The penultimate episode of Itaewon Class sees some of the sub-plots we’ve seen developing over time resolved while the entire narrative is dominated by Sae-Rae-Yo in a hallucinogenic state while our protagonists remain captured. A good portion of this episode is dominated by these two plots, and although the story doesn’t move forward an awful lot, it does offer up a solid amount of dramatic and emotional tension in the process. All of this builds up to a finale that feels like a betrayal of the series’ main principles until you think about it a little and realize this actually makes a lot of sense.
In the aftermath of the hit and run last episode, episode 15 of Itaewon Class sees Geun-Soo is beaten down to the ground while the group look set to kill Sae-Ro-Yi. Geun-Soo manages to phone Seung-Kwon and warns him what’s happening. Only, when police sirens wail they flee from the scene.
Seung-Kwon checks the CCTV in the process and sees the kidnapping first-hand while paramedics rush Sae-Ro Yi to hospital. Once there, Seung-Kwon speaks to Mr Oh about the kidnapping and he tells him he needs to report it to the police. Seung-Kwon refuses though, deciding they need to go alone instead.
The Chairman hears news about Sae-Ro-Yi being involved in the hit and run, along with Geun-Soo missing, prompting him to exhibit alarm over the whole situation.
Meanwhile, Yi-Seo and Geun-Soo awaken to find Geun-Won standing over them. He berates her for spending 4 years in prison thanks to Yi-Seo, while his brother tells Geun-Won that the Chairman chose Jangga over him and as such, it’s not her fault this happened. He antagonises Geun-Soo, going right to the heart of the situation by pushing his buttons over Sae-Ro-Yi and Yi-Seo’s affection for one another. As he leaves the room, Geun-Won is told to pay up by the mob boss he hired while Yi-Seo breaks free from her bonds.
Still recovering, Sae-Ro-Yi winds up having hallucinations involving his Father. Bewildered, he hugs him in this dream and tells him he missed him, reliving those final days and flashing to images of Yi-Seo in the process. As he carries on, he reveals some heartfelt words to his Father and promises if he’s born again, he wants to be born to him as his Dad. After giving him a big hug, he tells his Father he loves him and makes a big choice by deciding not to follow his Father, choosing to live instead.
Seung-Kwon meanwhile heads up to see his old boss, banging on the door and imploring him to open up. Despite being beaten down, he’s relentless, knocking on the door and refusing to budge. He tells them that as the Director of IC CO, he’s a changed man and he knows the police will believe him.
Hyun-Yi and Soo-A arrive at the police station as Seung-Kwon tells the police what he knows, prompting the former to confront him over the beating he sustained outside. As he leaves, he finds the Big Boss standing in the parking lot and tells him they were never bullies. He threatens the Boss, telling him if anything happens to Yi-Seo or Geun-Soo, there will be hell to pay.
On the back of this, Soo-A heads up to the Chairman and tells him all of this is Geun-Won’s fault. She tells him he turned Geun-Won into a monster thanks to his lack of affection over the years and as she hands over the pictures, the same ones shown to the police, he begrudgingly agrees with her and tells Soo-A that she needs to be ready to cover this up and “deal with the situation.”
Disgusted, and realizing this is how he dealt with Sae-Ro-Yi and his Father in the past, she decides to resign. However, along with that she has a whole stack of evidence against the company she’s collected over the years – enough to put Jangga in a very difficult position.
Sae-Ro-Yi awakens and weeps uncontrollably while Geun-Won phones his Father and expresses how traumatized he was ever since he classed Sae-Rae-Yi as livestock. Geun-Won tells him he’s always been scared but he’s not like that anymore. Thanks to the Chairman he’ll now put an end to everything and tells him it’s up to him if he stops what he’s about to do or not.
As Geun-Won heads back inside, Yi-Seo and Geun-Soo blindside him and knock the man to the ground. Yi-Seo threatens to kill him until Geun-Soo stops her beating his brother over the head and rushing out the room. They scramble for safety, only to be stopped by an approaching car holding the big Boss.
At the same time, Seung-Kwon and Sae-Ro-Yi head up to the Chairman in a bid to try and find Yi-Seo and Geun-Soo. However, he tells him in order to find Yi-Seo he wants Sae-Ro-Yi to yield and go down on his knees. After some contemplation, he drops down and pleads with the Chairman where the episode ends.
In terms of this penultimate episode, Itaewon Class delivers an hour of drama that doesn’t progress the plot very much but offers up a fair amount of emotional weight in the process. I won’t lie – the first time I saw the ending of him bowing I actually thought it was a betrayal of Sae-Ro-Yi’s character until you realize the dream-state talk with his Father changes him as a character.
All this time Sae-Ro-Yi’s been trying to avenge his Father and doing so in such a reckless and rage-fueled manner. Now that he finally realizes he has something to live for, that being Yi-Seo, he doesn’t need to be so focused on beating Jangga as he’s already won. Kneeling is such a superficially pointless exercise in the big scheme of things and given Sae-Ro-Yi does this now so easily must feel like a hollow victory for the Chairman.
On top of that, Soo-A’s progression coming to a natural conclusion and seeing her rise up and become independent is a great step as well. Tomorrow’s finale looks to be a really exciting and dramatic episode and with it clocking in just under 90 minutes, we should be in for a real rollercoaster ride of emotion!