1 review of Heartbeat here!

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9 thoughts on “Heartbeat – K-Drama Episode 16 Recap, Review & Ending Explained”

  1. I binge watched this whole drama in 2 days and was so excited for the ending only to find that we end up with an unsatisfying ending because there is no happy ever after for Woo Hyeol! I understand the whole “better to have loved and lost” because I had that in real life already. I really wanted there to be a way for Woo Hyeol to be able to save Do Sik, and then for In Hae to save Woo Hyeol so they could have the rest of his human life together. Even the way it ended, how on earth would Do Sik have been saved because he was supposed to stab the scar, killing the half vampire then drink the blood. Not sure how he would have just ran up and grabbed a cup of blood from the love of In Hae’s life as she is crying and holding him! Since I loved watching Taecyeon, it was worth watching even with the unsatifying ending but I much prefer endings such as Bring it on, Ghost.

  2. Love this show, surprised by the ending. I understood the ending to mean that his soul would be waiting for hers. I think he stabbed his heart and at that moment he became human.( and this is why he didn’t dissipate) That, because of her he had lived a long and full life, so he was giving her a second chance at life knowing that the souls would be united again. (Symbolized When the yellow flowers are the photo of them at the beach, as well as him staring down at her at the mansion)
    I kind of like to think that they will both be ghosts who hang out at the mansion together living the best afterlife still in love.
    I felt like this drama started out a bit like “I dream of genie” with its light hearted humor and explanation of how to be a human) I was hoping for a light hearted ending where he dies but at the last moment her tears save him ( think beauty and the beast). Since that wasn’t the ending we got lol I will stick to my ghosts version and maybe we will see a season 2 where only she sees him and all the hilarity that could ensue. The actors all did a great job of creating this quirky gem of a show. It is worth the watch. If your a hopeless romantic just pretend the dance scene is where this story ends. Lol😉

  3. ending is bs…there’s definitely a way for both of them to live…as human, we have around 5-6 liters of blood…so basically woo-hyeol just need 5 liter of blood…in-hae should just keep draw blood every week until its enough before the moon eclipse…easy.

  4. The whole series really brightend my week,teac was a great choice,new k drama so i never new him till now,but will definatly follow his other dramas now.His eyes are very soulful and made me believe.I really hope the ending has left hope of a season 2..Thankyou

  5. But did. Do sik drank his blood or not ?
    That is making me confused??
    And did the owner of day dream got gold or not coz she desrves

  6. I absolutely hated the finale ending. I did not mind the somber tone what I did mind was the part at the end where she sees him standing on the stairs . He was dead, we saw him die, what the heck? I really wanted a happier ending. Mr Ko would find a way to fix it so they could be together, but he did not. It was not even a cliff hanger…just boom he is dead and the world goes on. How the heck are they going to come back from that? I do not want to see another actor or actors in the main characters. They all did such a good job. Not sure after this fiasco if a second season is possible. IT will take some really creative writing to recapture the spirit of this kdrama.

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