The Final Push For Justice
Yesterday’s episode left a lot to be resolved in this hour of drama and it was always going to be difficult to wrap everything up in a satisfying manner. While the finale does manage to conclude a lot of the big plot points, it does leave a bit of an underwhelming feeling as some of the intricate sub-plots are left with ambiguous or half-baked endings.
The season finale of Hyena begins with Geum-Ja stabbed through the stomach by the mysterious stranger. As she lifts his hood up, she doesn’t recognize who he is. However, before he can hurry away Geum-Ja’s father arrives but gets himself stabbed. Hee-Jae sees the shadowy figure leave and in doing so, immediately sees Geum-Ja and her Father bleeding out on the ground. Geum-Ja tells him to phone the police and goes on to tell him it wasn’t her stepfather who hurt her.
At the hospital, Geum-Ja thanks Hee-Jae for helping as the team rally around her. Ji-Eun sobs after thinking she was going to die and Hee-Jae too also expresses concerns, telling her she needs to stop going through that stuff before driving her back home.
That night, Geum-Ja has nightmares and Hee-Jae races to her side. She leans on him for support and it eventually leads to them sleeping in the same bed together.
In the morning the group get to work on trying to obtain the CCTV footage While they do, Hee-Jae visits Prosecutor Kwon and tells him about Detective Lee and his idea that Chan-Ho is innocent. It’s enough for him to bite and he sets to work putting this into motion.
As the shareholders make their choice, and Issume is on the cusp of being taken over by AP EON, Hee-Jae receives word from Gi-Hyeok about the paintings. This leads them to Son’s residence where he becomes flustered after being asked about murdering Jung-Hwa. With Detective Lee caught and Chairman Son on the ropes, things start to come crashing down for Song.
Detective Lee is brought to Choong where Hee-Jae grills him over the CCTV footage he’s hidden. With the composite photo, Geum-Ja puts it up next to the Detective’s face and believes he’s the one who tried to kill her. She promises to take him to jail and lock him up if he doesn’t comply.
Meanwhile, we learn that Jung-Hwa had recorded footage of Chairman Son on her phone and that footage implicates him as the murderer. It turns out Song is using this as leverage to push through his agenda-driven scheme.
The gang get hold of the CCTV footage and watch the scene unfold for real. Jung-Hwa left the room after leaving Chan-Ho passed out – spiking him with the sleeping pills – and went to Chairman Son’s room . That’s where the commotion murder took place and the one orchestrating this entire event? Song Pil-Joong. Unfortunately it’s not enough to get him acquitted on its own, but it does help Chan-Ho get off the hook and become innocent.
After meeting Gi-Hyeok for dinner, Geum-Ja and Hee-Jae begin their final push for success. With the shareholder meeting and Chan-Ho’s second trial both looking to take place at the same time, Geum-Ja heads to the meeting while Hee-Jae lays down the law in court, managing to get Chan-Ho off the hook. Geum-Ja puts on a scene at the shareholder meeting, with Prosecutor Kwon arriving and arresting Song infront of everywhere. On the back of this, Kevin speaks to Geum-Ja and they shake hands one final time, with Geum-Ja telling him she only tolerated him because of work.
On the back of this, Hee-Jae and Geum-Ja both head to the station where they learn they have around 30 minutes to get the answers they need from Song. At the same time, in the room across the hallway, Chairman Son is interviewed by Hee-Jae.
Geum-Ja presents all the evidence she’s managed to collect, including DNA prints from Jung-Hwa’s fingernails, and hits him with numerous sickening blows to the stomach. As he realizes how bad things have gotten, and how much he’s about to fall at the hands of Geum-Ja, we leave Song to laugh incredulously at what she’s managed to do.
Prosecutor Kwon listens to all of this outside the room and throws out a public warrant and arrest for Song, this time including murder charges.
With the case all wrapped up and Choong successful in their endeavors, the team start celebrating with drinks after we see several newspaper clippings showing Song getting arrested. On the back of this, our duo’s suspension is lifted. Hee-Jae takes fashion advice from Geum-Ja soon after and wears brilliant orange shoes and bright suits as the two leave with their arms wrapped around one another.
During a post-episode scene, Geum-Ja and Hee-Jae put on a public show for Choong Law Firm while also taking on clients on different sides of a conflict. Their rivalry continues but this time it’s a much more light-hearted affair rather than an intense rivalry.
While Hyena has been a really enjoyable law drama over the weeks, with plenty of decent characters and wonderful chemistry between our two leads, it’s hard not to feel a bit underwhelmed by the resolution we’re given in this episode. Song Pil-Jung has been such a compelling antagonist most of the way through this series and to see his hardship reduced to a couple of newspaper clippings does feel a bit disappointing. It would have been nice to savour some of his turmoil and misery but Hee-Jae and Geum Ja standing up to him was satisfying enough.
Having said that, the ending does leave things open to the possibility of a second season though and while most k-dramas don’t go down this route, given this one has been playing on Netflix, the streaming giants may just pick this one up for a second run. If not, there’s plenty to like but there’s not much resolution to some of the bigger plot points. Other sub-plots feel a bit tacked on and in retrospect, could easily have been removed to tighten up the main conflict.
Speaking of tightening up, I’m guessing we’re left to assume Kim takes over Song&Kim now while Geum-Ja finally puts to bed the ghosts of her past thanks to her Father passing away. As a personal preference, it would have have been nice to have been given an extended episode with another 10 minutes tacked on to see her make peace with him at the funeral. With off-screen closure instead, this just feels a bit disappointing.
Some people may also bemoan the lack of romance between the two leads at the end – with a distinct lack of kissing. To be honest though, seeing how fierce and empowering Geum-Ja is as a character, it’s easy to look past this; Hyena is not the sort of lovey romance to put this in. She’s a really compelling character no doubt though and alongside Hee-Jae, the two have made a formidable duo across the season.
The journey they’ve both taken has been great to watch and all of this leads into a satisfying final scene, even if the lack of resolution does hold this one back from being a better finale.