Can I Get An Encore? We Want More.
Sometimes you’re dealt good endings, other times you’re left scratching your head wondering what the writers were thinking. When it comes to Memories Of The Alhambra’s finale, this Korean drama falls somewhere in the middle. Despite trying to wrap up the wealth of stories and subplots left unresolved over its 15 hour run-time, Memories Of The Alhambra leaves things open-ended, with a lacklustre finale and the tease of perhaps a second season to come. If there’s not though, the ending we’re given is a disappointing way to end an otherwise highly enjoyable series.
We begin the episode with Jin Woo inside the church, intent on stopping the game once and for all. Armed with the Key To Heaven, he erases all forms of the bug before it’s revealed that Jin Woo himself is a bug for reasons we’re not really told. As Park Sun-Ho and Hee-Joo rush to the scene to try to make sense of it all, they’re greeted by several ash piles on the ground and no sign of Jin Woo himself. Before their very eyes though, the game resets and with it, all traces of the bugs that crippled the game’s mainframe.
All seems well from here and after a few more flashbacks, the story skips forward a year to wrap things up for good, leaving Jin Woo missing and unaccounted for. Go Yu-Ra marries again for money but this time the public have caught on, leaving her disgraced in the public eye. Professor Cha’s inheritance is given to charity while Park Sun-Ho looks set to step down as CEO after a successful global launch of Se-Ju’s game. Business is booming and Korea has been transformed into an augmented reality playground as the public take to the game like wildfire.
Se-Ju has been the focal point for much of the series but we don’t get an awful lot of him here. He’s a little cagey and understandably rattled after what’s happened to him but he does mention the Instance Dungeon briefly late on, explaining it acts as a barrier between our world and the augmented reality world; a safe haven to escape enemies. How he survived there is still up for debate but he suggests Jin Woo may well be there. Before this though we get a touching reunion as Se-Ju receives a standing ovation at J One and our only glimmer of satisfaction from the questionable ending we’re dealt.
For the final stretch of the episode, we cut back to our tragic Hee-Joo who’s taken to making guitars at home. After a meeting with Park Sun-Ho, she overhears an intriguing conversation between two players who claim a gun-wielding man in the shadows has been helping them, with no gamer ID or tag. Convinced it’s Jin Woo, Hee Joo pops her lenses back in and rushes to where he’s supposedly located. As she runs toward his location, we cut to a shadowy figure shooting a few enemies…before ending. With no sign of an after-credits scene or a reunion between our two lovers.
I won’t spend the entire review questioning the writers but with no sign of a second season and many people investing 16 hours of their life into this show, the ending feels unsatisfying and very disappointing. While a few of the characters are given decent endings, Jin Woo and Hee Joo, the two people we’ve spent the most amount of time with, do not. Numerous questions are left hanging over the show, including a last-minute curve-ball with Jin Woo being a bug. It all feels rushed and sloppily handled. There’s next to no mention about Marco and how he fits in all this and Se-Ju’s emotionally charged plea that he didn’t kill him yesterday is left completely untouched and forgotten. This is before even going into detail about the various little plot holes along the way and what we’re left with is a show that is in desperate need of another episode, one that gives us the reunion our two lead characters deserve.
It’s a real shame too as I have loved watching this show over the weeks. It’s been my TV highlight for quite some time and I don’t regret a minute watching this one unfold. Except for tonight’s lacklustre finale, Memories Of The Alhambra has done well to keep things interesting and unpredictable. Much like LOST though, this drama is likely going to be remembered for its ending more than the content as the weeks go by. An enjoyable experience for sure but one held back by a really disappointing and lacklustre finale.